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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Anarcha-Feminism - Thinking about Anarchism (2004)

by Deirdre Hogan

from http://www.anarcha.org/sallydarity/AnarchaFeminismThinkingaboutAnarchism.htm

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
sexism.

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
oppression.

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