Shulamith Firestone Memorial Conference Follow Up, Some Thoughts

We’ve been getting a lot of great responses about the recent conference. We’d love to get more! Here are some thoughts from a sister in Gainesville, Florida.

Written by Candi Churchill of National Women’s Liberation

I’m very interested in more debates on the disagreements, as well as where we have some unity: “fight your own oppressor” or targetting the “most oppressed”? What does that look like in organizing? How do we radicalize people in the U.S.?

Is Consciousness-raising still our best organizing model, supplemented by study and criticism/self-criticism and learning from our actions? What are the strengths? Weaknesses?

Leadership and organization. Is it enough do all “do our own thing”? How we unite and make a more powerful impact from the work we’re all doing.

What is our program now or what should it be? Please critique NWL’s “what we want, what we believe” ( — we argue that the priorities should be: CR, History for Activist Use (Redstockings’ slogan), birth control and abortion, and combatting the double day and fighting for a “social wage”. Criticize and debate us please! Also, critique the Redstockings pamplet “Confronting the Myth of America: Women’s Liberation and National Health Care.” What’s wrong with these proposals? What’s right? What do you think WL should do now??

Should fighting porn be higher up? Why? Why not? Does it get to the root of male supremacy? What about childcare? Paid family leave? What areas will get more troops into the movement? What will get women more freedom? What will ignite a new upsurge? What are competing theories for ending the root problems of women’s oppression?

How much do we fight capitalism directly? Indirectly? Build the left? And how? Can we raise class consciousness as women’s liberation leaders or do we do it in the left? What is class? Who is the oppressor in capitalism? I think we have disagreement about what “the system” even is.

How much do we still target men? Are men a “problematic allie” or are they an oppressor (or the oppressor) of women? Some men with more power, some with much less.

How do we get out a sharper analysis than what’s out there for feminism? How to we build organizations, and not just individual actions or individual feminists?

Phew!!!!!!!!!! Let’s get to work, sisters! Much is to be done!


2 thoughts on “Shulamith Firestone Memorial Conference Follow Up, Some Thoughts

  1. Carol Hanisch

    This is an interesting list of important questions that have plagued the WLM in one way or another since its 1960s founding. To make any discussion easier to follow, it might work better to break them down into several categories on separate pages for responses.

    Meanwhile, a critique written in 2006 of “Confronting the Myth of America” is available on my webpage at

    Carol Hanisch

  2. Kathy Scarbrough

    I think the priorities issue can’t be decided centrally. One’s priorities come out of one’s experience. We can critically support any organizing work that aims at getting more freedom for women. An issue I wonder a lot about is something else Candi mentions: why do so many of our efforts stay so small and what makes a mass movement blossom?


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