Poster: Lucia Vernarelli
HISTORY FOR ACTIVIST USE --
WOMEN'S LIBERATION STUDIES
Building on What's Been Won
By Knowing What's Been Done!
--Kathie Sarachild describing History of Woman Suffrage, edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Gage,1881, in "The Power of History," from Redstockings' Feminist Revolution.
The Redstockings Women's Liberation Archives Distribution Project is a mostly volunteer, grassroots effort, which teaches history for activist use. Through our catalog, we have made available some of the founding documents of the women's liberation movement, as well as materials which take stock of and seek to advance the gains won through the freedom organizing of the 1960s. Feminists, community, and youth organizers have been using our material for all kinds of activism, such as speakouts, campaigns, conferences, zap actions, consciousness-raising and study groups. In addition, students, journalists, and professors use Archives material for women's studies classes, school research papers, and to produce films, articles and books.
Understanding the freedom struggle as a learning process has been at the heart of the Redstockings tradition and track record. It was there at the beginnings of the radical feminism that led to the founding of Redstockings, it is at the core of the consciousness-raising process long associated with Redstockings, and it is central to our Archives for Action project to raise consciousness about the action purpose and action usefulness of an archive.
THE "ARCHIVES FOR ACTION" CATALOG OF 1989
This publication arose with the help of a newly reorganized Gainesville Women's Liberation in Florida and a closely shared understanding of a pro-woman, materialist radical feminism between the two groups. The Archives for Action catalog militantly accentuated "Women's Liberation Studies" as opposed to Women's Studies and set forth its practical, activist view of history's high importance.
Part of the strategy of the catalog, which was itself an action, was to vividly illustrate the nationwide explosion in 1968 of independent radical Women's Liberation Movement journals, which in two years’ time had made their way into mass market anthologies and other books sold around the world. While highlighting the then virtually ignored but central impact of the WLM as a whole in revitalizing and popularizing the feminist movement in the U.S., the new "Women's Liberation Studies" catalog spotlighted radical feminism as the main engine of the WLM's rapid spread. And within 1960s radical feminism, it concentrated on providing primary source selections from what fierce proponents such as Redstockings sometimes called the consciousness-raising and pro-woman line or materialist branch of radical feminism, and its forerunners. It was this school of thinking, organizing and activism that Redstockings, together with other proponents and allies from the 1960s such as Gainesville, FL WL were committed to reviving and further developing. And it is these selections from the original sources and developing thinking of the pro-woman line and consciousness-raising branch of radical feminism, available in the catalog over the 25 years of the Archives for Action's existence, that Redstockings is now offering on this website for downloading, no purchase and mailing needed.
From the beginning the Archives announced in the Catalog its intention to find a way and the resources to go further than preserving and making more readily available only the mainly Redstockings-oriented selections. We wrote in the catalog that we hoped to create a more comprehensive and chronological Archive for Action encompassing all of the contending schools of thought in the rebirth years. This is because we had come to understand that access to as much of this record as possible was crucial to the learning process of the Women's Liberation Movement, the developing science of feminist revolution from theory and practice, that would make the full liberation of female human beings and all humanity possible.
Spreading the Radical Signposts From Feminism's Past
We are happy to announce what is now available, although currently not through this website, nor for free. Halfway through our 25 years, we seized the offer of a well-respected commercial microfilm publisher to create such a chronological compilation of virtually all the public writings from the late 1960s "revolutionary moment" of the renewal of feminism in the United States. The resulting microfilm publication called the Redstockings Organizational Collection, Parts I and II also includes impassioned correspondence among radical feminists about many of the debates of the time. It is already in a number of libraries; if you would like to help bring it to a library near you click here for information on purchasing the entire collection or selected reels or call 1-800-444-0799. As the microfilm publication of The Redstockings Organizational Collection is already an available resource in some libraries, you may be able to borrow the reels through inter-library loan.
If any of the materials from the index is not available on our website or microfilm—for instance, an audio recording-- let us know by email which items you would like. We will either email you a pdf of the document or send you a link to another website where you can find it. A fair donation to Redstockings to cover the womanpower, time, space and other resources needed to respond to your request will help speed up our ability to get you the material. You can make your contribution with the secure Paypal button below and let us know by email what material you need.
Pioneer Of Women's Liberation Activist History
Laura X's Women's History Research Project
Begun in 1968 by Laura X in Berkeley, California, the Women's History Research Center was the first activist and women's liberation movement connected archives. By 1970, it had become a mass organizing tool and was widely listed in early women's liberation publications. A major achievement of the Women's History Research Center was to put on microfilm many of the early women's liberation movement writings, particularly the explosion of women's liberation periodicals of the time. This microfilm is available in libraries across the country. Ask your librarian to phone the National Women's History Project at (707) 838-6000 for ordering information. Laura X now heads the NationalClearinghouse on Marital and Date Rape, which can be reached at (510) 524-1582. Or send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Women's History Library, 2325 Oak Street, Berkeley, CA 94708.
The Online Archive of the Chicago Women's Liberation Union
Statement of purpose: "Out of the upheavals of the 1960's came a group of Windy City women determined to challenge the suffocating male supremacy of the time. They joined the growing women's liberation movement and organized the Chicago Women's Liberation Union (CWLU) which touched the lives of thousands of women through its many organizing projects from 1969-1977. Now they are sharing their history on the Internet to inspire new generations to continue the struggle for justice and equality. "
The Genesis Project in England...
is a mapping initiative, funded by the Research Support Libraries Programme (RSLP) to identify and develop access to women's history sources in the British Isles. The Genesis Project Team is currently designing the database which will enable you to search over 2000 archive, library and museum collections from 45 institutions relating to women's history. This will be available in June 2002. Please keep visiting this site for updates on progress.
How You Can Help Us
The Archive is supported by the time and money of volunteers and people who use our materials. We need your help to keep use of the Archives growing.
As longtime activist and Archives user Jenny Brown says, "We will not be able to build a radical movement for women's liberation or the liberation of anyone else until we uncover the foundations of radical organizing in our own history and experience.We have to alert our sisters to the vital storehouse in the feminist tradition and get our movement going in a direction which will actually win some of the things we need." ("Women for Peace or Women's Liberation? Signposts from the Feminist Archives," Vietnam Generation, Summer/Fall 1989).
To continue in this direction, the Archives needs your donation of time and money. Make a contribution to Redstockings, to help us continue collecting, cataloguing, preserving and analyzing from the treasure trove of newspapers, journals, position papers, tapes, photographs, and posters of the Women's Liberation Movement. Arrange for a women's liberation activist who works with the Archives to speak in your community or at your college to share the new organizing and mobilizing ideas coming out of Redstockings Archives work. Every dollar, every hour, you donate sows the seeds of a women's liberation resurgence. You can make your contribution here.
Please make checks out to Redstockings, Inc. Donations are tax deductible.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Redstockings of the Women's Liberation Movement
P.O. Box 744 Stuyvesant Station
New York, NY 10009
USE HERSTORY TO CHANGE HISTORY!