Anarcha-feminism (also called anarchist feminism and anarcho-feminism) combines anarchism with feminism. It generally views patriarchy as a manifestation of involuntary hierarchy. Anarcha-feminists believe that the struggle against patriarchy is an essential part of class struggle, and the anarchist struggle against the State. In essence, the philosophy sees anarchist struggle as a necessary component of feminist struggle and vice-versa. As Susan Brown puts it, "as anarchism is a political philosophy that opposes all relationships of power, it is inherently feminist". [Brown, p. 208.] Anarchist feminism appears in individualist and collectivist forms, with individualist forms having most adherents in the United States, while in Europe anarchist feminism has had more emphasis on collectivism. ["Feminism: Anarchist" by Judy Greenway. 2000. Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women: Global Women's Issues and Knowledge. Kramara, Cheris & Spender, Dale eds. Routledge. p. 712]


Anarcha-feminism was inspired by late 19th and early 20th century authors and theorists such as anarchist feminists Emma Goldman, Voltairine de Cleyre and Lucy Parsons. [Dunbar-Ortiz, p.9.] In the Spanish Civil War, an anarchist and feminist group, Mujeres Libres ("Free Women"), organized to defend both anarchist and feminist ideas. [Ackelsberg.]

The major male anarchist thinkers, with the exception of Proudhon, strongly supported women's equality. Bakunin, for example, opposed patriarchy and the way the law "subjects [women] to the absolute domination of the man." He argued that " [e] qual rights must belong to men and women" so that women can "become independent and be free to forge their own way of life." Bakunin foresaw the end of "the authoritarian juridical family" and "the full sexual freedom of women." [Bakunin on Anarchism, p. 396 and p. 397] .An Anarchist FAQ. [ What is Anarcha-Feminism?] ] Proudhon, on the other hand, viewed the family as the most basic unit of society and of his morality and thought women had the responsibility of fulfilling a traditional role within the family. [Broude, N. and M. Garrard (1992). "The Expanding Discourse: Feminism And Art History." p. 303. Westview Press. ISBN 978-0064302074]

Since the 1860s, anarchism's radical critique of capitalism and the state has been combined with a critique of patriarchy. Anarcha-feminists thus start from the precept that modern society is dominated by men. Authoritarian traits and values—domination, exploitation, aggression, competition. etc.—are integral to hierarchical civilizations and are seen as "masculine." In contrast, non-authoritarian traits and values—cooperation, sharing, compassion, sensitivity—are regarded as "feminine," and devalued. Anarcha-feminists have thus espoused creation of a non-authoritarian, anarchist society. They refer to the creation of a society, based on cooperation, sharing, , etc. as the "feminization of society."


An important aspect of anarcha-feminism is its opposition to traditional conceptions of family, education and gender roles [Emma Goldman, "Marriage and Love", in Alix Kates Shulman (ed.), "Red Emma Speaks: An Emma Goldman Reader", Schocken Books, N.Y., 1982, pp. 204-13.] . The institution of marriage is one of the most widely attacked [Goldman, "Marriage and Love".] . De Cleyre argued that marriage stifled individual growth [Voltairine de Cleyre, [ They Who Marry Do Ill] (1907)] , and Goldman argued that it "is primarily an economic arrangement... [woman] pays for it with her name, her privacy, her self-respect, her very life." [Goldman, "Marriage and Love", "Red Emma Speaks", p. 205] . Anarcha-feminists have also argued for non-hierarchical family and educational structures, and had a prominent role in the creation of the Modern School in New York City, based on the ideas of Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia. [Paul Avrich, "The Modern School Movement: Anarchism and Education in the United States".]

In English-speaking anarcha-feminist circles in the United States, the term "Manarchist" has recently emerged as a pejorative label for male anarchists who are dismissive of feminist concerns, who are overtly antifeminist, or who behave in ways regarded as patriarchal and misogynistic.Fact|date=July 2007 The term was coined in a 2001 questionnaire, "Are You a Manarchist?". [ [ Are You A Manarchist?] ]

There is some concern that Anarcha-feminist in the developed world can be dismissive of third world feminist concerns. This has been noted especially in the plight of Anarcha-feminist in the Middle East. [Fact|date=September 2007]

In modern times anarcha-feminism has been noted for its heavy influence on ecofeminism. "Ecofeminists rightly note that except for anarcha feminist, no feminist perspective has recognized the importance of healing the nature/culture division." [Tuana, Nacy. Tong, Rosemarie. 'Feminism and Philosophy' Westview Press (1995) p. 328 ]

Contemporary anarcha-feminist groups include Bolivia's Mujeres Creando, Radical Cheerleaders, and the annual La Rivolta! conference in Boston.

Recently, Wendy McElroy has defined a position (she describes it as "ifeminism" or "individualist feminism") that combines feminism with anarcho-capitalism or libertarianism, arguing that a pro-capitalist, anti-state position implies equal rights and empowerment for women. [Wendy McElroy, " [ XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography] ".] Individualist anarchist feminism has grown from the US-based individualist anarchism movement.

Anarcho-primitivism has been citedattribution needed|date=December 2007 as a form of anarchism that addresses feminist concerns. Anarcho-primitivists, inspired by the work of anthropologists such as Jared Diamond [ [ Microsoft Word - mistake.rtf ] ] and Eleanor Leacock - who describe a typically egalitarian relationship between men and women in foraging societies - believe that agriculture not only gave rise to forms of domination such as class distinctions but to patriarchy and sexism as well. [ [ John Zerzan - Patriarchy, Civilization, and the Origins of Gender] ]

ee also

* Ecofeminism
* Individualist feminism
* Peggy Kornegger
* Radical feminism
* "The Firebrand" (later "Free Society"), "BlueStockings Journal", and "Lucifer the Lightbearer", turn-of-the-century feminist anarchist publications


* Roberta A. Ackelsberg, "Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women" (AK Press: 2005)
* Susan Brown, "Beyond Feminism: Anarchism and Human Freedom", "Anarchist Papers 3" (Black Rose Books: 1990)
* Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, editor, "Quiet Rumours: An Anarcha-Feminist Reader" (Dark Star: 2002)
* Margaret S. Marsh, "Anarchist Women, 1870–1920" (1981)


Further reading

* " [ Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas - Volume One: From Anarchy to Anarchism (300CE-1939)] ", ed. Robert Graham includes material by Louise Michel, Charlotte Wilson, Voltairine de Cleyre, Emma Goldman, Lucia Sanchez Soarnil (Mujeres Libres), and Latin American (Carmen Lareva), Chinese (He Zhen) and Japanese (Ito Noe and Takamure Itsue) anarcha-feminists.

External links

* [ Anarcha- Communist Gender news]
* [ Anarcha-Feminism] at
* [ Anarcha]
* [ Modern anarchist writings by women]
* [ Libertarian Communist Library Archive]

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