Occasional Paper 3: Hidden from Herstory: Women, Feminism and the New Global Solidarity
Publication Author:Peter Waterman
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There remains a need for identifying the various possible fields for specialised research, and rubrics for possible overviews. We also need theoretically-informed studies of cases, types, forms and axes of international solidarity with and between women. The absence of systematic strategic or policy discussion on feminist internationalism is a further problem.
Recognition of the specificities of international solidarity between women could make its own contribution to an understanding of a new global solidarity of people and peoples more generally.
Peter Waterman teaches on alternative social movements, international relations and communications within the new M.A. Programme on the Politics of Alternative Development Strategies at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. Since 1984 he has been researching alternative international relations and communications, with special reference to the Third World and labour (the Demintercom Project).
He has produced numerous papers, journalistic articles, several self-published low-cost collections, bibliographies, etc. The academic papers, many of which have been published elsewhere in more permanent form, have mostly first appeared as ISS 'Working Papers' (Nos. 21, 28, 32, 37, 39, 42, 61, 76, 97, 110, 129). He is working on a book provisionally entitled 'From Labour Internationalism to Global Solidarity'.
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1. Introduction: the very model of a new internationalism?
2. Missing links
2.1. Hidden from herstory
2.2. A women's movement activity without a feminist theory
3. Suitable cases for treatment
3.1. The questions solidarity poses
3.2. South v. North; movements v. institutions; virtue v. evil
3.3. Beyond dichotomies: internationalism in and around Latin America
4. The literatures around internationalism
4.1. Overview: subjects, actors, areas, debates
4.2. Review: some women of North and South, unite!
Women workers of some lands, unite!
Middle-class feminists of some lands, unite!
All women of all lands, unite?
5. Research needs
5.1. Tools, compasses and softer devices
5.2. Locally-specific analyses
5.3. Declarations of strategy, forms of organisation
5.4. Popularisation and mobilisation
6. Conclusion: from women's internationalism to global solidarity
1. Introduction: the very model of a new internationalism
The development of this paper from a simple bibliographical note provides a case study in the difficult relations between female feminists and (pro-)feminist men. This story is too long, complex, painful (and funny) to be told here. The fact that the paper did develop owes much to two feminist friends, activists and thinkers: Gina Vargas, of the Flora Tristan Women's Centre in Peru, and Marieme Helie-Lucas, from Algeria, who coordinates a network on Women Living Under Muslim Laws. Both reacted warmly to earlier drafts. They circulated these to their own networks. They invited me to contribute to feminist workshops. As a result of such efforts, an earlier draft of this paper is to be published in Spanish (Waterman Forthcoming) and possibly in Portuguese. Thanks are also due to the participants in an informal workshop on the theme held at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, April 1992. These included Gina and Marieme, Ewa Charkiewicz (Poland), Nira Yuval-Davis (Israel / UK), Sylvia Borren (New Zealand / Netherlands), Anissa Helie (Algeria / France), Loes Keysers (Netherlands) and Helma Lutz (Germany / Netherlands). They seem to me to represent some kind of 'feminism without frontiers' - a view of this world and an alternative one, developed by and for women but also addressed and available to the other 49 percent of us. I below make considerable use of one or two contributions to the workshop. Without the encouragement, warmth and humour of these 'companeras' I would have continued to feel like Sandra Harding's Lurking Monster: A kind of monster lurks in the logic of white feminist discourses: he is a white, economically privileged, Western, heterosexual man - and he is a feminist too. (Harding 1991 a: 278).
The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between the women's movement - the 'prototypical' new social movement - and international solidarity. The exercise will be tentative because of the relative scarcity of contemporary case studies and the virtual absence of theorising on the subject. This paper is the draft of the last but-one chapter of a book I am writing under the working title, 'From Labour Internationalism to Global Solidarity'. I hope to complete the manuscript by the end of 1992. Earlier chapters direct themselves primarily to labour and socialist internationalism - to considering the old internationalism in a new light. In so far as the contemporary 'international women's movement' (the meaning of which is itself problematic) is a new type of movement and has developed separately from, or in opposition to, the labour and socialist ones (which is also questionable), it provides original inputs into an understanding of a new, pluralistic and multi-faceted 'global solidarity'. As we will see, this paper moves us in such a direction. The last chapter of my planned book will, therefore, attempt to generalise from this particular experience to the possible meaning of 'global solidarity' more generally. It will be exploratory in the sense of seeking within the activity, and within other relevant theory, lessons for a new kind of international solidarity more generally. Whether or not the women's movement is considered the prototypical NSM, it has a rich experience of international solidarity, and it is the richest source of contemporary emancipatory social theory.
The relative absence of writing on international solidarity between women provides a stimulus to the form of this paper; that of presenting it as a research problem. I will below consider in turn: the relationship between feminism and internationalism (Part 2); case studies revealing the problematic relationships both between women internationally and between feminism and internationalism (Part 3); the growing literatures around, if not always directly on, such topics (Part 4); various research needs (Part 5). The conclusion considers the contribution that an understanding of women's movement internationalism can make to an understanding of a new kind of global solidarity more generally (Part 6).
2. Missing links
2.1. Hidden from herstory
There is a long history, and a rich and varied contemporary experience, of international relations and solidarity in the women's movement. This is evoked for me by the name Flora Tristan. The historical figure was a declassed French-Peruvian aristocrat, social outcast and cosmopolitan, a socialist, feminist and internationalist. She identified herself with men and women workers of France, the poor of London and of early C19th Peru (Mies 1983 b, Dijkstra 1992). The contemporary organisation that bears her name is a Peruvian women's centre, set up on a voluntary basis by socialist feminists during the UN Women's Decade. This is materially supported by Dutch funding agencies, politically and morally by feminist academics and activists from the First World, deeply involved in Latin-American feminist and women's networking (which took off, significantly, not in Latin America but in Copenhagen, 1980) and in the international women's movement more generally (Vargas 'passim'). The problems of feminist internationalism may be evoked by the same two Floras: for one (if not the) dominant image of internationalism between women is still that of the relationship between middle-class progressive or feminist women of the First World and of the poor and oppressed women of the Third (Mies 1986, 1989).
It is difficult, if not impossible, to think of either historical or contemporary national women's movements in isolation from each other. Indeed, it is my impression that the contemporary experience of feminist and women's internationalism is richer, more complex and varied than that of the contemporary labour movement. This may be, firstly, due to the lack of a perceived threat by the international women's movement to the commanding heights of capital or state: this has provided a relatively benign atmosphere for the development of the movement internationally (even if it may meet the utmost hostility or difficulty under authoritarian regimes of right and left). Considering the second wave of the feminist movement in Latin America, Francesca Miller (1991: 192 ) supports the first of these arguments, but also reveals how even authoritarian regimes have allowed space for the development of feminist movements. However, the liberal capitalist states have also been prepared to stimulate ecological and human-rights conferences and movements, and the Western trade-unions and their internationals have benefited greatly from state funding (usually from the same 'development aid' as has funded many women's and feminist projects in the Third World). It may be, secondly, due to the coincidence of the new feminist movement with the move from industrial to information capitalism, this having both provoked and facilitated international awareness and linkages. This, however, is surely true of the labour and other social movements also. It may be, thirdly, that the very novelty and energy of the feminist movement - and the absence of any feminist equivalent to the bureaucratic international socialist or union organisations - that has provided space for a new wave. And that the sensitivity of the women's movement to the multiple levels and forms of domination has promoted the exploration of new forms and contents for international contacts (Boulding 1975, Bernard 1987). These movements may, in any case, be all the more effective in the long term for their operation at the margins, or in the interstices, of overt economic or political power concentrations and conflicts internationally. It may be, finally, due precisely to the global address of the contemporary feminist movement. By 'global' here, I mean not simply worldwide but 'holistic' (Bunch 1987 b: 301-5, 334, 339). Women's movements are evidently rooted in territorial places - communal, national, regional. And they just as evidently address themselves primarily to the region of gender relations. But, as is evident from the international declarations referred to below, it is common cross-national or global problems that are in the forefront of their attention. And the inter-relation of women's emancipation and other emancipatory struggles is customarily made explicit. It is, again, Francisca Miller who reveals the intimate interconnections of both waves of Latin-American feminism to much broader political issues. This is true of the predominantly liberal feminism of the earlier period and the predominantly socialist one of the present (Miller 1990, 1991).
2.2. A women's movement activity without a feminist theory
Given the above, why does there not seem to be even one theoretical book or article about women and international solidarity, nor one theoretically informed history of this? Even international surveys and articles with titles like 'Sisterhood is Global' or 'Planetary Feminism' (Morgan 1984 a, b, Papandreou 1988, Schreiner 1988) either assume a shared identity and common response or fail to problematise the relationship between the sisters globally. This is precisely identified and convincingly criticised in the process of a friendly review of the Morgan anthology by Chandra Mohanty (1992: 83-4). She says: 'Universal sisterhood, defined as the transcendence of the 'male' world ... ends up being a middle-class, psychologised notion which effectively erases material and ideological power differences within and among groups of women, especially between First and Third World (and, paradoxically, removes us all as actors from history and politics). It is in this erasure of difference as inequality and dependence that the privilege of Morgan's political 'location' [in New York City] might be visible. Ultimately in this reductive utopian vision, men 'participate' in politics while women can only hope to 'transcend' them. It should additionally be pointed out that Morgan's claim to present an anthology on 'The International Women's Movement' is actually a collection on 'national' women's movements, with little reference to any international organisations, activities or ideas - apart from an item on women in the UN (Hedevary 1985) and her own asserted transcendental ethic. The same is generally - though not entirely - true of special issues of journals on the topic. (Feminist 1980, Lova 1986, Quest 1978 a, Woman of Power 1987, Women's Studies International Forum 1991). Even the documents of - and most papers on - international feminist conferences do not do this (see First Women's Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe 1990, Isis International 1990 a, Mujer/Fempress 1991, South Asian Feminist Declaration 1991, Sternbach et.al. 1992, Vargas et. al. 1991). One exception to the rule is the chapter on the period 1974-90 of Miller (1992), which includes 'international feminism' in its title. Another is the conference report and reflections of Keysers and Smith (1991). Both will be returned to below.
How is this possible in a movement otherwise so sensitive to history, theory and strategy? It seems to me that it may be because there is no established liberal or socialist discourse here that would stimulate or provoke a feminist reaction. It may also be because of the incorporation/subordination of 'internationalism' by or into other theoretical/ideological discourses - such as those on Dependency, Development, International Relations, Race, Class and Culture (see Goetz 1991, Grant and Newland 1991, Mohanty 1991 a, b, 1992, Newland' 1991). Possibly - and more positively - it may again be because the new movements see their problems much more in global than in international terms.
Yet we know of numerous tensions between feminists 'internationally: a contemporary Flora Tristan might be met on landing in the Third World with denunciation as a White Western Middle-Class Bourgeois Liberal Feminist. We know of many problems in creating solidarity between women across significant borders or boundaries, such as Western ones 'benefiting' from cheap goods produced by Third World ones (Mies 1986, 1989). Or Third World feminists 'failing to show solidarity' with their Black sisters from the First World (Hooks 1986 or 1991). Or of guilt-ridden, leftwing, First World feminists who see the racist mote in the eye of the First World, whilst missing the racist beam in that of the Third (Helie-Lucas 1991 or Makelem 1990). We know of missing links in the internationalist chain: the West-East one has been weak (Mamanova 1988), the East-South one is possibly non-existent. Attempts to deal with these in dichotomous terms (particularly North: South, Black: White, or even Male: Female) are increasingly recognised to be part of the problem rather than of the solution. But direct address to alternative principles and strategies of international relations are still rare.
There are here fundamental issues requiring attention. What exactly do we mean by 'the international women's movement': personal empowerment on a world scale? global networking? international organisations? a global culture? Or all of these, in eclectic and universalistic embrace (Bernard 1987). What is the relationship between the international feminist movement (whatever that means) and such an international women's movement? What is the class or ethnic relationship between women's movements internationally - if we are to avoid simple centre-periphery or dominator-dominated models (see Bulbeck 1988, Joseph and Lewis 1981, Mies 1986, 1989, Mitter 1986)?
3. Suitable cases for treatment
There are numerous paradoxes of international relations between women and women's movements that need to be understood before they become problems, and then mutually-destructive disputes. I will consider two or three problematic cases, areas or axes here, without necessarily pretending to have solutions to them.
3.1. The questions solidarity poses
Let us consider the significance of Western capitalist state funding for women's - and even socialist-feminist - projects in the Third World. What happens to 'the gender approach', to 'empowerment' and 'autonomy' when they not only become part of First-World state development strategies but even some kind of 'progressive conditionality' on the basis of which - for example - Dutch state or non-governmental organisation (NGO) aid may be granted to backward' Latin American or African states or NGOs? If it is suggested that we here have a process by which Western feminists, and even their Third World counterparts, are successfully pressurising the North American or West European governments to recognise Third World women's interests, what model of representation is operating here, what theory explains this practice, what ethic informs it? How does the concept and practice of the 'pressure group' (from liberal pluralist theory and practice) relate to that of the emancipatory social movement? Should feminists even associate themselves with the Western, racist, capitalist and patriarchal discourse and practice of development, a discourse that excludes emancipation and subordinates democratisation (Lumis 1991).
Some of the problems are revealed, but not again discussed, in an article by Kathleen Staudt, who has written widely on women, feminism, development aid, and aid bureaucracies (1985, 1987, 1990). Her 1987 article is on a women's centre in the 'maquiladora' zone of Mexico, the cheap-labour export-processing area on the border with the US. Staudt's study suggests contradictions between 'reformist' and 'radical' elements in its programme. She employs an evolutionary empowerment model, rising from the personal level through networking to an organisational one. Questions not raised in her paper, nor in the whole collection of which it forms part, are the following. How, in terms of feminism or women's solidarity, can we understand the US Inter-American Foundation's role in funding such an evaluation (if not the project itself)? How, in the same terms, are we to understand the relationship of the US feminist researcher to the Mexican (feminist? women's?) project, its organisers and its beneficiaries? Even if one accepts Staudt's empowerment model (new social movement theorists consider the network a 'higher' form than the organisation), what are the implications for feminist solidarity of such a North-to-South movement of concepts or models? And their specific institutional or academic channelling?
Supposing that one accepts that government ministries and state-funded development agencies do provide a 'traditional space' (c.f. Vargas 1991 a on the women's movement in Peru) for feminists to contest, by what token can it be demonstrated that they are taming the white, male, capitalist, imperial or bureaucratic tiger, and not just being taken for a ride? Should it not be a requirement of feminist (or union) activity within aid that 'aid' be interpreted within a 'solidarity' discourse, instead of the latter being assumed inherent to the former? And that the struggle should be seen primarily as one of replacing the institutions and procedures of aid (tax-funded, government-controlled, state-administered or supervised, top-down, on a donor/recipient model) by those of solidarity (publicly-contributed, publicly and democratically-controlled, movement supervised, on the horizontal axis and an inter-active model)?
In so far as one is involved in a dialogue with development politicians or administrators (or those major national and international agencies tagged by Graham Hancock 1991 the 'Lords of Poverty') should this not be in function of an autonomous international solidarity network of feminists and women (otherwise 'donors' and 'recipients')? How, in a minimally more technical or specialised sense, would we distinguish (or oppose?) 'bad' government aid and 'good' government aid (for a 'good' social-democratic aid agency in Latin America, see Evers 1982). Material on the basis of which such questions could be raised does exist, although little of it raises these questions (Ford-Smith 1990, Himmelstrand 1990, Jensen 1990, Kardam 1990, Ministry of Development Cooperation 1991, Moser 1991, Vrouwenberaad 1989, Wieringa 1990, Yudelman 1990).
One is here also involved in often considerable flows of cash, from quite specific sources to quite specific projects, organisations and individuals (and not to others). Shouldn't this aspect of the relationship - at once the most material and the least visible - receive more than the passing mention, the occasional footnote? Particularly where a sometimes considerable proportion of the 'aid to Third World women' is actually paying for First World institutes and consultancies, researchers and consultants, at First World rates? I am evidently not proposing that we limit our understanding of the international relationship on the North-South axis to 'the foreign hand' (as do Gandhi and Shah 1991: 303-7), but that it should be treated openly and frankly, according to feminist principle (as attempted by Gandhi and Shah and by Ford-Smith). Treatment of this potentially explosive/destructive issue should not be left to the Thirdworldist or fundamentalist left (Karat 1984, Petras 1990: 2148), nor to the rightwing or muckraking journalists (Eppink and v. Straaten 1991 a, b). Yet they seem to be the only ones who actually present figures or make criticism of the cash nexus. Refusing to face this issue would seem to indicate the guilt and dependency inevitably associated with development and aid; confronting it would seem to suggest the mutual responsibility associated with solidarity.
In so far, finally, as many feminist academics, professionals and organisers are simultaneously engaged in and committed to both 'development' and 'autonomy', I do feel there is an obligation to confront the increasing criticism not simply on the political but also on the professional and personal levels. Susan George puts the issue squarely: [I]n one crucial respect, people working in the field of 'development' are wholly disqualified from claiming 'professional' status. Unlike other, genuine, professionals, they are accountable to no one (except in the normal hierarchical way). If they make a mess of a development project, they will not be there to see it and they can walk away from their victims, towards the next disaster. In the realm of their professional conduct, they are not even accountable to themselves or to their fellow members of the corporation because they are not held to any particular ethical norms [...] In the development domain, no universally accepted measures, no acknowledged methods exist for distinguishing fact from dogma, truth from falsehood, success from failure, myth from reality. As a consequence, the practice of these 'professionals' can proceed forever with no reality check ever intervening. The fact that most of them, and the agencies they work for, are totally beyond the reach of any sort of political accountability as well only serves to make matters worse. (George 1992: 168-9). What such a criticism would seem to imply, if it is to be taken on board by those involved in development and aid projects at either end of the international relationship, is not simply a sense of responsibility and a practice of openness. It also suggests the necessity for discrimination between particular projects and practices, and the public pronouncement and personal assumption of a feminist ethic amongst development professionals.
3.2. South v. North, movements v. institutions, good v. evil
Related to, but distinct from, the above problem is that of the many contemporary women's movements that seem to operate both inside and outside international agencies and to see international solidarity solely or primarily as a North/South issue. One of them is on health and reproductive rights and it has given rise to one of the few serious reflections on what it itself calls 'global solidarity' (Keysers and Smyth 1991. C.f. Mies 1992, Reinalda and Verhaaren 1989: 279-82, UBINIG 1992).
The report is primarily on the 6th International Women and Health Meeting, Manila, 1990, attended by some 500 women from 60 countries. But it also gives an overview of previous conferences, starting with a first one in Europe, 1977. It mentions a movement away from 'individual choice' in matters of contraception, etc, to questions of community-level health needs, and to recognition of the necessity for global organisation and action against the powerful national and international population control and health institutions. This movement has been accompanied over time by criticism of Eurocentric discourse within the movement, and insistence that a variety of Third World experiences and voices be heard.
The Manila meeting was concerned precisely with the creation of global solidarity for women's health and reproductive rights. An opening address linked issues of women's health with global economic crisis, militarisation, violence against women, and international population-control policies. Two planned workshops, on 'Redefining Global Solidarity' and maintaining 'Feminist Integrity in Mainstream Organisations' were merged, leading to intensive and animated exchanges on research, funding, communication, organisational networking, campaigns, as well as on such issues as co-optation, institutionalisation, radicalism versus reformism, racism and classism. Women from the Third World raised their concerns over the existing unequal distribution of resources (information and funds) between them and their sisters in the North. Information should not only be disseminated from the established institutes but there should also be an active sharing of experiences, strategies, ideas, etc. amongst all women in the health networks, implying that also South-South and South-North communication should be facilitated. (Keysers and Smyth 1991: 28) Both the Third World organisations and their funders expressed a desire to 'attain a more empowering funding relationship' (ibid).
Despite this apparently rather advanced agenda, Loes Keysers and Inez Smith identify the operation of both explicit and implicit dichotomies during the meeting. The explicit one was between the international institutions (World Bank, Population Council, International Planned Parenthood Federation) and the grassroots organisations. This is, however, underlaid by 'a more elaborate dichotomy', which, 'for the very fact of remaining unspoken, is highly dangerous' (ibid). They present this diagrammatically as follows:
Institutionalisation Grassroots work
In terms of power:
Keysers and Smyth recognise the real-world origins of such a dichotomy in the North/South divide, the death of the early myth of global sisterhood, and in the appropriation of feminist language and concerns by powerful rightwing institutions. At the same time, however, they see it as simplistic, since it implies that institutions are unproblematically evil and the grassroots unproblematically good. And also because it 'carries a heavy burden of personal, individualised accusations and distrust' (29) against feminists working within the institutions.
The authors consider it necessary, with respect to the institutions, to distinguish incorporation from meaningful access, and, with respect to the grassroots, to recognise the danger of self-isolation. They conclude here that it is important to realise that the two sides of the dichotomy raise problems and questions which have much in common: the danger of marginalisation on the part of the grassroots groups is mirrored by the risk of cooption on the other. The scarcity of resources and the financial vulnerability... of the grassroots groups, has echoes in the question of accountability which work within 'mainstream' institutions raises. The problems of efficiency and efficacy experienced by grassroots organisations appear as a carbon copy of those which, on the other side, emerge from working in highly hierarchical and bureaucratic systems. (ibid). They propose, as antidote to the common problems, and the asserted or implied dichotomies, the possibility and necessity of cooperation: [M]uch can be done to prevent the marginalisation of grassroots organisations by the transmission of information from those located in the agencies/organisations in which such information is produced or simply available. Those working in powerful institutions, on the other hand, would find guidance in the thorny question of accountability if grassroots groups made them answerable to them. (30) The mirrors, echoes and carbon copies here, it should be pointed out, are only so from a 'feminist point of view'. They assume, in other words, that there 'are' feminists, or a feminist movement, in the institutions as well as in the grassroots organisations. If, and to the extent, that this is established, the injunction above follows. I do not wish to add more, particularly since the implications of the argument are spelled out elsewhere below. I would only like to say that the positions taken here imply a much more complex and difficult world of solidarity activity, but also one that is infinitely richer. It suggests multiple places, spaces and levels of solidarity work, with these essentially interdependent on each other. It is also subversive of the deeply-rooted dichotomising of 'reform within' and 'radicalism beyond' in national and international movements, suggesting that today each is a condition for the existence of the other. Maybe they always have been but this has been obscured by past civil and uncivil war between and amongst Politically Correct progressives, blind to the advantage they were giving to the reactionary and conservative right.
3.3. Beyond dichotomies: internationalism in and around Latin America
To get beyond the North-South axis, which dominates such discourse as there is on international solidarity within the women's movement, we can look at one 'regional internationalism' in the South. In Latin America there is now a rather developed feminist movement (Safa 1990, Vargas 1992 and the bibliography below). There is also possibly the most intensive and extensive feminist regional internationalism, and one which has apparently developed in a fruitful dialectic with a more general one. This does not mean that Latin America has escaped such debates as those suggested above. But that a longer history of informal and formal relations has allowed a working through and, possibly, a working beyond such dichotomies. For the earlier period, I will limit myself to a couple of points and a couple of comments.
Francesca Miller (1990) is primarily concerned with the participation of Latin-American feminists in intra-American conferences, themselves attached to the International Conferences of American States (i.e. both North and South America). She argues as follows: [T]he transnational arena held a particular appeal for Latin American feminists. There are a number of reasons this was so. Within their national communities, they were disfranchised; and, as elsewhere, the national social and political arenas were characterised by androcracy. Moreover, Latin American female intellectuals were particularly alienated from politics as practised within their countries, excluded from leadership positions by the forces of opposition as well as by their governments. The inter-American arena in the first half of this century proved to be an important domain for feminist activity, one in which women activists from throughout the Americas pursued a number of the longstanding goals of international feminism. Two of the themes that emerge in the examination of women's concerns in this period are... legal and civil reform and the search for international peace. (Miller 1990:*) Women played an active role in the Latin- (later Pan) American Scientific Congresses which began in 1898. The women who attended these also played a significant role in a first international feminist congress. According to Reinalda and Verhaaren (1989: 103), this was not an international but a Latin-American congress, although it was attended by women from five European countries and the United States. This took place in Buenos Aires in 1910, was sponsored by liberal, labour and socialist organisations and took up a broad range of feminist and social reform issues. As the scientific congresses became politicised (i.e. diplomatic events), women felt the necessity to organise themselves separately. Eventually there was created an Inter-American Commission of Women within the International Conference of American States.
According to Miller (1990: 13-14), the participants in such conferences were neither diplomats nor spouses, nor were the Latin Americans simply endorsing something sponsored by North American feminists. Does Miller overstate her case? The account of Reinalda and Verhaaren (1989: 103-8) is somewhat more nuanced or complex, since it reveals the rather active role of the inter-state bodies, and certain individual male diplomats, to forward women's issues. This account also gives more space to the energetic pioneering activities of the US women's movements. The anti-imperialist Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Foster 1989) was heavily involved and influential. One of the conferences specifically attacked North-American imperialism. The Latin Americans also attacked their own governments: In this era, the women active at the international level had little tradition of identifying with the nation-state. To the contrary, they had historically articulated their position as other, within the home, the society, and the nation, and looked to the transnational arena as the space where they could find mutual support from one another and publicise their agenda. (19) The existence of the transnational arena, and of foreign feminism, obviously also made a contribution to the development of national ones. The veteran Colombian liberal feminist, Ofelia Uribe de Acosta, considers the holding of an International Feminist Congress in Bogota in 1930 to have been the beginning of the feminist movement in Colombia. In 1963, aged 63, she also wrote a history of Colombian feminism, inspired by a global perspective I hadn't had at the start. I read about Susan B. Anthony, about so many other women in other countries who had faced difficult situations... This delving into the history of other women, in other countries, during other times, gave me a lot more self-confidence... (Torres 1986) 1 can find no record of a 1930 congress in Bogota in the other literature. As for Anthony, she was a pioneering 19th century US feminist, active also internationally (Reinalda and Verhaaren 1989: 19, 23).
In so far as these women felt excluded from their national polities, we would seem to have a parallel to labour internationalism before labour was enfranchised, unions and parties recognised and incorporated into the nation-state. Miller, in any case, reveals in this period no such identification with states as were to appear during the second wave in the 1970s.
This second wave was actually preceded by initiatives of states, inter-state organisations, the Communist movement and Third-World movements. Given that these all related to nation-states or blocs of such, it may be not be so paradoxical that they actually collaborated, at different places and times, thus providing platforms for major conflicts in Third-World/First-World, nationalist/imperialist, socialist/capitalist, or revolutionary-women/bourgeois-feminist terms. These conflicts found most dramatic expression at the NGO Tribunal held at the International Women's Year Conference, Mexico City, 1975. Here the North American Betty Friedan was taken to represent (or played the role of?) Northern Imperialist Middle-Class Feminist. And the Bolivian Domitila Barrios de Chungara was taken to represent (or played the role of?) Southern Nationalist Revolutionary Proletarian Woman (Greer 1986, Miller 1992:199-202 and the bibliography below). Cuba, simultaneously Third-Worldist, nationalist and Communist, spearheaded state-socialist international women's initiatives, through the FMC (Federacion de Mujeres Cubanas/Federation of Cuban Women). Vilma Espin, revolutionary veteran, wife of Raul Castro and Central Committee member, has led the organisation almost as long as Fidel Castro has Cuba. She has also always avoided calling herself a feminist. The FMC, which has played a major role in raising women's issues and changing women's roles within Cuba, also saw itself as the vanguard of the Women's International Democratic Federation - the Communist front organisation for women. A statement by Castro at an FMC congress in 1980 reveals, in all its richness (or poverty), the nature and discourse of an internationalism of blocs as addressed to women: Our federation has undertaken a lot of important internationalist work in the Women's International Democratic Federation, and also in the United Nations, with IWY and the International Year of the Child... The FMC has earned a great deal of prestige internationally, in international bodies, in women's organisations in other countries - countries of both the socialist camp and the capitalist camp - liberation movement organisations and organisations of underdeveloped countries. I think that our federation has contributed enormously to the foreign policy of the revolution. (Cited Miller 1992: 213) Under the impact of the feminist movement, both the Cuban organisation and its relations with others in Latin America subsequently underwent a certain change. This is a rare and promising case, since it is usually the autonomous social movements that are drawn or pushed in the direction of the statist ones. In this case, the Cubans were possibly both drawn by the feminist wave and pushed by the increasing isolation and decline of world Communism. Unfortunately, however, the FMC (like the party of which it is a front organisation) seems to prefer to sink whilst flying the flag of revolutionary anti-imperialist womanhood than to tack to meet the post-Communist winds. At a Spanish-sponsored international forum on 'Women, Political Power and Development', Seville, September 1992, Vilma Espin was both marginalised by the sponsors and self-marginalised by her own archaic discourse. The Latin American feminists present revealed their pluralism and generosity of spirit in defending and even promoting her within the forum (Personal Communication). She may have appreciated the gesture, but it seems likely that it would be evaluated by the space it provided for Cuban Communist discourse on women, not as a model of behaviour to be learned from and emulated. Looking at the five Feminist Encounters that have taken place between 1981 and 1990 (Miller 1992, Sternbach et. al. 1992, Vargas 1992 a and the bibliography below), it seems to me that the feminist movement in Latin America has been able to reject such discourses whilst still addressing itself to the women's experiences they articulated. This may be because the major social source of the new wave of feminism was neither the traditional political / state elites nor the 'popular women's movement' organised by populist, socialist or Communist parties. They came largely from the same ranks as those involved in the first wave - educated middle-class women, often academics. Such people had access to the work of people like Friedan and Simone De Beauvoir, sometimes studied in Western Europe or the USA, sometimes been exiled there. Being, again, often from socialist backgrounds, they were also open to respect for and cooperation with poor urban or rural women. Developing this internationalism has been a far from painless process. But, along the way, Latin American feminism has not only demonstrated a remarkable pluralism, flexibility and tolerance. It has also earned the respect of Northern feminists: Latin American feminisms hold lessons for feminists in industrialised countries. We... could revitalise our own movements if we tapped the enormous creative energies embodied in our own 'movimientos de mujeres' (women's movements). The present vitality of Third World feminisms within the industrialised world is indicative of this potential. Regressive economic policies and rightwing governments in the 'First World' have also created conditions ripe for the mobilisation of poor and working-class women and women of colour... Just as North American or European feminism has provided crucial insights for the second wave of feminism in Latin America, perhaps now Latin American feminisms can enrich and inspire our own movements. (Sternbach et, al. 1992: 433-4). This is true in more senses than these authors reveal, since they concentrate on the Encounters, and then deal with these more as political than intellectual events. But Latin American feminism (either inside or outside the Encounters) has also produced theoretical and strategic documents of considerable originality and potency. These not only contribute to the enrichment of Northern feminisms. They also reveal an openness to other social movements, and thus potentially to other internationalisms: We are living in a time, not only in Latin America, characterised by the simultaneous emergence of new social subjects, multiple rationalities and identities, expressed in the social movements. This opens up more individual and collective possibilities for transforming social values. It also reflects the fact that experiences of oppression and subordination, and the resistance to them, are expressed in so many different ways that there cannot be one global explanation which encompasses all social conflicts. The acknowledgement of these multiple and diverse rationalities refutes the idea of an emancipatory process that articulates aspirations within one dynamic only and through an exclusive and privileged axis. (Vargas 1992 a: 196). In what may be the first attempt to conceptualise the Latin American feminist internationalism, Gina Vargas has sketched both its extent and limitations (Vargas 1992 b). She distinguishes the various streams, forms, themes and actors, suggests significant periods and identifies current problems. The streams are the feminist, the popular and that of women in the 'traditional-formal' spaces (parties, unions, federations). Of these, as suggested above, it is the feminist one that has been most involved in internationalism. The forms include networks of many kinds, themselves organising conferences and campaigns, keeping in touch through magazines, newsletters or e-mail (c.f. Miller 1992: 217-8, 225-7). Some of these networks extend across the Southern continents or are concerned with South-North dialogue. The themes include health and legal services, popular education, communication itself, and issues such as race, sexual option, ecology, etc. The actors, apart from the feminist activists, increasingly include women from different class, racial, party, labour, peasant and youth organisations.
The two periods distinguished by Vargas are those of the building and unfolding of the international movement (1980-87) and that of its expansion and enrichment (1987 on). The first period was marked by a Latin American version of global sisterhood which initially provided a collective identity but also suppressed differences. During the second period such differences have found public expression in the Encounters and other meetings. These differences include contradictions between and within distinct Latin-American regions (Central America, the Caribbean, South America). There are political tensions linked to nations / regions which have not yet been freely discussed: the failure of Peruvian feminists to take up an imaginative Ecuadorian proposal for de-nationalising a frontier dispute; the initial difficulties some Central American feminists had in condemning a Peruvian terrorist movement for assassinating the best-known popular feminist leader in Lima (they apparently considered it a revolutionary guerrilla movement of the Central American type).
The late arrival of the popular sectors in international relations reveals, or gives rise to, a series of problems. One is the existing domination of South-North international relations not simply by middle-class feminists but by those in the NGOs. These have long had 'a special relation with agencies, governments and women in the North'. And this relationship has, until recently, been questioned neither from within the NGOs nor from outside. Another is the patronising of the popular sectors by the middle-class feminists in Latin America. Yet another is a possible patronising of them by Northern aid agencies or solidarity committees: Support from governments and/or women in the North in this case has some vices: their proposals and demands are fundamentally inspired on ideological proposals... alien to the feminist proposal, and/or that feminism itself aims to surpass: populism and Marxism, generally in their less creative expressions (emphasis laid upon anti-imperialist postures more than on democratic ones). The relationship of women in the North, in the case of the [Latin-American] Domestic Workers' Union, has thrived a lot upon the basis of class (poor women versus petite-bourgeoisie), stemming from a guilty and only economic-minded solidarity on behalf of women in the North. (ibid). This need not always be the case, as is suggested by the activities of Mujer a Mujer/Woman to Woman.  What follows is extracted from a study of international labour computer communications (Waterman 1992: 40-44). Mujer a Mujer (MaM) is a feminist collective of women from Canada, the US, the Caribbean and Mexico, based in Mexico City itself. MaM began, around 1984, as an international solidarity project for women workers and seems to have either avoided or surpassed the traditional North-to-South aid/solidarity model. With Mexican and other Latina women growing in numbers in North America, with increasing numbers of US plants shifting there, and now with the Free Trade Area (FTA) confronting the peoples of all three (see Cavanagh et. al. 1992, Kamel 'passim', Moody and McGinn 1992), MaM appears to recognise that solidarity is a multi-directional as well as a multi-faceted matter.
MaM is involved with labour, community, women's, communication and computer groups in Mexico and North America. It was a major mover in the first Trinational Women's Conference on Free Trade and Economic Integration, held in Mexico, February 5-9, 1992. The activities of MaM reveal, furthermore, that labour networking is 1) not restricted to trade-union networking, and 2) that it can be a result, or even an integral part, of the work of a new social movement - in this case a feminist one.
An account of the Trinational Women's Conference, by a MaM activist and conference co-organiser, indicates the way this movement is broadening both beyond wage-labour and beyond the initial three countries involved: The world is changing so quickly that even as we met the notion of 'tri-national' links was beginning to appear outdated... Maquilas [cheap-labour assembly plants] have already taken root in countries like Guatemala and El Salvador. Our analysis and solidarity must begin to weave new connections. The focus on women's labour sometimes constrained our insights. While much path-breaking solidarity has been begun through union and other networks, we must not limit ourselves to those sectors. In Mexico, women within the 'urban poor movement' have begun to look at issues of free trade, where it comes from and how it will change their struggles. They have already identified the need to develop an international perspective and solidarity links. (Yanz 1992: 8. My stress - PW) MaM is primarily oriented toward working women, and it could therefore be understood to be interested only in international solidarity of or with women as workers. This is evidently not the case, since its newsletter, 'Correspondencia', shows that it takes up general feminist issues, such as those of reproductive rights, violence against women, lesbianism, the position of coloured and indigenous women. Unlike most international labour networks, this one is also theoretically minded. It presses for a gender perspective on all issues - such as the FTA. Some of the materials from the Trinational Conference, indeed, seem to suggest that, whilst the event presented women's demands, a feminist perspective was not yet sufficiently developed. Thus, the Canadian report concludes that: For the future, we have more work to do to strengthen our gender analysis. We need to be linking theory, research, education and action (ibid). MaM also introduces us to new ways of conceiving the 'mass', 'members', 'followers' or 'audience' addressed by the activists (whether these be workers or women), in so far as value is given to real-life diversity rather than an abstract unity: The concept of 'masses' gives way to the valuing of the diversity of unique 'identities'. Each new emerging 'social actor' ('sujeto historico') claims power in areas of experience damaged or buried by domination. Women, for example, bring the intimate and domestic worlds into public view and action. Indigenous peoples confront and offer alternatives to the spread of a racist and environmentally destructive monoculture. ('Correspondencia', August 1990: 2) Interestingly enough, MaM's activities have even raised major strategic issues on labour internationalism that have so far remained little-debated in the male-dominated organisations or fora - of right or left. At the Trinational Conference there was, thus, discussion on whether or not it made sense to demand that the Free Trade Area bring about an 'upward harmonisation' of working conditions and rights, given that it was premised precisely on the difference in costs, rights and conditions: We all spoke of the need for further research and exchange of information in order to be able to act strategically in this new world... There were those who emphasised 'upward harmonisation' as a goal for regional struggle. Others favoured demands which could be immediately achievable within the logic of the new system, in order to lay a solid foundation for future struggle. (Trinational Women's Conference 1992: 14) One does not have to have a specific position here to recognise the opportunities and dangers opened by both strategies, and therefore the importance of wide-ranging debate on the issue.
Within the activities of MaM, and the reflections on its conference, we can see connections both with Latin American feminist internationalism and with a new kind of labour internationalism. Within the experience of feminism in and from Latin America, we can see possible ways forward from the paralysing dichotomies bequeathed by the traditional politics of protest. This is not to set up Latin American feminist internationalism as a land promised to jaded or faded feminisms elsewhere. The only guarantee for its further creative development would seem to be a rigorous self-reflection (most of the present overviews are written by outsiders), as well as critical reflection on the good and bad experiences of Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.
4. The literatures around internationalism
Despite the lack of theory on international women's solidarity as such, there does exist a growing literature around the subject. It is possible to recognise that each of the books, articles or types of literature makes its individual contribution: together they would seem to me to provide a basis for more systematic discussion on feminism and internationalism.
There follows an attempt to group relevant literature types, followed by a more extended review.
4.1. Overview: subjects, actors, areas, debates
There has been some debate on 'women, feminism and international relations', largely limited by the parameters of international relations theory and by the failure to explicitly address the issue of solidarity (Grant and Newland 1991, Halliday 1991, Millenium 1988, Molyneux 1991, Runyon and Peterson 1991). On the other hand, Cynthia Enloe's book, on 'Making Feminist Sense of International Politics' (Enloe 1990, reviewed Bourne 1990, Hamilton 1990) starts from feminism, ignores academic international relations theory and suggests a whole new agenda for future analysis and struggle. She has chapters on tourism, nationalism, military bases, diplomacy, bananas, 'blue jeans and bankers' and domestic servants! These are not the subjects of conventional international relations textbooks of either right or left. Enloe wants to get away from the notion that women are either victims, passive, innocent or absent in international relations, revealing precisely how they are involved, where they are complicit, how they struggle and what this all implies. Along the way she reveals that 'international relations' is not a subject but a discourse (pale, male and somewhat frail). One would like to see her or someone else make its implicit conceptualisation explicit. And to spell out its implications for effective alternative strategies. There is a pioneering history of 'women's movements and international organisation', which (if translated out of Dutch!) could stimulate both debate and historical research internationally (Reinalda and Verhaaren 1989). This is 500 pages long, covers 1868 to 1986, pays full attention to the Communist and Third World and is extremely well organised.
Judging by its treatment of the contemporary international women's health issue (276-83) it also shows balance and insight. It has, moreover, a 20-page theoretical reflection at the end (376-95). This would seem to at least chalk out another agenda for theoretical discussion in so far as it covers: the women's movement as social movement, nationally and internationally; women's discontents; women's ideas on equality; women as subject and object of international relations. It also attempts to conceptualise the different waves of the international movement and the various phases of these waves. Despite the bias toward legal norms and formal organisations, this sketch represents something of a challenge. There are also regional histories or overviews, such as those on Latin America already mentioned. Even where the latter might not be primarily concerned with relations between the sisters internationally, they can provide sources for reflection on such. There has been much written on 'theoretical debates between academic feminists', usually on Black/White, First World/Third World differences. Some such authors seem to confuse or conflate their theoretical concerns with 'the international women's movement' as such. Bulbeck's book (1988) is a very useful survey and critique of debates amongst academic feminists internationally (covering global patriarchy, race and gender, imperialism and development, etc). It is entitled One World Women's Movement, but it begins by stating: This is not primarily a book about the position of women across the globe.
Rather it is an analysis of the debates between feminists in different cultures... (ix). The 'different cultures' (not the same as different nation-states) then turn out to be the now-familiar Northern and Southern, Black and White. However, she does directly address the question of the possible meaning - or possible future meaning - of what she, again, specifically calls not an international but a global feminism (147-54). She offers three possible models of such: 1) a homogenous movement united against men and patriarchy; 2) one that recognises the differences implied by race and imperialism but which prioritises the struggle against male domination; 3) and one that sees it as a constellation of localised movements, which movements engage now in a struggle for higher wages for all workers, now in a struggle for freedom from a political regime, now in a struggle for women's control of reproductive choice, and whose members are united by only one belief - that there are forms of oppression based on gender differences and that these must ultimately be addressed if women are to achieve satisfactory autonomy in society. (148) She favours the third one, recognises that no feminist has a programme for its realisation, and suggests that this may be in the nature of an orientation which implies that the movement is self-creating. Whilst I share this orientation, I would consider attempts to work out principles, strategies and programmes as a necessary and urgent part of such a self-creation. There is, I believe, only one book that seriously attempts to deal with the international women's movement in its ideological, communication and protest forms, as well as its institutional ones, and that recognises the multiplicity of its levels, places and spaces. This is by Jessie Bernard - who wrote it at the age of 84!. It is entitled 'The Female World From a Global Perspective'. Jessie Bernard's is a Western, liberal, universalising vision in both negative and positive senses (c.f. endnote 4). Negatively, there is its 19th century self-satisfaction and optimism about incremental progress, as also, perhaps, its understanding of the 'female world' descriptively and uncritically as a sociological entity, a de facto cultural structure - of laws, customs, mores, traditions, attitudes, beliefs - in which female infants are born and shaped. (Bernard 1987: viii) It nonetheless provides, in Part 3, the only existing attempt to overview and evaluate the international feminist movement, in terms of its meetings, communications and campaigns.
Moreover, she recognises the distinction between feminist and women's internationalism - that she is talking about the international relations of a small elite of women, who are literate, who are in a position to participate in international meetings.
Small in number as they may be, they are important far beyond their number because they supply the paradigms, the perspectives, the strategies, the policies, the visions for many less privileged women everywhere. They are by no means representative samples of their native lands. They probably have more in common with one another than they do with the non-literate women of their homelands. A woman judge from the United States, that is, is probably on more nearly the same wavelength as that of an African woman judge than that of a Chicana agricultural worker in the US Southwest. And the African judge, similarly, is probably more nearly like her US counterpart than she is like women in the bush at home. (125) Bernard does not assume that the 'Feminist Enlightenment' (Chapter 6) will necessarily 'result in global female solidarity' (xi). But it seems to me that her four Cs (conferences, communications, campaigns and culture) provide a useful framework for further investigation of, and discussion on, the subject. One would, again, like to see socialist, radical or ecofeminist treatments of the same areas of activity. Another way of thinking about the women's movement globally is in terms of where it is 'moving to'. Asoka Bandarage (1991) has written a pioneering essay 'In Search of a New World Order'. This relates to an increasing body of alternative world order literature by other feminists (Henderson 1983, Mische 1978). Bandarage attempts to synthesise socialist, feminist, ecological and spiritual criticism of our current world order. She also seeks to synthesise modern technology with ancient wisdom. But her way (or Way?) is primarily spiritual, both in content and tone: it represents an appeal to a latent sense of ethical responsibility and offers a new global ethic. Perhaps one has to be a spiritual person to respond to this kind of writing! A ‘non-spiritual' and problem-raising note on feminism and international ecological movements is that of Ewa Charkiewicz-Pluta (1992). A hard-edged work, with less global address, but also combining feminism, socialism, ecology and spiritualism is that of Mary Mellor (1992). Given the existence of such work, we can be sure that Bandarage has opened a vein which is likely to be energetically worked in coming years. Despite the crucial role of 'feminist academics in international networking' and in promoting women's internationalism more generally, little has been written directly about this.
Rosi Braidotti (1990, 1991, 1992) has produced some reflections on feminist academic internationalism in relation to the European Community. This is refreshing precisely because it has no interest in rehashing the theoretical debates. She recognises the traditional role of scholars in the creation of international webs of a 'high culture' at a time in when this is being undermined by a commercialised and universalised 'low' culture. She raises various questions about the role feminist academics might play in relationship to MacDonaldisation and Benetonisation. Rejecting high-culture nostalgia in face of the new media, she asks: why not market in a more convincing manner the products of 'high' culture: Why not use these technological tools to make 'high' culture into a worldwide phenomenon? Why can the university standards of knowledge not be used as guidelines for the future? Why should Madonna (the contemporary version thereof) be the heroine of our times; why not Simone de Beauvoir, Alexandra Kollontai, Rosa Luxemburg? (Braidotti 1990:115) Various, extensive, challenging answers to such questions are being offered by those interested in the democratisation of international culture and communication (Frederick 1992, Tehranian 1990, Waterman 1992). Braidotti also reflects on the possibility/necessity of feminist scholars acting effectively as world citizens. She plays here with the concepts of the Exile, the Nomad and the Migrant in the development of international feminism. Such concepts, as she recognises, are more than metaphors. The problem with Braidotti's piece is not so much that she plays with concepts but also with roles, in this one short piece adopting the pose or voice (or standpoint?) of Cosmopolitan Academic as well as Pop-Culture Pundit, of Academic Feminist as well as Feminist Academic. One nonetheless hopes her thoughts will be developed - and that they might serve as a model or stimulus for writing about other international feminist; subjects or actors. There is a growing feminist literature on 'coalition and alliance' which, even where not directly addressed to it, is of evident relevance to the development of global solidarity movements. This literature has emerged as a reaction against a theory and politics of 'difference' that often ends up in not so much recognising as essentialising and fetishing such (Mohanty 1992, Walby 1992, Yuval-Davis 1992 a,b). I will consider the argument of Alperin (1990). Alperin identifies three political models of diversity and consequent strategies of alliance: 1) the pluralist, or contemporary liberal one, implying the assimilation or coexistence of different interests or communities without social transformation; 2) the separatist one, of various Marxist, feminist and ethnic or nationalist movements, implying one primary structural repression, or source of all such, the ending of which provides the key to emancipation); 3) the interactive model, recognising: a) that there are multiple oppressions; b) that no single form can be considered a-priori determinant; c) that the oppressions interact in complex ways so as to reinforce one another; d) that the elimination of one oppression - even if considered determinant - would not necessarily eliminate the others. Each of these positions has implications for alliance. Alperin holds to the interactive position, which she sees as implying the following strategic principles: 1) the necessity for separate spaces and consciousness-raising (as the separatists propose); 2) an understanding of and action against other oppressions (that may otherwise be reproduced within, or accepted by, the particular group); 3) an understanding of and action on the interaction of specific oppressions in specific historical situations, in relationship to specific groups. Given, Alperin argues, the interlocking of different oppressions, alliances are necessary for mutual comprehension and effective struggle.
Moreover, in so far as theory cannot be divorced from practical activity, such alliances are necessary for a fuller and more liberating comprehension of society. It seems to me that Alperin's perspective is relevant to an understanding of relations both between and within the new internationalisms. An interactive model and strategy could, in fact, apply at every level or scale. Thus, it could be applied to 1) middle-class feminist internationalism on reproductive technologies, 2) relations between middleclass and poor women within this, 3) relations between this particular and other feminist international isms, 4) between feminist and non-feminist internationalisms.
4.2. Review: some women of North and South, unite!
What follows is extracted from a book review, later incorporated into a long review article (Waterman 1989). It is now time to pass from notes to some more substantial reflections. The longer review below offers, firstly, a full expression of certain issues and arguments presented briefly above, and, secondly, evidence of how feminists address (or fail to address) themselves both to labour internationalism and to internationalism more generally. Sylvia Walby (1992) has also jointly reviewed Mitter and Mies, recognising other strengths and limitations of these works.
1. Women workers of some lands, unite!
Swasti Mitter's book is on women in the changing global economy (Mitter 1986, reviewed Elson 1988). It is more of an analytical than a theoretical work, being clearly oriented to political action, and ending with a list of relevant women's networks in Europe. The book is concerned with the changing structure of employment worldwide, with the creation of a sub-proletariat of women workers, with the implications of this both in the Third World and in the First, and with the inter-relationships of class, gender and race in this whole new process. The last chapter is entitled 'Women Working Worldwide' (the name of a British-based solidarity group, see Shaw 1991). It summarises the argument of the book, shows how women wage-earners are responding to the situation organisationally, and considers possible strategies that could favour them. I will comment on this last chapter.
Stressing the implications of and for gender and race structures internationally, Mitter's analysis shows us a radically transformed working class, or a radically transformed image of the working class. Identifying with the casualised female, black and Third-World workers, she argues that these are increasingly fording themselves and each other internationally, and surpassing the limitations of a union movement dominated by males and whites. Her critical discussion of 'alternative left' strategies in Britain and Europe ends with an insistence on the contribution to be made by the women and black workers at the grassroots.
We have here, in other words, a socialist-feminist view on labour internationally and on labour internationalism. Even if one accepts, however, the notion of a polarised working class and the increasing importance of the peripheral workers, and agrees on the necessity of their specific internationalism, the evidence and interpretation of international organisation and strategy is thin and unconvincing. What it amounts to are some pathbreaking conferences and useful information networks, some critically-examined First-World strategies and some uncritically-praised Third-World models. The limited space devoted by the book to organisation and action itself restricts the attention given to internationalism. Nor is any relationship shown to either labour internationalism or women's internationalism more generally. Nor does Mitter's model allow for the (then-existing) Communist world, the existence of which might complicate her set of binary oppositions (male/female, core workers/peripheral workers, white/black, First World/Third World). What we do nonetheless see is a distinct subject and area of labour and women's internationalism, an implicit challenge to both of these to allow for this, an implicit requirement that this internationalism be examined more closely and theorised more rigorously.
2. Middle-class feminists of some lands, unite!
Maria Mies' book is also on women in the new international division of labour (Mies 1986, reviewed Judd 1989). It is a wide-ranging work of some theoretical complexity and originality. It conceptualises and analyses the contemporary world as shaped by 'capitalist patriarchy'. And it ends with a chapter entitled 'Towards a Feminist Perspective of a New Society' (205-35). Given the nature of the work, as well as the greater proportion of space allowed for consideration of strategy, it is interesting to see how this chapter compares with Mitter's. Mies refers to the international feminist movement as a 'truly anarchic-,' one (210). Her own contribution to its discussions seems itself to draw less from any post-Marxian socialism than from an anti-industrial anarchist or socialist utopianism, finding contemporary expression in the ecological movement.
Even those unable to accept Mies' particular paradigm of the world as solely or simply capitalist-patriarchal are likely to find her metaphor of colonising divisions (man/woman, human/nature, rationality/emotionality, white/black, etc.) powerful (210). As, also, her counter-principles, rejecting such destructive oppositions and proposing relations of equality, reciprocity, collectivity, autonomy and of the production of life as the purpose of life (218). She seems to me here to not only specify aspects of a new internationalism but to extend these back, down and in - to the national, inter-personal and personality level. The specification, further, of body-politics and consumption relations as priorities for internationalist activity significantly extends the traditional range and understanding of internationalism (227-8). Body-politics specifies the human-rights struggle in a form significant to women. A 'consumer liberation movement' gives a cutting edge to an existing consumer movement that often compromises with modernising capital or sophisticated state bureaucracies.
The most provocative and problematic of Mies' ideas is that of a middle-class feminist internationalism. Although I have myself elsewhere suggested that contemporary internationalism is largely a middle-class phenomenon, and that wage-earner internationalism is often initiated or articulated by academics and professionals (Waterman 1988), this is the first time I have found someone prepared to come out of the closet as a middle-class internationalist! Or does she? The attitudes, interests and demands are expressed as general, if not universal ones, are given priority, and are even presented as determinant for the Northern end of the North-South solidarity relationship.
This leads on to the question of the role of workers, or peasants - or, for that matter, prostitutes - in international solidarity activity. It seems to me that Mies' dismissal of the possibility of solidarity between workers North and South is actually dependent on orthodox Marxist categories and attitudes, if not arguments. She characterises this as the 'sphere of economics or economic struggles', which she sees as 'almost fully controlled by the international and sexual division of labour' (232). She says there is here no material base for solidarity. She does not even address her Western middle-class consumer's solidarity to Southern women factory workers, since the two are related internationally in a 'contradictory, even antagonistic way' (232). It seems to me that this argument accepts a capitalist concept of workers - sees workers as defined by and for capital. Only in liberal thought, surely, is the relationship between workers internationally seen as a zero-sum game in which higher wages for workers there mean a loss for workers/consumers here. And even if there are real difficulties in creating solidarity on wages/jobs issues (which, incidentally, are political issues), it is difficult to argue that improved women worker rights – including body-politics ones - there are at the expense of those here. It should, finally, be pointed out that whilst her argument against the possibility of women wage-worker internationalism is based on 'material' obstacles, her argument for the possibility of a consumer-producer internationalism is based on a somewhat iffy transcendence of such: if women are -'ready to transcend' the boundaries set by the international and sexual division of labour... if they accept the principles of a self-sufficient, more or less autarchic, economy; if they are ready... to replace export-oriented production by production for the needs of the people, then it will be possible to combine women's struggles at both ends of the globe... (232-3. Original emphasis) What of the peasants? The international relation she proposes is between a 'feminist-led' consumer liberation movement in the North and a 'women's' production liberation movement in the South. Without dismissing the possible value of such a relationship, it is clearly one of un-equals and un-alikes: on the one hand Northern / feminist / middle-class / consumers and on the other Southern / women / peasant / producers. And what of prostitutes? The examples of solidarity mentioned by Mies are either between Western and Southern middle-class feminists or between Western feminists and Southern 'working-class' prostitutes. Both types of action are original, necessary and admirable. But should not the aim be autonomous international solidarity between the prostitutes (c.f. Pheterson 1989 a, b, c)?
Mies' attitude towards technology (see also Roth and Mies 1983, Mies 1989), furthermore, is one that seems to me hard to sustain either in logic or in political action and personal behaviour: Computer technology... is destroying all productive human powers, all understanding of nature and, in particular, all capacity for sensual enjoyment. (218) Faced with the horrors of such new technologies in the hands of greedy, shortsighted and vicious men, the recourse to either anathema or Luddism is comprehensible. The problem, surely however, is not technology but, technocracy, the latter signifying both a social elite and an ideology. Without modern capitalist technology Mies would probably have never been in India. And the international women's networking she wishes to further could hardly exist. Electronic technology makes it possible (not necessary) for creative intellectual workers, such as she and me, to do our own household tasks without household servants or housewives, our own typing, proofreading, even printing and publishing, without consigning these manual tasks to a caste of routine workers. Mies' attitude here can be contrasted with that of philosopher Donna Haraway (1991) and novelist Marge Piercy (1980, 1991). Marge Piercy's feminist utopian novel (1981) combines electronics and genetic engineering (babies can be born in laboratories, men can choose to breast-feed) with Mies' own direct relationship to nature and each other. International struggles over the new technology, internationalist uses of the new technology, are ones the international women's movement is already fruitfully engaged in (Capek 1990, Cruz 1989, Kassel and Kaufman 1990). A final problem is with the limited area of Mies' internationalism. This runs only on the North-South axis. Although Mies makes frequent reference to, and powerful criticism of, the (then) Communist world, it is not theorised nor addressed politically/strategically. Hers is, like that of Mitter, another imperialism-fixated worldview.
I began this discussion by tentatively relating the feminism of Mies to anti-industrial anarchist utopianism. We could now add that it is also explicitly middle-class and Western. Again, this is a characterisation, not a castigation. Perhaps, as Mies implies for the international feminist movement, we need all these class, national, group, gender and ideological internationalisms before we can see what internationalism is. Perhaps we also require what Mies attempts to offer - a model of a future society based on a surpassing of the principles dominating present ones - to guide our present internationalist activities beyond urgent but short-term and often defensive needs. Speaking from such a position, in any case, she is able to see and say things about internationalism that have not been said before. If one feels that Mies over-generalises or universalises from this position, we are still confronted with the problem of how a worker, women's, prostitutes' or peasants' internationalism could be articulated without paternalistic rhetoric or charity. Or its maternalistic equivalent, for that matter.
Maria Mies seems not to have changed her position since writing that book. I believe that the dichotomies are to a large extent reproduced in her paper to an international woman and health conference, held in Bangladesh (Mies 1989). Here she sees international differences/divisions between women 'precisely expressed' in terms of 'metropoles and colonies' (34). In her view of international relations between women, the 'contradictory or even antagonistic relations' are apparently between poor women in the South and middle-class women in the North (36). Whilst she recognises Northern women as being manipulated and exploited by the same 'techno-patriarchal' and capitalist forces as those in the South, she considers that those in the North 'both well-to-do ones and also poorer ones', profit from 'the loot accumulated by white man'. She criticises the individualistic and technocratic attitudes to reproductive technologies predominant amongst Northern women, claiming that the 'other complete perspective is provided to us by the poor women in the South' (37). Mies believes that unity can nonetheless be forged by the joint struggles of North and South, city and countryside, middle and working class, and that it should be a reciprocal one, going from North to South and vice-versa. This appears, in sum, to be a largely Manichean world, in which contradictions are also structural and cumulative. It is for this reason, surely, that the 'complete perspective' is provided by the poor women in the South (accumulating the maximum negativity?). It seems to me that there may here also be a reproduction of the logic of traditional socialist and/or Thirdworldist internationalism, including a totalising contradiction (metropole/periphery), a privileged revolutionary subject (poor/Third World/women), a primary socio-geographical axis (North/South), plus revolutionary intellectuals (the enlightened middle-class women of North and South), representing the longterm interests of the masses concerned.
Another traditional element is the combination of economic determinism with political voluntarism. There are other problems. The international reciprocity proposed by Mies is, presumably between the enlightened middleclass women, since self-activity (nationally or internationally) of the poor women concerned is nowhere reported or proposed. However, Mies also fails to deal even implicitly with the structural position or the political role of these Southern middle-class women.
3. All women of all lands, unite?
In comparing these two pieces we have to first deal with the most obvious difference, that between a socialist-feminist working-class internationalism and an anarchist/ecofeminist middle-class one. Although Mitter makes no reference to Mies-type positions in her chapter, it is clear where she thinks priority should be placed, where the main libratory agent is to be found. And whilst Mies makes passing reference to wage-worker or union action, she is quite explicit in prioritising the middle class. We would seem to have to choose between Position A, Position B, Position A + B or, of course, Position X. It would be in the spirit of letting 100 internationalisms bloom to opt for A + B + (any future hypothetical) X. But one needs here a more specific and principled reason for one's option. My argument would begin, I think, with a rejection of the 'classism' explicit or implicit in both items. Mitter's women workers are evidently only partially or temporarily proletarianised. They also have been, are, or will be, petty-commodity producers and housewives. Mies' middle-class women are, presumably, to a considerable extent wage-dependent either through their own wages or those of male family. 'Middle class' and 'working class' may, in any case, it seems to me, be taken to represent not so much existing social categories as the competing claims for social hegemony of the bourgeoisie and proletariat respectively. In so far as we are concerned to surpass both capitalism and proletarianisation (also post-capitalist), a transformatory project needs to surpass these categories. The women of Mitter and Mies are all - differentially - involved in contradictions concerning body-politics, commodity production and consumption - not to mention others. The creation of a transformatory force surely requires both the separate and joint struggles of both categories. In and beyond 'their' class. Nationally and internationally.
The logical similarity between the apparently opposed positions does not end here. Both are opposed, explicitly or implicitly, to the White Male Northern Worker and his Hierarchical, Bureaucratic, Sexist, Racist Union. In so far as they are here visualising not a project, tendency or ideology, but permanent social categories and institutions, they are echoing labour aristocracy theory. Crudely (but it is a crude theory) this is the idea that rich, secure workers are conservative, pro-capitalist, pro-imperialist workers. The argument cannot be empirically substantiated. But it doesn't need to be since it has another function - that of conceptual foil in the presentation of the really oppressed/exploited, those who are - and are therefore - really revolutionary (at least potentially). That the most oppressed or exploited are the most revolutionary cannot be substantiated either: they are customarily passive, sometimes actively reactionary, and in progressive movements often volatile and without the social psychology or technical skills necessary to sustain alternatives. It seems to me to follow that whilst the autonomous organisation and action of women is essential, this is opposed to hierarchy, sexism, racism, bureaucracy, etc., to their primary sources and promoters (capital, state, patriarchy) not to the more-privileged categories of the oppressed and exploited.
Underlying this problem is a deeper one. It has to do with dichotomic oppositions more generally. These appear in Mitter as opposition between male and female, core and peripheral workers, organised and unorganised, white and black, First and Third Worlds. In Mies they appear in terms of 'colonising oppositions', against which she offers as antidote a holistic view of the world, nature and self. It seems to me that if one wants to surpass these in political action one must surpass them also in thought. Mies does not do this consistently. Sometimes she only reverses the dichotomy, as with her rhetorical symbol of the White Man. The problem is that this is not solitaire: it is more like hide-and-seek, a game everyone can play, and in which the seeker herself can be sought - and caught. Mies must have had the experience of being opposed and condemned by Black Third-World Leninist Women as a White European Bourgeois Imperialist Feminist. So we need a holistic logic to understand a holistic world and to create a holistic society (Hartsock 1987, Harding 'passim'). I think such a view would allow us to understand that new technology is both this 'and' that, and that we need to combine Mies' visible communal autarchy with the mutually-beneficial international trade relationships sought by Mitter.
Finally, I would like to return to the 'middle-class' feminist internationalism of Maria Mies. As someone who, like Mitter, has been primarily concerned with what should properly be called 'internationalism for workers', I feel that it is now more than time that we spoke for ourselves and not in the name of others. Contemporary internationalism, including wage-worker internationalism, is largely the affair of professionals, academics and organisers. We would certainly further internationalism if, when relating to those we are trying to persuade or assist, we made this explicit. In attempting to create a new kind of internationalism it is essential that we speak in our own voice, and that in this voice we dialogue with others.
5. Research needs
The development of an understanding of women and internationalism cannot consist solely of critique. It also requires a programme of activity.
5.1. Tools, compasses and softer devices
We would still, for example, seem to need a number of quite basic intellectual tools or compasses. These could be provided quite rapidly if the will was present. They include c 'comprehensive bibliographies' (c.f. Brown, Grant and Long 1988, Dickstein 1991), so that we know what books, or articles are available. We also need to know the major sources - such as those of individuals, organisations, social ' history and women's archives. And we then need extended, literature reviews - as distinguished from bibliographical notes like those above. I have myself got a couple of hundred items of bibliography relevant to women, feminism and internationalism on my personal! bibliographical database. See the introduction to the bibliography below.
There is an evident need for 'historical research', though Reinalda and Verhaaren provides us with an impressive` overview of the institutional terrain (see also Cooper 1987,' Horwitz 1977, Kaplan 1985 or 1988, Kopp 1930, Schroder 1983, Shulman 1983, Walker 1977). The techniques now commonplace in feminist historical work could be fruitfully employed here. Oral histories need to be produced before another generation of veterans passes away. We need to identify and reflect on the biographies and autobiographies of past female internationalists, whether feminist or not (e.g. Peggy Dennis 1977, Dijkstra 1992 on Flora Tristan, Ettinger 1987 on Rosa Luxemburg, Emma Goldman 1977, Mackinnon and Mackinnon 1988 on Agnes Smedley, reviewed Seldon 1988). And we need to encourage the contemporary feminist internationalists to write their own autobiographies: there is much to be learned from these, and biographies communicate to non-specialists in a manner that social-scientific writing cannot even aspire to (for a sketch see Bunch 1987 a).
There is an obvious need for extensive 'contemporary research', examining, for example, the areas or cases mentioned in passing by Mitter and Mies, or dealt with more extensively by Enloe. Research here can, of course, use the techniques of participant observation or action research. All international organisations, projects and campaigns need a systematic research dimension, however modest. If self-reflexivity is an essential characteristic of modernity (Giddens 1990), then this has not yet been recognised amongst the feminist internationalists.
There is a major and urgent need for 'theoretical work', at different levels of sophistication and generality. We need to distinguish here between concepts, conceptualisations and theory. But in many cases, even the concepts or conceptualisations developed in other areas (or at other levels) of feminist, socialist or critical social science could be fruitfully employed. See, for example the recognition of multiple identities and sites of struggle in Chhachhi and Pittin (1991). See also the distinction/relation between traditional, feminist and popular 'spaces' in Vargas (1991 a). This notion could certainly be developed, and applied at the global level, by taking account of the discussion of time, place and space in the work of Chhachhi and Pittin, as well as of David Harvey (1989: Part 3) or Giddens (1990). The well-developed feminist epistemological debates on 'standpoint', 'difference' and 'alliance' (e.g. Harding 'passim') could certainly contribute to theory on international solidarity.
5.2. Locally-specific analyses
We need 'area-specific' studies. This means, for example, studies of women's internationalism within or between specific geographical regions (Goetz 1991, Helie-Lucas 1991, Hoegsholm 1990, Hoskyns 'passim', Koji 1989, Mamanova 1988, Newland 1991, North 1990, Peoples' Plan 21 1989). Or with/between specific socio-cultural groups, such as women in Islamic communities (HelieLucas 1990 c). We also require studies of international struggles on particular issues (some already mentioned), such as prostitution, migration (Lutz 1992), foreign debt, peace (Helie 1992), reproductive rights, sexual harassment, consumption and ecology, new technology, etc. The identification of ever more specific areas would itself stimulate a need for more general theories on women's or feminist internationalism.
A particular feminism that has been particularly active internationally, despite repression and discrimination, is that of 'lesbians', often together with gays (Altman 1990, Borren 1992, Reinalda and Verhaaren 1989:283-5, Verhagen 1988). One recent pamphlet (Anderson 1991) not only lists the national and international organisations (such as the International Lesbian and Gay Association and the International Lesbian Information Service) but mentions the effectivity of international support work, reports on means of networking (including the electronic), and advises on how to go about this.
We need theoretically-informed studies of forms of 'communication' amongst women internationally. Existing ones tend to be short reports on experiences that do not necessarily reveal how international women's or feminist communication does or should differ from that of - say - socialists (Anand 1990, Bernard 1987, Capek 1990, Cottingham 1990, Corral 1988, Isis International 1988, 1990 b, Karl 1980, Kassell and Kaufman 1990, Mujer a Mujer 1992, Roach 1991, Rush and Allen 1990, Santa Cruz 1990).
There are increasing studies on the position of and solidarity with (or between) 'women workers', waged or unwaged (Committee for Asian Women 1989, Chapkis and Enloe 1983, Elson 1986, 1991, Grune 1989, Kamel 'passim', Shaw 1991). But these, again, are not theoretically informed, and there does not even seem to be much progress in strategic thinking here. It is yet another of those ironies of history, of which people of the Marxist tradition are so fond, that theoretical and strategic reflection on solidarity amongst workers is much developed than that on women - workers or not (Brecher and Costello 1991 a, b, South African Labour Bulletin 1991, Waterman 1991 a). One of the few extensive studies on solidarity between and with working women is that on those in the sex industry (Pheterson 1989 a, b, c, c.f. Bunch 1987 b: 306-20), this raising many issues of more general significance than the highly specific case might suggest.
5.3. Declarations of strategy, forms of organisation
There is a need for continuing discussion of global feminist strategy and appropriate forms of organisation. General statements on alliances, coalitions and networking are hardly sufficient unless they are related to historical and contemporary experience, or spelled out in the form of proposals. The concept of 'networking', for example, needs to be defined in communication and/or political terms (see, respectively, Mulgan 1991, Diani 1992). We then need to examine the forms actually tried or taken by international feminist initiatives. An interesting case to examine would be the - presumably unsuccessful - 1977 project for a 'Feminist International', which suggests both roots in socialist tradition and strivings for an alternative form (Quest 1978 b). A new declaration or discussion document could greatly stimulate both political and theoretical reflection. This would be a document that proposed principles for international solidarity relations with or between women. It could draw on historical and contemporary experience, both negative and positive. And it could be concerned with surpassing present shortcomings or obstacles. A 'negative' model for such a policy-relevant declaration is provided by the critique of myths about women and politics in Latin America (Catalyst 1991: 14-15, CIDHAL Noticias 1988). More positive ones, at least on the regional level, also exist (First Women's Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe 1990, Isis International 1990 a, Mujer/Fempress 1991, South Asian Feminist Declaration 1991). So does one specifically on the reproductive technologies (FINRRAGE-UBINIG 1989).
We will return to these below.
5.4. Popularisation and mobilisation
The need for theory must be balanced off against the necessity for work accessible to the activists and the internationally aware but inactive wo(man). Much feminist theoretical work (like its patriarchal predecessor - or model?), does not so much theorise as academise major moral and political issues, thus alienating them from the activists (not to speak of the mass). Alternative models for studies of internationalism are provided by the work of Enloe (1990) and that of Saunders (1989). Enloe's work succeeds by its address to daily and domestic life, past and present: it reads like a novel. Saunders' narrative work on international support for the British miners' strike of 19845 manages to provide us with a thumbnail history of national and international labour movements as it moves from country to country. Kamel's work (1990 a) provides another model, coming from the international women's movement but being addressed to international solidarity more generally, and taking the form of an attractive and practical organisers' handbook.
6. Conclusion: from women's internationalism to global solidarity
The recognition of international solidarity as a specific and fundamental area for feminist research and strategy would make its own contribution to the development of theory and activity on the new internationalism more generally. A number of the mentioned male-authored works on globalisation, and even on struggles for alternatives to such, make only passing or token reference to gender, women's struggles and feminist theory (Giddens 1990, Harvey 1989, Held 1991, Sklair 1991). A feminist critique and alternative is clearly called for here. In so far, in other words, as we recognise that there is no single primary subject of such solidarity, and in so far as we further recognise that it has no predetermined goal or end, we can only know what a new internationalism is as each possible area is explored and each possible subject of internationalism speaks. What would seem to be needed is a gender-sensitive theory which would identify what is specific to that of women and then relate it to the internationalism of people and peoples more generally.
However, we are confronted with the paradox that a new social movement so active internationally and so internationalist, seems so little aware of this. And that feminist theorists, so busy and productive in so many other areas, should have so little to say here.
I also suggested at the beginning, however, and have indicated elsewhere, that this may be because this movement is less interested in relations between nations! than in global problems. The words 'global' and 'global solidarity' do recur in these pages. And where international or inter-regional documents are produced, they tend to deal with common global or regional problems. Moreover, they tend to 'cross borders' in their analysis and demands, whether these borders are those of gender, race, class, or a territorial understanding of the region or world.
Thus the earlier-mentioned European document raises little' question of relations between states, nations or, nationalities within the CSE but declares that: No European state accords equal rights to all people within its borders and that the structure of our society is dictated by the inequality which exists between men and women, natives and aliens, dominant cultures and ethnic groups and between the rich and the poor. (First Women's Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe 1990). It then addresses itself to the problems of 'all people over and above the nations and borders of the CSCE states'. The South Asian document states that: Who we are today is as much a product of a common heritage of the legacy of colonialism and the struggle of earlier generations to create a just and equal society. In the post-independence period we share common structure[s] of oppression and exploitation imposed by dominant class/caste and patriarchal rule, reinforced by almost identical government responses to the legitimate aspirations of people. (South Asian Feminist Declaration 1991). Whilst evidently recognising the way in which state. nationalism, ethnic or religious chauvinism I fundamentalism, and militarism divide the peoples of the region, it proposes a broad common orientation, as well as a linkage of the women's movement with others. The Declaration of Comilla, on reproductive technology, clearly recognises a 'patriarchal, industrial, commercial and racist domination over life' as a global problem, facing women of all countries, classes and ethnic groups, although with evidently differential (and divisory) implications and effects. It just as evidently proposes a global response, appealing to men as well as to women: We appeal to all women and men to unite globally against dehumanising technologies and express our solidarity with all those who seek to uphold and preserve the diversity of life on our planet and the integrity and dignity of all women. (FINRRAGE-UBINIG 1989). It seems, in other words, as if the lack of a feminist focus on internationalism could also be understood as a shift of gaze toward a broader horizon. That horizon will have to be explored in the final chapter of the work from which this paper is extracted. In the meantime we would do well to ponder the tragic life of Rosa Luxemburg, an outstanding representative of classical labour and socialist internationalism. In a work otherwise thoroughly sceptical of revolutionary utopianism, James Billington (1980 a, b) reveals a soft spot for the internationalism of Luxemburg. Writing before the collapse of Communism, he says that if the revolutionary faith does revive in those lands where Rosa Luxemburg lived and died, it seems likely to be moved by her ghost stalking the stalags of Stalinism and the dachas of its directors. To them, she can speak of forgotten dreams - reminding them that a Jewish woman once argued that Poles should unite with Russians for their common good; that Germans would benefit from revolution in Russia; and that social revolution would directly abolish both the national identities and the authoritarian controls that repress the creativity of working people themselves. (Billington 1980 b: 503). Yet it is my impression, from a recent biography, that Luxemburg's internationalism went alongside a denial of her identity as Jew, Pole, Woman and, in some way, Person. Concluding on her unhappy relationship with both her lovers, Elzbieta Ettinger says: Capable of effecting change in the consciousness of the workers, she believed she could also change an unhappy man into a happy one. The difference between the amorphous crowds she so easily swayed and the individual escaped her. So did the distinctions inherent in divergent cultures and social conditions; she saw humanity but not the individual human being. 'Contact with the masses gives me inner courage and tranquillity', she said, but [her lovers] Jogiches or Zetkin seldom evoked these sensations. With them she felt unloved, unappreciated, and unneeded, or at best was constantly afraid of not being loved, appreciated, or needed. Lonely and sick at heart, she increasingly sought in humanity the wholeness and security that her parental home and her lovers had failed to give her. (Ettinger 1987: 160). Rosa’s internationalism was, in other words, an alternative to identities she could not recognise, or with which she could not come to terms. Many contemporary feminisms argue for the necessity of joining together such divided and denied identities. And many contemporary international feminisms are suggesting a shift of paradigm away from the impossible past of internationalism' (which is why, for Rosa, it could only be a dream) and toward a global solidarity to be built day by day in our waking hours.
 Previous versions of the chapter have been published in Spanish (Waterman 1992) and English (Waterman 1993). The second of these provides an overview of a wide variety of literature and an extensive bibliography.
 Considering the second wave of the feminist movement in Latin America, Francesca Miller (1992:192) supports the first of these arguments, but also reveals how even authoritarian regimes have allowed space for the development of feminist movements.
 It is, again, Francesca Miller who reveals the intimate interconnections of both waves of Latin-American feminism to much broader political issues. This is true of the predominantly liberal feminism of the earlier period and the predominantly socialist one of the present (Miller 1990, 1992).
 This is precisely identified and convincingly criticised in the process of a friendly review of the Morgan anthology by Chandra Mohanty (1992: 83-4). She says: Universal sisterhood, defined as the transcendence of the 'male' world... ends up being a middle-class, psychologised notion which effectively erases material and ideological power differences within and among groups of women, especially between First and Third World (and, paradoxically, removes us all as actors from history and politics). It is in this erasure of difference as inequality and dependence that the privilege of Morgan's political location' (in New York City) might be visible. Ultimately in this reductive utopian vision, men participate in politics while women can only hope to transcend them. It should additionally be pointed out that Morgan's claim to present an anthology on "The International Women's Movement" is actually a collection on national women's movements, with little reference to any international organisations, activities or ideas - apart from an item on women in the UN (Hedevary 1985) and her own asserted transcendental ethic.
 One exception to the rule is the chapter on the period 1974-90 of Miller (1992), which includes ‘international feminism’ in its title. Another is the conference report and reflections of Keysers and Smith (1991). Both will be returned to below.
 According to Renalda and Verharren (1989: 103), this was not an international but a Latin-American congress, although it was attended by women from five European countries and the United States.
 Does Miller overstate her case? The account of Reinalda and Verhaaren (1989: 103-8) is somewhat more nuanced or complex, since it reveals the rather active role of the inter-state bodies, and certain individual male diplomats, to forward women’s issues. This account also gives more space to the energetic pioneering activities of the US women’s movements.
 What follows is extracted from a study of international labour computer communications (Waterman 1992: 40-44).
 The following section is drawn from a long review article.
 Sylvia Walby (1992) has also jointly reviewed Mitter and Mies, recognising other strengths and limitations of these works.
 I believe that the dichotomies are to a large extent reproduced in the paper of Mies (1989) to a previously mentioned international woman and health conference, held in Bangladesh. Here she sees international differences/divisions between women 'precisely expressed' in terms of 'metropoles and colonies' (34). In her view of international relations between women, the 'contradictory or even antagonistic relations' are apparently between poor women in the South and middle-class women in the North (36). Whilst she recognises Northern women as being manipulated and exploited by the same 'techno-patriarchal' and capitalist forces as those in the South, she considers that those in the North both well-to-do ones and also poorer ones', profit from 'the loot accumulated by white man'. She criticises the individualistic and technocratic attitudes to reproductive technologies predominant amongst Northern women, claiming that the 'other complete perspective is provided to us by the poor women in the South' (37). Mies believes that unity can nonetheless be forged by the joint struggles of North and South, city and countryside, middle and working-class, and that it should be a reciprocal one, going from North to South and vice-versa. This appears, in sum, to be a largely Manichean world, in which contradictions are also structural and cumulative. It is for this reason, surely, that the 'complete perspective' is provided by the poor women in the South (accumulating the maximum negativity?). It seems to me that there may here also be a reproduction of the logic of traditional socialist and/or Thirdworldist internationalism, including a totalising contradiction (metropole / periphery), a privileged revolutionary subject (poor/Third World/Women), a primary socio-geographical axis (North/South), plus revolutionary intellectuals (the enlightened middle-class women of North and South), representing the long-term interests of the masses concerned. Another traditional element is the combination of economic determinism with political voluntarism. There are other problems. The international reciprocity proposed by Mies is, presumably between the enlightened middle-class women, since self-activity (nationally or internationally) of the poor women concerned is nowhere reported or proposed. However, Mies also fails to deal even implicitly with the structural position or the political role of these Southern middle-class women. Mies, however continues to innovate in proposing global alternatives, as in a paper proposing a 'new moral economy' to replace a world capitalist one that is increasingly divisory, destructive and repressive (Mies 1983).
 Underlying this problem is a deeper one. It has to do with dichotomic opposition more generally. These appear in Mitter as opposition between male and female, core and peripheral workers, organised and unorganised, white and black, First and Third worlds. In Mies they appear in terms of ‘colonising oppositions’, against which she offers as antidote a holistic view of the world, nature and self. It seems to me that if one wants to surpass these in political action one must surpass them also in thought. Mies does not do this consistently. Sometimes she only reverses the dichotomy, as with her rhetorical symbol of the White Man. The problem is that this is not solitaire: it is more like hide-and-seek, a game everyone can play, and in which the seeker herself can be sought – and caught. Mies musts have had the experience of being opposed and condemned by black Third-World Leninist Women as a White European Bourgeois Imperialist Feminist. So we need a holistic logic to understand a holistic world and to create a holistic society. I think such a view would allow us to understand that new technology is both this and that, and that we need to combine Mies’ visible communal autarchy with the mutually beneficial international trade relationships sought by Mitter.