Earlier this week, the Guardian published an op-ed by a group of feminist activists and academics urging women to take part on March 8 in "a day of striking, marching, blocking roads, bridges, and squares, abstaining from domestic, care and sex work," and more. Interestingly enough, the piece was published on the morning the Women's March announced its plans to organize a strike in the near future.
Among the article's authors was infamous communist activist Angela Davis, who was a featured speaker at last month's Women's March.
The word "radical" barely begins to describe Davis' career. She first rose to prominence in the 1960's as a member of the Communist Party, when she "emerged as a doyenne of the violent, revolutionary fringe of 1960s radicalism," as Roger Kimball described her in the Wall Street Journal.
Davis is most notorious for fleeing from police after being charged with aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder related to a courtroom shoot-out that resulted in the death of Judge Harold Haley. This landed her on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List in 1970. Though it was established that Davis purchased the murder weapon, she was acquitted in 1972. This despite, as Ronald Radosh wrote, "her proven ownership of the murder weapons and a cache of letters she wrote to [Black Panther] George Jackson in prison expressing her passionate romantic feelings for him and unambivalent solidarity with his commitment to political violence."
In 1979 she accepted the "Lenin Peace Prize" from the Soviet Union.
Davis is still an avowed communist. In 2014 she said, "I still believe that capitalism is the most dangerous kind of future we can imagine." Davis recently told the Los Angeles Times that "Democracy needs to be emancipated from capitalism," continuing to proclaim, "As long as we inhabit a capitalist democracy, a future of racial equality, gender equality, economic equality will elude us."
The Guardian op-ed she co-authored on Monday argued that while the Women's March in January "may mark the beginning of a new wave of militant feminist struggle," it is not enough to simply "oppose Trump and his aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies. We also need to target the ongoing neoliberal attack on social provision and labor rights."
The article slammed "Lean-in" and "other variants of corporate feminism," calling instead for a feminism for the 99 percent.
If the strike the Guardian op-ed calls for is the same strike the Women's March is organizing, asking women to block roads and skip work to march and allying itself with fringe figures such as Angela Davis, it is difficult to imagine the movement maintaining its momentum with the millions of moderate supporters who first carried it to success. After all, most of these people are conscious beneficiaries of free enterprise.
In fact, the Women's March actually used corporate platforms to announce the strike, posting the news to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
It is, of course, possible that the authors of the Guardian op-ed strategically published their piece on the same morning to get out ahead of the Women's March with their own version of the strike.
It is certainly in the interest of the Women's March to clarify whether it is working with the Guardian authors.
Unfortunately, however, the organization has yet to respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.
The anti-capitalist radical feminism of extremists such as Angela Davis is part of the reason why so many women have hesitated to identify with the women's rights movement in recent decades.
Any attempt to align the newly-energized movement with Angela Davis will not break that pattern. Regardless of whether or not it is involved in the anti-capitalist strike on March 8, the Women's March, which has embraced radical concepts like intersectionality, purged pro-life groups from its ranks, and awarded women like Angela Davis, Ashley Judd, and Madonna with platforms, needs to think long and hard about severing the ties with the extremists that have long tethered feminism to the fringe.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.