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POLITICAL ORGANIZATION IN THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT
by Jo Freeman

Presented as a paper at the 1974 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, and published in Acta Sociologica, Vol. 18, No. 2-3, 1975, pp. 222-244.



A social movement is a very complex and little understood phenomenon.1 It involves various mixtures of spontaneous and structured ingredients aimed at some combination of personal and/or institutional change. Thus it is often difficult to tease out the salient factors which determine its character and the nature of its activities.
In much of the sociological literature a social movement organization is often confused with the social movement itself. Thus the orientation, the goals and even the success of the movement are judged by those of the organization. This usually leads to mistaken assessments. While there is certainly a relationship between the two, it is an imperfect one, changing over time, and the inevitable concentration of a study on a movement organization should not be mistaken as a thorough analysis of the movement itself.2 Consequently, the study of a movement's organization is not necessarily the study of its structure. Every collectivity has a structure; not all have organizations. Social movements usually have both informal structures and formal organizations.3
Unlike ordinary organizations, movement organizations are operating to change the society in which they originate, not adapt to its needs. Thus their environment is often a hostile one and creates organizational pressures unknown to less threatening groups. Secondly, their resource base is different. The numbers, kinds, and commitment of its supporters are all it ultimately has to rely on. Other organizations, especially voluntary ones, rely on these factors also, but rarely so totally.
A social movement organization's lack of legitimacy and its dependence on the kind of commitment of its social base inevitably make it much more a creature of its environment than a traditional organization. This environment is a dual one, consisting of both society at large and the movement's supporters in particular, and is often inconsistent in its demands.4 Yet a social movement organization is not solely a creature of its environment; it has its own internal dynamics, its own values and its own structures. And, like most organizations, it is not ahistorical. They way an organization is structured in the beginning "loads the dice" not only for its goals, but also for its strategy of how to attain them. Thus one must look at the process of growth and change of a social movement organization as the result of three major influences: 1) the inherited values and norms of the originators and the ways in which these cast the mold of the movement's future development; 2) the internal dynamics of the organization and the different subgroups within it; and 3) the environmental effects and structure of available opportunities for action.
Although the women's liberation movement today manifests itself in an almost infinite variety of groups, styles and organizations, its overall structure reflects the fact that it had two distinct origins, spawning two different styles of organization and orientation. The first origin can be dated from the formation of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966 by women associated with the President's and state Commissions on the Status of Women. The second origin was from the other side of the generation gap, by young women - usually nonstudents - involved in the civil rights and youth movements of the last decade.

 

The two branches which resulted are structured in distinctly different ways. What I call the older branch of the movement (because it began first) possesses several prominent and numerous minor core organizations. The structure of such groups as NOW, the Women's Equity Action League, (WEAL), Federally Employed Women (FEW), and some 50 different organizations and caucuses of professional women, has tended to be traditionally formal, usually containing local chapters and national governing bodies with elected officers, boards of directors, bylaws and the other trappings of democratic procedure. All started as top-down national organizations lacking a mass base. Some have subsequently developed a mass base, some have not yet done so, and others don't want to.
The structure of the younger branch, on the other hand, can best be thought of as a decentralized, segmented, reticulate network of autonomous groups.5 Its basic unit is the small group of from five to thirty women held together by an often tenuous network of personal contacts and feminist publications. These groups have a variety of functions but a very consistent style. Their common characteristics are a conscious lack of formal organization, an emphasis on participation by everyone, a sharing of tasks, and the exclusion of men. The thousands of sister chapters around the country are virtually independent of each other, linked only by numerous publications, personal correspondence and cross-country travelers. They form and dissolve at such a rate that no one can keep track of them. With time and growth the informal communications networks have partially stratified along functional lines, so that within a single city participants of, say, a feminist health clinic, will know less of different groups in their own area than other health clinics in different cities. A few cities, primarily smaller ones, have a co-ordinating committee that tries to maintain communication among local groups and to channel newcomers into appropriate ones, but none of these committees has any power over the activities, let alone the ideas, of any of the groups it serves.
This conscious lack of hierarchy means that the groups share a common culture, but are politically autonomous. Even within the groups the tines of authority and the process of decision making are often diffuse and hard to discern. The groups are not purely democratic, and there is usually a power structure, but only occasionally is it an overt one with elections, voting and designed authoritative positions. Instead, most groups in this branch of the movement have informally adopted a general policy of "structurelessness."
It is a common mistake to try to place the two branches on the traditional left-right spectrum. The terms "reformist" and "radical" by which they are so often designated are convenient and fit into our preconceived notions about the nature of political organization, but they tell us nothing of relevance. If an ideological6 typography were possible, it would show minimal consistency with any other characteristic. Some groups often called "reformist" have a platform that would so completely change our society it would be unrecognizable. Other groups called "radical" concentrate on the traditional female concerns of love, sex, children and interpersonal relationships (although with untraditional views). The most typical division of labor, ironically, is that those groups labeled "radical" engage primarily in educational work while the so-called "reformists" are the activists.
Because the two branches have been concerned with much the same issues, comparison of the organization can be severed from an examination of ideology. However, they have evolved radically different emphases and different strategies. These differences can be explained less by differences in belief than by differences in structure. The movement began without an ideology, and has as yet only the rudiments of one. Feminist ideology has played an insignificant role in the development of its structures and strategies, although nonfeminist ideas have been adapted from the political context in which each branch grew which have affected its organizational style. The different strategies of each branch have not been governed by different ideologies, but by different structures; it is structure that has determined what kind of activities are feasible and which more accurately explain how various groups have directed their energies.
In general, the different style and organization of the two branches was largely derived from the distinct political education and experiences of each group of initiators. Women of the older branch were trained in and had used the traditional forms of political action, while the younger branch inherited the loose, flexible, person-oriented attitude of the youth and student movements. The resulting structures that evolved each posed different problems and possibilities. The differences are often perceived as conflicting, but it is their essential complementarity which has been a strength of the movement.

The National Organization for Women

Within the women's liberation movement, the National Organization for Women is the largest and most prominent organization. As such it is deserving of special study. When NOW was created in 1966 there appeared to be minimal foresight about its future direction. It was conceived of as a national action organization, yet it was little more than a superstructure concentrated on the East Coast whose members contained few activists and fewer organizers. At the organizing meeting in Washington a statement of purpose and a national structure were hammered out. But these told less about its future than the nature of its roots. The women and men who formed NOW were knowledgeable of the legal, political and media institutions of our country; they were not oriented toward constructing a social movement organization.
Despite much talk about forming chapters and a realization that local organization would increase national influence, NOW lacked the resources, the knowledge, and in reality the interest, to aim its efforts in this direction. It did not think of itself as a traditional organization, but, at least initially, it could function only within the limits of traditional pressure group activity.
It is instructive to contrast NOWs founders wit
h those of another social movement organization begun about the same time -- the National Welfare Rights Organization. Most of NWRO's initiators had been active in the civil rights movement; they were experienced movement people. They felt the organizational style of that movement had been a mistake that they did not want to repeat.
Commented one welfare organizer:

The civil rights movement was let down because it didn't have a grassroots membership base and because it had to depend on liberal fundraisers. The movement had no real membership base, just small, scattered activist cadres. The ghetto was never really involved in CORE and groups like that. The philosophy of these groups was total action. They had no grass-roots, no participation by the people themselves.7


Consequently, the NWRO concentrated its energies on building local membership groups and quickly developed a program of local as well as national activity. Even though the material resources of its participants were considerably lower than those of NOW, it was much more effective. Its organizers understood the nature of what they were working with -- a social movement -- and how to mobilize its most valuable resource -- people.
Nonetheless, NOW's conceptualization created the potential for development in a variety of directions, and only time and circumstances could dictate in which of these it would go. The founding statement of purpose articulated a general philosophy of equality and justice under law, rather than specific areas for action.

 

... It is no longer either necessary or possible for women to devote the greater part of their lives to child-rearing; yet childbearing and rearing, which continues to be a most important part of most women's lives -- still is used to justify barring women from equal professional and economic participation and advance ... we believe that a true partnership between the sexes demands a different concept of marriage, an equitable sharing of the responsibilities of home and children, and of the economic burdens of their support ... We are ... opposed to all policies and practices -- in church, state, college, factory, or office which, in the guise of protectiveness, not only deny opportunities but also foster in women self-denigration, dependence, and evasion of responsibility, undermine their confidence in their own abilities and foster contempt for women.

The statement also emphasized that "women's problems are linked to many broader questions of social justice; their solution will require concerted action by many groups". To research the need for specific actions, seven task forces were set up on: discrimination against women in employment; education; religion; the family; women's image in the mass media; women's political rights and responsibilities; and the problems of poor women. To handle NOW's administrative needs the office was moved from its temporary location in the Center for Continuing Education at the University of Wisconsin to Detroit, where it was run by Caroline Davis out of the office of the United Auto Worker's Women's Committee.
NOW's activities for the next three years reflected its limited origins more than its broad goals. Formed as "an NAACP for women," NOW's initial efforts aimed at compelling changes in EEOC interpretations of Title VII8 and at sponsoring court cases. They were also successful in generating media coverage of their efforts. These functions were compatible with a national structure, and reflected the political and communications background of the early participants.
However, this structure hampered organizational development. NOW suffered three splits between 1967 and 1968. As the only action organization concerned with women's rights, it had attracted many different kinds of people with many different views on where and how to proceed. With only a national structure, and at that point no base, it was difficult for individuals to pursue their particular concerns on a local level; they had to persuade the whole organization to support them. Given NOW's top-down structure and limited resources, this placed severe limits on diversity and, in turn, severe strains on the organization.

 
Additional difficulties were created by a lack of organizers to develop new chapters and the lack of a program into which they could fit local activities. For the first three years the New York chapter held over half the national membership. It was the most active and best known. To many women, the New York chapter was NOW. Chapters in other cities went through many false starts, forming then collapsing in confusion and inactivity. Unlike the New York chapter which bad easy access to the national media and many people skilled at using it, the other chapters had difficulty developing programs not dependent on the media. Since the national program was almost exclusively engaged in support of legal cases or Federal lobbying, the regional chapters could not easily fit into that program either. Although NOW's founders had much media experience, they knew little about organizing. They could create an appearance of activity but did not know how to organize the substance of it. Thus NOW often appeared bigger than it was. Chapter development had to wait for the national media to attract women to the organization or the considerable physical mobility of contemporary women to bring proponents into new territory.
Towards the end of 1969, NOW began attempts to form liaisons with the younger branch of the movement. In November 1969, the first Congress to Unite Women was held in New York and several others were held elsewhere during the next year. They were largely unsuccessful. Fraught with dissention, backbiting, and name-calling, they did not result in any umbrella organization to speak for the interests of all feminists. But this very failure portended some success as feminists from both branches -- particularly NOW -- began to realize that a diverse movement might be more valuable than a united one. The multitude of different groups reached out to different kinds of women, served different functions within the movement, and presented a wide variety of feminist ideas. Although they made co-ordinated action difficult, they allowed an individual woman to relate to the movement in the way most appropriate to her life. Fission began to seem creative as it broadened the scope of the movement without weakening its impact. The groups agreed to disagree and to work together where possible.
As the various feminist groups became more tolerant of each other they also became more co-operative and today most of the bitter enmity of the early years has long since been forgotten. Ties between the groups have increased and strengthened and those women who are members of both NOW and younger branch groups are no longer viewed with suspicion by either.
The "take-off" point for the women's liberation movement was the August 26 strike in 1970 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. It was the first time that the potential power of the movement became publicly apparent; the sheer numbers of people who turned out shocked everyone -- including the organizers. The strike swelled the ranks of NOW and other groups tremendously. Chapters often expanded as much as 50 to 70 percent. The new members tended to be younger than the original ones and less likely to be professionals or even employed. Many were housewives, concerned with the emptiness in their own lives and worried lest the same fate befall their daughters. Such women preferred joining NOW to a women's liberation group partially because NOW was easier to find than the amorphous small groups and partially because it seemed more respectable.
These new members brought with them different interests and different problems for the organization. They were less interested in working on job discrimination and more on such projects as the media image of women and the portrayal of sex role stereotypes in children's books. Several local groups eventually engaged in major analyses of stereotyping -- though they have been less successful in pressuring for changes in sexist images than in pointing out their existence. They also brought a need to explore the meaning of feminism to their personal lives and personal relationships. Much to the disdain of the older members, who viewed personal discussion as an unnecessary diversion, they wanted to start rap groups. Thus it was with great reluctance that many NOW chapters set them up to "cater" to the needs of their newest members. The idea of "consciousness-raising" as a significant activity was contrary to NOW's image of itself as an action organization. However, eventually NOW became convinced of its value and today many chapters have institutionalized consciousness-raising into ten and fifteen week courses with specific discussion topics.
Most of these new members had no previous experience in either political or voluntary organizations. Thus as NOW's expansion swelled its ranks, it proportionately decreased its share of trained personnel -- in particular people who had any knowledge of the problems of running large organizations. As a general rule, the core of activists in a NOW chapter never gets much beyond 50, regardless of the size of the membership; and this point is usually reached when chapter membership reaches 200 to 300. Subsequently, the bigger a chapter gets, the greater proportion of its time, energy and finances goes into administration, and the less is left for action.
 
Between 1967 and 1974 NOW went from 14 chapters to over 300; from 1,000 to over 40,000 members. As it grew larger, the individual chapters began to feel more and more isolated. Problems of communication, finance and cohesion were evident on both the local and national level, and neither felt the other was acutely sensitive to its needs. The problems are only partially due to size, as testified to by the more smooth functioning of many larger organizations. Lack of experience, impatience to engage in action, shortage of funds, duplication of effort, inadequate intra-organizational communication, and lack of an administrative staff all add their shares of difficulties.
NOW began as a national structure and in many ways remains as one. It has three national offices -- administrative in Chicago, public relations in New York, and legislative in Washington -- which usually function quite independently of the local chapters. The locals in turn function autonomously from each other. What has not yet been adequately developed is a set of middle-level structures to connect national efforts with local ones. Such efforts have been made, however, with the creation of regional directors and close to thirty national Task Forces which attempt to coordinate local efforts so that individual projects can combine a national thrust with instrumentation on the local level.
Despite these problems, NOW continues to function quite well because its members make up for its organizational deficiencies. Individuals have created extensive "kits" on how to form chapters, file discrimination complaints, pressure the media and advertisers to change their sexist images of women, to lobby, and even write effective letters. Local newsletters report on national activities by setting up exchanges with similar publications. And many local and national officials put a great deal of their own time and money into NOW activities. Individual enthusiasm substitutes for organizational efficiency.
NOW and the other older branch organizations are thriving at this point because they have learned to use effectively the institutional tools which our society provides for social and political change. Yet these groups are also limited by these tools to the rather narrow arenas within which they are designed to operate. The nature of these arenas and the particular skills they require for participation already limit both the kind of women who can effectively work in older branch groups and the activities they can undertake.
However, the women within NOW have not limited the development of their ideas, as seen by NOW's gradual expansion of its concerns from strictly legal and economic issues to social ones as well. This expansion was fore-ordained in the broad Statement of Principles with which NOW began, but it was strongly stimulated by NOW's association with the rest of the movement. Because the NOW membership has always had a liberal orientation it has been very susceptible to the influence of the younger branch of the movement. In the last two years many feminists from the younger branch have overcome their initial prejudice against NOW and have themselves become members. This is in part due to problems within that branch of the movement, discussed below, which made political action within it very difficult. NOW was often the only feminist action organization available even if its image was somewhat conservative. Too, as is often the case in other situations, greater contact between the two branches increased familiarity, and in turn decreased prejudice. Radical feminists began to view NOW as "pragmatic" rather than "reformist" and thus acceptable as a concomitant arena of activity along with their other, "radical" activities. NOW was OK in its place. Consequently, NOW has moved over time from being the main older branch organization to being the main feminist organization. It has become very much an umbrella group for all kinds of feminists, even those whose primary loyalty lies elsewhere. The resultant overlapping membership has brought into NOW new ideas and new conflicts.
Local chapters have always been fairly autonomous despite the central control implied by the National by-laws. Thus they have been free to initiate organizational experiments and very free to develop local projects. This kind of flexibility has been felt necessary because NOW is purely a voluntary organization and finds it can encourage more participation if members can work in the ways they find most comfortable. For several reasons later recruits to NOW have objected to its hierarchical organization and the authoritarian sound of the by-laws which dictated officers, elections, etc. Many new chapters just disregarded the national-proposed structure and created their own. The Berkeley chapter, for example, has three conveners, which divide up among themselves the usual duties of chapter officers. Even those chapters which have not restructured themselves have absorbed the basic ethic of participatory democracy from the younger branch and in turn have made demands on chapter leadership that are not always compatible with greatest organizational efficiency.
The creation of rap groups was one such demand - though it is not yet apparent whether their formation did siphon off energy from action as feared by older NOW members or saved time by separating those who were ready for actions from those who were not. Another such demand, though rarely explicitly stated, is that leaders spend a lot of energy on maintaining good personal relations, and that members' behavior in meetings have a wider range of tolerance than that common to formal business meetings. "Loose" chairing of meetings, unstructured, occasionally irrelevant, discussion, expression of personal feelings and enthusiasm, avoidance of authoritarian or domineering styles, and decision making by consensus as much as possible, have over time become more and more characteristic of NOW.
 
Such activities take up a great deal of time, emotional energy, and individual forbearance. Thus, boards of officers, committees and task forces must all accept as necessary long, tiring decision-making sessions ... More than in other organizations, the NOW leader is seen as someone who facilitates decision making and who can legitimately be sanctioned if she tries to force her ideas on the group. Similarly, while NOW may make as many decisions by vote as does any normal committee or board of directors, in principle it rejects the assumption that "one side must win" for the assumption that, with sufficient effort invested, a compromise acceptable to all can be found.9
These changes mean that an increasing proportion of the organization's energy goes to maintaining the organization -- to creating a comfortable environment for its members to work, to grow personally, to develop individual skills and talents; often to the sacrifice of at least short-run efficiency. This sacrifice is justified on the grounds that as much as possible NOW should practice the humanistic principles that it preaches. Feeling that women have too long been "kept down" by domineering men and oppressive structures, they do not want to repeat this characteristic in their own organization. This viewpoint is adopted directly from the younger branch of the movement, but it found ready acceptance among the new recruits to NOW as they were unfamiliar and uncomfortable with organization and power. A more personal and more personable environment made them feel more at home. This style is not entirely uncontested10 but a debate over organizational approach has not yet become a major one.
In terms of issues, NOW has also moved in a more radical direction. The August 26 Strike compelled the movement narrowly to define its goals for the first time. Until then, the whole history of the movement had been one of broadening its scope and narrowing its immediate goals -- a very necessary process for any social movement. The Strike was centered upon three central demands -- abortion on demand, 24-hour child-care centers, and equal opportunity in employment and education. These were not viewed as the sole ends of the movement, merely the first steps that must be taken on the road to liberation. At the same time, as NOW Task Forces and members explored the ramifications of women's situation, they gained a broader conception of just how integrated are all social phenomena. As its convention in the Fall of 1971, numerous resolutions were passed giving a feminist position on a multitude of subjects -- such as the Vietnam War -- not directly related to women. This move was anticipated by the original Statement of Purpose, NOW's early support of the guaranteed annual income, and its concern with women in poverty. Nonetheless, it was a major break with the past. Task Force activities similarly increased their scope. In its 1973 convention, NOW was even following the lead of the younger branch of the movement in taking positions favoring freedom of sexual orientation, the decriminalization of prostitution, the investigation of "fundamental questions concerning the structure of society premised on profit and competition," and setting up further Task Forces on such topics as older women, women in sports, and rape, It also resolved "that a major organizational effort be mounted immediately within NOW on behalf of the needs of all minority persons, and that ... actions be undertaken toward elimination of structures, policies and practices that contribute to racism within NOW."
The increasing broadening and "radicalization" of NOW's objectives has not met with serious dissent within the organization since the splits over abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment that marked its first two years. There are several reasons for this:

1) There is an inherent logic to feminism. Once one adopts the feminist perspective on the world, it is easy to apply it to an ever widening circle of issues; one can analyze all aspects of society, and easily come to the conclusion that all of society must be changed. The relevant questions then become where to begin arid what to do first and these are strategic, not ideological ones.

2) NOW has always been a liberal organization. Its members, and especially its leaders, have thought of themselves as being in the forefront of social change. Many of the older women in it have thought of themselves as "radicals" even if they did not actually use the word, They often complained bitterly about being called "reformists" by the younger feminists because such an appellation was contrary to their self-identity. NOW was very open to moving "left" because it represented an extension of its basic liberal humanitarian values. As old issues, like the ERA and abortion, became socially acceptable, it deliberately looked for new ground to break.

 

3) Although there is no sharp ideological distinction between the older and younger branches of the movement, the latter does operate as an ideological vanguard. Here, new issues and new interpretations are first raised and legitimated. With the domination of the feminist media by the younger branch, and the increasing overlap of membership between the small groups and NOW, these newer concerns are easily transferred; what began as a debate within the radical underground feminist media eventually emerges as a NOW resolution. This transference is facilitated in part because of the common middle-class composition of both branches of the movement, and the many personal and friendship relationships that link participants on both sides. Like it or not, their members share a common culture, a common background, a common education, and consequently, a common interpretation of the meaning of feminism.

A good example of this radicalization is the NOW position on lesbianism. In 1969 and 1970 Betty Friedan was using McCarthy scare tactics to "purge" NOW of what she called the "lavender menace." Through a series of almost accidental events she had concluded that lesbians were trying to take over the organization. Although she succeeded in driving many lesbians out of the organization and others back into the closet, by 1973 NOW had held a workshop on lesbianism at its convention, established a Task Force on Sexuality and Lesbianism, and passed a resolution declaring that as

"women have the basic right to develop to the maximum their full human sexual potential," NOW should therefore "actively introduce and support civil rights legislation to end discrimination based on sexual orientation ... in areas such as ... housing, employment, credit, finance, child custody, and public accommodations."

This did not happen because NOW had been taken over by lesbians, or even because there was any overwhelming interest within the organization in lesbianism. The convention workshop on marriage, family and divorce, presumably of greater interest to heterosexuals, had had the largest attendance of any with 600. The NOW resolution was the aftermath of a three-year discussion of the relation between feminism and lesbianism in the feminist media, the small groups, and many NOW chapters. Although many NOW members still felt that lesbianism was not a feminist issue and that NOW's support would only tarnish its image, the resolution was adopted because lesbianism had been defined as a civil rights issue and a women's issue, and because support was the liberal, humanistic thing to do.
NOW's major problems have not been ideological but structural; how to develop grass roots activity with national coordination, how to have national policy without alienating the membership, how to allocate limited resources, how to get money, how to operate efficiently, etc. These problems reflect the classic dilemma of social movement organizations: the fact that the tightly organized, hierarchical structures necessary to change social institutions conflicts directly with the participatory style necessary to maintain membership support and the democratic nature of the movement's goals.
The major analysis of this dilemma stems from the work of Weber and Michels.11 This model claims that as an organization obtains a base in society, a bureaucratic structure emerges and a general accommodation to the society occurs.12 The bureaucrats acquire a vested interest in maintaining their position within the organization and consequently the organization's place within society. This concern with organizational maintenance inevitably leads to conservatization and oligarchization. Yet, as Zald and Ash point out13 this does not necessarily have to be the only outcome. NOW's radicalization does reflect an accommodation, but it is an accommodation to its feminist environment, not to its social one.
The fact that a social movement is a curious protean medley of structure and spontaneity creates a set of unique problems for any social movement organization. The drive toward pure rationality, with its concomitant hierarchy, specialization of function and routinization, which characterizes the ideal bureaucratic organization, is often counterproductive for a social movement organization. Lacking material resources with which to reward its participants, it must rely on other kinds. Wilson outlines three major types of incentives available to organizations, and classify organizations according to whether the ones they use are primarily material, (money and goods), solidary (prestige, respect, friendship), or purposive (value fulfillment).14 Most social movements use a combination of purposive and solidary incentives -- although material ones are not necessarily excluded. Its major incentive is purposive -- the promise that a desired social goal will some day, somehow, be reached. Because these goals are often remote and delayed gratification usually insufficient, the ongoing incentives are solidary ones. Yet they are a peculiar kind of solidary incentive. Contrary to Hoffer,15 it is not merely the opportunity to "belong" that is valued, but the opportunity to be part of a group that shares one's values and will validate one's often deviant perspective on the world. One can "belong" to most any social group by appropriate adaptive behavior; it is the reinforcement of self that is valued.16

 

A social movement's primary resource is the commitment of its members. It must rely on their own enthusiasm and dedication to its goals to get work done. Participants in a social movement don't do things because they have to, they do them because they want to. This is why NOW can function quite well despite its rampant insufficiencies. The dependency on membership commitment means that maintaining morale and motivation is a prime need of any social movement organization. It takes a lot of its energy and determines a lot of its activities. Hammond17 draws the distinction between "instrumental" action and "consummatory" action; the former is strictly goal oriented, the latter is determined by group maintenance needs. Social movements must necessarily use both; in fact, the more it relies on solidary incentives the more consummatory its activities will be as the pleasure of participation is all it has to offer. A corollary to this is that the more remote are its goals, the greater the role of solidary incentives and the more consummatory its actions. Thus consummatory activities, though superficially unrelated to a movement's goals, may be indirectly instrumental. The major problem a movement organization faces is to keep from degenerating into solely consummatory activities on the one hand, or rationalizing itself into too rigid a structure on the other and in so doing alienating its membership. Its major task is manipulating the incentive structure to recruit and mobilize its members for instrumental action. It is the tension between the needs of goal achievement and those of group maintenance which are at the root of the conflict between the oligarchic and democratic tendencies discussed by Michels.

The Small Groups

The younger branch of the movement has had a different set of experiences which led to different activities and problems. It was able to expand rapidly in the beginning because it could capitalize on the infrastructure of organizations and media of the New Left and because its initiators were skilled in local community organizing. Since the prime unit was the small group and no need for national cooperation was perceived, multitudinous splits increased its strength rather than drained its resources. Such fission was often "friendly" in nature, and even when not, served to bring ever increasing numbers of women under the movement's umbrella.
The expansion of these groups has been more amoebic than organized because the younger branch of the movement has prided itself on its lack of formal organization. From its radical roots it inherited the idea that structures were always conservative and confining, and leaders always isolated and elitist.18 The radical movement's concepts of participatory democracy, equality, liberty and community emphasized that everyone should participate in the decisions that affected their lives and that everyone's contributions was equally valid.19 These values led easily to the idea that all hierarchy was bad because it gives some people power over others and does not allow everyone's talents to develop. The belief was that all people should be able to share, criticize, and learn from each other's ideas -- equally. Any kind of structure, or any kind of leader who might influence this equal sharing, was automatically bad.20 The logical conclusion of this train of thought -- that all structure and all forms of leadership are intrinsically wrong -- was not initially articulated. But the potential was clearly there and it did not take long for the idea of leaderless, structureless groups to emerge and even" tually dominate this branch of the movement.

 

The adherence to these values was premised on the assumption that all women were equally capable of making decisions, carrying out actions, performing tasks, and forming polic..21 These assumptions could be made because the women involved had little experience in democratic organizations other than those of the New Left where they saw dominance for its own sake, competition for positions in their leadership hierarchy, and "male egotripping" rule the day.22 They had felt similar domination and control for its own sake in the social structures -- primarily school and family -- that they had been part of. The idea that there was some relationship between authority and responsibility, between organization and equal participation and between leadership and self-government, was not within their realm of experience. New women coming into the movement lacked even the organizing skills of the initiators, and, because the idea of "leadership" and organization" were in disrepute, made no attempt to acquire them. They did not want to deal with traditional political institutions and abjured all traditional political skills. The small group was more to their liking, and personal change as a prerequisite to political change was more familiar.
From these small groups came the most prevalent structure and activity of the younger branch -- the "rap group". In these groups women explore personal questions of feminist relevance by "rapping" to each other about their individual experiences and analyzing them together.23 While the use of personal "testimony" as a form of political education has been developed by other social movements in other times and places.24 many early feminists condemned as "unpolitical" discussion meetings which "degenerated" into "bitch sessions." However, others saw that the "bitch session" obviously met a basic need, seized upon it and created an institution. Over time it became the most prevalent activity of the younger branch of the movement. It was easy to organize, required no skills or knowledge other than a willingness to discuss one's own experiences in life, and had very positive results for the women involved in it.
While the rap groups have been excellent techniques for changing individual attitudes, they tend to flounder when their members have exhausted the virtues of consciousness raising and decide they want to do something more concrete. Some groups take on specific projects, such as working on day care; some constitute themselves as organizers cells and set up other groups; some become study groups and delve more thoroughly into feminist and political literature; most just dissolve and their members look for other feminist activities to join. Because the groups are small and uncoordinated they take up small tasks that can be handled on a local level. Women have set up centers, abortion counseling services, bookstores, liberation schools for teaching courses on women, day care centers, film and tape production units, research projects, and rock-and-roll bands.25 Production of a feminist publication is one of the most feasible for a small group to handle, which is one reason why there are so many of them. Development of a project is never the result of any national coordination or planning and thus reflects only the opportunities, needs and skills of the women engaged in it.

Problems of Structurelessness

This laissez-faire philosophy of organizing has allowed the talents of many women to develop spontaneously and others to learn skills they didn't know. It has also created some major problems for the movement. Most women came into the movement via the rap groups; and most go out from there. There is no easy way to move from a rap group to a project; women either stumble onto one or start their own. Most don't do either. Once in a project, participation often consumes enormous amounts of time.26 The problem is that most groups are unwilling to change their structure when they change their tasks. They have accepted the ideology of "structurelessness" without realizing the limitations of its uses. The rap group's style encourages participation in discussion and its supportive atmosphere elicits personal insight; but neither is very efficient in handling specific tasks. This means that the movement is essentially run, locally, by women who can work at it full time.
Nationally, the movement is not run by anyone and no public figure commands obedience from any part of it. But because the movement has not chosen women to speak for it, believing that no one could, the media has done the choosing instead. This has created a tremendous amount of animosity between local movement "leaders" (who would deny that they are leaders) and those often labeled "leaders" by the media.
While it has consciously not chosen spokespeople, the movement has thrown up many women who have caught the public eye for varying reasons. These women represent no particular group or established opinion; they know this and usually say so. But because there are no official spokespeople nor any decision-making body the press can query when it wants to know the movement's position on a subject, these women are perceived as the spokespeople. Within the movement these women were labeled "media stars" and were often denounced for "making it off the oppression of their sisters". This problem was an inevitable result of having an anti-leadership ethic in a publicly attractive movement. It had two negative consequences for both the movement and the women labeled "stars."

1) Because the movement didn't put them in the role of spokesperson, the movement cannot remove them. The press put them there and only the press can choose not to listen.27 As long as the movement believes it should have no representation, the press rather than the movement has control over the selection of national feminist "leaders."

 

2) From 1969 to roughly 1971 (and still somewhat today) women who acquired any public notoriety for any reason were denounced as "elitists." This name-calling and other forms of personal attacks were the only means of control available to the movement because it had consciously rejected overt structure. As in any group or movement there were certainly power and fame hungry individuals who found the movement an excellent opportunity for personal advancement, but in their fear of manipulation, feminists often failed to make a distinction between those who were "using" the movement and those who were "strong" women or had valuable talents. Although the attacks were initially aimed at "media stars" their scope widened to the point that some felt that any individual who had "painfully managed any degree of achievement" was victimized.28 "Elitist" eventually became used as frequently and for much the same purpose as "pinko" was used by anti-Communists in the fifties. As a result some of the most talented women in the movement withdrew from it entirely, bitterly alienated. Others remained in, but isolated. Removed from the reaches of group pressure, they were no longer responsible for what they publicly said to anyone but themselves. In June of 1970, women from several cities who had had this experience found themselves coincidentally in New York, and upon comparing notes, sardonically called themselves the "feminist refugees."29 Thus the movement's greatest fear became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The ideology of "structurelessness" created the "star system" and the backlash to it encouraged the very kind of individualistic nonresponsibility that it most condemned.

Although this ideology damned the idea of leadership, the movement was and is not without leaders in the sense that some people influence group decision making and activities more than others. Any group of people inevitably structures itself on the basis of the friendship networks within it. If such a network within a larger group is composed of people particularly interested in that group, who share common ideas and information, they become the power structure of the group. And like the "media stars," because the group did not select them as leaders, it cannot remove them. The inevitable exclusive nature of informal communications networks of friends is neither a new phenomenon characteristic of the women's movement, nor a phenomenon new to women. Such informal relationships have excluded women for centuries from participating in integrated groups of which they were a part. In any profession or organization these networks have created the "locker room" mentality and the "old school" ties which have effectively prevented women as a group, as well as many men individually, from having access to the sources of power or social reward. Much of the energy of past women's movements has been directed to having the structures of decision-making and the selection processes formalized so that the exclusion of women could be confronted directly. It is particularly ironic that the women's movement should inflict upon itself a problem which it had been fighting for centuries. Given the movement's ideals, the problem of covert power structures was often exacerbated. When informal elites are combined with a myth of "structurelessness" there can be no attempt to put limits on the use of power because the means of doing so have been eliminated. The groups thus have no means of compelling responsibility from the elites which dominate them. They cannot even admit they exist.
Since movement groups have made no concrete decisions about who shall exercise power within them, many different criteria were and are used around the country. Sometimes the criteria for participation in the elite are adherence to a particular narrow ideological line. Usually, they are conformity to some traditionally female characteristics. For instance, in the early days of the movement, marriage to New Left men was frequently such a prerequisite. This standard did have some reality behind it, however, as the New Left men often had access to resources needed by the movement -- mailing lists, printing presses, contacts and information. While this has altered through time, all informal elites have standards by which only women who possess certain material or personal characteristics may join. They often include: class or educational background, marital or parental status, sexual preference, life style, age, occupation, and especially attractiveness of personal style. As Mansbridge has pointed out, this pattern is not restricted to the women's movement, but is common to all groups that stress participatory democracy. "In a participatory system, political resources thus are shifted to the more other-directed. The member who is not subtle or empathic in his relations with people is at a disadvantage in a participatory group."30

 
These and other criteria all have common themes. The characteristics prerequisite for participating in the informal elites of the movement, and thus for exercising power within it, concern one's background, personality or allocation of time. They do not include one's competence, dedication to feminism, talents, or potential contributions to the movement. The former are the criteria one usually uses in determining one's friends. The latter are what any movement or organization has to use if it is going to be politically effective.
This is not to say that such groups are never effective; merely that effectiveness is often incidental to the functioning of the group. Occasionally, the developed informal structure of the group coincides with an available need that the group can fill. There are almost inevitably four conditions common to such groups:

1) It is task oriented. Its function is very narrow and very specific, like putting on a conference or putting out a newspaper. It is the task that basically structures the group. By determining what needs to be done and when it needs to be done, it provides a guide by which people can judge their actions and make plans for future activity.

2) It is relatively small and homogenous. Homogeneity is necessary to insure that participants have a "common language" of interaction. People from widely different backgrounds may provide richness to a consciousness raising group where each can learn from the others' experience, but too great a diversity among members of a task oriented group means only that they continually misunderstand each other. Such diverse people interpret words and actions differently. They have different expectations about each others' behavior and judge the results according to different criteria. If everyone in the group knows each other well enough to understand these nuances, they can be accommodated. Usually, they only lead to confusion and endless hours spent straightening out conflicts no one ever thought would arise.

3) There is a high degree of communication. Information must be passed on to everyone, opinions checked, work divided up and participation assured in the relevant decisions. This is only possible if the group is small and people practically live together for the most crucial phases of the task. Needless to say, the number of interactions necessary to involve everybody increases geometrically with the number of participants. This inevitably limits group participants to around five, or excludes some from some of the decisions. Successful groups can be as large as ten or fifteen, but only when they are in fact composed of several smaller sub-groups which perform specific parts of the task, and whose members overlap with each other so knowledge of what the different sub-groups are doing can be passed around easily.

4) There is a low degree of skill specialization. Not everyone has to be able to do everything; but everything must be able to be done by more than one person in order for no one to be indispensable. To a certain extent, people must become interchangeable parts.

These ideal circumstances do not occur often, and when they do they too tend to coincide with friendship networks. This coincidence is not an accidental one as the principles upon which participatory groups operate are largely the norms of friendship31 yet when friendship becomes the primary basis of organization, it carries with it several consequences.

A) Rap groups are very easy for individuals to form. One can put up a notice on a bulletin board, advertise in the newspaper, or merely pass the word among one's friends. Task groups are not created so easily; especially when one must do so from scratch. It is much more difficult to find and put together the necessary people and to find the necessary resources for one's purposes. A movement which requires every group to start anew does not make it possible for people to build off of other's experiences. Thus the end of consciousness raising leaves women with no place to go and the lack of structure leaves them with no way of getting there. Some just "do their own thing." But the direction into which individual women and/or groups go is determined more by the accident of what's available than by design. This can lead to a great deal of individual creativity, much of which is useful for the movement, but it is not a viable alternative for most women. Many just drift out of the movement entirely because they don't want to develop an individual project and they have found no way of discovering, joining, or starting group projects than interest them.

B) Participatory groups frequently must become closed to new members because of the time and emotional investment required to build up the trust, acceptance and mutual understanding necessary for their successful functioning. But a closed group controlling a project, service, or publication of value to the movement is in effect an oligarchic enclave within the movement. While it can be fairly said that a segmentary, reticulate social structure does not create movement-wide oligarchies, it creates many local ones. Decentralized oligarchies are still oligarchies, and still have all the problems of exclusiveness and emphasis on group maintenance that centralized oligarchies have.32 Rotation of leadership is minimized and accountability reduced.

C) The need to maintain good interpersonal relationships characteristic of a participatory group tips the balance against instrumental action. A tremendous amount of the participants' time and energy must necessarily be spent on group process rather than group ends. Often group process becomes the group's end. While this greater personal investment in the group can heighten one's commitment to its goals, it also lessens the time and energy available to pursue them. Groups remain together purely for the purpose of remaining together.

D) The incentive structure of the movement becomes heavily weighted in favor of solidary incentives. This in turn favors consummatory activities rather than instrumental ones. In the early days of the movement a major activity was "zap actions" (e.g. witch hexes). These have ceased, to be replaced by service projects. Many of these are useful and interesting, but they are hardly a substitute for political action. "The total effect of such actions is comparable to that of the Lady Bountiful of earlier centuries. Individual women's problems will be alleviated for the time being, but no lasting change is produced."33 The emphasis on service projects does not result solely from the nature of participatory groups. It also reflects an inexperience with and alienation from the traditional forms of political activity, the "delegitimacy" of direct action-protest that accompanied the decline of the civil rights and student movements, and the inheritance from its radical roots of the goal of "revolution." The latter led many to believe that any cooperation with the "system" was reformist and therefore wrong. Service projects could be set up as "alternative institutions." The paradox of filling holes within the "system's" services as a form of radical activity was not noted by many. The fact that an emphasis on service projects is not purely a result of a decentralized, segmentary structure is illustrated by their predominance in Chicago, Seattle and the few other cities which have not adhered to the idea of "structurelessness" and have adopted city-wide organizations. Nonetheless, service projects are a logical outcome of a primarily solidary incentive system, whether the emphasis on such incentives comes from the remoteness of goals (i.e. revolution) or the greater maintenance needs of a participatory group.
 
  A style of movement organization stressing decentralized, segmentary, participatory groups has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it is politically inefficacious, exclusive, and discriminatory against those who are not or cannot be tied into the friendship networks. Those who do not fit into what already exists because of class, race, occupation, education, parental, or marital status, personality, etc., will inevitably be discouraged from trying to participate. Those who do fit in will develop vested interests in maintaining things as they are. The informal groups' vested interests are sustained by the informal structures which exist, and come to monopolize most of the existing "niches" of movement activity. Concomitantly, the power that they exercise within the movement, while less than that in a centralized organization, is also less responsible. On the other hand, the very fact that many women are excluded from movement "niches" compels innovation from those who want to relate to it somehow. Its segmentary nature also encourages proliferation, adaptation, and responsiveness to its environment.34 While expertise is devalued and much labor is replicated, these aspects in turn create opportunities for individuals to play organizational roles and learn skills which would be limited in a centralized organization. It is not by accident that this branch of the movement has developed several ideological perspectives, much of the terminology of the movement, an amazing number of publications and "counter-institutions", numerous new issues, and even new techniques for social change. The emphasis of this branch has been on personal change as a means to understand the kind of political change desired, and its contribution has been its creativity, not its effectiveness.
As long as the major concern of this branch could be personal change, it did not have to face the problems created by its structure. Since 1971, consciousness raising as a major movement function is becoming obsolete. Due to the intense press publicity and the numerous "overground" books and articles that began circulating, women's liberation became a household word. Its issues were discussed and informal rap groups formed by people who had no explicit connection with any movement group. Ironically, this subtle, silent and subversive spread of feminist consciousness caused a situation of political unemployment. Educational work no longer was such an overwhelming need. Service projects could only be part of the answer. What the movement desperately needed was some sense of direction.
The problem was how to get it. One result of the movement's style was a very broad based, creative movement, to which individuals could relate pretty much as they desired with no concern for orthodoxy or doctrine. Another was a kind of political impotency. On a local level most groups could operate autonomously, but the only groups that could organize a national activity were the nationally organized groups. Such groups as NOW, WEAL, and some Left women's caucuses were the only organizations capable of providing national direction, and this direction was determined by the priorities of these organizations. NOW, for example, organized the August 1970 strike, and in doing so brought many groups into a temporary coalition. WEAL initiated and coordinated the complaints about sex discrimination against colleges and universities filed with the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. It is upon the rock of lack of direction that the younger branch of the movement has been floundering for so long it has practically become a way of life. There is a phoenix-like quality to the movement -- different groups simultaneously dying, reforming and emerging -- so that it is hard to get an accurate reading on the, state of its health. Although the resurgence of feminism tapped a major source of female energy, the structure of the younger branch has not been able to channel it effectively. Some women are able to create their own local action projects, study groups or service centers. Most are not, and the movement provides no coordinated or structured means of fitting them into existing projects. Instead, such women either are recruited into NOW and other national organizations, or drop out of organized activity altogether. The latter rarely cease to be feminists; instead they apply their new ideas to their personal lives and individual concerns. The consequence however, is that new groups form and dissolve at an accelerating rate, creating a good deal of consciousness and very little concerted action. To a certain extent the movement is expanding but not building; forging into new areas while failing to consolidate its gains in old.
 
  The average life of movement activists is about two years, after which they retire in exhaustion to be replaced by new converts who try to make up in enthusiasm what they lack in experience. While this high rate of turn over continuously adds new blood to the movement, it also means old issues have to be continuously refought. Thus internal education consumes a good deal of the movement's energy, and only some organizations -- primarily in the older branch -- have been able to avoid becoming bogged down by that task.
Gerlach and Hine argue that a decentralized, segmented movement is the most viable way of developing new means of social change as its flexibility permits greater use of the time-honored method of social innovation -- trial and error. A bureaucratic, centrally directed organization is obviously ill adapted to this type of approach. It is within the context of a decentralized, segmented structure that such innovation can most easily take place. In a polycephalous movement, the errors of one group or one leader have little, if any, effect on the others. Group members can disband, reform under new leadership, or simply be absorbed into other groups, and the movement goes on. An attempt at innovation which fails affects only those most closely associated with it; in fact, such failure may aid others by its demonstrations of what will not work.35
As applied to the women's liberation movement, their judgements about the increase in innovations are correct. There have certainly been a lot of new ideas. However, one could dispute whether the development of these new ideas represent progress or merely fashion. That is, whether they are founded upon past experience in an attempt to improve it, or are pursued upon the assumption that anything new is automatically better. It is perhaps too soon to make that kind of assessment. But what is clear is that new ideas without organizational direction often go nowhere. This does not mean that the ideas do not spread. Given a certain amount of interest by the media and the appropriateness of social conditions, the ideas will still be diffused widely. But diffusion of ideas does not mean they are implemented; it only means that they are talked about. Insofar as they can be applied individually they may be acted on; insofar as they require coordinated political power to be implemented, they will not be.
This is why the younger branch of the movement can at one and the same time be so innovative ideologically, and so conservative in practice. Its debates, disputes and ideas provide new food for feminist thought. Its segmented oligarchies and service projects restrict its activities to politically innocuous ones. Gerlach and Hine obviously failed to appreciate the political implications, or lack of them, in this kind of structure, however appealing its other aspects may be. It is good for personal change; it is bad for institutional change.
Fortunately, the younger branch is not the sum total of the women's liberation movement. There exist some national, somewhat centralized organizations capable of political action. It is these organizations that usually develop the ideas fermented by the small groups. While it is likely true that NOW and other national organizations would not be as innovative without the ideological pressure these groups provide, it is also true that their new ideas would have few avenues for implementation if it were not for NOW. This symbiotic relationship between varying, even differing, movement groups is typical of other movements, and is perhaps a condition of movement succeed.36
The irony is that it is not the centralized social movement organization, NOW, that is moving toward conformity with the Weber/Michels model of oligarchization, conservation, and goal transformation. It is the nonbureaucratic, noncentralized, small groups. They are the ones run largely by oligarchies, who have sufficiently accommodated themselves to their environments to have transformed their goals, in practice if not in theory, from radical social change to ameliorative service projects. It would seem that here the inherent tension between goal achievement needs and group maintenance needs comes full circle. A group that has too little structure devotes itself as disproportionately to the latter just as does a group that has too much. One can conclude that what is necessary for movement survival is to opt for neither the apotheosis of efficiency nor the apotheosis of participation, but to maintain a balance between them both.


 
 

Notes

1 Part of the problem is due to a lack of consensus about what a social movement really is. One whole book has been written describing the various ways in which a social movement has been defined. None of the many authors writing on social movements at this time really agree with each other. See Paul Wilkenson, Social Movement (New York: Praeger, 1971)

2 Rudolph Herberle, Social Movements. (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1951), p. 269.

3 "The defining criterion of a formal organization ... is the existence of procedures for mobilizing and coordinating the efforts of various, usually specialized, subgroups in the pursuit of joint objectives." Peter Blau, "Theories of Organization" in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 11 (1968) p. 298.

4 For an analysis of the effect of the political environment on political parties see Maurice Duverger, Political Parties: Their Organization and Activity in the Modern State, translated by Barbara and Robert North, 3rd. rev. ed. (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1959). For a more thorough examination of the role of the dual environment on a social movement see: Mayer N. Zald and Roberta Ash, "Social Movement Organizations: Growth, Decay, and Change," Social Forces 44 (March 1966): 327-341. See also John Hammond, "The Organization of Political Movements," Chicago, 1969. (Typewritten).

5 This description of movement structure and its ramifications is thoroughly developed by Luther P. Gerlach and Virginia H. Hine, People, Power, Change: Movements of Social Transformation (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1970).

6 I am using ideology in the narrow sense to refer to a specifically feminist belief system rather than a general world view on the nature of politics and society. Participants in younger branch groups would be more likely to call themselves socialists or use revolutionary rhetoric than those in older branch groups. However, if one questions individuals in each branch on their views of the major feminist issues (e.g. abolition of marriage, continuation of the nuclear family, payment for housewives, abolition of the housewife role, childcare, abortion, access of women to predominantly male occupations, abolition of sex roles, building of female culture, welfare, lesbianism, etc. etc.) the answers will not correspond with branch membership.

7 Quoted in George T. Martin, The Emergence and Development of a Social Movement Organization Among the Underclass; A Case Study of the National Welfare Rights Organization (Ph.D. dissertation, Dept. of Sociology, University of Chicago, 1972), p. 87.

8 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is an independent federal regulatory agency created to enforce Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin.

9 Maren Lockwood Carden, The New Feminist Movement, pp. 130-131.

10 Beverly Jones, "Toward a Strong and Effective Women's Movement (The Chambersbrug Paper)," Hershey, Pennsylvania, January 1972 (Mimeographed).

11 H.J. Gerth and C.W. Mills, eds. From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1946). Robert Michels, Political Parties, (Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1949)

12 F. Stuart Chapin and John Taouderos, "The Formalization Process in Voluntary Organizations," social Forces 34 (May 1956), pp. 342-344.

13 Zald and Ash, "Social Movement Organizations," p. 330.

14 James Q. Wilson, Political Organizations, New York: Basic Books: 1973.

15 Eric Hoffer, The True Believer (New York: Harper & Bros, 1951).

16 Ada Finifter, "The Friendship Group as a Protective Environment for Political Deviants," paper given at the convention of the American Political Science Association Washington, D.C., September 1972.

17 "Organization of Political Movements," p. 3.

18 Daniel C. Kramer, Participatory Democracy: Developing Ideals of the Political Left (Cambridge, Mass: Schenkman Publishing Co., 1972).

19 Linda Lewis and Sally Baideme, "The Women's Liberation Movement," in Lyman T. Sargent, ed. New Left Thought: An Introduction, (Homewood, III: Dorsey Press, 1972), p. 83.

20 Martha Shelly, "Subversion in the Women's Movement, What is To Be Done, off our backs, 8 November 1970, p. 7.

21 Lewis and Baideme, "The Women's Liberation Movement", p. 87.

22 Margo Piercy, "The Grand Coolie Damn," in Robin Morgan, ed. Sisterhood is Powerful, (New York: Random House, 1970). Robin Morgan, "Goodbye To All That," in Leslie Tanner, ed. Voices from Women's Liberation (New York: New American Library, 1970).

23 Pam Allen, Free Space: A perspective on the small group in women's liberation (New York: Times Change Press, 1971).

24 William Hinton, Fanshen (New York: Vintage Books, 1966). Gerlach and Hine, Movements of Social Transformation, pp. 135-36.

25 In the Spring of 1973 Susan Rennie and Kirsten Grimsted spent two months visiting movements projects around the country. They report that there are roughly: 75-100 publications; 15 pamphlet publishers and/or printing co-ops; 25 rape squads; 3 art galleries; 4 film co-ops; 50 or more women's centers; 200 abortion referral services; 50 gynecology clinics; 10 abortion clinics; 50 self-help groups; 5 legal services clinics; 10 feminist theater groups; 10 liberation schools; 5 employment services; 12 bookstores; and 5 craft stores. (Personal communication of July 1973).

26 See Jane Mansbridge "Time, Emotion and Inequality; Three Problems of Participatory Groups," pp. 5-8. (Typewritten)

 
 

 

27 A good example of both press "election" and "impeachment" is Kate Millett. She and Shulamith Firestone both published the first new feminist theoretical books within a month of each other (September 1970). Time magazine planned a special movement issue to coincide with Women's Strike Day (August 26, 1970), and put her picture on it's cover. This "established" her as the first spokeswoman after Friedan, and subjected her to very severe criticism from the movement. When she subsequently, at a feminist conference, publicly declared herself to be bisexual, Time announced that she was now discredited as a movement leader. Neither Millet nor any movement group had a role in either her ascendancy or dismissal. (Time, 14 December 1970, p. 50).

28 See especially Anselma Dell'Olio, "Divisiveness and Self Destruction in the Women's Movement," originally given as a speech in the Congress to Unite Women, New York, Spring 1970. Subsequently appearing in the newsletter of the Chicago Women's Liberation Union, August 1970.

29 Judith Hole and Ellen Levine, Rebirth of Feminism, (New York: Quadrangle Books, 1971) p. 161.

30 Mansbridge, "Problems of Participatory Groups," p. 10.

31 Jane Mansbridge, "The Limits of Friendship," 1972. (Typewritten)

32 Michels, Political Parties, 1962.

33 Carden, The New Feminist Movement, p. 194.

34 Gerlach and Hine, Movements of Social Transformation, p. 49- 50.

35 Movements of Social Transformation, p. 77.

36 Zald and Ash, "Social Movement Organizations," p. 332- 336.

 
     
     
 

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