Friedrich Engels published his The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State in 1884. He argued that women’s oppression arose with the development of classes in society. Most feminists of the 1960s and 1970s recognised Engels’ work as a key text, whether inclined to agree with or oppose him. Yet for all the debates about the book, there is very little understanding of the actual content and importance of not just Engels’, but also Marx’s contribution to establishing the basics of a fight for women’s liberation.
Louise O’Shea, an activist in Equal Love, argues that by years of steady campaigning,organisations committed to same-sex marriage rights have brought the issue from the margins onto the political agenda. She shows how it became a prominent election issue and is putting pressure on the ALP.
Louise O’Shea analyses the position of women today. Engaging with recent feminist and Marxist discussions of women’s oppression she argues for a defence of Marxism as a theory of women’s liberation.
Sandra Bloodworth looks at the impact of identity politics on some of the best feminist and social historians of the Russian revolution.
Jordan Humphreys argues that Foucault’s explanation of sexuality under capitalism can be incorporated into a Marxist understanding of sexuality and serve to clarify and enrich it.
Sarah Garnham critically examines theories on the left that have emerged in response to identity politics.