(1975) A letter sent to prospective attendees to help them prepare for the Conference. Published in the June-July 1975 issue of CWLU News. (1975)
(Editors Note: This is a 1975 letter that went out to perspective conference attendees to prepare them for the Conference in July.)
Socialist Feminist Conference
1309 North Main Street
Dayton, Ohio 45406
March 25, 1975
While the rest of this mailing is about the Conference in the future, this part is about NOW: What you can do now to build for the Conference. The following suggestions are aimed not only at encouraging your group to help spread the facts about the Conference, but also at spreading the politics and ideas of socialist feminism, and at the same time doing work that would benefit your group.
Following are our suggestions: If you are engaged in significant local organizing it would be good to consider doing a workshop. As you can see from the agenda there can be a wide variety of strategic, tactical, skills -building or special interest workshops. We need women with experience to give such presentations. If your groups or certain individuals would like to put together a presentation, or speak in one of the strategy workshops, let us know.
We are expecting women to come to the Conference having done some preparation. A short term study group could be an excellent activity for some groups. This will help develop people's understanding of the issues to be presented and discussed, and bring women closer together. It also might be good to draw in some women not in your group, but who are interested in socialist feminism. This could help build relationships with other women's organizations in your city. Following are some suggested readings. As the Conference draws nearer, we expect papers to be circulated for discussion in advance. Also, a lot of papers will be generated by the Conference, and could provide the basis for continued meeting of your local group, after the event itself.
WOMEN, RESISTANCE AND REVOLUTION -Vintage Books -by Sheila Rowbotham
WOMEN'S CONSCIOUSNESS, MAN'S WORLD -Penguin Books -by Sheila Rowbotham
SOCIALIST FEMINISM STRATEGY PAPER -available from Chicago Liberation Union
DIALOGUE BETWEEN BARBARA DEMING AND ARTHUR KINOY ON PARTY BUILDING available from M.P.P., 156 5th Avenue, Room 812, New York, New York 10010.
SOCIALIST REVOLUTION -the Eli Zaretsky series. Volume 13-14, and Volume 15.
ORIGIN OF THE FAMIL Y, PRIVATE PROPERTY, AND THE STATE -Engles
RADICAL AMERICA -Volume 7, No. 4 and 5. THE POWER OF WOMEN, AND THE SUBVERSION OF THE COMMUNITY -Maria Rosa Dalla Costa
THE LONGEST REVOLUTION by Juliet MitchelI -New England Free Press
Use the fact of the Conference to reach out and have discussion with a wide variety of women in your city. We suggest you call a meeting, or a series of meetings, for people or groups who might want to come to the-Conference. Or, get on the agenda of groups who have regular meetings. You might give a presentation on socialist-feminism, have some discussions of political questions, describe the Conference plans, and also talk about each group's local work. The Conference plans call for major sessions on various kinds of community and workplace organizing, as well as theoretical discussion. Examples of the kinds of groups we will be interested in having participate:
Third World women's groups, or women's caucuses of Third World left groups
Other alternative institutions such as -Women's Health Services, Free Clinics, Counseling Services,
Daycare Workers and Clients
C.L.U.W. groupings (there will be a major discussion and analysis of C.L.U.W. and, hopefully, some formulation of left strategy)
Women in unions such as -AFT, 1199, AFSCME
Women working in working women's support organizations -such as Union W.A.G.E., 9 to 5, W.E.
Women organizing community struggles such as utilities, tenements, health care
Women's caucuses of left organizations or collectives
Non-Socialist feminists who seek a more activist orientation
Women's studies faculty and students
The Conference could provide a good opportunity for you to speak before and with such groups. As you read the detailed Conference agenda, perhaps even more ideas of who in your city would be interested in the various workshops will come to mind.
Finally you should try to get our press release and agenda into any local newspapers, newsletters of organizations, campus newspapers, etc.
The success of the Conference depends a great deal on the local work we all can do. If women come prepared, and we have real representation from Third World, working class, and lesbian women, we will have a much more meaningful Conference. So, do your best to work locally between now and July 4th!
THE SOCIALIST FEMINIST CONFERENCE PLANNING COMMITTEE