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Call for Papers - Burning the Ballot: Feminism Meets Anarchy

category international | gender | appeal / petition author Thursday October 28, 2021 01:32author by Adam Report this post to the editors

A Special Issue of Coils of the Serpent: Journal for the Study of Contemporary Power

Call for Papers

Burning the Ballot: Feminism Meets Anarchy

A Special Issue of Coils of the Serpent: Journal for the Study of Contemporary Power

Call for Papers

Burning the Ballot: Feminism Meets Anarchy

A Special Issue of Coils of the Serpent: Journal for the Study of Contemporary Power

Guest Editors: Tammy Kovich & Adam Lewis (Canada)

Anarchism’s engagement with the question of gender is at once ambiguous and contradictory. Historically, the anarchist response to the “woman/sex question” was mixed. During the period of ‘classical anarchism’ (1840-1939), women took on active roles in anarchist movements – they were active in anarchist organizations, publications, and projects across the globe. They took part in uprisings, rebellions, and revolutions, as well as in the work of day-to-day anarchist organizing, propaganda, and more. While many (though not all) rejected the label of feminist, they nonetheless spoke out against sexual subordination and called for the emancipation of women with the overthrow of all forms of social, political, and economic hierarchy. At the same time, many others were at best ambivalent to the idea of sexual equality and at worst outright hostile to it. Frequently credited as the founding father of anarchism, Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865) was an outright misogynist who spoke out against the idea that women could (or should) ever be anything other than wives and mothers, and claimed that the only option available to women outside of the family was prostitution. Sonn in his study of the early anarchist movement in France describes the pervasiveness of an “anarchist antifeminism” (2005: 32). Similarly, Gemie in his historical survey of anarchist political culture across North America and Europe notes the prevalence of “anarcho-sexism” (1996: 417). During the period of ‘new anarchism’ (1940-1990), emphasis on the politics of everyday life grew and an explicitly feminist strand of anarchism emerged. Under the banner of anarcha-feminism, efforts were made to integrate radical feminist and gay liberation ideas into anarchist movements. Most recently, the period of ‘contemporary/post-anarchism’ (1990-present) has been marked by an emphasis on incorporating queer struggles and developing a distinctly queer anarchism. Against this backdrop, anarchism’s relationship to feminism has remained strained.

From the so-called first-wave of feminism until our present moment, anarchists have been considered both ally and adversary. In the early days of the women’s movement, some anarchists were active participants and a few even claimed the feminist label. Chinese anarchist He-Yin Zhen (1884-1920) exerted considerable influence and wrote extensively on women’s liberation. She spoke out against prominent male intellectuals, critiqued the nationalism of a burgeoning Chinese feminism, and discussed feminist struggle as “the beginning and outcome of a total social revolution that would abolish the state and private property to bring about true social equality and the end to all social hierarchies” (Liu et al. 2013: 7). In Puerto Rico, Luisa Capetillo (1879-1922) was a pivotal figure in both anarchist and feminist movements respectively. She organized women workers, published pamphlets and books on gender equality, and infamously made waves when she dawned a pair of trousers to stroll the streets of Havana, becoming “the first Puerto Rican woman to wear pants in public” (Romeu Toro 2013: 178). In America, Voltarine de Cleyre (1866-1912) developed an anarchism that was inextricably connected to an analysis of sexual inequality. She publicly identified as a feminist, and in her own words became an anarchist because of her “anger at the institutions set up by men” and her “disgust with the cramped, subordinated circle provided for women” (cited in Marsh 1978: 540). While some anarchist women openly allied themselves with feminists, many more vehemently rejected the label and were at times hostile to the women’s movement. Somewhat ironically, one of the few anarchist women to be given considerable attention by feminists – Emma Goldman – was intensely critical of the women’s movement during her lifetime. While Goldman centered considerations of gender and sexuality in much of her work and contributed to related discussions in both anarchist circles and society at large, she frequently criticized feminists’ pursuit of suffrage and more or less saw the women’s movement as a bourgeois endeavor incompatible with revolution.

In the years following the ‘classical period’ of Goldman’s time, particularly over the last 40 years, it has become more and more common for anarchists to ask: what can anarchism learn from feminism? The political culture, language, and practice of contemporary anarchism (while by no means free from sexism, queerphobia, or transmisogyny) draws from and is influenced by the theories and practices of feminists. Further, there is also a growing chorus of anarchists arguing for deeper engagement with Indigenous feminisms and political interventions, and their particular forms of resistance to settler colonialism, capitalism, the state and patriarchy (Warburton 2016). Given the ongoing nature of settler colonial dispossession in places like so-called ‘North America’, this raises some questions as to how to situate anarchism and feminism in such a context. Recent work on anarcha-Indigenism takes up some of these questions and explores the ways that exchange and dialogue can occur between anarchism, Indigenous resistance/resurgence practices and feminism (see e.g. Hall 2016; Affinities 2011).

However, the flip-side to anarchism’s interest in feminism is largely not true and it is rare for feminists to ask: what can feminism learn from anarchism? Anarchism and by extension anarchists are rarely included in feminist discourse. Contrary to those who see anarchism and feminism as an obvious match (Kornegger 2002), Ferguson notes that “anarchism has had trouble finding its place in feminism” and “a steady diet of demonization and ridicule of anarchy has not encouraged historians of feminism to take anarchism seriously” (2021). At the same time, Warburton (2016) cautions, however, that anarchists might need to confront the difficult question of what, if anything, anarchism might bring to Indigenous feminism in particular, given Indigenous feminism’s own theorizations and oppositions to the state and domination. The potential for more direct anarchist influences on feminism remains a question that needs more explicit discussion. All feminisms, after all, are not created equal. This Special Issue of Coils of the Serpent sets out from the premise that despite its shortcomings, anarchism has much to offer feminism and is worth being taken seriously and explored in greater detail.

We invite contributions on topics such as (but not limited to):

- Anarchist contributions to anti-carceral feminism

- Anarcha-feminism in the age of girlboss culture

- Anarchist critiques of the state and/or hierarchy and feminist engagements with electoral politics

- Anarchist analyses of institutionalization, cooptation, and/or recuperation in relation to feminism

- Gender abolition, anarchist struggle, and feminist futures

- Anarchist perspectives on the politics and pitfalls of “inclusion” and/or “representation”

- Women, queers, and trans radicals in anarchist history

- Anarchist theorizations of gender, struggle, and liberation

- Anarchism, feminism and the ongoing context of settler colonialism

- Gender struggle, illegality, and anarchism

- Discussions of the body, sexuality, and/or desire within anarchism

- Sex work and other types of gendered labour and anarchism

- Gender, militancy, and street politics

- Intersections and exchanges between anarchist, Indigenous, Black and Women of Colour feminisms

- Anarchy 101 for feminists

- Anarchist approaches to struggles for reproductive justice

- Prefigurative and everyday practices of feminism and their influence/importance within anarchist cultures of resistance

Please send an abstract of approximately 500 words and a short bio to the editors Tammy Kovich and Adam Lewis (tkovich-research@riseup.net and adamlewis.research@gmail.com) by 1 December 2021. Abstracts should include a title, topic outline, and information on the kind of text (essay, statement, scholarly article) as well as the approximate length of the planned text. Submissions can be in the form of a traditional journal article, but this is not a requirement. Submissions can also be more activist-oriented, of a personal nature, and/or experimental. The editors will get back to you by 1 January 2022, and full articles will be due 1 June 2022. Please read the journal’s submission guidelines: https://coilsoftheserpent.org/submissions/

References

Coulthard, G.S., J. Lasky, A. Lewis, and V. Watts (eds.) (2011). Anarch@Indigenism. Special issue of Affinities. .

Ferguson, K.E. (2021, March 10-12). “Lost Comrades of Emma Goldman: Anarchist Feminist Assemblages from the Paris Commune to the Spanish Revolution.” Paper presentation. Western Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, United States. .

Gemie, S. (1996). “Anarchism and Feminism: A Historical Survey.” Women’s History Review 5.3: 417-44.

Hall, L. (2016). “Indigenist Intersectionality: Decolonizing and Reweaving an Indigenous Eco-Queer Feminism and Anarchism.” Perspectives on Anarchist Theory 29: “Anarcha-Feminisms.” The Institute for Anarchist Studies, 81-93.

Kornegger, P. (2012). “Anarchism: The Feminist Connection.” Quiet Rumours: An Anarcha-Feminist Reader. Ed. Dark Star Collective. Oakland: AK Press, 25-35.

Liu, L.H., R.E. Karl, and D. Ko (eds.) (2013). The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory. New York: Columbia University Press.

Marsh, M.S. (1978). “The Anarchist-Feminist Response to the ‘Woman Question’ in the Late Nineteenth-Century.” American Quarterly 30.4: 533-47.

Romeu Toro, C.A. (2013). “Luisa Capetillo, Anarchist and Spiritualist: A Synthesis of the Irreconcilable.” Without Borders or Limits: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Anarchist Studies. Ed. J.A. Meléndez Badillo and N.J. Jun. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 177-84.

Sonn, R.D. (2010). Sex, Violence, and the Avant-Garde: Anarchism in Interwar France. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Warburton, T. (2016). “Coming to Terms: Rethinking Popular Approaches to Anarchism and Feminism.” Perspectives on Anarchist Theory 29: “Anarcha-Feminisms.” The Institute for Anarchist Studies, 68-76.

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photo5850321266693749315.jpg imageThe old world oppresses women and gender minorities. Their strength will destroy it! 23:50 Tue 08 Mar by Several anarchist organisations 1 comments

More than a hundred years ago, on March 8, 1917, the women workers of St. Petersburg (Russia) went on strike and demonstrated for bread and peace, thus playing part in the inception of an historic revolutionary movement. Around that time, the 8th of March as a day of struggle for women's rights began to be commemorated frequently.
In 2022, women are still one of the most oppressed sectors of humanity, alongside with gender minorities which try to overcome gender binarity. This situation takes places in every social sphere: at work, at home, in the health crisis or in war situations. This is exactly why women's uprising could topple states, capitalism and racist and patriarchal domination.

stonewallenglish.jpg imageEquality and freedom are not to be debated! 04:46 Tue 29 Jun by Various anarchist organisations 10 comments

On 28 June 1969, cops arrived at the Stonewall Inn in New York. This bar is renowned in the gay, lesbian, bi and trans communities for welcoming even the most marginalised. As usual, the police spoils the party.

8menglish.png imageAgainst patriarchal oppression and capitalist exploitation: No one is alone! 02:57 Mon 08 Mar by Various anarchist organisations 5 comments

Today, March 8, we commemorate International Working Women's Day, a historic date on which we raise the struggle for the political, social, economic, and sexual rights of women, lesbians, and transgender people of the oppressed classes. Today, we aim to put an end to the systematic violence of patriarchy and support the revolutionary workers', popular and anti-colonial struggle. First proposed by a group of socialist women at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women in 1910 in Copenhagen, the day was initially intended to promote women's civil rights. Later, it became a day of agitation, mobilization, protest, and strike for the lives and liberty of women and dissidents of the gender system across the globe. From the protest for women's labor and political rights in the industrial states at the beginning of the 20th century to the revolt for bread and peace by working women that began, along with other strikes and demonstrations, the Russian Revolution of February 1917, March 8 as International Women's Day was slowly consolidated through the active struggle of working-class women. Therefore, we rescue such great attainment that allows us to remember the achievements of the feminist movement against patriarchal oppression. March 8 also allows us to appropriate the debates and proposals our predecessors had and build spaces that enable us to raise our voices against the injustices and violence of this capitalist, patriarchal and colonialist, system of domination.

iwd1.jpg image8 March, International Womens’ Day 11:35 Tue 08 Mar by Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (MACG) 1 comments

International Women’s Day is a day when the women’s movement around the world celebrates social, political and other achievements of women. It is also a good day for women to take a closer look at the oppression that flourishes through the double bondage of capitalism and patriarchy, and which is still an unfortunate and undeniable reality for the majority of women today.

blackflaglady.jpg imageInternational Women's Day 2013 22:32 Fri 08 Mar by Workers Solidarity Alliance 0 comments

We strive for a society in which one person or group of people do not dominate or exploit another. In such a society there would be no basis for sexual oppression, domination, or class exploitation. We must work to replace the institutions of power, the nation-state, and capitalism with a worldwide system of grassroots empowerment and self-management of all facets of social and economic life.

textWSA 's International Women's Day statement‏ 22:19 Fri 07 Mar by W.S.A. 0 comments

One hundred years ago today, on March 8, 1908, thousands of women left their jobs in the sweatshops of New York City's Lower East Side and took to the streets to demand their rights as women and as workers. In 1917, their sisters in Russia followed suit, and helped to bring about the revolution that overthrew the Tsarist autocracy. And in Spain in 1936, the anarchist women of Mujeres Libres helped to free their sisters from centuries of oppression.

text8 March 2008!! Celebrating International Women's Day? 19:49 Fri 07 Mar by FdCA - Ethics & Gender Policies Commission 0 comments

If 8 March - International Women's Day - is not to remain simply an annual recurrence, we must smash these chains by means of ever-stronger solidarity and class consciousness, in the knowledge that the liberation of women will never be complete until all of humanity is free from its oppressors, from tyrants, churches, States and bosses. In the knowledge that the freedom of all comes through the freedom of women. [ Italiano]

imageAnarchism and the Continuing Struggle for Women's Freedom Jan 27 by Bongani Maponyane 0 comments

As anarchist-communists, we oppose sexism whenever and wherever it exists, although we also realise that class position differentiates the experience of sexism. We salute all the woman freedom fighters, and the older generation of women, many our mothers, who bear the scars of the gruesome battles in which they stood firm, fighting the oppression imposed on the African native by colonial conquest. There were hard times in the apartheid era, where black women were abused, raped and oppressed: the state did nothing to stop this, but aided it, as the state was part of the system of oppression. History shows that dispossession and systematic dehumanization for the purposes of exploitation and domination were undertaken through the uncontrolled and coercive mayhem of the South African state.

imageFlora Tristan: precursor of feminism and proletarian emancipation Mar 08 by Nahuel Valenzuela 0 comments

Flora Célestine Thérèse Henriette Tristán y Moscoso Lesnais (1803-1844) was a French writer of Peruvian descent. Little known in official historiography, probably intentionally forgotten because of the rebellion and desire for freedom that emanates from her writings. Among her works were Peregrinations of a Pariah (1839), Promenades in London (1840) and the booklet The Workers' Union (1843). [Castellano]

textHijab: lifting the veil Jul 18 by Ada 0 comments

Ultimately we believe that people should have the freedom to dress whatever way they like. This means freedom from state interference and freedom from religious interference in how one should dress. Anarchist reflections on the debate around the banning of the veil in French schools.

textSome thoughts on anti-sexism in the libertarian movement May 10 by Klito 0 comments

Article from "Alternative Libertaire", March 2005 issue, contributed by Klito, a women-only feminist collective.

imageThe old world oppresses women and gender minorities. Their strength will destroy it! Mar 08 1 comments

More than a hundred years ago, on March 8, 1917, the women workers of St. Petersburg (Russia) went on strike and demonstrated for bread and peace, thus playing part in the inception of an historic revolutionary movement. Around that time, the 8th of March as a day of struggle for women's rights began to be commemorated frequently.
In 2022, women are still one of the most oppressed sectors of humanity, alongside with gender minorities which try to overcome gender binarity. This situation takes places in every social sphere: at work, at home, in the health crisis or in war situations. This is exactly why women's uprising could topple states, capitalism and racist and patriarchal domination.

imageEquality and freedom are not to be debated! Jun 29 10 comments

On 28 June 1969, cops arrived at the Stonewall Inn in New York. This bar is renowned in the gay, lesbian, bi and trans communities for welcoming even the most marginalised. As usual, the police spoils the party.

imageAgainst patriarchal oppression and capitalist exploitation: No one is alone! Mar 08 Various anarchist organisations 5 comments

Today, March 8, we commemorate International Working Women's Day, a historic date on which we raise the struggle for the political, social, economic, and sexual rights of women, lesbians, and transgender people of the oppressed classes. Today, we aim to put an end to the systematic violence of patriarchy and support the revolutionary workers', popular and anti-colonial struggle. First proposed by a group of socialist women at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women in 1910 in Copenhagen, the day was initially intended to promote women's civil rights. Later, it became a day of agitation, mobilization, protest, and strike for the lives and liberty of women and dissidents of the gender system across the globe. From the protest for women's labor and political rights in the industrial states at the beginning of the 20th century to the revolt for bread and peace by working women that began, along with other strikes and demonstrations, the Russian Revolution of February 1917, March 8 as International Women's Day was slowly consolidated through the active struggle of working-class women. Therefore, we rescue such great attainment that allows us to remember the achievements of the feminist movement against patriarchal oppression. March 8 also allows us to appropriate the debates and proposals our predecessors had and build spaces that enable us to raise our voices against the injustices and violence of this capitalist, patriarchal and colonialist, system of domination.

image8 March, International Womens’ Day Mar 08 Anarkismo 1 comments

International Women’s Day is a day when the women’s movement around the world celebrates social, political and other achievements of women. It is also a good day for women to take a closer look at the oppression that flourishes through the double bondage of capitalism and patriarchy, and which is still an unfortunate and undeniable reality for the majority of women today.

imageInternational Women's Day 2013 Mar 08 WSA 0 comments

We strive for a society in which one person or group of people do not dominate or exploit another. In such a society there would be no basis for sexual oppression, domination, or class exploitation. We must work to replace the institutions of power, the nation-state, and capitalism with a worldwide system of grassroots empowerment and self-management of all facets of social and economic life.

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