Make Women Great Again: women, misogyny and anti-capitalism on the right

Catherine Tebaldi

Abstract


Neo-confederate blogger Dissident Mama describes the January 6 Capitol Insurrection as “#resistance without the corporate sponsorship”. In a series of blogs, she appropriates the language of anti-capitalist movements to defend armed resistance from Charlottesville to the Capitol. Negative media coverage is woke “agitprop” by elites: journalists and politicians, but also “corporate goons.” These politicians, meanwhile, are the “very people who are empowered and enriched by mass democracy, forever wars, and our oppression1”, according to Mama. The language of wealth, profit, and enrichment is used to criticize liberal democracy as in the throes of corporations and imperial wars. However, liberalism’s chief attack is on the family and the forgotten man, and for Momma, its shock troops are the feminists.

Defending the Capitol riots, Dissident Momma positions herself, a stay-at-home mother, as at the front lines of another kind of insurrection. She is uniquely capable of speaking out against the tyranny of woke capital, political correctness and corporate HR’s liberal cancel culture. Without a boss, she cannot be fired or cancelled for expressing explicit racism. Secondly, a stay-at-home mother is the guardian of traditional morality, family values, and southern White identities which are being attacked by the corporate cultural Marxists. The home has become the new battleground, as Mama herself points out.

Her own insurrection is homeschooling. Post after post, Dissident Mama compares the act of homeschooling to the civil war; it is “educational secession” freeing her children from the “puritanical progressives” or the Northern “power elite” who run the state and public schools and seek to impose a “globohomo tyranny” on Southern boys. She echoes familiar moral panics over cultural Marxism, describing teachers as “apparatchiks” and schools as a “gulag of the mind.” But when she discusses the supposed anti-white bias of “the educrats“ who want to make children “rootless, hopeless, and disoriented” she uses the language of anti-capitalism; despite being marxists they want to make children “loyal consumers of both the corporate and governmental systems”2

For Mama the opposition of corporate cultural marxism is raising children in their “heritage” of southern-style White supremacy. She believes in the lost cause mythology which celebrates the antebellum South as the high-water mark of western civilization, and frames today’s White Southerners as an oppressed “remnant.” Mama uses the language of anti-capitalism, but she supports not socialism but paleolibertarianism. Paleolibertarians support deep social conservatism (or sexism and racism) along with economic libertarianism, a belief system with roots in chattel slavery (Maclean 2017). Capitalism is good when it supports homeschooling and heritage; her blog is an Amazon affiliate and advertises for Ron Paul’s libertarian homeschooling, the Tuttle Twins libertarian children’s fables, in addition to the white nationalist Christendom Curriculum.

Anti-capitalist language shades quickly into anti-feminism, in Dissident Mama’s discourses, dismissing social  change as HR newspeak and conflating postwar gender roles with postwar affluence. Sophie Bjork James (2020) notes that the Christian right often blames feminism for the socio-economic struggles of late capitalism. This is something common across the far-right: Identitarian Lacey Lynn calls feminism elitist and anti-working class, conspiratorial vlog and radio station RedIce positions fascist women at the front lines in the fight against corporate communism, while the evolutionary psychologists of the intellectual dark web from Stefan Molyneux to Jordan Peterson use the language of corporate anomie to argue for gender essentialism.

Anti-capitalist language is deployed against working women while elevating White working men, providing a return to “traditional” roles as an answer to economic as well as social challenges. That is, right wing language displaces anxieties about capitalism onto anxieties about gender roles, family and love. In this essay I look at women in far-right activism, and the ways in which anti-capitalist language is used to celebrate the gender roles of postwar American breadwinner capitalism. This at once diminishes feminist and socialist critques, enougaging the reframing of economic concerns into what Rosenthal (2020) calls gendered dispossession. This emerges from real failures of liberal feminism and late capitalism, but appropriates critiques of capital that might challenge the identity politics of the white right, instead encouraging reinvestment in the conservative social order.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.32855/fcapital.202101.007

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Copyright (c) 2021 Catherine Tebaldi

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ISSN: 1930-014X