Re: Frontline on Tianamen [2 posts]

Julia Stein (
Mon, 10 Jun 1996 16:49:05 -0400


I'm totally conscious, of course, that it is not at all clear, yet, who
may or may not have "won" in Russia or Eastern Europe and that, while the
student movement did force an end to the war in Indochina and had several
other impacts (leading not so much to the sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll
>bandied about here of late as, say, the increased participation of
>women in positions of economic and political power),
>Ron Silliman

I don't think that the results of the 1960s were to make for "increased
participation of women in positions of economic and political power." Yes,
bourgeois women did make significant breakthroughs as a result of a
(bourgeois) women's movement but working class women, by and large, did
not.Take a look at the current issue of the Village Voice's article "Notes
of a Barnard protester"
for examination of class contradictions among women. 165 black and Latino
clerical and dormitory workers are striking against a feminist institution.
Barnard, that hotbed of feminism, is trying to take away health benefits
from its women workers who have gotten precious little support from women
students at Barnard. Barnard charges its students $27,000-- more in fees
and tuition than--than the average salary of its clerical and dormitory
workers which is $24,000. Barnard's women workers are often the sole
supports of their families.

I think what led to this situation was (bourgeois) feminists leaving the
late 1960s protest movements to organize separately; (bourgeois) feminists
junked the economic demands of the 1960s to improve the lot of poor people
and stressed an agenda only relevant to (bourgeois) feminists. Why do left
men like Todd Gitlin in his book The Sixties forever applaud feminists
leaving the male left is beyond me. In other countries like France and
Swedan feminists stayed and organized within male movements and got a lot
more benefits to ALL women than the U.S. In Los Angeles we have 100,000
women working in a garment industry which is a sweatshop industry. They
have NOT benefited from feminism or from the 1960s.Also ask the New York
garment workers toiling in Cathy Lee Gifford's sweatshops how much they
benefited from feminism.

By the way, the grandmother supported her family by working in a garment
factory and my mother supported her family by clerical work.

Julia Stein


I saw Ron Silliman's posting on this last week but didn't have an opportunity to
see the film until last night. Agree that there a sixties resonances. I am
writing only to point out that PBS has a good website on this:

for those who wish to explore further.

Jeff Apfel