The Gddd were an organization of women in Italy from 1943-45. They were the largest group of active anti fascist women at the time. At their height they had around 70,000 members and comprised of women from every walk of life, from previously unpoliticised housewives to lifelong radical activists. Some of the work they did included organizing strikes, armed resistance, setting up after school hot meals for children, providing clothing and shoes to low income families, stealing coal and bread and handing it out to those in need, Robin Hood style.
Unlike some anti fascists at the time, the Gddd did not long for the Italy before fascism, as these women had lived in that world and experienced a culture based on patriarchy and women’s subjugation. Instead, the women of the Gddd longed for a new world which at it’s core practiced real equality for everyone.
Unfortunately these women, of which 35,000 died in defence of their beliefs, were written out of history by the very patriarchal systems which they opposed. Many of the Gddd male colleagues held, and exercised, the power to minimise women’s voices in the political realm.
Ada Gobetti, a former member of the Gddd, on the 8th March 1951, International Women’s Day:
“War is not inevitable. If women knew how to unite, as they knew how to unite in the battle for liberation, rising above any social, religious or political difference, to fight together against destruction and massacre and to work together in an industrious harmony, the face of the earth could well be changed. This is the call of the 8March: above any differences all unite to save the peace. May the gentle twig of mimosa the colour of the sun that will adorn the streets and the houses of Italy in these days remind women - and not only women - of this fundamental responsibility.”
Written by Leah, Radical Anarcha-Feminist Group (RAG) on 19th April 2011.