Right now at this moment, as I write, some women have gathered to view a documentary and discuss the media's influence on women's access to position of power. In the end, I decided to stay home and think about other questions.
Now I'm reflecting on why I took that option. Rather than address their particular question, I'm thinking about a related one: why do they want power and what kind of power are they aspiring to access?
That's really a question of the bourgeois feminist movement: why aren't more women in positions of power, and why and how does the system obstruct women from upward mobility. The answer from the anti-imperialist (progressive) women thinkers and activists is to change the power structures. The question for us in the radical feminist movements is, why are not more women involved in creating basic change of society?
After all, are the conventional male leaders of our society the best role models? Do you want to be a top executive in a monopoly, a manager of exploitation and plunder? Do you want to be a judge or police officer in the system of injustice? Do you want to be a General of an imperialist army?
The capitalist system is a patriarchal system. Having women step into the shoes of the leaders of that system just does more harm to women and working people. Think of Condoleeza Rice, Hilary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the remaining Queens of this and that country--they have played big roles in carrying out big crimes. extending mass suffering and keeping movements for real change down. It is no gain when a female dictator or militarist or corporate mogul comes to power.
Sure, yes, it is meaningful when women of any stratum makes advances and wins freedom, as it is when people of color, immigrants and other oppressed sectors do. And, yes, it is meaningful when violence against women and children is recognized and measures taken to oppose and prevent it. However, just as patriarchy is a feature of the system of monopoly capitalism, so are discrimination and violence. It's a system built upon the worst violence and the grossest prejudices of the monarchies of Europe and European colonizers and local chieftans and gangsters.
If you're not talking about making fundamental change happen, then you're are talking about the false right and false justice of stepping into male reins of power. You're talking about striving to become another ruler or conqueror or one of their managers or technocrats. No, thanks.
I do hope that women in general, whatever their occupation or class, honestly have a different kind of leadership in mind. They have a special skill set owing to the amazing ability as females to bear children and their tendency to be nurturers, caregivers and homemakers because they bear children that can offer a differeent perspective on leadership and societal development.
I do believe that more and more women should think political and participate in debates. That's how they will get true liberation, in my mind, that will enable them and the rest of society to advance and flourish.
I'm not talking about electoral party politics. Most people are tired of that. This is the biggest problem of misrepresentation--of women and others among the citizenry. I'm talking about grassroots community and political organizing. I mean that they have to go beyond social work, school teaching and health care and think, read, write and talk in an exchange of opinions about their most urgent concerns.
Personally, I'm not very interested in accessing any position of substantial power. I don't want to be a boss. That's not to say I don't want to secure and assert my own power as a person. I want my knowledge, skills and experience acknowledged and I want to be recognized in situations where I am fit to lead. I'm talking about meritocracy as part of a democracy wherein peers praise and ask one to be an organizer or leader if one's work has demonstrated merit. I like that concept.