Feminism

Anarchist writings on Feminism and the struggle for womens liberation

Censor censored - MacKinnon law stops friend's Andrea Dworkin book

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A CENSORSHIP LAW praised by feminists has been used to ban books by a leading anti-porn feminist. In February of 1992 the Supreme Court of Canada accepted the legal definition of pornography popularised by the US law professor and feminist anti-porn theorist Catherine MacKinnon. This outlaws material deemed degrading to women.

Burn that Witch! or Anna Livia Gets a Clitoridectomy

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'Not Your Girl', a women's radio programme was taken off the air at Anna Livia FM by an all-male Board of Directors just before Christmas. Listeners phoned to complain about a programme on "Female Sexuality" after 'Not Your Girl gave away a book (Sue Lee's Sugar and Spice: Sexuality and Adolescent Girls) to the first caller with the correct spelling of "clitoris". The Directors wanted the team to apologize and concede that the quiz question was in "bad taste". The team would not agree upon this wording and the programme was suspended.

Introduction to Emma Goldman

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Emma Goldman was born in 1869 in a Jewish ghetto in Russia where her family ran a small inn. When she was 13 the family moved to St Petersburg. It was just after the assassination of Alexander II and so was a time of political repression. The Jewish community suffered a wave of pogroms. The severe economic hardship of the time meant that Emma Goldman had to leave school after six months in St Petersburg and work in a factory.

The history of the Left and the Fight for Women's Liberation

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The struggle for women's liberation has generally been bound up with other, wider social and economic changes. The first written evidence of equality with men being put seriously on the agenda was during the reformation starting in the sixteenth century. This questioning of established religion also bought the questioning of other long held beliefs.

Types of Feminism and Anarchism

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The conservative view of women argues that the sexual division of labour is 'natural' and that woman's role as wife, mother and home-maker is biologically given. They believe, to quote Freud, that "Anatomy is destiny". I am going to look at the different traditions of political thought that have developed to critique this vision of women's role in society. There are broadly speaking, four theories; Liberal Feminism, Traditional Marxism, Radical Feminism and Socialist Feminism. I am going to present these in the historical order that they developed but all these theories are still evident in politics today.

Feminism and Anarchism

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Feminism & Anarchism, comrades might wonder why we have chosen this subject for discussion. Due mainly to our involvement in the Repeal the 8th Amendment Campaign we have had to deal with the feminists organised in the 'Womens Coalition' and to adopt a position in relation to their structure and interventions. This involves dealing with the ideology of feminism. Feminism as a philosophy locates the unequal position of women in society in gender terms. Patriarchy - male power and domination over women in every aspect of their lives - is identified as the enemy, the obstacle to womens liberation. Womens oppression is not differentiated in class terms - feminists see all women as oppressed by all men.

Abortion rights in Ireland - the story so far (to 1992)

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IN 1983 anti-choice campaigners pushed the government into holding a referendum on abortion. The Eight Amendment was then passed by 33% of the electorate (the turn out was 54.6%). Abortion was already prohibited under the 1861 Offences Against the Persons Act. The Eight Amendment copperfastened this ban preventing any reforming legislation.

Equality for some women?

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LAST SEPTEMBER the Bank of Ireland was, according to the 'Irish Times', 'basking in an unadulterated glow of approval' from the Employment Equality Agency, the Council of Status for Women and the Joint Oireachteas Committee on Womens Rights among others. What the Bank of Ireland had so progressively managed to do was to provide one creche which will cater for up to 45 children.

The Bank of Ireland employs 11,600 people. However, at £55 a week the centre is obviously aimed at helping only a very small section of the workforce. As Bertie Ahern said, it did not make sense having highly and expensively qualified women leaving the workforce because of lack of childcare facilities. However, it does make sense, to industry, to employ over 50% of the entire workforce having either low pay or no security of employment (or both).

Abortion: It's every Woman's Right to Choose

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Anarchists believe that every woman has the right to choose an abortion when faced with a crisis pregnancy irrespective of the reasons for the abortion. At least 4,000 Irish women have abortions in England every year at present. Women worldwide have always sought to control their fertility through abortion no matter how difficult it is for them to get access to abortion and they probably always will. This is because it is essential for women to be able to control their own fertility and not to be reduced to the level of their biological function as child-bearers only if they are to achieve true equality and liberation.

Why are Women Not Yet Liberated?

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There are a whole rake of questions thrown up by the issue of womens' liberation, among the mainstream press the big issue is has womens' liberation been achieved, are we in a 'post feminist world'? Beyond these basics there are other questions, why are women oppressed? What are the mechanisms that cause our oppression, what are factors that continue it, how can womens' liberation be achieved. Do all men gain from womens' oppression? Are Women liberated at the moment?

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