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Separate and Dominate: Feminism and Racism after the War on Terror

An examination of how mainstream feminism has been mobilized in support of racist measures

Feminist Christine Delphy co-founded the journal Nouvelles questions féministes with Simone de Beauvoir in the 1970s and became one of the most influential figures in French feminism. Today, Delphy remains a prominent and controversial feminist thinker, a rare public voice denouncing the racist motivations of the government’s 2011 ban of the Muslim veil. Castigating humanitarian liberals for demanding the cultural assimilation of the women they are purporting to “save,” Delphy shows how criminalizing Islam in the name of feminism is fundamentally paradoxical.

Separate and Dominate is Delphy’s manifesto, lambasting liberal hypocrisy and calling for a fluid understanding of political identity that does not place different political struggles in a false opposition. She dismantles the absurd claim that Afghanistan was invaded to save women, and that homosexuals and immigrants alike should reserve their self-expression for private settings. She calls for a true universalism that sacrifices no one at the expense of others. In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, her arguments appear more prescient and pressing than ever.

Reviews

  • “She writes with an extraordinarily clear-eyed passion … Delphy’s words are persuasive.”
  • “France’s most exciting feminist writer.”
  • “Christine Delphy cuts through ideology like a knife. Her critical analyses of the justifications for the ‘war on terror’ are sharp, accurate and anger-inducing. Her ability to hone in on the contradictions that sustain racism and sexism and perpetuate exclusion is second to none. Delphy’s insight and materialist approach lends her arguments a rare clarity—she deserves to be much more widely recognized in the anglophone world.”
  • “Delphy’s sharp analyses serve as a corrective to widespread, unproductive ways of thinking about migration, racism, imperialism, and war. [Her] noteworthy contribution is to insistently connect geopolitical issues to constructions of feminist identity and French identity. Delphy’s uncompromising critique of her feminist countrywomen’s complicity with imperial war and national(ist) racism grows not only out of anti-imperialist, anti-racist commitments but, even more fundamentally, out of the belief that this complicity is antithetical to the feminist project she cherishes.”
  • “Delphy remains one of the most influential and controversial feminist thinkers in France. With sharp and accurate arguments across a range of different text and formats, she applies the materialist feminist theory of sex and gender, for which she is best known, to questions of race and ‘othering’, and, in doing so, lays out the premiss for a new universal political project that sacrifices no one at the expense of others.”

Blog

  • One Day Without Us—A Migrant Solidarity Reading List

    Today, the petition to rescind President Trump’s state visit to Britain signed by 1.8 million people will be debated in Parliament. Stop Trump demonstrations are planned for this evening across the country and are expected to draw more than 10,000 people to stand together in solidarity with migrants and against racism and Islamophobia.

    Trump’s racist, Islamophobic, anti-refugee and anti-immigrant politics are the same driving forces as those behind the Brexit vote to leave the EU. In the context of the rise of reactionary and xenophobic politics worldwide, the Stop Trump programme of opposition is a joint effort with the One Day Without Us movement, staging its first day of action today. Tens of thousands of migrants and their supporters are staging a walkout from workplaces and places of education to celebrate the contribution migrant workers make to British society. In particular, the action aims to highlight their importance to the British economy: withdrawing their labour for a day would cost the UK £328m – 4% of the country’s GDP.

    The British government is not just complicit with Trump's agenda: Theresa May has been a trailblazer in ramping up anti-migrant measures for years before her ascent to the premiership in her role as Home Secretary when she notoriously brought in 'go home' vans. While it debates the terms of Brexit, the government continues to run a brutal and inhumane detention system; demonise and deport migrants; refuse refugees, and extend the border regime deeper into British society, into our hospitals, schools and workplaces.

    Verso presents a reading list of books that challenge and expose right-wing narratives about migrant workers and refugees by contextualising crises rooted in the violence of capitalism, legacies of colonialism and war waged by the West. This selection includes books that provide us with histories of resistance from which we can draw strength and inspiration for the fightback ahead.

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  • Save Those Who Weep

    Sophie Wahnich argues we need to expand the notion of civil war to include the whole set of social and political practices that destroy the social bond. Since market relations destroy sociability, we must unfailingly turn our attention to those who are falling through the cracks. First published in Libération. Translated by David Broder.  



    Eddie Constantine as Lemmy Caution in Alphaville (1965). 

    In Alphaville — imagined by Jean-Luc Godard in 1965 — the city’s all-powerful master Professor von Braun has abolished human feelings. A computer, Alpha 60, governs the whole city. The secret agent Lemmy Caution is charged with "destroying Alpha 60...and saving those who weep."

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  • Red Sale 2017

    A special Red Flash-Sale, 50% off these selected books (with free worldwide shipping) until Feb 15, midnight (UTC).

    Click here to activate your discount.


     

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Other books by Christine Delphy Translated by David Broder

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