Cat Boyd: Political Anarchism or Baseless Platitudes?

By Claudia Mulholland

Cat Boyd is the rising star of Scottish politics. Socialist, feminist, and wholly anarchical, she campaigned strongly in favour of Scotland leaving the UK in 2014, and has grown her political profile since. In 2016, this feisty, young politician stood for election in Glasgow representing RISE, a socialist, pro independence party, and in spite of her defeat has not been fazed. Writing for ‘The National’ in the days following the election, Boyd reaffirmed herself as the champion of working class people, confirming a devotion to opening up the stage for socialism in mainstream politics.

But it is her alternative feminism that has shot Boyd to political superstardom. Controversially rejecting the current trend of women defining the political agenda, she is not exalting at the election of May, nor has she joined the throngs calling for Michelle Obama to stand for president following Clinton’s defeat to the sullied businessman Trump. Boyd insists that female politicians are only symbolic devotees of the feminist cause who in reality prioritise gender equality no more than men. Her answer to this puzzle of feminism is anarchy. Feminism, she proclaims, is about provoking an all out revolution against oppressive forces in order to reawaken a debatably dormant ‘spirit of opposition’ as opposed to simply reshuffling the existing order.

But her waters are muddied. Boyd expostulates madly and can rally a crowd, but her calls to revolution lack basis and clout. While her principles need no criticism, Boyd has not proven herself to be the leader that feminism needs. Sermonising against Brexit but failing to vote, only to excuse herself as ‘out of the country’, the divergence between her projected, committed activist image and reality is perplexing. Boyd criticises female leaders as concerned only with their own advancement, but has she proven herself to be any different?

Image: Kimberly Blessing via Flickr

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