The Feminist Library: “Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto”


Rejecting both corporate feminism and liberal feminism, “Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto” is a pocket-sized, 85-page book that argues for an anti-capitalist feminism to work hand-in-hand with other anti-capitalist movements that are environmentalist, anti-racist and anti-imperialist. This also includes LGBTQ+ movements and labor unions. 

The book starts off by pointing out that corporate, neo-liberal feminism is not the answer to the problems feminists consistently try to dismantle. Corporate feminism is the kind that retains the status quo. It advocates for middle-class white women to be able to take up powerful positions, where they’re able to oppress other women. 

The book describes it perfectly, saying “This is a remarkable vision of equal opportunity domination: one that asks ordinary people, in the name of feminism, to be grateful that it is a woman, not a man, who busts their union, orders a drone to kill their parent, or lock their child in a cage at the border.”

The three authors responsible for breathtaking quotes like these are Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya and Nancy Fraser, who had each written separate works of literature about the relationship between capitalism and the need for feminism. They started the project of writing a feminist manifesto after working together in the 2017 Women’s Strike. 

Considering their previous work and backgrounds as professors, it’s no wonder that that the first thesis in the manifesto is “A new feminist wave is reinventing the strike.” The three authors observed how a movement began in Poland in 2016, where women walked out of their jobs to protest a ban on abortion. Many other countries followed, and on March 8, 2017, numerous countries decided to strike on International Women’s Day.

This is especially notable for multiple reasons. Since multiple countries took part in the strike, it was no longer a national issue. It also meant that feminists were looking at worker’s rights, too. In the author’s words, “women’s strike feminism anticipates the possibility of a new, unprecedented phase of class struggle: feminist, internationalist, environmentalist, and anti-racist.”

Social reproduction is another aspect of feminism the manifesto covers significantly. The authors define social reproduction as “the labor and services that are needed to sustain human beings and social communities.” This can include but is not limited to health care, education and housing. To heavily summarize the three author’s main points about social reproduction, it is less valued than making profit, which is problematic. 

When I originally read the title of the manifesto, saw its physically small size and relatively affordable price, I thought that the point of the book would be to break down feminism in an accessible way. When I later read the book, I realized the “99%” was a reference to economic class and labor struggles, and not a reference to the audience of their book. While the manifesto uses language that requires a fully attentive reader to comprehend, it still has those accessible attributes I noticed in the bookstore. It’s a great collection of ideas that explores a new path for feminism.

I bought my copy at The Elliot Bay Book Company, which offers a discount for Seattle University students. It is also available on the Verso Books website.