Socialism and feminism From Ireland to Cuba and beyond

Grúpa na mBan Réablóideacha—the Women’s Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland and the Connolly Youth Movement—recently hosted an event to highlight the significant role of women during and following the Cuban Revolution, which continues to be an inspiration to so many of us. As we continue our fight against the destructive system of neoliberal capitalism, we have an additional struggle to dismantle the intersecting system of patriarchy that further oppresses women. It is not enough for us to realise a socialist society if the old systems of patriarchy remain in place, and we look to our sister comrades in Cuba to learn from their vast experience.

Unlike the “liberal feminism” of the West, we reject any women’s liberation struggle that is not firmly rooted in anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist principles. We further reject any liberal feminist movements that outsource oppression to our sisters in the global south. We believe that any movement to liberate women from patriarchal oppression must be anti-colonial, anti-racist, and centred in the broader class struggle.

The advancement of women’s rights in Cuba after the revolution is something that we aspire to, in terms of “equality on paper,” while supporting our sister comrades in their shared struggle to conclusively displace the persisting patriarchal ideas which place the burden for home keeping and care work predominantly on women. In this regard, we are grateful to learn from the exceptional work that has been done so far by the Federación de Mujeres Cubanas [Federation of Cuban Women] in particular.

Notwithstanding the immense challenge which we face to dislodge the ideas of liberal feminism in the West, we are encouraged to see an emerging shift away from bourgeois ideas of feminism, towards a movement which is more in line with our own Marxist-feminist ideology.

Ní neart go cur le chéile!