Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Writers Guild Office Boy 1970 (xiv)

By early December 1970, I had finished reading Robin Morgan’s Sisterhood Is Powerful anthology of essays by a new wave of radical feminist intellectuals and activists and a pamphlet of articles that were being distributed by the Redstockings’ radical feminist group around this time. I also usually bought a copy regularly of the Lower East Side’s weekly underground newspaper Rat, which in late 1970 was now under the control of a collective of anti-imperialist revolutionary feminist women activists.

So,not surprisingly, I had begun to feel by December 1970 that, within the United States, the agent of anti-imperialist revolutionary change during the 1970s was going to be the then-politically powerless oppressed caste of U.S. women of all classes and racial backgrounds, who made up the majority of the population in the U.S.A..

In retrospect, I overestimated the revolutionary potential of U.S. women.
I was mistaken in my early 1970s belief that U.S. women alone—if united as a caste under the leadership of revolutionary feminist women—would be able to make the Revolution, regardless of whether or not U.S. men (other than their leftist boyfriends) supported them politically. Yet in early December 1970, the “Sex War Alone Theory of Revolutionary Social Change” that I had developed seemed a plausible one to me.

The political strategic approach I had come to believe would lead to an anti-imperialist Revolution in the United States which eliminated imperialism, racism, capitalism, sexism, heterosexism and classism all at the same time by the middle of the 1970s reflected the following early 1970s historical and strategic assumptions:

1. A mass-based anti-imperialist revolutionary feminist-led movement of liberated women and their leftist male lovers and political allies would non-violently occupy the U.S. network television studios in the 1970s and demand an immediate end to institutionalized male supremacy, militarism, racism, classism and heterosexism in the U.S.A..

2. Once control of the U.S. mass media television studios was non-violently seized by a mass-based revolutionary feminist-led movement, Movement women would use then their newly-obtained mass media power, as well as their control over other U.S. socializing institutions, to socialize U.S. women to become revolutionary feminist in their political consciousness and U.S. men to become non-sexist and revolutionary male feminist in their political consciousness.

3. Because the majority of people in the U.S.A. were women, women alone—if united as a revolutionary caste—possessed the political capability of overthrowing the oppressive U.S. social system of patriarchal capitalism, patriarchal imperialism, patriarchal racism, patriarchal sexism and patriarchal heterosexism.

4. Large numbers of politically left-oriented anti-war hip men who were involved in love relationships with feminist women would politically support a revolutionary feminist takeover of the U.S. mass media and the patriarchal U.S. corporate state if Movement people collectively organized around the “All Power To Our Sisters!” and “Seize Their TV, Then Speak Freely” strategy that I proposed in my December 1970 position paper.

By the mid-1970s, of course, the patriarchal corporate male-backed upper middle-class corporate and cultural feminist white liberals had pretty much taken control over the strategic direction of the post-1970s women’s liberation movement. And these upper middle-class, white “bourgeois feminist” liberals seemed to have been successful at converting the U.S. women’s liberation movement against male supremacy into a reformist "women's movement", not a revolutionary movement, that seemed to get co-opted by the patriarchal capitalist system in the United States. But in December 1970, large numbers of U.S. women still appeared to me to possess the kind of revolutionary rage that made me feel that U.S. women alone would be able to bring the Monster System down in the United States and free us all from 9-to-5 wage slavery, once and for all.

And when I dropped some mescaline in my Bronx slum apartment on Christmas Eve 1970, “the seize their TV, then speak freely” strategic notion came to me that, if the Movement in the U.S.A. non-violently occupied the U.S. network television studios in 1971 (in the same way Movement activists had occupied the buildings of Columbia University’s campus in April 1968) a Revolution in the U.S.A. could potentially happen before I was 30 years old. But, like I’ve previously indicated, I overestimated the long-term, long-haul revolutionary potential of the early 1970s women’s liberation movement.

No comments: