Anarchism can learn a lot from the feminist movement. In many respects it already has. Anarcha-feminists have developed analyses of patriarchy that link it to the state form. We have learned from the slogan that "the personal is political" (e.g. men who espouse equality between all genders should treat the women in their lives with dignity and respect). We have learned that no revolutionary project can be complete while men systematically dominate and exploit women; that socialism is a rather empty goal--even if it is "stateless"--if men's domination of women is left intact.
News broke on the 19th June that a Belfast woman is to stand trial for helping her daughter procure an abortion. In response on 24th June a letter was handed in signed by 215 abortion activists admitting that they are guilty of breaking the law by either taking or helping someone procure the Early Medical Abortion (EMA) pill.
Alliance for Choice Belfast has organised this action in solidarity with the woman charged. A similar action occurred in 2013 when 100 people signed a letter admitting to doing the same thing this woman has done and not a single person who signed the letter was contacted by police.
This session at the 2015 Dublin anarchist bookfair examined the reasons why gender liberation is central to the Rojava revolution in northern Syria and looks in particular at the importance of the struggle against tribal feudalism.
In this society we are told that we have certain rights; the right to vote, the right to protest, the right to bodily autonomy (i.e. the right to decide what happens to our bodies). All of these rights can be taken away in a flash at the whim of those in power. But you cannot take away from a pregnant person that which they don’t have: bodily autonomy.
Abortion is extremely restrictive on this island, with the southern state not acting on the prohibitive legislation that is in place – as was highlighted with Ms. Y in August 2014 – and the northern state only allowing abortion when the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life (read: not health).
“Women of all classes, races, and life circumstances have been on the receiving end of domination too long to want to exchange one set of masters for another.” - Carol Ehrlich
Anarchism is the idea that no one is more qualified than what you are to determine your own life and that you should have self/personal determination. It is the belief that power structures are oppressive and that only with the abolition of power will we be free. There is no end goal as there will always be power dynamics in our lives that need to be addressed and abolished in order to arrive at a society that is coercion free, community based and operating on the principles of direct democracy. Anarcha-feminism is the application of these anarchist policies to the Black Feminist theory of intersectionality.
This pamphlet was produced by the Workers Solidarity Movement in the weeks before the 1986 referendum on whether or not to remove the constitutional ban on divorce. The vote was lost by a margin of almost 2:1, with 935,843 (63.48%) voting to keep the ban and 538,279 (36.52%) to remove it. A second referendum in 1995 saw the ban finally scrapped, with a result of 818,842 (50.28%) to 809,728 (49.72%).
Alone on the far left, the WSM was heavily involved in this campaign and had two members elected to the National Executive of the Divorce Action Group. At the time they described their motivation as being to “increase personal freedoms” and “challenge the power of the Catholic bishops”. Read the full text of the pamphlet in the article.
1. The WSM Constitution’s core point of unity number 7 states:
“We actively oppose all manifestations of prejudice within the workers' movement and society in general and we work alongside those struggling against racism, sexism, [religious] sectarianism and homophobia as a priority. We see the success of a revolution and the successful elimination of these oppressions after the revolution being determined by the building of such struggles in the pre-revolutionary period. The methods of struggle that we promote are a preparation for the running of society along anarchist and communist lines after the revolution.”
The hardship of the current economic crisis has impacted unevenly across genders. This panel from the 2014 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair discussed the intersection of austerity, care-work and women’s reproductive rights. Selma James and Conor McCabe presented with Conor focusing on what this has meant in Ireland in particular.
The 2014 Dublin anarchist bookfair hosted a panel of women activists who informed us about how they became involved in the movement, what drew them into this life of campaigning for social justice, rights and attempting to change the world in which we live. They inform us of how they remain motivated, inspired and sustained in active political life.
Despite spending in the region of a million euro and getting the backing of the catholic church its now clear that the anti-choice extremists of Youth Defence & the Pro Life Campaign were resoundingly defeated when the Dail finally voted though legislation implementing the X-Case judgment of 21 years ago. This time last year they were confident that they already had enough Fine Gael TD's on board to block the required legislation but they reckoned against the wave of public anger that followed the death of Savita Halappanavar after she was denied a potentially life saving abortion in a Galway hospital.