Several thousand women, and a few men, gathered in downtown Oakland to mark International Women’s Day, 2017. Considering the small forces that did the organizing, the turnout was impressive. It was also partly a sign of the times. This event did not happen in a vacuum; it was part of a larger movement. And, as such, we should think about where that movement is headed…. because some people most definitely are. They have a goal – a final resting place, you could say – and a strategy.
That is the liberal cabal that revolves around the Democratic Party and includes the union leadership and the nonprofiteers. And their goal, their final resting place, is to get out the vote in 2018 and beyond to elect more Democrats.
One speaker indirectly addressed this issue: A woman speaking for the homeless community criticized Oakland Mayor Libby “Yuppie” Schaaf, who is is the face of the gentrification of Oakland. This speaker was interrupted by another woman who pointed out that Schaaf is also a woman and therefore shouldn’t be criticized, but the speaker didn’t back down. “She’s not my mayor,” was her position.
Oakland’s last two mayors have been women. We’ve had a series of black mayors as well as a mayor who’s presently one of the foremost liberal governors in the country (Gerry Brown), and still gentrification races ahead here. As for Schaaf, herself, she’s presently presiding over a cover-up of one of the most scandalous cases of police sexual abuse of a teenage girl that you can imagine.
What would really help the movement advance is if it were arranged to have speakers discuss such issues as:
- What is the relationship between oppression against any group (women, black people, etc.) and the class struggle?
- How does the struggle against this oppression relate to the need for working class unity (if at all)?
- What is the role of the union leadership and what is the situation inside the unions?
What is the reason for the union movements defeats over recent decades?
- What is the role of the Democratic Party and should the movement be building an alternative to the two big business parties?
- What is the relationship between oppression, exploitation and the capitalist system as a whole?
In this way, these rallies could start to be a forum for a discussion and even a debate over what is the way forward. Without such an open discussion, what inevitably tends to happen is that those who are best organized and have a clear program and strategy will manipulate things from behind the scenes. If such an open discussion and debate doesn’t happen in an open way, the liberals will be able to sweep things along in their train, right into the welcoming arms of the corporate-controlled Democratic Party liberals.
“‘Won’t you come into my parlor,’ said the spider to the fly.”