Dalia Gebrial responds to a history of women's movements to ask how a transnational feminist politics of solidarity can change and embolden our vision of the world.
The question of transnational solidarity has progressively faded away from the realm of feminist conversation. The idea of intersectionality – a powerful descriptor of how seemingly circumscribed systems of oppression operate through and alongside one other – has been reduced to representative diversity politics: a coalition of limited but energy-consuming practices of privilege-checking and callouts; a seemingly immovable emphasis on bodies and checklists as the prime marker of Good Praxis. Solidarity has been supplanted in favour of ‘allyship’ and ‘standing aside’. Creating spaces of self-determination has been neutralised into creating spaces of safety. Only the personal can be political.
Rani of Jhansi Women's Regiment of the Indian National Army, training, early–mid 1940s. via End of Empire.
The Verso Book of Dissent: Revolutionary Words from Three Millennia of Rebellion and Resistance is a compendium of revolt and resistance throughout the ages, updated to include resistance to war and economic oppression from Beijing and Cairo to Moscow and New York City. To celebrate the release of the new edition, we've present a selection of key moments of dissent from the book.
The Book of Dissent is discounted to 50% off when you buy a copy of the Verso Radical Diary 2017 until November 24th. See here for more details.
Originally published in 1978, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman caused a storm of controversy. Michele Wallace blasted the masculine biases of the black politics that emerged from the sixties. Here, she describes how women remained marginalized by the patriarchal culture of Black Power, demonstrating the ways in which a genuine female subjectivity was blocked by the traditional myths of black womanhood.
The Black Power Movement did yield certain gains—jobs, grants, scholarships, poverty programs, etc.—but many of these things are in the process of being lost, and weren't worth the price that was paid for them in any case. As long as black people are dealing in jobs and titles and grants, and not factories and land and department stores, anything they have achieved has got to be subject to the whims of the dominant white power structure and beneficial only for a select few. The majority of blacks are left with only the booby prize of an outmoded manhood that mocks their powerlessness.
In July 1967, Stokely Carmichael addressed the Dialectics of Liberation Congress at Roundhouse with a potent articulation of the relations between race, capitalism and imperialism, and "Black Power". During Black History Month forty-eight years later, we return to this prescient analysis.
Ahead of Verso's presentation of The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution with Dogwoof Films at the London Review Bookshop on November 12th 2015, we publish an extract from Carmichael's speech.
The Black Panthers, by Stanley Nelson, is the first feature length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails.
Change was coming to America and the fault lines could no longer be ignored—cities were burning, Vietnam was exploding, and disputes raged over equality and civil rights. A new revolutionary culture was emerging and it sought to drastically transform the system. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of that change.