Hooray! Finally a section of the Left is allowing space for progressives who challenge the right wing elements of the transgender trend. Any attack on women’s rights is not only reactionary in itself, it also splits the working class and it is time the rest of the Left came to terms with this.

The Morning Star newspaper in Britain has published two articles from progressive-minded critics of the transgender trend, and an open letter from others, thanking the paper for opening space for debate around these issues. The letter quite correctly states that “hard-won rights and protections that women have managed to gain are being eroded through political and social developments” surrounding the transgender trend. I do not agree with the signatories’ claim that women are a “sex class” but I certainly believe that the trans trend contains right wing, anti-woman ideas that divide the working class. Congratulations to the Morning Star for giving a platform for this point of view.

Reblogged on WordPress.com



  1. Judith Green says:

    I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the claim of women to be a class. There’s a more restricted sense in which it can simply that women are:

    “set or category of things having some property or attribute in common and differentiated from others by kind, type, or quality.” (a crucial idea in relation to the trans phenomenon). And that women have a collective experience of oppression based on sex, and therefore collective (i.e. class) interests as women.

    Now, I get that there is a radical feminist interpretation of sex-class that gives it both primacy over relataionship-to-the-means-of-production-class, and also necessarily ‘accuses’ men of also being a sex-class (i.e. with collective interests in the continued oppression of women). And I get why marxists would want to resist those ideas (though I think the evidence of *historical* if not analytic primacy of sex-based oppression is pretty strong – and that’s usually accepted by Marxists following Engels). “The first class opposition that appears in history coincides with the development of the antagonism between man and woman in monogamous marriage, and the first class oppression coincides with that of the female sex by the male. ”

    Evelyn Reed is interesting on these distinctions https://www.marxists.org/archive/reed-evelyn/1970/caste-class-sex.htm (especially as written near the start of the second wave). Whether one believes that women have collective interests arising out of their caste, class or sex-based oppression – it’s obvious that any kind of understanding of women’s oppression as both materially-based and collective has been completely eroded on the Marxist left. Ironically, materialist marxists (yes, I know – you would think that would be a given) have more in common with the materialist end of radical feminism, than with postmodern-inflected marxism.


    • freerlives says:

      Thanks for your post Judith. Sorry it has taken me a while to respond – I have been offline and incommunicado for two weeks.

      On the nature of class, and the causes of women’s oppression, you and I obviously draw upon different theoretical traditions (despite our agreement on the need for materialist analysis, and opposition to postmodernism). While there is a need for continuing debate between feminists and Marxists on these issues, the most important thing is to cohere a progressive opposition to both the trans lobby and the Christian Right.

      Apologists for transgender ideology deny, or seek to obscure, important aspects of women’s oppression, due to their over-riding concern to have M2F transitioners fully accepted as women. So they ignore the oppressive impact of biological women’s lifetime of socialisation, and also the biological basis of key women’s issues, such as abortion rights. When leftists fail to differentiate themselves from the trans lobby on these issues, they fail to defend women’s rights.

      Beyond the trans issue, however, the Left continues to defend women’s rights in word and deed. It remains hostile to sex role stereotyping, except when it touches on transgender sensitivities. So I cannot agree when you say “any kind of understanding of women’s oppression as both materially-based and collective has been completely eroded on the Marxist left”. For example, Judith Orr’s recently published Marxism and Women’s Liberation (https://bookmarksbookshop.co.uk/view/41375/Marxism+and+Women%2527s+Liberation) is a thoroughly materialist and extremely useful account of women’s oppression, marred only by its coverage of the transgender issue. I am optimistic that major sections of the Left can be won around to a better position on transgender politics.


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