VER ORIGINAL EN CASTELLANO here..AQUÍ
First installment of La Madeja, Anarcofeminist fanzine
by Aliss 12
December 2020, created by the anarcho-feminist affinity group Moiras, is published.
The objective of this publication is to serve as a tool for reflection in the field of anarcho-feminist thought with a view to its organizational impulse. To Analyze the diversity of ideas present, to generate agreements, synthesis, cohesion, join forces, following the guide of some principles from which the Moiras group has been formed.
This affinity group remains as the permanent writing team in charge of adapting the content to the specific line outlined in this first installment. Text contributions will be accepted from a number yet to be determined, and artistic and literary contributions, preferably by women. The maximum diffusion to the publication is appreciated.
A libertarian greeting from Moiras
ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF.. First installment of La Madeja, Anarcofeminist fanzine
Feminism has led to one of the most profound revolutions in human societies, challenging tradition, law and culture that submit one sex to the other.
Although historically anarchists did not recognize themselves as feminists, the very essence of the movement for the emancipation of women tends, in its evolution, towards anarchist positions, due to its radical challenge to domination. The evolution of feminism in successive waves has surpassed the initial requests for legal equality of those bourgeois suffragettes lucidly criticized by Emma Goldman. We do not want, said the feminists of the 70s, to vote and be like men, we want the revolution of everyday life, because the personal is political.
Despite state and global efforts to capture the women’s movement and remove the sting, feminism is reborn time and again (as is anarchism) because its requests come from the hearts of women, generation after generation, with the natural longing for Liberty. The same as anarchism, demonized by the bourgeoisie, capital and the State, which try in vain to erase its history and its traces, but which is rediscovered again and again by each new generation.
The Moiras Collective is made up of Iberian anarchists, heirs of those Free Women, whom we claim as ancestors, as our ancestors.
Our principles, which are what define the line of our publication, La Madeja, are clear and simple.
We are anarchists. We believe, like Bakunin, that the exercise of power corrupts and submission to power degrades.
We are against hierarchies, we defend free federation, mutual support and pacts between equals. We reject the exploitation of any human being, and we oppose the State, borders and any form of government that is imposed using the monopoly of violence.
We are feminists, because we understand that the dominance that, historically and since ancient times, men have exercised over women, corrupts the entire society. As feminists, we consider ourselves transinclusive, because we understand the diversity and complexity of human sexuation. Abolitionists, because the prostitution system, now propped up to the extreme by capitalism, is the greatest expression of male domination, which turns all prostituted persons, the vast majority of whom are women and girls, into sexual servants.
Antipatriarchal, because we understand that the patriarchal mind has as its essence the search for dominance and power and the exploitative mentality not only of humanity, but also of nature. We fight against all hierarchies, the material root structures that allow the reproduction of the domination / exploitation mentality, even in stateless societies. We take as a principle the antipatriarchal struggle as a whole, not only that of women or feminist struggle.
We defend full and free sexuality, which allows the development of the potential with which the person is born as being sexed. We condemn the commodification and industrialization of human sexuality. We believe that sexual relations have to take place between people, so that no one is treated as, or reduced to, an object. We firmly oppose the practices of sexual exploitation, objectification and commodification of bodies, which take place almost one hundred percent on the body of women, and specifically, we defend the abolition of the prostitution system in all its aspects.
Likewise, we condemn all forms of reproductive exploitation and the commodification of biological offspring, such as the business of renting wombs or selling gametes. In this regard, we defend responsible paternity and the child’s right to be loved and cared for by her biological parents. We therefore defend the free choice of motherhood, respect for the natural processes of pregnancy and childbirth, time and social support for motherhood.
And free love, as a free union between equals. Love is always free. However, putting these two words together means a lot. It implies that there is no way to force it, and therefore, so that there are no deceptions, manipulations, disappointments … it must be built from respect and sincerity, knowing that the conscious and responsible consent of the parties must always mediate. Conscious and responsible, because to be free you have to exclude violence, on yourself and on others. From this condition, love must not be legitimized by anyone, nor does it require the permission of third parties or social institutions (family, church, state …).
Nor can it imply dependence, the ideal of free love being the opposite of the idea of love as the annulment of individuality.
Under these principles this affinity group is created, which makes its decisions by consensus, with the aim of spreading the principles of anarcofeminism at a time when the attack of patriarchy and capitalism on life, and especially on women, has managed to corrode once clear principles, even within the libertarian movement itself.
As an organ of expression, La Madeja is born, a new publication that will delve into anarcho-feminist analyzes that help to understand and change the world.
ANARCHISM AND FEMINISM
“Beware of women, when they feel disgusted by everything around them and rise up against the old world. That day the new world will be born”. .. Louise Michel
And here we find ourselves, disgusted by everything that surrounds us and ready to point to the root of the problems of oppression, both sex and class, as well as of any other nature, because we want the future and the liberation of our species, that today seems to be determined to dig its own grave and to destroy the survival instinct that we as living beings possess.
Currently we can observe how many groups and projects of women flourish (and with it a new wave of feminism), because more and more women are aware of the oppressions they live for belonging to a certain sex, and without a doubt, to a large extent thanks to women who, on FB, recognizing or not as feminists, fought and made publicity for the liberation of women.
We, like Louise Michel, affirm that the day women rise up against all oppression, that day at last Moira Átropos will cut the thread of the old world, to make way for a freer humanity.
And we think consider that for this to be carried out, we need feminism and anarchism mutually, in full symbiosis, and although the latter is the fight against all oppressions, due to characteristics of the moment in which it was born, (within the labor movement and of the family of socialism) has focused more on the class struggle and going against the state.
It is true that anarchism itself fights against all oppression, whatever its roots, but as we have already mentioned, due to the environment and characteristics in which it has developed, it has put the class and anti-state struggle above all others. This does not mean that we deny the importance of the class and anti-state struggle. We believe that they are essential for a new world, and that the anarcho-syndicalist struggle is the engine to end capitalism and social classes, but we also think that the struggle of women is no less important. We are subject to double exploitation by class and by sex, and we cannot forget the latter for fear of losing a horizon. Myopic horizon if he is not able to see the other oppressions, because, although the State and social classes were dissolved, if we did not address all patriarchal attitudes and oppressions towards women, sexism and, therefore, oppression would remain.
Working women, we are and will always be at a disadvantage compared to men of our same class in capitalism, due in part to female reproductive biology; specifically, the ability to give birth, which in a competitive world involves women being less productive for the benefits of capital, as they need a few months for childbirth, breastfeeding, etc. And seeing ourselves harmed by a system that threatens the free choice of motherhood, having to postpone motherhood (if desired) if one wants to train and find a place in any profession. This discrimination of women based on the biological fact of the ability to gestate and conceive, implies a series of cultural conventions that will affect all women, whether or not we are capable of gestation. We will all be assigned roles traditionally associated with motherhood, that is, we will be assigned to certain functions culturally defined as “female”, and we will all suffer marginalization and violence at all levels: labor, social, sexual, cultural, political, etc … At the same time that heteronormativity is established, as a derivation of the patriarchal worldview, as another form of cancellation of sexual diversity, a denial that affects all women our freedom and it can lead to double marginalization.
The most precarious jobs are also the most feminized (such as care jobs), and inequality in wages still exists. The working woman is usually more precarious than the working man, and it is something that cannot be forgotten and silenced, the silence makes it invisible that the woman suffers double exploitation. And we cannot forget that it is this precariousness that leads her to be a prostitute, this being also an attack against free love and against the physical and mental integrity of women.
But women not only suffer a series of inequalities with men of the same class regarding the economy. And are still dissolved by Capitalism and the State, if today attitudes
and patriarchal customs are not worked out, there will continue to be oppression towards a large part of the planet’s population.
Sexism is very old, maybe even older than social classes, as Deidre Hogan says (using articles by the anthropologist Rayna R. Reiter): “Sexism is possibly the earliest form of oppression that existed, it not only precedes the capitalism; rather there is evidence that sexism also preceded earlier forms of class society. “
This is important to understand that we also need to keep our eye on it, and remember the libertarian principle that “the means make the ends”, to stop working today against aspects so ingrained throughout history can only harm the work of anarchism.
For all the above, anarchism needs feminism, since it has left the fight against the oppression of women in the background. Furthermore, anarchism, like almost all ideologies and disciplines, has been worked mostly from a male point of view (androcentrism). For this reason feminism can contribute a lot to anarchism, contributing the work and knowledge of many women who have fought and are fighting for the liberation of women (and all humans).
We know that there is a certain fear that looking from more fronts could lead to a division of the struggle, but those of us present here do not understand it that way, indeed, we think the opposite. That there exist, as in their day, organizations and groups that work on other fronts is important, and more than worrying about a possible division of trends and a loss of a generic focus (in truth, the loss of a generic focus is not sufficiently addressing other oppression issues ), we should be concerned about fostering the different vertices of the libertarian movement as it existed almost 100 years ago (athenaeums, CNT, MMLL, FIJL …). To work so that they are not fooled by the new attacks of the Capital, the State and the Patriarchate and to generate networks between all of them.
One might also wonder if this fear does not have patriarchal roots. Why are libertarian youths not questioned? Why is only the woman asked not to focus too much on her oppressions, and she insists that all her problems come from the classes? Why do men keep telling us which struggles are a priority? Are only the struggles that affect them a priority?
Specific groups such as Mujeres Libres with a deeply anarchic character, help anarchism to advance, for many more women to reach it, and to fight against more authoritarianisms that disguise themselves and that due to their naturalization are difficult to identify.
It is true that there are “feminisms”, which currently have liberal overtones and that some of them even disguise themselves as libertarians (such as those who accept prostitution as an empowerment of women). It is true that today in almost all ideologies there are those who claim to be “feminists” (the fascists also said that they were socialists, it is normal when some ideas permeate society and all want to get their share) but anarchists and anarchists should keep in mind Note that these are attacks of the patriarchy and that it is important that those feminist women who begin to move and listen to their chains, can go further, we cannot turn our back on them.
And although we are not going to focus here on talking about other “feminisms” (we will have time), it is important to say that we as anarchist feminists do not seek empowerment, we want the liberation of women and humanity.
But not only anarchism needs feminism, also the other way around. Feminism needs to start from anarchism, in coherence with total freedom and with the freedom of women.
Without it, he will be sentenced to death, he will go from being a social movement and from being in the streets to institutionalization with all that the old male politics entails, he will go from believing that women should take control of their lives to delegating and be absorbed by political parties of all kinds, which will lead to demobilization and delegationism, and to perpetuate the Patriarchy, the State and Capital.
Women should not be fooled by the parties, the State will never be able to give what the feminists ask for; the abolition of patriarchy and the hierarchy of men over women, first because the State has been linked from its beginnings to the Patriarchy to establish and maintain itself and secondly because social classes will always exist with it. The little crumbs they can afford are not enough to abolish oppression and only serve to maintain the roots of oppressions.
Feminism without anarchism is contradictory and can lead to male “same mistakes”. As Mujeres Libres said: “Politics pretends to be the art of governing the peoples. Perhaps this is in the field of abstract definitions; but in reality, in that reality
that we suffer in our flesh, politics is the rot that corrodes the world. Politics is like saying power, and where there is power there is slavery, which is relaxation and moral misery ”.
These are the “mistakes” made for centuries by men, if we go towards freedom, we cannot fall into the same authoritarian behaviors and use the same entities.
ON THE PATH OF FREE WOMEN
“All feminisms suffer from the same capital flaw: the lack of humanism” “Feminism? Never! Humanism always! To propagate a feminism is to foster a masculinism, it is to create an immoral and absurd struggle between the sexes … “” Reformism, whether feminine or masculine, believes that it can prop up today’s society with concessions and words. ” “The day that women legislate and administer, injustices, privileges, inequalities, miseries and struggles will continue …”
This is what Federica Montseny thought about feminism in 1924 (“Feminism and humanism”, the White Magazine, p.13).
And this is what she declared in an interview in 1979 (“Federica Montseny: culture and anarchy”, by María Ruipérez, Tiempo de historia nº52, p.24): “Let’s make a small clarification. In my mother’s time, the word feminism was almost relegated to the suffrage movement… ”“ But in the sense of exalting women’s rights [..] the work done […] was very important. ” “And this is the combat that these women, workers or intellectuals, carry out, who realized that the first thing to obtain for women was not the vote, it was the right to dispose of themselves, not to depend economically on the man. This is the first and most important feminist work, but without saying it, because they did not speak of feminism, but in fact they laid the true milestones of women’s freedom ”.
It can be deduced from here that, although Mujeres Libres did not use the term feminism, due to a prejudice common to all anarchists of the time, in fact, that is what they did.
Those of us who write here assume the term anarcho-feminism. Definitions are important. The term feminism allows us, on the one hand, not to dilute the specific oppression of women in a general antipatriarchy (which also includes the gender oppression that men suffer, and all genders suffer). And it enables us to identify feminism as a movement for justice between women and men, not because of the supremacy of women or necessarily, because of competition with men within the current social system, and place ourselves within. Just as anarchism is a branch of socialism, which does not confuse or act with authoritarian forms of it, anarcho-feminism is a branch of the feminist movement, and it does not deal with authoritarian women either.
Instead, it is not a division within anarchism, but a dimension of it, because it is one of the struggles that it involves. Anarchism is not a united front struggle, be it a class struggle or a struggle against the state, but it is a struggle against all hierarchies. Here those who reject the use of the word understand that when they call themselves anarchists, this already includes everything. We repeat again: what is not named is silenced. If we do not recognize ourselves as anarchists, we will never carry out anarchist struggle, and because we are part of evolving nature, we know that the anarchist struggle will never end. In the same way, if we do not refer to the feminist dimension of the anarchist struggle, if we do not define ourselves as feminists, we will never put the ideal of justice between the sexes into practice. You have to be aware of this struggle, calling it by name, and if necessary creating specific collectives or organizations.
Two reasons are what lead to this. First, the need to specialize, and second, the urgency of a permanent work of self-criticism. The specificity of youth problems, the need to do special and in-depth work on the culture and leisure of young people, led to the creation of affinity groups and later the formation of the Federation of Libertarian Youth. What sense would it have had to have to pass all the decisions through the approval of an assembly made up of people who, by age, do not have exactly the same concerns? Spontaneously young people came together to socialize with each other and promote new patterns of socialization in youth. His double militancy in the Youth and in the CNT prevented the disintegration. They did not stop belonging to the union, the body that linked them to the anarchist labor movement. At the same time, union activists who were not young were in close contact and collaboration with the youth groups.
The need for permanent self-criticism led to the creation of the FAI, in which the CNT militant groups with greater ideological awareness, united to combat reformist temptations within Spanish anarcho-syndicalism. Through the ideological action itself
ica within the union, not because of any internal dictatorship as is often criticized from the reformist sectors, which are precisely the ones that should never be there, given the revolutionary character of the organization.
At the origin of Mujeres Libres as a specific organization these motivations occurred again. In this case, separating was trying to combat internal machismo, which could not be done within mixed organizations, due to the persistence of men’s prejudices. The specific difference made it more operational and agile to have separate assemblies, and a federation of groups at the national level as a differentiated organization.
Simultaneous militancy in the CNT or FAI would make it possible to act on these prejudices while maintaining independence. Of course, these prejudices also exist in some female colleagues, but they are prejudices formulated from the perspective of men, who tend to react defensively.
As an example, the debate developed in a series of articles in Solidaridad Obrera in 1935, between Mariano R. Vázquez, “Marianet”, CNT secretary at the time, and Lucía Sánchez Saornil, who had not yet reached the Fundación de Mujeres Libres, but that precisely here develops what will be its lines of action. When Marianet defends that the fight should not be separated because the objective is primarily economic and the same, Lucía replies that the scarcity of women in the union is evident, and this is due to the little interest of the militants in changing it. She also reminds him that the majority are men, who, due to their advantageous position, tend to assume the moral subordination associated with the economic function destined for women. Faced with this, the woman had to be a person first of all, not be reduced to a function, traditionally that of “mother-reproducer-housewife”. The division of labor into social classes is not the same as the sexual division of labor.
Women had to fight both by speaking on their own terms. Not without the collaboration of men, Lucia warned. Because Marianet’s response in her last articles in the series was that the woman was equally guilty of injustice for not claiming her rights and that she emancipated herself as the proletarian of the boss. And to this she had to specify that the analogy is not exact, since the interests of women are not opposed to those of men, that only in terms of privileges is man the patron of woman, and although he is human the wanting to keep them is certainly not an anarchist.
It is also very significant the fact that the first time that Mujeres Libres was called to a meeting of the Libertarian Movement was on January 24, 1939 when Barcelona was already being evacuated (p.25 “Free Women”, M. Ackelsberg, ed. Virus). In October 38, the women’s delegation that had left Alicante by boat and due to the fascist bombings had arrived two days after the start of the National Plenary of ML regionals, exhausted and hungry, was not recognized (testimony of Pura Pérez Arcos , p.25 op.cit). The proposal for the acceptance of Mujeres Libres as the fourth branch of the movement came from the women who acted from the other organizations. The war situation apparently prevented a vote in the local assemblies. But what we do know is that one after another, the plenary delegations expressed their refusal to this recognition, using these reasons: that anarchism does not admit differences of sex; that this work should be carried out by the unions, and that Free Women should function as a section of unions and athenaeums. In other words, what had not been asked of Juventudes and Fai, was required of Mujeres Libres.
One thing clearly distinguished it from the other two organizations and that is perhaps why it was more difficult to recognize: Mujeres Libres, as an anarcho-feminist creation, is situated at the intersection of two movements. It belongs to anarchism, and at the same time it belongs to the struggle of all women to emancipate themselves, and it is also integrated into the history of feminism. Its nature is similar to that of anarchist environmentalism and anti-fascism, which by that nuance distinguish itself from all the others, even sharing a specific objective of those movements. They are struggles or movements within the movement, with objectives integrated into a common one, eliminating all forms of exploitation and domination .
Up to now, persistent prejudices, shortcomings, and necessity of the network of organizations of the libertarian movement, today very battered have been highlighted. And it has been said that anarchism is not a united front struggle. Now, anarcho-syndicalism, as an organized workers’ struggle against capitalism, is the one that has historically structured the entire struggle. And that’s how Mujeres Libres understood it, who were not “communalists against trade unionists” as later mystifications may claim. That was not given opposition because the commune is the political-economic cell in a libertarian society, not the union.
And for its part, the union was not limited to the workplace, but admitted and admits forms of action in other areas of social life (social, cultural, self-managed, neighborhood, workshop, home …) , just as it supposes the cooperation with the other organizations of the movement arisen from the specificity and specialization.
This assumes a community focus throughout the movement. It’s more. The union’s success as a revolutionary tool depends on the ability of its members to maintain that comprehensive perspective, to go beyond the workplace. And in the same way, Mujeres Libres should not be attributed a distancing from the socialist philosophy of anarchism. The economic is fundamental in his scheme of change, but not in a vulgar, productivist, or reformist sense. The anarchists’ analysis of female oppression was very fine. In fact, it anticipated the critique of patriarchal institutions made by second-wave feminism and later, and even the analysis of female psychological subordination that is currently being done in depth in the 21st century. But for them the psychological and socioeconomic phenomena were interrelated. The woman had to cultivate her personal autonomy, her internal growth, based on activism aimed at subverting the traditional division of functions. As a woman and as a person of the working class, she had to assume the destruction of the material base that allows the reproduction of all hierarchies. All action was aimed at internal change, and was aimed at this.
Logically, this integral vision of change, in the ecological sense of the economy, including relationships with oneself and with the other, clashed with the short-term interests defended by bourgeois feminism or by authoritarian labor organizations. For these, emancipation was in the incorporation of women into the factory, in the collection of equal wages, in the participation of women in the war effort… their multidimensional liberation from her, as a person, was not addressed.
Today the situation of passivity created from the institutionalization of the feminist movement is exploding. The advance of neoliberal machismo has raised a wave of violence against women against which it is necessary to defend oneself with solutions that feminism
Authoritarianism is not going to contribute to us, being involved as it is, in capitalist institutions. We cannot evade anarchist self-definition, as was done before the war in the magazine Mujeres Libres. There is such a proliferation of feminisms (and anarchists, too), that it is necessary, now more than ever, to differentiate who is who in order not to fall into reformist traps. It is to promote the training of both those inside and outside the movement.
We also have the immense luck of living in a time when the struggle of people with a sexual orientation or gender different from the traditional one, has acquired a strong development and part of it is also being integrated into the anarchist movement.
Anarcho-feminism can be enormously enriched with the contribution from this struggle, which affects the traditional notions of feminine and masculine. Perhaps, above all, it is the perspective of the transsexual woman that can serve us the most in redefining female identity. In the search for knowledge of the female reality, we need to know if there is a real difference, and what it consists of. This is an advantage that the former militants of Mujeres Libres did not have, and that we think should not be missed.
In short, we advocate for the recovery of the federation of groups of the Free Women organization, on the same bases, which are those that we reflect in the principles that make up our editorial line, but with updates that do not disagree with them.
Moiras and Madeja would like to be a contribution to that recovery.
For the liberation of women and for free humanity!
Health and anarcho-feminism! Moiras Group