Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

In Struggle!

A research collective on women

First Published: In Struggle! No. 245, April 7, 1981
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The newspaper IN STRUGGLE! bas already mentioned that the organization plans on setting up a research collective to study questions related to women’s liberation struggles.

We now want to explain this project and to put out a call to all our women readers, whether they are militants of the Organization or not, who are interested in working on this project.

Our objective is to deepen our understanding of the theoretical and political questions raised by this important aspect of class struggle, women’s struggle. If we can reach better understanding of the origin, the concrete material and ideological manifestations, and the historical evolution of women’s oppression and the movements of resistance, we will be better armed to defeat and get rid of this oppression. We will also be better able to answer the questions raised concerning the orientation, strategy and organization of the women’s liberation struggle and its links with the struggle for socialism.

Key questions

At the present time, we feel there are five blocks or major categories of questions which should be given priority.

A. The origins of women’s oppression. This block is mainly an anthropological block which should clarify and deepen our understanding of the source of women’s oppression. We want to better understand Engels’ theories, to examine the different hypotheses and important contributions of modern anthropology, to achieve a beter understanding of the relation between women’s oppression and the private ownership of the means of production and the appearance of social classes, and to clear up questions like the situation of women before class society. Specific emphasis will be placed on the family and its role in women’s oppression from a historical point of view.

B. The relation of women to capital. This block will study women’s oppression in capitalist societies, the evolution of the family in this context, the entry of women into capitalist production, and the reactions and positions of the labour movement.

C. The history of and main trends in the women’s movement. This block will deal with the evolution of the women’s movement. It can be divided into several sub-sections touching on the history of the women’s movement for democratic rights within the labour movement and in the autonomous groups and movements. The history of the United States and Canada will be dealt with. The historical links between the women’s movement and the revolutionary movement will be examined (the Russian experience, the positions of the Communist International, etc.). The main political trends of the women’s movement will be examined.

D. The situation of women and the family in Canada. This block describes and analyzes the concrete situation of women in Canada. the form that their specific oppression takes in the family, at work, in education and in society in general. The main State policies dealing with women will be looked at.

E. Love, sexuality and marriage. This block will look at the dominant conceptions and values on these subjects which IN STRUGGLE! has historically ignored. We will try to understaand how women’s oppression is manifested in these relations and which ideas exist on these subjects.

A collective

To, accomplish this research plan, which is only one of IN STRUGGLE’s activities linked to its new involvement in the women’s struggle, the Organization wants to work with women, whether they are militants of the Organization or not, who have had concrete experiences or who have done research, or thought about the question of the women’s movement. Their contribution in helping us deepen our knowledge is very important for us.

It is currently difficult to foresee all the aspects of how the collective will function. That will depend on the number of people who are interested in working in it, their fields or interest and the region where they reside. One choice is clear however. The collective will work in a flexible and democratic way which will enable the formation of different work teams working on the different blocks or sub-themes within the blocks. Each team will determine its own way of operating and will draw up its plan of work. Of course there will be coordination of the different aspects of the research, resumes will be made and broad collective meetings will be organized. Women within one region might form a team and work on a regional basis, or in certain cases, work with a team in another region.

As the research develops, the newspaper IN STRUGGLE! will publish articles on the results of the collective’s work. The February 1982 issue of the journal PROLETARIAN UNITY will be devoted to the women’s, question and will report on the main theoretical developments coming out of the collective and the different decision-making levels of the Organization. Other publications may also be organized by the collective.

Who can be part of the collective?

IN STRUGGLE! is putting out a general call to women within and outside the Organization who have experience in the women’s movement or who have already done research or thought about different aspects of the question and who are interested in to working with us. The following information should be sent by April 24: name, address, telephone, pertinent experience, interest in working in the collective and with IN STRUGGLE!, preferences for the questions being researched, and availability. IN STRUGGLE! militants should also include information on the task they are presently doing and their work committee in the Organization.

The address is: IN STRUGGLE! Research Collective, P.O. Box 340, Substation “M”, Montreal, HIV 3M5.

IN STRUGGLE! will form the collective of the candidates who are most apt for this type of work. Everyone, however, will get an answer to their application, In another article in the newspaper we will explain more about the organization of the collective.