Author: Johanna Brenner

JOHANNA BRENNER is a community activist in Portland, Oregon and an advisory editor of Against the Current. She has also written for New Left Review and Monthly Review. She is Professor Emeritus at Portland State University. She also served as director of the University’s Women’s Studies Program. Her books include Women and the Politics of Class (Monthly Review Press, 2000) and Rethinking the Political: Women, Resistance, and the State (University Chicago Press, 1995).

California Teachers on the March: An Interview with Joel Jordan

Johanna Brenner (JB): On February 21, Oakland’s 3,000 teachers went out on strike after two years of failed negotiations with the Oakland Unified School District.  Clearly, the strike got the District’s attention and a deal was won after teachers held . . .

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Materialism and Feminism: An Interview with Johanna Brenner


George Souvlis: By way of introduction, could you explain what personal experiences strongly influenced you, both politically and academically?

Johanna Brenner: I grew up in a staunchly liberal family and remained politically liberal until I joined the movement against the Vietnam war, where I was introduced to anti-imperialist politics and then Marxism and “third-camp” socialism. In the late 60’s I was part of the student left that turned toward organizing the working-class. I was a student at UCLA. We organized student support for a teamster wildcat strike and we had a group called the Student Worker Action Committee that published a newspaper, Picket Line, where we covered different worker and community struggles in Los Angeles. I was rather slow to embrace feminism, but in the 1970’s I got involved with a socialist-feminist group called CARASA (Coalition for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse) which began in New York City. Some friends and comrades formed a Los Angeles branch of CARASA and we were able to connect to radical women of color doing community organizing around sterilization abuse in LA. From that point on, I have been deeply immersed in Marxist-feminist theory and politics.

What Is The Next Left?

Image At this moment I find myself swinging between optimism fueled by the previously unimaginable appeal of Bernie Sanders’ “socialism,” the energized base of young people attracted to his campaign, this evidence that the neoliberal consensus is dead, and despair about the HUGE gap between this political opening and the organizational capacity of the revolutionary socialist left. Like many others, I’m asking: can anything be done?


Even Better the Second Time Around

Reflections on an Updated Socialist-Feminist Classic

ImageOriginally published in 1979, Beyond the Fragments (BTF) was an intervention in the left by three British socialist-feminist activists who offered a thoroughgoing critique of democratic centralism and the vanguard party ideal as it was then practiced on the revolutionary left.