Political Philosophy and Real Life

But what about Sorority/ Sisterhood?

Mary Poppins – Sister Suffragette

In my last blog I wrote about Fraternity lost and found again and how it needs to accompany liberty. [https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/thepositivefeministphilosopher.com/484 ] But what about soritity or sisterhood?

French Revolution

Liberty Leading the People – Eugene Delacroix (1833)

In the French revolution, liberty, equality and fraternity were the main catch phrases in de demands of citizenship. Fraternity was not the same as solidarity. Sisterhood and ‘sisters’ were left out. Feminists like Olympe de Gouges , who demanded women’s citizenship rights, were hanged. Political organizations of women became forbidden. What happened in the French Revolution got repeated in many, many revolutions afterwards.

The Execution of Olympe de Gouges

The Last Two Hundred Years

Slowly, after a lot of struggle, in the last two centuries many formal rights for women have been acknowledged within rights in western countries. And since there is a huge difference between having a right in theory and having a right in practice, finally other laws and measures are coming in place, realizing these rights for women. For instance, measures and laws such as getting women’s quota in industry ( https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/thepositivefeministphilosopher.com/463 ).

Sisterhood: Lady France and Lady Liberty together

Sisterhood within Feminism

What about sorority/ sisterhood amongst women? In the 19th and 20th century sisterhood was a catch phrase in feminism. Afterwards however we saw almost the destruction of feminism and sisterhood, because some ‘sisters’ claimed that there was only one type of feminism: theirs. Everyone who did not comply to those ideas had to be banned. The same phenomenon had taken place earlier in communism, socialism and in many religious movements, there with unnumerous deaths as a result. But also by calling names, gossiping and refusing other people to wear the same label as you have (socialist, Christian, feminist), you can cause anomisity, withdrawal in isolation and the killing of a movement.

The Need for Tolerance and Plurality

So in order to survive as a lively feminist movement, philosophy and social life, tolerance and plurality are required. There are many types of feminism and feminists. Hurray for that. It means that we can disagree, argue and discuss with another. If we do this with respect to the opinions of the other, and if we try to consider those opinions seriously, it will always make our philosophy stronger.

Rianne Voet

Argentine tango, Political Philosophy and Real Life

Tango, Taxi and Fraternity

Fraternity or rather Solidarity as an essential part of
Fraternity in Monument of the Republic, Paris

I was dancing tango in Barcelona and couldn’t leave early because the dancing in Tango Pantera was so good that night. So after the Cumparsita song, traditionally the last one of the evening, I realized I needed to find my way home. I had told my friend in whose apartment I was staying that I would be fine. I had my mouth, my tango map of Barcelona, my phone and my wallet, so that it would not be any problem.

Somehow however, I did not want to make the change from strong, independent woman to the needy tourist, so I did not ask the tangueros still standing there on the street. The tango map however did only have the biggest streets on it, so my street Fraternitat did not appear. My phone was out of data. When I finally asked random people in the street the road to ‘Fraternitat’, they had no clue. I thought this was very strange. I was in the Plaza de la Libertat, with the Mercat de la Libertat , so surely Fraternitat could not be far from here. In my neighbourhood Gràcia I had seen the streets Libertat and Progrés nearby, so it had to be around the corner, I thought. But after wandering around for twenty minutes to no avail, I realized I had now come to my last resort: the taxi.

Mercat de Libertat

I waited at the crossroads of two bigger streets and soon a taxi with a green light appeared and stopped. Suddenly, however, three youngsters ran up to it, trying to open the doors and when they remained locked, they shouted something to the taxi driver trough the open window. He yelled something back, drive a few meters further, gave me a signal with his eyes and then opened the back door for me. I asked him “és libre?”, “Si, signora”, he replied and we drove off.

Statue of Lady Liberty, NY

“Oh, these people”, he began, “people think that taxi drivers are like wage slaves or worse even, their personal slaves. They think that they can do what they like in the car, treat us like dirt, simply because they are paying for it. But I will not have it, signora. Money is only one thing, one aspect of life. But there are many and many others: civility, being kind to people, politeness, a nice conversation, enjoying yourself. Not everything can be bought. There is also the aspect of heling people in need. So when you sense, for instance, that there is a woman on the street in need, frightened or else, I do not care, if the richest people in the world would ask me a trip for a double fare, but I would help that lady”.

Statue of Lady Grande Liberty, Quito, Equador

“I am glad you stood up to them”, I said, I really appreciate your kindness”. “But of course”, he replied. “We are first and foremost a community of humans and for foremost a capitalist economy. That is only one aspect”. After many turns in the labyrinth of one-way streets in Gràcia, I saw a different Libertat street, Progrés and then Fraternitat. Under six euros. And, wow, I thought, what a great lesson in political philosophy was that! Of course fraternity or rather solidarity needs to accompany liberty, otherwise we get the small, capitalist version of Liberty and not a grand version of Liberty!

Lady Progress at top of the CST station of Mumbay

I wish you all great Christmas and End of the Year festivities!

Rianne Voet