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 Wednesday, January 12 2005 @ 06:48 PM PST

Anarcha-Feminism - Thinking about Anarchism


FeminismSubmitted by Reverend Chuck0:

Anarcha-Feminism - Thinking about Anarchism

Workers Solidarity #79

An important principle of anarchism and one that more than any
other differentiates it from other types of socialism is its emphasis
on freedom and non-hierarchical social relations.

Central to
anarchism is the rejection of any power hierarchy between men and
women. Anarchists believe that the liberty of one is based on the
liberty of all and so there can be no true anarchist society without
an end to all existing structures of domination and exploitation,
including naturally the oppression of women.
As anarchists we believe that the means determines the end. This
means that we do not wait for some future revolution to tackle the
problems of sexism but instead see that it is important to struggle
against it in the here and now. As anarchists we strive to ensure
that both our own organisations and also those campaigns we are
involved in are free from sexism and power-hierarchies and that all
members have equal decision-making power.

We recognise that the full participation of women within the
anarchist movement and social struggles of today is very important.
In order to shape the future society women must be involved in its
creation and, of course, without the participation of half of the
population there will be no social revolution. Just as we believe the
emancipation of the working class is the task of the working class
themselves, we also see that, essentially, women's development,
freedom and independence must come from themselves. Becoming
involved in political struggle is in itself an act of empowerment.
Many women in today's society do not believe that they could have
a role in fundamentally changing things. However by getting
involved, by assuming our place - agitating, educating and
organising- we begin to take control of our own lives in the process
of actively fighting to change the unjust society in which we live.

Only in an anarchist society will the basis for the oppression of
women cease to exist. This is because women, due to their
reproductive role, will always be more vulnerable than men in
capitalist society which is based on the need to maximise profit.
Abortion rights, paid maternity leave, crèche and childcare
facilities etc., in short everything that would be necessary to ensure
the economic equality of women under capitalism, will always be
especially relevant to women. Because of this, women are generally
viewed as being less economical than men to employ and are more
susceptible to attacks on gains such as crèche facilities etc.

Also, women cannot be free until they have full control over their
own bodies. Yet under capitalism, abortion rights are never
guaranteed. Even if gains are made in this area they can be
attacked, as happens with abortion rights in the USA. The
oppression of women under capitalism has thus an econom-ic and
sexual basis. From these root causes of women's oppression, stem
other forms of oppression like, for example, the ideological
oppression of women, violence against women etc. That is not to
say that sexist ideas will just disappear with the end of capitalism,
but rather only with the end of capitalism can we rid society of an
institutional bias that contin-ues to propagate and encourage

As an anarchist society will not be driven by profit, there, for
example, will be no eco-nomic penalty for having children or
wanting to spend more time with them. Childcare, housework etc.,
can be seen as the respon-sibility of the whole of society and thus
give women and men more options in general.

Anarchism/Anarcha-feminism* joins the fight against class
exploitation and that against women's oppression together. True
freedom, both for women and men, can only come about in a
classless society, where workplaces are self-managed, private
property is abolished and the people who make decisions are those
affected by them.

Clearly the struggle for women's freedom requires a class struggle
by the workers. And in turn, the class struggle can only be
successful if it is at the same time a struggle against women's

by Deirdre Hogan


*Anarchism and anarcha-feminism are the same thing -
anarcha-femisism just emphasises the feminism that is inherent to


See also

* Anarchism & Womens Liberation


* Thinking about Anarchism accumulating debt, the last issue



This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper
'Workers Solidarity'. http://struggle.ws/wsm/paper.html

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for you to print out and distribute locally


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Anarcha-Feminism - Thinking about Anarchism | 25 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
comment by Tim M
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 04 2004 @ 01:26 PM PST
Basic, but well-stated.

Feminism is mispelled in the footnote. Just a typo.
comment by Makhno
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 04 2004 @ 04:19 PM PST
Unobjectionable, overall. I would only take issue with the one comment near the end about "self-managed workplaces"; why should an anarchist society have "workplaces" of any kind?
comment by Expoding Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 04 2004 @ 05:48 PM PST
Well, maybe the community you live in decides to designate a place for the production of plates for people to eat off. Members of the community voluteer to operate this place, and hell, why not call it a factory, and why not call the activity you do there work. It makes sense to me.

Maybe I don't understand your intellectualization of the word 'work'?
comment by Exploding Sun
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 04 2004 @ 05:50 PM PST
whoops...and of course, the place where you do the work is called the workplace.
comment by cole
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 04 2004 @ 06:30 PM PST
Solid article. Good to see Chuck0 posting womyn's voices.
comment by Makhno
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, February 04 2004 @ 08:50 PM PST
Too bad you're so stuck in a capitalist mode of thought, Sun, that you can't even imagine a society not based on alienating activities like work and commodity production. If a person is doing something that they desire to do, it isn't "work"; and if people's lives are whole, they simply create the things they need, without engaging in a separate sphere of activity called "production".
comment by rs
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 05 2004 @ 02:52 AM PST
Are you saying then that all people with individually create their own items of need? That community production should be abolished? Are you for communism or not?
comment by Makhno
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 05 2004 @ 03:44 AM PST
What I'm suggesting, rs, is that the very idea of "production" should be abolished, since it turns the things people need and use into alienated commodities, rather than simply part of their lives, and forces them to make an artificial distinction between their "personal time" and "work", between their personal space and the "workplace".
comment by Cassini Division
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 05 2004 @ 06:17 AM PST
So the place we make the plates could be called the Happy Plate Oasis. Does that make it all better for you?
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 05 2004 @ 08:26 AM PST
Drowning in a sea of semantics....
comment by steve-o
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 05 2004 @ 09:31 AM PST
wasn't this article adressing sexism in the current society in which we live?
comment by Makhno
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 05 2004 @ 05:15 PM PST
The issue is not what the place or activity is called, but the nature of the things. To turn an item of use into a commodity is alienating; to turn the personal act of creating that which we use into a sphere of impersonal activity separate from the rest of our lives - a sphere of "production", or whatever one chooses to call it - is alienating; to organize the production of these alienated commodities in terms of work and workplaces is doubly alienating.
comment by Anarcha-grrrrl
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 05 2004 @ 06:39 PM PST
Makhno your ridiculous concentration on the use of the word 'workplace' is shocking. Your obsession with semantics means that you sidetrack a discussion about sexism and patriarchy into your pet plaything. As somebody has said, you can call it a happy creativity place if you like. I do loads of things that I enjoy in the anarcha-movement like making posters, organising events and so on, and yes I call it work.

You are the worst stereotype of the patriarchal anarchist that I can imagine. A woman opens her mouth and starts talking about sexism and immediately launch into your macho pet-rant about workerism and drown her out. No wonder you seem to be an individualist: no rigtheous anarcha would put up with your shit for long.

If you have something to say about sexism, say it, otherwise shut up - we've heard it already.
comment by Reverend Chuck0
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 05 2004 @ 09:03 PM PST
Rata! When did you become a girl?
comment by Makhno
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 05 2004 @ 09:59 PM PST
Anybody who wants to use this thread to discuss sexism or patriarchy is free to do so, but so far, I've seen very few comments on those subjects. Now, as I said before, it is the nature of the place or activity that is important, not what you call it. To turn a useful thing into an alienated object - let us call it a "commodity" for now, although any other term will do just as well - is the essence of that activity which is commonly known as "production", although, again, any other word may be substituted. The essence of what is commonly known as "work" is the turning of the personal and enjoyable activity of creating useful things into an alienated activity. To designate a particular location or area as a place of "work" (or whatever one's preferred term is), and to organize time, space, and activity within that area for the purpose of making work efficient and productive, is to create an artificial and harmful distinction between personal time and "work" time, between personal space and "work" space, between the unrestrained pursuit of our desires and the discipline needed in order to achieve the desired goals in the workplace.

I do believe that it is essential to make a clear distinction between those activities we engage in out of desire or uncoerced personal choice, and those which we perform from economic or moral compulsion, and find unpleasant and boring. The latter type is what I usually refer to as "work".

If someone in a hypothetical free society found personal fulfillment in the routine mass production of some commodity in an organized setting of some kind, then god bless 'em; personally, that sounds like hell to me.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 06 2004 @ 08:47 AM PST
"Only in an anarchist society will the basis for the oppression of women cease to exist."

I'd like to make a distinction in regard to Hogan's assertion on this point. I agree that only in an anarchist society could the oppression of women cease to exist, but I also believe that oppression of women could still exist in an anarchist society. We are as fallible (if not more so sometimes) as everyone else in the world. Eliminating capitalism and the state, and creating a place for collective and individual freedom would be an anarchist society. It doesn't mean that we would atomatically eliminate the cultural baggage we bring with us and could easily pass it on to further generations.

Personally, I've seen plenty of gender oppression coming from the anarchist community. Its something we have to prioritize and not merely expect to whither away. My 2 cents for what its worth.
comment by Cassini Division
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 06 2004 @ 08:48 AM PST
Woops. Forgot to sign that. Sorry.
comment by steve-o
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 06 2004 @ 01:58 AM PST
well i would like to thank Deirdre Hogan for her amazing article on anarcha-feminism (or was it linguistics? it seems like that two may be the same).

yes, i do believe that in a free society, it will drastically change the way women are viewed in that society than they are now. i mean i think we can discuss the meaning of words when the space comes where we can deal with trivial things. but i think women's rights was the issue addressed in this article, which is something that women struggle with everyday. especially with ads up everywhere showing women as simply sex objects to sell an item. or a television show that wants to reaffirm that women are as equal as men, which is complete bullshit.

it's important that we struggle for the freedom of ALL and address the issues of struggle, and i think that we, as anarchists/anti-authoritarians/anti-capitalists(however u identify), shouldn't b bickering or sidetracking the major issues with trivial things like the meaning of the word "work" whether it be for a mode of mass production or a mode of survival, in the end: it is simply a english word that can be interpreted in many different ways. but this article wasn't about the word 'work' that she picked for whatever reason that she did in the article. it is about the human struggle, the human experience. she was explaining to us what it is like to die, what it is like to suffer, and what it is like to truly live. she was sharing with us her vision of a better future for all, for those who will inherit the earth after us. i think that is something that everyone should listen too, and stop fighting amongst each other over a word.

power to the ppl.
comment by Makhno
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 06 2004 @ 04:23 AM PST
In reply to steve-o's comments about work, I can only point out yet again that it is the nature of the activity that is important, not what you call it. The reference in this article to "workplaces" clearly means exactly what it seems to mean - i.e., a designated area organized for the purposes of some type of routine productive activity. The fact that this article comes from Workers Solidarity should make it obvious that they use the word "work" in the currently accepted sense of the word; a workerist group cannot conceive of a society not based on such alienating activity.
comment by Flint
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 06 2004 @ 02:33 PM PST
I prefer to wash dishes in the kitchen sink, rather than the bathroom sink... as do all my housemates. We try and take turns, but washing dishes can be boring. Morally, I think all of us feels compelled to take turns... though it's all very informal. Maybe someone made dinner tonight in the kitchen and we all ate it, so someone else does the dishwashing.

We all call washing the dishes "work" not "play". However, we haven't commodified washing the dishes. It's not alienating (atleast, we don't think so).

Anyway... lots of folks have talked about the alienation of labor and objection to commodification (of everything), without making some semantical distinction about "work".

Lots of folks who argue for self-management, etc... are opposed to the alienation of labor, of commodification, of markets and currency.

But you rarely actually listen to our arguments, your so caught up in semantics.
comment by Makhno
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 06 2004 @ 03:01 PM PST
I see Flint has decided to contribute another one of his ill-thought-out posts to this thread. First of all, I have already made clear several times here that it is the nature of the activity, not the name one attaches to it, that is the issue; therefore, Flint's charge that I am "caught up in semantics" makes no sense. Secondly, Flint apparently believes he has disproved my thesis with his example of sharing dishwashing duties with his housemates, but all he as actually accomplished is to demonstrate that some types of work are not as onerous as others - hardly a revelation. Even with this trivial example, he had to admit that he found this activity boring, and that he performed it only from a sense of moral obligation.

Of course, Flint fails to acknowledge my main point about work and workplaces - namely, that the organization of "work" (or whatever else one chooses to call it) as a separate sphere of human activity, organized in a technical manner, so as to achieve the desired productivity goals, is inherently alienating, whether the workplace is "self-managed" or not. This is one of the blind spots of all left anarchists - they are unwilling or unable to critically examine the concepts of work, industrialization and productivity as such, and frame their vision of a free society in terms of these oppressive ideological constructs.
comment by Andrew
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, February 09 2004 @ 05:08 AM PST
What the hell?

How come my rather mild mannered objection to fake Makhno trying to derail this thread was deleted along with the link I gave to further writing from anarchist women at http://struggle.ws/wsm/womenwriters.html ?
comment by Flint
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, February 13 2004 @ 12:25 PM PST
So, you don't wash dishes? That's kind of icky, don't you think.
comment by Erick
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 14 2004 @ 11:44 AM PDT
In an anarchist society wouldn't it simply be survival of the fittest? It becomes a hunter gatherer society, and only the strong survive and as evidence suggests in the animal kingdom male dominance is still a factor when the male is the physically stronger (for example lions or alligators). So how again do you reason that anarchy would somehow create equallity among the spiecies? I can see each performing their role as male and female but the males would still act as the dominate partner.
comment by Erick
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 16 2004 @ 11:22 AM PDT
Andrew when was the site: http://struggle.ws/wsm/womenwriters.html
last updated???
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