One would think that, at least from the bitter experience that Margaret Thatcher represented, it would not make much sense to clarify that the fact that a woman is head of state is no guarantee that she will implement anti-patriarchal policies. Even if she wants to do it and she calls herself a feminist, it is very likely that the ossified structures of the state apparatus will only allow her to make a few slight changes that slightly oxygenate discontent and oppression; With the escape valve slightly open through some actions that a President of the Republic is allowed to implement, the system avoids an explosion that destroys it and thus ensures its long-term operation.
Considering this, I am surprised that many of the analysis tables that talk about the fact that next year Mexico will elect its first female head of state focus on clarifying to us, a little with a bit of health care, that women in power are no guarantee. of feminist public policies. It is worrying that something that reality has revealed time and again as obvious for some time still needs to be clarified. I think it is necessary to make the analysis more complex and start from the fact that it is not possible to dismantle the patriarchal state using the tools of that same state as Audre Lorde has already warned us in her famous quote. In any case, what is surprising is that, finally, the state structure, essentially patriarchal in nature, has allowed a woman to come to power after a disproportionate effort compared to the anti-patriarchal struggle that can be carried out from that position. Accepting that the candidate most likely to win is a feminist, what limits will the nation-state model impose on her? What will the costs be?
One of the effects that most worries me about the arrival of a woman to the presidency is that it paints the nation-state purple even though inside its functioning continues to be patriarchal and limits the political imagination to build alternatives to a world that is increasingly in crisis. in the face of the climate emergency. The idea will be reinforced that the horizon of women’s struggle must be the seizure of power within the different positions within the state, in a context in which we need to work on alternative structures to face the planetary emergency already developing.
Even in the extreme fantasies of liberal feminism like the one we saw in the movie Barbie, the nation-state model does not disappear, there is Barbie the president and Barbie the court judge because even in Barbieland the nation-state continues to be the predominant sociopolitical structure, the one that He designed patriarchy to protect capitalism and the bourgeoisie.
One of the effects of certain hegemonic feminisms has been to dissociate the anti-patriarchal struggle from the anti-racist struggle and the anti-capitalist struggle. The colonialism that created racism is a project of patriarchy par excellence and at the same time the development of capitalism cannot be explained without colonialist slavery. Capitalism and colonialism are the other faces of patriarchy that found in the nation-state the administrative structure to provide protection to private property and to erase the existence of indigenous peoples. A little jokingly and a little seriously we can pose an activism test: if you fight against patriarchal but not anti-capitalist or anti-colonial, you are Hillary Clinton and you want to live in Barbieland; If you fight anti-capitalist but not anti-patriarchal or anti-racist, you are Che Guevara or some leftist macho like those who maintain that the mother of all struggles, and the most important, is the class struggle; If you do anti-racist struggle and anti-capitalist struggle but you do not do anti-patriarchal struggle, you are Boaventura de Sousa Santos, the Portuguese academic now accused of various forms of violence by indigenous women and former students.
Believing that it is enough to take the head of state to at least begin to dismantle patriarchy reinforces its tools and the nation-state is one of the most important tools of the patriarchal system. Perhaps what we have left is to be attentive to seeing and denouncing the violence that this system exerts on a woman who has decided to embody and strengthen the State when she tries to disobey or reform it outside of what the system allows. Meanwhile, we must continue thinking, building and imagining other urgent alternatives to confront the ecological apocalypse which, by the way, like the great systems of oppression, does not respect state borders of any kind. As women who are resisting all systems of oppression have said: think global and act local. Barbieland is not our utopia.
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits