The L.A. Radical Women
, a feminist group affiliated with the Freedom Socialist Party, recently held a "Revolutionary Feminist Meeting" regarding the topic: "Is Hillary Clinton
a feminist candidate?" The forum/meeting was held at Solidarity Hall, their regular LA meeting place on Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 7:00 pm. The meeting began with Yuisa Gimeno reading a short essay on the topic.
She started by reminding us that Hillary Clinton is in fact, not the first female presidential candidate. She listed among others, Victoria Woodhull
of the Equal Rights Party who ran in 1872, Charlene Mitchell
of the Communist Party who ran in 1968, and Shirley Chisholm
who ran for president in 1972. She expanded on Chisholm briefly, describing her as a “black feminist democrat”; “Hillary Clinton hardly compares” she added. She explained that “Hillary rides on the coattails” of these and other feminists. Muffy Sunde of the Freedom Socailist Party added later in the evening that feminists should hold her accountable and remind her, “We got you this job, lady”.
Gimeno attested that Hillary Clinton is not for working people, adding that she served on the board of Wal-Mart (1986–1992) and is staunchly pro-capitalist (and pro-free trade). Gimeno stated that Clinton started out as a Republican, volunteering for Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign
, and also criticized her for following Bill to Arkansas in 1974. She stated that Hillary supported Bill’s “war on family and the working class”, exemplifying the “effective death penalty”
and “welfare reform” (read: cuts). She stated that Clinton is sponsored by NOW
and argued that it is unfair of these organizations to support her because it requests its members to “act against their interests” since Clinton voted for the war and the organizations are against it.
“Hillary Clinton is not a feminist!” Gimeno declared and followed up with a quick list of Clinton’s less-than-humanitarian platform points. She stated that Clinton not only voted for the Iraq war, but that she now supports the gradual re-deployment of our military in Iraq to other “hot spots”. She stated that Clinton defends Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and that she supports the controversial Bracero Program
. After Gimeno’s declaration, the floor was opened up for questions and comments on the topic. Among the chatter, these poignant statements from attendees stood out, “Hillary is part of the problem..”, “What we need are anti-capitalist candidates of any color..”, and my favorite, “It took militant organizing heading to the streets to legalize abortion, NOT electing democratic candidates.”
One audience member wearing a “Kucinich 2008” ball cap pointed out that regardless, “she would still break the glass ceiling”. An attendee added that neither Clinton nor Obama discuss poverty, to which someone else added that he optimistically hoped that Clinton would act in a humanitarian fashion though she was unable to speak in one before being elected. He stated that “Castro didn’t say he was a socialist until 3 years after being voted in.” The women explained that Castro did say, however, that he was planning on making huge changes, and that he did not become a socialist until after he was in office.
A young female audience member stated that she believed that if Clinton won the presidency that she would be an inspiration to young girls. Muffy explained that the election is not necessarily about who Clinton is, but what her party stands for, and that ultimately “the Democratic party is a capitalist party.” Yolanda, a socialist feminist librarian added that having a female in office is not necessarily inspiring every time, explaining that they had a female governor in Washington when she lived there named
Dixy Lee Ray
and that she was very right wing and an awful role model.
“I’ll never forgive her for not standing up for universal healthcare” one woman stated. Another woman stated that “once you go down that road, there’s no stopping” in reference to compromising ideals in order to gain power. “She could end up compromising with the fascists.”
Yuisa, in reference to comments reflecting that Clinton faces sexism from every angle, stated that “just because she is from the upper class doesn’t mean she won’t have sexism used against her.”
Muffy declared that Eugene Debs’s
quote, “It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don’t want and get it” was her sentiment exactly and ended with her opinion that “I don’t think we should settle.”