Posted by: Allyson | August 13, 2008

The Democratic Party and the Pro-Choice Platform

Cara has a piece entitled “The Democractic Party Platform: A Feminist Document?” up at both Feministe and The Curvature.  Cara doesn’t entirely agree with Dana Goldstein that the new platform is inherently feminist.  Meanwhile, Feministing‘s Miriam posted the following: “Dems drop ‘safe, legal and rare’ language from abortion position.”  (I admit, when I first saw Miriam’s post title, I had a little heart attack, thinking that the Democratic party had somehow radically changed its stance on choice issues).  Finally, Emily Douglas of RH Reality Check included the subject in a roundup on Monday.

I’m happy that the Democratic party has chosen to update its stance on abortion.  Like Cara, I’m “pleasantly surprised,” especially considering my disillusionment with the Democratic party in general.  Of course, the new platform still isn’t perfect.  One reader at Feministe points out that queer people get only one mention in 55 pages; another points out that the document doesn’t discuss help for disabled people.  Still, change takes time.  So while the Democratic Party platform is not yet perfect, the new revisions are a step in the right direction, and I applaud them.

However, reading about the new platform has me thinking again about politics.  This year, due to my dissatisfaction with both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, I started researching third-party candidates.  As I’ve mentioned before, this year I’ll be voting for Cynthica McKinney.  No, she’s not perfect, and I disagree with some aspects of her policy.  But when it comes down to Barack Obama or Cynthia McKinney as president, I know who I would like to hold office.  Now, I’m not deluding myself; I know that McKinney is not going to win.  I know I’m voting for a losing candidate.  But I’m voting for her, and that’s that.

I’m not a single-party voter.  I never have been.  I won’t just automatically vote for a Green candidate for the rest of my life just because I align myself with a single party.  I’ll vote for the person whose policies best align with my ideas and values.  But in my research on third party candidates, I did develop a particular affinity for the Green platform for its overt feminism.  Right off the bat, the Green Party identifies ecological awareness, nonviolence, and feminism and gender diversity in its ten key values.  The Democratic Party has a 6-point agenda that focuses more on the economy and security.  While they do address healthcare and sustainability, these agenda items all look like just a basic list.  Wherease the ten key values of the Green party fit together.  The emphasis on equal opportunity and respect for diversity go hand-in-hand with gender equity.  Ecological awareness, sustainability, and global responsibility work together.  I’m attracted to the cohesiveness of these points, the ways in which they build off of each other.  They’re not a list of issues that can be addressed separately; addressing one means indrectly working on the others at the same time.  Right up front, I can tell that the Green party is more in line with my feminist values.

But of course, these lists on a website don’t get to the heart of a party.  The Green party is up-front about its feminism; it’s a feminist party.  But is its written platform a feminist document?  And what about other parties out there?

And so I have a project in the works.  What I’m planning to do is obtain the full platforms of both major and third-parties and read each one from a feminist lens.  Which ones are feminist?  Which are not?  Are some feminist platforms more feminist than others?  I know right away that I’ll be reading the Green, Democract, Republican, and Libertarian platforms.  If you think there is another party that I should look at as well, please comment.  I know that there are more than just two third-party groups, and I would like for this project to be as extensive as possible.

Cross-posted at This is What a Feminist Blogs Like



  1. This is a great idea. I, myself, while I am registered as a democrat and participate in democratic organizations, will vote for the best candidates regardless of party (though that typically means democrat for me, it is not always the case).

    I would also look at the Socialist Party–they have an overtly feminist platform.

  2. Thanks for mentioning the Socialist party. I somehow completely forgot about them.

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