Radical political militancy is never intellectually unarmed, for it always assumes some understanding of what it contests and of how it can or should be overcome. It also carries with it some idea of what is to follow the detested social order. But it is precisely because of the weight of these assumptions that militancy is dangerous even for the militant, for all may go terribly wrong at all three of these levels. In other words, a non-reflective militancy is blind, and fatally so.
This year’s call for a global women’s strike to mark the 8th of March women’s day was expressed in protests throughout the world. But it found no greater resonance than in spain.
Carol Ehrlich’s Socialism, Anarchism, and Feminism was first published as Research Group One Report 26 by Research Group One, 2743 Maryland Avenue, Baltimore, Md 21218, USA, in January ’77, and ran to a second printing. It will appear in the anthology Reinventing Anarchy: What anarchists are thinking these days to be published by Routledge, Kegan & Paul, London, in Spring ’79. An abridged version of Socialism, Anarchism and Feminism appeared in the American feminist magazine Second Wave Vol. 5, No. 1. (infoshop.org)
If the essay has aged, it has as old wine. However different our time is, or not, there is still much to be learned from her reflection.
From the birth of the Church, out of the womb of Fear and the fatherhood of Ignorance, it has taught the inferiority of woman. In one form or another through the various mythical legends of the various mythical creeds, runs the undercurrent of the behef in the fall of man through the persuasion of woman, her subjective condition as punishment, her natural vileness, total depravity, etc.; and from the days of Adam until now the Christian Church, with which we live specially to deal, has made Woman the excuse, the scapegoat for the evil deeds of man. So thoroughly has this idea permeated Society that number”, of those who have utterly repudiated the Church, are nevertheless soaked in this stupefying narcotic to true morality. So pickled is the male creation with the vinegar of Authoritarianism, that even those who have gone further and repudiated tire State still cling to the god, Society as it is, still hug the old theological idea that they are to be “heads of the family” — to that wonderful formula “of simple proportion” that “Man is the lead of the Woman even as Christ is the head of the Church.” No longer than a week since, an Anarchist (?) said to me, “I will be boss in my own house” — a “Communist-Anarchist,” if you please, who doesn’t beheve in “my house.” About a year ago a noted libertarian speaker said, in my presence, that his sister, who possessed a fine voice and had joined a concert troupe, should “stay at home with her children; that is her place.” The old Church idea! This man was a Socialist, and since an Anarchist; yet his highest idea for woman was serfhood to husband and children, in the present mockery called “home.” Stay at Ironic, ye malcontents! Be patient, obedient, submissive! Darn our socks, mend our shirts, wash our dishes, get our meals, wait on us and mind the children! Your fine voices are not to delight the public nor yourselves; your inventive genius is not to work, your fine art taste is not to be Cultivated, your business facilities are not to be developed; you made the great mistake of being born with them, suffer for your folly! You are women, therefore housekeepers, servants, waiters, and child’s nurses!
Voltairine de Cleyre, Sex Slavery
Cowards don’t make history; and the women of Mujeres Libres (Free Women) were no cowards. Courageous enough to create revolutionary change in their daily lives, these women mobilized over 20,000 women into an organized network during the Spanish Revolution, to strive for community, education, and equality for women and the emancipation of all. Militants in the anarcho-syndicalist CNT union, Mujeres Libres struggled against fascism, the State, and reaction; and the less than supportive attitudes and concerns of their male comrades. (libcom.org)
I am! The ages on the ages roll:
And what I am, I was, and I shall be:
By slow growth filling higher Destiny,
And widening, ever, to the widening Goal.
I am the Stone that slept; down deep in me
That old, old sleep has left its centurine trace;
I am the plant that dreamed; and lo! still see
The dream-life dwelling on the Human Face.
I slept, I dreamed, I wakened: I am Man!
The hut grows Palaces; the depths breed light;
Still on! Forms pass; but Form yields kinglier Might!
The singer, dying where his song began,
In Me yet lives; and yet again shall he
Unseal the lips of greater songs To Be;
For mine the thousand tongues of Immortality.
Voltairine de Cleyre, January, 1892
The teacher can be (must be) hated. … It is not only the space of the classroom that bestows upon the teacher authority, it is not only the legislation that concentrates in his person the characteristics of a police officer and a torturer. A particular substantial asymmetry (of age, education, experience) raises up a “wall” between the teacher and the student, who are forced to communicate. The teacher is not on the other side of the wall, but on top. The wall persists outside the classroom. In a certain sense, the teacher is merely this wall in the form of a “podium”. Any relation between her/him and the student, any exchange, reproduces the efficacy of the podium: distance (vertical) and difference (of regime). Difference of knowledge and power, of interest and desire. Distance in the hierarchy, the level of education, the order, the series. Difference and distance mixed, confused: distance in the hierarchy is difference of power, the difference of knowledge is distance between degrees. Distance and difference united by the wall as the material of the podium. … To destroy the wall is to abdicate authority … Only in this way can the educator recuperate innocence …
Pedro García Olivo, El Irresponsable
Education is the Art and Practice of making people free.
Pepita Martrín Luengo
Plato´s early reflections upon education were grounded in the conviction that the ethical nature of the individual and society depended in equal measure on it. Justice was impossible in either case without education. If today, Plato´s Republic is less than seductive, it is not because of his conception of education as such, but rather because of his belief that human potential is naturally dictated and distinguishable between social classes and not individuals, thus serving to simultaneously constitute and justify an authoritarian social hierarchy.
A democratic society therefore calls for a radically different kind of education, one which above all educates for the self-conscious social reproduction of society, as John Dewey would so eloquently defend. Democracy for Dewey in this instance was not a formal or legal organization of political power, but a way of being in the world, or again, like Plato, an ethics, an ethics of an internal plurality of shared interests within a group and plural relations with others outside the group.
There is very likely no more radical expression of this democratic ideal than anarchism, and thus no more radical democratic education than the ideal and practice of anarchist pedagogy.
Instead of here elaborating a theoretical evaluation of anarchist schooling, it is rather a specific example of such a school that we share, the example of the Escuela Libre Paideia, founded in Mérida, spain, in 1978.
… to make use of the weapons created by fascism, which has been
allowed to use the fundamental aspirations of people for affective exultation
and fanaticism. But we affirm that the exaltation… must be
placed in the service… of a grandeur quite different from that of the
Georges Bataille, Counter-Attack: Union of the Struggle of Revolutionary Intellectuals