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Reviews 115 Reviews Response The minnesota review NS 30/31 (Spring/Fall 1988) published a review by Sesshu Foster ofmy book AIbuquerque: Coming Back to the USA. I read this review with increasing perplexity . Spinning off from a tale about his family and their vacation in YeUowstone National Park, Foster says some very nice things about my oral history and other work out of Latin America. He offers his interpretation ofthe reason for and meaning ofthat work, then goes on to comment on the book under review, arriving at conclusions I find confusing on a number of levels. It is not an urge to address personal innuendos so much as feminist issues distorted by certain sectors on the left, that prompts me to respond to a number of his points. I can only assume that Foster's early mention of his home life is by way of establishing what he sees as class and cultural credentials. He teUs us that "like so many famiUes, both my wife and I work full-time, and I'm also occupied with night classes, along with political work, teachers' union and community organizing—there areall the tasks and duties required by running a household and raising children, added to by the concrete reaUties of doing so in the Eastside of a city like Los Angeles. Add my own literary writing, including some time for public readings, cultural events and some reading ..." Certainly an active and purposeful life. I wouldn't highlight this, except for the fact that it sets the stage for what I perceive as Foster's root problem of vision. Note his mention of the fact that both he and his wife have full-time jobs. He implies—without reaUy saying so—that he takes at least some responsibiUty for household tasks and childcare. But when it comes to the more fulfilling political and cultural work, he mentions only his. He tells us his wife and he grew up in those chicano barrios. Might not she also want to be involved in political work there, if she had time? (In fact, I've been told she is politically active, particularly with the local schools. I find it significant that Foster nowhere mentions this.) I risk this inquiry into the life of a couple I don't know, because Foster's review of Albuquerque is based on his assumption that "the feminist movement, or, as Randall caUs it, 'the women's community' (a broader sector), appears as her social and ideological base." He goes on to say that "the impression she renders of it is that this 'women's community' is largely petty bourgeois—or 'middle class' (as she calls h): Women's studies professors like herself, students, artists, and intellectuals. She seems at home in this context ..." And he concludes: "Albuquerque's lack of class content is faithful both to the prevailing petty bourgeois character of the feminist movement, as well as to Randall's class background, though it seems surprising given her previous books and subsequent experience." A lot of labels. And some pretty pat formulae for dispensing with them. I guess I'm as tired of the more rigid sectors of the organized left's misunderstanding and write-off of feminism as I am of capitalism's (more inteUigent, certainly more calculated) mystification of a complex and many-faceted movement. Foster's analysis, in this respect, is as simplistic as it is erroneous. He claims that the "main flaw in Albuquerque is that [I] have given up that process of clarification," which he spends much of the review admiring in my books about women in Latin America. Could this be because the clarification in Albuquerque hits too close to home? To continue to label the U.S. women's movement, in 1989, as petty bourgeois or middle-class, is to repeat the epithets of those in whose interests it is that there be no women's movement. More important, it is to ignore the real history of women in this country—working class, black, hispanic, and involving many (at least in the beginning, because of the nature of the group, white) feminist scholars as well. It is to ignore the...


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