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Note To Self, Change Begins With Me -- Radical Women

Hello Friend,
 
The world is full of feminist rebellion these days! In order to keep us all better connected, National Radical Women is going to start sending out simple, regular updates about some of the things that cross our electronic desktop. Please send us information about organizing you're involved with and ideas for how we can work together
 
Here's the news:
 
1. Excerpts from the RW Manifesto will be included in an anthology, Burn it down! Feminist manifestos for the revolution (and/or apocalypse), to be published by Verso Press in the fall of 2019. The editor is Breanne Fahs, a professor of Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University.
 
2. I'm sure you've all been watching the historic vote in Ireland that legalized abortion. Betty M. of New York City initiated NRW sending a statement of support and it was emailed to leaders in the fight through Betty's Irish contacts. The message was drafted by Seattle member Catherine T. See the statement here.
 
3. We've also had new opportunities for collaboration with Latin American feminists, some of whom we know through the work of our sister organization, the Freedom Socialist Party, in CRIR (Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment). In March, for International Women's Day, Luta Socialista (LS-PSOL) of Brazil translated and reprinted Megan C's article, "The Rising of the Women: A sea change in the global workforce" in a special issue of their newspaper on women workers. We also had the opportunity to discuss the politics of a Women's March statement issued by Las Piqueteras, a group in Argentina. The letter is below.

4. Last fall, Radical Women sent support letters to feminist prisoners in Turkey. This month, a Latin American Trotskyist group asked us to write to demand release of an imprisoned Turkish Trotskyist. Our solidarity letter is at http://www.radicalwomen.org/free%20Turkey%20prisoners.shtml.
 
5. The NRW social media campaign to stop Pussy Riot from performing in Israel gathered wide support and was a new experiment. It got a lot of attention, but unfortunately did not stop Pussy Riot from participating in Israel's International Writers' Festival in mid-May. Nor did the group's representatives use their platform to denounce Israel's murderous attacks on Gaza protesters according to this interview. It is too bad these artists, who are seen by many as icons of feminist rebellion, are so limited politically.

6. One last thing for now: NRW sent a solidarity message last week to the Emma Goldman Clinic, an Iowa abortion provider, after the devastating anti-abortion law was passed there. We haven't heard back from them yet. Please let NRW know of any support actions or opportunities to work with women fighting these reactionary laws in Iowa and other states.
 
I encourage you to stay abreast of information and opinions from National Radical Women on our Facebook page and website. We'd love to get your comments and to share items about national organizing campaigns. I also encourage you to follow the activities of our chapters in Seattle and Melbourne, Australia.
 
Cheers! We look forward to working with you to keep the fires burning for socialist feminism!
 
Helen Gilbert
National Steering Committee
 
-------------------------
 
Hello Natalia,
 
Stephen Durham forwarded Radical Women the Las Piqueteras’ statement for the Women’s March. It is very exciting to be in touch with international feminist organizing! We thought you might also like to see the flyer Radical Women handed out at the Seattle demonstration. It is attached.
 
It is very impressive how closely Las Piqueteras is following political events in the U.S. The connection you make between the federal government shutdown, the defense of immigrants, and the outpouring of outraged women is very astute.
 
The astoundingly low percentage of women elected officials in the U.S. is quite scandalous. However, I want to point out in relation to your description of the low percentage of women who are registered to vote and the even lower percentage who actually do vote, that the percentages of male voters are even lower! http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/resources/genderdif... The so-called democracy of the U.S. is truly a mirage. We believe that the low level of voter participation in the U.S. is a reflection of how little people trust or believe in the promises of the pro-capitalist Republicans and Democrats.
 
I think Radical Women may have a different assessment than you of the importance of increasing female registered voters and having more women candidates within the present two-party political framework. It’s fine to have more women voters, but the vast majority of candidates will be running as Democrats or Republicans. You say, “From Las Piqueteras we support the women’s movement fight to widen the frames of participation in politics as a demand per se against the patriarchy that overcomes and exceeds the Democratic Party’s purposes.” But unless there is a huge upsurge in female socialist voters, we don’t think this will be the case.
 
You believe that the increase in women voters and candidates will benefit socialist and left parties as well as the Democrats. While this should be the case, you may not be aware how difficult it is for socialist and left parties to get on the ballot in most of the United States. Huge sections of the U.S. have no options but Republican or Democratic candidates. Ballot requirements for some of the worst states are listed here: http://www.fairvote.org/the-worst-ballot-access-laws-in-the-united-....  And the “better” states are not that much better. The costs and requirements are huge. That is why our sister organization, the Freedom Socialist Party, ran its presidential candidates in 2012 as a write-in campaign.
 
The national Women’s March slogan of “Power to the Polls,” was not supported by Radical Women because we thought it put a narrow and ineffective emphasis on electing Democratic candidates as the focus for women’s militancy. Under these conditions “a march to the polls” is a march to political oblivion. We do not think that mid-term elections that replace Republicans with Democrats will make any substantial improvement in the conditions of women, immigrants, workers and other oppressed people, or the countries threatened by U.S.imperialism and militarism.
 
We think the worldwide explosion of women’s militancy deserves a much better fate.
 
I’d love to discuss this more with you and to hear about other work you are doing. Feel free to contact Radical Women any time at RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com.
 
In solidarity,
Helen Gilbert
National Radical Women Steering Committee

 

You can find fiery Radical Women writings on the RW webpage. Learn more about RW through The Radical Women Manifesto, an exhilarating exploration of Marxist feminist theory and organizing methods. Buy a copy or read it on Google Books.

Donations are appreciated! As a grassroots group, Radical Women is sustained by support from people like you. Please contribute online or mail a check, payable to Radical Women, National Office 5018 Rainier Ave S Seattle, WA 98118 USA.


Check out the Freedom Socialist newspaper, a bi-monthly socialist feminist newspaper with news and analysis from around the globe. It also features book reviews, irreverent political cartoons, movement news and letters-to-the-editor. You can read or listen to articles online. Subscribe online or send $10 for one year or $17 for two to Freedom Socialist, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle WA 98118. (Students $8 for one year, strikers and unemployed $5.)
Mailing Address:
Radical Women, National Office
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Seattle, WA 98118

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