9781781688809-max_221 more images image

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

  • Post-fascism: a mutation still underway

    This interview with Enzo Traverso was first published in L'humanité. Translated by David Broder. 


    June 2015 press conference of far right 'Europe of Nations and Freedom' bloc within European Parliament. 

    In his Les Nouveaux Visages du Fascisme, historian Enzo Traverso analyses the mutations of the European far Right movements that have emerged from "the fascist matrix."1 According to Traverso, the Left has to "offer political perspectives again" in order to occupy "the immense void" that is today being filled by both jihadism and a "post-fascism" that excludes Muslims.

    Are Europe’s far-Right movements (the AfD in Germany, the Front National in France, Jobbik in Hungary…) adopting the same codes as fascism or Nazism?

    Enzo Traverso: First of all, these movements do share common traits, including their rejection of the European Union, their xenophobia and their racism, in particular in its Islamophobic dimension. Beyond these markers, we can see notable differences. There are clearly neo-fascist or neo-Nazi movements, like Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary, etc., whose radicalism is often linked to the extent of the crisis, even if in Greece the rise of Syriza did put a lid on this dynamic. As for France, the Front National does have a fascist matrix, and there are certainly neo-fascists in the party, but its discourse is no longer fascist. After all, it has made a considerable effort at ideological mutation, and that is one of the keys to its success. If it still advanced neo-fascist arguments it would not get a hearing, and could certainly not hope to reach the second round of the presidential election.

    Continue Reading

  • Alexandra Kollontai - International Women's Day

    Women in more than 50 countries will go on strike from paid and unpaid labour today while millions more will be taking part in direct action on what is set to be one of the most political International Women’s Days in history.

    In this article, published in 1920 in Pravda, Russian revolutionary Alexandra Kollontai describes the origins of the day when "the organised demonstrate against their lack of rights."

    >> see also: all our International Women's Day reading, 40% off until March 9th



    Women’s Day or Working Women’s Day is a day of international solidarity, and a day for reviewing the strength and organization of proletarian women.

    Continue Reading

  • Clinton’s Historical Tragedy and the International Women’s Strike: In Support of a Feminism for the 99%


    1912 Lawrence Textile Strike

    Mired in the recurrent nightmare that is Trump, it is hard to look back and take stock of what happened last week, let alone three months ago. Yet, looking back at Hillary Clinton’s defeat, one may not only see the rising tide of Trump’s hordes, but also the tragic fate of a liberal era. Nowhere is this clearer than in the contradictions embodied by Clinton’s deeply personal but nonetheless strained relation to feminism. Not surprisingly, a broad group of radical and internationalist women are showing the way forward with a call for a feminism of the 99% and coordinating in the U.S. on March 8th with the International Women’s Strike.

    Even viewed from a radical perspective, responding on one hand to Clinton’s loss and on the other to Trump’s continuous appalling attacks, we can see Hillary Clinton defeat as having the features of a contemporary tragedy.

    Continue Reading

Other books by Christine Delphy Translated by David Broder

Other books of interest