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How to Defang a Movement: Replacing the Political with the Personal
Friday, March 28, 2014 at 11am, GSU Metcalf Ballroom

In 1975, Anne Forer, a member of New York Radical Women in 1968, wrote:

“[T]he dropping of the word liberation from every reference to the women's liberation movement is a serious loss. All three words are key: WOMEN'S LlBERATlON MOVEMENT. Without a movement nothing…strong and revolutionary can be accomplished…. Women is…you and your life. But LlBERATlON…is the common goal. Liberation is a word we should not get into the habit of avoiding just because it is so powerful and maybe intimidating in its implications…. [E]very avoidance of the word liberation is a…step away from liberation.”

Some 40 years later we are faced with a challenging flood of words/language/terminology and theory that represent concepts that have further weakened the vibrant WLM of the late 1960s that caught fire worldwide. With an emphasis on individual “agency” and a neglect of women’s special oppression in reproduction, these changes were instigated by a Movement that compromised its principles, by the academy, and by the interference of the corporate-captured state. As this tendency hooked up with the nihilist ideology of post-modernism, it fostered a further downhill slide for women’s liberation.

The panel will explore this turn to an individualism that replaced the Women’s Liberation Movement’s urgent call to organize women to unite and fight for their own freedom through the liberation of all women.

For summaries of the panelists' talks, click here.

For a video of the panel, click here.


Ti-Grace Atkinson

Ti-Grace Atkinson has been a feminist activist since 1967, first in the National Organization for Women, then in 1968 in the “October 17th Movement” (later named “The Feminists”). Since 1969, she has been on the board of Human Rights for Women, Inc, and an occasional member of the Society for Women in Philosophy. Since the late 1970s, Atkinson has taught philosophy in universities throughout the United States. For the talk summary, click here.  For the full text, click here.

Carol Hanisch

A founding member of New York Radical Women, she initiated that group’s protest of the 1968 Miss America Pageant and wrote the widely distributed “The Personal Is Political” in 1969. She organized with Gainesville (Florida) Women’s Liberation from 1969-1973, then returned to New York as managing editor of the Redstockings book Feminist Revolution. She later founded and edited the periodical Meeting Ground. She continues to agitate for women’s liberation and other freedom struggles. For the talk summary, click here.  For the full text, click here.

Kathy Scarbrough

Kathy Scarbrough was a college student in the mid-1970s and met Carol Hanisch and Kathie Sarachild when, as chair of her college's Women's Caucus, she invited them to speak on campus. Kathy was active in a local Women's Liberation group, was a member of Redstockings in the 1980s and became an associate editor of Carol Hanisch's Meeting Ground in the 1990s. She is currently the webmaster for Carol's web site, participates in the Occupy movement and continues to fight for women's liberation. She is also a scientist, with a B.A. degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. in physiology with specialization in the female reproductive cycle. For the talk summary, clcik here.  For the full text, click here.

Kathie Sarachild, Moderator

Kathie Sarachild has had a lifetime of commitment to "freedom organizing," a phrase she learned as a volunteer with SNCC as part of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer. In 1967 she joined New York Radical Women, one of the first "women's liberation" groups in the United States, for whose organizing she developed the slogan "sisterhood is powerful" and the program for "consciousness-raising." In 1969 she helped launch the radical feminist action group Redstockings that evolved into the organization that produced the book Feminist Revolution in 1975, and which she works with full time today as director of the Redstockings Women's Liberation Archive for Action project, www.redstockings.org

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