Liza Featherstone: Why This Socialist Feminist Is Not Voting For Hillary
Liza Featherstone, editor of the forthcoming False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Clinton, sat down for two radio debates last week, after her feature in The Nation, “Why This Socialist Feminist Is Not Voting For Hillary” hit newsstands. Last Monday, she appeared on Democracy Now! to debate sociologist Suzanna Danuta Walters, the self-described socialist feminist whose case for Hilary (also made in The Nation) prompted Featherstone's essay. On Thursday, they resumed their conversation on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show.
In The Nation, Featherstone lays out her opposition to Hillary Clinton's bellicose foreign policy, and argues that every socialist feminist should object to the “imperial adventures” Clinton has sponsored.
Abroad, socialist feminists oppose imperial adventures because war makes life hell for the majority of women, tending to exacerbate whatever material inequalities already existed. Yet Clinton, as secretary of state, went so far as to claim that wars could help liberate women - for example, by making the Taliban respect human rights in Afghanistan. During her tenure as secretary of state, rape and femicide increased in Honduras, Iraq, and Libya, due to the interventionist policies that she nurtured and executed. In Honduras, she provided cover and backdoor encouragement to a coup against a democratically elected leader, which allowed reactionary forces to come to power and begin a phenomenally violent chapter in that country's history, during which, according to Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the murder of women has “skyrocketed.”
The Democracy Now! segment centered largely around the domestic aspects of Sanders' platform, with Featherstone explaining how socialized healthcare and a higher minimum wage both promise material benefits for women.
I’m supporting Bernie Sanders because he actually is a socialist and a feminist candidate. He is talking about exactly the things that would make life better for the majority of women: single payer healthcare, given women are the most likely to go into medical debt, women have the highest healthcare costs, and most likely to be poor heads of families. He is talking about raising the minimum wage of $15, riding on a grassroots movement that is calling for that right now. Again, women are the majority of low waged workers. So, these are the kinds of things that would really improve life for women as well as for many other Americans, and it’s exciting to see that.
See the full exchange, starting at the 30 minute mark, at Democracy Now!
On Brian Lehrer, Featherstone went on to discuss Clinton's record as Secretary of State, and criticized the merely symbolic victory a Clinton presidency would deliver feminists:
I would say that symbolism is great...but as a person who works in media, I wish that symbolism and storytelling was as transformational as people think it is…When we hear Hillary Clinton say things like, if I am President, fathers will be able to tell their little girls they can do anything. You know, fathers will be able to tell their little girls “you can do anything" when you’re not held back by having to scrounge for basic income supports, childcare, education.
False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Clinton, comes out on June 14, 2016. In addition to editor Liza Featherstone, the book Includes essays from prominent feminist writers Laura Flanders, Moe Tkacik, Medea Benjamin, Frances Fox Piven and Fred Block, Donna Murch, Kathleen Geier, Yasmin Nair, Megan Erickson, Tressie McMillan Cotom, Catherine Liu, Amber A'Lee, Magpie Corvid, Belén Fernández, Zillah Eisenstein, and others. For more on False Choices, click here.