For Marxists, the fight against oppression goes hand-in-hand with the class struggle. While we recognise that different groups in society suffer different forms of oppression, we affirm that this oppression is rooted in the class system itself. Racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia are deeply ingrained in capitalist society. The Marxist method of historical materialism allows us to trace the roots of these ideas, looking at how they’ve evolved historically and the role they play in society today.
No form of oppression is built into our DNA, nor naturally ordained. The systematic attack against specific groups was not possible before the emergence of the state and class society. As it developed, these ideas have helped uphold the position of the ruling class. In modern society, segregation, violence against women and disenfranchisement are all examples of ways to keep the working class divided, downtrodden and less able to organise against its common exploiter – the capitalist class.
The only way to fight against this is to unite the workers of all nations, races, genders and sexualities along class lines. This is how we will ensure the full liberation of all of humanity.
Learn the basics
A statement distributed in demonstrations across the world for International Women's Day. The struggle for women's liberation must also be a fight for socialism.
In capitalist society working class women are twice oppressed – both as workers and as women. What are the origins of women's oppression? And how do we fight it?
28 June 2019 marked the 50th anniversary since the famous Stonewall riots in New York, which were a turning point for the LGBT movement.
Marxism understands that the root of women's oppression lies not in biology, but in social conditions.
This article gives a brief outline of the position of women at work over the past 200 years.
The oppression of women is only as old as the division of society into classes. Marxism explains that it arose together with private property and the state.
In this article on the history of the struggle of women to win the right to vote, Barbara Humphries looks at how it relates to the development of the class struggle.
This document aims to draw a line between Marxism and the ideas of identity politics which have affected a layer of activists in academic circles and are also being used in a reactionary manner within the international workers' movement.
Jessica Cassell of Fightback in Canada explores the ideas of Marxism and intersectionality, contrasting the different views between these theories.
Is Queer Theory compatible with Marxism? Can there be such a thing as “Queer Marxism”? Yola Kipcak in Vienna replies in the negative, and explains why.
In this article, Marie Frederiksen looks at the origins of Women's Day, the origin of women's oppression in class society, and how capitalism has laid the material foundations upon which the question of women's emancipation can be tackled.
The history of Bolshevism from the very early days right up to the Russian revolution contains a wealth of lessons on how it is the class struggle that provides the final answer to the women’s question.
In this article, we outline the first steps given by Marxism to fight for women's rights, the conditions of women under capitalism, and pose the question of how to eliminate inequality between men and women for good.
In 1808, Fourier explained that "social progress is measured by the progress of the woman towards freedom".
In the early years of the Russian Revolution, homosexuality had been legalised. But in March 1934 Stalin re-criminalised homosexuality across the Soviet Union.
The experience of the struggle of Bolshevik women is full of vital lessons for us, for it is an example of the most effective way of overcoming women's oppression.
Lenin had the firm conviction that no revolution is possible without the participation of women. He encouraged men to support women's participation in politics.
Trotsky took up women’s and many other social and cultural issues. He had a repeated theme of equality for the sexes in domestic life before there could be equality for political or economic opportunity.
The family, private property, and the state are neither 'natural' nor everlasting. They are the product of specific economic and social conditions.
A short work of Clara Zetkin which she wrote on the basis of her conversations with Lenin on the women's question. Zetkin explains that Lenin frequently spoke to her about the women's question.
Audio & video
Marie Frederiksen discusses the questions of women's oppression and liberation, and provides a Marxist analysis of the women's question.
Ylva Vinberg of the Swedish Marxists speaking on Marxism and Feminism at a Marxist Summer School.
Natasha Sorrell introduces Engels' ideas about the origins of the family, explaining how these show that the oppression of women is not natural or permanent.
Speaking at the Revolution Festival, Natasha Sorrell looks at the struggle of the Suffragettes, one century after women won the vote.
Queer Theory holds that our gender and sexual identities are a fiction produced by discourses and oppressive power in society: a learned performance. What does this idea mean for the liberation struggle?
What is the basis for identity politics? Why are they so popular with the youth in particular? And how do they square with the Marxist method of solidarity and class struggle
Emily Cosentino discusses the vital role of women in the Russian Revolution, and the enormous gains made for working class women as a result of the revolution.