Obama, Hillary, and the Liberal Version of Liberation

Obama (the first black president) and Hillary (the possible first woman president) are representative of *liberal notions* of equality and advancement for oppressed groups.

Liberalism, with its focus on individualism and its radically impoverished class analysis, insists that the way to equality is by simply having *representatives of certain oppressed groups* in the ranks of the ruling class. Even if those representatives have policies that are directly detrimental to the group from which they came.

It is individualist because it conflates the success of an *individual* person from a group (a woman, a black person, a LGBTQ person, etc.), with the success of their entire group.

It lacks class analysis precisely because it insists on an individualist approach to equality; and to examine class is to examine the power relations between economic groups of people.

A socialist approach to equality is an approach which rejects this individualism. It analyzes the liberation of oppressed groups in terms of the entire group. It recognizes the humanity of poor women (and of women in countries who are often at the receiving end of bombs sent by other women in power), and doesn’t pretend that their situation is made better by Hillary Clinton being president (just as their position was certainly not made better by Hillary Clinton being Secretary of State).

Any feminism, for instance, that doesn’t take into account the women who have died from Hillary’s hawkish foreign policy isn’t a genuine feminism.

Any feminism, in addition, that doesn’t take into account the women’s lives who have been ruined by neoliberal economic policies and “free trade” agreements like NAFTA, or by recessions created by the recklessness of the Big Banks, isn’t a genuine feminism.

Nobody is free until we are all free.


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