Libcom.org's reading guide on feminism, women and women's struggles against patriarchy and capital.
Women and feminism: reading guide
- Feminism is for everybody – bell hooks – A brief introduction to feminist theory.
- Revolutionary Feminism, Communist Interventions vol. 3 - Huge document of texts written by communist, anarchist and radical feminists on women's oppression and capitalism.
- Socialism, anarchism and feminism - Carol Ehrlich - Essay arguing that to be effective, feminism must not simply be socialist (opposed to capitalism), but also anarchist - opposed to all forms of domination.
- The power of women and the subversion of the community - Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James - Influential 1972 pamphlet that used a feminist reading of Marx to challenge Left orthodoxy on the role of women, their labour and their struggles.
- The problem with work: feminism, marxism, antiwork politics and postwork imaginaries - Kathi Weeks - Taking up Marxist and feminist critiques, Weeks proposes a postwork society that would allow people to be productive and creative rather than relentlessly bound to the employment relation.
- Sex, race, and class - Selma James - A classic text exploring the interplay of sex, race, and class, arguing that capitalism and the Left have mystified the real relationship between these categories.
- States of injury - Wendy Brown - Brown investigates how a sense of injury came to form the basis of identity, and how this gives rise to a politics of representation and deference to the state in place of a politics of freedom.
- Theorizing patriarchy - Sylvia Walby - Walby critically analyses the feminist accounts of six key social structures: paid employment, household production, culture, sexuality, violence and the state. She proposes a 'dual systems' analysis of capitalism and patriarchy which synthesises Marxist and radical feminisms.
- Gender, power and struggle - Polite Ire - A great collection of introductory writings about the construction of gender roles, rape culture and the relevance of gender to the state and class struggle.
- Moving towards solidarity – Laurie Penny - A powerful explanation of the need for feminism to be trans-inclusive.
- Combahee River Collective statement - An important 1977 text widely considered to have laid the groundwork of intersectional feminism.
- Sex work: Solidarity not salvation – bounce - Article by a radical sex worker outlining the difference between sex worker inclusionary and exclusionary politics, and explaining how abolitionist approaches harm sex workers.
- Dohball's women/feminism reading guide - An additional reading guide compiled by a libcom poster, divided into intro and further reading.
Key people and groups
- Mujeres Libres - Anarcho-syndicalist women's organisation within the Spanish CNT union in the 1930s, active in the Spanish Revolution.
- GDDD - I gruppi di difesa della donna, largest of the women's groups in the Italian resistance to fascism, numbering 70,000 at their height, who organised strikes and took part in armed struggle.
- Mariarosa Dalla Costa - Marxist feminist famous for arguing that women's unwaged labour is an essential part of capitalist reproduction, rather than merely an oppression imposed on women by men.
- Silvia Federici - Italian Marxist feminist writer drawing the links between capitalism's need for women's unpaid labour and the subjugation of women under patriarchy.
- Emma Goldman - Anarchist, feminist and birth control advocate, described as "one of the most dangerous women in America".
- bell hooks - Pioneering Black intersectional feminist.
- Selma James - American feminist and libertarian socialist, widow of CLR James and founder of the International Wages for Housework Campaign.
- He Zhen - Account of a central revolutionary feminist in early 20th-century China.
Other recommended texts
- Free women of Spain - Martha Ackelsberg - Book on the Mujeres Libres [Free Women].
- History and actuality of anarcha-feminism: lessons from Spain - Marta Iniguez de Heredia - Exploration the significance of the Mujeres Libres [Free Women] for the relationship between anarchism and feminism.
- Women in the Spanish revolution - Solidarity - Liz Willis writes on the conditions and role of women in and around the Spanish Civil War and revolution of 1936-1939.
- The door to the garden: feminism and Operaismo - Mariarosa Dalla Costa - Brief history of Italian Marxist Feminism.
- Anarcho-feminism - two statements - Two statements regarding anarcho-feminism from 1971 by Chicago anarcho-feminists and the Black Rose Anarcho-Feminists respectively.
- "No one ever asks what a man's role in the revolution is": Gender and sexual politics in the Black Panther Party 1966-1971 - Trace Matthews - Article on the gender politics of the Black Panthers in the context of competing ideologies, namely Black cultural nationalism and White feminism.
- Fighting For Feminism: The Womens Question in an Italian Revolutionary Group - A set of letters from the Italian Lotta Continua newspaper discussing the relationship between feminism, Marxism and the women's movement.
- No God, no boss, no husband: The world’s first anarcha-feminist group - An account of the first anarchist-feminist group in Argentina during the 1890s.
- "You've Struck a Rock." Gender and Transformation in the US and South Africa - M. Bahati Kuumba - Article about women's involvement in the US civil rights movement and South African anti-apartheid struggles.
- Italian feminism, workerism and autonomy in the 1970s: The struggle against unpaid reproductive labour and violence - Patrick Cuninghame - Article about the autonomous women's movement in Italy in the 1970s, with particular focus on Wages for Housework and Lotta Femminista.
- Wages against housework - Silvia Federici - "They say it is love, we say it is unwaged work" - Italian autonomist Silvia Federici on the role of the housewife.
- ‘A spontaneous loss of enthusiasm’: workplace feminism and the transformation of women’s service jobs in the 1970s - Dorothy Sue Cobble - An analysis of the gendered dynamics in the class struggle in the 1970s US service sector.
- The Grunwick strike - A. Sivanandan - An essay written during the middle of the Grunwicks strike in Willesden, north-west London. A predominantly east African Asian women workforce went on strike against poor conditions and for union recognition.
- Witches, midwives, and nurses: A history of women healers - Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English - A history of the struggles over healing and caring labour, and how women were repressed to make way for the rise of modern medicine, which nonetheless argues that medical science could be a liberating force.
- The importance of dealing with Occupy's misogyny problem - Sasha Wiley - An account of some misogynist dynamics within the Occupy movement and the need to challenge them.
- Union maids (video) - Three women union activists tell their fascinating stories of organising in 1930s America, recounting their conflicts with bosses, police as well as their struggles against racism and sexism.
- Mothers strike (video) - A documentary that portrays the living conditions of the striking women in Walbrzych, Poland in 2010, their struggle against local authorities, conflicts with welfare institutions and their attempts at self-organizing.