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Socialist Feminism A Strategy For The Women's Movement

2241 words - 9 pages

SOCIALIST FEMINISM -- A STRATEGY FOR THE WOMEN'S MOVEMENTBy Hyde Park Chapter, Chicago Women's Liberation UnionHeather BoothDay CreamerSusan DavisDeb DobbinRobin KaufmanTobey KlassContact:H. P. Chapter819 West GeorgeChicago, Illinois 60657Additional copies 50 cents plus mailing costsBulk rates available on requestINTRODUCTIONWe have written this paper to express and share with other women ideas for a new strategy for the women's movement. Currently there are two ideological poles, representing the prevailing tendencies within the movement. One is the direction toward new lifestyles within a women's culture, emphasizing personal liberation and growth, and the relationship of women to women. ...view middle of the document...

Thousands of women see themselves as part of the movement; a vaguely defined "women's consciousness" has been widely diffused through rap groups, demonstrations, action projects, counter-institutional activity, and through the mass media. Women in the movement have a growing understanding of common oppression and the imperative of collective solutions. With the realization that what we saw as personal problems were in fact social ones, we have come to understand that the solutions must also be social ones. With the realization that all women lack control over their lives, we have come to understand that that control can only be gained if we act together. We have come to understand the specific needs of various groups of women and that different groups of women have different ways in which they will fight for control over their own lives.On the other hand, the women's movement is currently divided. In most places it is broken into small groups which are hard to find, hard to join, and hard to understand politically. At the same time, conservative but organizationally clever entrepreneurs are attaching themselves to the movement, and are beginning to determine the politics of large numbers of people. If our movement is to survive, let alone flourish, it is time to begin to organize for power. We need to turn consciousness into action, choose priorities for our struggles, and win. To do this we need a strategy.Our movement's strategy must grow from an understanding of the dynamics of power, with the realization that those who have power have a vested interest in preserving it and the institutional forms which maintain it. Wresting control of the institutions which now oppress us must be our central effort if women's liberation is to achieve its goals. To reach out to most women we must address their real needs and self-interests.At this moment we think that it is important to argue for a strategy which will achieve the following three things: 1) it must win reforms that will objectively improve women's lives; 2) it must give women a sense of their own power, both potentially and in reality; and 3) it must alter existing relations of power. We argue here for socialist feminist organizations. We are not arguing for any one specific organization but for the successful development of organizations so that we may be able to learn from experience and bring our movement to its potential strength.To make this argument we have written this paper. It has been designed as follows:I. Socialist Feminism----the concept and what it draws from each parent tradition. (pgs. 3-8)II. Power--the basis for power in this society, and our potential as women to gain power. (pgs. 9-14)An applied example of our strategy (pgs. 15-19)III. Consciousness----the importance of consciousness for the development of the women's movement, its limitations, and its place in a socialist feminist ideology. (pgs. 20-23)IV. Current issues and questions facing our movement----A socialist...

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