Front Cover
 Back Cover

Group Title: Radical America
Title: Women
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087333/00001
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Title: Women
Uniform Title: Radical America
Physical Description: 95 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: Radical America
Place of Publication: Madison Wis
Publication Date: 1970
Subject: Feminism -- United States   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: Radical America.
General Note: Issued as vol. 4, no. 2 (Feb. 1970) of Radical America.
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
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        Page ii
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    Back Cover
        Page 96
        Page 97
Full Text


75 '


.c b;-



ar"~ii: ih'a

February, 1970


Gail Paradise Kelly, WOMEN'S

Marlene Dixon, WHERE ARE WE GOING? . 26

Mari Jo Buhle, WOMEN AND THE
SOCIALIST PARTY, 1901-1914 . .. . 36

Vilma Sanchez, WOMEN, INC. AND


Edith Hoshino Altbach, FROM FEMINISM

STAFF: General Editors, Paul Buhle, Martha Son-
nenberg, Dale Tomich; Madison staff, Dave Wag-
ner, Enid Eckstein, Mari Jo Buhle, Managing
editor, "Fig" Newton. Regional Editors: Penelope
Rosemont, Elizabeth Ewen, Wini Breines, Brigitte
Howard, Paul Piccone, Susan Cohen, Eric Perkins,
Mark Naison, Robert Wicke. Representatives:
Elliott Eisenberg, Alan Block, Val Dusek, Joseph
Mewshaw, William Miller, Arthur Lothstein, John
Kauffman, Dean Beebe, Bill Burr, Peter Wiley, Eli
Zaretsky, Jim Kaplan, Tom Herbst.

THIS ISSUE was edited by Edith Hoshino Altbach.
Special thanks go to Philip Altbach, Ann Gordon,
and the Madison staff for editorial aid and lay-
out, to Don McKelvey for typesetting, to Nancy
E. Margulies for artwork (including the cover)
and to the Black & Red gang for printing.

Vol. IV, #2

Needless to say, this issue does not presume to be the defini-
tive statement on women's liberation. Nor does it represent one
particular ideological position. Practically speaking, how couldone
pretend to remain ideologically pristine and still collect enough
articles on women's liberation to fill up the pages? Moreover, one
of the strongest points women's liberation has made is to view
critically any attempt to 'lay down the line' to us, from any source.
This does not mean chaos or nihilism but a willingness to do our
own groundwork, remembering that no academic discipline, no in-
tellectual framework and no organizational blueprint has produced
up to now either the complete theory or the praxis where women
are concerned. The hardest work lies ahead. This critical atti-
tude is probably the strongest uniting characteristic of the women
in this issue the community organizers, mothers, graduate and
undergraduate students women whose divergent ideological posi-
tions and life styles would in any other context make organizational
solidarity an unlikely thing. Errors of omission are inevitable
in a catch-as-catch-can enterprise such as this; one can only hope
that long before the next Radical America issue on women's libera-
tion the articles missing here (black women in the movement,
Southern women, women and political economy, etc.) will have been
written and published.
-Edith Hoshino Altbach




The following essay was written in 1956 to be part of a book on American
civilization. The book was never completed and the essay remains in draft. The
work was initiated by a small Marxist organization, Correspondence (now, Fac-
ing Reality). We took as one of our tasks the chronicling of the process of over-
throw and rebirth of American society. We encouraged those who were oppressed
by that society to speak for themselves, andwe began with our own rank and file.
That is why this essay is not in form or content academic.

We had already published a pamphlet by a working class woman, A Woman's
Place, and there was a column of the same name in our newspaper which, look-
ing back, dealt with beauty contests, open housing, women in the factory, the
wives of miners in West Virginia, women in the French Revolution. But we
were an organization. The Women's Liberation Movementhas considerably deep-
ened and broadened some of our concerns then.Our advantage was that we viewed
from below, from the working class up, and the vista from that depth is more
penetrating though in some ways limited. This essay was an attempt, on the
basis of this previous work, to reintegrate the oppression of working class and
all women in the home with the total chaos of American society and particularly
those areas which reinforce this oppression: education, housing, the relation of
the aged to production and to the family.

Much has changed in the last fourteen years. The most obvious change is the
Women's Liberation Movement, already affecting even women (and men) who
have not yet understood it. But in a recent return to the States after fifteen
years, it was individual women -- the head of the Panthers in Southern Califor-
nia, who is pregnant, the 22-year-old draft counsellor in Chicago, who is rais-
ing two children, one of whom she adopted when she was 16, the school custodian
in Los Angeles who runs the principal -- who were most striking. They are not
in Women's Liberation; they are women's liberation, and it is from their impe-
tus and millions like them that the movement springs. These women cannot
any longer function within the framework of this society. In their personalities,
their needs and aspirations, they have already cast the shadow of a new society
on the old.

The political consciousness of women is, in these terms, irrelevant. What
unites them is their self-consciousness, their awareness of who they are, and
what are their needs, and their insistence on these needs being met. Where life
was unacceptable -in 1956, today, for women, it is intolerable. Socialism be-
comes not an ideal but a practical necessity for the continuing and inevitable
expansion of the new personality. The essay is a modest groping for description
of this historical process.

The family is the whole civilization in embryo. There the social practices,
aims and ideals of the civilization are not merely taught but practiced under
those conditions and between individuals where human (and in all probability
biological) affections are inseparably intertwined with the social disciplines of
the society. It is in the family that are laid the foundations of attitudes to the
world, the form and content of relations to the sexes and to one's fellow human
beings. There is not, and can never be, any substitute for it. It is a fundamental
form of human existence and for that very reason it changes, must change, ac-
cording to fundamental changes in the forms and conditions of society itself.
The Hindoo patriarchal family, a community in itself; the family of the mediae-
val peasant and artisan, an economic unit, where the father ruled despotically
because he was responsible for the economic life of the family; the family of
the frontier where the woman handled the rifle as easily as the cradle and gained
status in consequence; the middle-class family of Victorian times, built on or-
der and authority in a social climate where prosperity was threatened by obvi-
ous dangers -- all these are examples of the family which corresponded to the

needs of a particular society and various classes in that particular society. But
different as were all of these, they had this in common, that they were founded
on an authority which inculcated the authoritarian character of society as a
whole, and that authority found its immediate andmost obvious expression in the
authority of the man over the woman. It is that authority which, as we have seen
in economic relations, is being challenged from one end of modern society to
the other. And the American woman, brought up in the democratic and social
freedoms of the United States, has challenged it as it has been challenged in no
modern country. The battle she is waging, with all its victories and defeats, is
a part of the general struggle for complete democracy, in the plant as well as
in the home. (The above paragraph was written by C. L, R. James.)

Y The American Woman & the Family*

We intend to give, first, as close a picture as possible of the women of the
American middle class, for society does not consist exclusively or mainly of
workers. No fundamental change in society can take place at all unless large
sections of the middle class actively support it, or at any rate are in sympathy
with it. And they will do this only because they feel that it opens a way out for
them to rid themselves of burdens which are crushing them as members of the
middle classes. More important, an examination of the situation of these women,
free of oppressive laws, with enough money to rid them of economic cares,
shows very precisely the stupidity of 'the higher standard of living' philosophy
and its uselessness as a means of understanding the crisis in society.

The young woman of the middle class has fought for and achieved in the United
States the reputation and the actual status of great social, legal and political
equality. Not only has she had the vote for years, but divorce in many states
takes six weeks on the grounds of mental cruelty or any other superficial
grounds. Birth control is commonly accepted and easy to obtain. Some states
award not only the children, but half the property to a divorced woman. Eighteen
is the legal age of consent but it is not strictly enforced and in fact is not en-
forceable except in case of a scandal. She is born into a milieu and tradition
which ensures her personal freedom and constant and uninhibited association
with men. She goes to the university, often co-educational, to study what she is
interested in. She is, as soon as she reaches maturity, her own mistress, tra-
velling where and when she wants to traveland making her own way in the world.
She decides on who will be herboy friends and practices her own code of morals,
which for her most often means sexual freedom.

Her wealth of experiences in social life and education lead her to believe
that the future belongs to her. Aspirations of marriage and a family are for her
new worlds and situations to conquer, to manage, and to control successfully.
Nothing can conquer, manage or control her, for her restraints are either
self-imposed or do not exist at all. All new relations are for her relations to
be modernized, tailor-made, to suit herself. She, with the co-operation of some
modern young man, is going to create a modern relationship based on equality
of the sexes and no compromise of that principle will ever be tolerated.

* excerpts of the original essay

In marriage, the middle class woman had to face for the first time that, al-
though she and her husband came from the same backgrounds, had gone to the
same kind of university, had worn the same blue jeans, had stayed out until the
same late hours of the night; although she had had almost as many sleeping
partners before marriage as he, had been as independent, yet the desire for her
equality, the feeling of the necessity for her personal development which came
so natural to her, was not at all natural to him. As a matter of fact, what came
natural and most easy to him was for her to assume the traditional role of home,
children and subordination to his needs and whims.

Until this division which creates a man of a certain type, formed for domi-
nance in society and in personal relations, until these educational practices are
abolished, women will find that all the formal and legal and abstract equality
which they may win, will constantly find them up against this particular type of
masculine personality which is the product of past societies and has no rela-
tion with modern social conditions.

But though it is a relic of the past, it is re-enforced by some of the most
powerful forces in modern life. To take only one: the advertising industry in the
United States, within comparatively recent times, has launched upon the Ameri-
can people and the world a conception of 'voluptuous woman' as the indispensable
encouragement to buying everything from toilet bowls to cheap editions of the
classics. Morning, noon and night, from every newspaper, every hoarding,
there is hammered into the masculine head, juvenile, adult and child, the mes-
sage that life consists of first business, and afterwards woman, woman, woman,
presented in as many varieties of physical charms as the ingenuity of the artist
and the layout man can devise. It is at the same time cause and effect of the
diseased relationship of the sexes in modern life. Its particular and pervading
viciousness is that it is in direct opposition to the struggle of women to estab-
lish in the minds of men a concept of themselves as fundamentally human beings
seeking to establish social relations of equal freedom and equal responsibility
and not as hours in some harem of the Arabian Nights.

It is clear that we are dealing with fundamental problems, which are not to
be solved by slogans, by Congress, or under the leadership of Communist or
Socialist parties. What we point out is that these are the problems which make
or break a social order and that vast millions of people are involved in it to the
point of desperation, in their most intimate personal lives. And in this case, the
American middle class, there is no question of a low standard of living. We
concentrate here on the women, but it is easy to see that the matter is as vital
for the men as for the woman.

A The Unending Need to Decide

But not only men, women themselves are caught between the two different
conceptions in the development of their personalities. Though the middle class
woman is brought up in a society where women are relatively free, at every
moment, in spite of personal and physical freedom, she herself is affected by
the constant example of traditional feminine behavior, the product of past rela-
tions of society. She is still educated in the art of catching a man, and in the art
of keeping him, using feminine wiles and tricks centuries old. This at the same
time that her mind and direction are turned to revolt against any attempt to
inhibit or curb her equality or to force her into a feminine mould. It is therefore

not only between herself and her man that there Is a clash. The clash is inside
herself, a reflection of the two socieites into which she is born. Just as in the
relations between people in the plant, two conceptions of society, in fact two so-
cieties, are at war, in the world of public affairs as well as in the individual

From this flows a perpetual disruption of woman's personality creating a
permanent problem which her mother, and most certainly her grandmother,
never knew. The least demand that her husband makes upon her sets up within
her the necessity of decision. If she subordinates herself to his demands and
thereby gives up an ounce of her hard-won freedom, she is acting against her
principles. If she refuses to subordinate herself to his demands and demon-
strates to him and to herself that she can't be pushed around, she is splitting
her personality deep inside of her, digging into and tearing against those aspects
of her personality which are fundamental to her because they are not ideas,
but absorbed assumptions and patterns of behavior from all the life around her.

The very presence of the need to decide, decide, decide, on every issue big
or small, creates not only a social crisis but an internal personal crisis between
what the whole of society has trained her for and held up before her as ideal
femininity on the one hand, and on the other hand, what she as a modern indi-
vidual needs and what society has posed for her as the ideal social status.

No matter what she decides, the very fact that any demand or request legiti-
mate or not, calls for a principled decision, a decision for or against the cause
of women's equality, has destroyed her chances for a fruitful and harmonious
relationship. To find it necessary to weigh and measure, to feel no instinctive
pleasure in doing for other members of the family, to feel no innate assurance
that they are willing to help, for every Issue to be a principled issue, is to say
that the individual finds in the family itself the worst characteristics of the cha-
otic world just outside the door, its tensions, antagonisms and inhumanity. This
dis-spirited, disunited, unsheltered haven lies just under the surface and ac-
curately describes millions of American homes.

people need to live naturally and in harmony with the society of which they
are members. They cannot constantly have to be making intellectual decisions
between different systems, due to the transitional nature and antagonistic char-
acter of the life they live.

These antagonisms have been growing for decades. But here (as in labor re-
lations) they have reached a climax. Society has got to find new foundations in
which people can live instinctively and naturally without having a dozen times a
day to work out problems of ethics, philosophy, moral and social behavior.

A Who Knows the Biological Natureof Woman ?

Meanwhile, however, there are certain prejudices and illusions buttressed
often by high scientific authority, which are deeply rooted in the society and
which will finally be torn up only when the soil on which they have grown is re-
ploughed and resettled. But it is enough to point them out, in relation to our
philosophy of society, to see how superficial they really are.

For many generations it has been claimed that woman is biologically con-
structed for what we shall call, for want of a better word, femininity. Scientists
state with a great show of evidence that women are, as far as their metabolism
Is concerned, unstable. Their whole structure is shaped for the bearing of chil-
dren and their emotionalism, physical and psychological instability all point to
a biological basis for their feminine role.

People who today in good faith repeat these things are swimming in deeper
waters than they know. Just the same type of argument was used for centuries
to maintain the privileges of aristocrats over serfs, of white men over Negroes,
of imperialists over the Asiatic peoples. All those mighty scientific structures
are now in ruins.

If woman is biologically fit only for femininity, then the whole trend of mo-
dern democratic rights and freedom for women is wrong, and tens upon tens
of millions of women, ever-increasing, who see freedom and equality as impera-
tive steps to their own sense of well-being have to be told that they are wrong.
Hitler did that, in the course of his ruling Germany. Only a totalitarian state
can dare to do this and its punishment will be swift, in the chaos that will re-
sult from the violent reversal of the movement towards freedom and the abso-
lute impossibility of restoring the old relations. We do not know what the bio-
logical nature of woman is, and we all probably shall never know. All that we
know is that under certain social conditions of the past, woman has been forced
to play the role of femininity. As the industrial revolution has developed and to
some degree has begun to free woman from economic dependence, the limita-
tions due to her supposed biological weakness have grown less and less. If there
is any remote possibility of finding out what her biological limitations are, it
can only come when she is perfectly free to shape her own destiny as a social
being, to have all the privileges and all the responsibilities of freedom in a free
society. But even this is in all probability a purely abstract idea. All human
beings today are social beings, their biological strengths and weaknesses sub-
ordinated to the powerful, dominating, irresistable shaping of human life by the
vast industrial and social complexity of modern society.It seems to us impossi-
ble at any future time to abstract from this society some purely physical char-
acteristics and call these 'the biological nature' of women. Of the same super-
ficial character is the supposedly masculinity inherent in men. There is not the
slightest biological reason why from the very beginning men and women do not
share equally in the care of the infant and children, and this would strike a
mortal blow at the educational processes which today condition men (and wo-
men) to a shape of personality totally unfitted for the modern world. We must
have the vision of a free and equal society and only that will make sense of the
remorseless struggle that goes on today in countless homes and the increasing
spectre of a society where the old family relationships are disintegrating day
by day and there are no new ones to take their place.

V' Retreat Can Be But Temporary

As in all such titanic struggles, where millions of people are Involved in
relationships, many of which are intangible, victories and defeats go side by
side, even though the general trend is forward.
The absence of this vision of the possibility of a different and new society,
once the middle class woman had achieved all the formal and legal rights that

there were to achieve, have caused her, In recent years, to suffer a defeat. After
the war, the American press and women's magazines opened up a powerful cam-
paign to change the situation, the overwhelming antagonisms of which had be-
come intolerable for men and frustrating for women. What could they offer to
these women who had fought a ferocious battle but who had achieved only formal
equality and little change in actual personal relations? Their only answer was
back to the kitchen, back to being baby machines, back to the old fashioned ways.
It was clear that the battle had reached its limits on the basis that it was being
fought. Formal equality had been achieved. It had brought only frustration. But
one great gain had been achieved. With all formal barriers dissolved, American
women, believing, as all Americans, that everything can be fixed by proper
management of a situation, were for the first time faced with the actual rela-
tion between what American society promises and what it actually gives. The
barriers being removed, the question had come to the surface.

SMany of these women, seeing for the first time the breadth of the crisis, have
said that it does not pay to fight, and have capitulated once more, at least par-
tially, to the domination of their husbands and their homes. A whole generation
of middle class women have switched their courses in universities from the arts
to the art of homemaking, from the sciences to child-care, and from the strug-
gle for equality to the struggle to subordinate personality, desires and intel-
lect to the will of their husbands. Their slogans are: look to your husband, and
enjoy motherhood. Vain retreat. The family has not appreciably changed in any
basic way as a result. But these women at least are no longer externally com-
pelled to wage a never-ending war. But this defeat is only temporary. The new
generation is fighting the battle all over again, and the failure of the parents
is constantly brought home to them by the failures of the children.

--"The Historical Perspective

Americans are looked upon as a materialistic people. De Tocqueville did not
think so. And of Americans today it is totally untrue. The leaders and rulers of
American society, incapable of offering to the people any serious social, cul-
tural or spiritual values, help to create this false picture of American life by
their perpetual harping on goods and gadgets, and the 'ever higher standard of
living'. In reality, the American people, in its large majority, fall back on ma-
terial goods in default of what they lack eternally and cannot find, some system
of values to correspond to the energy and sense of power given to them by the
magnificent territory, their special historical past, and their mastery of ma-
terial things. They seek in vain. They will have to create one for themselves.
More than that. It is being created. That is what we are writing about.
This gross materialism of the American ruling class is doomed to total de-
feat and one signal proof is this very experience of the well-to-do middle class
woman. She has had a 'high standard of living'. Official society has turned all
its forces upon her. The best of American technology is in her kitchen and her
garage. Her life, her home, her family, her income have been held up as the
official American ideal in movies, on the radio, on television, and above all,
in the press and in advertisements. And yet what is the result? She has rejected
it. Rich as the bribe has been, she has not been bribed into acceptance of the
role cut out for her. She has fought for personal freedom and personal equality
in the finest American tradition and if she has for the time being temporarily
retreated, it is only because for the time being she sees no way out. Let the
vulgarians who rule American society, set its tone (and paint the false pictures


that exist of us outside the United States), let them note and tremble how widely
spread is the opposition in the United States to their 'higher standard of living'
philosophy and how knit into the very structure of the American personality is
the desire for a free and equal society.

And here we want to make the first vital connection between the position of
women and labor relations.

Far removed as they are from each other, yet the masses of workers in
American industry, plants and offices, and the women of the middle class have
this in common, that in the two mostimportant spheres of social life, production
relations and family relations, they are embattled and unappeasable enemies of
the principles and values of the existing social order. Both seek essentially
the same thing, freedom and equality, the one in the co-operative character of
the labor process, the other in family life. Both know they must have it, or life
is not worth living. History begins to move when widely separated sections of
society recognize that they have a common enemy and common aims.
Far-fetched? Everyone knows that before the Civil War there was a crisis
in the production relations of slavery. (If the escape of thousands of slaves
every year from production was not a crisis in the production relations of
slavery, then what is a crisis?) It shook the whole nation, and among those
shaken were middle class women who joined the Abolition Movement and
raised the banner of legal equality for women. So close was the relation be-
tween the two that the first meeting for women's rights had Frederick Douglass,
the great Negro Abolitionist, orator and statesman, as its chairman.

Today the social forces, needs and values have shifted. But all sections have
moved. In production relations the crisis is in industry itself against bureau-
cratic domination which ruins the very purpose of industry. In family relations
it is against personal domination in the family which ruins the very purpose of
the family. These are the types of forces that alter the channels in which his-
tory has run for centuries. We do not say that all middle class women will
rush to embrace a labor movement that has shown its determination to clean
out the Augean stables of American capitalism. They will come in stages, the
bolder ones at first, then more, usually younger ones, some who do not come
will be sympathetic, some of those who retreat will be demoralized. The chil-
dren and the youth will come in droves for Americans, even well-to-do ones,
have little of that class consciousness and hostility to working people as such
which so divides European peoples. Wealth as suci does not mean so much to
them because the confidence that wealth can easily be created is still very
strong in the consciousness of the country as a whole. When the nation, in its
vital forces, does move, the preachers on the text of the higher standard of
living will preach to empty benches. As it is, few listen to them today.

A great deal of what we have said here is not new. As we said earlier, the
alert middle class woman has not lacked acute observers who have analyzed her
situation today with ability and penetration. The difference between them and us
is that they can come to no conclusion and the best of them, after going a cer-
tain distance, stop short, and even sometimes destroy the validity of the conclu-
sions they have arrived at because they will not, in fact they cannot, recognize
that the only solutions to the problems which they analyze is the total reor-
ganization of society on new foundations. For the problems created by a society
which has come intd existence during the last fifty years, they insist on seeking

solutions within the old foundations and the old framework, which are now ut-
terly outmoded in every sphere, economic, social and political. And because
of this, few of them seem to be aware that the same battle is being fought by
millions of working class women, and from their very position in society, these
have gone a long way, not in solving this great problem (nothing but a total
reorganization of society will solve that), but towards showing the way in which
it must and will ultimately be solved.

+ The Working Class Woman

The movement of history towards a new social order is very complicated.
A woman of the working class has mixed reactions. Listening to her ideas,
aspirations and complaints, she may feel sympathy and identity with them, be-
cause she too is a woman and because the working class woman is also faced
with her husband's disinterest in her, that is, in the daily problems that she
faces. In the course of the conversation, that sympathy and identity are often
expressed, but in the company of her town kind', she is apt to be more articu-
late and more accurate, and expresses what she instinctively feels are class
divisions, at the same time that she holds to the original alliance with her sis-
ters of whatever class. For, sympathetic or not, the working class woman has
her own problems, her own aspirations, her own distinct methods of coping with
her situation and, even more fundamental, her own instincts and attitudes.
Though she is born into the same world and at the same time as her middle
class counterpart, it is not merely income level which divides them. The in-
stincts and attitudes arise from the different traditions of their backgrounds.
The power of working class women in this struggle is due to the fact that they
recognize, are compelled to recognize that the woman question for them, is
rooted in the relations of production.

The working class woman is at the disposal of her household and her house-
hold is at the disposal of the needsof her husband's job. What her husband earns,
that is what the family lives on. How many clothes she buys, or whether she has
to make clothes by hand, whether the family lives in a crowded apartment or in
a house with enough room for the family, all of these things are decided by the
kind of job her husband has. The shift that he works determines her schedule.
How hard he works determines how much peacemaking she will have to do, and
how much help, if any, she can expect from him. Where her husband works
determines what part of town they live in, and if there are no jobs in that town,
then all the family and social ties have to be forgotten and she and her children
go where he can find work.

The housewife, though she is not dominated byany direct boss or time clock,
knows that she is dominated by what has to be done in relation to her husband's
job. This is the type of profound knowledge of social realities which no academic
education can give. She is learning that there is no solution to her problems as
a woman unless there is a total change in the conditions under which her hus-
band works. This knowledge makes her the leader of her well-to-do sister in
the struggle for the emancipation of women in distinction from the struggle for
legal equality which in its time was led by middle class women.


Let us get some idea of her life, the things that matter, whether she has
voted Democratic or Republican. popular magazines and able journalists do
not spend much time on her.

Since being a housewife allows no creative expression outside the home,
women often try to put all that they have as human beings into the management
and decoration of their homes. And for most working class women, it does take
all that they have to make some of the places they live in liveable, let alone
attractive, on one insufficient paycheck. It is a witness to the narrow lives they
lead that women spend so much time, thought and energy on their homes, for
they have had in the past no other direction for their creative social instincts,
except their homes and families. Today she cannot continue to be so cramped.

Yet one of the fundamental standards of the working class community is the
importance of the unity of the family, not only wife and husband, but sisters and
brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins. Though the family unit has broken up and
physically separated, this tradition still remains. It is this standard which
emerges in all that a working class woman does for her home. She is not only
doing for the expression of her own personality. She is doing for $my family'.

For the working class, and the woman as a part of it, it is foreign to make
intellectual decisions on personal matters. Their lives are spent making the
best of a bad situation, trying to squeeze out all the personal happiness that
they can from an inhuman setup, which is constantly threatening to subordinate
and drain them completely in the work that they do. In that world, people tend
to do what is easiest, not tying themselves up in the knot of rigid principles,
but attempting to lead spontaneous lives to the extreme that this is possible.
Her aim is to pool resources where the family is concerned, each adult giving
freely for the good of the whole, and children trained to do the same. The con-
tribution of the man is the paycheck. In that world, it is not only foreign, but a
destructive imposition for a woman to figure how much she is owed and how
much is owed to her, to constantly measure her share in the distribution of
income or equality. The problems are too urgent.

This has been so for a long time. What is new is that, with this background,
women of the working class are waging a ferocious battle to break down the
traditional spheres of man's work and women's. She wages bitter war for help
in the house from her husband and her children. This battle is not a struggle to
be arithmetically equal. It is first of all to lighten her burden, something which
she never believed before she was entitled to do. It is to include the family in
the home so that she does not spend her life in the kitchen and they don't spend
their lives out of it. It is the struggle for the entire family to take responsibility
for work and thought on where they live and the woman, mothers and wives,
they live with. It is to break the isolation and boredom of housework by being
able to do things with her family. It is to raise her from the level of a house
servant, a personal attendant on the breadwinner, who is old and drained at
forty, to the level of a full member of the family. Thus her personal rebellion
takes the profoundly important form of a struggle for the creation of the family
on a new basis.

The battle is at times sporadic, breaking out over incidental things like why
the dishes weren't done by some member of the family, or why clothes were not
put away

irnav nt Yi,, Mar 11

The battle is at times sporadic, breaking out over incidental things like why
the dishes weren't done by some member of the family, or why clothes were not
put where they belonged, instead of waiting on the woman of the house to do it.
At times, it is done campaign style. A woman sets her mind to the fact that one
sphere, dish-washing, a night out, big shopping, or certain parts of the meals,
will be done by the husband or the kids. But no matter what the issue, the basic
cause for what men call the complaint is almost always the same. It is to break
the traditional division of labor between men and women which has no place in
the modern world. Built on this traditional division of labor are the traditional
privileges of men and the traditional subordination of women to these privileges.

This woman, in her battle to involve her family in a new kind of family life,
is immediately confronted with the facts which come to her on all sides, from
her husband, from the papers, and from her own experience in the working
class, that her husband is being drained daily and hourly by his work in the fac-
tory. This fact is his constant weapon in refusing further responsibility for the
home and in retaining the privileges that society has given him. Though she
lives outside the plant her life is shaped by the angers, bitternesses, frustra-
tions and spiritual exhaustions we have described in Section II.

A man working eight, nine, or ten hours a day has little time or energy to
spend with his children, little time to know even where their clothes are kept,
and little time to maintain a personal life with his wife. He hasn't the money
to offer her the compensations the well-to-do can offer. So that very often, a
worker militantly progressive in industrial and political life in sheer self-de-
fense, falls back in his personal life to the most reactionary prejudices of the
society he is fighting outside. Thus, here it is the woman who in her personal
struggles fights a social cause.

The working class woman must not only fight the prejudices of her husband
which tell him it is feminine to wash dishes or to walk the baby. Much of that
prejudice in the last few years she has totally routed. In struggling for a greater

participation in the home by her husband, she is fighting the entire pattern of
her life and his.

For this woman, the family is the thingabove all that she instinctively wishes
to preserve. The great conflict which is placed before her is that every time
she demands a family which is in harmony with modern society, which is genu-
inely cooperative, the framewor If the old family crumbles from the shock.
In order to preserve the family, it must be totally changed. And in order for it
to be totally changed, a woman finds herself the instrument of destruction of an
institution which all her instincts and training wishto preserve,'but for which
she sees no immediate substitute.

This is the old society confronting the new, head-on. No one dares to openly
claim that women are not entitled to play a full role in every sphere of society.
To do so would sound too much like Hitler's fascist conceptions. But some claim
that women are destroying the family and there is no other family in view. But
only the 'higher standard of living' philosophers can fail to see that the ir-
repressible determination to negate the old is an inseparable part of the crea-
tion of the new. Woman cannot single-handedly create a new family. They are,
however, paving the way for it. They are attacking, proving false, destroying all
habits, psychological, social and political, which are the basis of the old family.
They are solely responsible for the mistrust of the family which permeates
all levels of society. But they have not dug the grave for the modern family
in any conscious attempt to do so. They have done so because they have found
it no longer tolerable. These are the new forces, passions, ideals which grow
up within an old society, and finally, in combination with other new forces and
needs, shatter the old shell to pieces.

And yet the need for the family is so apparent, so deeply rooted in human
feeling, that, uncertain of the future, and in the face of the barrage of propaganda
attacking women for not knowing what they want, working women at times fal-
ter in the struggle. But here, too, the faltering and hesitancy is, by the very
nature of the conflict, temporary. Every advance creates the basis for a new
family, a new society, and a clarification of women's role in it. Neglected as
they are by liberal writers, abused by reactionary ones, working women are
finding out who and what they are, and where they belong in relation to the whole
world. They are so enmeshed in the fundamental relations and basic movement
of society that their vision is shaped by the great concrete realities. These do
not flatter but they do not deceive. Nowhere, not in divorce statistics or in pro-
gressive legislation favoring women, have their lives movedforward dynamical-
ly more than with the exit of women from their home for eight or nine hours a
day to enter modern industry.

O Women in Industry
The pull by women of the man into the home and away from a life which cen-
ters outside of it has been accompanied by the pull of women away from a life
totally lived inside their homes. Women went to work during the war and they
remained at work after. It has brought a great transformation in the minds, the
relations and the actual status of women, and the conflict of women and modern
society which takes the form of a conflict with men, has reached a new intensity,
yet bringing at the same time greater confidence and wider perspectives.

It was during the war, when the government needed women in industry, that
a campaign was opened in the public press and in magazines showing the na-
tural abilities of women for industrial work. With the end of the government's
need for women in industry, the campaign ended. The need now was for women
to return to their homes, and a new campaign to that end began. As usual, these
campaigns, pro and con, were not concerned with people but with industry. This
time, however, as so often in these transitional days, they had bitten off more
than they could chew.

Women before had been told that they needed the protection of their homes,
that they could not manage without it. In industry they managed their own af-
fairs and their relations with men and other women. They became familiar with
an aspect of life which their husbands had always clouded in secrecy and mys-
tery, something which women could not understandand were better off not under-
standing in any case. The ignorance of women of the world outside could no long-
er be held as a weapon against them. Now they knew what their husbands were
doing and a basis for understanding was opened up between them.

The reason women went out to work during the war was that their families
would be broken up for the duration. They were putting some money aside for
the new post-war life and keeping themselves busy during the long wait. But
they stayed in industry and in offices because they had tasted too much indepen-
dence to return again to the isolation and boredom of the home. A whole new
world of social life and material things which could be gotten if a woman worked
was opened to them. They could buy without financial crisis not only what was
necessary, but at times more important, what was not absolutely necessary.
The second paycheck relieved the tension of the budget, and this tension had been
just another of the women's jobs to cope with. The second paycheck made it
easier to demand joint decisions in the house between husband and wife: 'we'
instead of 'he'. When it was the man's paycheck, it was the man's right to give
orders and he was entitled to special consideration. The economic basis of the
subordination of women is now cracked wide open, and the economic founda-
tion for total equality is laid. Once this has happened, actual equality is merely
a matter of time.

Now that the woman was working, men found that they not only had to share
the responsibility of the shopping and cleaning, but when they came home they
had to take care of themselves. Some men couldn't take it. Women in plants
will tell stories which amount to heroism of how they took on the jobs of work-
ing in and working out despite a continuous sabotage campaign on the part of
their husbands to wear them down and demoralize them in order to get them
back into the home for good.

For some men, it was not that they did not want their wives to have freedom.
It was that they knew for each bit of freedom she gained, they would have to
lose special consideration. But other men, with some prodding, began to under-
stand that their wives were going to work and that they had to help to make it
easier for them. After a few years of women working, when the country had set-
tled down to the tendency having become a fact with big figures, men talked
continuously about women working, one always taking the point of view that
everything was better before women worked and others taking the point of view
that housework does get tiring and boring. They knew, because since their wives


had been working, they had done quite a bit of it, they began to understand and
they were sympathetic. The task is not by any means easy, even for the woman
who gets the cooperation of her husband. They cut corners and managed un-
manageable schedules. Those people, however, who were surprised and ex-
pressed amazement at the skill, thought, resource that women showed to this
new and difficult burden, were not only underestimating women. They were un-
derestimating th6 human capacity, at its height in modern people, to cope with
any new situation and come triumphantly through it.

Women proved themselves in industry, and jobs are permanently open to
them. Except for the very highly organized industries where men and women
work side by side, women are paid much less than men. They are by and large,
restricted to industries, such as television, radio and dressmaking, where they
are banded together, harem-style, in industries where unions are weak.

It is only in these industries where companies have the nerve to segregate
women that they also have the nerve to pay them less than men in equivalent
jobs. For they would find it impossible to pay a woman doing one job as much as
fifty cents less an hour than a man who is right next to her doing the same
job. But, characteristic of all modern workers, the fight in these plants, big
and small, is not primarily for equal pay with men. It is for control of the pro-
duction, so as to ensure necessities which women feel it is their privilege to
have: to go to the restroom more often, to refuse overtime work on the grounds
that they have family duties, to lie down for an hour when they suffer from men-
strual cramps, to work where their clothes will not be rapidly made filthy.
Though many women are totally dependent on their jobs for the support of their
families, yet they continually make clear to management that for them, their
families, not their jobs, come first. Companies have replied by taking women
from the line and putting them in supervisory jobs, not top management but
just one step above, the rest of the women. These women are the working class
counterparts of the exceptional women of the middle class. Women have em-
barrassed foremen in plants to the point where they could not come out of their
offices. They cannot do the same with foreladies.

But with their entry into industry and their segregation in certain industries,
the problem of the modern family has been taken right into the plant.

There is no doubt that women are in industry to stay. They are part of what
the statistics call the labor force. What can statistics tell of these vast social
changes where new patterns of family life are being worked out? New women are
constantly coming into industry and women who have not worked for some time
are coming back to it, while others are dropping away for a while. Statistics
cannot report that the very number of women who work gives new encourage-
ment to those who do not. These, seeing their neighbors and friends in the swim,
say to themselves: if they can do It, I can too. Statistics cannot deal with the new
social status which has come of age in the US, the status of the housewife who
works. She does not work all the time, and remains basically a housewife. But
for a few months out of every year, or a year out of every two or three, this
housewife goes to work. The very fact that she can go out to work is sometimes
enough to keep her going in the periods of isolation at home. And even for the
woman who has never Worked, there is the threat that if relations in the home
become unbearable she will join the 'labor force' and realize herself in a new
social milieu.

That women can go out to work, and that for some periods in their lives so
many women have worked, has created in women new awareness of themselves,
and expanded their own conceptions of their capacities. Whence arise new prob-
lems of a totally unexpected kind. Women have become boldly aggressive and
personal force has been added to their instinctive knowledge of how to deal with
personal relations, the job for which they have been trained for centuries. Men,
however, have been trained to be masters to docile women. In the face of this
new aggressiveness and confidence on the part of women, neither men nor wo-
men know how to act to each other. Masculinity has in the past been identified
with domination, femininity with subordination. These categories are no longer
valid. Men, particularly young men, who have been trained to exercise domina-
tion, but have had little opportunity to do so, find themselves lost in their rela-
tions with these new women. They know no other expression for their mascu-
linity other than domination, and they can no longer dominate. They don't know
who they are any more and the place of men is as much in question as the place
of women.

Women, on the other hand, with this combination of old instinct and new
strength, have destroyed the position of men in relation to them. But when they
have done so they findaroundthem men who are defeated and do not assert them-
selves as men. They go from the extreme of the complete defeat of the man they
live with to the extreme of once more trying to make him feel that he is 'ruling
the roost', in order to give him back some of his old self-confidence in relation
to women. In fact, the cry of many women today is for some men. They say
there are no real men around. They do not want men who will dominate them,
but men who will have strength without domination, who will not collapse in
the face of the new strength of women, but who will not try to tell them what to

Chaos? Only on the surface. Now that so many women are able to hold their
own in every sphere of life, fundamental questions have been raised that only
a normal society can answer, namely, what exactly is masculine and what is
feminine. But that masculinity means domination and feminity subordination,
that conception has been shattered.

There are losses. Even those women who do not work and may never
work have given up women's trade, housewifery, as it was once known --
a skill which took a lifetime to learn and which came easily to women. Wo-.
men-'still have the knack in the kitchens, but they use the bakeries, the !aun-
dries, they buy food in cans and cook the easy way. The can opener cooks will
always tell you how it is cheaper to buy cakes than to make them, how it is cheap-
er to buy clothes than make them, and then they will add, 'It's cheaper, it's
faster, but it's a shame, isn't it?' They are referring to the fact that nothing
bought is as good as something home made, and they are also referring to the
fact that they are sorry the housewife's motives and her pleasure of doing by
hand and creating and using skills has virtually disappeared from the home.
They are on the one hand regretfully given up, but on the other cast willingly
aside. And until a new family is created where the incentive for these skills
will once again rise, they will remain buried, with regret, but buried deeply


These, then, are our conclusions.

The general outline of new family relations is sufficiently clear to destroy
any illusion that the old society can satisfy the demands.

It cannot satisfy the new requirements because the new family cannot possi-
bly be established except on the basis of the creation of entirely new relations
in production itself. Working class women in their millions know that the man will
never be fit for the profoundly serious responsibilities of modern family life
until he has, in his place of work, such human relations as satisfy and develop
his needs as a modern human being. All talk of preservation of the family
without this prior change is absolute ignorance, or absolute nonsense.

The present society cannot satisfy the new requirements because production
is organized for the sake of production and not for human needs. A primary
aim of a production organized by workers themselves will be to recognize the
joint responsibility of men and women for the family and the household, and to
organize itself accordingly. Women today in the home are fighting a battle which
is essentially a battle against the existing mode of production, and the battle
will gain in intensity until that mode of production is destroyed and replaced.
Now, with their experience in the plant they are ideally fitted to carry out their
share of that great constructive task which so far only a very few of the great
economists have ever envisaged. The 'higher standard of living' economists
see society as improving (it It can improve) by means of greater increases in
consumption, and for this they are prepared to drive people crazy in production.
But the great masses of the people, taught by experience, are learning that a
rational society begins in the process of production itself and they all share the
sublime American confidence that once the relations of production are made
human, and with them family relations, then the problems of consumption will
be a joy and an adventure.

Such a reorganization of production will not only give the woman her rightful
place in production and the man his rightfulplace in the home. It must inevitably
draw with it an altered place for the children, both in the home and in produc-
tion. If the man and woman share equally in the responsibilities and privileges
of production relations, and of family relations, it will inevitably follow that the
lives of the children will be shaped accordingly and there will arise for the
first time the possibility of correcting one of the most dangerous abuses of mo-
dern civilization -- the indescribable confusion as to aims, purposes, and me-
thods which masquerade under the title of 'modern education'.

We stated it earlier, abstractly, but now we are able to repeat it concretely.
No schools, no state control or intervention can substitute for the education of
children by their parents. There is no reason why kindergartens and even ele-
mentary school cannot be carried on cooperatively within the community by
both men and women, and there is every reason for it. For the first time chil-
dren will begin to get a balanced view of the sexes and an end will be put to
the one-sided femininity which they must now endure for all of their early years.

This is not only for the education of the children, but for the education of the
parents, particularly the father who for the first time for generations will
begin to know and understand his children. Strong biological ties will not be in
conflict with social relationships, but strengthened by them, and the personality
of the younger generation will be molded to fit the needs of modern social re-
lations. It is then for the first time for many years that the family will fulfill
its role in society, that of the educator, the preparer of the younger generation
and the perpetuator of the standards, morals, attitudes and behavior of a so-
ciety, but a new society. The physical structure of social life, the building pat-
tern of the factory, the building patterns of the home, their distance from each
other, transportation, times of work and shifts, merely to list them is to see
how brutal, how inhuman, and how totally destructive to the modern personality
and therefore to production itself, are the present arrangements under which
people are forced to constrict and mutilate themselves to fit into a mode of
life which places rock-like obstacles in the realization of themselves as pro-
ducers and as builders of a family life. Is it any wonder that growth of produc-
tivity is measured in pitiable units per year? Only when the lives of the produc-
ers correspond to what they want, as they want it, will the productivity of labor
leap forward year by year, corresponding to the powers that a truly human life
will unleash.

What we are moving towards is a community of labor in the factory, a com-
munity of labor in the home, a community established between both, and chil-
dren growing up in that community. Already in many working class areas neigh-
borhood families combine together for the proper care of the children, at work
and at play. There is a beginning of community life, in the best sense of that
splendid word, but only a beginning. The total reorganization of the lives of mil-
lions can come from no social worker blueprint. It is there already, all around
us, being worked out every day.

There is not the slightest element of Utopianism in this. It is what mil-
lions and millions of American working women want, the result of the continu-
ing experiences of their daily lives. The Utopianism rather lies with those who
believe that somehow or other the present system can continue, or with the So-
cialists, Communists, and others who, recognizing that the old-fashioned family
is obsolete, propose to abolish the family altogetherand organize personal rela-
tions under that treacherous trap knownas 'plannedeconomy'. For regimentation
chaotic, they propose to substitute regimentation planned. The muderous chaos
of Russian society among the plans, the planned and the planners have taught
them nothing. In reality it is this movementtowards the integration of production
relations and family relations on a new basis, and not any bureaucratic plan,
which alone can bring into being that mastery of all social conditions which will
rescue modern society from decay and lift it on to a new basis.

SWhat Can We Do?

And here it is legitimate to ask: What can those of us wno are not workers
do? There is one thing that all of us can do, and that is to think correctly about
these problems. For serious and rewarding thinking, the first requirement Is
to see what the great millions are aiming at in their day to day living, to see the
future already existent in the turbulent present. The second requirement is to
recognize that this is coming, and can only come, from below. The third, and

this is the function of all worker ideologists and politicians who see clearly what
the people are doing, is to record what is happening and rid themselves of the
mental limitations which the existing society has placed upon such conceptions
as production, the family, the community, to help the people by clearing away
the accumulated intellectual rubbish of centuries. We shall give here one or
two examples. Together they will indicate the possible outlines of the society
of tomorrow.

People write reams about the 'modern' family. In truth, the typical modern
family is no family at all. The implication of all those who defend the existing
society is that modern people want to live this way because they are modern.
Neither they nor anyone else knows any such thing.

In practically all previous societies, the family consisted of grandparents,
uncles and aunts, parents and children. The expanded family unit meant, along
with the subjugation of the woman, a certain freedom for her. It gave her a
community. There were aunts and cousins to look after the children and help to
raise them. There were two or three generations of women to help in the house,
and all household functions, though more physically tiring without the use of
washing machines and electric stoves, were communal affairs. Today a woman
is isolated and alone in her little kitchen or kitchenette, using her vacuum clean-
er or washing machine, if she can afford one, in a silence and loneliness which
is only broken by the noise of the machine itself, the ringing of the telephone,
salesmen at the door, or the daytime soap operas.

So that in all our perspectives for the future and our examination of the pre-
sent (they are one and the same thing), we must cast aside the statistical fore-
casts and envisage a genuine return to the communal family, but a comunal
family based on new relations. In time we shall learn to look with astonishment
at the impertinence of the common view that a woman having to bear and rear a
child, or three or four children, lessens her opportunities in her competition
for equality with men in the affairs of the outside world. What kind of work does
any man do and what is the sense of this competitiveness in comparison with
the bearing of children? The whole conception is a monstrous stupidity which still
moves around, first because it has been around for so many generations. And,
secondly, because it can serve the purpose of those reactionary elements who
wish to maintain things as they are. It is not impossible that the large family
not only in the sense of the actual children in the household, but a family based
on numerous relations, may so enlarge the family until it is expanded to a new
social, educational and productive unit, the special contribution of modern tech-
nology to the long and changing history of the family in the development of so-
ciety. At one stroke, individually and collectively, such family units could rid
society of the monstrous bureaucratic growths which now strangle society.

All this is mere dreaming (or dangerouslysubversive doctrines) to the bleat-
ers of a 'higher standard of living'. They have no conception that it is their or-
ganization of society which has forced millions of people into the contemporary
mold. The list of their crimes is long, but not yet complete. Only the freedom
which is being fought for will tell us whether these burdens and limitations
which modern people have borne were not in direct contradiction not merely to
the social, but the very biological needs of human beings.


Women's Liberation

and the

Cultural Revolution

Over the past two or three years we have witnessed the development of a
significant Women's Liberation movement. It is my belief that the movement
emanated from women involved in radical politics and that the changes which
have taken place over the past decade in radical politics hastened the develop-
ment of Women's Liberation as an organized movement. While the impact of
Women's Liberation on the Left as a whole is important, it is the subject for a
totally different article from this one. In the course of this article I will also
try to sketch how we as radicals might relate to Women's Liberation to help
it fulfill its revolutio narv tential.
Historically, the Left is said to be divided into two distinctive phases: old
and new. When the New Left was in its early stages of formation, those who
called themselves New Leftists considered the Old Leftists too ideological, too
sectarian, and too Marxist (or at least too orthodox in their Marxism). But
these things do not distinguish the Old from the New Left: the fractionalizing
of SDS recently showed that the New Left itself had become highly ideological,
very sectarian, and in part very Marxist. But this is not to say that there is no
difference between the Left of the late fifties and the late sixties. The theory
prevalent throughout the Left in the late fifties was that the role of the movement
was to reach as many people as possible and involve them in challenging and
questioning American capitalism on all counts. For the most part we did not care
if we controlled groups like the Committee to Abolish HUAC, the Student Peace
Union, various civil rights organizations, etc.; what mattered was how many
people we could reach within the groups and move around to our way of think-
ing. While we had our fantasies about seeing revolution in the near future, our
smallness lead us to act as if the revolution could not occur in our lifetime
no matter what we did. We might prepare for revolution, but we would not live
the revolution in any sense. In retrospect, our view was rather limited. But it
was this limitation of view which was responsible for our optimism. We saw
growth as the key factor -- we were not really gauging our effectiveness by our
ability to bring immediate changes either in the society or in the way we lived.

There are many other differences between the Oldand New Left, but perhaps
what has been discussed so far can serve as a basis for understanding why there
was no Women's Liberation movement until recently. There were many women
involved in cold' left-wing politics. I don't think it would be an exaggeration to

say that about 30 to 40 per cent of those involved in the Left were female. Our
position within the Left ten years ago was much the same as it is today. Women
were active, but the roles within the movement open to them were those of typ-
ists, office managers, liaisons with women's groups, and the like. Male chau-
vinism was not absent, it was present in goodly proportion, just evidenced by
our male comrades' openness abouthorizontal recruitment.The Ideologues were,
for the most part, male, and the leadership of our groups were male, not fe-
male. There were notable exceptions to this: some women were field organiz-
ers, some were national secretaries, some were leaders, but many more were
not: there were nowhere near 30 per cent of all leadership positions filled by
women. However, women did not believe that male.chauvinism defined their
role in the movement. Nor did women in the Left appear to feel that the society
was oppressing them any more than it oppressed anyone else. perhaps the lack
of consciousness on the part of women then can explain why there was no real
thought given as late as the early sixties to forming a group specifically to
deal with the liberation of women. This, however, does not account for why
there was no consciousness on the part of women in the movement of their op-
pression as women. probably part of this explanation lies in the ideology of the
Left at that time. Except in the case of a few anarchists and Catholic Workers,
the Left as a whole conceived of revolution as a change in institutions. Capital-
ism was essentially the root-all of oppression, and if it and its institutional
arrangements were changed, then oppression would end inall its manifestations.
perhaps this attitude of not dealing with individual instances of oppression
in a real way outside of total revolution can explain why the Left could not real-
ly relate to the oppressed -- in particular to the black man and the worker.
After all, it is little solace to be told that there is no hope for freedom until
the revolution comes. Given this kind of thought which did permeate what con-
sidered itself to be the revolutionary Left, women involved within it were not
likely to form a Women's Liberation movement. It would have been totally
alUen for us even to dream that after the revolution had taken place women
might not yet be free.

I suspect, however, that none of us in the old Left were as conscious of the
system bearing down heavily upon us personally as are those involved in the
Left today -- we did not necessarily see capitalism threatening our survival
as' human beings. Perhaps we were all too conscious of being middle class and
privileged. While we felt oppressed, it seemed that other groups within the so-
ciety were more threatened, more oppressed than we -- the working class, the
black, the poor. Looking back, it could have been that we had a limited con-
sciousness of oppressed -- and revolution. It would be an understatement to
say that the Left today has more of an activist orientation and conceives of it-
self more as an instigator of revolution than did the Left of ten years ago. No
one today is sitting back and waiting for the revolutionary labor movement to
form itself and bring capitalism down. If lip-service is paid to this hold-over
from the cold days', the Left, white and middle-class as it still is, sees itself
as providing the catalyst for the revolution.

All of this is not to say that there were no women's groups somewhere
around the Left. There was the WILPF and the Women's Strike for Peace. But
no one could claim that either of these, especially the Women's Strike for Peace,
represented an awareness on the part of women that they were oppressed as
women. Those in the Women's Strike for peace identified as mothers and as
housewives. Their demands were couched in terms of their roles as mothers
and wives. Their plea for an end to nuclear testing was based on the fact that
fallout polluted the milk of their children. They wanted peace so that their chil-

dren would have a chance to survive -- survive perhaps in much the same way
that their mothers had.

From the early sixties on, the Left received a strong infusion of activists.
This activism did not begin in the Left; rather, it began with a few people who
were upset at their own oppression. The sit-ins, the freedom rides, and the
anti-Vietnam demonstrations all brought to the Left people who thought that
changes could be made which would ameliorate people's lives, that progress
could be made in destroying the system by demanding that it modify to meet
reasonable demands. And capitalism appeared to bend to meet some of te de-
mands -- atmospheric nuclear testing was banned, federal marshals appeared to
be enforcing an illusory school desegregation, eventhe Kennedys were contribut-
ing to SNCC. There was a general exhileration on the Left as a whole: finally
there was a role that white middle class students could play in making revolu-
tion. Some of us convinced ourselves that students could be the vanguard of the
revolution and therefore that their role was central. Others did not particularly
fabricate dreams like this, but were merely happy in that a role for students
had been found. I suspect that a lot of this kind of feeling was behind the initia-
tion of some of the SDS anti-poverty actions such as JOIN and the Newark pro-
ject. I do not mean to knock this kind of activity. I think that this was one of
the healthiest turns for the Left. For the first time since the thirties, the Left
seemed to be relating to American problems and to be building a specific pro-
gram for this country. While the approach was basically good, it had some un-
fortunate effects. Somehow people really did begin to believe that they were go-
ing to make revolution in the near future, that a war on poverty or a left-wing
version of community development (like the SCEF and SCLC projects) would
make demands on the system that would cause it to fall. We all fantasized this,
but the fact that all this activity brought about no change caused a great deal of
bitterness. People began emotionally to feel the need for revolution and emo-
tionally to believe that it would come soon.The unbelievable brutality and sense-
less horror of the United States in Vietnam probably contributed more than any-
thing to the growing awareness of the corruption of American capitalism and
to the belief that anything that was remotely related to working within, near,
around or with the tools of the system which created the Vietnamese war was
in itself tainting. Not wishing to be #good Germans', the only alternative was to
withdraw from participation within the system. Withdrawal can take many forms.
Jack Newfield, in a perceptive article which appeared in the Village Voice in
1966, thought that politics had become impossible for revolutionaries -- that is,
change was impossible under Johnson and that it was corrupting to try to change
the system from within. Even to express one's aversion to capitalism was fu-
tile. Thus, Newfield prophesized that instead of organizing for revolution, the
Left would turn to Leary's apolitical syndrome of drugs and withdrawal. Here
I think that Newfield was wrong. The Left did not withdraw in the sense that it
no longer tried to make revolution; rather it began to look to creating not only
alternative institutions, but alternative life-styles. If one lived the revolution,
then the revolution would come. This was a very political and revolutionary
step for the Left to take. After all, the revolution not only means a change in
economic relationships, ultimately it means changing social relationships. The
implications of the life-style revolution (cultural revolution) are that each in-
dividual within the Left is to begin to recognize, be conscious of, and deal with
oppression on an individual basis. This means concentrating not only on Insti-
tutional relationships, but relationship between individuals. Thus, the focus of
radicals shifted from trying to communicate with middle-class Americans,

workers, liberals, and whoever else would listen, to living the revolution as
individuals and as a movement. In short, the movement became more intro-
spective in an attempt to begin to define what a revolutionary lifestyle would

In this context, it is not surprising that left-wing women would begin to
notice the oppression inherent in traditional relationships between men and
women. Also, a movement for the liberation of women would by its very nature
serve as a means for defining as well as disseminating the lifestyle revolution.
That radical women would quickly become more conscious of their oppression
resulted from an attempt to define revolutionary relationships between people.

One other change in the radical movement which strongly influenced the for-
mation of Women's Liberation was the development of the militant black move-
ment. The fact that a group exclusively made up of blacks was necessary for
dealing with the oppression of blacks -- that a generalized movement for revo-
lution and justice was not viable to fight the oppression of the black man as a
black man -- led to the realization that there were different kinds of oppression
which were specific to individual groupings within the society and that perhaps
something could be done to relieve some of that oppression short of total revo-
lution. Moreover, people began to believe that maybethe only chance for revolu-
tion was through dealing with specific kinds of oppression. If it was necessary
for the blacks to deal with their problems separately, then it was not only legiti-
mate, but also mandatory that women do the same.

Much discussion has taken place among radical women about their perspec-
tives on Women's Liberation. There are many variations on the theoretical theme
that Women's Liberation is intrinsically revolutionary. One position sees the
genesis of all oppression within a society as the enslavement of women and
thereby maintain that the only way to revolution is through the liberation of
women. This might well explain the emphasis on participation in Women's Lib-
eration to the exclusion of other revolutionary groups such as SDS. Others
claim that capitalism is so based upon the exploitation of women that any at-
tempt to redefine the role ofwomen onan equal basis with men would of necessi-
ty bring down capitalism, thereby bringing liberation to all. From this perspec-
tive, women's liberation is perceived as the straw that will break capitalism's
back and that Women's Liberation therefore is the instrument of revolution.
Other leftists might well see participation in Women's Liberation as a way to
radicalize women who are just becoming conscious of the type of oppression
which is specific to women in this society. In other words, they see Women's
Liberation as the means for bringing home to large groups of non-revolutionary
women the nature of oppression not- only which they undergo as women, but
that all people undergo in a repressive society. Such a perspective might not
necessarily view Women's Liberation per se as a part of a larger revolutionary
movement, but rather as a means of building a revolutionary movement among
another constituency.
The types of activities which are part of Women's Liberation might shed
some light on the potential problems the movement must face. One of the major
efforts of Women's Liberation in most areas has been support groups. These
groups serve to raise their participants' consciousness of their own hang-ups
and of the problems which confront women in day-to-day life. The women re-
ceive support in their encounters with the world at large; this extends to work
situations, to family situations, to male chauvinism within the left, to all forms

of mental oppression.While the value of such groups is unquestionable, they would
seem to disguise the fact that personal oppression is very much a result of
class oppression. Perhaps this is an Old-Leftist fetish, but if my analysis is
accurate, the most that thesepsychotherapeutic sessions can do is help us adjust.
In the case of Women's Liberation, hopefully that adjustment would be an ac-
ceptance of the need for revolution, rather than an acceptance of the need to
withdraw from the society which caused the oppression in the first place. Much
of the discussion I have heard pertains to liberation from traditional roles --
from the drudgery of housework, from being defined in terms of one's husband
or boy friend rather than oneself, from being portrayed as the consuming mind-
less objects that smoke Virginia Slims. There are many other activities which
are part of Women's Liberation, most of whichare designed to free women from
traditional roles. Such activities include self-defense classes, abortionand birth
control information dissemination, day-care centers, sex education projects,
communes, organizing welfare mothers, and the like. These activities focus on
helping women redefine their roles and develop a new mode of interpersonal
relationships. Often, although not always, liberation is not couched in terms of
human liberation from general oppression. Perhaps inadvertently women are
demanding to be freed of the traditional role of housemaker to assume roles
which men play within the society. Thus, we end up asking for equal exploitation
under capitalism. Such thought has contributed to one of the tendencies on the
part of left-wing women to assume that the revolution can take place, but women
still would be oppressed. What they may ultimately be saying is that men, not
capitalism, are the enemy. If one were to carry this position to the extreme,
it implies that the revolution entails struggle on the basis of sex, not on the basis
of class. VVVVVVVV

Ultimately, however, this ideological nit-picking on our degree of crevolu-
tionary purity' one way or the other is irrelevant. No one would deny that taken
separately individual demands of Women's Liberation scarcely sound revolu-
tionary. But that these things have been demanded and refused so vehemently
for no other immediately apparent reason other than that women should be en-
slaved, begins to raise the consciousness of all of us as to what oppression is
all about and how our liberation is entwined with the liberation of others. If our
demands put strains on American capitalism,which they might very well do,
then we have gone a step farther in terms of being a revolutionary group. If all
oppressed peoples including women, blacks, workers, and the poor make de-
mands on the system, sooner or later it will be unable to adjust and modify
to meet these demands.

To consider another potential problem, there is a tendency of many women
who are involved in Women's Liberation to consider themselves liberated. What
they mean by liberation is more Freudian than Marxist (although some might
doubt whether one type of liberation is possible without the other). Liberation
here has been defined as freedom from traditional roles, from participating in
the mainstream of chauvinistic America, or being trapped by the traditional
family, or being haunted by the socialization process which we as women have
undergone. This kind of definition of liberation implies that individuals can be
free in the midst of oppression. It would be entirely possible, for instance, for
many women to be liberated (if we accept this definition) while men and other
women who, more exploited than we, are not even conscious of being oppressed.
It is entirely possible that many involved in Women's Liberation are not defining
liberation in a revolutionary sense which would preclude the possibility of the

liberation of a few while the rest are in chains. If we do consider ourselves lib-
erated, then we seem to be saying that we do not find the enslavement of others
oppressive. The point which I wish to make here is that we radical women in
Women's Liberation do have a problem translating our changes in lifestyles
into changes in institutions and in capitalism. If we fail to define liberation in all
of these facets, we essentially give up our radicalism in its fullest sense -- in
the sense of understanding the necessity of destroying oppressive institutions
as well as oppressive attitudes which are at the root of oppressive relationships
between people.

It is important for us to understand that Women's Liberation does have a po-
tential for being revolutionary only if we as radicals begin to perceive of it in
terms of building revolutionary consciousness and of making revolutionary de-
mands. We cannot be deluded into separating the liberation of women from the
liberation of others and our role in Women's Liberation is in making this clear
to others. But the problems inherent in a group like Women's Liberation relate
to the problems of the entire Left today and what the Left is trying to do. The
concept of lifestyle revolution can become very limited if we allow ourselves to
get caught up in our own sub-culture and, as a result, delude ourselves into
thinking that a change in the way we live is going to drastically affect anyone
but ourselves. We may well run the risk of ignoring the problems of others,
more oppressed in reality than ourselves, who are caught up in the drudgery
of earning a living and struggling to survive physically. We must move out, be-
yond our subculture to organizing and speaking to the needs of people who are
not yet even conscious of what is the basis of their oppression or that anything
can be done to alleviate and change their lives. In great part this involves ac-
tivities and work which have little to do with cultural revolution... asking a work-
ing class woman to give up her makeup and telling her that that is what oppresses
her is absurd. Her oppression is of a more basic and more institutional nature:
capitalism in its broadest and ugliest sense. We must also begin to emphasize
minimal or god forbid, reformist-type demands, if we ever want to reach
others who need to be reached. What I mean here is demands which in and of
themselves will not bring down the power structure, but do speak to alleviating
other people's suffering, it is our task then to take these demands and expand
them into revolutionary demands.

This article has not meant to question the intrinsic value of Women's Libera-
tion as a movement; rather it has tried to explain radical women's participation
within that movement. I do not wish to be misunderstood -- Women's Liberation
is one of the best things that has happened in a long time. It provides a real po-
tential for helping women cope with problems intrinsic to being a woman in a
basically male-chauvinist capitalist society. However, the focus of women's
liberation on introspection can serve as a means for revolution only if we go
beyond developing a consciousness of individual oppression and individual ways
of coping with it. It is here that I become critical of the movement and critical
of the role that left-wing women have played in it. For, too much like the Left as
a whole today, we have gotten so bogged down in the way that we live that we
lose the possibility of becoming relevant to the ways others live, so much so that
we lose all ability to communicate with them. Some of the 'more revolutionary
than thou' attitudes on the Left could well be responsible for the demise of the
movement -- for we get more interested in being right than relevant. We seem

to think that the way that a few thousand live is going to make a difference. Some-
times we don't seem to separate living a revolution from making it. If my criti-
cisms of Women's Liberation are a bit harsh, it is because at this point in the
history of the Left, it holds the greatestpossibility of developing a revolutionary
consciousness and of threatening institutions within American society which are
oppressive and which affectallpeople who happen to be women. At the same time,
Women's Liberation, more than any other group, has been building alternative
institutions as well as lifestyles --somethingwhich revolutionaries in this coun-
try have long been unable or unwilling to do. I Par e
Gail Paradise Kelly


Baby you know I get high
on you, come back with me
whispering in her ear
it was all she could do to say
no, spring leaves budding,
his hand on her breast
crocus smell and
everything unfolding
she gasping I want, I
would but instead hurrying
back to the windowless room
where she locks the heavy door.
Lemons are rotting on her pillow,
she studies her nipples,
nyloned crotch in mirror
then hugs her huge body to sleep.

+Lyn Lifshin


Women's Liberation

psychology hides as ideology

The first national gathering of militant women's groups since Seneca Falls
met during Thanksgiving 1968 at a YMCA summer camp outside Chicago. The
conference began in an atmosphere of organizational chaos. The clash of politi-
cal interests, groups vying for ideological influence, proselytizingfor one or the
other's vision of truth and the overriding suspicion of 'heavies' and 'elitists'
marked it as a Movement gathering. The ideology of sisterly unity was often in-
voked verbally but one saw little of it in practice. As the conference continued,
however, the surface resemblance to a typical conference began to show itself

What marked the significant conference workshops was not the rhetoric, but
the intensity of the participants, the electric current of anger and outrage that
coursed beneath the surface of the driest discussions of 'women and capitalism'
or 'marriage and new life-styles'. As the conference progressed, old rhetoric
gave way to originality in language and politics. The charismatic quality of the
WITCH group with its wild and inspired poetic imagery of Kings and Fairies,
Witches and powers invoked a litany of oppression and rebellion. There was also
the impassioned messianic prophecy of the New York women committed to 'con-
sciousness raising', a form of organizing that calls upon women to recognize
at the deepest emotional level their own contained resentment flowing from
frustrated aspirations, their loneliness as the givers of understanding who are
themselves not understood. Many of the consciousness-raising groups drew upon
women's suppressed rage, refusing to utter the ritualistic 'we don't hate men',
preferring to proclaim that they not only hated men, but that the oppressors of
women should be hated.

The character of Women's Liberation as a powerful and politically original
movement appeared in workshops, while the defensive, Movement-trained quality
of women's liberation dominated plenary sessions. The workshops often left
one elated, while the plenary sessions left one depressed. The conference ended
in the atmosphere in which it had begun:suspician envy, arrogance bred from the
sure knowledge that one's consciousness raising or one's socialist ideology was
the single truth. No national organization, no journalor newsletter, no communi-
cation network, nothing of the structural framework for a movement did or

could have emerged from the Chicago conference. What many participants had
learned was the nature and condition of the national radical women's movement.
One left the conference with a sense of strengths and weaknesses, as well as the
future promise, of rebellious American women.

The strength of the women's movement is rooted in the real oppression of
women, while its future potentiality as a mass movement clearly depends upon
the quality of the consciousness that women develop. Both the socialist and the
consciousness -raising groups were in this sense correct. Ultimately, the strength
of the movement will rest upon the depth of women's understanding of the na-
ture and origins of their oppression and upon the honesty with which they are
able to face the psychological terrors of open rebellion. It is a fearful thing for
a woman to be a rebel, as much for the Movement wife' as for the average

Indeed, much of what passed for 'ideological struggle' at the women's con-
ference was in fact a disguised struggle between totally rebellious 'independent'
women and radical women who work primarily within women's caucuses. The
tension that surrounded the unspoken fears of women concerning the conse-
quences of open rebellion often took the form that women, and other oppressed
groups, are most familiar with: turning upon each other. Much of the pathology
of the conference, particularly in terms of personal animosity and suspicion,
could be directly traced to the degree to which each woman was still dependent
upon men for her evaluation of herself. The boldest and most fearless women
were clearly those who had bolted from, or never belonged to, established
leftist organizations; they were followed by those women still in such organi-
zations, but active in women's auxiliaries. The unattached and curious women,
newcomers to the movement, were the most timid and confused.

The defensiveness that characterized the workshops and plenary sessions
was the expression of an overriding anxiety about being able to justify the exis-
tence of a women's movement. The Invisible Audience present at the Chicago
conference were the very 'male heavies' who had done so much to bring about
the existence of a radical women's female liberation movement. The radical
women had a prior history engraved upon their foreheads: Ruby Doris Smith
Robinson presenting The Position of Women in SNCC (1964) provoking Stokely
Carmichael's famous reply: 'The only position for women in SNCC is prone';
Casey Hayden and Mary King rousing a storm of controversy for their articles
in Studies on the Left and Liberation; and the December 1965 SDS conference
greeting a discussion and floor demonstration on the issue of women with cat-
calls, storms of ridicule and verbal abuse, *She just needs a good screw', or
(the all-time favorite) 'She's a castrating female'.

Women had learned from 1964 to 1968 that to fight for or even to sympathize
with women's liberation was to pay a terrible price: what little credit a woman
might have earned in one of the Left organizations was wiped out in a storm of
contempt and personal abuse.
The strategy that the leftist women had adopted for the Chicago conference
was to develop a 'politics' with sufficient analytical merit to force the men to re-
cognize the legitimacy of the women's movement, a tactic which has paid off in
the Movement by 1969. Socialism, Revolution, Capitalism were thick in discus-
sion. WITCH, Consciousness Raising and Radicals met head-on in debate, amid

many hard feelings. The trouble was that none of these analyses, and this un-
fortunately especially applied to radical women, seriously linked theory and
practice in such a way as to lead to strategies for action. For instance, the
radical women had not yet begun to push for day care centers in working class
organizing, although when they at last found an action, they were to become as
fanatical and sectarian in rejecting all those whose minds remained unblasted
by Truth as the non-Movement women.

The 'ideology' of the radical women was, by and large, an academic exercise
in the art of the 'intellectual male heavy' in the Movement. The radical women
were decimated by the invisible male audience. Thus, the real split among the
women hinged upon the significant audience that women addressed: other women,
or Movement men. The audience determined not only ideology, but the role wo-
men took in workshops and debate. Also, most crucially, the choice of audience
determined the ability of one woman to understand another. Yet, irrespective of
the origin of stressing political analysis above all other elements of the women's
movement, or even the rather vulgar Marxist-Leninist character of early at-
tempts, the long range effect has had tremendous importance to furthering the
intellectual maturity of the women's movement.

At the conference, and in later controversies, the basic division between
women is usually referred to as 'consciousness raising' vs. 'radical' or 'bourge-
ois' vs. 'revolutionary'. The names are very misleading for understanding the
division, but highly indicative of the nature of the misunderstanding between

W omen are trained to nuances, to listening for the subtle cues which carry
the message hidden under the words. It is part of that special skill called 'in-
tuition' or 'empathy' which all female children must learn if they are to be suc-
cessful in manipulating others to get 'what they want and to be successful in pro-
viding 'sympathy and understanding' to their husbands and lovers. The skill
is so central to communication between women and all others women to
women, women to men, women to children that it is not surprising to note
that intuition is also central to political communication among women. There
are no words for communication which occurs on many complex levels, so that
it is quite possible to have two complete communication processes going on at
once -- the articulated and the implicit levels. At the women's conference the
overt process was all in a man's vocabulary of political rhetoric and analysis,
while the covert level was altogether different.

The 'wildcat' women those who had bolted leftist movements or never be-
longed to them were communicating that their chief point of honor was mili-
tance on behalf of women and their complete contempt for women incapable of
dismissing the 'invisible' audience. They were also picking up the defensive
vibrations of the 'intellectual' movement women, for the wildcat women knew, al-
though they did not overtly articulate it, that the invisible male audience was
always present. Their recognition of this reality led them, in the name of mili-
tance as they understood it, i.e. for independent women and women's liberation
as first priority, to scorn movement women as sunliberated', and permitted
them to express their suspicion and resentment in the form of a rampant anti-

The Movement women, in turn, picked up the hostile and contemptuous vi-
brations of the wildcat women with equal clarity. More damaging, the very
recklessness and originality of the wildcats terrified Movement women who were
observing the very woman-ness (irrationality, expressiveness, emotionality,
anti-intellectualism) that the leftists knew provoked the most brutal reactions
from the Movement men they would have to live and work with in the future.
The Movement women counter-attacked by rejecting $consciousness-raising'
as #bourgeois counter-revolutionism' and even less flattering descriptions.

Thus the battle was waged in a political vocabulary, but the issues had real-
ly to do with basic orientations toward women. The wildcat groups took woman
(as mystical, rebellious, expressive and mysterious, or as enrages) as their
ideal, while the leftist women were using leader-intellectual (the role from which
all rewards flow in the Movement) as theirs.The tragedy of this misunderstand-
ing was that political polarization needless polarization was the result.
The wildcat women, many of whom hate the movement bitterly because of the
chauvinism they experienced in it, dismissed the leftists as unliberated spokes-
women for the submersion of the women's struggle in the 'revolutionary strug-
gle'; while the leftist women dismissed the wildcats -as hopelessly a-political
and counter-revolutionary. That each might have learned from the other, that
all shared real conditions of oppression, was obscured.

A another battle was waged on the level of sentiments, in the suspicion of lead-
ers. The resentment against women who seemed in charge (such as experienced
by Marilyn Webb and others who had worked hard, and thanklessly, to bring the
conference about) was real, a product of all of the participants' experience with
established organizations. Women had suffered so much from the oppression of
'male heavies', whether from a boss on the job or a boss in the movement or
the boss at home, suffered from being forced to be camp followers, ignored in
decision making and treated generally with contempt for their intellectual and
moral qualities. Their resentment, therefore, of any woman who even appeared
to be playing a typical male leadership role, whether true or not, bordered on
the pathological.

The women's movement, like the black movement before it (and most rebel-
lious movements in their early stages of development), is torn by suspicion and
rivalry: everyone wants to be a leader, or to be in a position to achieve recog-
nition for which they are starved. But no one wants to admit'it. Years of second
class citizenship breeds in people an enormous hunger to be recognized. If
one's hunger is to be once again frustrated, then, damn it!, no one else is going
to enjoy the pleasures of recognition either. The result was that 'leaders' 'led'
by virtue of doing hard, ugly work andthen bent over backwards trying to appear
to be 'non-leaders'. This, of course,' fooled no one. The long nurtured, secret
hunger for recognition has been hidden for so long it had taken on a magical,
fearful meaning -- no one could talk about it. It remained, at the conference,
unexpressed and sour, a slow acid eating at the women's movement, guarantee-
ing that it will remain segmentalized, split into tiny groups in every major
city and region, unaware of its potential size and power. Thus the issue of
leadership, of democratizing the structure of the movement, of fighting against
the manifold corruptions of elitism is not only a major problem in political
theory for women, it is the practical problem which must be solved before the
movement can reach its maturity. The alternative is death through factional-
ism and disintegration.


A Case Study in Useless Virulence

Iostility and misunderstanding have only grown more acute with time, and
hostility and misunderstanding mean that women spend more energy fighting
each other, or merely fighting male chauvinism, than they do organizing the
Movement. The possibilities of the situation were made depressingly clear at
the Black Panther Party's recent United Front Against Fascism conference held
in Oakland. A brief account of events will serve to set the stage: the Panthers
had arranged a woman's panel for the first evening's meeting, to follow upon
key-note speeches by the conference leadership. Security precautions and other
difficulties had necessitated the conference getting off to a late start. As a re-
sult, there was, among many of the women, a flurry of rumors that the wo-
men's panel would be cancelled at the last moment. The atmosphere among the
women was one of suspicion and a sense of determination that the women should
have their opportunity to participate along with the men. A spontaneous floor
demonstration during the lengthy speech by Herbert Aptheker was sparked by
calls from the audience to 'let the women speak', and a large number of women
stood up to protest silently the cancellation of the woman's panel. The pan-
thers, concerned about provocateurs, police, federal, SDS-PL confrontations
and all the other machinery of ruthless repression, denounced the demonstra-
tion as the action of 'pig-provocateurs', issuing threats if the disruptive demon-
stration were continued. It was unclear whether the panther leadership under-
stood that the demonstration of the women was for the women's panel, and not
against either the panthers or Herbert Aptheker. In any event, the women's
panel was held. It was true that there had been discussion of the possibility of
cancellation, but the women did get to participate. It is also crucially impor-
tant that the majority of the women present who engaged in the floor demon-
stration were long-term supporters of the panthers and were some of the best
radical women in the country. It may be regrettable that long-repressed frus-
tration was spontaneously expressed at a panther conference, but at the same
time respect must be given to those who had decided to fight oppression wher-
ever they found it.

All might have been smoothed over, as the panthers attempted to spread oil
on the waters of female discontent and the women to make clear that they had
no desire whatsoever to disrupt or in any way 'take over' the Panther confer-
ence. However, on the following day a group of women, identified with various
leftist sects, came to defend the Panthers. Their idea of defense was to attack
the other women as counter-revolutionary lackeys of Capitalism, objectively
racist, etc. etc., and to insist that there had never been any intention of cancell-
ing the women's panel. The women underattackbecame in turn enraged, for they
were being accused, misrepresented, and generally subjected to absurd abuse.
What on the surface was represented as a class' battle between the 'baddies' -
all women who had taken part in the demonstration and the 'goodies', was in
fact a battle between women who were primarily committed to a struggle for
women and those who were primarily committed to whatever line was dominant
in their sect at the time. The confrontation, surely one of the ugliest exchanges
between women to date, brought near disaster, for the non-sectarian women
were so enraged that they considered denouncing male chauvinism at the con-

An evening meeting followed the afternoon confrontation, which had been
broken up by the sectarian women chanting HO HO HO CHI MINH (the irony of
that I leave to the reader). Here, Berkeley women, socialist women from Seat-
tle, anarchist women from Boston, radical women from New York and other
equally seasoned and politically wise women's liberation types debated all of
the issues that had been raised, and voted overwhelmingly to let the issue of
male chauvinism at UFAF drop (denunciations were circulated, but they were
not prepared nor endorsed by Women's Liberation).

The bungling interference of the sectarian leftist women not only provoked
a far more serious threat to UFAF than had been represented by the floor de-
monstration, but also served to bring into being a deeper rift between leftist
women, intensifying an increasing atmosphere of suspicion and distrust between
those who were still members of established organizations rather than indepen-
dent, radical women's liberation groups. It was tragic that the arrogance and
ignorance of the sectarian women had created such hostility. The vote not to
create additional problems for the panthers, who needed support and not con-
tention, was interpreted by some, needlessly, as a failure of nerve and a sell-
out of women's liberation.


Bourgeois Male Supremacy is Counter-Revolutionary

The underlying issue was not in fact the Panthers. It was the confrontation
between sectarian women and other radical women. The sectarian women ap-
parently had approached the meeting with a stereotype so grotesque, and so
typically male, that communication was impossible. Charges of being 'petty
bourgeois', 'men-haters', 'objectively racist', and so on, contained all of the
men's invective against the women's movement. The non-sectarian women re-
acted defensively, over-reacted in fact, to their attackers. There was little
if any truth in the accusations, but the women were pushed almost to a frenzy
by the fact that other women were using the men's line to attack them. Rather
than being able to dismiss the attack as nonsensical (and since communication
with the sectarian women was unfortunately hopeless), they felt great struggle
had to be engaged before they could once again feel secure in their own Move-
ment and their socialist or revolutionary commitments.

The root of such confrontations as occurred at UFAF remains the presence
of the Invisible Audience and all the defensiveness and insecurity it generates.
Equally, such confrontations grow out of the fact that increasingly for one seg-
ment of the women's movement, the significant audience remains movement
men, while for another the significant audience is militant women. The conse-
quences of this division are very serious, for potentially the lack of recognition
of the real causes of such confrontations can destroy the infant movement. A
brief example from a much maligned student struggle serves to make the point.

Women's Liberation as part of the student movement achieved national
notoriety during the University of Chicago sit-in of January 1969. The Women's
Caucus, formed in the building by Women's Radical Action Project (the SDS
caucus) had from the earliest days of the battle pushed for demands based on

the university's oppression of women. Indeed, they engaged in the first direct
action, by placing a hex on Morris Janowitz. Once the students had occupied
the building, women presented a statement and a set of demands to the plenary
within the administration building. The women's proposals were passed without
debate. The women concluded, quite rightly, that this process was a *white lib-
eral' response, a token answer to the moral correctness of the women's insis-
tence on recognition of their oppressed position in society, in the university
and in the Movement. As the men continued to dominate as spokesmen for the
sit-in, the women demanded and got an all-women's press conference. All men
with the exception of photographers were barred from the press conference,
to show the support women's liberation felt for the oppression of women re-
porters, and while the men reporters howled about civil rights and racist wo-
men, the female reporters experienced a change of consciousness. The wo-
men's press conference brought women's liberation as a radical movement to
national attention.

The women believed the next step should be to initiate a women's action. The
response to the suggestion that they occupy their own building, leaving the men
to hold the administration building, was that such action would be divisive -- the
great rallying call to suppress women's action. The negative response to the
women's idea of their own action was a classic example of the radical male
supremist response. The tactical facts were that President Levi had assumed
he could outwait the students: the university had all the resources, the students
none. He would simply starve and wear them out of the building. And that was
precisely what he did. On the other hand, President Levi was under pressure
from many senior faculty (playing their usual reactionary role), who were de-
manding that the police be called to deal with the situation. The women believed
that if they had taken their own building, the entire student struggle might have
had a very different end than the purges that followed. The women's action, by
starting a whole new phase of the occupation, might have prolonged the student's
battle far past sixteen days, and thus made a difference that might have forced
the university to negotiate with the students.

The Chicago women, irrespective of their organizing for a day-care center
for workers at the university for nearly a year, were alone in actively trying
to organize workers, and yet were attacked for being 'bourgeois' and 'counter-
revolutionary' because their demands included proportionate representation of
women in the student body and in the faculty. The sectarianism of this kind of
male supremacist attack, spearheaded by an Aunt Jane, was made abundantly
clear when the Billings Hospital wild-cat strike followed upon the work that
women had done. No strikes, or anything other than a great deal of hot air, had
been produced by those who were busy attacking the women for being 'anti-
working class'.

The University of Chicago sit-in is a contemporary example of the fact that
male supremacy weakens the entire Movement. History is repeating itself.
From the Abolitionists to the Labor movement, women have been exploited:
welcomed to the barricades when needed, sent back to the kitchen when no long-
er required to fight the men's battles.

Token recognition continues, with a few women selected to grace the upper
echelons, in finest liberal style, while the men declare their astonished admira-
tion for the hidden talents of the women. Yet, the issue of the oppression of
women remains preipheral and well-controlled.

Exploitation of women is indeed practiced by radicals, by working and mid-
dle class men, no less than by capitalist relations of production. There remains
the massive exploitation of women, producing an unorganized mass base for a
social movement. Such a mass base must, if it understands correctly the nature
of its exploitation, be radical. In practical terms, women who organize women
know how quickly radicalization occurs, when they are appealed to in terms of
their own interests and with respect to actions and organizations that address
the oppression of women. Working women and trapped housewives alike are too
aware of their own exploitation and oppression to be exploited in turn by the
student movement, or any other movement.

A Race Against Time

Y t the radical women, even in the face of a large, well-funded liberal or
left-liberal organization such as the National Organization of Women, remain
tied to a male audience, defining themselves in terms of men's organizations
exclusively and continuing to regard women opportunistically, as another group
to further the struggle. So long as women remain tied to the men's *line', and
blind to their own exploitation by white middle class male radicals, it will not
be radical women who do the organizing. The organizing will be done by political-
ly unsophisticated, profoundly liberal women who address women's oppression
directly. Unless the radical women get themselves together, in the interests of
their own oppression and the oppression of all their sisters, a mass movement
dominated by an ideology of 'let us in' (and not 'set us free') will develop in the
next few years.

Women must face facts. Men will never, until forced by circumstances,
place first, or even urgent, priority upon a struggle against the oppression of
women. Witness the fact that there is not one male dominated organization,
from the left-liberal New University Conference to the radical youth move-
ment, that has been willing to place top priority upon the women's struggle.
Indeed the idea is so repugnant to many men that they cannot tolerate a woman
who refuses male leadership in order to address her energies primarily to the
liberation of her sisters. Men must carry the burden of white middle class
guilt'; they cannot live with the growing recognition that in their daily lives they
exploit and oppress; and so, they struggle against women and against the al-
most intolerable process of self-recognition women are now demanding they
For example, it is not an accident thatradical women have not been organiz-
ing. The energies of radical women have too long been deflected into arguing-
pleading-justifying their cause, i.e. to fighting male chauvinism, male suprema-
cy, in the movement. Theirs has been a profoundly a-political, personalized
struggle, one devoted to personal liberation. It is ironic that radical women, so
wrapped up in their sex lives and Movement careers, so obsessed with per-
sonal liberation, have been unable to see the contradiction in turning to at-
tack (as utopian, apolitical and bourgeois) women who are doing no more than
the same thing, only with more boldness, originality and courage: women refus-
ing to marry, women setting up liberated communes, women concerned with
raising children collectively, women who have tried to show the possibilities
of experimentation with free lives.

Male supremacy is a man's problem, and they are either with us or part of
the problem -- the solution is their responsibility. What is important is building
an army that will attack the brutal inhumanity and injustice of a capitalist so-
ciety at every weak point of its abusive exploitation of the powerless, that will
spread the idea of liberation through all the web of contradiction and oppression
that destroys human beings before they are half begun in life. The arrogance,
duplicity and culpability of men who will not admit the power and authenticity
of a mass movement based upon the oppression of women all women is to be
condemned, in the name of revolutionary discipline, for they weaken and abort
the liberation of a people. These men are dupes and victims of their own so-
ciety, containing within themselves the image of a ruling class, for they exhibit
contempt for human beings, opposition to the freedom of human beings, an ab-
solute refusal to stop benefiting fronl the exploitation of human beings. Let them
come along or get out of the way. 4r

Marlene Dixon


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Women & the

Socialist Party

The basic problems facing women under capitalism have met with
little qualitative change. The mechanical innovations of a century of
technological progress, while lightening the burdens of household drudg-
ery, have contributed to the reification, or 'professionalization', of wo-
man's role as housewife. Modern capitalism staved off the disintegra-
tion of the family, a horror predicted by the first generations who grap-
pled with the implications of the transformation of American economy
after the Civil War. The family remained as a vestige of economic pro-
duction of a by-gone era, but through certain technical and social remi-
fications, the family as the basic social unit of American society lin-
gered, perpetuated with new rationales for woman's strapping to the
institution. The protest of women against the oppression inherent in
such a system are transhistorical, but the contradictions become most
explicit during periods of intense social crisis, such as the linkage of
the women's rights movement with ante-bellum reform.* Similarly, as
the Progressive Era marked the first social confrontation with modern
corporate capitalism, tensions heightened as institutions outgrew their
usefulness in industrial society. Women took active roles in the various
reform movements of the turn of the century, from agitation for fac-
tory safety legislation, pure food laws, Temperance, and conservation
to their long-standing demand for the right to the ballot. The entry of
masses of women and girls into industrial labor once more dramatized
the inequalities; as they saw the possibility of their economic indepen-
dence, the standards which demanded their submission seemed to have
lost their justification. The most outspoken protest against the ir-
rationality which defined their inferior position took form in the wave of
Feminism, which sought to shatter the myths of the Victorian Woman.
The strengths of these activities and beliefs were combined in the most
radical sector of the women's struggle, a group of women who believed
not only in the necessity of absolute equality but also of the ultimate
abolition of capitalism.

Socialist women in the Progressive Era reacted to the tensions in
much the same way as radical women today react: they demanded day-
care centers, discarded bourgeois clothes fashions, kept their maiden
names or joined them to their husbands' with a hyphen, and sometimes
rejected marriage entirely to carry on a career in a social movement.
But the historical situation which faced them implied a different set of
relationships. The Socialist Party itself occupied a unique position in
the reform movements of American society. It was the only party that
allowed women's participation, and before 1912 it could be said to have
carried within and around it the bulk of all progressive forces in the
nation. Therefore, the party naturally provided the women with the or-
ganizational experience and expertise which they could utilize in all their
political activities.

Within the Socialist Party the women's interests and functions varied
greatly. Especially during the party's early years, prominent women
were socialists foremost and interested in the Woman Question only
secondarily, if at all. The famed labor agitator Mother Jones, her
younger counterpart Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, popularizer of Marxian
ideas May Wood Simons and several outstanding public lecturers were
notable examples. Thousands of lesser-known women served in auxiliaries
in every part of the country and provided organizational aid while re-
linquishing political decision-making and participation to their husbands.
Always present but increasingly numerous were the women of a third
type, militant socialists who insisted that the strugglefor sexual equality
was as important as their agitation for the socialist cause, indeed, was
an essential part of it.
Like the women's liberation activists of today, the militant socialist
women emanated from several political sources. Some, like the tremen-
dously popular public speaker Kate Richards O'Hare, had long been ac-
tive in the party's agitational work and increasingly came to see the
necessity of a self-conscious women's movement. Others took their
struggle for women's liberation into the socialist movement. In many
cases their lives were shaped and transformed by their political activities
within the party. Josephine Conger-Kaneko devoted her life's work to
the publication of the only mass-circulation radical women's magazine
in American history, known for most of its seven-year span as the Pro-
gressive Woman. Margaret Sanger, who later became the leader of the
world-wide Birth Control movement, had her political beginnings in the
socialist movement and press. For many prominent woman socialists,
marriage became a burden which had to be cast off. The first woman
elected to the party's ruling national executive committee, Lena Morrow
Lewis, revealed in 1911 that due to her lecturing she had not for fifteen
years spent more than a week in one town. By 1912, she was embroiled
in a National Office scandal for her relationship with the (married)
National Secretary, J. Mahlon Barnes. Although a prestigious touring
speaker, she was savagely attacked in much of the socialist press, above
all in the Christian Socialist. Like many of her sister-comrades, Lena
Morrow Lewis had tied her personal fate to her political beliefs.

In the study that follows, two principle categories of socialist wo-
men have been brought together chronologically. First, there were the
women who formed themselves into autonomous, socialist-oriented groups.
The Socialist Party was forced to recognize these separate organizations
because it feared they would be drained off into reformist movements
and would subsequently expose the party's failure to stand as the van-

guard of all progressive social mo iements. The suffrage movement which
supported thousands of semi-radical women was correctly deemed a
particular threat to the integrity and leadership of socialists. Second,
there were women within the party who were reacting to the insurgency
of the spontaneous women's groups. They often played a mediating role,
organizationally successful, between the autonomous women's organiza-
tions and the party structure. For a brief period, between 1908 and 1912,
the aspirations of the two categories of women were complemented by
their shared functions within the party's framework. But as the tensions
within the socialist movement, after 1912 and during the war, grew
greater, the question of primary goals was tragically sharpened. Ulti-
mately the women parted ranks. While the diehard socialists stayed on
to fight internal party battles, the majority of militant women left the
Socialist Party and sought for a new organizational form which they
were never to find.

es I. BEGINNINGS, 1901-1907 sW

At the founding convention of the Socialist Party of America, eight
women served as regularly-elected delegates. The one hundred seventeen
men who attended the historic unity meeting of 1901 took little note of
the women and extended no special privileges, while the women partici-
pated with the usual vigor of socialist agitators, reflecting past experi-
ences in party work which set them off from other members of their
sex. The female delegates were active in formulating the policies of
the new organization, but their influence was and would remain that of
individuals, neither representatives of women as a group nor of other
women in the Socialist Party. The convention itself offered only a formal
declaration demanding 'equal civil and political rights for men and wo-
men'. Yet, the future proponents of sex equality within the Party would
look back to this minor motion as an initial stimulus to women's rights
in the Party framework. (1)

The women, who sensed a special need for a social organization com-
patible with their husbands' political aspirations, organized themselves
in social clubs and discussion groups on the periphery of the party.
Their associations greatly resembled non-socialist women's literary
societies and church groups and drew membership from among the wives
of regular party members. The women, rarely dues-paying members
of the Socialist Party, provided an auxiliary or supplement to regular
party activities while giving formal homage albeit abstractly to the
great struggle for Socialism among the working peoples of the world.

The most impressive display of energy in women's activities cen-
tered around the Socialist fund-raising bazaars, where the women han-
dled entertainment, served the ice cream, and made the craft items sold
for Party benefit. Occasionally the meeting of a party local would be
devoted to a special 'Women's Night' with a low-level political program.
The few women concerned with politics in an on-going fashion expressed
themselves outside the male-dominated meetings of the local, sharing
the methods of their non-socialist 'woman's rights' sisters, described
by a male member as 'pink tea-party propaganda; nice little ladylike
salon meetings and scented notes to legislators begging their votes'. (2)
But the majority of socialist wives clung to the traditional woman's role
of providing a social auxiliary and served the party as they thought them-
selves best able. Perhaps their most autnomous activity was taking
charge of the children's education in the Socialist Sunday Schools. For

the most aggressive women not directly agitating for socialism, the days
of temperance agitation were not far behind, and their concerns con-
tinued to focus on essentially ethical questions.

As the Socialist Party began to organize locals across the united
States, wives usually followed the example of women in New York and
San Francisco, setting themselves apart in small auxiliaries of a few
comrades. By 1904, the party membership had grown in three years
from scarcely four thousand to over twenty thousand. Such success in
recruiting was not reflected by a proportionate increase of women mem-
bers in the regular party apparatus. At the national convention of 1904,
the number of women delegates had not increased, and there remained
neither acknowledgement of women's special needs nor any particular
stress upon reaching them and enrolling them into the party. The only
self-conscious activity of women at the convention was that of the Ger-
man Women's Socialist Club, which extended an invitation to the dele-
gates to attend a reception prepared for them at the Trade Union Hall. (3)

Yet despite the party's official disregard, the growth of the socialist
movement and women's rights agitation had a combined effect upon the
more independent-minded socialist wives and single women. While the
regular delegates met in convention, a small group held several sessions
in a separate hall for the purpose of organizing a Woman's National So-
cialist Union. The impetus for this move came from the California wo-
men, the most forward sector of the women's socialist battle and of suf-
frage agitation. Among women of the 'less-informed' locals the idea of a
woman's national movement remained unpopular at the time and resulted
in the Union's lack of influence outside of California.

Between 1904 and 1905 the Woman's National Socialist Union move-
ment proved only precocious, for separate women's branchesof the party
sprang up spontaneously across the country, in every malor city and
in the rural areas like Kansas and Colorado where the party was growing
most rapidly. As the feminist movement and above all its suffragist
component began to reach beyond the middle class to a rapidly increasing
body of working class women, male socialists began to recognize the
social implications of masses of women entering into social and political
activities. And if the Socialist Party was to speak for the most progres-
sive forces in the nation. it could not easily stand aside as women, con-
scious of their new political and economic roles, were organized into
non-socialist reform movements. Most embarrassing personally, per-
haps, was the continual lack of interest the party members' own wives
displayed toward the party organization and function. Thus the reassess-
ment which marked the period indicated a development of intent among
Socialists toward the neglected questions of women s liberty.

In defense of this belated realization, the men repeatedly referred
to the nominal plank in the 1901 constitution as evidence of their pre-
vision and idealism in the struggle for 'perfect equality of women with
men in political and social matters'. One Socialist man commented,
'All of us believe that this is one of the proudest features the Socialist
Party has in its program,' but admitted afterward that 'when we come
to practice, we are not always in accord with this highly respectable
principle of ours.' The men searched out their own contributions to the
indifference of their wives. Since the women were burdened by household
cares which prevented thtm from thinking of the questions of the day,

the men concluded that the great responsibility was on the part of the
husbands to converse with them, to encourage their wives to study at
home, so that the typical plight of an intelligent woman discussing her
husband's socialism should not be repeated: 'In the six years in which
my husband has been a socialist,' one wife related, 'he has a good deal
of the time been interested in the local and in public meetings; and he
has never yet asked me to attend any of them with himl' (4)

The active women in the party complained similarly of the apathy
shown by the majority of wives toward political questions. The wives
were even accused of willfully discouraging their husbands' devotion to
his local or committee work. The women agitators pleaded, 'If we cannot
lead the columns in the battle for rights, let us be good followers. If
we cannot teach our men, we can learn fromthem, we can cheer their
efforts, we can give them God.' (5) The role assigned to party wives con-
tinued to reflect socially orthodox attitudes toward family life; the wo-
man was at the side of her Socialist husband to offer him 'courage of his
spirit' in the struggles ahead. Socialism was man's struggle and women
were to be educated primarily because an uneducated woman was as-
sumed to be a naturally conservative influence. Since woman's suffrage,
moreover, was considered inevitable, the Party had a responsibility to
educate at least its members wives not to follow their intuitions and
vote against Socialism. Thus the emphasis, while more real than before,
seemed to remain primarily negative, to prevent advanced women from
being siphoned off into reform groups and ordinary wives from dragging
their socialist husbands into inactivity.

But the separate socialist women's organizations on the fringes of
the Party continued to grow and were greatly aided by the foundation of
the Socialist Woman, in July 1907, which was both a popular magazine
and a coordinator of news from the various women's branches. Serving
as a sounding board for national activities, the Socialist Woman made it
clear to male Socialists that women engaged in their separate branches
were not only housewives in search for an education in socialism but
in many cases articulate spokesmen of woman's rights who seemed to
draw most heavily from a volatile Feminism. These latter women, es-
pecially, saw hope for the future in the Socialist Party but believed the
nominal 'equal rights' plank was insufficient 'so long as the rights stay
in the program in cold printed words and do not... manifest themselves
in real pulsating life. (6) A woman, they declared, could never gain
freedom and equality as long as she was satisfied in being in the 'dish-
washing contingency', even to the Socialist Party. Holding that, even un-
der Socialism, women could not be free until they had developed the power
of freedom within themselves, the organizers stressed the significance
of separate women's clubs. The women identified equally with Socialism
and with sex equality, recognizing their 'special needs' and combining
the appeal for immediate suffrage demands with the promise of Social-
ism. Still they remained indifferent to their role in the structure of the
Socialist Party. As the editor of the Socialist Women, Josephine C. Kaneko,

We have said, half-heartedly, that women would come to our locals
in these dreary places. But they haven't cared to come in any great
extent, any more than the men would have cared to meet in the wo-
men's parlors. It has been plainly a discrimination in favor of one
sex above another. But it has always seemed a matter of expediency.
As we have chosen our meeting places in favor of men, we have

also directed our speeches and our published matter to mankind. His
wrongs and his needs have filled our mouths and our newspaper
columns, with the exceptional moment when we have given publicity
to the oppression and needs of women. This, too, has seemed a mat-
ter of expediency; we have always had male audiences and male
readers, and naturally have made our principal appeal to them...
But that belonged to the cruder days of our movement. (7)


In 1907 at the International Congress of Socialists at Stuttgart, the
woman contingency met separately and urged a world-wide coordination
of women's activities. The demands for equal suffrage in many European
countries drew from a more advanced and militant movement than in the
United States, and the strength of the women's influence was shown in
the International's inclusion of a special woman's rights plank in their
constitution. Socialist parties throughout the world were urged to make
definite provisions for women in their platforms and to work more ex-
plicitly in every way in support of he suffrage movement. Confronting
the difficulty of their locals easily assimilating these principles into
their programs, the American delegates realized that sincere efforts
would have to be made among the majority of male members, who gave
only pious expression to the abstract commitment to the emancipation of
women. But the most candid Socialists admitted that until special or-
ganization of women became more than theoretical, more than a reso-
lution in favor of equal suffrage, the men in the locals would not regard
it very seriously.

In February of 1908, the Party's neglect of its women became a
vital topic of discussion, noteworthy because one of the most respected
male spokesmen publicly shamed the organization for its failure to
appeal to the sister comrades. John Spargo, writing in the leading theo-
retical journal, the International Socialist Review, chided the male mem-
bers for their indifference. The women, he declared, had taken matters
into their own hands, had correctly chosen their own methods, and despite
his personal urging to remain in the party and fight for recognition from
the inside, had formed their own separate organizations. Spargo urged
the Party to pay more serious attention to women's stake in the move-
ment; to provide for full cooperation and support, he proposed the es-
tablishment within the party of a National Committee of Women devoted
to specialized propaganda among their sex. (8)
During the months prior to the National Convention in May 1908, both
the party and the women's organizations voiced their opinions on Spargo's
proposition. Spargo apparently represented a small minority among the
men, the majority of whom resented both Feminism and its implications
and refused to acknowledge the women's branches as a potential strength
for the socialist movement. For those women who identified themselves
more with their own organizations than with the party, the creation of
a Woman's Committee seemed only possible if it existed as an autono-
mous branch. Under favorable conditions, they thought it better to have
the men and women work together in every phase of the socialist move-
ment. But they felt the masses of women were still backward, at least
as any line of social progress was concerned and especially in the mat-

ter of socialism, and that it had proved difficult to induce them in any
appreciable numbers to attend the sexually mixed locals, much less to
join them. These women conceived of their separate organizations as a
kind of preparatory school for women to learn about themselves, their
history, and the tradition of their sex. They believed that unless the men
in the locals were particularly aggressive in their sympathies with the
'woman question', they would be most unresponsive to the majority of
women who were seeking the first steps in a socialist education. As to
the locals where the men were openly hostile to any type of woman's
organization, the women felt they had no choice but to go their own way.
To them, it seemed a meaningless request to work in the Socialist Par-
ty -- an ideal, perhaps, but not something actually workable under the
existing circumstances. Even in such places as New York City, where
women s organizations had a relatively long history and were far ad-
vanced beyond an early educational stage, the New York Women's Con-
ference in the spring of 1908 provoked only ridicule from the majority
of male comrades. (9)

Even among those few women who were active in the Socialist Party,
the proposal of a special Woman's Committee did not meet a consensus.
But the strongest sentiment was conveyed in terms of hard realism.
Such women viewed the whole question of the party's attitude toward the
woman's movement as purely academic. As one able spokeswoman
wrote: 'It makes very little difference whether we approve of a separate
organization of Socialist women or not. We haveorte -- a real, live revo-
lutionary movement, writing its own literature, managing its own news-
papers, planning its own campaign.' Since these organizationswere com-
posed largely of women who were not members of the Socialist Party,
the party could have no jurisdiction if the clubs did not wish to affiliate.
The women who held dual memberships in women's clubs and in the par-
ty saw the only logical solution as the creation of a special National Com-
mittee composed of women to do needed propaganda work; they opposed
the party's creating a separate organization which would only conflict
with the functions of those groups already in existence. Such a move would
divide the ranks whereas the main goal, they held, should be the attrac-
tion of women to the goals of socialism, and only secondarily into the
Socialist Party. (10)

Since Spargo's proposal had been made into a formal resolution, the
National Convention of May 1908 attracted many women to Chicago. But
the majority of women seemed determined to settle their own problems.
Responding to a call from the Chicago women's groups, they gathered
for discussion during the week prior to the convention. The first joint
meeting of the Woman's Branch and the Socialist Woman's League, both
Chicago organizations, was held on May 12 for the purpose of effecting
a national organization of Socialist women. The women agreed that it
was expedient to follow the California example of 1904 and to attempt
some sort of coordination among the numerous women's clubs. The fol-
lowing day 85 women assembled to discuss the proposition for a national
organization. The first question on the agenda dealt with the role of the
Socialist Party toward women. They decided to place a demand before
the men at the National Convention to adopt a resolution favoring special
agitation for woman's suffrage. Unless the party officially came out in
favor of women's rights, any cooperation with it would be beyond dis-
cussion. The central question of this meeting was coordinating their
activities. Mrs. Wilshire of Appeal to Reason said that many women
had written her requesting some plan of action. After some deliberation
on how to approach the study of socialism, she aided in the organization
of the National Progressive League, which had then thirty-two branches

and over 300 paid members in differentpartsof the country. It was, Mrs.
Wilshire claimed, the only national organization of women in the United
States and she urged the women of the other clubs to join with her. A
few of the women were willing to join the WNPL, but the rest were di-
vided over the choice of joining a new separate organization or allying
with the regular Socialist locals. Arriving at no conclusion, the women
voted to form a committee to study the matter more thoroughly and to
report back to them later in the week. The substance of the committee's
report favored a new federation of socialist women's clubs, recommend-
ing that each club already in existence appoint a member as correspon-
dent to a committee set up in Chicago for that purpose. (11) -Y

During the next week, the National Convention of the Socialist Party
at last came to grips with the woman question. Even those male mem-
bers who were absolutely opposed to women's organizations followed
the lead of the Stuttgart Congress and endorsed the equal suffrage plank,
making it clear at the same time that their decision was based on their
loyalty to the International rather than on the strength of the feminists
in their ranks. The women delegates, who numbered nineteen at this
convention, debated the issue of the National Woman's Committee reso-
lution. The Socialist Party majority report provided for a special com-
mittee of five, devoted to work or organization among women and sup-
ported with sufficient funds to maintain a woman organizer in the field,
to be supervised by the national party. But even among these women
delegates there was room for a minority report which asked that 'great
care.., be taken not to discriminate between men and women or take any
steps which would result in a waste of energy and perhaps a separate
woman's movement.' After a brief debate, the majority report was adopt-
ed by the convention and the first Woman's Committee was elected with
May Wood Simons as chairman. (12) -

For many socialist women this historical event went by, not un-
noticed, but without practical effect. The tensions between the women's
clubs and the male-dominated locals continued to reinforce their basic
assumption that under then-current conditions women's interests were
not and could not be identified with those of men. During the summer
months of 1908, the women's branches were still searching for a cen-
tral organization, a special federation to furnish information, arrange
national conventions, and increase socialist propaganda among working
women and housewives. They felt that women all over the country wanted
to learn organization, learn socialism, and learn economics; they wanted
to be part of the movement, and they didn't want 'to be bossed and put
into the background by a lot of men still moved by instinctive capitalistic
impulses of domination.' (13) The growing wave of suffrage agitation in-
creased their vigor to spread the propaganda of socialism among those
women who were just awakening to a new political consciousness. As
the National Women's Committee became a functioning entity, the wo-
men in the various organizations were provided with pamphlets, leaf-
lets, reading lists -- the tools they wanted for education that a funded
organization could afford. The Federation of Socialist Women Clubs,
which finally adopted a constitution and by-laws in September 1908,
promised this service. But in effect, this Chicago-based organization,
although corresponding with local women's clubs across the nation,
was a paper organization. Without the Socialist Party behind it, the
Federation was incapable of even raising money. On the other hand,
the National Woman's Committee, although provided with only enough
money from the Party treasury to staff a field organizer, was able to
work through party channels to raise enough money to keep the rest of

the committee functioning. It organized benefits through the locals and
tapped the wealthy members for special contributions. The New York
local, for example, was fortunate to receive a gift from Louise Kneeland
of $1000, earmarked for the women's fund.

By early 1909, even those women who once feared official ties with
the party were urging their sisters to join. One enthusiastic organizer
wrote from Indiana, 'The woman no longer sits alone at the meetings...
Now it is a matter of comment if there be no women at the Socialist
propaganda meeting; and the men agitators print on their bills: 'Women
Especially Invitedl' From across the country, women were reporting
substantial increases of women members attending the local meetings.
It was estimated that in Chicago and Kansas the numbers of women in
the party increased ten times within the year. 'Everywhere that special
attention has been given the matter like results can be shown,' a mem-
ber reported. (14)

As the women became an increasingly important sectorof the Socialist
Party organization, the ordinarily minor question of finances exemplified
the internal tension. Traditionally the women members, assumed to be
wives of Socialists, were allowed to pay one-third of the regular amount
of dues. Apparently the male members, somewhat resentful of women's
strong stance on equality, found the provision in the National Constitution
somewhat inconsistent with the women's ideologicalgoal. Proposing an
amendment to the dues provision, the men urged the raising of women's
allotment but keeping it less than the men's share. The women, in turn,
reacted to this amendment as a distinction that suggested patronage, an
objectionable 'half-rate for children'. The resolution adopted by the
Woman's National Committee condemned 'its implied inferiority and sub-
serviance (which) smacks of that old chivalry which has ever granted
to women these petty privileges and withheld from them equal respon-
sibility with men.' (15) On the local level, however,the financial mat-
ters were not settled so ideally. An organizer from Seattle described
her 'bitter experience':

After the election of the national committee on woman's work, we
hastened to go before our local and put ourselves right by asking
the local to make all women members of a committee of the whole
to further the woman's work. At this time only a very few women
belonged to the local, and a large proportion of these are women who
became interested in Socialism by attending the club.
Recently we opened headquarters, which we kept open in the after-
noons, had a woman in attendance to sell literature and to discuss
the social question with any who might drop in, and we were planning
to extend our literature work, when lol and behold the local woke up
to the fact that the women were really handling some money, a part
of their own dues, and spending it as they thought best This would
never do, of course, since in this respect even a Socialist man still
has a capitalist mind, and still thinks the purse strings belong to the
male sex. Consequently our 10 cents per month was cut off, and as
an equivalent we were offered our room rent free Well, the Woman's
Club has taken a vacation... (16)
The Woman's National Committee defined its duties in this way: 'to
make intelligent Socialists and Suffragists of women and to secure their
active membership in the Socialist Party', and proceeded to use its
most active organizers across the country in setting up various sub-
committees within the women's locals. Accepting the general recom-
mendations of the 1908 convention, they utilized their resources for

special propaganda and education among women, planning detailed pre-
scriptions for efficient organization. The most popular method for at-
tracting women proved to be agitation for suffrage, with the party's
own 'Votes for Women' campaign. Although other committees were
planned for the locals, such as membership, literature, children's edu-
cation, and music committees, the current appealof suffrage became such
a powerful issue that many members of the party as a whole, especially
male members, accused the women of favoring the sex struggle over
the class struggle. But the women were out to prove the Socialist Party
had risen to champion woman's cause, bringing the declaration for en-
franchisement from the party platform to real life. One of the most
popular features of the Committee's diverse program was one that they
succeeded in making into a national, coordinated affair. Through the
party presses across the country, the women announced the fourth
Sunday of February as 'Woman's Day'. Socialists throughout the country
held demonstrations in favor of woman suffrage on February 23, 1909,
and the event was met with such enthusiasm that it continued as an
annual 'Anticipation Day' for economic and political freedom for wo-
men, celebrated in the United States and Europe. (17)

Within a year of its inception, the Woman's National Committee
proved itself capable of functioning as a national coordinating service,
providing the women in the distant locals with literature, propaganda,
and definite programs for organizing. They managed to win the support
of the more prominent men in the Party, even Eugene Debs with his
characteristic sentimental glorifications of woman and motherhood.,
Special sections of the party's press, its newspapers, international and
internal bulletins, and magazines, were devoted to the Woman Ques-
tion. In 1910 the National Woman's Committee was incorporated into the
party constitution and made a permanent part of the bureaucracy. But
despite its ability to win respect from the party, the Committee's suc-
cess would ultimately be measured not by its popular appeal but by its
practical results.


The Socialist women were confident that no one in the party could
fail to be impressed with the rise of their organizations as a distinct
form within the movement. At the 1910 convention, the Woman's Com-
mittee reported that new women's branches had been set up in 156 lo-
cals across the country and that five states had organized state-wide
women's committees. Their success was symbolized by the election
of the first woman, Lena Morrow Lewis, to the National Executive
Board, and they 'rejoiced' that her election was due solely to her out-
standing agitational ability. Thus themselves impressed, the women de-
manded more autonomy within the party and were given a party-funded
correspondent to assist the enlarged seven-member executive staff of
the National Woman's Committee. For the first time, the women gained
floor space in the national office in Chicago, and a special Women's De-
partment was created for their clerical necessities. The women dele-
gates to the National Convention also displayed more interest in the de-
bates on the floor: they were elected to serve on most of the important
committees and expressed themselves unhesitatinglyon questions ranging
from the new farm platform to immigration.

Lena Morrow Lewis

The 1910 Convention seemed a turning point for the socialist women,
and offered them a precedent for future labors within the party. In the
immediate period following, they showed a willingness to forget their
former attacks upon the men's failure to live up to the old sex-equality
platform; sometimes they even congratulated their male comrades for
casting aside traditional prejudices against 'feminine politics'. (19) One
socialist woman wrote: 'Let us hope that this example of a peaceful in-
telligent mingling of the sexes will serve as a guide for the future' of
society. And they compared their work with the futile attempts of women
in other political parties. They praised by contrast the Socialist Party
and urged women to take advantage of its program of full economic, so-
cial, and political freedom. Thus by 1910, the women had resolved the
initial problems of organization. But the development of a positive pro-
gram, based no longer singly on the prejudices against the 'inferior
sex' but rather defined by their unique position as Socialist women in
practical, organizational terms, remained to be accomplished.

The previous emphasis on suffrage agitation was challenged by women
who wished to extend propaganda along more general socialist educational
lines. The suffrage question, they felt, was being handled adequately
by the women's reform organizations. The Party, for them, had A great-
er responsibility to the working woman and her special needs. This ques-
tion of priority was debated extensively, and although no explicit con-
ception determined all their actions, many women rejected cooperation
with the suffragists for broader social appeals. Particularly in those
states where women already had the ballot, the Party could point to the
negligible effect that socialist propaganda had on voting results. Al-
though proclaiming itself the vanguard of all progressive movements
in the United States, the Party claimed it gained no immediate politi-
cal benefits from woman suffrage, and could therefore stress the need
for less transient issues to build a socialist woman's movement. (20)

The limited advantages of suffrage agitation sharpened the contradic-
tions for those women who believed their tactics should flow from fun-
damental socialist theory. Despite the class-conscious rhetoric of their
agitation, it seemed to appeal not to the women who most needed politi-
cal expression in American society but rather to the same class from
which the reformist-suffragist organizations drew their membership --
the professional women and middle-class housewives. Special efforts
to reach working class women through suffrage propaganda did not achieve
the hoped-for results, since the majority of women who joined locals




did so in the leisure time a working girl or mother of a working class
family could ill afford. Propaganda was then redirected to appeals
around a more general oppression of females. The tactics came nomi-
nally from a general theory that had been their inspiration through the
early days of the struggle, what they called a 'Materialist Conception
of the Woman's Strugg e', which the Socialist women now integrated
into the emerging Feminism of the decade.

The classic writings that most influenced their thinking were Women
Under Socialism, by August Bebel, and The Origins of the Family, by
Friedrich Engels. Taken with the anthropological analyses popular at
the time, these two texts, unimpeachable for at least most American
Socialists, provided women with a view of history that denied a biologi-
cally determined role for their sex. Both Bebel and Engels depicted
the dawn of man as an era of cooperative struggle for survival, based
upon primitive matriarchical structures. The exodus from this secular
paradise had at once created the system of private ownership and wo-
man's bondage within it. Over the ages the burden had fallen hardest
upon her, for while her mate's dominant attitude had been acquisition
and personal control, she had desperately attempted to conserve the fami-
ly as best she could. Capitalism, as in so many other ways, both ren-
dered the burden unendurable and created the preconditions for its elimi-
nation by creating the productive mechanization which potentially would
provide plenty for all. The future civilization, like that in the dim past,
would offer general cooperation and the realization of woman's desire
to be an equal and to conserve the race as she had through the ages
conserved the family.

The special appeal to women as women brought the socialists into
the main line of the burgeoning Feminist movement, and by 1913 they
observed that younger women were being attracted to radicalism pri-
marily for their complete sexual emancipation. The Socialist women
tried to bridge the gap to the older agitation by arguing that the Feminist
program consisted 'very largely in what Socialists have been demanding
for women for years and years', and by pointing out that only socialists
understood complete freedom to be unattainable short of the common
ownership of the means of production. As one woman socialist wrote:
'The Socialist who is not a Feminist lacks bredth. The Feminist who
is not a Socialist is lacking in strategy.' Hence they held that whether
women possessed the ballot or not, they would need to unite with all
oppressed groups for a better society, and that the Socialist movement
would ultimately provide women the courage to be in the forefront of
the final battle 'fighting for the destruction of masculine despotism and
for the right of womankind'. (21) -
But with the concurrent passing of the suffrage issue and the ebbing
of the inertia in the women's socialist movement, Feminism proved
as an agitational issue to be unacceptable to the bulk of the socialist
movement. Although the militant women insisted that Feminism could
not be limited to any one reform, the men and more orthodox social-
ist women generally offered a blanket criticism of Feminism and
all the implications of agitation 'along sex lines'. Feminism, they held,
was middle class, and socialist-feminists were warned that their activity
could swamp the party with non-wage earning elements. While an oc-
casional middle-class woman could bring along her vitality and intelli-
gence, any number of them, it was thought, were bound to bring their
reformist taints. Thus even a mild variety of Feminism, which clearly
47 (Continued on p.50)

disavowed free love and the destruction of the family, was feared as a
divider of the movement along sex lines. With all the odds against them,
the socialist-feminists failed to respond successfully to this plea for a
return to traditional socialist agitation on all fronts, and a new wave of
'Male egotism' was evoked which, according to some women, was even
more objectionable than the male attitudes dominating the party before

Nov. 1912


During this period there were growing tensions within the Socialist
Party which had undercut the development of an autonomous socialist
women's agitational struggle and now worked against its revival. By
1910, American Socialism had accomplished basic propaganda tasks and
entered a maturity, raising and sharpening internal differences that had
been previously tolerated by nearly all concerned. Many Socialists long
in the movement publicly warned against the influx of middle-class ele-
ments into the party and the danger of encouraging agitation which result-
ed in the enrollment of non-wage-earners. More important, an internal
party struggle culminating in 1912 with the proscription of the advocacy
of sabotage in party ranks had the effect of tightening party discipline
against all potentially dissident elements. Finally, the success of 'Con-
structive Socialist' locals, particularly the Milwaukee SocialDemocracy,
provided the 'lesson' of heavily concentrated agitation and propagandiza-
tion with a city involving all socialists in a single-minded task. Cumula-
tively, therefore, women's agitation could have been seen to be divisive,
disruptive and destructive to socialist energies. And without a body of

important defenders within the ruling circles of the party, women's agi-
tation could not expect special treatment or solicitation for its case.

In retrospect, the true high point of women's agitation within the So-
cialist Party was the period around 1910 to 1912. Suffrage agitation died,
for socialist purposes, as achievement loomed closer and the major po-
litical parties subsumed within them the energies that had been previously
tapped by socialist women. There was an Indian Summer for socialist
women in 1912-1913, as the vigorous national campaign and the residual
effects of suffrage agitation swelled the women's ranks from ten per
cent to fifteen per cent of the Party membership. But by 1913 the ero-
sive effects of the changing conditions could already be seen.

The lack of an issue with the strength and popularity of suffrage, along
with the Party's internal betrayal of the Woman Question, made impossi-
ble a clear program of organizational activities and stripped the agita-
tional program to Socialism alone rather than feminism or suffrage.
Even by 1913, the inertia of the women's socialist movement had slowed.
The National Committee was no longer effective as a woman's commit-
tee, and prominent female socialists became increasingly involved in
ordinary party work, above all action against the coming war. When in
1914 a proposal was made at the Party Convention to abolish the Woman's
National Committee, its (female) Correspondent from the Party's Wo-
man Department applauded the prospective amendment. Though remain-
ing nominally in existence, the Committee ceased to function in any sig-
nificant way. (37)

The most ominous sign was the death of Progressive Woman. Like
other Party publications, the Woman had never been a solvent financial
venture, and from 1912 onward the Party had subsidized its existence.
But aid was at best partial, and at no point adequate to make up the defi-
cit or provide a sound financial basis for the magazine's expansion to
its own expected circulation of 500,000. The Woman's Committee in 1914
sought to abandon the sinking ship, and the magazine was salvaged only
momentarily by its transformation into the Coming Nation, a name which
its editor, Josephine Conger-Kaneko, derived from the enormouslypopu-
lar Socialist paper of the 1890s. By mid-1914, the socialist women had
no publication of their own and more than ever were forced to rely upon
the mechanisms of a Party decreasingly concerned for the welfare of an
autonomous group of women.

During the declining years of women's activities in the Socialist
Party, the remarkable example of Margaret Sanger's struggle served
to typify the organizational obstacles in the path of prospective radical
feminists. Her class position, the unusual interests and ability she
brought to her work, and the nature of her estrangement from the so-
cialist movement further indicated the limits of party flexibility, es-
pecially on questions of sexuality in practical organizational terms. (22)

Margaret Sanger's entry into the Socialist movement, like that of
many other women, came through her husband's activity, in the New
York Socialist Party. Frequently mingling with the salon crowd, she
came to associate a socialist perspective with her own ethical and hu-
manitarian concerns. Although her anarchistic sentiments fosteredanin-
tellectual attraction to 'individualistic' tendencies, the practical applica-
tions in an industrial society necessitated for her arnorganizational

framework which she sought in the Socialist Party. She regularly attend-
ed local meetings with her husband, but only inadvertently did she be-
come one of the most important activists in the movement. She was
asked to replace an ailing speaker at one of the local women's meetings.
Although she had never given a public speech before, she accepted on
the condition that her topic be of her own choice. She had little confi-
dence about her understanding of Marxian theory and decided to speak
about her own speciality, sex education and hygiene.

Margaret Sanger's appearance and her introduction of the topic into
public discussion generated enormous enthusiasm among women in the
local, who repeatedly expressed their urgent needsfor more information.
Soon she was offering a series of lectures, during which so many ques-
tions were asked that Anita Block, editorof the New York Call's woman's
page, asked Sanger to provide a regular column for publication. In this,
her first experience at public writing, Margaret Sanger planned a series
under the general title, 'What Every Mother Should Know', to introduce
the impersonalityy of Nature' in an effort to break through parents'
rigid attitudes toward sexual development. After several weeks of its
appearance, the title of her sequal column, 'What Every Girl Should
Know, was followed by the black-typed notation 'NOTHING! By the or-
der of the post-office department'. For the first time, Margaret San-
ger's work had been publicly censored. ~^

Margaret Sanger's writing for the Call continued sporadically into
wartime, and even the censored article eventually appeared. But as she
engaged in practical activities among working class women in New York
and in such projects as the care of the children of strikers in Lawrence
and Paterson, her sympathies were drawn increasingly to the direct ac-
tionists and syndicalists. She continually tried to work through the So-
cialist Party to disseminate birth control information among families
of workers but met with constant frustration from the lack of help and
the frequent scorn she received from the reformist socialist leader-
ship. Meanwhile the IWW's Big Bill Haywood, a close personal friend,
offered her contact with industrial workers and their wives. Finally, the
attitude of the Socialists, that birth control would come with the victory
of Socialism and thus was of negligible concern before the Revolution,
returned her toward her original political inclination, anarchism.

In the spring of 1914, Margaret Sanger marked both her political
anarchism and her desire to test censorship laws-by founding a news-
paper expressly devoted to women's liberation, the Woman Rebel. Across
the masthead was emblazoned 'No Gods, No Masters', and inside a mix-
ture of rudimentary sex education and anti-political articles, such as
'The Importance of Assassination in History'. During the Colorado min-
ing strike, she asked socialist women to send the fiercely-repressed
miners guns rather than sympathy, adding that' 'When 40,000 (socialist)
women cannot follow up a protest by action, then truly it would appear
that they have something other than their 'chains to lose'.' The Woman
Rebel never reached any significant circulation, and since all issues
were banned from the mails, it was generally limited to a few Eastern
cities. After the seventh issue, Margaret Sanger was placed under in-
dictment for 'lewdness'. Rather than face trial she fled to Europe.

A year earlier, Margaret Sanger's columns in the Call had opened a
controversy within the Socialist Party, carried on in letters to the paper,
which revealed the deep differences on matters of sexuality and wo-
man's place generally. (23) As Anita Block noted, the purpose of the

column was to 'turn the searchlight on all those rotten spots which those
in power today find it in their interest to keep dark... and keep turning
on the light in one way or another ever stronger and more penetrating
until there is no part of our social structure that will not be clean and
healthy and beautiful.' Readers appreciative of the column sent in a
variety of intense and even touching responses. One woman wrote of
the loss of her 'so-called innocence' which caused her husband to wrong-
fully suspect her past and nearly to destroy their marriage. On reading
the column, the maligned woman's husband finally came to understand
the possibility of a 'natural' loss of virginity, thus ending his thoughtless
persecution. Another woman, sixty-six years old and mother of eight,
wrote that she learned more from Margaret Sanger's articles than
'from any books or even from my own life'. A male machinist, perhaps
more typical of a sympathetic socialist reader, wrote that such lessons
were important, for active socialists could not be recruited from a popu-
lation sick with venereal disease. Above all, readers stressed the fact
that the knowledge which Margaret Sanger made available was imply not
accessible elsewhere. Even those who doubted the logic of such ma-
terial in the Call often expressed their gratitude for her serious and
factual presentations. "i

Readers unfriendly to Margaret Sanger's views revealedquite another
side of American socialism. The most usual arguments against her
column came from those crude materialists who stressed economic
determinism. Capitalism, according to this argument, was the cause
of prostitution, and indeed all of the 'evils of the sex question'; only
when Socialism arrived would a healthy society come into existence.
A more serious objection was offered to the very publication of know-
ledge of venereal disease, reasoning that it 'placed the demands of
FEAR and DISTRUST in the minds of hundreds of prospective wives
and mothers', with the effect upon impressionable female readers of
a discouragement towards marriage. One writer charged that Margaret
Sanger's column would 'produce a panic which would cause women to
lose all confidence in men and cuase them to withdraw their capital
(themselves) from the marriage market.' Like other critical corres-
pondents, the writer felt that Margaret Sanger scorned the mental and
spiritual in favor of 'the animal being'. Some critics even openly ar-
gued for an 'eternal' inferior status of women. One writer who wondered
whether adequate contraception might eradicate 'mother love anr the
exquisite loyalty of the eternal female', confessed his hesitation 'be-
fore subscribing to a practice that would have the least tendency to
destroy the spiritual qualities of women. Undoubtedly as an expedient
for the individual, (birth control) is absolutely moral, but when, as a
fixed social policy, it assumes an influence upon the social conscious,
its morality is questionable.'
In responding to Margaret Sanger's attackers, Anita Block made
clear the fundamental objection of some socialists to 'What Every Girl
Should Know': Sanger had brought the issue out of the abstractions of
idyllic life under Socialism and into the realities of women's immediate
struggle for full equality. The editor of the Call's women's page as-
sumed that her readers, as socialists, were more intelligent than non-
Socialists and would consequently be logically more open to the notion
of women's special oppression. But the obstacles placed in front of
Margaret Sanger's party activity, and the failure of any decisive sector
of the socialist organization to move to her defense, revealed the con-
tradictory character of the socialists' radical sympathies. As a group,
the socialists would more than any other sector of the nation's popula-
tion affirm the ultimate equality of women and the viciousness of their

exploitation under capitalism. Indeed, many rank-and-file socialists
could articulate and intelligently discuss the radical theories of Engels
and Bebel. But even the advanced sectors, to say nothing of the party as
a whole, rejected any notion of a special struggle for women, as they re-
jected generally the special struggles of blacks and even of unskilled
workers. In retrospect, the socialists' position was historically under-
standable, for they viewed the coming of a socialist society as inevitable,
smooth and not too far distant. But the situation in which radical theory
seemingly justified conservative practice must have been all the more
maddening for men and women who, like Margaret Sanger, had come to
expect the socialist movement to represent the full liberating possibili-
ties of mankind.



Like the initial, apparent acceptance by the mass of socialists of
Margaret Sanger's activities, the solicitations of the party for the Wo-
men s National Committee and for the Progressive Woman had been de-
ceptive. For as Margaret Sanger was judged by the irritation and even
immediate danger she posed to the movement's internal stability, the
National Committee and the magazine were judged by their results in
recruiting females for the party rolls, and any figure less than the goal
the women had set for 50% of the membership was bound to be ulti-
mately disappointing. Of course, such a figure was at all odds incredible:
the Socialist Party drew predominately from the ranks of skilled work-
ers, while women in the population as a whole were, with scattered ex-
ceptions, unskilled workers, workers' wives, or middle and upper class
housewives. Thus women's oppression was not generally felt at the point
of production, and their needs were different and special. But the
party, forced to extremes by internal disputes and the approaching world
conflict, felt the necessity for such pragmatic yardsticks, and by such
measurement there could be but one result for Margaret Sanger and the
women as a group.
Yet, despite its rapid eclipse, the women's role within the Socialist
Party was not a negligible one. At its best, it deeply touched the lives
of the new women workers in mass trades such as garments, it moved
leading radical literary figures such as Floyd Dell and Max Eastmen,
and it concentrated the energies of such outstanding women reformers
as Margaret Sanger and Florence Kelley. More important, it left an
indelible impression on the American radical movement, offeringan early
lesson better than in any American radical movement since of what
women could do to link their sex-oppression with the general oppression
of the social system.+p

*Alleen S. Kraditor, Means and Ends in American Absolutism, New
York, 1969.

1. Eraceedings of the National Convention of the Socialist Party,
1912, Appendix I (Report of the Woman's Department).
2. John Spargo, Woman and the Socialist Movement', International
Socialist Review, VIII (February 1908), 449-455.
3. Josephine C. Kaneko, 'The Activity of Socialist Women', The
Socialist Woman. I (January 1908), 6.
4. As told by Lilchi Kaneko, 'Where Is Your Wife?', Socialist Wo-
man, I (August 1907), 5.
5. Anna A. Maley, 'Do You Help, or Do You Hinder?', Socialist Wo-
man I (October 1907), 5.
6. Eleanor Haynes, 'Socialist Women in the United States', Socialist
Woman, I (November 1907), 10.
7. Josephine C. Kaneko, 'Are the Interests of Men and Women Iden-
tical?', Socialist Woman, I (May 1908), 5.
8. Spargo, oc. cit..
9. Josephine C. Kaneko, 'Separate Organizations', Socialist R.vlew,
I (April 1908), 5; Theresa Malkiel, 'Woman and the Socialist Party',
Socialist Woman, II (July 1908), 7.
10. Jessie Molle, 'The National Convention and the Woman's Move-
ment', Internatrnal Socialist Review, VIII (May 1908), 688-690; Luella
R. Krehbiel, 'Woman and Socialists', Socialist Woman, III (July 1908), 7.
11. See the May 1908 issue of Socialist Woman for several articles
reporting the various meetings in Chicago.
12. Proceedings of the National Convention of the Socialist Party,
May 1908, 301-306.
13. Ida Crouch-Hasler, 'Women's Organizations', Socialist Women.
II (September 1908), 11.
14. Mary Strickland, 'What the New Year Should Mean to Socialists',
New York Call. January 11, 1919; Mila Tupper Maynard, 'Woman in
the Locals', New York Call. March 15, 1909.
15. Resolutions adopted by the Woman's National Committee, reported
in the Weeklly Rlrlain of the Socialist Party, Chicago, May 8, 1909.
16. Mrs. Anna Burgess, 'Propaganda Among Women: the Bitter Ex-
perience of the Socialist Women of Seattle', New York Call. July 16, 1911.
17. Woman's National Committee report, Weekly Bulletin, Chicago,
June 17, 1909; Hebe, 'Woman's Day, New York Call, January 2?, 1910;
Lena Morrow Lewis, 'Woman's Day', New York Call. February 27, 1910.
18. Mary E. Marcy, 'Efficiency the Text', New York Call. May 8,
19.Theresa Malkiel, 'Woman, and the National Congress', ibid.,
May 29, 1910.
20. The Party Convention of 1910 debated suffrage as a key Party
question. For the highlights of the debate, see The Progressive Woman,
June 1910.
21. Anita C. Block, 'New York Socialists Women's Conference', New
York Call, April 5, 1914; Louise W.Kneeland,'Feminism and Socialism',
New Review, II (August 1914), 442; Mary White Ovington, 'Socialism
and the Feminist Movement', New Review, II (March 1914), 146-147.
22. Margaret Sanger, Autobiography (New York: 1938) and My Fight
for Birth Control (New York: 1931).
23. For typical articles see the Woman's Page of the New York Call,
December 1912 through 1913.
Wsu wMari Jo Buhle


Science & Society
NEW YORK, N. Y. 10003

We are pleased to announce a special two-
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Political Conflict in Cuba, 1868-1968
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Electoral Frauds and Social Change: the
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Review Article by V. G. Kiernan on:
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Communication from W. F. Elkins on A Source
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- 2!When a society no longer meets the needs of its members, when it threatens
their survival, their loyalty to it disappears and they are forced to take their
fate into their own hands. In doing so they create a new society. This is the
process we see going on today; the present crisis of our society, felt by every-
one, is in the final analysis a result of the conflict between the old and the
new society.

"It is now possible to create a society without the exploitation of man by
man, and without the forms of hierarchy and control by which exploitation is
organized. It is more than possible, it is necessary; the alternative is the
ever increasing destruction of life and of the quality of life by the regimes of
class domination that rule the world today.

"The possibility of socialism rests on the common interest of the mass of
the population, who do the work of society, in taking control of the organization
of their work and so of social life in general. The suppression of exploitation
in the new society means that every social function must be directed by those
who perform it, and that the workers themselves must coordinate their activities
in the various departments of social life.

"Mass movements within the old society are precursors of this self-rule of
the new. Such actions as strikes, general strikes, and occupations of workplaces,
organized and directed by the workers themselves, form their strongest weapons in
the struggle for collective control over society. Out of the organizations which
grow up in such actions, in workplaces, neighborhoods, schools, may develop the
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women inc.



liBCR tlon

Over the last few years and until recently unknown to each other, there have
arisen in the Bay Area two groups of women whose goals are the end of dis-
crimination, exploitation and oppression of women. One is a general, the other
a specific social movement. One has evolvedoutof the middle-class radicalizing
student milieu, the other out of a rebel trade union. They have their inception
in a widespread condition of unrest reflecting the cultural drift of women's
emancipation, dissatisfaction with things as they are andhopes for a new scheme
or system of living. Having adopted values of equality and self-determination,
women have formed new conceptions of themselves which are incongruent with
the positions they occupy, their inferior social status relative to men. Some
aspects of the movement strongly resemble those of nationalism. 'Those who
initiate the movement usually have had distressing personal experiences in
which they have been made to feel inferior and as not privileged enough to enjoy
a respectable status. Their wounded self-feelings and their desire to re-estab-
lish self-respect lead them to efforts to improve the status of the group with
which they are identified.' (1) I believe that these two groups have a far-reaching
significance; that one represents the form, the other the essence of what will
be a fundamental part of the socialist revolution and must be understood as
such. I believe that the exploitation of women in the production and reproduction
of life is a basic cause, the essence, of discrimination which in turn is a form of
psychological oppression.
My thanks to Magali Larson for her time and help and the useful concepts
she has given me which provide tools for analysis. The concept of three elements
of social movements, identity, designation of the enemy, and goals is used in
the organization of this essay as are many insights of Herbert Blumer in 'Col-
lective Behavior'.

In the spring of 1964 a rebellion occurred against what was believed to be
corrupt, bureaucratic, undemocratic unions. From that rebellion evolved one
union called the Association of Western Pulp and paper Workers, 'one of the
most significant upheavals in organized labor since the split between the AFL
and CIO in 1936'.(2) That same year the Civil Rights Act went into effect pro-
hibiting discrimination based on sex as well as color. These two events helped
to lay the basis for the formation of a woman's caucus in the rebel union, as
significant an upheaval as the rebellion itself.

The initial identity of the women was as workers and union members. In
the course of the struggle against the old unions, they gained a new identity as
rebels fighting for: (1) union democracy, rank and file election of bargaining
agents rather than appointment by International leaders, (2) the settling of local
grievances, issues like mill grievance procedure, management rights, and Job
analyses, and (3) more militant leadership. This new rebel identity and fight
had a further radicalizing effect, particularly in givingthe women the confidence
to fight for their own demands and grievances. The fundamental question around
which they organized as a women's caucus was job security. Women were being
bumped and men given their jobs to save the companies money by getting around
the restrictive laws on overtime and lifting. There are four union locals in five
paper mills in Antioch and Stockton, California. Some women at Crown Zeller-
bach leafleted, calling for a meeting on job security to which they invited Made-
line Codding Mixer of the regional office of the Women's Bureau. Their initial
goal was to go to the California State Commission on Women hearing with testi-
mony on job security. After the hearings they continued to meet, finally realiz-
ing their new identity not just as trade unionists and rebels but as women, an
identity forced on them by a discrimination based on sex that threatened their
job security. They organized formally into Women, Inc., to fight their specific
grievances. Historically they were continuing a tendencytoorganize on the basis
of identity as women, which showed up in the formation of the Women's Bureau
in the UAW-CIO in Detroit in 1953 and 1954 and in the Detroit Square D strike
of electrical workers. In both cases job security was a prime and critical is-
sue. As automation hit their industries and jobs dried up, sex was used as a jus-
tification for laying off women without seniority and giving their jobs to men.
In self-defense, they had to organize on the basis of sex identity.

There is another more complicated aspect of identifying and organizing as
women. The dissatisfaction with inequality and the desire for self-determina-
tion of women can be harnessed and controlled and exploited by employers.
Using business and professional women as their flunkies, they have organized
a nationwide attack on the protective hours and lifting laws. In the name of
fighting discrimination, these women executives have advocated an equal rights
amendment that would abolish these laws instead of calling for the extension
of protective laws to cover men. Yet, for example, statistics for back injuries
due to lifting in industry indicate a desperate need for limits on lifting coverage
to be extended to males and the increased application of machinery to lifting.
Arguments can be made for the extension of the other protective laws to men.

And it is not only women associated with management who are advocating
the abolition of the protective laws. Now, spurred by the desire for high over-
time pay or by the threat to job security, trade union women in some areas are
also beginning to fight the laws.However, the vast majority of working women are

unorganized and non-union, and not covered by union contracts giving them the
right to refuse long hours, or to receive time and a half overtime pay for long
hours. If the laws are broken, the majority of working women could be forced,
under threat of job loss, to work longer hours at straight pay. The ten and twelve
hour day could easily become a reality again for women, especially in a shrinking
labor market with increased competition for jobs. What equal rights would mean
under these circumstances is a few gains for upper class women at the cost of
greater exploitation than ever for the majority of women workers and increased
profits for the bosses based on that exploitation. In the case of Women, Inc., the
protective laws were used by the employers as a reason to block their job ad-
vancement by preventing them from gettingon progression ladders and for main-
taining layoff lists based on sex. Used in this way the protective laws became a
threat to job security. In the absence of union demands to extend the laws to
men, Women, Inc. could only ask that they be waived. The protective laws thus
became a weapon in the hands of the bosses to divide the labor force, male
against female. This in turn was one more causal factor in the organization oi
a caucus based on their identity as women.

Organization on the basis of identity as women followed a similar path in
Women's Liberation. From their initial identity as students, young women became
part of the student movement. Joining in civil rights and student struggles, they
developed a new identity as radicals and socialists. They repudiated old values,
roles, the whole system. Watching the black power struggles demonstrate the
meaning of equality and self-determination, women became aware that these
values were lacking for women in the Movement too. Male chauvinism was much
more glaringly apparent within the radical movement where men gave lip ser-
vice to equality and self-determination for all humanity and then maintained a
division of labor within radical organizations based on traditional sexual roles.
Women in the old left accepted these roles as their 'proper' subservient sup-
portive positions relative to men, so there was little threat to masculine su-
premacy within the Movement. However, when the younger generation of women
decided that they fell into the category of human beings first and women second,
all hell broke loose. They became more concerned with their humanity than
their 'femininity'. Indeed, after accepting individual autonomy as a part of their
new value system, being squeezed into a stereotyped box called 'femininity' ap-
peared as a way of controlling and exploiting women. This was especially true
when sex roles seemed to determine a division of labor in the radical organiza-
tions. Initially women fought their oppression on a one-to-one basis in their per-
sonal relationships with men, then in women's caucuses, and finally in separate
women's liberation groups. Equality and self-determination meant the right of
women to be on policy and decision-making bodies, to compete directly with
men for power, power to make and carry out a program to meet women's needs.
The process leading to the formation of separate organizations based on their
identity as women was a direct response to the attitudes and actions of men in
the movement. One of the first women to question male chauvinism in the Move-
ment was Ruby Doris Smith Robinson, a young black who was the chief adminis-
trator for SNCC. It was her paper, The Position of Women in SNCC, presented
at a conference in October 1964 which evoked Stokely Carmichael's famous re-
mark, 'The only position of women in SNCC is prone.' (3) The laughter evoked
was sufficient to negate any discussion of the question put forward by the most
powerful woman in SNCC.

In the case of both groups, Woman's Liberation and Woman, Inc., specific

radicalization as women occurred within the context of a broader radicalization
and as a direct result of having entered into struggle to change the world. In
this, it is analogous to the way the earlier Woman's Rights Movement arose
relative to the rise of the Abolitionist movement. It corroborates with a venge-
ance the Marxist theory that when people enter into struggle to change the
world around them, they change themselves and their relations to their fellow

Looking at social movements as processes with emphasis on their temporal
and developmental aspects, from fomless collective behavior with non-specific
goals to highly organized behavior with specific goals, enables one to fit a par-
ticular case into its historical development.

) Women. Inc.

The women trade unionists initially designated the companies and their em-
ployers as the enemy. In the formation of the rebel caucus and the breakaway
to form a new union, the authoritarian bureaucratic leadership of the old Inter-
national was also designated as the enemy.

As some of the men within the union and even the union itself became the
enemy, women formally organized a Woman's Caucus. Because the women had
to use the mechanism of the union to fight their grievances, it was essential to
win the support of the union men. Tactically this was a much more difficult task
than fighting an outright enemy like the companies. Just as the bosses had the
profit motive behind their discrimination, so the union men had privileges in
higher wages and advancement opportunities based directly on the exploitation
of women. For example, Marge Hart, vice-president of Women, Inc., had ap-
plied for a job classified as men's work. She had seventeen years seniority and
as the head of a family she needed the additional income. She was denied the
job and instead it was given to a young kid who had been in the paper mill only
six months and had no family to support. The degree to which the men would go
to defend their privileges against the women was conditioned by the degree to
which the women's demands threatened the very existence of the rebel union and
the degree to which they won outside support.

In a letter to the Area Trustee of the union in July 1967, a year and five
months after they had organized, the women blamed the union contract for the
loss of two arbitration cases. They complained about the lack of help from the
International and the locals and again they stressed the vital nature of the job
security issue. 'We begged our locals for their advice, assistance and moral
support which, in most cases, we received none... There is always talk about
equal pay for women. The men think they are doing us a favor and we appreciate
it, but we are afraid of equal pay without Job security, especially if the Com-
pany can establish ladders and change job descriptions and rearrange jobs so
that women can't have them.' The companies would add lifting and overtime
requirements to a job description if a woman applied for it, using the protective
laws as a means of keeping the workers divided along sex lines. It is illegal
to add new requirements to a job to prevent a woman from getting it.

In their fight to win the support of their union brothers for their struggle
against the companies, help came from an unexpected source. An NLRB rep-
resentation election was to be held between the old internationals and the new

rebel union. The old union published an article aimed at winning back the votes
of the women. They attacked the AWPPW leadership for not handling the women's
grievances and forcing them to go outside the union for help to the Federal
government and the courts. Under pressure and in naked self-interest, the union
began to support the women, but only so long as the women kept on fighting.
When they slackened, so did the men.

A mediation agreement to give equal pay to women based on the men's scale
was announced in February 1968 which was workedout between the AWPPW and
the pacific Coast Association of pulp and paper Manufacturers in conjunction
with the EEOC. The edirectqr of the manufacturers' association said the agree-
ment would result in an estimated $500,000 annual wage increase for the 2,000
women... Women in the pulp and paper industry have historically received less
money than men although often working at the same job. The policy has long
been a thorn in the side of union locals, and it is a subject which the union's
new president, Hugh Bannister, made a major issue in his recent election
campaign. (3) The agreement had to be approved by the union membership.
Again the women received help from an unexpected source -- the employers!
In January, Kimberly-Clark placed 22 men on women's jobs at the women's.
rate. This was the first time in the history of the ULS (Uniform Labor Agree-
ment) that a company has paid men at a rate less than the men's base rate.
The local union filed a grievance, demanding that the men be paid at the regu-
lar men's rate while working on these jobs..'(5) This certainly had an effect
on the agreement and the vote to approve it. If there was going to be equal pay
it would be at the men's rate. However, there was still opposition to the women
within the union. This was attested tobyan oblique reference in the official union
newspaper, The Rebel. In an article urging its members to vote for the pro-
posed agreement as a major victory for the Association against the manufac-
turers, it said, <..the AWPPW, despite some 'Calamity Criers', supported the
charges filed by its fighting union members..'(6) Having won active support of
a number of union members and neutralized another large section, who even
though they wouldn't support the women, would not actively oppose them, the
agreement was approved. Yet about one-third of those who voted opposed the
agreement. These rebel men who had fought for union democracy would not even
extend equal pay to their sisters who had fought bside them.(7)

There were other enemies. Some of the married women in the mills felt
that as secondary wage earners in the family, they should get less than men.
They were strongly influenced by the traditional image of women. Some wo-
men were scared and insecure. The rumor went around that they would all
lose their jobs if the fight continued. Some actively fought the women's caucus.
No one knew the grievance procedure. Some men, including the foreman, started
telling the women that if they won equality they would be put on the hardest jobs
in the mill, be pushed out the door and men hired in their places and finally
that they would be sent to Vietnam.

Women's Liberation

In Women's Liberation the designation of the enemy went through a series
of successive stages. Initially the enemy was the older generation, middle class
values and norms and institutions. Then the capitalist economic system and the
kinds of social relations it produces become the enemy. Experiencing chau-
vinism and oppression within the Movement, they turned against the white male

radicals and found it necessary to organize a separate woman's movement to
fight for women's rights. They began to see the enemy in terms of psychological
forms of oppression, which meant a fundamental task in redefining their own roles
and, by implication, men's roles. Radical women accepted the values of equality
and self-determination for all human beings, the ideals of the students and the
blacks. In the course of the civil rights and student struggles to fight for these
rights, women applied these rights to themselves.

Sanctions are used against women who question roles by men who felt their
leadership threatened. Social, psychological, economic and in some cases physi-
cal threats are used. For example, the SDS boy, heckling a young woman trying
to discuss women's rights, said, 'Take her off the stage and fuck her.' Or the
Black panther at the United Front Against Fascism who manhandled and then
knocked down the stairs a young woman who was fingered by an SDSer as a
member of PL. When she denied it they accused her of being a member of the
Joe Hill caucus. She hadn't even made any statement of political position; he
couldn't cope with the possibility of an opposing position, especially from a

Women, Inc. is a specific social movement with specific limited goals as com-
pared to Women's Liberation which might be characterized as a general social
movement, less organized and with more general goals. The fundamental goal
of Women, Inc. is job security which they still have not won. Initially, before
organizing as women, they adopted the goals of the union, essentially economic
goals, pork chop issues of wages and hours and political goals such as support-
ing Democratic Party 'friends of labor'. When the rebel union organized, ad-
ditional goals of union democracy, satisfactory handling of local grievances and
more militant leadership were added to the earlier goals. Then came the at-
tacks on their jobs. Job security became the crucial goal expressed in a fight
to end economic exploitation and discrimination against women by ending male-
female job classification, lay-off lists, promotion ladders, and pay differentials.
To further the battle against specific forms of discrimination they adopted the
goal of broader alliances with other women and organizations. They contacted
women in other locals of the AWPPW, testified before the State of California's
Commission on the Status of Women, and attended one of their conferences.
They contacted women in the California State Department of Industrial Rela-
tions and in the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor, and invited
other working women to meet and exchange ideas with them. In this way they
gained reinforcement in their struggle. They adopted the goal of a two-sided
legal struggle, going to the courts after the EEOC decision and testifying at
the legislative hearing of the California Civil Rights Commission.

Such demands might force the labor movement to unify around the low-
est common denominator instead of splitting it by giving privileges to the
skilled workers and the labor bureaucracy at the expense of the unskilled who
are mainly made up of women and members of minority groups. This could
lend a dynamic effect of leading to more generalized demands, as workers
control, a 30-hour week at 40 hours pay, and even the establishment of social-
ized property relations.

The broad goal of Women's Liberation is to fight against the oppression
of women and male chauvinism and to build a separate women's movement
toward this end. Many of these women were initially radicals and socialists.

Some now give the struggle for women's rights first priority. Others maintain.
dual membership, seeing no contradiction between building a mass women's
rights movement and a revolutionary party. Still others want to build a women's
revolutionary party or a women's political party. Sharing of time, labor, includ-
ing housework and childcare, and money in personal relations between men and
women are goals. A major goal is coping with feelings of inadequacy and in-
feriority, overcoming caste etiquette, and relating directly to other women in
a positive and trusting way. This is analogous to the Black power movement
which initially had to establish a new identity and redefine the roles of blacks
through turning to black history. As all the institutions of society are male-
dominated, including the radical movement, some see the need of building a
separate women's movement and developing women as leaders; on the other
hand some oppose leadership development as leading to elitism.

As a social movement develops from an amorphous to a more organized
form, it begins to develop a literature and an ideology. The Old Left failed to
confront the problem of Women's Liberation. They relied on Lenin's statement
in the 1920s or Engels' Origin of the Family. Private property and the State.
They avoided a careful Marxist analysis of contemporary social relations, ne-
cessary to the formulation of a transitional program for women. This can be
understood, in part, as a reflection of the prejudices of white male skilled
workers and intellectuals, groups which account for most of the composition of
Old Left organizations. This composition may even be the 'labor aristocracy'
of radical organizations, compared to the most dynamic elements of the organi-
zation -- women, blacks, most recent immigrants and youth. If a revolutionary
group recruits from these strata in proportion to their centrality, its literature
may reflect a more dynamic character. Thus militant women will formulate
programs around which to organize their sisters in struggle for change, transi-
tional demands to meet women's needs.

Women, Inc., a working class group, and middle-class Women's Liberation,
organized on the basis of sexual identity, were forced into existence by sexism,
oppression, exploitation and discrimination based on sex. Because of the sanc-
tions used against women who try to defendthemselves, even by those supposed-
ly committed to equality, organization for protection, reinforcement, struggle
and development of leadership capabilities is necessary. Women's caucuses in
trade unions and radical organizations must be built and supported as well as
a mass Women's rights organization.

Enemies include not only the capitalist economic system which profits from
exploitation and discrimination but also some men, Including radicals who main-
tain privileges at the expense of women, especially through role concepts. Also
included as enemies are the uncle tom women, especially of the older genera-
tion who are intimidated into accepting traditional inferior roles. In some
cases these women lead the attack on the women's rights members. Because
trade unions and radical parties are important organs of struggle for economic,
social and political change, it is necessary to win them over to support of
women's rights. Those members who can't be won over must be neutralized
and those who actively oppose women's rights must be fought. Some men and
women will only be won over on the basis of iaked self-interest such as the
members of the AWPPW when they faced an NLRB election and would have lost
their union organization if they lost the women's votes if they didn't support
equal pay. Goals of women's organizations are both specific and general. Job

security is foremost among the specific goals. Without it equal pay and other
gains are meaningless: women can be bumped and men put in their places. One
demand to insure job security is equality in hiring, firing and upgrading. (On-
the-job training for advancement.) Seniority in firing protects the mature wo-
man. Twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week free child care centers prevents
women from being driven out of the labor market by cutting off child care.
Equality in sharing time, money and labor between men and women in personal
relations is a specific goal as is the demand for women in positions of policy
and decision making bodies in unions and radical organizations. Women must
strive for these positions of power if they are to carry out a program to meet
their needs. General goals include ending male chauvinism and the oppression
of women, both psychological forms as well as the economic essence of that
oppression. They also include changing women's images, breaking down role
concepts and norms of behavior. Among the general goals is also the goal of
socialism although not all the women in Women's Liberation are socialists
and none of those in Women, Inc. are.

Some of the women in Women's Liberation (especially those influenced by
SDS and PL) are (1) afraid of being co-opted by the conservative wing of the
movement represented by NOW and (2) see specific demands and transitional
demands as reform measures. They rarely raise women's demands without also
raising the demand for socialism. To the extent that a mass women's rights
organization with a preponderance of women workers is built, its class make-up
will help prevent co-optation. Developing an outlook based on the interests of
the lowest common denominator, the black woman worker, will have the same
effect. Organizing women around specific demands to meet their needs will
have a transitional, dynamic effect. As they come into conflict with the existing
system their consciousness will deepen as to the nature of their problems,
their root in the social structure and the solution. Their example will inspire
other women.

The milieu of a mass women's rights movement including women's trade
union caucuses will afford an excellent arena for recruitment to the socialist
struggle. The radical milieu in turn can provide political propagandists and or-
ganizers for the women's movement. The dynamic effect of struggle will be
to deepen and broaden the movement and raise its level of consciousness.

When a social and economic crisis hit Germany during the '30s Hitler's
reactionary program to save the German capitalists included a major attempt
to control and utilize women. A law was passed -- no women could hold jobs.
Men were given the women's jobs at the women's rate of pay. In this way un-
employment was used to drive down family income and increase the surplus pro-
fit of the capitalists. The myth of the woman only fulfilling herself as a breeder
rationalized this policy and also provided the babies needed for the war between
capitalist nations to redivide the world. Should growing inflation today lead to
mass unemployment and a monetary crisis, we can expect similar reactionary
laws against women, and theories to justify them. Already automation has led
to a shrinking of the unskilled labor market and increased competition between
men and women for jobs. If this trend should deepen, the contradictions between
men and women will become sharper and industry will try to drive women out of
the labor market. This in turn will conflict with the propaganda about population
explosion which calls for women to find meaningful work to replace having babies.
The demand for a sliding scale of wages and hours, a 30 hour week at 40 hours
pay to provide jobs for everyone who wants one, can help resolve this contradic-
tion, especially if raised by a mass women's organization.

Women's demands and organization should be supported; it is around those
demands that they will be organized into revolutionary struggle. Clearly the
party which doesn't recognize the primacy of the woman question, and sub-
ordinates it to the 'overriding class-struggle' (ignoring the fact that women are
the most oppressed stratum of the working-class) may split itself wide open
and lose the revolution. Perhaps women will be organized generally first on the
basis of their own grievances andonlylateras working class socialists. One does
not insist that a person become a socialist to join the anti-war movement or
that a black become a socialist to join the black power movement or that either
movement be limited only to class-conscious proletarians. Yet these move-
ments provide a milieu in which revolutionaries can recruit as consciousness
deepens through struggle. Often those women in the Bay Area who are spouting
revolutionary rhetoric simply alienate the new apolitical women who are radi-
calizing first on the basis of their own oppression. Stratification along class
lines should occur later, as class divisions deepen in the country as a whole.

Two final points. The deepening process of radicalization will facilitate the
unity of action between the women students and the women workers, the
black women and the white women. This unity will have to occur if the struggle
for women's rights is to be successful, because discrimination flows from the
concrete material reality of economic exploitation in the production and repro-
duction of life. Therefore the organization of unorganized women workers, of
women's caucuses in trade unions, and of an all-woman workers national con-
gress to raise economic demands at the point of production is fundamental.
Considering production in its broadest sense, including the reproduction of
life, housewives and mothers can be organized to end their exploitation by de-
manding payment (at least at average factory wage levels) for births and paid
maternity and paternity leaves, complete socialized child care, not with the in-
adequate, barren, and poverty-striken baby-sitting centers we have now but
rather with the material and human resources for the full development of the
child. The demand for women to gain controlof the productive process and shape
it to their needs is important. Using production for the qualitative development
of the human being instead of the quantitative production of goods means the
alternation and rotation of jobs even at the expense of a fall in productivity.
It means structuring jobs to meet women's needs flowing from their dual
roles in their procreative functions and in their human creativity in the process
of social production. It means structuring jobs for the experiential learning
and development of children too. Workers control of industry also means the
application of mass production methods to home industry. This demand will
free women from individual labor to enter into social labor which will provide
a basis for their real equality and self-determination.

Women's Liberation groups have the intellectual skills to provide writers
and editors of newsletters dictated by the union women's caucuses to help them
organize. They can write and mimeo leaflets, set up meetings, and bring them
aid from other women's organizations. They must be careful not to go like a
missionary preaching but with an openess to listen and learn from the women
workers. They can help organize the unorganized women workers. This kind of
unity will have a reciprocal effect. The concrete class position of the women
workers and their immediate struggles will help to prevent compromise and

wavering, and on the other hand the women students can give an understanding
to the women workers of psychological forms of oppression and work to raise
their consciousness from the need to struggle for specific immediate demands
to the need to change the entire social economic system.

Sooner or later black women must enter into the leadership of a women's
rights organization for its success. Traditionally more self-assertive and
independent than white women, tempered in the struggle for black power, of-
fering the perspective of the most oppressed, the bottom of the heap, they will
be the most dynamic, militant and unflinchingly courageous leaders. They have
already taken the lead In many ways. It was a black woman, Ruby Robinson, who
wrote the paper on 'The Position of Women in SNCC'. It was a black woman
worker, Rosa Parks, who started the Montgomery bus boycott by refusing to
give up her seat on a bus. Long before the organization of Radical Women
and Women's Liberation groups came organizations such as Black Women
Enraged and newsletters for black women such as Women In Action from the
Harlem Unemployment Center.

Black women from the slums took on the male chauvinism of the black na-
tionalists who called on black women not to take the pill as it was a form of
genocide. The slum women argued that they would control their own bodies
and that was making their revolution and they weren't going to be used by the
men for a power struggle for equality in which equality meant the men on top!
These women refuse to accept the Moynihan report which blames the black
women for the emasculation of the black man, thereby 'whitewashing' the capi-
talists and their profit motives and absolving them of responsibility. The emas-
culation of the black male serves the same purpose as the traditional image of
the passive, inferior female. It facilitates economic exploitation and increases
surplus profits. In any case Radical Women in Seattle, who include militant
black women in their membership, have made the fight against the Moynihan
report a primary target. Here is a beginning of that necessary unity between
black and white women. It is this kind of unity which must be deepened and
strengthened.a Sanche
Vilma Sanchcz


1. Herbert Blumer, 'Collective Behavior', in Alfred McClung Lee, ed., New
Outline of the principles of Sociology, p. 219.
2. Paul L. Kleinsorge and William C. Kerby, The Pulp and paper Rebellion: A
New Pacific Coast Union.
3. Linda Seese, 'You've Come a LongWay, Baby--Women in the Movement', Mo-
tixe (March-April 1969: On the Liberation of Women, a special double issue),
Vol. XXIX, 6 & 7, pp. 68, 70.
4. The Oregonian. Wed., Feb. 21, 1968, p. 16.
5. The Rebel, Feb. 28, 1968, p. 1.
6. The Rebel, loc. cit., p. 2.
7. Local 249 had about 600 members. The vote was 197 for, 84 against.



SAUL LANDAU An Interview with Fidel Castro
JAMES O'CONNOR The Fiscal Crisis of the State
MARTIN SKLAR Disaccumulation and Twentieth
Century America
DAVID EAKINS Corporate Liberal Policy-Making
JAN HALLIDAY Japan and American Imperialism
Capital and the Corporation
and Further explorations of Ecology
Revolutionary Youth Movement II
The Underground Press
Consumption and Woman's Liberation
The worming Class High School

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+Project Company Kindergarten+


by Enid Eckstein

An important problem under consideration by many Women's Libera-
tion groups is the establishment of day care centers for working class
women. Some groups have proposed that these centers be set up within
those industries where there is a heavy concentration of women and
that the facilities for such centers be provided by the industries. While
this does remove the financial responsibility of child care from the
mother it does, create many problems which Women's groups in the
United States have only begun to appreciate and comprehend.

Women in West Berlin have begun to understand and confront the
problems created by company kindergartens and thus a knowledge of
their experiences can clarify the situation for those groups that are
considering such a program. Helke Sander's article provides us with
much information to evaluate the future of such demands. The author
correctly distinguishes between those company kindergartens that offer
women little escape from their maternal duties and only increase their
oppression and those independent ones which are seeking to establish
some sort of base of socialistic education. While some radical groups
in the United States are in the process of setting up their own day care
centers which will have a socialist outlook, there are a number of wo-
men's groups that still feel that the corporations can provide adequate

The American equivalent of the company kindergarten has received
an added push for its full scale development with President Nixon's
new welfare program. One provision of the program calls for the es-
tablishment of day-care centers for working women so that they may
continue working and for those women who now stay at home to provide
for their children. Such centers would be forced on many welfare moth-
ers so that they might enter the work force. One can imagine what the
repressive nature of such centers will be and how they will start the
rigid socialization and channeling process found in our schools at an
even earlier age. It seems that these centers would further speed up
the production of mental cripples. Groups that call for the establishment
of corporation or government provided centers must see the inherent
dangers in such a stance. While the raising of such demands challenges
the role of women as mothers, the results of such a program based on
company kindergartens could be disastrous both for mother and child.
Helke Sander, speaking from experience can teach American women
much about consequences of such a program.

,, I -I I

Toe basis group* Wedding in West Berlin (a working class district)
has planned for some time to establish company kindergarten (Betriebs-
kindergarten) as part of their basis work, but so far there has been no
open discussion about the role these kindergartens are to play within a
socialist strategy.
Helke Sander, who is a member of the action council for women in
West Berlin and who has had experience with a workshop for high school
students, opens her discussion with a critique of the company kinder-
garten project:
First the term 'company kindergartens' has to be explained. Ordi-
narily it means a kindergarten established by a company for the children
of its blue and white collar workers, out of the necessity to attract fe-
male employees. Thus a company kindergarten does not exist for peda-

* The term 'basis' has a double meaning in. German. It means on the
one hand foundation or ground work and is on the other hand the official
Marxist term for superstructure. All compounds with 'basis' are used
in this article according to this double definition. (translator's note)

(translated by Christel Koppel from 'Projekt Betriebskindergarten',&QRt
Presse Korrespondenz. No. 27-8 (August 29, 1969).

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Send $1.00 to 16 Lexington St., Cambridge, Mass.

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gogical reasons but is rather the ultima ratio of a company to get em-
ployees. The company pays the kindergarten teachers, the day to day
costs, and makes rooms available.

The basis group Wedding, however, whose main political work con-
sists of this company kindergarten project, sees such a kindergarten as
an institution to which women of a company have been drawn by means of
agitation and who establish a kindergarten for their own children with
the help of other female comrades. The costs are to be paid by the pa-
rents, by comrades from the basis group, or by leftist organizations.

The make-up of the group, the distribution of the costs and the con-
ceptual content are so different in each case, that one should not give
the same name to such different phenomena. For that reason, I shall
refer to the kindergartens of the basis group as basis children's shop
(Basiskinderladen) or BCS; the company kindergarten or CKG will be
used according to the common definition. Inaccuracies in the language,
however, reflect vague objectives, and vagueness must be eliminated
as far as possible.

The company kindergarten is on many people's minds at the moment
and seems to be the 'in thing for those who want to agitate in factories.
Since 30.7% of all employees in West Berlin's industry are women and
this number will increase in the near future, it is extremely important
for us to get some clarity on how to work politically with the women
and on whether or not previous attempts of this kind will lead to a dead
end. Because of the importance of such a question I intend to discuss
the company kindergartens more openly than has thus far been the case.
I shall try to formulate some possible goals for this work:
One possible goal for a BCS project could be to initiate further BCS
as a way of working toward the foundation of socialist mass education in
cooperation with the parents and children. This, however, seems an
improbable goal since the specific financial circumstances which made
the first BCS possible will not repeat themselves indefinitely. There
might be a possibility for three or four other children's shops of this
kind, but after that the funds will be exhausted. The establishment of a
children's shop alone is not proof of organizational power. This power
comes from knowing sources for funds and with the consciousness that
we ourselves must determine the education of our own children accord-
ing to our own goals. If this consciousness were there, we would be
looking for methods to make possible a socialist education for all chil-
dren without having to conform to the working conditions of their pa-
rents. In other words, if the BCS has the goal to create a basis for so-
cialist mass education, there is no reason why the mothers of these
children have to work in the same company, since the child of a sales-
girl or a white collar worker, etc., should also get a socialist education.
This leads us to conclude that the comrades of the basis group pri-
marily have another purpose in mind with their children's shop, al-
though it is clear that the whole education question will arise as a se-
condary problem for the people working with such shops. Thus it seems
that the group to be won by agitation is not the parents working in a
company but rather the women workers in a company with children.
One can presume that the primary goal is to politicize the women on
problems which concern them directly. It is well known how difficult
it is to find an opening in one of the regular kindergartens, even when
one is willing to put up with long commuting distances, loss of wages

; Cy 71

o^e~DC6S-U tj3j(_ j,-4-

and the inconvenience of having to get up early. This explains why any
attempt to establish a new kindergarten will be supported by the women
in the first place. This does not mean, however, that the organizers
can claim any political success. We have to ask ourselves what cadre
function the female workers whose children go to the BCS will have to
fulfill. Furthermore, we have to know how the conditions of these fe-
male workers can be changed through such shops, i.e. to what extent the
shop is a precondition for political work.

36% of all workers and employees are women. According to the union
of the metal industry, 43.4% of them are married and 11.7% are widowed
or divorced. In other words, more than 50% of all working women have
family responsibilities. This number is going to increase in the coming
years. That is an important factor in any political work with women.
These facts must determine the answer to the question of how to develop
political consciousness -- either within or outside the sphere of produc-
If the center of gravity of agitation work lies traditionally (as I pre-
sume is true of the basis group in Wedding) in provoking conflicts be-
tween the workers and their company and in achieving solidarity for
such provocations, then the women would have to be in a situation which
would give them the time and energy for taking an interest in the produc-
tion process. In this case a kindergarten with certain amenities would be
an indirect way to lead women to the so-called primary problems, i.e.
those which develop out of theprocessof production. What I cannot under-
stand so far about those who are fighting for the BCS is the following:
Do they want to politicize only a few women or all of them?

If the intention is to free a few women who would then be able to work
politically through the help of this one shop, i.e. to work on conflicts in
the company, this is just an elitist concept and has nothing to do with the
formation of cadres since the same barriers to political work (children,
husbands, home) would continue to exist for the other women. It is con-
ceivable even though undesirable that this basis group wants to show
off by forming a women's group which can talk about workers' control
while a female comrade takes care of their children. If we eliminate
these as possible intentions, however, i.e. if we want to enable all wo-
men to work politically, we would have to start a kindergarten campaign,
and we would have to analyze the target of our demands. Since we are
dealing with female workers who are organized according to companies
we can assume that their demands are geared toward these companies,
particularly since they do not have contact withother groups which might
approach the problem in a different way. That could mean that the goal
of this first BCS is to reach other women in the company through those
women who send their children to the shop and who thus have gained the
necessary time and consciousness so that together the women can demand
and fight for a company kindergarten. A BCS would mean in this case
that the company pay all the costs; the concept, however, would be de-
termined by the experiences gained in the children's shops and in the
first BCS. By this means the women could become interested in the pro-
duction process itself.
We have to examine whether this age-old demand of the unions should
be picked up or not. The need for female workers is increasing pro-
gressively. In order the get them, the companies have to develop some
imagination. Since the reservoir consists mainly of married women,

mothers have to be freed from their children. For this reason demands
for company kindergartens do not meet the same resistance today as
they have for the past fifty years. On the contrary, several companies
have even volunteered to establish such kindergartens. Some of the ads
try to attract the women with them. Kreuzberg (a working class district
in West Berlin) already has two CKG, and the tendency is that within a
few years a CKG will be as much a matter of course as two weeks of
vacation for the worker which enables him to toil better afterwards. Ac-
cording to a study by the Berlin State Commission, there were, by the
end of 1966, 350,000 women of working age in Berlin who were neither
in training nor, invalids, but who could not work, for several reasons
although they were basically willing to. The reasons are primarily to
be found in family duties. 'Most of the young mothers are particularly
good workers, because they very often surpass their unmarried col-
leagues in greater interest in the job and stronger feelings of respon-
sibility'; therefore, the Commission concludes that it will be necessary
to look for new and even unconventional ways of utilizing this reserve
labor force better than before, which would mean mainly that more
CKG must be established. For: 'The reserves of 350,000 presently non-
working women is of prime importance in all attempts to increase the
number of workers in West Berlin without have to recruit people from
outside Berlin.'

This means that we can be quite sure that the number of CKG will
be increased. We have to ask ourselves, however, whether we should
use our strength to get them faster or rather to prevent them. Should
we give a personal quality to someof the CKG by politicizing the mothers
in advance through work in the companies in order to get the women to
fight, for instance, for having only 15 children per group instead of 20
or more? We certainly will be able to achieve this in some companies,
but what will be the political effect? We have to ask what a CKG means.

For the children

At first glance, one might think the children should profit from going
to the company together with their mothers in the morning. That might
allow them to sleep a half an hour longer since they would not need to
be taken to a kindergarten across town perhaps or to the grandmother
where they would be without playmates. This way they will be torn from
their beds a little later, but that does not change the fact that they still
have to be dragged from their beds. A CKG does not change the times
of the work shifts. A big company may set aside space outdoors and two
bright rooms. But as for the many small companies where women also
work, where are they going to put their kindergarten? Our demands
should be acceptable to all women working in different fields who have
the same problems, and they should be applicable to all of them -- even
if slightly altered.
Let us assume, however, the child goes to a good company kinder-
garten and is in a group smaller than the average. The child sees the
mother during her break as well. That means she is forced to show she
is a loving mother, since that is expectedfrom her, although she actually
needs those few minutes during the break desperately for herself. Then,
at half past four, the child goes home with his mother, is dragged along
on shopping errands, and pushed around until it is time to go to bed.
There are probably other children of the same age living in the neigh-
borhood who are in the same boat. But our child only meets them when

the mother has time to go with him to the playground after work or if
he is old enough-and the street safe enough to play there without super-
vision. Except for a possibility of getting up a little later there won t be
much of an advantage for the child. It is more likely, however, that the
aggressions between mother and child will increase because she will
have to deal with him immediately after her exhausting work day, without
having had a few minutes to herself.

For the mother

For the mother this demand seems at first to be reasonable; she
will save the time and money involved in transporting the child to baby
sitter or outside kindergarten. Or she will get rid of her bad conscience
if she had been leaving the child with relatives before.

An important disadvantage, however, is this: if the job is too hard or
too frustrating, the woman at least now has the option of changing jobs.
But if her child goes to one of the CKG, she will have to think very
carefully about a change since it is uncertain, if not improbable, that
she will get her child into a regular kindergarten. Even if more CKG are
established there is still only a slight chance that there will be enough
to go around. Moreover, a company might get the idea that a place in a
kindergarten of that company should be earned through special merit.
Thus a CKG might be a useful means of keeping women in line in order
to prevent them from achieving solidarity and taking up conflicts. A
place in a CKG could be turned into a reward for special conformity.

For kindergarten teachers

Kindergarten teachers in the regular school system are quite a rele-
vant group for the CKG, since they are going to staff the CKG. Having
organized for nearly two years, the teachers tried to prepare a strike
with political content. I do not want to go into details as to why the strike
could not take place and what mistakes were made. The kindergarten
teachers have a different target in their struggle. They are organizing in
their struggle against the Senate of Berlin to fight for substantive re-
forms in their work. They began with demands that they be allowed to
fulfill their true pedagogical task. The negative reaction to their de-
mands showed them that they could not achieve the fulfillment of their
demands within the present structure of society but rather that they
would have to fight the system. They refusedto go on turning the children
into such broken disciplined creatures as are found among the mass of
today's population. For this reason, one of their demands was that the
Senate not open additional day care centers until the present centers
had enough traineA1pe analajduntilthe-size-of-the-groups-w re-
duced to numbers which would make meaningfulpedagogical work possib
The kindergarten teachers know wno their real opponent is, and out
of this knowledge they gain their organizational strength, not because
they believe the Senate will give them what they want if only they organize
well, but because they have recognized their power and its potential for
breaking the system. Thus they are correct in fearing that the establish-
ment of further CKG would obscure the situation and destroy the solidari-
ty which has slowly developed. CKG at this moment would mean that
trained kindergarten teachers would migrate into industry for better
salaries, and the question of teacher education would remain untouched.
Thus the demand for further CKG amounts to a stab in the back to those
kindergarten teachers who are organizing themselves, and that accord-
ing to socialist principles.

For elementary school teachers

The kindergarten teachers have gained experiences which could be of
great importance to teachers in elemnftaaxy scghbOls.leoxmer.roealize
the impossibility of doing anything frtheindivldualchild dunderpresentY
conditions. So far the politicized elementary school teachers have tried
to a great extent to make improvements for the children under the same
conditions or to experiment with new forms through which to achieve
politicization, for example, by giving the children permission to eat in
class or by allowing them to remain seated while giving an answer or
even by talking to them about Vietnam. These teachers are, of course,
faced with immense difficulties without being rewarded by any visible
success. Moreover, the classes in the schools are bigger than the groups
in the kindergartens, and thus the necessity for discipline is greater,
making pedagogical work impossible.
Almost all teachers are very dissatisfied with these conditions, and
we must ask ourselves whether this should not be picked up in an ef-
fort to organize and politicize the teachers. In that case, kindergarten and
elementary school teachers would have to cooperate and coordinate their

- Therefore, the following points become clear: as -

The project of the basis children's shops in the form described will
not help to create the basis for socialist mass education. Nor will it
lead to the politicization of the women workers who do not have children
in the basis shop since the conditions which had prevented any political
work until now would remain unchanged.
What the basis children's shop can achieve at this point, namely to
lead a campaign for the establishment of further CKG, would be objec-
tively counterrevolutionary, since such efforts, directed as they are at
the individual companies, would result in an increased distortion of the
situation and not in a greater consciousness or in the emergence of
fighting strength in the women.

What is the alternative?
Clearly the women need kindergartens. But they need only those
which will really help them to cope with their problems and not the kind
which will make them more dependent and tied down in the final analysis.
In order to recognize where their problems lie at all, they need time.
But this time must be fought for, and that would seem to be a reasonable
goal. (f one has to work 16 hours day, the work hours simply have to be
shortened.) To be realistic we have to begin with the messed up struc-
ture of society as it is. It has been proven that it is extremely difficult
to work with women in companies and factories. Even interested women
are afraid that their husbands or friends will oppose such work. Or they
have children and are thus kept from using their remaining energy for
work problems.

Lack of time is the main problem for most women. That cannot be
emphasized enough until those people understand it who can afford to
to stay in bed/until eleven o'clock now and then. And who does not know
women who wish they were sick so that they could stay in bed without a
bad conscience. These things have to be taken into consideration. We
cannot overlook husbands who restrict their wives. They are there. We
cannot-just overlook demanding children, either. They are there. And
these problems can prevent meaningful politics on the job. In other words:
The necessary politics on the job can only become meaningful for the
women if the means are found to solve the aforementioned problems.

We know the following about their work situation: In general, women
do the most simple-minded kind of work, which makes the slightest
identification impossible. Their jobs are so dull, however, that they do
not allow any imagination, such as thinking of ways to earn money or
to reorganize their work or to determine their own work hours. The
work is so bad that it should really be abolished. But it cannot be abol-
ished since one depends on it. The idea that work should be automated to
make room for more meaningful work is unrealistic for people who are
used to getting only the kind of jobs which others do not want. They know
that they would be left jobless if this kind of work were no longer avail-
able. This is truly a realistic evaluation since most women are not trained
in any skilled labor.

To elicit their support, any work conflict would have to have for these
women the quality of letting them envision a change in their situation
outside the work sphere as well. This is the only area with which they
can use their imagination, in which they still have hopes and where they
have not yet become hardened. But that also means that this is precisely
the area in which they are prepared to fight.

What can they fight for at first? The women who work and have chil-
dren are almost unbearably overworked. The women who are not in the
production process but stay at home are completely neurotic because
of their isolation. Their children are their only contact with the outside
world, and it is through them they must find their identity. Every rebel-
lion against their situation is condemned by society which considers
them sick outcasts who have to conform or be expelled, since they are,
after all, 'getting what they have coming to them'.

These, then, are the problems:

First, the isolation must be overcome and the work load reduced to
a bearable level; after that further work can proceed.

It follows, therefore, that we can no longer repress the children we
have and the ones we will get in the future.

In this article we want to deal only with those women who already
have children and who are in the production process or will enter intto
it in the coming years.

What are the possibilities if company kindergartens are an unaccept-
able strategy and if it is clear that we do need kindergartens?

Let us look again at the demands of the kindergarten teachers. They
demand small groups, better teacher training and changes in the content
of education. What does that have to do with the position of the mothers?

At first the mothers might agree theoretically that it would be better
for the children not to be crowded into small rooms. They might also
realize that because children become more stable in smaller groups,
they would not need to provoke their parents at home after having been
suppressed all day in the kindergarten. But this demand by itself will not
get the mothers to join the kindergarten teachers on the barricades. For
these demands are not relevant to their own situation. They will only be-

come relevant if one realizes that kindergarten teachers and female
workers have to organize as women since the demands for smaller groups,
more teacher training facilities and less repressive education has direct
bearing on the overload of work and the isolation of the women. This is
not immediately apparent.

At first glance it seems that kindergarten teachers and mothers are
in a conflict of interests. This, of course, was immediately picked up by
the press at the time of preparations for the strike. By defining the
issues in this way, they tried to mobilize the mothers against the kinder-
garten teachers. The kindergarten teachers demand that there be an
immediate halt to the admission of children, that no new day care cen-
ters be opened and that classes be cancelled in the event of sickness of
a kindergarten teacher when there is no trained substitute available.
The mothers' immediate demand, on the other hand, is for more kinder-.
gartens for all children. They are even willing to send their children to
a bad kindergarten since that is the precondition for their being able to
go out and work. And they depend on this work either for financial rea-
sons or because it seems the only way of breaking out of their isolation.

However, the kindergarten teachers do not wish to exclude these
children on principle from the concept of education which they are work-
ing on. On the contrary, they are interested in preventing all children
from becoming mental cripples. They no longer want to contribute to
the psychological destruction of children who will then later have very
little motivation to defend themselves. The hysteric reaction of unions
and Senate to the preparations for the strike show that the kindergarten
teachers are seen as a key group. At the same time it was obvious, how-
ever, that the teachers themselves are not yet aware of their power be-
cause they lack the theory behind it. They will sink into reformism with-
out the cooperation and control of the female workers. It seems that bu-
reaucracy is one step ahead of us with its theoretical evaluation in that
it realizes the significance of the development of such solidarity among
teachers, working women and mothers. It will depend to a great extent
on the political work of these women whether the 350,000 potential fe-
male workers in Berlin will remain suppressed women open to exploita-
If the kindergarten teachers succeed in preventing the opening of new
day care centers the general question of teacher training must be at-
tacked; at the kindergarten level this involves the training of girls. To-
day kindergarten teaching is a middle class profession. For a socialist
education, however, we need proletarian teachers. The militantly acti-
vated desire of women for more and different kindergartens will raise the
whole problem of education for girls to a new level. This question de-
termines whether automation is introduced in the interest of capital or
in the interest of the working population. The women who are kept in a
state of stupidity by all possible means and are thus suppressed and made
dependent on official protection are the backbone of reaction. But nobody
wants to give up this backbone.

What do the demands of the kindergarten teachers have in common
with the interests of the mothers?

Let us return to the small groups. Much space is necessary to allow
for small kindergarten groups; however, they would not necessarily need
to be In houses. The small groups could be almost anywhere. A kinder-
garten housed in the one building is desirable and conceivable: one can
see that there are empty apartments, stores or offices everywhere. The
advantages of such a kindergarten are obvious. Enough children from the

neighborhood are available; that means spontaneous social contacts either
already exist or are possible because the families live in the same
neighborhood. When a mother realizes that it would be feasible to estab-
lish a kindergarten for her own and the neighbor's children right in
their own apartment building and then she finds out that the Senate re-
fuses to give any money for it, she will start wondering why there is
money available for land speculators but not for the children. If there
are no kindergarten teachers available, she will ask why so many girls
in junior high school who are interested in this profession do not have
the opportunity to become kindergarten teachers with their educational
background. She will also want to know why it is that those people who
have had only eight years or less of schooling have so many children of
their own but that these same people are not permitted to learn how to
take care of the same number of children who are not their own.
In order to activate these desires we must continually examine the
demands of the kindergarten teachers and compare them with the de-
mands of the mothers, so that we may learn to demand from society
as a whole that which it denies us. But for that purpose we must learn
as women to realize our oppression in its full extent so that we can fight
against it from the bottom. We have to see the point from which women
can learn to fight -- the point where specific feminine interests coincide
with the specific class interests.

We cannot permit conflicts to be picked up hastily and solutions of-
fered which once again would leave us as diminished human beings. In
order to learn how to fight for real socialism we have to learn to articu-
late what we understand by it and to transfer this knowledge to other wo-
men so that our strategy can be developed out of this understanding and
not out of men's perception of the position of women; men make less
radical demands because they lack the experienceof certain oppressions.

We are, however, still only stuttering. We still have trouble formulat-
ing our own demands and standing up for them without chickening out
before the theoretical superiority of the men. Despite the action councils
(for women's liberation) we still are in danger of vacillating as individu-
als and may do things we have not thought through independently only be-
cause we want to defend ourselves in front of the men and prove to them
that we can work politically. I consider it dangerous when female com-
rades say they want to work in companies in order to 'reach the women'
but at the same time are extremely bored when other female comrades
talk to them about their problems which originate from the fact that they
have children. In other words, problems which they will have to face in
the companies, too. I also know comrades who refuse to move into com-
munal apartments with children because the children would disturb their
political work. This kind of political work seems to follow the pleasure-
pain principle rather than to have developed out of necessity.

I believe that we can only become ready to work after we have de-
veloped the strength to discuss rigorously with the women the necessi-
ties which result from our specific situation which cannot be discussed
away. We shall be ready after having overcome our fears about whether
our work is political enough for the men and whether the work we are
doing will be recognized or not. I think we will be strong only when all
theoreticians can call us inflexible, rigid, unbending, and emancipationist
and we no longer regard these words as attacks but rather as an expres-
sion of insecurity in the men....

78 Helke Sander

Itm so glad you came out
alive with your ideas
it's always
a good feeling
and your saying I should
check the facts,
of course
one should never write without

facts, one should
never write.

Or at least not expect it to mean anything
during sick bones
they will
break again

and again.
your analysis
is complicity, yes,
you heard me I am saying

are responsible

yours are the words
become jargon : the sadist police,
big hinges on all those doors,
the game
,political, economic or
how to love without giving


over the high screech of your words
I hear guevara say
: I used to be a doctor.

Margaret Randall


bibliographic notes

When looking at the history of women one is struck above all by the continuity
of their inferior status. At points of transition from one technological or socio-
economic period to another, when they might have expected to gain a lasting
measure of liberation, this has not come to pass. If there has been progress in
any sphere for women, it has been accompanied by regression in others. More-
over, it has proved very difficult for women to study the history of their sex.
Such a history does not exist, has yet to be written. This article was originally
planned as a bibliographical essay of some scope on the body of literature per-
tinent to women. But the tedious job of salvaging truth from the myths and the
chauvinism will have to wait. The marginal and distorted treatment of women
by scholars, scientists, and writers has been wll documented by Mary R.
Beard.(1) Simone de Beauvoir has written what is probably the best general
summary of the limitations of the existing theoretical systems used to define
woman.(2) She has probably sacrificed accuracy in some few areas to compre-
hensive coverage, but it is discouraging that twenty years after The Second Sex
was first published, we are still having to fight the same verbal battles, defend
ourselves against the same ageless proclamations on woman's nature, woman's
sphere. Norman O. Brown shows how Freud revealed Kantian eschemata of ra-
tionality' to be schemataa of repression'.(3) People are now looking with the
same critical eye at Freud himself, among others.(4) Herbert Marcuse and
Norman O. Brown do try to push beyond patricidal-castration-guilt complex to
a primal 'maternal reality principle', but we should beware lest those who would
save us from the old familiar myths bring us only reinterpretations or new ones
in their stead.(5) There does seem to be a trend away from regarding women
as a part of the 'natural phenomena' which form the constant background of his-
tory, a trend corresponding to the growing respectability of social and cultural
history alongside constitutional, diplomatic, and economic history.(6) But as
the same author mentions elsewhere, women have beenpremature before in pre-
dicting a change for the better in their affairs. In a fragmentary way this arti-
cle will review some early sources important to the past woman's movement,
give a brief discussion of some establishment literature, and, finally, refer-
ences to commentary both friendly and hostile on women's liberation as a move-
ment, p'.st and present.


Surely it is no coincidence that the present movement for the liberation of
women is going back to the pioneering works written on women, some 100 years
old, which were influential in the Women's Rights Movement. Women are re-
discovering the more radical strain in the movement which ran its uneven course
from 1848 to 1920. Historians have defined the movement as the suffrage move-
ment, thereby obscuring or ignoring its radical nature at some periods and the
work of some women who workedinthe suffrage movement but for whom the vote
was at most a means for greater social change.(7)

There is a well-founded distrust among radicals of much of the work done
in the field of anthropology during the last decades, for they are permeated with
a cultural relativism, the motto of which is, in Norman O. Brown's words:
'When in Rome do as the Romans do'.(8) The most critical appraisal of cultural
relativism, as regards anthropological research on women, can be found in
some of the recent writings growing out of the women's liberation movement.(9)
Moreover, throughout history, chauvinists of one sort or another have bandied
about such an assortment of theories on the natural woman in her savage, bar-
barian and primitive stages that caution seems the better part of wisdom in
this area. Widely cited in the current women's liberation movement is Friedrich
Engels' The Origin of the Family, Private Propertyand the State.(10) This work
must have had enormous impact in the early 'natural rights' period of the femi-
nist movement. The book must have been influentialon Veblen's work on archaic
society, although this is not open to verification. We find many parallels to
Veblen's work in the writing of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, whose major work
Women and Economics (11), in turn, became the bible for the woman's cause, al-
though she herself was a disciple of Lester Frank Ward. To summarize very
briefly, Marx and Engels recognized that the family system and the position of
women, involved as they were in that original production reproduction of the
species had much to do with the development of society and social institutions.
Engels based his book on the work of Bachofen, McLennan and Morgan.(12) The
enduring contribution of their work was to shake the unquestioned belief in the
correctness of the male-dominated nuclear family with all the corresponding
limitations on sexuality and sex roles. But this anthropological material has
proven to be the weakest point in Engels' book. However, it has been pointed
out that Engels' arguments on the inextricable connection between the develop-
ment of private ownership and the subjugation of women are still valid if one
postulates a more nearly equal position of women instead of the gynocracy which
Engels describes.(13) Marcuse, in discussing Freud's even more dubious de-
picting of prehistory, says: 'If Freud's hypothesis is not corroborated by any
anthropological evidence, it would have to be discarded altogether except for
the fact that it telescopes, in a sequence of catastrophic events, the historical
dialectic of domination and thereby elucidates aspects of civilization hitherto
unexplained. We use Freud's anthropological speculation only in this sense:
for its symbolic value.'(14) This is in part very persuasive; however, a his-
tory of the dialectic of domination based upon a symbolic anthropology has a
way of spiralling off in tangent, missing our subject: woman. But this is an
area which needs much sensitive work, preferably by women.

Before moving on to other commentators, a brief summary of Veblen's ideas
on women may be of interest. This is not to overlook the problematic and con-
tradictory nature of his work, the fragmentary and erratic psychology, some of
which caused him to fall into oblivion withinthe social sciences. For the record,
in a discussion of the personal psychological motivation of Veblen's radical
views regarding masculinity and femininity, we read: 'Much of his work can be
seen as a passionate defense of women; Veblen regarded women as the great
oppressed cadre, whether they were the slaves of marauding tribes andthus
the first 'private property' or the 19th century slaves of fashion who bore the
brunt of male emasculation; intrinsically freer than men of such superstitions
as nationalism, the women were the core carriers of social decency and sim-
plicity underneath the perversions and rituals created and dominated by men.' (15)
More specifically, Veblen analyzed 'the close connection, particularly in point

of psychological derivation, between individual ownership, the system of status,
and the paternal household, as they appear in this culture.'(16) As in Engels'
book, warfare and slavery arise at that level of technology which makes possi-
ble the production of a surplus. Prior to this stage, Veblen postulates a form of
non-coercive monogamic marriage terminable at will by either party. He calls
it 'the household of the unattached woman'. The type of marriage replacing this
older form arises from the new custom of securing women from other tribes
as trophies of battle. From this, marriage based upon coercion and ownership
is introduced. Because of the growingprestigeofthe warriors and, consequently,
of 'ownership-marriage' all other forms, and most particularly the independent,
unattached woman, lose caste. In the minds of all men and woman the relation-
ship between the sexes based upon capture and ownership by the man becomes
the standard for 'beauty and honor'. When the group's increased size makes it
difficult to secure enough wives by capture, marriage rites involving 'mock cap-
ture' are introduced to make it possible to find wives within the group. 'Hence
the formal profession of fealty and submission on the part of the woman in the
marriage rites of peoples among whom the household with a male head prevails...
In the words of the formula, even after it has been appropriately softened under
the latter-day decay of the sense of status, it is the woman's place to love,
honor and obey.' (17)

J. J. Bachofen, using as sources ancient classical literature, postulated the
existence of a religion of the Great Mother.(18) However, mother worship does
not necessarily mean rule by women. 'Myth is not so crassly tied to reality.'(19)
Simone de Beauvoir discusses the ambiguities of being enshrined in this way.
Her central criticism of Engels in The Second Sex is that he reduces woman to
an economic being in his analysis. However, in a later criticism of her book,
she says she should have used a more materialist analysis: q should base the
notion of woman as gther and the Manichean argument it entails not on an ideal-
istic and a priori struggle of consciences, but on the facts of supply and de-
mand.'(20) Engels does give an overly simplified outline of how woman's sup-
posed economic disadvantage was basic to the subsequent growth of exploita-
tive and male-dominated social institutions, but this may not be sufficient reason
to discount his work. As an anthropologist of the cultural relativist school has
said, Marx and Engels did not seek to explain all of social life &s but a reflex
of economic life: 'Despite Engels' attempt to establish certain broad principles
of social evolution along the lines of Lewis H. Morgan's stages of culture as
given in Ancient Society,... stress is laid almost entirely on the influence exert-
ed by economic elements in culture on those mechanisms and institutions which,
based on economic inequalities are most responsive to the modes of exploitation
and the vested interest of special privilege.'(21) In a general discussion on
'stereotypes of woman's place', a veteran in the struggle for women's rights
sums it up in this way: '...the state of the economy affects the limits of personal
range. Then the persuaders take over and make those limits attractive. The
rewards are certified, the penalties suppressed. Nor is the pattern limited to
the design for making a living. Every cultural process has its corresponding
caveat.'(22) Another approach to a re-evaluation of Marx and Engels on archaic
society sees power as essentially psychological in derivation: 'Marxian anthro-
pology, with its assumption of the economic derivation of power and its cor-
relative assumption that the psychologyof economics is universally the psycholo-
gy of appropriation, is committed to deny or belittle the existence of power in
the archaic society.' (23)

Slave or idol, it is not of woman's choice. L.H. Morgan worked with kinship
systems among American Indian tribes in formulating his view of archaic so-
ciety as a peaceable gynecocracy run along the line of a primitive communism.
But here we should beware of creating new myths to conquer the old. There have
been doubts cast upon the matriarchy theory which cannot entirely be passed off
as male chauvinism, although the vengeance with which critics of this theory
proceed is strange. On the other hand, Norman 0. Brown, in searching for a the-
ory of dynamic interrelations between family structure, religion, and natural
culture, says: 'If the emergence of social privilege marks the Fall of Man, the
Fall took place not in the transition from primitive communism' to 'private
property' but in the transition from ape to man.'(24) A more cautious statement
reads: 'yet the burden of the theory put forward by Bachofen and others seems
incontrovertible. If we scratch hard enough to reach beneath the benevolent
Jovianlan patriarchy of ancient Greece, we discover surely all the signs of the
earlier matriarchal cultures.'(25) August Bebel in reierrumg to criticism of his
book saw in them an attempt 'to prove that neither the natural sciences nor
anthropology provide any material for showing the necessity and usefulness of
socialism.'(26) Simone de Beauvoir shows the problems in lumping together
matriolatry, matriarchy and matrilineage. She refers to Claude Levi-Strauss's
work. For what it's worth, he analyzes marriage as a bond not between men and
women but between men by means of women.(27) Woman herself is but the sym-
bol of her line. True authority rests with her father or brother. Moreover, the
persistence of the custom of residence after marriage among the man's kin
takes away from our picture of autonomous women under matrilinial systems.
Malinowski goes so far as to say that, in View of the universal pattern of legiti-
macy with regard to children, it can be thus said that 'the group consisting of
a woman and her offspring is not a sociologically complete unlt'.(28) With the
same 'bias' he goes on to interpret the matrilneal family as did Levi-Strauss
later as permitting a freer relationship between parents and child but retaining
the stern authority figure and model for social ideals and ambition in the mother's
brother. Furthermore, in the course of looking for a variant explanation of the
incest taboo, Levi-Strauss defines woman in archaic society as the original
and most precious form of goods for gift and barter. Yet, after defining woman
as a piece of merchandise, Levi-Strauss can still say that in spite of centuries
of abuse as an object, she retains something of her innate subjective value,
'thus explaining that richness, that fervor and mystery which the relations be-
tween the sexes have preserved.'(29) In a similar attempt to 'soften the blow',
Herskovits takes issue with the designation of woman as 'property object' or
'profitable capital' and says that as supposed 'living property' (livestock?),
women 'must be cared for in a special manner, they arouse especially strong
sentiments of affection or antipathy, etc.' Therefore he would modify the claim
of ownership a man has over a woman as 'authority and responsibility' over her.
These are very fine distinctions indeed.

Family vs. Work For Women

Socialist and feminist views

Engels and August Bebel after him saw in the family institution in embryo
form slavery and serfdom: 'in miniature all the antagonisms which later develop

on a wide scale within the society and its state'.(30) Consequently, they thought
the conflicts and contradictions inherent in the capitalist system could be seen
at work in destroying the nuclear, male-dominated family. With the full em-
ployment of women in industry he predicted the removal of both the raison d'etre
and the foundation of male-dominated monogamy. This led him to believe that
only in the proletarian marriage, where thehusbandwas economically powerless
and in many cases the wife herself employed, could there be any possibility of
true 'sex love'. This, in turn, led to his statement, far less reprehensible than
the male chauvinism of many another writer but irritating nonetheless, that 'the
last remnants of male domination in the proletarian home have lost all founda-
tion -- except (!I) perhaps, for some of that brutality toward women which be-
came firmly rooted in the establishment of monogamy.'

It does not seem that socialist women carried through this sharp critique on
the origins and functions of the family in their organizational and educational
work.(31) Mari Jo Buhle's paper on 'Women in the Socialist Party, 1901-1914'
shows how sporadic were the attempts to organize women around distinctly wo-
men's causes. The German women's movement, which seems to have suffered
from the same lack of ideology as did the American movement, nevertheless
did have a number of very charismatic leaders on the socialist side, in the pro-
letarian women's movement. Clara Zetkin and Lily Braun were active for many
decades working within the labor and socialist movements for women's rights.
Zetkin had close ties to Lenin, resulting in a number of interesting interchanges
between the two on women. In one, Lenin, while agreeing that women had to be
freed from the home, proposed that women try to achieve an 'extension and exal-
tation of motherliness from the individual to the social sphere', i.e. women com-
rades should work within the youth movement.(32) However, seldom does one
find stress on the words of Engels and Bebel taken up that woman was the first
human being to experience oppression. At the end of her militant pamphlet on
the awakening of political consciousness among women workers, Lily Braun
says social and economic conditions 'hit women in the hallowed center of their
nature', i.e. their mother love. In the conclusion she says that 'only intellec-
tually free, strong women can bear and raise a generation of free men capable
of leading socialism on to victory.'(33) This emphasis on the protection of
motherhood in socialist programs was praised by Ellen Key, who wrote and
spoke against the 'amaternalism' of much of the women's movement.(34) Miss
Key proposed that the 'service of the mother' be given equal status as military
service. The woman whose work was in all likelihood being so described was
Charlotte Perkins Gilman. A non-Marxian socialist, Darwinist, she has been
called the 'Marx and Veblen of the movement'.(35) A comparison with Marx
and Engels is true in so far as she relates the subjugation of women to their ex-
clusion from recognized social production and calls for the organization and
industrialization of housework. However, she felt that the labor movement as
well as the women's movement had mistakenly made a class issue of what she
termed 'social evolution'. Furthermore, whereas she may have agreed with En-
gels and Bebel that woman was the first being to taste of bondage, she believed
the centuries of woman's subjugation a necessary step in racial evolution. Wo-
man is the 'bearer of the life principle' whose innate ability toward sustaining
and preserving functions has civilized the man, her master. For, once subju-
gated by the man, she became his responsibilityand in the process he was forced
to take on some maternal traits of protecting and caring. 'Love makes the world
go round,' she said. In this area she was drawing from a general Darwinist ap-

proach common throughout the period as well as specifically from the writings
of Lester F. Ward on the biologic supremacy of women. The 1890s were much
affected by racist thought.(36) One section of Kraditor's collection of readings
is entitled cScience enlisted in the cause of feminism', a practice which in some
ways proved as risky for the movement as the early citation of chapter and
verse to show Biblical support for the equalityof the sexes. And yet, the work of
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Charlotte Perkins Gilman andVeblen,to name but three,
were valuable in counteracting the pernicious theories on women put forth by
other Social Darwinists around the turn of the century.(37) The major criticism
which Perkins Gilman directs against this unhealthy 'sexuo-economic' imbalance
(not to be confused with Reich's sex-economic moralityis its socially and ra-
cially counter-evolutionary effects on women. 'Half the human race is forced
to confine its productive human energies to the same channels as its reproduc-
tive sex-energies.' Woman becomes a parasite and a 'priestess of the Temple
of Consumption'. Olive Schreiner made many of the same points in her book on
Woman and Labor.(38) However, as she points out in discussing male attitudes
toward woman and labor, 'it is not the labor, or the amount of labor, so much as
the amount of reward that interferes with his ideal of the eternal womanly.' In
a sense, the tendency of many feminists to stress the economic powerlessness
of women obliterated their indispensable economic functions in the past in much
the same way that the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions adopted
at the Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention, by stressing the civil and legal
death of the married woman, obliterated and distorted the body of laws which,
in practice, gave women more leeway than indicated by the infamous and influ-
ential Sir William Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England.
M.R. Beard also has a good discussion of this in her book. Under these condi-
tions it is understandable, says Perkins Gilman, that the attitude of the mar-
ried woman toward the prostitute is like 'the hatred of the trade-unionist for,
scab labor'.

The comparison with Veblen seems more valid in that both concentrated
upon the problems of consumption in relation to women. Both believed that the
time of woman's re-entry into socially useful work was not far off. But since
Veblen defined consumption narrowly as a luxury directed to the comfort of
status of the consumer, and therefore the privilege of the master, in consump-
tion by women he could see only vicarious consumption for the head of the
household. He was less sensitive to the implications for human sexuality in gen-
eral of irrational non-gratifying consumption and the development of women in'
particular than was Perkins Gilman, who hints at relationships later taken up
by Marcuse. In Woman and Economics she says: 'The false economic position
of women... sexualizes our industrial relations and commercializes our sex
relations. And, in the eternal effect upon the market, the over-sexed woman, in
her unintelligent and ceaseless demands, hinders and perverts the economic
development of the world.' Her disdain for women caught in this parasitic exis-
tence was expressed elsewhere when she referred to a society as filled with a
legacy of 'innumerable weak and little women, with the aspirations of an af-
fectionate guinea pig.' Yet, she was radical as an ideologue for the movement,
especially in view of the arguments of expediency then rampant in the litera-
ture of suffraglsm. Her work and that of Elizabeth C. Stanton, the only com-
parable figure in the women's movement, shows the radical potential which has
been until recently obliterated. Their views on religion are close. The alien
and imbecile' preoccupation of women with 'devout observances', traceable to

the fact that 'they stand in no such direct organic relation to the industrial pro-
cess at large as would tend strongly to break down those habits of thought which,
for the modern industrial purpose, are obsolete', had often been ridiculed;
however, Mrs. Stanton believed that women would never be emancipated until
the pernicious influence of organized religion were thrown off, and she reinter-
preted the Bible from a feminist point of view. Perkins Gilman went on to say
that 'modern religion would show less preoccupation with death and damnation,
if women had more to do with its origin and development.'(40) She relates the
prevailing attitudes toward motherhood partially to the influence of religion; for
this phenomenon she used the term 'matriolatry'. Her most radical proposals
were not the insistence that women combine home with work, something which
was then in fact taking place, but that domestic industries be made public ser-
vices and that child-rearing also be removed from the private sphere. 'Simply
to bear children is a personal matter -- an animal function. Education is a col-
lective, human, a social function,' she wrote. These views together with her
vague prescription of a period of consciously directed evolution link her with
the earlier work of Robert and Robert Dale Owens and John H. Noyes (Oneida
Community). She outlined the liberating benefits to childand mother if both were
freed at least partially from the isolation of the home, from the intensely per-
sonal relationship between parent and child.

Establishment Literature

In contrast, the central position of the family is measured in positive terms
by the huge corpus of establishment research on women, family and marriage.
The key words here are socialization and stability; or in the language of the so-
cial sciences: 'The family serves as an agent of social placement for the new
members of society, and by acting as an agent of control of marital relations,
it regulates social alliances between family units and helps to place individuals
into a patterned network of interweaving social relationships. The first of these
features is known as the Principle of Legitimacy, the second as the Principle
of Reciprocity.'(41) Another encyclopaedic book, The Family and Democratic
Society, by Joseph K. Folsom, provides a mass of material bewildering in its
detail. Out of a mass of data some few references stand out. Folsom found family
systems of primitive and complex societies readily comparable and concluded
that 'civilization does not elaborate the family system as it does the material
culture and the economic organization.'(42) Folsom attempts to make corre-
lations from the mass of data he covers: The tendency to give consideration
to the bride increases 'as we go up the cultural scale'. Yet, there is no corre-
lation between marital stability and stage of economic and cultural development.
He notes the fact that throughout much of the modern period in the West the state
has used the family to strengthen itself, most conspicuously through laws of
inheritance. Folsom finds no qualitative difference in the treatment of women
in matrilineal and patrilineal societies: 'A genuine matriarchate is nowhere to
be found.' However, he also mentions briefly a very interesting hypothesis that
patrilineal societies taboo female orgasm of the clitoris, whereas matrilineal
societies permit it and encourage sex fore-play toward that end.(43)

Books, special issues of scholarly journals andnewspaper articles concerned
with the threatened stability or transition in the institutions of family and mar-
riage in the U.S. and Europe multiplied many times in the late Forties and Fif-
ties. Folsom's book was part of that group, and in a section on trends in the


American family, he calls for major reforms toward specialization and indus-
trialization in the domestic sphere. He then went on to say, with less subtlety
than most, that such steps were necessary for 'the salvation of democratic so-
ciety'. A 1950 example states in consternation that not only was there never a
Golden Age of the family in the U.S. but that there have been periods of dis-
satisfaction and rebellion against the values, restraints and objectives of family
life throughout the history of the country. In the same article, the sharpest
criticism levelled is: 'Society is far more interested in preserving the status
quo of its social institutions than in determining whether these human institu-
tions actually promote human welfare for which they are supposedly intended.' (44)

Viola Klein's widely cited book The Feminine Character. History of an ide-
logy (45) lists as factors which sway research on women: therevailingstatus
and ideology assigned to women in a particular society as well as the author's
personal, perhaps unconscious attitudes toward women, ln her introduction,
one of few paces in the book where she actually admits that women are a
subjugated group, she, as have others, describes women as an -out-group3
distinguished from the dominant strata by physical characteristics historical
tradition an socia role.' The Vaertings, in their book The dominant ex, ex -
amea by TK in, collected attributes of subordination (in either sex) from the
ancient 'matriarchal' civilizations of Egypt, Libya and Sparta. The subordinated
sex showed these traits: a passive role in love-making, obedience and submis-
sion, dependence on spouse, fearfulness, modesty, chastity, love of home, re-
stricted interests, tenderness toward babies, relatively greater monogamous in-
clinations, interest in bodily adornment, finery.(46)
In her historical section on women's social and economic roles and the wo-
men's movement, she is careful to stress that women were not kept in submis-
sion by men but rather that cultural lag was in operation. Whereas Bebel, as
noted earlier, described woman as the first slave, V. Klein merely sees that
woman remained a serf 'after men had already outgrown the state of serfdom'.
She rightly counters the viewpoint that women were throughout history ex-
cluded from the economic life of society; yet she is forced to admit that in all
periods woman's work was dependent upon and subservient to man's work,
meagerly reimbursed and largely unskilled. In this section her historical
sketch corrects the overly positive portrayal of woman's influence in Mary
Beards' book.

Ten years after The Feminine Character, V. Klein collaborated with Alva
Myrdal on Women's Two Roles, Home and Work.(47) It is a competent work but
refuses to allow a radical critique of the problem and consequently has no radi-
cal proposals for change. They see the mainproblem confronting women as their
uncertain position between two conflicting ideals: the hardworking housewife
and the lady of leisure. The general explanation for this phenomenon is, ac-
cording to Klein and Myrdal, that women have in all spheres lagged one step
behind men in the process of social evolution. Alice Rossi questions the ir-
rational, dysfunctional maintenance of traditional marital and fertility customs.
Recent women's liberation literature has tried to analyze ways in which the
nuclear family is indeed quite functional, with periodic reforms, within the sys-
tem. It should be noted that her analysis of the position of women has become
considerably more radical in its criticisms, while remaining concerned chiefly
with women in the professions.(48) The practical effect of so-called labor-saving
devices has been, Klein and Myrdal explain, 'to decentralize services which had

in an earlier stage moved from the home into the factory... The concentration
of production, which was the governing principle of industrialization, had come
to a standstill in the sphere of the home.' While the authors do state after 161
'ages that there must be a change in the 'minds and habits of men' and that the
patriarchal family has outlived its day, the main thrust of their book places the
blame of inferior status with women themselves: 'This is the price women have
to pay for their uncertainty as regards their occupational future.' Their assess-
ment of women's occupational opportunities in the course of the book shows -
unintentionally perhaps that a middle-class reliance on Right-to-Work and
Equal Opportunity reforms can lead full circle. Women's entrance into the labor
force, they write, amounts to the recovery of positions lost to women when they
were 'squeezed out of the economic process'. However, they note, as is well
known, that women, on the whole, remain in the lowest positions regarding skill
earnings. They further note that the 'emancipation' of women has replaced 'ama-
teurs by professionals in the 'feminine' occupations rather than men by women
in the 'masculine' spheres.' Their solution to the conflict in women's roles is
to structure a woman's life into three successive phases: education, family and
social service. And lest this seem too radical, they are careful to add that their
plan need not entail a new sexual division of labor. While not abandoning the
feminist call for equality, 'there is no use shutting our eyes to the facts of life
in pursuit of an abstract ideal.' Joseph Folsom was more innovative in his
unequivocal plea for industrialization of housework. With some variation in
emphasis or tone, most establishment literature on American women in the past
fifteen years holds out as future steps a drive to bring social values more com-
pletely up to date with changes in economy and development, to educate public
opinion to accept wider, more flexible roles for both sexes and to establish co-
operative or public arrangements for household tasks and child care. A little
adjustment is deemed sufficient to restore peace and tranquility. Betty Friedan
has a good section attacking the 'functional freeze' effects of social science
research on women. Ironically, Mirra Komarovsky, one of the sociologists
bitterly criticized by Friedan, has in her own book pointed to another branch
of science, psychoanalysis, as the intellectual basis of neo-anti-feminism.(49)
This criticism refers to the work of Freud and Helene Deutsch as opposed to
the 'dissident psychoanalysts' (elsewhere known as the 'neo-Freudian revisionist
school')(50) which, she says, takes into account social causes for feminine
character. There is another way of evaluating the effect on women of the work
of such psychoanalysts as Fromm, Bettelheim and Erikson with their discovery
of 'motherly and fatherly principles'(51) and 'inner and outer spaces'.(52) Much
of psychoanalytic writing in the recent past, having cast off the more blatantly
patriarchal, as well as other dialectically more penetrating sections of Freud,
continue, with their imitators and vulgarizers, to do much to give scientific
credibility to the image of women projected in the mass media. Another way
of looking at the general problem with most research and analysis of women is
that, on the one hand, woman is examined out of historical context without
consideration for social factors or, on the other hand, she is measured and
judged within the confines of the institution of the family. This is the criticism
also made by Juliet Mitchell in regard to Socialist theory on women. 'In Marx's
early writings woman becomes an anthropological entity, an ontological cate-
gory, of a highly abstract kind... (Later) the problem of women has been sub-
merged in an analysis of the family.' She mentions as one error resulting from
this approach Marx's premature prediction of the imminent dissolution of the
bourgeois family and the idea that the traditional family no longer existed in
the working-class.


The first American women's movement has received scant attention from
social analysts in view of the fact that it stretched over the better part of a
century. The few books on the movement showthe injurious effects of a tendency
to rely on the biographical approach when the subject is woman. This has per-
haps led historians and others to discredit ideological convictions in favor of
personal psychological motivation on the part of activists in the women's move-
ment.(53) Recently a number of books have dealt with ideological trends within
the women's movement taking into account the relationship to the broader social
and political climate. The Kraditor book and William L. O'Neill's recent book,
subtitled 'the rise and fall of feminism in America'(54) stress the early radi-
calism in parts of the movement. Kraditor calls this the 'Natural Rights period',
during which women fresh from the Abolitionist Movement redefined woman
as human being, citizen, woman, wife, in that order. Kraditor and Andrew Sin-
clair(55) credit the anti-slavery movement with having radicalized the active
women into an awareness of their own oppression. Kraditor discusses further
steps in this process: 'When woman suffrage was a radical cause, a handful of
pioneers who were willing to brave public censure were its leaders... The treat-
ment they received in turn encouraged their tendency to question all that their
society held sacred in the realm of religion as well as in the field of politics.
But, by the last decade of the nineteenth century, woman suffrage had become
respectable, and women who held orthodox opinions on every other issue could
now join a suffrage organization without fear of ostracism.'(56) O'Neill does not
quite agree with the analysis of the origin of the movement which links it so
closely with the radicalizing effect of Abolitionism. He explains the emergence
of the movement in the 1830s as women's rebellion against their confining, male-
dictated sex-role within the Victorian conjugal family.(57) Christopher Lasch
speaks of the movement as one of 'emancipated neurasthenic women', 'aliens'
to their own class. For him the movement, 'the feminine impulse', is nothing
more than one 'aspect of a more general development -- the revolt of intel-
lectuals against the middle-class.(58) In any case, there is wide agreement that
the movement was reacting against oppressive domesticity. Veblen in Theory
of the Leisure Class and V. Klein et al have examined the fact that revolt was
not possible until industrialization freed some women from the drudgery of house-
work, concretely in the sense of providing them with maids from among the
masses who came to the cities looking for jobs. Alice Rossi, underlining the
fact that marriage itself ('which tends to be endogamous with respect to class,
race, and religion') hinders the growth of solidarity among women, finds that
'the size of a woman's rights movement has been responsive to the proportion
of 'unattached' women in a population'. She links the lull in women's rights ac-
tivism in the '50s to the early age at marriage and the all-time high proportion
of married vs. single women. Likewise, she relates the rise in activism in the
mid-'60s to a reversal of trends in the '50s.(59) Whatever the basic causes
underlying the emergence of the movement in the 1830s, they are all related to
its middle-class origins. Feminists were demanding equal rights and oppor-
tunities at a time when women in the labor and socialist movements were de-
manding differential and protective treatment and legislation. Ellen Key phrased
it in this way: 'Nothingso clearly elucidates in what stage of feminism the upper-
class movement was than its obstinate adherence to 'the principle of personal
freedom', in the face of the atrocious actual conditions which resulted from 'the

freedom of work' of the women factoryhands.' Only when the women's movement
identified with the working-women as workers did organized labor begin to ac-
tively support the major goal of the movement -- suffrage. Kraditor also points
out that the egalitarianism of the early stage of the suffrage movement with its
origins in the anti-slavery struggle, returned in the form of social concern
for the poor immigrant, Jane Addams' work. But this time the social concern
for another oppressed group did not have a radicalizing effect on the women.
The movement had in its latter stages become broad and moderate, willing to
form alliances with any group in its drive for the vote. The vote itself was
no longer demanded as an inalienable right but rather held up as a means for
insuring more educated middle and upper class voters to counteract Negro and
foreign-born voters and in other ways to give the country the unique benefits
of feminine character. Thus, in the end, women were redirected to the very
idealized roles as wives and mothers from which the movement had originally
sought freedom. (60)

Lenin believed that a proletarian revolution would create the basis for 'real
renovation in marriage and sexual matters'. Consequently, he chastised Clara
Zetkin for allowing questions of sex and marriage to be the main topics in dis-
cussion groups of women comrades. He did not consider the enlightenment of
proletarian women on these subjects as of very high priority. More specifical-
ly, Lenin was critical of Rosa Luxemburg's efforts in organizing and supporting
prostitutes, even though he realized they were doubly oppressed by the property
system and moral hypocrisy. Zetkin's reply to his admonishments is similar to
arguments in women's liberation today: 'The questions of sex and marriage in
a bourgeois society of private property, involve many problems, conflicts and
much suffering for women of all social classes and ranks.. A critical, histori-
cal attitude to these problems must lead to a ruthless examination of bourgeois
society, to a disclosure of its real nature and effects, including condemnation
of its sexual morality and falseness. All roads lead to Rome.' Speaking of ex-
periments in new sexuality, Lenin said, 'However wild and revolutionary the
behavior may be, it is still really quite bourgeois. It is, mainly, the hobby of
the intellectuals...' In a brilliant essay on the woman and the German youth
movement, Elisabeth Busse-Wilson makes a similar criticism of communal
sects and other exhausting attempts at total personal opposition to the existing
society. She refers to Marx's characterization of such experiments as being
carried on 'behind society's back'. She believed that the only course was to or-
ganize a common struggle for an encompassing social solution. Herbert Mar-
cuse also rejects a reliance on the supposed revolutionary power of a liberated
adult sexuality as proposed by Wilhelm Reich. This is very obvious from an
interesting interview with Marcuse in Germany on the emancipation of women
done in 1962 prior to the publication of One-Dimensional Man.(61) Marcuse
criticized feminist efforts as having the effective result of obtaining for wo-
men an equal share in the repression to which the man is exposed in the work
sector. The point was then raised that parts of past women's movements had
seen themselves as the last prop holding up a repressive society; they believed
that society might undergo major change if men, coerced and manipulated in the
production process, were unable to compensate by having a woman at home to
dominate. To this Marcuse replied that the entry of women into the work sphere
would not emancipate the woman as woman but transform her into an instru-
ment of work. Furthermore, he believed that society could successfully absorb
the full employment of women. Today in Women's Liberation there is little dis-

agreement that women have spent much of their history as precisely that -- an
instrument of work, a beast of burden. One remembers the arguments of the
anti-suffragists, arguing that participation in politics would diminish the innate
purity of women. Marcuse is not as crass, of course; he goes on to relate a
theory of Sartre in Being and Nothingness that the woman's capacity for joy,
not as an instrument of labor but as a giver of pleasure, lies precisely in her
distance from direct participation in the production process. Sartre becomes
very specific: those parts of the body whidh have the least to do with work are
the most erogenous zones and as the women becomes more involved in the pro-
duction process, organically as well as psychologically, her capacity for pleasure
also decreases. Marcuse also doubted whether the expansion of public services
to ease housework or child care responsibilities of the women would be a pro-
gressive step, for the reason that any intervention of the apparatus of social
production into the private sphere becomes in turn a means of further social
conformism and repression. In a repressive society the good becomes bad.
S. de Beauvoir herself, after spending much of her book describing the dulling
effects of woman's sphere of immanencee', makes a telling distinction between
*white collar' work and housework. 'Cooking, washing, managing her house,
bringing up children, woman shows more initiative and independence than men
slaving under orders... The woman gets more deeply into reality. The baby fed
and in his cradle, clean linen, the roast, constitute more tangible assets; yet
just because, in the concrete pursuit of these aims, she feels their contingence -
and accordingly her own it often happens that woman does not identify with
them and she has something left of herself. Man's enterprises are at once pro-
jects and evasions: he lets himself be smothered by his career and his 'front'.'
Implicit in these reservations is a question as to whether the woman is a freer
less co-opted being than the man. This small sampling of commentary on wo-
men's liberation shows the extent to which the revolutionary potential of the
movement is judged by impressions of the failure of previous movements. All
of which makes more necessary than ever that Women's Liberation develop
.an ideology which avoids the errors and weaknesses of past movements.

-E.H. Altbach


1. Mary R. Beard, Woman as Force in History. New York: MacMillan Co.,
1946, pp. 47-76.
2. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex. New York: Bantam Books, 1961.
3. Norman O. Brown, Life Against Death. New York: Random House, 1959.
4. Naomi Weisstein has made a start in this direction in her article, avail-
able from the New England Free press (791 Tremont, Boston), 'Kinder, Kuche,
Kirche: psychology constructs the female'.
5. Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization. New York: Vintage Books, p.
210; and Brown, op. cit., p. 126.
6. Aileen S. Kraditor, Up from the Pedestal:Selected Writings in the History
of American Feminism. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1968, p. 3.
7. Carl N. Degler, Introduction to Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Women and
Economics, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, p. vii. See Shulamith Firestone,
'The Woman's Rights Movement in the U.S.', in Notes from the First Year
(New York Radical Women), June 1968.

8. Norman O. Brown, op. cit., p. 245.
9. The extremes of this distrust are exemplified in Evelyn Reed, 'Prob-
lems of Women's Liberation'. New York: Merit Publishers, 1969.
10. First published in 1884.
11. First published in 1898.
12. J.J. Bachofen, Mother Right. 1861. S.F. MacLennan, primitive Mar-
riages. 1865. Lewis H. Morgan, Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the
Human Family, 1871; and Ancient Society, 1877.
13. Margaret Benston, 'The Political Economy of Women's Liberation',
Monthly Review, September 1969 (reprinted by New England Free Press).
14. Marcuse, on. cit., p. 54.
15. David Riesman, Thorstein Veblen, a Critical Interpretation. New York:
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1953, p. 41.
16. Thorstein Veblen, 'The Barbarian Women', American Journal of So-
ciology, Vol. 4, No. 4 (January 1899), pp. 503-14.
17. Ibid.
18. Bachofen, op. cit.
19. Brown, op. cit.
20. de Beauvoir, Force of Circumstances, 1965, p. 192; cited and discussed
in J. Mitchell, 'Women, the Longest Revolution', New Left Review, No. 40 (Nov/
Dec 1966) (reprinted by New England Free Press).
21. Melville J. Herskovits, Economic Anthropologyv New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, p. 494.
22. Nancy Reeves, 'A Moratorium on Marriage', paper at UCLA Conference
on Stereotypes of Woman's Place.
23. Brown, op. cit., p. 251. Marcuse's critique of the book, while not naming
it specifically: 'All talk about the abolition of repression, about life against death,
etc., has to place itself in the actual framework of enslavement and destruction.
Within this framework, even the liberties and gratifications of the individual
partake of the general suppression. Their liberation, instinctual as well as in-
tellectual, is a political matter, and a theory of the chances and preconditions
of such liberation must be a theory of social change.' (from the Forward, 2nd
edition of Eros and Civilization)
24. Ibid.
25. Lawrence Ludovici, The Final Inequality: a critical assessment of wo-
man's sexual role in society. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1965.
26. August Bebel, preface to 25th edition of Woman and Socialism.
27. Claude Levi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures of Kinship. Boston:
Beacon Press, 1969, p. 116.
28. Bronislaw Malinowski, Sex and Repression in Savage Society. New York:
Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1927, p. 213.
29. Levi-Strauss, op. cit., p. 496.
30. Marx, quoted in Engels, op. cit., p. 96, possibly taken from Marx's
'Abstract of Morgan's Ancient Society', Marx-Engels Archive. Vol. IX.
31. For a discussion of women in socialisttheory, see Juliet Mitchell, op.clt.
32. Clara Zetkin, 'Lenin on the Woman Question', New York: International
Publishers, 1934.
33. Lily Braun, Die Frauen und die Politik. Berlin: Expedition der Buch-
handlung Vorwarts, 1903, p. 38.
34. Ellen Key, The Woman's Movement. NewYork: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1912.
35. Perkins Gilman, op. cit., p. 171.
36. Kraditor, The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement. 1890-1920. New
York: Columbia U Press, 1965.

37. Riesman, op. cit., p. 64.
38. Olive Schreiner, Woman and Labor, New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co.,
39. Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class, New York: BW. Huebsch,
1918, p. 323.
40. Degler, op. cit., a discussion of Perkins Gilman, His Religion and Hers,
41. Rose L. Coser, ed., The Family: Its Structure and Functions. New York:
St. Martin's Press, 1964, p. xiv.
42. Joseph K. Folsom, The Family and Democratic Society, New York:
John Wiley and Sons, 1934.
43. Reo F. Fortune, 'Social Forms and their Biological Basis' (Communi-
cations), American Sociological Review, Vol. 6 (1941), p. 571 and 725.
44. Ray H. Abrams, 'The Concept of Family Stability', The Annals of the
American Academy of political and Social Sciences, vol. 272 (Nov. 1950).
45. Viola Klein, The Feminine Character. History of an Ideology. New York:
International Universities press, 1946.
46. Mathilde and Mathias Vaerting, The Dominant Sex: A Study in the So-
ciology of Sex Differentiation. Lond: Allen & Unwin, 1923.
47. Alva Myrdal and Viola Klein, Women's Two Roles, Home and Work.
London: Routledge and Kegal Paul, 1956.
48. Alice S. Rossi, 'The Roots of Ambivalence in American Women'. Un-
published manuscript.
49. Mirra Komarovsky, Women in the Modern World. Boston: Little, Brown
& CO., 1953.
50. Marcuse, op. cit., p. 217.
51. Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1957.
52. Erik Erikson, 'Reflections on Womanhood', in Woman in America (Dae-
dalus, Spring 1964). Also, Bruno Bettelheim, in Women and the Scientific Pro-
fessions. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1965.
53. Example: Andrew Sinclair: 'Yet, whatever the cause -- her early in-
fatuation with her brother-in-law, her differences with her husband, or her
sympathy with her own sex -- Elizabeth Stanton was fired throughout her life
with indignation against woman's wrongs.' On Susan B. Anthony: 'She was a
living example of how much good a public life does for a single woman.'
54. William L. O'Neill, Everyone was Brave: The Rise and Fall of Femi-
nism in America. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1969.
55. Andrew Sinclair, The Better Half. New York: 1965. It is pointless to
refute every instance of ('lively') male chauvinist writing, but Sinclair's refer-
ence to the women of the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention as '(William Lloyd) Gar-
rison's group of women' deserves special notice.
56. Kraditor, The Ideas..., p. 84.
57. Cited in O'Neill: Philippe Aries, Centuries of Childhood:A Social History
of Family Life. New York: Vintage Books, 1962. Shows that the tightly knit
nuclear family is a relatively modern creature.
58. Christopher Lasch, The New Radicalism in America, 1889-1963. New
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965, p. 62.
59. Alice S. Rossi, 'The Beginning of Ideology: Alternate Models of Sex
Equality', published in the Humanist, Fall 1969.
60. O'Neill's book has a good discussion on this topic.
61. 'Herbert Marcuse und peter Furth--Emanzipation der Frau', Das Argu-
ment, Vol. 4, No. 23 (Oct/Nov 1962).

-RRA News .

RA has been slower than expected in get-
onto a new publishing schedule and in estab-
lishing a pamphlet series. Rather than four
issues in the Fall,only two appeared,due not
only to a lack of money but,more primarily,to
inadequate printing arrangements. With the
Surrealist issue (properly Vol.IV,#1),the
press upon which we had relied throughout RA's
life finally collapsed. The present issue is
the last to be printed on a small machine,for
beginning with the next number,RA will be put
together by the Black & Red group in Detroit
on modern machines.

Directly ahead are three more "special"
issues: the James issue,edited by Paul Buhle
and M.Glaberman; the Socialist Scholars' Con-
ference (April) number,featuring the leading
papers from the 1969 Conference (by P.Buhle,
R.Aronson, T.Schroyer and B.Brown; and,trans-
lated into English for the first time,Guy De-
bord's La Societe du Spectacle,the marvelous
Situationist text on everyday life under ad-
vanced,urbanized Capitalism--co-produced by
the Black & Red group as an enlarged (approx.
100 pp) issue,with much graphic work.
With the June number we resume a more
"regular" schedule,with special features in
perhaps three of the four issues,taking up
only a portion (40 or 50pp) of the issue.
Some of the articles now being completed in-
clude: three essays on W.A.Williams' The Roots
of the Modern American Empire,by Michael Meer-
opol, Robert Berkowitz and Martin Sklar; three
essays on Paul Mattick's Marx and Keynes by
R,Wicke,M.Glaberman and Dick Howard; two doc-
uments by Wilhelm Reich previously unavailable
in English,with commentaries by Robert Auerbach
and Elliott Eisenberg; a special segment of
the July-August issue on the Political Economy

of Racism; an exchange of views over Youth
Culture between John Heckman and the Buffalo
Collective; a special segment of the Septem-
ber issue for an evaluation of Hegel's heri-
tage,including contributions by the Italian
Marxist-phenomenologist Enzo Paci,by Russell
Jacoby on the Hegelian sources of thought in
Lenin and Luxemburg,by Paul Piccone on Lenin's
thought,by Franklin Rosemont on Hegel & the
Surrealists, and by Paul Buhle on the inter-
pretation (and its effects) of dialectics in
the American Left of the 1930's; two essays
by Benjamin Peret on the problem of Marxism
and irrationality,with comments by F.Rosemont;
a growing number of working class studies,cul-
minating in a special segment of the Nov-Dec
issue on the present state of the American
working class; and a continuation of the de-
bate in the September (1969) number on the
political implications of Marxist philosophy.

BACK ISSUES: Mar-Apr,1969 and Nov,1969 are
being reprinted and will be available in
bulk soon.

PAMPHLET SERIES: pamphlets now available in-
clude d.a.levy's "stone sarcophagus"; f.perl-
man's "Reproduction of Daily Life," r.head &
darlene fife's "From Weird to Word"; and Her-
bert Marcuse's "The Obsolescence of Psycho-
analysis,"co-produced with Black Swan Press.
Also TELOS #3 (#4 out soon), ROOT & BRANCH
#1,both distributed in part by RA.

BOOK SERIES: the first RA Book will appear
in the Fall,Dick Howard's Rosa Luxemburg
Anthology,with MR Press; an arrangement with
New Critics Press,St.Louis, has been made,and
anthologies by Paul Mattick and Ernst Fischer,
as well as an expanded hardcover edition of
the Women's Liberation Number,are in prepar-
ation. AAAA



I AM FURIOUS(FEMALE),E. Cantrow, E. Diggs, and others. A general
introduction to the subject. Originally a working paper for the women's
caucus of the New University Conference(NUC). Covers the influence of
Freud and Christianity in the ideological oppression of women. 15

A basic statement of the material conditions in capitalist (and other) soc-
ieties which define the group "women". Focus is upon the nature of work
performed in and by the family. 10c

BREAD AND ROSES, Kathy McAfee and Myrna Wood. Argues the centrality
of the struggle for women's liberation in a revolutionary movement. 10

also: The Place of American Women:Economic Exploitation by Joan Jordan
(15I );Women:The Longest Revolution by Joan Mitchell(15c)


Radical Education Project


VIETNAM: 1000 YEARS OP STRUGGLE, Terrence Cannon. At last! A well
written history of the struggles of the Vietnamese people suitable for the
widest possible reading audience--whether high school, factory, or college
study group. Illustrated. 50


Noel Ignatin and Ted Allen. These articles present a definition of "white
skin privilege" and its effect on the working class and the movement. Fro
the basis of proletarian politics,they argue the necessity for whites to re-
pudiate the white-skin privilege in order to build a revolutionary move-
ment of the entire working class. 20


RADICAL AMERICA, published ten times per year at
1237 Spaight St., Madison, Wis. 53703. Also
microfilmed at University Microfilms, Ann Arbor.
Subscription rates: $5/year, or $10/year with
pamphlets, except with joint-subscription deals
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years, $8.50; three years, $12.50. Supporting
sub: $15 and up. Back numbers Vol. I, #3, Vol.
II, #1-6, Vol. III, #1-6 are available for 75q
each, or $9.75 for the group. Vol. IV, #1 is
available for $1.


*year of Radical America plus year of Socialist
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now on a bi-monthly schedule. $9 for both.

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Get a pamphlet subscription to Radical America,
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Pamphlets now available: d.a. levy, Stone Sarco-
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