This August marks a year since the death of Shulamith Firestone, a cherished Redstockings founder. The jolting finality of losing her was a powerful reminder of all that she had given us, she and a revolutionary era of feminism. How fast we moved forward in the late 1960s—how fast we’re losing ground these days in so many of the fundamental areas. Why? At the memorial for Shulamith last September, Kate Millet said that the movement had lost its nerve. But how to get it back? Deeper theory and creative strategy seemed a way forward.
Our response is to bring together a meeting and mixing of freedom movement minds to ignite new analyzing and organizing in what we’re calling The Shulamith Firestone Women’s Liberation Memorial Conference on What is to Be Done. We are hoping you will save Saturday, Oct. 5 of this year to join us. It will be a day-long gathering in New York City, limited in size to about 125 pretty serious radical women, we anticipate– mainly women’s liberation activists and organizers, ranging across the generations. For more on Shulamith Firestone and background to this conference, visit www.redstockings.org.
This is a movement conference, not an academic conference. Instead of presenting papers, some participants who have prepared ahead of time will answer the questions below, sharing their personal and political learning process in a “speak from experience” consciousness-raising style session. Next, a round of respondents will engage the first testifiers with comments or questions, including their own experience. This will be followed by open exchange among others who want to respond and share their experience.
We thought that the first part of the conference should be about theory, in its simple, useful sense. What is the problem that women have been up against, what’s the cause, who benefits? And after some women’s liberation movement experience, have new answers emerged for you or old ones grown deeper?
“What is to be done?” is about strategy, which logically comes from theory, and the experience of trying to put it into practice. So we thought that the second part of the conference should focus on our experience of testing women’s liberation movement theory against movement results and the conclusions for where and how to move next that come from that.
We’ll answer the first group of questions below in the morning and the second in the afternoon, leaving time for freewheeling analysis and conclusions:
Part 1, morning: What is your thinking now and has it changed on the causes of women’s oppression? How and why has it changed?
Part 2, afternoon: What are your thoughts now on what has to be done to win women’s freedom? Has your thinking changed, and if so, how and why has your thinking changed? What are you doing now to make this happen? Are you currently involved in organizing? Why and why not and which one and why?
We view this as a day of brainstorming for women’s freedom, returning to the spirit of the time when feminism was revolutionary and Shulamith Firestone was organizing, mobilizing and making “the case for feminist revolution” in her 1970 book The Dialectic of Sex…
Because space is limited, ask others you may wish to come to contact Redstockings at email@example.com to see if there is still space available. If you are coming, we are also asking that you make a minimum contribution to the costs of the Conference of $25. If this is difficult for you, let us know and we can waive the conference fee. We hope that others will give more to offset those who need to give less. Even if you cannot come, we hope that you will help us with the costs of insuring participation from a range of women by making as generous a donation as you can. All who donate $25 or more will receive copies of Conference materials. For donations or registration, see the information at the bottom of this letter.
We are also asking all who come to the conference to write a short bio about themselves, sharing something of relevance and interest about their movement experience and/or their experience as a woman. This will be available at the conference for all attending to move us along in getting to know each other and for continuing discussion and action after the conference. Please email your bios to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you… We can’t wait to see you at the conference!
For keeping the revolutionary spirit of women’s liberation ablaze,
Carol Giardina and Kathie Sarachild for Redstockings of the Women’s Liberation Movement
Conference registration fees and donations are possible through our secure
account at PayPal – click here – or by writing checks made out to Redstockings,
Inc. and sending them to Redstockings, c/o Marisa Figueiredo, Director, at
375A Harvard St., Apt. 6A, Cambridge, MA 02138. All contributions are tax
exempt for those who can use the deductions option.