Welcome to

Feminists in Struggle’s

Registration Open Now

A Women’s Liberation Organizing Conference

July 5th to 7th 2024

in a beautiful location with gardens, walkways, and swimming pool
approx. one hour from San Diego


  • Max Dashu (remote, feminist historian & author)
  • Ann Menasche (FIST)
  • Christy Hammer (FIST)
  • Thistle Pettersen (folk musician & founder of WLRN)
  • Hilla Kerner (Vancouver Rape Relief)
  • Carol (de-transitioner)
  • Amie Ichikawa (Woman to Woman, advocacy group for women in prison)
  • Wendy Murphy (remote, ERA activist & attorney)
  • Dr. Suzanne Vierling (FIST)
  • Arianne (LGB Alliance USA)

Schedule still being finalized.

The Conference is Women-only.

Register Now


Tickets will be on sale soon to attend the first national conference of Feminists In Struggle.  The women-only conference entitled “Our Radical Roots: A Women’s Liberation Organizing Conference”  will take place in a beautiful location with gardens, walkways and a swimming pool approximately one hour from San Diego from Friday night 7/5 to Sunday afternoon 7/7.

The conference will feature renown feminist speakers such as Max Dashu (feminist historian & author who will appear remotely), Ann Menasche (FIST), Christy Hammer (FIST),  Thistle Pettersen (folk musician & founder of WLRN) who will be performing her original feminist music, Hilla Kerner (Vancouver Rape relief, Carol  (de-transitioner), Amie Ichikawa (Woman to Woman, advocacy group for women in prison, Wendy Murphy (ERA attorney who will be appearing by video), Dr. Suzanne Vierling (FIST) and Arianne (LGB Alliance USA).

Attendance is relatively low cost with some full and partial scholarships available.

This will be a highly interactive organizing conference with plenty of time to ask questions, and discuss a variety of feminist issues.  A focus will be how to build FIST as a grassroots left-wing democratically-run membership organization dedicated to a renewed multi-issue radical feminist movement.  There will also be plenty of time to socialize, make new friends, and enjoy the surroundings with your sisters in the struggle.

This event is not to be missed!


International Women’s Day (IWD) this year is the fifth anniversary of the founding of Feminists in Struggle!  It is also the year that we will FINALLY have our national conference, long-delayed due to Covid.  Ticket sales for the July 5th to 7th FIST organizing conference in the San Diego area will be announced in the next couple of weeks. STAY TUNED!

One of our members prepared the article below on the history of IWD, which provides lots of useful information for all of us. The opinions contained herein are her own.

Sisterhood is Powerful! 

Let’s keep our eyes on the prize! We WILL prevail!



By Feminist Writer

International Women’s Day (IWD) falls on the 8th day of March every year and Women’s History Month (WHM) spans the month of March. Both of these markers have histories that we need to know about if we are to take on the considerable challenges we face in the present–a time when, although we have come very far and have much to celebrate, critical rights that women have already won are being taken away! These include the right to decide when and if we will bear children (since the overturn of Roe v Wade in 2022) as well as the erasure of the very word for our sex–“woman”. The study of our history and how women and our movements have, time after time, triumphed over every kind of obstacle, can help us find inspiration and lessons that can help us win the struggles we face today.

What follows is a chronology of the histories of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, followed by an overview of our present situation as women.

How International (Working) Women’s Day came to be:

1909–On November 23, 1909, sparked by an impassioned call to strike by a young woman garment worker named Clara Lemlich, an 11-week general strike against the horrific working conditions in New York’s shirtwaist industry was called. It was dubbed the “Uprising of the 20,000″ and started five years of revolt that transformed the garment industry in New York City  into one of the best-organized trades in the United States.

1910—At a meeting in Copenhagen of Socialists from all over the world—The Second Socialist International—socialist Clara Zetkin proposed an annual celebration of “International Working Women’s Day” to commemorate the 1909 labor uprising in New York—the motion was seconded by Lenin himself.

1911–International Working Women’s Day is celebrated for the first time.

March 8, 1917—A women’s uprising in St. Petersburg, Russia, “for bread and land and peace” is the spark that ignites the Russian Revolution, with a Strike that topples the Czar within four days of the women’s protest. Thereafter, around the world, International Working Women’s Day or IWWD is celebrated on March 8.

1947–The last year that there is any record of IWWD being celebrated in the U.S. (until the 1960’s), as after World War II, the “Cold War” with the Soviet Union puts IWWD under suspicion, because people who are seen as in any way participating in groups or events associated with Socialism or Communism are being brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee and are often blacklisted and lose their jobs. This “black list” period puts a chill on events, groups and beliefs associated in any way with Socialism, Communism and International Women’s Day is one of the casualties.

1960’s—In the mid-1960’s, the “Second Wave of Feminism” begins—both the Betty Friedan wing (National Organization for Women)–which fought for pay equity–and the more radical wing, known as the Women’s Liberation Movement, which questioned everything about the position of women and laid the foundation for a wide range of issues we still fight for—the right to abortion, against sexual harassment and rape, available childcare and more. The movement also uncovers the lack of inclusion of women in conventional “history”.

1969–A Berkeley Women’s Liberation group, organizes the first street action to celebrate IWWD in the U.S. since 1947, led largely by a woman known as Laura X. There’s a parade; women dress as female historical figures–and Liberation News Service (a Left movement news service of the day) picks up the story that IWWD is once again being publicly celebrated in the streets of the U.S. and spreads the story to other news services, internationally.

Many around the world are inspired–and the next year, International Women’s Day Celebrations are held in 30 countries!

Women’s History Month chronology

1981— After the Civil Rights Movement and the Feminist Movement have taken off, there is pressure on Congress from women’s groups, such as the National Women’s History Project, which causes Congress to officially institute Women’s History Week, which is inspired by the parallel struggle by Black activists for a Black History Week.

1987–After five more years of pressure, Congress expands Women’s History Week to a full month: Women’s History Month–as happened when Black History Week was expanded to Black History Month. The impetus is the growing awareness that the histories of both groups have been erased and need to be studied and publicized widely.

International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month and our present day reality

Each year women have defined IWD and WHM in terms of how they see the politics of the present moment. Some recent expressions have been regressive, such as calls in 2023 for a celebration of “International Women’s and Non-Binary Day” that removes the focus away from our rights as a sex, and a concentration on the achievements of “famous women”, while ignoring the historical context of their achievement and the need for movements that will move all women forward.

In 2024 we face a landscape that is especially challenging since the overturning of one of the feminist movement’s greatest (though far from perfect) achievements–Roe v Wade, and a right wing determined to take away every reproductive right we have won, including contraception, as they work toward declaring every fetus, zygote and embryo a “person”, thereby making every abortion a ‘murder’!

We also face, from the supposed “Left” the erasure of the very word for our sex–”woman”, along with attacks, including violence, when we try to meet in women-only settings; we’re also facing the erosion of another feminist legislative victory–Title IX–which enabled the growth of women’s sports and is now being threatened by allowing biological men to compete with women.

Aside from these new threats, the old ones persist: the everyday threats of violence, including sexual violence, from male strangers as well as intimates; the the disparities in pay and promotion between women and men (which are even worse for women of color) and sexual harassment on the job as well as the sexist stereotypes women are subject to in every walk of life. So, along with much to celebrate, as our movement has made a huge difference overall in the lives of women, we still have a long way to go. Let’s celebrate what we’ve won for our sex and move ahead together with a vibrant and strengthened feminist movement, drawing sustaining energy from our history and also not forgetting our very great achievements!







Please join us for this fascinating and controversial topic on Saturday March 30 at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time!


FEMINIST FORUM : CRUEL & UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT – MEN IN WOMEN’S PRISONS Tickets, Sat, Mar 30, 2024 at 11:00 AM | Eventbrite


Women prisoners are among the most vulnerable women in our society. They are often poor and disproportionately women of color. Many have experienced sexual and physical violence and abuse often at the hands of men. Women in prison are frequently raped and sexually abused by male prison guards. Now, under a new California law, they are being placed in even greater jeopardy: male prisoners who self-identify as women are being placed into women’s prisons. Many of these males have been convicted of raping, abusing and/or murdering women and girls.

Hear two speakers who represent the perspectives of the incarcerated women who have had this law imposed on them:

1) AMIE ICHKAWA is formerly incarcerated and a founding member and executive director of Woman II Woman. She works directly with women in prisons nationwide with a large focus on California. Woman II Woman champions the rights and welfare of sisters through advocacy and education, along with providing services for parole suitability hearings, commutation preparation, and one-on-one re-entry support, welcoming women back into the community with dignity and respect through a team who have lived the experience.

2) DR. SUZANNE VIERLING has extensive experience in higher education, mental health administration and international consultation. She is a global leader with proven capabilities for driving initiatives and programs across all organizational levels. Dr. Vierling’s expertise includes assessment and accreditation, online learning, compliance, as well as poverty, child welfare, community psychology, foster care, women & bioethics, human trafficking, mental health and juvenile detention. She is a member of Feminists in Struggle.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape by Sohaila Abdulali: A Book Review 

Jocelyn Crawley is a FIST member who authored this review on the important topic of rape. The opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily represent the positions of FIST.

Rape remains central to the way patriarchy operates. In her important book What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape, Sohaila Abdulali discusses how the ongoing reality of sexual assault impacts survivors and the communities in which they live. Reading this work provides radical feminists with fresh insights regarding why rape is still prevalent and what we should be doing about it.

The introduction of What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape is meaningful for many reasons, including the presence of an important question: “How have we managed to evolve as a species that is riddled with rape? When did we give ourselves permission to become this way?” (2) These interrogations are important because they prevent us from falling into the normal mental pattern of perceiving rape as an inevitable part of life and cause us to think of sexual assault as the horrific, dehumanizing reality that it is.

One of the most compelling sections of the text unfolds in Chapter Two, where the author recounts public response to the brutal gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh in New Delhi. People protested by raising signs which read “Don’t tell your daughter not to go out. Tell your son to behave properly” (8). However, negative messaging and response to the rape and murder of Jyoti Singh coincided with the protests. Specifically, one of the rapists stated on film that “only about twenty percent of girls are “good.” If they go out at night with boys, they are asking for trouble. If they don’t want to be killed, they should just lie back and submit. He and his friends were teaching Jyoti a lesson, he said, and her death was an accident. (8). Here, feminists can see that misogyny is still a prevalent element of male socialization such that rape is permissible because men identify traits in women which make them worthy of their wrath.

For many years, many radical feminists have pointed out that while many aspects of rape are problematic, one of the most disquieting, discouraging realities of sexual assault is the lack of concern for the victim. The term “victim-blaming” was coined to reflect the lack of empathy and positive attention given to survivors, and Abdulali speaks to this reality by noting that “the victim remains the least important factor” (33). To recognize how this abstract impression works on the concrete level, consider Abdulali’s assertion that “Sometimes women tell but everyone acts as if they said nothing at all. One woman emailed me: “I told my parents about it and they did nothing. Absolutely nothing. I felt so betrayed. Everyone in my family knew but still he was there at each and every family function. He even works at my uncle’s shop” (18,19). Here, women who are committed to global female liberation can see the need to recentralize the holistic recovery of rape survivors when strategic acts of resistance to patriarchy are being developed.

As 2024 continues to unfold, rape must remain an integral element of radical feminist discourse and strategic work towards the liberation of women and girls from the sexual tyranny of men. Women-centered women can refer to Sohaila Abdulali’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape to obtain more information regarding how discourse regarding sexual assault unfolds and what strategies feminists can develop to resist the minimization of female experiences under patriarchy.




Feminists in Struggle presents a diverse group of feminists from the United States and Israel who all share a pro-peace perspective for a panel discussion on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and issues of war, peace and occupation as they impact women and girls.

Saturday, February 10th, 11:00 a.m. Pacific time, 2:00 p.m. Eastern.  

Tickets on sale now for only $5.00 plus service charge.



1) CINDY SHEEHAN – is an American anti-war activist, mother and grandmother, whose son, U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed during the Iraq War . She attracted national and international media attention in August 2005 for her extended antiwar protest outside President George W. Bush’s Texas Ranch. Her memoir, Peace Mom: A Mother’s Journey through Heartache to Activism, was published in 2006. Sheehan was the 2012 vice-presidential nominee of the Peace and Freedom Party and ran for California Governor in 2014. She runs a substack podcast called “Cindy Sheehan’s soapbox” and continues to speak out against war and imperialism, including against the genocide in Gaza.

2) DORIS BITTAR – Artist, writer, educator and civil rights organizer, Doris Bittar has lived in California since 1986. She was the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee West Coast Coordinator for three years, San Diego Chapter President for seven years. Bittar was born in Baghdad, Iraq of Lebanese and Palestinian parents. She is nationally and internationally exhibiting artist whose works are in collections in the US, the Arab World and Europe. She was a professor of art for 25 years at UCSD, Cal State San Marcos. the American University of Beirut, and was visiting scholar at NYU in 2017. Her current project, Colonial Colonnade premiered at the Arab American National Museum in November 2023.

3) HANNAH SAFRAN – Feminist, lesbian, peace activist and veteran of Women in Black in Haifa, Israel. She was one of the women who started the vigil with the slogan “An End to the Occupation” in March 1988, close to the beginning of the first intifada. She has been active at Isha L-lsha the Haifa feminist center and is currently involved in its feminist archive and library.  She has done research and taught in Women’s Studies in academic institutions. Her work on the history of the Jewish suffrage movement in Palestine in the 1920’s and the beginnings of the feminist movement of the 70’s was published in a book. She has also published articles on the history of the feminist-lesbian movement and the women’s peace movement. She has been actively involved in the protest movement against the war on Gaza and for the return of the kidnapped people

4) ROMI ELNAGAR – is a retired teacher-librarian with long-standing personal ties to the Middle East. She majored in Third World colonial history (modern Asian, African and Latin American histor), and has lived and travelled in the Middle East. She converted (“reverted”) to Islam more than forty years ago, has made the hajj to Mecca, and has studied the Koran extensively in English translations. For many years, she has helped families in Gaza with their basic needs. As a teacher, mother and grandmother, she is especially concerned with the struggle of Palestinian women under the Occupation, and the special challenges women face in that struggle. She is a proud member of Feminist in Struggle.

5) ANN MENASCHE is a life-long radical lesbian feminist, socialist and anti-war activist proud of her Sephardic Jewish heritage. Members of her family lived in Turkey and Greece under Ottoman rule and some were murdered in the Holocaust. While in college, she rejected the Zionism she grew up with and came to advocate peace, justice and equality between the two peoples living in the holy land and an end to occupation, discrimination, and apartheid. She is horrified at the genocide going on against Palestinians in Gaza and believes “never again” means for everybody. She works as a Civil rights attorney for low income tenants and unhoused clients. Ann is a founding member and member of the Coordinating Committee of Feminists in Struggle.

THIS IS A WOMEN-ONLY EVENT. Male allies are welcome to watch our zoom videos on Youtube.


After vigorous discussion and a vote of our members, Feminists in Struggle has endorsed California’s Protect Kids Initiative https://protectkidsca.com/, a voter initiative that is now being circulated for signatures.  The Initiative would protect children and teens under the age of 18 who are lesbian or gay, gender non-conforming, autistic or otherwise “different” from their peers, from sterilization and permanent bodily harms as a result of so-called “gender affirming care.”  It would require that parents be notified should a child publicly adopt a “gender identity”  that denies the physical reality of their sex, leading to a path of life-long medicalization, worsened health and shortened lives.  And it would preserve girls’ changing rooms and girls’ sports programs for junior high and high school students as female-only in the interest of girls’ privacy and equal opportunity.

As radical feminists and Leftists, we reject the idea that children who fail to conform to rigid sex roles and stereotypes are born in the “wrong” body.  We disagree that such children’s heathy bodies need “fixing” by drastic quasi-medical interventions such as puberty blockers, cross sex hormones, double mastectomies and genital surgeries.  “Masculine” girls (traditionally referred to as “tomboys”) and “feminine” boys are fine just as they are.  They should be free to dress and express themselves as they like and pursue whatever interests they desire regardless of their sex. Lesbian, gay and bisexual teens should be free to explore their sexual and romantic attractions with their peers just as their heterosexual counterparts do, without discrimination or stigma.

We in FIST name the medicalization of these children as the sexist and homophobic practice that it is, harming overwhelming girls, many of whom would grow up to be lesbians.  This practice is also the biggest medical scandal of the past three quarters of a century, leading to not only sterilization, but early onset osteoporosis, undeveloped brains and respiratory systems, an inability to ever experience sexual pleasure as an adult, and an increased risk of stroke and cancer.

As one of our members, Javiera, explained it, “As a mother to 2 young children, it feels very important to me that we protect children from these harmful practices. These are children’s lives and futures at stake here.  It is important to me that we redirect and correct course. Yes, a lot of work needs to be done…adults need support in supporting their gender non-conforming and/or gay/lesbian children. But I really believe we must come together and stop these institutions and corporations from implanting the ideas of “born in the wrong body,”  protect our children from being “at war” with themselves, and come back to being embodied people working towards loving and accepting ourselves.”


This is a great time to join or get more active in Feminists in Struggle! We have confirmed that our First National Organizing and Educational Conference will take place in the San Diego area from July 5th to 7th, 2024. Please mark your 2024 calendars and stay tuned for details. 

Also, our first membership meeting of the New Year will take place on zoom on Saturday, January 20, 2024, 11:00 a.m. Pacific time, 2:00 p.m. Eastern. We will get updates on our conference plans and discuss the Protect Kids Initiative being circulated for the November 2024 ballot in California.

Please read up on the initiative:  https://protectkidsca.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/Protect-Kids-of-California-Act-of-2024-1.pdf

Whether or not FIST should formally endorse the initiative will be brought to an on-line vote after the membership meeting. All members paid up on their 2023 dues are eligible to vote. You must also be on the Feminist Assembly listserv to vote. Dues for 2024 comes due in March but we appreciate early payment!

We look forward to working together for women’s liberation and growing FIST!


More Witch-hunting in the Left

By Ann Menasche
(This is the opinion of the author alone and does not represent the views of FIST as an organization.)

As a lifelong anti-war activist, a couple of months ago I threw myself into the political work of stopping the genocide against the people of Gaza (overwhelming targeting women and children) by rejoining the San Diego chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace. I attended rallies, spoke at one of them and initiated plans for a Hanukkah event that would light the Menorah and call for a permanent ceasefire and a just peace between Israeli Jews and Palestinians.

I didn’t say a word about my gender critical views. The topic simply never came up. But some folks decided to do their homework on me, starting with posts in my X account and leading to my role in FIST. So, it came down as expected. I was told that I either needed to recant my views Orwellian style and “apologize” for my thought crimes, or I couldn’t even attend the event I had planned (I was supposed to be a speaker), because of the risk my very presence posed to the “safety” of trans members. When I refused to recant and said I would attend the public event anyway, they changed the location at the very last minute and made sure I wasn’t informed of the change.

Of course, folks know I never go quietly into the night. When I was fired from my job after asserting the biological fact that only females of the species get pregnant and need abortions – defined as “hateful bigotry” by my former employer – I filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination (still pending). See https://defendfeminists.net/the-feminists-we-defend/justice-for-ann-menasche

When I was effectively expelled from JVP through being excluded from participating and attending their events, I began circulating an open letter that will be published shortly with signatures of anti-war activists, authors, and journalists from around the country. Renown individuals like Cindy Sheehan and Chris Hedges have signed on.

To my Leftists comrades who think feminists like me should be excluded from the movement: You don’t own the Left, you just think you do. Radical feminists are part of the Left, whether you like it or not. If you are serious about stopping war and genocide, stop witch-hunting out some of your best activists and doing the work of the IDF and the Pentagon for them.

NO, Violence Against Women is NOT Progressive!

By Ann Menasche
Many feminists are aware or have personally experienced the verbal threats of violence by mostly males directed against women, labelled “TERFS” for the “crime” of advocating, as feminists have always done, for our rights based on sex. These threats have been made in the name of “transgender rights” and “antifascism.” Violent slogans like “Die in a fire, TERF”, “Punch a TERF”, “A million dead TERFS,” “Decapitate TERFs”, etc. whether scribbled on a sign or posted on social media, are rather unique. Indeed, this should be enough for any honest Leftist to reconsider the nature of this movement. Never in my lifetime has a supposedly “Left” or progressive cause threatened whole groups, even our political opponents, with death. When feminists fight for abortion rights, have we ever called for the deaths of Catholics? Did the lesbian/gay rights struggle of decades ago ever call for the deaths of homophobes? So, even if all the horrid things they said about us were true, which they decidedly are not, such slogans are rather shocking. Nazis and fascist thugs do such things, yes. Racists, yes. Misogynist Incel-types, yes. But progressives?

Now the situation has escalated to acts of physical violence against women by these men. It wasn’t the first time, but what happened on November 19, in Portland, Oregon was perhaps the worst. A small group of women from Women’s Declaration International (WDI) and WoLF held a protest peacefully asserting their sex-based rights as part of a non-violent direct-action movement that WDI is spearheading around the country. Their banner read, “Women=Adult Human Female.” The attack was vicious and premeditated. The women had been vandalized the night before the event at the place they were staying and had their tires slashed. The library where they were planning to speak was also vandalized, broken windows, graffiti and the like, forcing the library to close. The women instead held a protest outside the library. They were denied police protection despite multiple calls to police and then “Antifa” (or “trantifa”) thugs assaulted and beat the women, sprayed them with burning chemicals into their eyes, punched them, stole and broke their phones, and threw women to the ground. The women remained non-violent through the attack. Several women ended up in the Emergency Room. Please see the detailed description of events here. https://womensdeclarationusa.com/wdi-usa-statement-about-nvda-action-in-portland/

For more about this violent group of bullies who fashion themselves as “Leftists”, “anti-fascists”, and even “revolutionaries”, see https://www.newsweek.com/what-trantifa-far-left-movement-transgender-violence-1807032. Also, take a look at the statement released by the Portland chapter of Antifa prior to the assault on the women – https://rosecityantifa.org/articles/WDI-US. The statement reads like a hit piece, full of lies, half-truths, guilt by association, paranoia, hyperbole, and complete dehumanization of the women, the kind of language that is typically used to rile people up to commit all kinds of atrocities. It is not only not progressive, but it is a throw-back to the tactics of the anti-Communist witch-hunt in the mid-twentieth century that similarly demonized communists, socialists, and progressive activists of all stripes. However, this time the targets are feminists.

Feminists in Struggle stands in solidarity with our sisters in Portland and condemns the unprovoked, unjustified and clearly misogynist violence of Antifa against women peacefully asserting their rights. Women will not be silenced by this violence. We call on all Leftists and progressives, whether in agreement with radical feminists on the issue of gender identity or not, to condemn this violence, and completely disassociate themselves from the thuggery being done in their name. Enough is enough! Women must be free to gather, speak our minds, and protest without fear for our safety and lives.

And to the “Antifa” members who think they are conducting their “revolution” this way on the backs of feminists, I have one message: If you want to fight fascism, I suggest you start by not acting like brownshirts yourselves.