For those feminists and allies involved in the year-long defense of the Georgia Green Party for its gender critical feminist positions (endorsement of the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights and FIST’s Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act), the overwhelming vote by the National Committee of the Green Party to revoke the accreditation of Georgia (119 yes, 17 no and 6 abstentions) was extremely disheartening.
So were the undemocratic, even Orwellian, tactics used against Georgia and its supporters: guilt by association and constant smears and name-calling (“Bigots”, “fascists”, “transphobes”, “transmisic”, “supporters of the Proud Boys, etc.) directed at life-long socialists, peace activists, union leaders, and Greens who raised even the slightest questions or mild disagreement with gender identity ideology. This created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, making others afraid to speak out. There was also a complete refusal to follow democratic process: the Georgia Party was deprived of the ability to properly defend itself, cross-examine witnesses, or present evidence to the Accreditations Committee, which was stacked with members and supporters of the Lavender Caucus, the complainant in the case. The Secretary of the Georgia Party was even excluded from the Zoom hearing room when the LC provided testimony against Georgia. Members of the National Committee that took Georgia’s side were silenced by biased moderators or removed from the NC before the vote.
But there was also great courage and fortitude shown by defenders of Georgia, who met weekly on Zoom in what we called our “war room” to collectively plan strategy. These include dozens of women and men who came out of the woodwork to contact us from all over the country. One example of such courage was the sole dissenter on the Accreditations Committee, won over during the course of the struggle. He wrote a scathing minority report which the AC attempted to suppress, though we were nonetheless able to get into NC hands. This brave individual was one of the people removed from his NC position, even though he had months left to serve out his term.
Georgia and its allies produced a voluminous amount of evidence and arguments in defense of gender critical feminist politics, including video-taped testimony from Hilla Kerner of Vancouver Rape Relief, Amparo Domingo from Women’s Human Rights Campaign, and by two trans-identified females who have been outspoken in opposition to child “transition.” This evidence was mostly ignored with the TRAs proclaiming “there is no debate.” The evidence can be found on the Dialogue Not Expulsion website. https://www.dialoguenotexpulsion.org/nlc-vs-ggp/pleadings.
How could this happen in a Party that claims support for grassroots democracy and feminism and seeks to create a just society? What does this mean for the future of “the Left”? And where do we go from here?
First, it should be recognized that gender identity ideology and the “cancel culture” that is imposing these misogynistic and individualistic ideas through authoritarian means, is not the product of a genuine independent radical or socialist left. Rather, it is thoroughly “establishment,” arising from a patriarchal neo-liberal capitalist order, into which the tiny weak Left has been unfortunately fully assimilated. This ideology has been promoted by the corporate-run Democratic Party, including by the Biden Administration (who is fine with killing the ERA while instituting gender identity nationally through his executive orders), and by private corporations, state legislatures, the courts, and even the Pentagon.
This form of “identity politics” on steroids, branded by corporate trainers as “diversity, equity and inclusion,” keeps people divided and focused on etiquette, language, tokenism, and on constructing individual and small group identities at no cost to the system. Not only does it ignore sex-based oppression now overridden by “gender identity,” it does virtually nothing for Black people, people with disabilities, immigrants, lesbians, or gay men (also defined out of existence) or other truly disadvantaged and oppressed groups nor for working people as a whole, facing increasing levels of impoverishment and homelessness. It is both a highly profitable endeavor (keeping women down and making profits for Big Pharma) and a fraudulent substitute for grassroots organizing and mass struggle like the ones that won women the vote, dismantled Jim Crow, and legalized abortion, movements capable of presenting real challenges to political structures of oppression and creating genuine systemic change.
Second, we are living through a period of deep backlash against the gains of Second and even First Wave Feminism. The existence of a Third or Fourth Wave is a myth. Instead, what has been called feminist waves is mostly backlash, and at best, no more than a small ripple. That backlash in the U.S. has two faces – that of the female and lesbian and gay erasure of the transgender “movement;” and the attacks on abortion rights and lesbian and gay rights coming from the Christian Right. Both faces pose extreme dangers to our sex. In the late 1960’s, Robin Morgan wrote an essay, “Goodbye to all that” about the sexism of the Left of that time. But the rise of the Second Wave changed that dynamic, made the Left, though imperfectly, a far friendlier place for feminism. Sadly, that has changed once again as a result of this backlash as can be seen in the U.S. Green Party.
Third, we need to create a gender critical pro-feminist Left, that can become a political home for those betrayed by the two corporate parties and now the leadership of the Green Party. Veterans of the Georgia Green Party struggle are already moving in that direction with the formation of the Green Alliance for Sex-Based Rights (GASBR), under a majority female/feminist leadership. There can be no Left worthy of the name, one that can effectively fight against war, for housing and healthcare, to end poverty, or to save the environment from the unfolding disaster of global warming, except under the leadership of conscious feminist women.
Finally, and most importantly, we must build our independent women’s liberation movement. Feminists in Struggle is part of that effort as are other groups such as the Women’s Human Rights Campaign. Our job, in a nutshell, is to turn this feminist ripple into a real wave for our sex.