On 18 August 2023, in honour of women’s month the Socialist Youth Movement (SYM) of the University of Pretoria hosted a discussion on feminist socialism. This included an opening speech from their guest speaker, Phemelo
SYM is a Trotskyist society with Leftleaning political views and a view of establishing socialism in South Africa. In
her opening speech, Motseokae stated, “In honour of women’s month, it is important to remember the fact that women remain second-class citizens.” Quoting Karl Marx, she added, “The social progress of a society can be seen in the position that women hold within that society.” Motseokae raised several points of discussion relating to the fact that women work a double shift these days, as they are part of the economic workforce but are also home builders due to gendered social dynamics. In summarising her position in her opening speech, Motseokae said, “We must call out sexism within the movement; socialist feminism gets us to the heart of the issue.”
The floor then opened to everyone in attendance to add their contributions on the topic. Different speakers raised various points, such as the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, sex work, and poor sex education in schools that promote a culture of rape in society. Motseokae concluded the event with a response on all the points raised during the discussion. She said, “Socialist feminism is anti-war, and endorsing capitalism is standing behind poverty and war. Our loyalties must not lie with any government, but with the working class.”
The chairperson of the SYM UP, Cameron Rodrigues, reflected on the event, stating, “I think it was important and went really well […] We want to ensure that people are aware that women’s struggles are also recognised as a class struggle against capitalism because there will be a form of exploitation in capitalism.” They further added, “Women
are the hardest working people in society yet receive very little for the work that they put in. Capitalism is taking away our human rights, including reproductive health-care.” Rodrigues concluded, “I think it was an awesome discussion that needed to be had.”
For similar conversations across various areas, the SYM UP will be hosting a discussion platform known as “Commie
Convos” in Akanyang 1-11.