Significant Events in the History of the Chicago Women's Liberation
Union and of Liberation School for Women
( Editors note: undated but probably late 1970's)
CWLU founded in November, with a fairly loose structure, poorly defined
member ship, representative Steering Committee with limited power,
and unpaid staff. Abortion Counseling Service, Women's Graphics Collective,
South Side Women's Liberation Center, and other groups affiliate with
CWLU membership expands tremendously, largely as a result of media
publicity about the women's movement. CWLU structure evolves towards
monthly city-wide meetings, regular Steering Committee meetings and
Liberation School formed in fall, based in part on previous educational
ideas from the Political Education Committee, College Organizing Committee,
and Alice Hamilton Women's Health Clinic.
Other CWLU work groups formed in 1970: Chicago Women's Liberation
Rock Band; Anti-Imperialist Committee; Alice Hamilton Women's Health
Clinic (which became Pregnancy Testing); and La Dolores/Northside
In April, CWLU holds first membership conference since its founding,
which tightens up membership and structure, and clarifies Steering
Committee's decision-making powers. (This came at the end of, a struggle
involving women from Socialist Worker's Party/Young Socialist Alliance,
along with other women, who wanted a looser structure.)
Liberation School holds its first session in February (there were
4 sessions held in 1971, 3 per year thereafter).
LS involved in women's studies conferences in Chicago (in early spring)
and in New York City (May).
Other work groups: Action Committee for Decent Childcare; Legal Clinic;
Sister Center (in Rogers Park) ; and WOMANKIND (monthly newspaper).
CWLU membership conference in November adopts revision of SC structure
to include co-chairs chosen from CWLU as a whole ; adopts two position
Papers (Socialist Feminism: A Strategy... and Lesbianism and Socialist
Feminism); and changed Political Principles to include support for
LS begins to develop in the direction of doing more outreach classes.
Other work groups: Direct Action for Rights in Employment (DARE);
China Group; Gay Group; Rape Crisis Line; Connecting Link; and High
School/Junior College Outreach (later called SECRET STORM).
The first co-chairs are chosen at the beginning of the year; in November,
the membership conference adopts a proposal for a 5-person Planning
Committee (2 co-chairs plus 3-other people).
In June, LS sponsors a conference for women's schools from other cities.
Other work groups: Abortion Task Force; Health Evaluation and Referral
Service (HERS); Women's Prison Project; and Emma Goldman Women's Clinic.
Planning Committee forms,and co-ordinates major International Women's
Day demonstration in March. Later in year, there's the beginning of
a struggle around Revolutionary Union's position on gay liberation
(which particularly affected LS, since most of the work group was
gay, but also had one RU member).
Other work groups: Lesbian Group (later called BLAZING STAR).
Culmination of RU struggle results in expulsion of one member from
CWLU and voluntary withdrawal of several others. Later in year, another
major struggle begins after PC writes a position paper and is rebutted
by "Two Line" position.
National Conference on Socialist Feminism is held in July--CWLU was
involved the planning, and LS sponsored study groups in advance of
Other work groups: Asian Women's Group.
Co-Chair and PC elections not held due to internal chaos. CWLU suffers
a big split in March, 'In which "Two Line" supporters are
Liberation School folds in summer
Chicago Women's Liberation Union disbands in April.