International Women’s Day 2020

Today is International Women’s Day and marks Feminists in Struggle’s 1 year anniversary!  We want to thank everyone who has joined us in the struggle to reignite a strong women’s movement in  order to finish the job First Wave and Second Wave feminists began.  We are so grateful for their sacrifices and contributions and we acknowledge all the women working for the global liberation of women around the world.

We particularly want to recognize the women of the #MeToo Movement who took personal risk to come forward to hold sexual predators accountable, the women behind the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights, and the efforts of organizations like Equal Means Equal that have worked tirelessly to bring the Equal Rights Amendment to the finish line.  It was 100 years ago this year that First Wave feminists won the right to vote, and 97 years after its first introduction that the ERA reached the milestone of the 38th state for ratification!!

We look forward to many more accomplishments of present-day feminists to fight back against the enemies of women’s freedom and autonomy.  Please join us at Feminist Struggle and help us continue the struggle for the liberation of all women!

A New Way Forward for Feminism

How do feminists most effectively fight gender identity ideology as it becomes more and more enshrined into our laws, such as the female-erasing provisions of the U.S. Equality Act pending in Congress? Should we simply oppose “gender identity” as a single issue, narrowly defined?  Or should we fight to defend women’s sex-based rights while at the same time advocating for federal civil rights protection against discrimination for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and others who do not conform to stereotypes imposed on their sex?   What is the most effective strategy for fighting against the current version of the Equality Act while advancing our feminist vision for changing society? Is merging messaging with the Christian Right helpful or harmful to achieving our goals? How can we rebuild a radical feminist movement strong enough to defeat all our enemies, both the transactivists who would erase us and the Religious Right who would enslave us?

These are some of the issues that Ann Menasche, founding member of Feminists In Struggle (FIST), grapples with in her New Radical Feminist Approach to Challenging Gender Identity Ideology: The Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act” published in Redline. Menasche jumps into the debate within the burgeoning new women’s liberation movement, regarding conflicting strategies put forward by FIST and WoLF.  She argues that campaigns to defend women’s sex-based rights should be combined with a challenge to gender itself by opposing both homophobia and sex stereotyping.   She explains how the Feminist Amendments do just that, an approach precluded by WoLF’s orientation toward alliances with the organized Christian Right.

“FIST’s strategy emphasizes winning the battle of ideas within the whole society…the same strategy that won women the vote and resulted in the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States,” writes Menasche. “These victories were not gifts bestowed from on high but were won by mass struggle of millions of women. We believe that such a strategy is ultimately more decisive in achieving the changes that we currently seek as compared to a focus on lobbying politicians in the two corporate parties or playing one wing of patriarchy against the other.”

FIST and Equal Means Equal on Joy of Resistance Radio Show

Our own Ann Menasche appeared on the Joy of Resistance show on WBAI hosted by Fran Luck talking about our Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act which make a distinction between rights based on sex and rights based on gender non-conformity and sexual orientation.  Ann articulated the reasons for the feminist amendments as many rights for which women have fought would be eroded under the Equality Act.

Another very important topic was covered on the show–the ratification of THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT BY BOTH VIRGINIA STATE HOUSES TODAY, January 27, 2020!!  Kamala Lopez of Equal Means Equal was interviewed on the show who explained that there is no need to pass legislation to do away with the imposed deadlines on the legislation because no deadline was included in the legislation, it was a separate bill on which the states did not vote, that Congress did its job in 1972, and we should not get mired down in more Congressional action, as some suggest, by pursuing the passage of legislation doing away with the deadline because the deadline does not matter.

She stated that the Alabama Attorney General filed suit asserting that the archivist should not record Virginia’s 38th state ratification, even though the same archivist recorded the last two states, Nevada (2017) and Illinois (2018). Equal Means Equal has filed suit to make sure the ratification is recorded and will be pursuing various cases across the nation to make sure it becomes part of the U. S. Constitution at long last.  It will be making a Federalist Originalist argument outlined in the Constitution, which will be very difficult for the conservative court to rule against.

Kamala Lopez explained that without the ERA, we will never have equal work for equal pay and that strict scrutiny regarding discrimination under the ERA will finally be required on the basis of sex as it has been for religion, nationality, and race.  She urged listeners to go to Equal Means Equal and sign up for their newsletter and to show up in Richmond, VA on March 8, 2020, International Women’s Day and the centennial of women’s suffrage, to march in the ERA Parade to celebrate it’s ratification.

The show also briefly covered the WoLF events which were scheduled at two public libraries, Seattle and NYC, and how NYCPL cancelled their event while Seattle has refused to cancel theirs.

More about this program at WBAI

Women’s March 2020

FIST was present at Women’s Marches in Chicago and San Diego with banners proclaiming our motto, “Our Bodies, Our Spaces, Our Sex-Based Rights!” which we also chanted!  Some of us wore our new t-shirts and sweatshirts with the banner as well.

 

A Guarded Thanks to Seattle Public Library

Feminists in Struggle previously wrote the Seattle Public Library on behalf of the WoLF event, “Fighting the New Misogyny,” scheduled for February 1, urging the library to honor the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution and allow the event to go on despite attempts to shut it down by the trans community.  We have now written the library to thank them for going ahead with the event, but in view of the inordinate amount of time that it took for them to reach this decision, and their having had multiple hearings and events for this population, we thought we should remind them of the fact that women, adult human females, are still a marginalized group who need future events focused on the multiple ways in which we experience discrimination based on our sex.  See below for full text of our statement.

To:  Seattle Public Library

From:  Feminists in Struggle

 

While we’re gratified to learn that the Seattle Public Library has decided to honor free speech and allow women to speak in the “Fighting the New Misogyny” event put on by the Women’s Liberation Front scheduled for February 1, we wish to remind the library and its board that this is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution.  As such, there should have been no question whatsoever as to what the correct decision should have been, nor any delay in reaching it, particularly on behalf of a public institution such as yours.

We hope that future such events will not only be scheduled unimpeded, but that any opposition by those who think it is acceptable to deny women the right to speak will be firmly resisted by your board, your decision reached in a much more expeditious manner, and said events be allowed to go on with your unswerving public support.  Women, adult human females, are a marginalized group as well, are still second class citizens in 2020 with no standing in the federal Constitution, even though we are 52% of the population!  We deserve many more opportunities to speak not only on this topic, but many others such as #MeToo, ratification of the ERA, FGM, and male violence towards women to name a few. It is our sincere hope that you will readily give women the respect we deserve in the future.

A Message to the New York City Public Library

To:  The New York City Public Library

From:  Feminists in Struggle

 

We are a national group that fights for women’s rights, with members from across the United States.  We are appalled by your recent decision to cancel a planned event by the group Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF). By denying one group access to the Library, you have not only violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but have, in effect, become censors, in direct contradiction to the core principles of the history of your own institution!

 

The American Library Association, the oldest U.S library professional organization, has stated in its Library Bill of Rights: “VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.”

 

Even during the “communist witch-hunt period” of the 1950’s the Library Service stood its ground and refused to bow to enormous and intimidating pressure from Senator Joseph McCarthy, et al, by refusing to remove library books deemed “subversive” by his committee. Your recent decision flies in the face of this proud tradition of defending the rights of public library users to be exposed to a diversity of opinion.

 

Recently, the Seattle Public Library, when faced with a similar decision, regarding this same group (WoLF), made a decision opposite your own. Their statement reads as follows:

 

These values are easy to stand by when we agree with the viewpoints being shared, but when viewpoints challenge us in uncomfortable ways, it certainly becomes more difficult. It is in these difficult moments we must stand particularly firm in supporting the right to free speech in order to preserve that right for everyone.

 

We strongly urge you to follow their lead and look forward to your rescinding this terrible decision and replacing it with one that is more in line with both the proud history of the U.S. Library Service and the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution!

ERA JUST GOT RATIFIED IN THE 38TH STATE!!

We are thrilled to learn that on January 15th, 2020 the Virginia legislature has voted to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment!  It’s about time, Virginia, but thank you for finally acting on behalf of the women of the United States to end our second-class citizenship!

The Equal Rights Amendment reads as follows:

“Section 1: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Section 2: The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Equal Means Equal and other groups were there to ensure that the Virginia legislature did not forget its promise to vote to ratify the ERA nearly 50 years after it was introduced in the U. S. Congress in 1972 and almost 100 years after it was first introduced in 1923 as the Lucretia Mott Amendment.  Many of us marched for the ERA and were disheartened when it did not reach the critical 38 states in 1982, but some of us never gave up the fight.  We wish to thank our sisters for their hard work and perseverance in pursuing ERA ratification!

Though there are still a few hurdles to its being enshrined in the Constitution as the 28th Amendment, it is way past time that women’s rights be fully recognized!  We will continue to fight until that happens!!

ORDER FIST MERCHANDISE FOR WOMEN’S MARCH!

We now have FIST merchandise available just in time for the Women’s Marches on January 18th!  Order your  t-shirt, download and print the FIST BANNER, and download the FAEA brochure, which can be printed and distributed!  The brochure includes our 13 principles, links to our website and social media, and explains our Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act.

Statement to SPL re Fighting the New Misogyny Event

To:  Seattle Public Library Board of Directors and Chief Librarian

From:  Feminists in Struggle (FIST)

Feminists in Struggle (FIST) https://feministstruggle.org/ urges the Seattle Public library to resist the pressure to cancel the talk entitled “Fighting the New Misogyny: A Feminist Critique of Gender Identity” scheduled for February 1st at your library.  Free speech is a bedrock principle of our Constitution. Public Libraries in particular should be beacons of intellectual freedom, and the free exchange of ideas. To censor opinions on controversial issues such as whether policies related to gender identity may infringe on the rights of women and girls, violates your own library’s intellectual freedom policies and your obligation as a public entity to preserve our First Amendment rights. Please stand firm in defense of free speech and refuse to cancel this event.