Hillary Clinton was expelled

US presidential electionAbout Hillary Clinton and Welfare

Her entire life is clear evidence of a progressive attitude. Bernie Sanders had described them as moderate and pointed out that moderate and progressive are incompatible. While Clinton embodies the establishment, he is a representative of the normal Americans. Hillary Clinton argues from the conviction that she helped shape the social change of the 1960s.

Since Life magazine portrayed her as a student of protest in 1969, the Right has acted as a radical feminist. Behind Sanders’s words is the stubborn conviction of a man who has called himself a socialist since the Cold War. Because of his principles, he was ignored in America for 30 years. Both symbolize opposing points of American liberalism. The most controversial of these is social affairs. And social affairs, more than any other, are the theme of Clinton's 2016 campaign.

Namara Smith, born in 1986, is co-editor of the American essay n + 1. The article first appeared in Issue 26: Dirty Work.

Translation from the American by Katrin Höller



The complete manuscript for reading:

One of the more revealing exchanges during the Democratic presidential campaign came last February, when presenter Rachel Maddow asked Hillary Clinton to respond to Bernie Sanders' accusation that she was "not a real progressive" during the New Hampshire primary. Clinton replied that she very well was - "a progressive who likes to get things done," - and, for her part, accused Sanders of simply sitting out the last three decades of democratic politics.

"I went with you every step, put my head down and fought," she said, "and I've got enough scars to prove it."

Sanders noted that Clinton had previously referred to himself as "moderate" and that it was impossible to be moderate and progressive at the same time. "Secretary Clinton," he emphasized, "stands for the establishment. I, on the other hand, I hope - for ordinary Americans."

Clinton countered: "Senator Sanders is the only one who portrays me - a woman who wants to become the first woman president - as the representative of the establishment. I find that quite amusing. People support me because they know me - me and my life's work . "

Big gap between candidates

The brief argument highlighted the gap between the candidates. Both were completely convinced of the truth of their statements and full of contempt for the statements of the other. Behind Clinton's claim was the positivity of a woman who embodied the social upheavals of the 1960s to millions of people - since she was photographed by Life magazine for a student unrest report in 1969 and who had spent the past 30 years doing it to be attacked by the right as a radical feminist.

Behind Sanders' words stood again the stubbornness of a man who openly described himself as a socialist at the height of the Cold War and who had spent the past 30 years ignoring his principles. Bernie is as much a militant socialist as Hillary is a radical feminist - so not so much - but both represent the furthest penetration of these two traditions into the realm of American liberalism.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders before a CNN debate in New York in April 2016. (AFP / Jewel SAMAD)

For Clinton this means: the second wave of feminism and the social change of the 1960s. For Sanders, it's mid-century social democracy, including the New Deal and the Great Society.

These two liberal traditions - in short, feminism and social protection - have a common history. And the most visible point where they get in each other's way is in the social environment.

Social welfare controversy hits the core of diverging feminist currents in America - "equality" and "diversity" feminists - and social affairs dominated Clinton's pre-election campaign more than any other issue. Even before advocating the social reform bill that her husband signed in 1996, Clinton was on one side of the debate - simply with what she was, through the path she was following. As a feminist candidate, she shows her weaknesses.

An intra-feminist dispute over the social system in the USA began in the years after 1910, when the American women's suffrage movement brought together feminists and progressive social reformers. The most radical grouping of this coalition, Alice Paul's National Woman’s Party, proved helpful in obtaining public support for an amendment to the constitution that would prohibit people from being excluded from elections based on their gender. d. Ü.]. But when Alice Paul pushed for another constitutional amendment to guarantee the rights of women in all areas, and presented the corresponding Equal Rights Amendment in 1923, her allies in the electoral movement spoke out vehemently against it.

The way to more equality

The women of the National Consumers' League and the National Women's Trade Union League - supporters of progressive social reform - identified strongly with maternal values ​​such as "selfless care" and "commitment to the welfare of others". However, this was contrary to the premise of the Equal Rights Amendment, namely the unconditional equality of men and women. The "maternalists", as these women were henceforth called, fought for federal laws that would limit the number of working hours for women and children, protect them from dangerous working conditions and provide widows and single mothers with small pensions.

While Alice Paul and the Woman's Party argued that such legislation would set a dangerous legal precedent, the maternalists countered that it did not take into account the situation of working-class women, a particularly vulnerable group with a dual commitment to family and wages that made them work in " Double shifts "force. Instead of calling for equality between women and men, they argued for recognition of the differences between them.

"The inescapable facts," said Florence Kelley in 1922 in the Nation, "are that men do not bear children, do not bear the burden of motherhood, and do not have to expose themselves to the poisons that are increasingly characteristic of certain industries - not to the same extent as women to speak of the ubiquitous poison of exhaustion. "

Alice Paul was a leading American suffragette and suffragette. (AP)

Women wanted economic security

What most women needed, they claimed, was not a blanket guarantee of political and legal equality with men, but the economic security that social protection legislation would offer them.

Both sides received support from male colleagues. The Woman's Party teamed up with business people who would benefit from unregulated access to cheap female labor; the maternalists were supported by trade unionists. They viewed potential health and safety laws as an appropriate measure to discourage women from stealing jobs from men. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected President in 1933, he appointed many well-known maternalists to his government, including Labor Minister Frances Perkins, thereby enabling them to play a decisive role in shaping the federal welfare state.

The social protection legislation of the maternalists laid the foundation for the national labor regulations of the New Deal, but the details were left to the men. Many of the benefits included in the New Deal were linked to gainful employment, although the authors carefully distinguished between different types of work. Social Security pension and unemployment insurances did not reach many low-wage workers, including farm workers, maids, domestic servants, laundresses, educators and companions. Thus most women, like black men, were excluded from the financial security and political recognition that these laws offered the white, male industrial working class.

Meanwhile, the efforts of the maternalists focused on a complementary form of social support called Aid to Dependent Children - the origins of what is now mostly simply called "welfare". Aid to Children was intended as a state subsidy on the money that states were spending on their own aid programs. Those receiving these pensions had to prove that they were both genuinely needy and "morally capable". The beneficiaries, many of them immigrant mothers, had to prove in lengthy examination processes that their income was insufficient. They were instructed to take English classes, go to church, and stop cooking with garlic. The pensions were set deliberately low in order to make the life model of the single mother a deterrent.

The Woman's Party warned in 1923 that social protection legislation could be used to bind women to "the lowest, worst-paid work". Their fears turned out to be well founded: if white women wanted to move up to the post-war middle class in the 1940s and 1950s, the surest way to get there was not to work but to get married; black women did not even have this option as black men were also excluded from welfare benefits. Until well into the 1960s, the job advertisements in newspapers were divided into male and female columns, reflecting the differences in terms of advancement opportunities, security and income. Jobs for single women were filled on the assumption that at any moment they might get married and quit; Jobs for married women on the assumption that they could get pregnant at any moment and quit. Pregnant women who indicated that they did not want to quit their jobs were often thrown out without unemployment benefits. A man with a high school diploma earned, on average, more than a woman with a bachelor's degree.

Social protection legislation was overturned

When the second wave of feminism broke out in the 1960s, it did so with all the force of the previous decades of rejection and oppression. The ideas that had seemed radical when Alice Paul campaigned for them were suddenly enthusiastically embraced by hundreds of thousands of suburban housewives: women deserved to be treated as individuals, not just wives and mothers, and to be the men in all Areas of life should be on an equal footing. Much of the movement's political energy has been devoted to breaking down the formal barriers that prevented women from entering the labor market. And so some of their most significant achievements brought about the overturning of the social protection legislation that the maternalists once pioneered.

Hillary Clinton: Beneficiary of Change

Today, over 40 years later, Hillary Clinton is perhaps the best-known beneficiary of this social change. She is by far the most powerful woman in American politics. Unlike her role model Eleanor Roosevelt, she was not born into a political dynasty. Instead, like the last two Democratic presidents, it is a product of the American post-war university system. Their success clearly shows the gap between the old order and the new opportunities that were open to the women who knew how to seize them.

Hillary Clinton, US Democratic presidential candidate. (dpa / picture alliance / Erik S. Lesser)

Hillary was one of 27 women admitted to Yale Law School in 1969 out of a class of over 200 graduates. In 1978 she was the first female chairman of Legal Services Corporation, in 2001 the first female senator from New York State, and today she is the first female presidential candidate for one of the major American political parties, a milestone that could hardly have been imagined in her birth year 1947 can.

Typical baby boomer story

Hillary Clinton's career is now considered a typical story of the baby boomer generation. She was born in Chicago and raised in the post-war suburbs, the daughter of a high school graduate homemaker and a tyrannical father who beat his children and kept the family finances tightly under control. When Hillary went to college in Wellesley, she was still a Republican. When she took her exams in 1969, she was a member of the New Left, had participated in the student anti-war movement, took to the streets for civil rights, had written her thesis on civil rights activist Saul Alinsky, had influenced her college, no longer as a "deputy guardian" "to occur. And she was the first student to give a speech at the graduation ceremony, in which she pleaded for a "more direct, ecstatic and deeper way of life".

After college, she moved to Berkeley and interned at Robert Treuhaft's radical law firm, campaigned for George McGovern and began engaging in the left-wing movement for children's rights, which called for children to be viewed as autonomous legal entities, not just Dependent of their parents.

Figurehead of the women's movement

For three decades, Clinton was a figurehead of the New Women's Movement. Conservative attacks have focused on them since Pat Buchanan made them the centerpiece of his famous "Kulturkampf" speech at the 1992 Republican Congress:

"What does Hillary Clinton think? Well, Hillary believes 12-year-olds should have the right to sue their parents. And Hillary compared marriage and family institutions to slavery and living on an Indian reservation. That, my friends - that is." radical feminism. "

From all the misgivings she faced as a career woman in the 1980s and 1990s, one could put together a collage of snapshots of her life: her hesitation about taking her husband's surname, her decision to postpone having children until her thirties, hers Pantsuits, their hairstyles.

"I suppose I could have stayed at home and baked cookies."

"I'm not that kind of little woman who supports her husband."

On the way to mainstream politics, Hillary Clinton modulated her opinions, but always insisted that women can only free themselves from traditional structures by participating in the paid labor market. This vision - to see the market as a welcome tool for the emancipation of women - is the basis of her alliance with the New Democrats and her reputation as a champion for female entrepreneurship. It was with this vision that she gave her support for her husband's election promise in 1991 to "abolish the welfare state in its present form".

Bill Clinton presented his plan to abolish welfare (now called Aid to Families with Dependent Children) in the fall of 1991 during his election campaign. Addressing students in Georgetown, he stated that the "New Covenant" he was offering to the American people could "break the welfare cycle":

"I want to erase the stigma of welfare for good by reviving a simple but venerable principle: Nobody who is fit can get welfare forever. We give them all the support they need for up to two years, but after that everyone who is able to work must go to work, either in the private sector or in a non-profit job. That is the end of welfare as a way of life. "

At that time, Aid to Families with Dependent Children was probably the most maligned program in government history. Since it was passed in 1935, it has stood for everything that was unfair about the state redistribution programs. Among the most vocal critics have been the welfare recipients themselves, who have faced a battery of moral tests and denied both dignity and the label "working person" no matter how much unpaid housework and childcare they did.

Depending on the region, different strict laws

Although all unemployed mothers were entitled to benefits, according to AFDC, states could, and many did, introduce additional eligibility restrictions. In 1943, Louisiana became the first state to enact an "able-bodied mother law," popular in the rural south, that suspended welfare benefits to mothers during planting and harvesting times.Other laws such as "suitable home", "man in the house" and "substitute father" stopped payments to mothers whose social workers could prove that they were regular Had sex. The rules were so broad that "regularly" could mean anything from "once a week" to "every six months". Social workers were often sent out to inspect the homes of welfare recipients, looking for dirty dishes and unmade beds. How you were treated depended on where you lived: laws tended to be stricter in areas with more black welfare mothers. Cash benefits were on average half as high in the south as in other parts of the country. When black Americans then moved to the industrial cities of the north, social laws became more restrictive there too.

In 1967 civil rights activists and welfare-receiving mothers founded the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO) in order to enshrine the social net, which had long been seen more as a form of charity, as a legitimate claim. The activists campaigned for unpaid housework to be recognized as a form of work. Social assistance is a right, not a handout. Instead of stigmatized, bureaucratically administered payments, the organization demanded a universal, guaranteed, adequate basic income for needy men, women and children, regardless of marital status and position on the labor market.

The initiators of the movement saw social welfare as something that concerns all women. Mothers, as the maternalists had already established, had a weaker bargaining position than other workers; they lacked the freedom of movement and flexibility of single men. From this perspective, welfare could be viewed as a form of unemployment insurance for the most vulnerable members of the workforce. Among other things, it enabled women to wait for better jobs and end relationships in which they were abused. But this realization was not taken into account by the broader women's movement. Although prominent feminists explicitly supported social welfare rights, the central focus of the women's movement remained formal equality in the workplace. When women from the government and trade unions, who had previously favored maternalistic standpoints, stood behind this mainstream struggle for equality, social assistance became more and more the plaything of conservative politicians who pleaded for ever stricter conditions and sanctions.

Most feminists in the New Women's Movement, after leaving the maternalists' sentimental view of motherhood as a "sacred calling", no longer had arguments to convincingly justify income support to poor mothers. Other women went to work - why shouldn't they do that too? What they overlooked: For middle-class women, work meant public recognition, self-determination, the right to be viewed as autonomous individuals and to participate in civil life. For welfare mothers, especially black women, who made up two-thirds of all domestic workers in 1960, work meant looking after other women’s children, cooking their meals, and scrubbing their floors - services that working women have always been more dependent on than they are in ever larger numbers entered the labor market.

Deep cracks within the new women's movement

The welfare reform as envisioned by Bill Clinton had been far more generous than the bill that was finally passed in 1996 by the Republican-dominated Congress. Hillary's support for this law exposes the deep rifts that opened up along class and racial lines within the New Women's Movement when middle-class white women bought their independence from housework by passing the burden on to African American women workers.

Hillary and Bill-Clinton in the election campaign (Timothy A. Clary / afp)

The welfare reform, which eventually became law, effectively ended all public aid based on direct cash payments. While earlier welfare programs included an invitation to work, but then tacitly protected those recipients who could not find a job, there were now strict time limits.

"The law turns a blind eye to all the facts and complexities of the real world and just tells welfare recipients, 'Find a job!'" Wrote Bill Clinton's former Deputy Health Secretary Peter Edelman in a high-profile article called "The Worst Thing Bill Clinton Has Done." - "The worst thing Bill Clinton did".

20 years later, the disastrous effects of the law are evident. The number of people living in extreme poverty - on less than two dollars a day - rose from 636,000 in 1996 to 1.65 million in 2011, prompting the Financial Times to place the United States at their disadvantage with Russia, Jordan and compared to the West Bank. The return to an exclusively state-managed model also increased racial discrimination: Oregon, for example, where 80 percent of welfare recipients are white, has one of the most generous social laws; the one in Louisiana, where over 80 percent are African-American, is particularly strict.

Economic empowerment for women was a central theme of Clinton's politics

In addition, in order to save money, Congress did not link welfare funds to the inflation rate, so that their real value has now fallen by a third. To cushion some of these cuts, Clinton increased the income tax allowances, but once again this relief only benefited regular employees. As a result, there was almost no financial support for people without a regular income - even if the "working poor", i.e. people who were poor despite work, were disproportionately affected, especially by single parents.

In her autobiography "Lived History", published in 2003, when the welfare reform was still widely seen as a success, Hillary claimed credit for getting Congress to vote for the new social law. Their support for the welfare reform was embedded in their usual rhetoric, according to which women achieve self-determination and participation through work alone.

The economic participation of women was a central theme of Hillary Clinton's policy in the 1990s; it is also a basic idea of ​​her message in 2016. But her demand to "systematically and relentlessly demand more economic influence for women", as she formulated it a few years ago in a speech to the Asia-Pacific Economic Community, does not apply to younger women penetrated:

They voted against them in large numbers in the Democratic primary elections. The conviction that fueled her political career for decades, namely that the best for the market is automatically the best for women, has lost much of its charisma, and the promises of this kind of feminism sound increasingly flimsy today.

Women now make up half of the working population but are still overwhelmingly represented in the worst paid and most insecure jobs. Across all occupations, they consistently earn less than men, and they are still concentrated in female-dominated occupations. Mothers in particular must expect serious economic disadvantages. Having a child, according to a 2003 study by Elizabeth Warren, was the most certain predictive factor that a woman would later file for personal bankruptcy.

But while the political order that Hillary Clinton stands for is showing signs of weariness, no new order is in sight. In the Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders conjured up an idyllic image of the welfare state of the 1950s in the fight against Clinton.

Nowhere, however, are the boundaries of Sander's image of the welfare state clearer than in his stance on welfare itself. His official position on welfare was that "no one who works 40 hours a week should live in poverty" and his preferred forms of public welfare were, as with Clinton, tied to full-time employment. Sanders ‘call for free access to higher education without tuition fees and general health insurance has led to both being viewed more as a right than as an economic asset, but he has not asked for any such thing for social welfare.

Fraser's proposed solution for a "universal caregiver model"

In one of her early essays, the political philosopher Nancy Fraser argues that all existing welfare states fail when it comes to the role of women. As long as women do a disproportionately large part of the reproductive work, Fraser says that all redistribution programs based solely on gainful employment will favor men - even if accompanied by full employment programs and comprehensive childcare. But the alternative - viewing people who mainly look after their children or parents in need of care as a separate, protected class - is no better. Even if care and nursing services were officially gender-neutral, the recipients of these benefits would still be mainly women, which would again stipulate the division of work by gender and would under-represent women in public life. Both options are bad, and neither, Fraser says, requires changes in men.

Fraser's proposed solution is a "universal caregiver / caregiver model" based on the assumption that all who work are caregivers at the same time and that all caregivers work at the same time. Creating a completely new welfare state based on this model would mean, among other things, rethinking the length of a working day, nationalizing childcare, decoupling pensions and health insurance from gainful employment and returning to the demands of the social rights movement for a guaranteed minimum income.

Above all, it would mean placing feminist insights and concerns at the center and not on the edge of any kind of left politics. If the movement launched by Sanders' campaign is to embody the spirit of a new revolution, this would be a good place to start.