In the Obama era, liberalism became even more intertwined with empire. Despite mountains of evidence to show that the US/NATO occupation had done little for women’s rights, Amnesty-USA conducted a campaign in support of the continued occupation of Afghanistan. In 2012, ads appeared in public places of Afghan women in burqas with the caption: “Nato: Keep the Progress Going!” Amnesty further organized a summit that rearticulated through the voices of powerful women, such as Madeline Albright, imperialist feminist justifications for war.
What explains this tendency among liberals to take positions that go against the interests of Muslim women and women of color? While there are numerous factors, two are worth noting—racism and empire.
As several Third World Feminists have argued, a historical weakness of liberal feminism in the West has been its racist, patronizing attitude towards women of color who have been seen less as allies/agents and more as victims in need of rescue. This attitude prevails both in relation to women of color within Western nation states, as well as women in the global South. This is what allows figures such as Madeline Albright and Hillary Clinton to be viewed as feminist saviors even while both, in their roles as Secretary of State, have advanced US imperialism. It is liberalisms understanding of the state as a neutral body, rather than as a coercive apparatus used to advance capitalism and empire, which is at the root of such perspectives.Let me get this straight--pro-feminist Western leftists are really--wait for it--"racists" and "imperialists"?!?
I offer no apologies for being tickled by that claim. Such assertions are usually reserved to describe eee-ville conservatives and Zionists, so it's nice to see lefties on the receiving end of the nuttiness for a change.