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Exploring Womens Complex Relationship with Political Violence: A Study of the Weathermen, Radical Femi nism and the New Left by Lindsey Blake Churchill A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Womens Studies College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Ma rilyn Myerson, Ph.D. Ruth Banes, Ph.D. Sara Crawley, Ph.D. Date of Approval: April 1, 2005 Keywords: revolution, weather underground, valeri e solanas, robin morgan, jane alpert, gilda zwerman, ti-grace atkinson, bernadine dohrn Copyright 2005, Lindsey Blake Churchill
i Table of Contents Abstract ii Introduction 1 Chapter One: SDS 7 The Explosive Convention 11 Wannabe Revolutionaries 18 Chapter Two: Feminisms Critique 24 Radical-Cultural Feminism 30 Pacifist Feminists 33 Chapter Three: Violent Feminists 35 Female Terrorists 42 Chapter Four: Conclusion 52 References 54
ii Exploring Womens Complex Re lationship with Violence: A Study of the Weathermen, Radical Feminism and the New Left Lindsey Blake Churchill ABSTRACT In this thesis I use the radical, pro-vi olent organization the Weathermen as a framework to examine women and feminisms complex relationships with violence. My thesis attempts to show the many belief systems that second wave feminists possessed concerning the role(s) of women and violence in revolutionary organizations. Hence, by using the Weathermen as a framework, I discu ss various feminist essentialist and pacifist critiques of violence. I also include an analysis of feminists who, similar to the Weathermen, embraced political violence. For example, radical feminists Robin Morgan and Jane Alpert criticized the Weathermens violent tactics while other feminists such as Ti-Grace Atkinson and Valerie Solanas advocat ed that women pick up the gun in order to destroy patriarchal society. In addition, I analyze the stereo types of the violent female, which have often been supported by femini sts and non-feminists alike. Thus, the stereotyped nature of the violent female does not allow for the complexities that accompany the many reasons why women co mmit politically mo tivated crimes. Understanding the role women played in the Weathermen is an important task because womens roles and representation in radical, New Left organizations have often been ignored, overlooked and reproduced by revisionist analyses. Though revolutionary
iii groups from the sixties and seventies were important and progressive in many ways, my thesis will examine the phenomenon of silencing womens voices in these organizations and how this silencing inspired women to find voice in their own movements. Furthermore, I am also interested in radical second wave feminists belief systems and histories concerning violence, particularly since they have rarely been delved into by historians or feminist researchers. In conclusion, by using the Weathermen as a framework for my thesis, I examine sexism in the New Left, radical feminisms multiplicity of belief s about violence, and critique the stereotypes about women and political violence.
1 Introduction The system is like a woman, youve got to fuck it to make it change, (from a 1969 SDS pamphlet, in Echols, 120). This example of revolutionary rhetoric exemplifies the blatant misogyny that plague d many New Left organi zations in America during the 1960s and 1970s. In this thesis I critique the sexism of the American New Left and analyze how second wave feminists re acted to their subordi nate status within these supposedly progressive groups. I focus specifically on the be lief systems of the New Left organization the Weathermen, a faction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) who supported sexism and exalted violence as the prim ary means of social change. The Weathermens advocacy of violence ofte n encouraged women to embrace aggression and me-too politics. Hence, by using the Weathermen as a framework, I also discuss various feminist essentialist and pacifist critiques of violence, as well as an analysis of feminists who, similar to the Weathermen, embraced political violence. For example, radical feminists Robin Morgan and Jane Al pert criticized the Weathermens violent tactics while other feminists such as Ti-G race Atkinson and Valerie Solanas advocated that women pick up the gun in order to destroy patriarchal society. In addition, I analyze the stereotypes of the violent fe male, which have often been supported by feminists and non-feminists alike. Thus, the stereotyped nature of the violent female does not allow for the complexities that accompany the many reasons why women commit politically motivated crimes.
2 As a feminist researcher, I am intere sted in the role of women in radical organizations and their experiences with sexism specifically in New Left political groups like the Weathermen. As it is the project of many in Womens Studies to rediscover womens history and contribu tions, I analyze womens role (s) within the Weathermen, which have been largely ignored by historia ns. Furthermore, by analyzing the belief systems of the Weathermen I have created a framework to explore feminisms complex relationship with violence. Mo re specifically, I analyze radical second wave feminists belief systems and histories concerning violen ce, which have also been greatly ignored by feminist historians. Many s ources that analyze radical feminism, such as Rose Marie Tongs Feminist Thought, may categorize the movements within feminism, but they do not focus specifically on second wave radi cal feminists beliefs about women and violence or historically contextualize womens experi ences within these groups. For my research, I first utilized secondary s ources as it is important to be aware of what research has already been done. Unfortunately, there were very texts about the Weathermen and none that focused specifically on womens role in the organization. Ron Jacobs book The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground was an important secondary source that detailed the evolution of th e Weathermen, but had very little about womens role(s). Todd Gitlins book The Sixties: Years of Hope Days of Rage historically contextualized th e period. After understanding thes e historical frameworks of both the New Left and the Weathermen, I studi ed the history of the second wave radical feminist movement in Alice Echols Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967-1975. These historical, secondar y sources were the framewor ks for the next part of my research which included Gilda Zwermans study in International Social Movement
3 Research Her interviews with radical women who commit politically motivated crimes illustrate my thesis, which argues that there is no simple way to categorize violent women. In addition, most of the primary sources used in this thesis are from anthologies or periodicals from the 1960s and 70s. The Weathermens Honky Tonk Women, Jane Alperts Mother Right, Robin Morgans G ood-bye to All That, Ti-Grace Atkinsons Declaration of War and Valeri e Solanas S.C.U.M. Manifest o are all original sources that I analyze throughout this thesis. These primary sources have given me the tools to analyze feminists reactions to sexism in New Left organizations and their relationships to political violence during the 1960s and 1970s. I have utilized primary sources from the 1960s and 70s and secondary analys es of the period to explore the many belief systems that second wave feminists possessed concerning the role(s) of women and violence in revolutionary organizations. I focus specifically on the Weathermens s upport of violence to analyze the belief systems of an array of second wave feminists: some of whom supported violence and others whom abhorred it because of their essentialist views or political pacifism. Therefore, I use the Weathermens pro-viol ence stance as a framework to explain the diverse belief systems that feminists possess concerning violence. Furthermore, my thesis follows both a ge nealogical and interpretive approach to the subjects and belief systems I am wr iting about (Ferguson 3). The interpretive approach supports the primacy of speaki ng subjects, while genealogy challenges the authority of the speaking subject. The geneal ogical and interpretive approach both view gender as a powerful organizing principle of social life, which is, of course, very important for feminist research. By examini ng many historical accoun ts and essays from
4 the period as background for my thesis, I am employing an interpre tive approach. I argue for the equal authority of each womans voi ce as she speaks of her relationship with violence. Thus, in this thesis, womens expe riences are considered important and valid. However, I also am aware of the multiple sources and contradictions that make up the genealogical theoretical base The genealogical base takes a post-modern approach to speaking subjects and claims that there is no right answer. It also advocates interrogation of the beli ef that human experience is unque stionable proof of the truth. In researching this thesis I understood that womens interp retation of violence and their experiences with violence are subjective and situated. I do not posit that any speaking subject possesses the correct feminist belief system about women and violence. Instead, I attempt to illustrate the multiplicity of beliefs about violence within the feminist movement, the intersections and divergences between the Weathermen and the second wave feminist movement and the cultural stereotyping of political female terrorists. In Chapter One, SDS, I focus on the e volving definition of the New Left, what the issues were for the Old Left and what th e concerns were for the new, more prominent factions of SDS, particularly by the end of the 1960s. In the section, The Explosive Convention, I use primary sources from the period to critique SDSs sexism and their refusal to view womens rights as an issue that could exist separately from the fight against imperialism. This section also in cludes historical acco unts of the 1969 SDS convention, where, after an outburst against male chauvinism, the Weathermen took over SDS. The section, Wannabe Revolutionaries, describes the Weathe rmens degradation into insular, isolated politics and their fa scination with the Third World and the Black
5 Panther Party. This section also explores th e Weathermens class and race guilt, along with their inability to view being male as a position of privilege. Chapter Two, Feminists Critique, focu ses on feminists criticism of women in the Weathermen who tried to be violent and macho in order to be considered revolutionary. In the section, R adical-Cultural Feminists, I explain how Jane Alpert and others critiqued women and vi olence by essentializing women. The next section, Pacifist Feminists, explains how other feminists objected to violence, not because they thought women were naturally non-violent, but because they wanted men and women to resist violence and oppression of all sorts. Chapter Three titled, Violent Feminists, features feminists whose belief systems contrast the pacifism and esse ntialism of the previous se ctions. I explain the belief systems of pro-self defense feminists as well as pro-violence feminists such as Ti-Grace Atkinson and Valerie Solanas, the misandric au thor of the S.C.U.M. (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto. The following section, F emale Terrorists, focuses on the work of feminist sociologist Gilda Zwerman. Zwermans study critiques the st ereotypes of violent women and posits that violen t revolutionary womens motivations are diverse and individual. In the concluding chapter I briefly explain some of the influence that feminism had on the Weathermen. Though the Weathermen did not ever fundamentally alter their authoritarian practices, with th e aid of feminisms critique they could see that their own members were guilty of oppressive practices. Thus, the Weathermen were forced to recognize that prejudice does not always grow out of ma licious intent, but rather systematic entitlement.
6 In conclusion, by using the Weathermen as a framework for my thesis, I examine sexism in the New Left, radical feminisms multiplicity of belief s about violence, and critique the stereotypes about women and political violence.
7 Chapter One: SDS During the 1960s and 70s, America wa s a place where social and political change occurred so rapidly that each mont h seemed like a different era (Bloom and Breines 10). Social movements reflected this propensity to change; by the end of the 1960s, many movements had grown, radicalized or branched out into other movements against oppression. As people of color were fighting for their civil rights, students were resisting the constraints of th e corporate university system, protests against the invasion of Vietnam were raging and women were opposing their second class citizenry. Culturally, the definitions of sex, pleasure, religion and individuality were being redefined. In this hotbed for social change, ther e were a plethora of cultural players. All possessed their own methods for contesti ng what they felt was a suffocating and oppressive society (Blo om and Breines 10). By the early 1960s, the Old Left, which had played a large part in contesting oppression for decades, was experiencing chan ges of its own. Though parts of the Old Left remained active during the 1960scomm unists, socialists, uni on activists, etc.a new vision for what direction the American Left should take was emerging. These New Leftists had a new agenda: most of their concern, particularly at first, was for American youth and university students. They view ed the Old Left as stodgy, intellectual, impersonal and not action oriented enough (Ech ols 28). Longing to reassert the political
8 as personal and passionate, young New Le ftists created Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in 1962. In 1962, SDS began its foray into act ivism by releasing the Port Huron Statement, which claimed that many young pe ople were, looking uncomfortably at the world they inherit (Bloom and Breines 50). To combat this discomfort, at its inception, SDS organized sit-ins, marches and peacefu lly protested: predominantly against the university system, which members of SDS pe rceived as an oppressive institution. The organization was calling for par ticipatory democracy, university reform and a more conscientious capitalism. They also wanted to work against all forms of discrimination, particularly racial, and offer support for the st ruggles of Third World peoples. In order to inspire real change in America and the world, they planned to work ceaselessly within the democratic system (Bloom and Breines 49). Thus, in the early 60s, even though it was rebelling against the Old guard, the New Left still had a reputation for being theore tical and non-violent. It generally utilized pacifism to resist racial injustice, student repression and the war in Vietnam. However, by the late 1960s, the New Left and SDS had transformed into something very different from what it had been in earlier years. SD S was split between radical and more moderate factions: anti-Marxists against pro-Marxists, the pro-violence action-faction against the pacifists, and the womens liberationists who were fight ing against blatant misogyny within and outside the organization (Echols 125). However, despite all the conflict, the aforementioned action-faction members of SD S were gaining the most prestige in the organization. This action-faction, frustrat ed by non-violent tactic s that seemed to change nothing, called for more radical and violent methods to incite social change. They
9 critiqued the Old Left, which they perceived as a bastion of arm-chair intellectual passivity, and were disgusted with the New Lefts ineffective mass protest (Echols 125). Thus, many in the movement were exhausted with its previous mechanisms of protest and debate. Their frus tration was understandablepart icipants in the movement had attended hundreds of protests and sit-ins, only to be abused by police and not taken seriously by the American government or the majority of its people. The movement was floundering and did not know where to go (Gitli n 285). Protests against the invasion of Vietnam had changed nothing about the governme nts policies. In fact, by the end of the 1960s, fighting in Vietnam had intensified a nd the draft remained in full force. In addition, the movements and individuals that action-faction New Leftists were suddenly looking to as heroes were often pro-violent and hostile to American culture. Disillusioned that many movement leaders had been killed or were no longer radical enough to articulate their revolutionary goals, more and more, many New Leftists now derived their inspiration from Cuba, Ch ina, Vietnam and the Third World guerilla movement leaders. Mao, Frantz Fanon, Che and Debray were sufficiently furious to inspire American New Leftists who felt as if their methodologies were accomplishing nothing (Gitlin 263). The notion that peaceful protest accomp lished nothing was also inspired by the violent political changes occu rring throughout the world at the end of the 1960s. After 1968, a tumultuous year that included the a ssassinations of Robert Kennedy and the champion of non-violent resistance, Martin Luther King, the police violence at the Chicago Democratic Convention, the stude nt uprisings of France and Columbia
10 University, the Tet Offensive in Vietnam a nd the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, the action-faction members of the New Left found an international, radical, political space to fight for change (Jacobs 2). Accordi ng to historian Todd Gitlin, the explosion of international revolutionary movements in spired many in the New Left who were disgusted with their country ( 261). In fact, it seemed as if the entire world, not just America, was teetering on the brink of revol ution. Many in the New Left believed that there were internally coloni zed people in the First World, suffering from racism and economic disparity, whose struggles were sim ilar to those in the Third World. Thus, it did not matter if one was in the First or Th ird World: everywhere the colonized were resisting their colonizers (Gitlin 262). Yout h, minorities and working class people were not accepting their second class citizenr y and women were beginning their own movements against the patria rchal dominance of society. This political climate, which seemed to be moving more and more towards extreme action, allowed for a small but influent ial faction of SDS to gain prominencea pro-violence group named the Weathermen. Frustr ation at the results of previous tactics of pacifism and working with in the system inspired many in SDS to side with the Weathermen, at least for a brief time (G itlin 381). Thus, without the aforementioned political climate and frustration from memb ers of SDS, the Weat hermen may not have been able to influence the New Left or radicalize SDS after its contentious 1969 convention.
11 The Explosive Convention In this section, I analyze the sexism in SDS, the influence that the struggle for womens rights had on the SDS convention of 1969 and how, despite re sistance, the basic power structures of male domination and se xism in the movement stayed in place. From its inception, SDS was not admired as a beacon of hope for those committed to womens liberation. In fact, most men in the New Left ridiculed, trivialized and mocked the Womens Liberation Movement. So me were even downright hostile towards womens activists, such as the Berkeley an ti-war leader who co mmented on feminism by saying, Let them eat cock (Echols 120). A llegations of misogyny were not only limited to individuals in SDS. The movement itsel f was structurally misogynisticalmost all positions of leadership were given to men. Also, the goals of the organization repeatedly dehumanized women. At SDS mee tings brothers reported their unique dreams for utopia which included, Free gra ss, free food, free women and free clothes (Cassell 23). In addition, if and when women tr ied to criticize male chauvinism within the movement, their actions were mocked. SDS journal, The Guardian, reported the response of men when allegations of sexism emerged, The feeling in the room was, well, those women have done their silly li ttle thing again (Brown and Jones 362). In addition to mens reactions to allegations of sexism, it is also important to note that many women in SDS did not see womens issues as pertinent to the mission of the New Left. In fact, many women in the movement seemed to have an inability to identify with their own sex (Brown and Jones 364) For example, at a 1967 womens meeting about chauvinism in SDS, participants di scussed forming committees to study possible
12 sexism. Such unenthusiastic solutions to the problems of sexism were ironic considering that the late 1960s were a time of action-faction politics. In their 1970 essay on sexism in SDS, former SDS members Beverly Jones and Judith Brown contend that most members of SDS would never merely talk about forming committees to study racism within the movement. To many male and female members of SDS, sexism was not considered a real concern or issue that was impeding the movement. Womens concerns were seen as trivial or ev en over exaggerated, especially when they involved critiquing the sexism within SDS. Though both the Weathermen and the Progressive Labor Party (competing factions of SDS) half heartedly supported womens resistance of the dominant culture, womens liberation was deemed accep table only if their activism was part of what was seen as the more important anti-imperialis t movement. As it had been for years in counter cultural movements, women were need ed, but only to fight someone elses battle. Their concerns were absorbed in the bigger, supposedly more pertinent problems of the world (Gitlin 387). An illustration of this point can be found in the statement Weatherwoman Bernadine Dohrn released articulating the Weathermens position on womens liberation: Most of the womens groups are bourgeo is, unconscious or unconcerned with class struggle and the exploitation of working womenInstead of integrating (not submerging the struggle of wo men into a broader revolutionary movement), these women are flailing in their own middle-class imagestheir direction leads to a middle class singl e issue movementand this at a time when the black liberation movement is polarizing the country, when
13 national wars of liberation are waging the most advanced assaults on U.S. imperialism, when the growth of the movement is at a critical stage (Echols 120)! I contend that it should be noted that the Weathermens stance (mainly supported by men in the organization and Bernadine D ohrn) at least acknowledged that womens rights were part of the revolution. The re solution was problematic, however, because it stressed that womens liberation should never stand apart from the fight against capitalism and imperialism. According to Honky Tonk Women, another document written by the Weathermen, white womens fight for equal rights is inherently racist and imperialist because any material or economic improvement women in America receive inevitably harms Third World people (Bloom and Breines 383). Also, according to Honky Tonk Wome n, if one wants to view truly revolutionary, emancipated women, all one ha s to do is look to the Third World for examples. Honky Tonk Women contends that Vietnamese women earned their equality not by creating their own movement, but by picking up the gun to destroy the U.S. (Bloom and Breines 383). Though the document does half heartedly acknowledge that men must change, it stresses that wome n should not expect them to do so until a Communist revolution occurs. According to the Weathermen Communist revolution was what men and women in the Left were suppos ed to work for. Any other issues were merely selfish, white, middle class concerns (Bloom and Breines 384). In contrast, many feminist s such as Beverly Jones and Judith Brown criticized radical New Left organizati ons that viewed Third Worl d movements as the great emancipators of women. They also contende d that the Weathermen and other American
14 New Leftists who looked to the Third World fo r analogies within th eir own culture were ignoring the many differences between America and the myriad of Third World countries which were embroiled in revolution at the tim e. Furthermore, Jones and Brown felt that New Left women who invoked the Third World analogy often romanticized womens roles in revolutions, particularly the C uban, Vietnamese or Algerian revolts. Many female SDSers lauded Cuban wome n for fighting for their freedom and wanted to reenact their resi stance throughout America. In th eir essay, Towards a Female Liberation Movement, feminists Beverly Jo nes and Judith Brown contend that though women did fight in the Cuban revolution, their ro les were similar to womens roles in SDSthat of peripheral helper. To roma nticize womens roles in Third World revolutions was merely a mani festation of the Weathermens dualistic, unrealistic beliefs about the Third and First World. The Weat hermen viewed the First World as the embodiment of capitalist greed and decadence. On the other hand, communist and socialist movements in the Third World were po rtrayed as the antithesis of the evil First World. According to the Weathermen, countries in the Third World gladly emancipated women and were sites of egal itarian, classless societies. Put simply, America and its cohorts were unquestionably bad and the Third World was unquestionably good (Brown and Jones 363). No matter how accurate feminists such as Beverly Jones and Judith Brown may have been about sexism in Third World movements, the Weathermen could not accept any feminist criticism and continued to di scount the womens movement as middle class and pro-imperialist (Echols 120) Though it is true that the se cond wave liberal feminist movement has been critiqued for espousing i ssues that are mainly concerned with the
15 middle-class, I contend that there were radical middle class feminists committed to solidarity with working class women, as we ll as working class and Marxist/Socialist feminists. While Marxist/Socialist feminism has been criticized for viewing capitalism and not patriarchy as womens oppressor, some Marxist/Socialist feminists are able to reconcile socialism with feminism and s ee the interconnectedness and intersections between the two movements (Tong 116). Thus, I contend that the Weathermens st ereotyping of feminists as bourgeois and pro-imperialist does not take into account th e myriad of differences in race, class, sexuality and belief systems that second wave feminists possessed. Furthermore, the Weathermens model of economic change first and womens issues second was unrealistically linear. The group rigidly comp artmentalized movements for change and could not see the multiple intersections betw een class, race and gender. They gave no recognition to black feminist t hought or any other movement that connected the struggles against racism or classism with feminism. The Weathermens inability to relate sexism to other issues and movements was similar to their misunderstanding of racism. They believed that a Communist revolution would ev entually absorb any semblance of racism, and thus they ignored specific oppressions as complex and historically contingent. The Weathermen, who would eventually take over SDS, did not believe that there was any opportunity for reconciliati on between socialism and feminism, except perhaps after the revolution. They gladly i gnored the feminists who were supporting and fighting for both issues. The Weathermen coul d only view women as part and parcel of the larger revolution.
16 By 1969, the Weathermen hoped to articu late their position about women in a resolution at the SDS summer convention, but were blocked by the Progressive Labor Party (PLP). Despite their similarities c oncerning womens role(s), it was the PLPs refusal to pass the Weathermens resolution about women that instigated the already sparring groups to finally split up SDS, a division from which the organization never recovered (Echols 122). The already tense convention exploded in to chaos when Rufus Chaka Walls of the Black Panther Party declared that the only power for women that the Panthers supported was pussy power. The audience, particularly members of the Progressive Labor Party, responded to Walls by chanti ng, Fight male chauvinism! This only enraged Walls, who incensed the crowd further by yelling back, Superman was a punk because he never even tried to fuck Lois Lane (Echols 123). The crowd of enraged SDS members proved that it was no longer publicly acceptable to demean women in their organization. Many women had experienced enough hypocrisy from the New Left and were sick of male chauvinists leading m eetings and conventions. But there was also political strategy in playthe PLP was acting politically, since Walls had been brought in by the Weathermen. The PLP would have done anything to gain power over the Weathermen, even if it meant having its ma le members act outraged about the very sexism they secretly or not so secretly supported. After Walls was kicked off stage, the Progressive Labor Party took the microphone and ironically declared that th ey were truly superior in their stance concerning both womens and bl ack liberation. The Weathermen refused to accept this
17 statement of superiority and staged a walk-out where they effectively expelled the PLP from the organization and cl aimed that they were the real SDS (Echols 123). This takeover, I contend, was successful largely in part because of Weatherwoman Bernadine Dohrn. Dohrn was a central figure in the movement who was praised by New Left men and women for her chorus line figure and ability to mobilize large groups of people. Many men in SDS desired Dohrn because she, fused the two premium images of the movement: sex qu een and street fighter (Gitlin 386). Despite the obvious objectification in how she was perceived by men in the movement, Dohrn possessed a great deal of authority in SDS. Accounts from former Weatherwoman Susan Stern articulate the pow er she felt Dohrn possessed. Stern adored Dohrn because she was one of the few wo men who seemed to have any sway and privilege in the young boys club that was SDS. (Stern 144). It was this mythological charisma that helped Dohrn lead the Weathermen walk out during the conventionbringing seven hundred other SDS members with her chanting, Power to the people; Ho! Ho! Ho Chi Minh! Though Dohrns aristocracy in the organization helped change SDS into a platform for the Weathermen, the three top positions in the new SDS won by the action fa ction clique were given to Mark Rudd, Bill Ayers and Jeffrey Jones, obviously all me n. Dohrns powerful leadership skills were not rewarded in an organization that stil l insisted on supporting male supremacy. Thus, though its focus had changed drastica lly from the Old Left and even from some of its earlier tactics, most men in the New Left continued to support sexism in the movement. In fact, it was only because of th e political strife between the PLP and the Weathermen that womens issues became important during the 1969 SDS convention.
18 Furthermore, even after the Weathermens ri se to prominence, women continued to be viewed as pawns in a revolu tion that was not their own. Wannabe Revolutionaries In this section, I discuss the sweeping ch anges that the Weathermen made after they took over SDS, their idealization of the Black Panther Party and their disintegration into insularity and despair. After the SDS convention in 1969, an eleven member committee wrote a statement that SDS should be concerned wit h, the main struggle going on in the world today, which is the fight between U.S. impe rialism and the national liberation struggles against it. The goal is the de struction of U.S. imperialis m and the achievement of a classless world (Braungart 48). This new SDS, which was now controlled by the Weathermen, was very different from the uncomfortable SDS of 1962, who wanted to peacefully achieve a more conscientious capitalism and equitable America. Many of the Weathermen were hot young stars from the Columbia University student uprising of 1968 and had the charis ma to woo students and monopolize the media. Much to the chagrin of the expelled me mbers of SDS, the Weathermens visibility and charisma aided in the medias claim th at the group was a representative of the entire out of control anti-war movement and New Left (Gitlin 385). The group took their name from a line in the Bob Dylan song Subterranean Homesick Blues, You dont need a weathe rman to know which way the wind blows (Gitlin 385). The name was appropriate becau se the Weathermen, like the rest of the country, was taking notice of the immense cha nges that were occurring in the world. To
19 the Weathermen, the quote meant that revo lution was happening everywhere and it was just a matter of time before America experien ced radical change as well (Jacobs 5). According to the Weathermen, in this hot bed of revolutionary change, students were no longer integral to the anti-war m ovement. Instead, it was black people who were implementing true insurrections in America. Black America could and would instigate revolution on their own; it was only the white radicals job to, s upport the blacks in moving as fast as they have to and are able to (Echols 125). Many in the Weathermen agreed that organizing whites around thei r perceived oppressions, such as womens liberation or students rights, would inevitably lead to racist and chauvinistic discourse (Ono 255). As was discussed in the previous se ction, this fear was quite ironic since the group was and has been criticized for being both racist and sexist! Furthermore, class and race guilt was a pr evalent theme in the organization as most members of the Weathe rmen were white and from affluent backgrounds, had attended prestigious universities and were hi ghly educated: some even had law degrees. The youths in the Weathermen felt extreme di sgust at their privileged backgrounds. They did not believe that people could examine and interrogate their priv ilege without falling into the counterproductive spaces of guilt a nd shame (Braungart 56). In fact, if one was not poor, black, Third World or hungry, the W eathermen believed that ones conscience should suffer. Conveniently, within this bu ffet of guilt, male was not considered a privileged position. Most middle-class white men who ran the progressive New Left refused to admit or recognize that being male automatically afforded them certain powers and privileges.
20 In her essay, Goodbye to All That, radi cal feminist Robin Morgan critiques the white male New Lefts inability to see its own hypocrisy. She says, White men are most responsible for the destructi on of human life and environm ent on the planet today. Yet who is controlling the supposed revolution to change all that ? White Males! (in Voices from Womens Liberation 269). Furthermore, Mo rgan contends that first and foremost the oppressed should be the actual leaders in movements that fight against their specific oppressions. She warns that the white male New Left will destroy itself with its hypocrisy concerning male chauvinism and leadership ro les. In addition, the New Left will never be genuine until it stops reinforcing the capit alist economy by allowing men to fight for power at the top while forcing women to wo rk at the bottom (in Voices from Womens Liberation 269). Though feminists like Morgan may have viewed the New Left as hypocritical, the Weathermen did not see their organization as reinforcing bourgeois notions in any way. Rich bitches, Spoiled kids and Bourgeois liberals were all identities considered negative and repulsive to the Weathermen. To counteract their privileged backgr ounds, white radicals in the Weathermen found inspiration for new iden tities within the Black Pant her Party. The Weathermen fervently agreed with the Pa nthers belief that black Amer icans were a colony living in the United States. They also lauded the Panthers philosophy of armed self-defense against the police or pigs as they ca lled them. The Black Panther Party, like the Weathermen, was interested in international solidarity against imperialism, which they felt suppressed people of color around the wo rld (Echols 126). The Weathermen believed that earning the respect of the Black Panther Party would legitimize white
21 revolutionaries. Also, if the Weathermen could prove that they were not wimpy intellectuals, but rather street fighting warrior s, perhaps they would appear to be working class and inspire the true wo rking class and people of colo r to join their struggles. The Weathermen, seemingly almost desperate at times to establish themselves with the Panthers, developed the slogan, John Brownlive like him! Many in the Black Panther Party, however, were not as receptive. The Panthers own male chauvinism inspired them to liken the Weathermen to sissies, girls and little boys (Echols 126). Hence, the discourse between the two organizations was embroiled in sexism; articulated in the Panthers belief that the Weathermen were sissies and not masculine or tough enough. Furthermore, since the beginning of their organization in 1968, the Weathermen had tried desperately to make themselves tough like the working class people they so often stereotyped. The Weathermen believed that if they were masculine and aggressive it would be easier to fight in the upcomi ng revolutions they planned to incite. Furthermore, the Weathermen feared that if other revolutionari es, particularly the Panthers, did not accept them as tough, then th eir radical aspirations would never have any clout. Much to their chagrin, the Weathe rmen never did receive approval from the Panthers. In fact, after several harsh statements about the Weathermens low grade masculinity from the Black Panthers, the Weat hermen figured they needed to seek out new allies, but had trouble finding them within the New or Old Left or within mainstream America. By late 1969 the Weathermen had lost all hope of reaching the people. The only thing they could see as productive was sabotaging the indifferent, corrupt white
22 American system. The Weathermen viewed themselves and a small handful of other revolutionaries as the only vi able citizens remaining in Amer ica. As the group intensified its commitment to violence, Bernadine Dohrn announced, Revolutionary violence is the only way. Now we are adopting the clas sic guerrilla strate gy of [Uruguayan] Tupamarosin the technically most advanced country in the world (Braungart 50). Violence, indiscriminate or targeted, was no longer consider ed morally wrong as it had been in SDS before the Weathermen took ove r. The Weathermen truly believed (whether they enacted it or not) that violence and in sularity would be the only way to make any change occur in American society. In Chicago, SDS leader Mike James told a crowd: Non-violent marches have their plac e, but they wont bring about the changes necessary for freedom. Capitalism wont crumble because of moral protestTheyve got the guns, weve got the peopleThe time will come when well have to use guns. Dont let that hang you up. Some of you say violence isnt human. Well, taking oppression isnt human; its stupid. You only live one time, so you better make it good and make it liberating. Violence, when directed at the oppresso r is human as well as necessary (Sale 631). This necessity for violence was enacted by the Weathermen for the first time in 1970. After Nixons decision to invade Cam bodia, Bernadine Dohrn announced that the Weathermen would bomb, a symbol or inst itution of Amerikan justice (Braungart 52). Nineteen days later a bomb exploded in the NYPD headquarters, and within the next few years, the Weathermen would take cr edit for hundreds of additional bombings.
23 During this time many other organizations felt the intense alienation and anger that the Weathermen were feeling and reacte d in similar ways. In fact, during the 19691970 school year there were two-hundred and fo rty four bombings in America attributed to the white Leftone hundred and seventy four on campus and seventy off campus. Between January 1969 and April 1970, there we re a total of nearly five thousand bombings by Americans on their own soil (Braungart 52). Therefore, the Weathermen reflected many violent radicals beliefs that changing America was hopeless. The only way to make any difference was to be violent and isolated from the majority of unchangeable American citizens.
24 Chapter Two: Feminisms Critique In this chapter, I explore the rise of the second wave feminist movement and feminisms complex relationship with the Weathermens rhetoric and practice(s) concerning political violence. To begin, thr oughout the 1960s and 70s, certain radical feminists harshly critiqued the Weathermens propensity to equate social change with violence and duress. The Weathermens revolutionary nihilism, which required bombings and violence against institutions of power, was in direct opposition to the positive enthusiasm many in the Womens Liberation Movement were feeling at the time (Echols 132). The rise of this multifaceted, second wave feminist movement can be generally defined as the resistance to th e unconscious, taken-for-granted, unchallenged acceptance of the belief that the world as it looks to men, is the only world (Gornick and Moran xxv). Thus, though the movement fought against many isms, the primary goal of American second wave feminism was to e nd sexism in the private and public spheres. Second wave feminism inevitably branched out into many different factions, some more radical than others. Feminism, in all its variations, had the ability to politici ze huge numbers of women who had perhaps not previously cons idered themselves political. While the Weathermen and other radical Left organizations were becoming more insular and alienated, the Womens Liberation Movement was reaching out to nurses, secretaries, mothers and those who had no affiliation with the university system (Echols 132). The
25 Womens Liberation Movement also diverged from the Weathermen and vice versa, because of the differing tactics both groups used to resist the mainstream. Women were organizing around their own oppres sion, while the Weathermen and other members of the New Left were urging white ra dicals to pick up a gun and se rve as soldiers for Third World anti-colonial movements and the Black Panther Party. It is important to note that womens gr avitation towards their own movement had begun years before. During the mid-sixties, women held sporadic, small conferences about sexism within and outside of the New Left. When these women started asking questions about sexism in the movement, thei r issues were not taken seriously or they were met with outright hostility from the ma instream media and their brothers in the New Left (Evans 201). As male resistance to the movement intensified, more and more women joined forces. Through friendship networ ks built after years of working together, organized events and media coverage, th ese womens liberation groups gained prominence (Evans 201). In his book The Sixties: Years of Hope Days of Rage, Todd Gitlin comments on the immense divisions in activ ism and ideology that occurred between feminists and men in the New Left, particularly during the late sixties and early sevent ies. As women were exhilarated by their new, more personal ac tivism, men were agonizing over what they thought was the end of their movement. In fact, by the end of the 1960s, no longer were there merely separate movements in the Ne w Left: there were separate calendars and events (Gitlin 374). The Womens movement, thoroughly disgusted with the New Lefts sexism, had started planning their own women centered events.
26 Feminist historian Sara Evans contends that, though they were finally pulling away from the young boys club of the New Left, much of the second wave feminist movement had grown out of womens strong co mmitments to political activism in the civil rights movements and New Left groups during the 1960s. Despite their strong commitments to social justice, while par ticipating in these movements, women had experienced a very different political world th an their male counterparts. While decision making and leadership was considered a male prerogative, most women in the movement were relegated to food, typing and sex (Evans 201). However, this is not to say that women were not integral to the movements success. In fact, womens abandonment of SDS and other New Left movements was particularly devastating to men, since the Left has always been supported by womens b ridge work. In M. Bahati Kuumbas book Gender and Social Movements, women are described as the bridges between various organizations because they often do the majo rity of the recruitment that enables the success of movements. Though often excluded fr om the elite operations of a movement, women will ensure its success through the netw orks they form, the foot work they do and the many leaflets, food and phone calls that they make every day (Kuumba 80). Thus, with women not around to organize activiti es for the white New Left, men were struggling to figure out what dire ction their groups should take. While many men were floundering in what they perceived as the destruction of their movement, feminists were turning theo ry into practice. For the first time, many women actually felt comfortabl e and at home in a movement, their movement. In direct contrast to the j udgmental rhetoric of groups like the Weathermen, there were many ways to be a feminist. In fact, within a short time, women were participating in
27 political campaigns for womens reproductive freedom and economic equality. They were picketing, protesting, running consciousne ss raising groups, engaging in radical feminist debates on what it means to be a woman, creating feminist performance art, engaging in lesbianism, sexual experimentation, and running womens health collectives, book stores and domestic violence shelters (W hittier 1). Thus, unlike the Weathermen, the womens movement offered flexibility. There were a plethora of ways to be a feminist and a woman. Furthermore, because of women-centere d events such as consciousness raising groups, womens relationships with other wome n were redefined as well. Previously, in SDS and other male dominated groups, many females had to compete with other women in order to be taken seriously. Si nce there were few positions of leadership available, females in power were often used as tokens and had to scramble for their place. But as the popularity of feminist consciousness raising groups grew, women learned, amongst many other things, to be intimate with other women (Cassell 57). Though feminism supported diverse causes, initiatives and redefinitions, one thing that most feminists could agree on was the fervent desire for a more egalitarian society. As feminists advocated egalitarian ism and more equitable roles for both men and women, groups such as the Weathermen were becoming more militant, macho and authoritarian. The Weathermen s support of violent machismo and authoritarian group relations was one of the primary reasons why feminists critiqued the organization (Echols 132). Though not all feminists were opposed to the idea of violence as a means to stimulate revolution, many were disgusted by the Weathermens blatant macho posturing. Richard Flacks explains this component of the Weathermen, As the movement became
28 more militant, many males found it an excellent arena for competitive displays of virility, toughness and physical courage (Echols 132). The Weathermen were suddenly the proverbial political jocksits members bragging that they hadnt read a book in months, but they could beat up any pig, any time. This anti-intellectualism came from the idea that the Weathermen wanted to be true working-class by renouncing any sort of knowledge obtained by reading books or attending universities. This renunciati on came from the Weathermens obvious stereotyping of the working class and was supported by the fact that the Weathermen wanted to leave their middle-class, university educated lives behind. To do this they also needed to destroy their honkiness and wimpiness: two words that the Weathermen, with the help of the Black Panther Party, be lieved were undeniably li nked (Echols 132). There was plenty of posturing with guns and pictures take n of women and men learning hand to hand combat and defense. These staged, violent images permeated through the press and gave others in the Left who were not necessarily in the Weathermen or in agreement with their ph ilosophy, the homogenized reputation of being brutal bullies (Echols 133). This prompted the old guard of SDS and other New Leftists to move farther and farther away from th e Weathermen. The common joke in certain New Left movement circles was, You dont ne ed a rectal thermometer to know who the assholes are (Echols 134). In 1970, the Boston socialist feminist gr oup Bread and Roses articulated their disgust at the New Lefts inability to recognize how pro-violence and chauvinism undermines class movements. Bread and Roses, radical in their own right, had seized an unoccupied building owned by Harvard Univer sity in 1971. The women stayed in the
29 building for ten days, and offered free clas ses and daycare. The publicity Bread and Roses earned because of their radical actions helped garner donations of over five thousand dollars within just a few weeks. W ith the money they raised, Bread and Roses bought a house in Cambridge and opened the Women's Center in 1972the longest running womens center in the U.S. (The Womans Center 1). In their essay titled, Bread and Roses, the group contended that if male workers think of themselves as male and not as w orkers, then they will identify with the power and privilege of the world of men, wh ich also includes the realm of the boss (Mcafee and Wood 417). In addition, the patriarc hal role of men in the home reinforces aggressive authoritarianism, a ssertion of dominance, individu alism and hierarchal social relationsall values that are integral to the capitalist system. Unfortunately, such assessments of how capitalism is reinforced by patriarchy and vice ve rsa had been largely ignored by the Old Left and continued to be ignored by New Left groups like SDS and the Weathermen. Thus, I contend that Bread and Roses had many of the same objectives as the Weathermen, but included a feminist pers pective in their radical, socialist activity. Soon after Bread and Roses was p ublished in 1970, Bread and Roses wrote another indictment of the pro-masculine rh etoric and action of the Weathermen. Even though they too had revolutionary tactics and beliefs, Bread and Roses disapproved of the Weathermens idea of a woman of steel or a street fight ing woman. The group believed that such standards only reinforced the subjugation of wo men. They contended that ideas in the Weathermens documen t Honky Tonk Women which claimed that women would not be liberated by feminism, but by being unafraid of blood or guns, was an insufficient plan for feminist revolution. According to the Weathe rmen, learning to be
30 a street fighting woman would earn women the respect of men and thus would end male chauvinism. Bread and Roses critiqued this notion that women should embrace machismo as the one true method of social change. The idea of the street fighting woman reeked of me-too politics. It pr omised women if they acted like the oppressor or impressed him enough, perhaps they could be included. Women needed to jump on the aggressive, authoritarian bandwa gon if they wanted to be considered anywhere near equal to men. Bread and Roses found the idea of wo men having to earn their equality through macho behavior offensive and sexist. Radical-Cultural Feminism The Weathermen were not the only radi cal group that politicized the idea of women and masculinity. Radical feminists had also wrestled with the idea of women and masculinity for some time. Not wanting to choose masculinity or femininity, many had opted for androgyny, which supposedly equally ex alts the socially defined positive traits of both genders. However, after closer analys is of those traits which androgyny usually lauded, radical feminists found that their fem inine traits were still degraded (Tong 47). In contrast, masculine attributes were accepte d and praised within their radical feminist circles and in the greater American culture. Rosemarie Tong, in her book Feminist Thought explains the evolving classifications within feminism. Starting with Alison Jaggars definition of radical feminism, Tong redefines the various directions of radical feminism. Tong explains that after trying to be androgynous, many radicalcultural feminists believed that women should not try to be like men (47). On th e contrary, women should celebrate feminine
31 attributes such as community, connection, ab sence of hierarchy, trust, etc. Masculine values such as violence, do mination and hierarchy should be avoided and critiqued. Thus women who enact and exalt masculine trai ts are complicit within the patriarchal system. An example of radical-cultural feminisms rejection of masculinity is apparent in former Weatherwoman Jane Alperts arti cle, Mother Right, which was published in Ms. Magazine in 1971. Mother Right is a scathing report of the male supremacist notions that were destroying th e New Left, particularly the Weathermen. In the article, Alpert explains her specific disdain for the se xism of the Weathermen. Mother Right is, in fact, an open letter to all of Alperts s ister fugitives in the Weathermen. Alpert made it very clear in her controversial article that she believed that all women in the organization were experiencing intense oppression and sexism. Based on personal experience, Alperts opinion was that men in the Weathermen were merely chauvinists who thought of women as unint elligent and useful only for physical pleasure. Though Alpert only had extensive interaction with two of the male members of the Weathermen, this was enough to make her beg her siste r fugitives to leave the male dominated organization forever. Alpert also rebelled against Weatherm en doctrine by proclaiming that womens liberation would not be like the Cuban or Chinese revolution. The Cuban and Chinese revolutions had used violence and placed political and economic changes high above human consciousness. In contrast, Alpert predicted sweep ing political, social and economic changes for women would occur only after changes in human consciousness took place. The Weathermen believed, of c ourse, that the revolution would happen the
32 other way aroundhuman consciousness was the last item on their list of radical changes. Feminism, according to Alpert, w ould function like a ripple affect, each individual womans consciousness would cha nge and influence othe rs. The easiest way for this ripple effect to occur would be for women to create their own culture. By referencing ancient matriarchal culture s, Alpert advocated the ability of all women to be mothers. She contended that women are mothers not by birthing children, but by possessing maternal qualiti es, a potential which is impr inted in the genes of every woman (Echols 250). This essential nature of women was the only way that Alpert believed the many differences between women c ould be resolved. No matter what class, age, race or sexual orientati onthere could be no real di fferences in this intrinsic motherhood. This also meant that if they were following their natural biology, women could never advocate violence. If women were violent then they were merely mimicking men and trying, like Alpert had done herself, to win male approval (Ms. Magazine pg. 94). Thus, radical-cultural feminists c ontended that any woman who embraced violence as a means of social change was goi ng against her true nature. By trying to be like men, she was betraying herself and feminism. Though Alpert was trying in her own way to critique patriarchal dominance, I argue that her essentialism merely reinforced sexist ideas about the innate non-violent nature of women. Id eas about women being peaceful and passive supported the mainstream belief that women were too sensitive to participate in a number of activities ranging from sports to police work to running for president. Believing any group is naturally one way does not allow for the complexities
33 of each individual person. Pigeon-holing wo men as non-violent, natural mothers merely reiterated the sexist discourse of patriarchal American society. Pacifist Feminists Essentialist views of wo men were not the only reason why feminists did not support violence. In nearly every movement within second wave feminismradical feminism, Marxist-socialist feminism, liberal feminism, etcthere were inevitably feminist pacifists or women who did not support violence. These feminists distinguished between traditionally feminine traits such as passivism, which means inactive suffering, and instead opted for pacifism, which is defined as peace making or agreement making (Duhan 253). To them, pacifism did not mean tacit acceptance, but rather resistance that refused to use the tools of the oppressor: violence. Thus, these pacifist, second wave feminist s contended that feminism offered the best comprehensive analysis of America s political, economic, social, and military systems (Duke 243). This meant that domina tion of women by men could be used as a model for other modes of oppression, particularly violent militarism, such as the situation in Vietnam (Duke 243). Feminisms struggle for a more egalitaria n society inevitably meant, to pacifist feminists, that women and men should denounce institutional and individual violence in order to make the world a more livable pla ce. Pacifist feminism also contended that militarism is a form of domination and feminism and peace movements share an important connectionboth are committed to ending violent power/privilege systems. There are empirical connections to war as well that make pacifism a feminist issue.
34 Military operations wreck havoc on women, ch ildren, people of color, the poor, and the environment (Warren and Cady 7). Resisting de struction and degrada tion of all of the above is integral to a paci fist and feminist stance. Furthermore, the symbolic and linguistic connections of the military industrial complex to the patriarchy cannot be ignore d. Sexist language in military and nuclear jargon has been used for decades. From vertical erectile launchers to thrust-to-weight ratios to exploding bombs that are losing her virginity, sexist language permeates the nuclear and military discourse (Warren a nd Cady 13). Thus, I suggest that these multilayered systems of oppression create conne ctions between pacifism and feminism; all of which have nothing to do with essent ializing women, but rather a commitment to non-violent resistance. This chapter has explored the many femi nist critiques of the Weathermen and violence. Whether they challe nged me-too politics, esse ntialized women or supported pacifism, many feminists objecte d to violence, even when it was put into a political context.
35 Chapter Three: Violent Feminists Demonstrating that violence is a complex phenomenon, in direct contrast to pacifist feminists as well as Alpert and other radical feminist s claims of a loving female culture, there were other feminists and revolu tionaries advocating violence as a means of radical change. Some, as we have seen with Bernadine Dohrn, agreed with the Weathermen and did not want to alter its tact ics or goals. In fact, these feminists also advocated that women use vi olence in order to stop ma le chauvinism, oppression and violence. In this chapter, I examine the ideas of pro-self defense feminists and discuss two strong examples of pro-violence femini stsTi-Grace Atkinson and Valerie Solanas, author of the S.C.U.M (Society for Cutting up Men) Manifesto. I also discuss how the diversity of belief systems within feminism complicates stereotypical notions about female violence. For most feminists, violence, political or otherwise, was not merely something that could be thoughtlessly supported or viciously despised. For example, though few feminists advocated random violence per say, many supported s elf defense training. This training was not just about prep aring for the up-coming revolution or for confrontations with police officers as the Weathermen were doing. As Rebecca Moon, Leslie Tanner and Susan Pascale articulate in their essay Karate as Self Defense for Women, self defense is important because Women are attacked, beaten and raped! Every day. By men! Women are a fraid to walk certain streets after dark and even afraid
36 to walk into buildings where th ey live. Its about time we as women get strong in order to defend ourselves (256). Moon, Tanner and Pascale advocate that women take karate as a means of self defense and discuss the conflicting feelings they experienced wh ile learning how to protect themselves. They want to look tough, but view their fists and punches as nonaggressive because they have been taught th eir entire lives to be passive and feminine. Thus, they do not know how to be violent. The essay promotes karate as positive, helpful training for womens liberationists because it increases confidence (due to potential physical power). Also, seeing as women had a long political fight ahead of them, the essay advocates that the only way to fight back against overwhelming patriarchal oppression was by force (Moon, Pa scale and Tanner 263). Thus, a perceived physically weak female will be ten times more effective if she learns the lessons of violence. I contend that these lessons may have been an emulation of masculine, aggressive training, but they were also a pr actical way for women to fight back against violence and subjugation. Ther efore, second wave feminist s who learned self defense were not merely trying to be like men as some radical-cultural feminists claimed. Instead, they were reconditioning their bodies and discovering empowerment through violence. In contradistinction to fine tuning the l essons of violence by self-defense or karate, individual feminists such as Ti-Gra ce Atkinson admired the violent tactics of groups such as the Weathermen. Atkinson ev en co-authored a letter denouncing Jane Alperts Mother Right, along with Alperts cooperation with FBI investigators. In her
37 letter, Atkinson claimed Alpert was disloyal to the revolution and contended that the Weathermen contained, the seed s of the future (Echols 258). In 1971, during a speech on violence in th e womens movement, Atkinson praised the Weathermen and the Italian American Ci vil Rights League (an organization formed by mafia leader Joseph Columbo). Atkinson also showed a picture of Joseph Columbo, who had recently been murdered, and re buked the womens liberation movement for being nothing but a bunch of phonies who talked about violence instead of enacting it. She showed the murdered Columbo as an example of what she believed the feminists were not. According to Atkinson, Columbo wa s, like a true revolutionary, hanging out in the streets with people who were fighti ng for their own asses (Echols 184). She repeated the refrain from many in the Le ftthe womens liberation movement had radical pretensions, but no real revolutionary action. A remedy for this, Atkinson said in her speech as she was booed and jeered by si ster feminists, was for women to pick up the gun. This was very similar to what the Weathermen were saying to the New Left. It was no coincidence that the Weathermen we re the one group Atkinson praised in her speech. Furthermore, in her essay Radical Feminism, Declaration of War Ti-Grace Atkinson critiques the pop-cu lture notion of a battle of the sexes (125). Atkinson contends that because the word battle implies some sort of power balancewomen have never really been in ba ttle with men. Rather, women ha ve been the ones to suffer all the losses and have been massacred in the process. The only way for women to stop being massacred is to band together, rec ognize their colle ctive and individual oppression and engage in all sorts of psychic and violen t battles with men (Atkinson 125). By using
38 military terminology, Atkinson also advocates that the womens movement accept that diplomacy with men does not work. Thus, only by seeing men as the enemy in battle can feminists forge the first step to political change (Atkinson 126). Thus, it was no coincidence that Atkinson believed that Valerie Solanas infamous S.C.U.M. (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto, written in 1968, was obligatory reading. Atkinson and a few other radical feminists claimed Solanas philosophy of violence was the essence of feminism (Echols 105). Atkinson even attended Solanas trial after she had shot a nd critically injured fa mous pop artist Andy Warhol. Though Solanas was sent to an in sane asylum where she later died of tuberculosis, Atkinson and othe r radical feminists read and praised her work in their small collectives. Solanas S.C.U.M. Manifesto articulated the violent solutions she believed could emancipate women. S.C.U.M. planned to, Overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex (514). Solanas begins her misandric manifesto by declaring that life is an utter bore which does not and can not relate to women or give them any fo rm of enjoyment or pleasure. Solanas, who was a psychology major before she became a st reet hustler and prostitute, believed that she had found the biological secret to mens inherent inferiority. Men, she claimed, are a biological accident, the Y gene merely an incomplete X. This genetic inadequacy was the cause of all male oppression and need to control women. Men had stolen female traitsindependence, courage, intensity, forcefulness, dynamicism, etc. and claimed them for themselves. Male traits such as weakness, triviality and vanity were projected onto women through brilliant marketing and manipulation. Thus, Solanas claimed,
39 Women dont have penis envy, men have pussy envy (515). Because of this jealousy and hate, men have been responsible for all the worlds problems. In her manifesto, Solanas lists over fifty el ements of society that men have created in order to destroy women: war, politen ess, money, marriage, suburbs, conformity, government, competition, great art, sexuality, censorship, disease and death to name a few (516). In order to end the societal plague of men acting out against their inadequacy, Solanas sets out what, seemingly to her, is an easy solution. The ideal first step in Solanas idea of womens revol ution was to enlist all the females in America into the S.C.U.M. army. After this, almost all women would drop out of the labor force and the American monetary system would be completely obliterated. If women would stop buying and loot for their possessions, even the U.S. military couldnt stop them. It should be noted that So lanas does not feel sisterhood or have faith in all of her female comrades. She did not believe that they would help her and vi ewed their inability to participate as one of the biggest conflicts concerning S.C. U.M.s goals. She contends: The conflict, therefore, is not be tween males and females, but between S.C.U.M.dominant, secure, self-confide nt, nasty, violent, selfish, independent, proud, thrill-seeking, free-wheeling arrogant females, who consider themselves fit to rule the universeand nice, passive, accepting, cultivated, polite, dignified, subdued, dependent, scared, mindless, in secure, approval seeking Daddys girls, who cant cope with the unknown, who want to continue to wallow in the sewer that is, at least, familiar, who want to hang back with the apes, who feel secure only with Big Daddy standing bywho are too cowardly to face up to what a man really is, what Daddy is, who have cast their lot with th e swine, who have adapted themselves to animalismwho have reduced their minds, thoughts and
40 imagination to the male level, who lack ing sense, wit and imagination can have value only in a male society, who can have a place in the sun or rather the slime only as soothers, ego boosters, relaxers and breeders(Solanas 516). Thus, because many women were not willing to be revolutionary, just as the Weathermen had done, S.C.U.M. would take ov er the country with just a handful of women and systematically destroy the syst em, property and men in power. S.C.U.M. workers would get jobs and destroy the capita list system by not charging for merchandise and ruining equipment. S.C.U.M. also planned to ruin cars, store windows, Great art, etc. Solanas also wanted S.C.U.M. to bus t up mixed (male/female) couples, even if violence was necessary to pry them apart (Solanas 517). In addition, after the obli teration of the system was accomplished (in a very short time of course), S.C.U.M. planned to kill any men who werent in the Mens Auxiliary Unit. Like the Weathermen, S.C.U.M., Will not picket, demonstrate, march or strike to achieve its ends. Such tactics are for nice, gentle ladies w ho scrupulously take only such actions as is guaranteed to be ineff ective (Solanas 517). By acting on a civil disobedience basis, Solanas believed that S.C.U.M. was only reinforcing the system, not working outside of it in order to destroy it. S.C.U.M.s policy of violence was, once again like the Weathermen, only focused on specific ta rgets. Indiscriminate killing was lacking objective and dangerous to S.C.U.M. soldiers Once money and powerful politicians were eliminated, Solanas believed that me n would no longer have any sway over psychologically independent females ( 518). The few remaining men who hadnt been killed by S.C.U.M. would be allowed to sp end their last days on earth high on drugs, dressed up as women, to be used merely as breeders and spectators. If they refused to
41 accept their fate Solanas gave them anothe r solution, They can go off to the nearest friendly neighborhood suicide center where they will be quietly, quickly and painlessly gassed to death (519). While men gassed th emselves to death, women would be solving the worlds very few remaining problems. They would revamp education programs, solve scientific problems and redesign cities. Solanas feared that some women woul d continue to dig men. These women would eventually become so absorbed in thei r projects that in time they would come to see the utter uselessness and banality of the male (519). I suggest that Solanas radical mani festo shocked many people in mainstream America and the New Left. Its unapologetic ad vocacy of violence was in direct contrast to those feminists who despised macho violence, even if it was for radical means. But Solanas had flipped the association of men with aggression and violence on its head. Solanas rejected womens essential motherhood and claimed that women were naturally independent and toughmen had mere ly stolen womens character because of their pussy envy. Thus, radical-cultural femi nists could not apply f eminine traits such as compassion and a propensity towards nonviolence to women. According to Solanas, women were not naturally maternal, compa ssionate or non-violent: such a skewed perception was merely part of a mass marketin g campaign, a brilliant and insidious social construction. In that sense, Solanas also disrupted Morgan and Alperts notion that females who committed violence always did so under male duress. Her unabashed desire to systematically murder men and create a female utopia rebelled against and upset many who participated in mainstream feminism.
42 In contrast, as was discussed above, S. C.U.M. and the Weathermen had similar objectives and means. Though no one in the W eathermen could imagine life without men (they controlled the group), both organizations wanted to destroy the American money system and develop a counter culture army. Both Solanas and the Weathermen believed that targeted, discriminate violence would help overthrow the syst em and install (what they felt was) a more just society. Neither gr oups violent rhetoric seemed to humanize its targetswhether they were the bourgeoisie or men. After shooting Andy Warhol, Solanas claimed to have no remorse: another action that rebelled against certain feminist claims that women are more compassionate and less violent. Solanas unapologetic, a ggressive rhetoric prompted a frightened jury to send her to an insane asylum where she stayed for three years. The jurys rationale for not sending Solanas to prison centered on the belief that no woman could be so unapologetically violent without being crazy. T hus, the jury in Solanas case was reinforcing traditional notions that women who commit crimes, particularly political ones, are influenced and controlled by some outside force; usually men or mental illness. Female Terrorists While there has been substantial rese arch done examining the general belief systems of radical organizations, there has not been much feminist work looking at females who commit violence for political re asons. In general, the explanations why women are violent often involve an essentialist or stereo typed argument that does not take into account the social construction of women and violence. Meaning, many socalled terrorist expert s ignore that most wo men in our society are taught to be non-
43 aggressive and resistant to vi olence. On the other hand, the re search often treats womens experiences as merely homogenized with men s or there has not been enough work to understand the divergences and convergences of individual accounts. In this section I will explain the stereotypes of the female terrorist , critique particular second wave feminists essentialism of women and violence, and analyze Gilda Zwermans work with hundreds of imprisoned American female terrorists who were involved in radical groups during the 60s and 70s. Psychologically, women who have participat ed in violence have been considered, deficient in their socialization process a nd more out of touch with reality than their male counter parts(Zwerman 136). This argument has often been the mantra of politicians in the United States and the cons ervative media. Left organizations and the women involved have been sensationalized as insane fanatics who oppose freedom. An example of this would be the court systems and mainstream medias view that Solanas criminal behavior did not have any real politi cal objectives, but was rather the behavior of an insane woman. Thus, because of th ese one-dimensional views, though nearly one-third of the arrests of violent political activists in the 1960 s and 70s were women, little is known about thei r lives and revolutionary goals (Zwerman 134). Feminist sociologists such as Gilda Zwer man contend that female terrorism is a frightening subject in our cultu re because it not only inspires fear about terrorism, but also disrupts ideas about femininity and passivity. The female terrorist has not merely crossed the boundaries between legitimacy and cr iminal behavior. She has become an out law to her female-ness (Zwerman 135). Fema le violence is frightening to mainstream culture because the socio-cultural binary of female as feminine and male as masculine
44 has been blurred. In fact, some criminologists such as Freda Adler go so far as to contend that the rise in female criminality and terrori sm since the 1960s can be attributed to the womens liberation movement and its emphasis on critiquing gender. The new female criminal is trying to be like her sisters in legitimate occupations and is scrambling for a place in the hierarchy (Zwerman 131). Alder contends that the female terrorist and criminal are the dark sides of feminism. I take Zwermans critique further and contend that Adlers argument is flawed for many other reasons. One is because it is very Western centricit looks only at feminist movements and violence in the United States and Western Europe. It does not take into account womens struggles in the many anti-co lonial movements throughout the centuries that mobilized communities to fight. Women who have never theoretically heard of feminism may participate in feminist ac tions and in revolutionary violence. Also, though anti-colonial movements undoubtedly almo st always prescribe gender roles for women and men, there are a vast variety of roles that women play in these movements and in any movement against oppression. When an entire community is under attack, for example, cultural belief systems about wome n and violence may change greatly from what they were previously in times of peace. Furthermore, like Adler, many other wr iters on terrorism contend that women who participate in political violence are alwa ys criminals and that the womens liberation movements excessiveness or push for a ndrogyny is to blame. This is a sexist perspective that fears womens access to the freedoms the feminist movement called for. Womens freedom must be controlled or chaos will occur. Also, blaming androgyny reasserts the socio-cultural gender binary that women should behave like
45 women and men like men. When women take on supposedly male traits of aggression and violence this binary is upset a nd, once again feminism is to blame. Finally, there is another flawed argument where experts such as H.H. Cooper and Gayle Rivers claim that female terrorists are much more threaten ing and violent than male terrorist are (Zwerman 137). Zwerman suggests that most terro rist experts have two main stereotypes about (mostly Leftist) female terrorists. One is that they are, at first sight, a non-threatening Hous ekeeper or they are a pow er wielding, penis envying Amazon. Both types of women are considered deadly, but are allege d to vary in their motivation and the amount of power they possess with in their organizations. The Housekeeper is easily manipulated, while th e Amazon holds power over the men in her group. Analysis of most radical groups, such as the Weathermen, shows that women are seldom in leadership positions, much less controlling the entire group. Nevertheless, the stereotype of the Amazon woman has been used to describe the militant Left women in the United States and Western Europe. These militant Amazons have been described as having, a cold rage about them that even the most alienated of men seem quite incapable of emulating (Zwerman 138). Furthermore, many terrorist expe rts claim that the Amazon woman longs to keep her position of power so much that she will do anything to keep commandincluding killing children to maintain status and gain the approval and respect of the men. Despite their supposed propensity for viol ence, female terrorists are seen as playing a much more relational role. Though most male and female radicals came to revolutionary politics through a romantic friend or familial affiliation, women,
46 particularly the Housekeepers, are seen as the ones who were manipulated into the group. Viewing women in a more relational ro le, even in terrorism, has aided in the stereotype of the Housekeeper. Everyone thinks this Housek eeper is innocently pushing her baby in a pram, but she is re ally hiding a bomb. Zwerman claims that stereotypes say she does not have a central lead ership role like the Amazon: she is only a pawn. She secures her feminine, peripheral ro le by stressing her status as mother and wife. Thus, I argue that once again wome n are seen as easily manipulated and uninterested in political action. I also argue that the stereotype of violent womenas Amazon or Housekeeper results in a very simplistic, binary view of female terrorists. This inaccurate view has rarely been challenged. In fact, feminists su ch as Robin Morgan and Jane Alpert have reiterated the idea that female terrorists are merely pawns of controlling men. Robin Morgans comment on the Weathermen reinforced this idea when she labeled the Weather women Manson Killers because they were trying to gain male approval by committing violent crimes. Zwerman critiques Morgans more recent essay called the Sexuality of Terrorism, published in 1989, which claims th at the overwhelming majority of women in the worldno matter where they are situat edreject violence as the primary means of social change. Once again, Morgan is criti quing the idea that cla ss revolution, whether it be on behalf of the people, the masses the proletariat, the workers, the farmers, or the populace actually means on be half of men (Zwerman 147). I contend, similar to Alperts arguments in Mother Right, Morgan is situating women as a different caste, class and community. Morgan believes that women have variant, more
47 highly evolved political, biologi cal and spiritual interests than men. Furthermore, she argues that the world would be a better, non-vi olent place if a community of women were able to rule the world. Once again, Morgans argument, like Alperts can be construed as essentialist. In her essay, Morgan allows for no excep tions to her vision of a women centered world. She contends that women who willingly fight for power in male-dominated groups are, becoming part of the harem of the demon lover, and are, dancing themselves towards a false liberation of death (Zwerm an 147). Zwerman critiques the fact that, though few interviews with female terrorists fr om the 60s and 70s exist, some feminists such as Robin Morgan depict fictional and non-fictional female terrorists merely from self-knowledge. Morgan explains her s ource of knowledge about token female terrorists, I know these wo menthey walk in my nightmares. I missed being one of them by what split second, what series of discontinuous incremental changes? (Zwerman 148). Thus Morgans knowledge of what it means to be a radical woman comes from her dreams. I suggest, from all of Morgans assertions that it is obvious she has not done research on the many female terrorists who sought out and sustained connections to organizations that advocated armed struggle. Zwermans essay on female terrorists states a counterpoint to Morgans assumptions. She conte nds that when women revolt against the authority structures of thei r societies, they may feel as if they are working towards a better world for women (151). Furthermore, I argue that though feminists like Morgan and Alpert make positive points in their writingstheir critiques about sexism in the Weathermen were and are valuablethey are articulating a potentially one dimensional position within feminist
48 theory and practice. It is a pos ition that denies that violen ce is ever a useful form of expression, in any context. Given the amount of women who are subj ugated to violence, this position is often difficult to argue when one is claiming a feminist standpoint. Much of feminist discourse and political acti on has revolved around empowering women who have been victims of violent crimes, whet her they are rape, assault, childhood sexual abuse or domestic violence. With such emphasis on the empowerment of the victim, along with the propensity to identify with he r experiences, committing violent crimes or approving of violent actions may be an unc omfortable position for many feminists. However, since the strong expansi on of womens hist ory in the 1970s, knowledge about figures such as Joan of Arc, the French Vesuviennes, and Third World women in national struggles, to name a few, has become common in feminist studies. Thus, womens involvement in revolutionary or ganizations cannot alwa ys be placed into stereotyped categories of Amazon or Hous ekeeper or in Morgans words Demon lovers and Manson Slaves. Alpert and Mo rgans view of violent females is very limiting and only reinforces traditional notions about womens passiv ity in society and politics. Both feminists blatantly ignore the fact that radical wome ns associations with violence are very complex. To further counteract this over simplified argument, I analyze the work of feminist sociologist Gilda Zwerman. Starting in 1985, Zwer man interviewed hundreds of American women who were incarcerated becau se of their violent political actions. She also interviewed attorneys who were familiar with the womens cases, attended various trials and hearings and studied the Departme nt of Justices procedures for the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of radicals (Z werman 142). Her study of women who have
49 committed crimes because of their involvement in socialist, national liberation, antifascist and resistance movements shows that for many women, participation in revolutionary violence is a source of conflict. Partly th ere is an affirmation of actual power over oneself, but also a fear and re sistance to the use of violen ce. Furthermore, despite the stereotypes about women being brainwashed to join radical groups (ie: Patty Hearst), most women are not coerced into joining violent organizations. In fact, from her interviews, Zwerman found that the decision to join radical, violent groups was often a long considered process for women and many derived satisfaction from their participation (Zwerman 150). Despite government and terrorism expert s propaganda about the violence prone women leaders, Zwerman reports that few of the women ever would define themselves as combatants. In fact, most women in 60s and 70s revolutionary groups describe themselves in a more peripheral ro le. This role is consistent throughout race, class, age and sexual orientat ion differences and intersec tions. Whether the women are from the Weathermen, Black Panther Party or Puerto Rican liberation groups, almost all reported assuming a supportive role, mostly because of their internal conflicts concerning the use of violence and rarely because of gender oppression (Zwerman 151). One anonymous respondent reports her conflict: Could I kill for the revolution? I used to ask myself that question a lot. But the fact that I had children, I always knew I couldnt do that. I had not felt the impact of armed struggle that strongly. In one of the political orientations I attended we read this story from Mao about a nine-yea r-old girl who had to kill her parents. I had to toss with these questions myself. Could I kill children? A member of my
50 familyor anyones family for that matter? These are things that deep down I felt that I could not do (Zwerman 152). These deep conflicts manifested in a myri ad of promises and plans. Some women reported feelings of doom as they realized that another action was planned. Other said they prayed for something to happen so the action would be ca nceled. Like a victim in an abusive relationship, a few radical women even promised themselves that this was their last time. In addition, women, because of their often peripheral roles, re ported conflict over whether or not they should leave thei r underground lives. Since members of the underground had to blend in, life became incredibly monotonous and merely reaffirmed the private sphere that is s upposed to be womens place (Zwerman 155). In fact, many of Zwermans interviews revealed that though certain pol itical actions gave women a degree of satisfaction: they were not enough to sque lch their desire to have a social network and a productive life that wa s not from the sidelines or underground or any other marginal space. While I argue that womens conflicts ove r the use of violence are socially constructed, Zwerman contends that though th ere were some women who enjoyed their participation in politically violent gro ups, many remain conflicted over the use of violence. She does not say whether this conf lict is innate or constructed, or if men express similar feelings of confusion. One thing Zwermans findings do support, however, is my argument that womens role s in revolutionary groups were and are complex. Womens belief systems and actions should not be homogenized. Just as they
51 cannot be pigeonholed as blood-thirsty, crazies like the Amazon stereotype suggests they cannot be categorized as natur al non-violent mothers. There is not a single gendered way to explain Bernadine Dohrns penchant for violent rhetoric, Solanas desire for there to be male concentration camps or Alperts claim that women are non-violent. Their experiences and beliefs, of course, were in fluenced by the gender roles of society, but each was as individual as the men who participated in radical organizations. Women are by no means generally, essentially one way or another: each experience and belief system is situated and subjective. We are not inherently aggres sive like Solanas claimed nor natural mothers like Morgan and Alpert contended.
52 Chapter Four: Conclusion In conclusion, in this thesis I have anal yzed the sexism and pro-violent rhetoric and actions of the Weathermen as a framew ork to explore sexism in the New Left, feminisms complex relationship with viol ence, and the stereotypes of women who commit political violence. In Chapter One I focused on the evolving definition of the New Left, what the issues were for the Old Le ft and what the concerns were for the new, more prominent factions of SDS, particularly by the end of the 1960s. I critiqued SDSs sexism and their refusal to view womens rights as an issue that could exist separately from the fight against imperialism. Furtherm ore, I also described the Weathermens degradation into insular, isolated politics a nd their fascination with the Third World and the Black Panther Party. Chapter Two, Feminists Critique, focu sed on feminists criticism of the way women in the Weathermen wanted to be viol ent and macho so they would be considered revolutionary. I also explained how radicalcultural feminists such as Jane Alpert advocated essentialist views about women and violence. Ot her feminists, on the other hand, objected to violence, not because they thought women were naturally non-violent, but because they wanted men and women to resist violence and oppression of all sorts. Chapter Three, Violent Feminists, featured feminists whose belief systems contrasted the pacifism and essentialism of the previous sections. I explained the belief systems of pro-self defense feminists as well as pro-violence feminists such as Ti-Grace
53 Atkinson and Valerie Solanas. I also focused on the work of feminist sociologist Gilda Zwerman. Zwermans study critiques the stereo types of violent women and supports my argument that violent revolutionary women s motivations are dive rse and individual. Thus, by using the Weathermen as a fr amework, this thesis has argued that women who commit, advocate or condemn political violence are complex beings that cannot be easily categorized. Furthermore, this thesis has illustrated the myriad of belief systems within feminism concerning wo men and violence. These differences and intersections reflect the broad range of ideas within feminist discourse.
54 References Alpert, Jane. Growing up Underground. New York: William Morrow, 1981. Alpert, Jane. Mother Right: A New Feminist Theory in Ms. August 1973. Atkinson, Ti-Grace. Women and Values: Readings in Recent Feminist Philosophy Ed. Marilyn Pearsall Belmont. California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1986. Bloom, Alexander and Wini Breines, ed. Takin it to the Streets New York: Oxford U.P., 1995. Braungart, Richard and Margaret. From Protes t to Terrorism: The Case of SDS and the Weathermen in International Social Movement Research Volume 4 Ed. Donatella Della Porta. London, England: JAI Press, 1997. Brown, Judith and Jones, Beverly. Towards a Female Liberation Movement in Voices from Womens Liberation Ed. Leslie B. Tanner. New York, New York: Signet Press, 1971. Cady, Duane and Warren, Karen. Feminism and Peace: Seeing Connections in Hypatia Vol. 9. No. 2 (Spring 1994). Cassell, Joan. Sisterhood and Symbolism in the Feminist Movement New York: David McKay Company, 1977. Duhan, Laura. Feminism and Peace Theory: Women as Nurturers U.S. Women as Public Citizens in In the Interest of Peace. Eds. Kenneth Kunkel and Joseph Klein. Hollowbrook Publishing: New Hampshire, 1990.
55 Duke, Lois. Women in Politics Outsiders or Insiders? New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1993. Echols, Alice. Daring to be BAD: Radical Feminism in America, 1967-75 Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989. Evans, Sara. Personal Politics: The Roots of Womens Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement and The New Left. New York: Vintage Books, Ferguson, Kathy. The Man Question California: University of California Press, 1991. Gitlin, Todd. The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage Toronto: Bantam, 1987. Gornick, Vivian and Moran, Barbara.Intro in Woman in Sexist Society Eds. Vivian Gornick and Barbara K. Moran. New York: Basic Books, 1971. Jacobs, Ron. The Way the Wind Blew: A Histor y of the Weather Underground New York: Verso Press, 1997. Kuumba, Bahati. Gender and Social Movements Oxford, England: Altamira Press, 2001. Lea, Cat. Womens Education Center 25 Sep 2000. Northwestern University Archives. 24 Feb 2005. < http://www.lib.neu.edu/archives/collect/findaids/m47findbioghist.htm >. Mcafee, Jane and Wood, Myrna. Bread and Roses in Voices from Womens Liberation Ed. Leslie B. Tanner. New York, New York: Signet Press, 1971. Moon, Rebecca, Pascale, Susan and Tanner, Lesl ie. Karate as Self Defense for Women. in Voices from Womens Liberation Ed. Leslie B. Tanner. New York, New York: Signet Press, 1971. Morgan, Robin. Good-bye to All That in Voices from Womens Liberation Ed. Leslie B. Tanner. New York, New York: Signet Press, 1971.
56 Sale, K. SDS New York: Random House, 1973. Solanas, Valerie. S.C.U.M. Manifesto in Sisterhood is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Womens Liberation Movement Ed. Robin Morgan. New York: Vintage Books, 1970. Stern, Susan. With the Weathermen New York: Doubleday, 1975. Varon, Jeremy. Bringing the War Home: The Weat her Underground, The Red Army Faction and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies California: University of California Press, 2004. Unger, I. The Movement: A History of the American New Left, 1959-1972 New York: Dodd Mead, 1974. Whittier, Nancy. Feminist Generations Philadelphia, Pennsyl vania: Temple University Press, 1995. Witch Power in An Anthology of Womens Li beration by The New Woman Eds. Charlotte Bunch-Weeks, Joanne Cooke, and Robin Morgan. Connecticut: Fawcett Publications, 1970. Zwerman, Gilda. Participation in Unde rground Organizations: Conservative and Feminist Images of Women Associated with Armed, Clandestine Organizations in the United States in International Social Move ment Research Volume 4 Ed. Donatella Della Porta. London, England: JAI Press, 1997.
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Churchill, Lindsey Blake.
Exploring women's complex relationship with political violence
h [electronic resource] :
b a study of the weathermen, radical feminism and the new left /
by Lindsey Blake Churchill.
[Tampa, Fla.] :
University of South Florida,
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2005.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 60 pages.
ABSTRACT: In this thesis I use the radical, pro-violent organization the Weathermen as a framework to examine women and feminisms complex relationships with violence. My thesis attempts to show the many belief systems that second wave feminists possessed concerning the role(s) of women and violence in revolutionary organizations. Hence, by using the Weathermen as a framework, I discuss various feminist essentialist and pacifist critiques of violence. I also include an analysis of feminists who, similar to the Weathermen, embraced political violence. For example, radical feminists Robin Morgan and Jane Alpert criticized the Weathermens violent tactics while other feminists such as Ti-Grace Atkinson and Valerie Solanas advocated that women pick up the gun in order to destroy patriarchal society. In addition, I analyze the stereotypes of the violent female, which have often been supported by feminists and non-feminists alike.Thus, the stereotyped nature of the violent female does not allow for the complexities that accompany the many reasons why women commit politically motivated crimes. Understanding the role women played in the Weathermen is an important task because womens roles and representation in radical, New Left organizations have often been ignored, overlooked and reproduced by revisionist analyses. Though revolutionary groups from the sixties and seventies were important and progressive in many ways, my thesis will examine the phenomenon of silencing womens voices in these organizations and how this silencing inspired women to find voice in their own movements. Furthermore, I am also interested in radical second wave feminists belief systems and histories concerning violence, particularly since they have rarely been delved into by historians or feminist researchers.
Adviser: Marilyn Myerson.
x Women's Studies
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.