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Why I became a Socialist Feminist


Hilary Wainwright on power, knowledge and the transformation of society

Then there’s power as transformative capacity: the power to change things, to do things. Sometimes referred to “power to.” That was the kind of power the women’s movement was illustrating, transformative power and capacity, and I think that’s a very useful concept now. Much of what Occupy and the indignados were about was power as transformative capacity. They were in the squares, they were creating a different kind of society, illustrating a different kind of society in their daily practice.

I was also influenced by the shop steward/trade union movement at its most radical and alternative — when they weren’t simply refusing redundancies and closures by occupying factories, but saying, “We have skills, practical skills that can be the basis of different kinds of production.” Socially useful products rather than missiles, for example, or working toward the conversion of industry to a low-carbon economy.


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