by Max Barry

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Region: The Federation of Anarchist Communes

Anarchism: The Feminist Connection (1975)
Peggy Kornegger

"If we don't allow ourselves to be paralysed by fatalism and futility, it could force us to redefine revolution in a way that would focus on anarca-feminism as the framework in which to view the struggle for human liberation. It is women who now hold the key to new conceptions of revolution, women who realize that revolution can no longer mean the seizure of power or the domination of one group by another–under any circumstances, for any length of time. It is domination itself that must be abolished. The very survival of the planet depends on it. Men can no longer be allowed to wantonly manipulate the environment for their own self-interest, just as they can no longer be allowed to systematically destroy whole races of human beings. The presence of hierarchy and authoritarian mind-set threaten our human and planetary existence. Global liberation and libertarian politics have become necessary, not just utopian pipe dreams."

"Anarchist men have been little better than males everywhere in their subjection of women. Thus the absolute necessity of a feminist anarchist revolution. Otherwise the very principles on which anarchism is based become utter hypocrisy."

"Traditional male politics reduces humans to object status and then dominates and manipulates them for abstract 'goals'. Women, on the other hand, are trying to develop a consciousness of 'Other' in all areas. We see subject-to-subject relationships as not only desirable but necessary."

"In rebellion against the competitive power games, impersonal hierarchy, and mass organization tactics of male politics, women broke off into small, leaderless, consciousness-raising groups, which dealt with personal issues in our daily lives. Face-to-face, we attempted to get at the root cause of our oppression by sharing our hitherto unvalued perceptions and experiences. We learned from each other that politics is not "out there" but in our minds and bodies and between individuals. Personal relationships could and did oppress us as a political class. Our misery and self-hatred were a direct result of male domination–in home, street, job, and political organization."


"By looking at Spain and France, we can see that true revolution is 'neither an accidental happening nor a coup d'etat artificially engineered from above.' It takes years of preparation: sharing of ideas and information, changes in consciousness and behavior, and the creation of political and economic alternatives to capitalist, hierarchical structures. It takes spontaneous direct action on the part of autonomous individuals through collective political confrontation. It is important to 'free your mind' and your personal life, but it is not sufficient. Liberation is not an insular experience; it occurs in conjunction with other human beings. There are no individual 'liberated women'. So, what I'm talking about is a long-term process, a series of actions in which we unlearn passivity and learn to take control over our own lives."

"Potentially, anarchist affinity groups are the base on which we can build a new libertarian, non-hierarchical society. The way we live and work changes the way we think and perceive (and vice versa), and when changes in consciousness become changes in action and behavior, the revolution has begun."

"I used to think that if the revolution didn't happen tomorrow, we would all be doomed to a catastrophic (or at least, catatonic) fate. I don't believe anymore that kind of before-and-after revolution, and I think we set ourselves up for failure and despair by thinking of it in those terms. I do believe that what we all need, what we absolutely require, in order to continue struggling (in spite of oppression of our daily lives) is HOPE, that is, a vision of the future so beautiful and so powerful that it pulls us steadily forward in a bottom-up creation of an inner and outer world both habitable and self-fulfilling for all."

Quoting Marge Piercy: "Despair is the worst betrayal, the coldest seduction: to believe at last that the enemy will prevail."

"We must not let our pain and anger fade into hopelessness or short-sighted semi-'solutions'. Nothing we can do is enough, but on the other hand, those 'small changes' we make in our minds, in our lives, in one another's lives, are not totally futile and ineffectual. It takes a long time to make a revolution: it is something that one both prepares for and lives now. The transformation of the future will not be instantaneous, but it can be total... a continuum of thought and action, individuality and collectivity, spontaneity and organization, stretching from what is to what can be. Anarchism provides a framework for this transformation. It is a vision, a dream, a possibility which becomes 'real' as we live it. Feminism is the connection that links anarchism to the future."