I ve long intended to write a harsh polemic like the one that follows,
but never finished it. However; your most recent mailing that asked
for my opinions prompted me to give you them.
To begin with, the Thanksgiving Conference. If the conference itself
was on as low a level as the summary report,-I'm glad to have missed the
former and sorry not to have missed the latter. It sounded like a Brownie
outing instead of a nationwide gathering of conscious-militant women A
little more than a, year ago, I attended months of meetings of the NY Radical
Women, The same damn debate was going on (and on) at every meeting "persuasive.
intellectual work and analysis, . . (vs. ) personal experiences-" So
far, not only has the intellect not moved into the stomach, but it has
fled even the brain,
do not deny the therapeutic effect of the I confess-I accuse sessions,
but anyone who attends even one meeting or reads even one newsletter knows
all the themes and variations. Now what? Play workshop, of course.-What
could be more relevant? Marx and Engels analyzed the oppression of
in the middle of the last century, so it isn't that much of a revelation.
And now our 20th century sisters advance such revolutionary notions
as groping and fondling and "rationalizing the pursuit of men,-"
deal the death blow to barbarous American capitalism we turn to the
Alternative Life Styles workshops. Stressing "new life styles
within our present situations" rather than "after the revolution" makes
this project a natural for Ford Foundation funding, Not surprising
that none of these workshops reached any conclusions--not even the
conclusion that these workshops are a waste of time
seems fairly obvious from all of this that personal experiences
lead to nothing but more personal
experiences. Instincts, no matter how good, do not give any more
than a scant clue to how the world does work or can work. How about
of science ? A bit of creativity ?
the Vietnamese or Guatemalan
woman is a positive insult to every woman
who dreams of (and works for) a new kind
of world-It is nothing but ignorance to
believe that these women are liberated in
any real way. Read the program of the
National Liberation Front or Sue Munaker's" The Women of Vietnam" in
Voice of the WLM,, They are permitted to
fight because the NLF needs soldiers and
will be sent to the factories when the NLF
needs workers and sent back home and
hearth when the NLF needs babies, All
the gains made by Russian women in 1917
were lost by 1930 Like elitist little American and European Maoists, you imply
that (romanticized) oppression is good for
the Chinese (read Vietnamese, Cuban, etc.)
but heavens) not for us'
I entirely agree that "we fight at home in the stomach of the monster, while
our Vietnamese and Guatemalan sisters fight its head. " We throw stink bombs
at Miss America and heroically destroy our charge accounts. Fortunately for the
survival of the Vietnamese people, they have devised better tactics.
The women', s
liberation movement could become just that. However, right now it is an irrelevant
(albeit pleasant) pastime for the benefit of that infinitesimal
portion of the world's population that finds comfort in it. Unless we concern
ourselves with the realities faced by the rest of humanity, nobody's oppression
will disappear--including that of 200 white, educated, under 30, semi-liberated
Fern Levine New York, 12/30/68