Sexist and misogynistic ridicule is NOT decent class analysis

"Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher" (cartoon by Alan Hardman)

“Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher” (cartoon by Alan Hardman)

In their internal document “British Perspectives 1977” (cited in Crick, 1986, page 89), the Militant Tendency (forerunner to the Socialist Party) defined the feminist movement as “petty-bourgeois-dominated” and subject to “hysteria”.

Cartoonist Alan Hardman’s depictions of Margaret Thatcher for the Militant’s publications reflected a deep-seated political problem with the organisation – their dismissal of feminism, and their promotion of and pandering to sexism and misogyny amongst the working class.

"Mad Axe Woman Margaret Thatcher" (cartoon by Alan Hardman)

“Mad Axe Woman Margaret Thatcher” (cartoon by Alan Hardman)

Thatcher was a ruling class fighter, and socialist women then and now should feel no affinity towards her. But the fact that she was a woman was used by Militant to present sexist and misogynistic caricatures which were a reactionary substitute for decent class analysis and class opposition.

The image of Thatcher as an over-sized, flabby action heroine in a bikini presents the idea of her disgusting femininity. While the hook-nosed and fanged Thatcher with an axe shows her (quite explicitly given the caption) as a demented, hysterical woman. Both cartoons primarily denigrate Thatcher as an inadequate woman, rather than satirically mock her as a political leader for the ruling class. The two more recent cartoons below, from the Socialist Party press in 2007, reverberate Militant’s past: with babies Blair and Brown feeding off Thatcher’s breasts; she is revealed as a perversion of a reproductive female and as a predatory and repulsive she-wolf/woman. Blair and Brown get off lightly.

For more, see my previous posts Towards an honest history: the case of the Militant Tendency and Further excavation of the Militant Tendency.

"New face, same pedigree, with apologies to Romulus and Remus and the She-wolf" (by Alan Hardman)

“New face, same pedigree, with apologies to Romulus and Remus and the She-wolf” (cartoon by Alan Hardman)

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