A selection of modern anarchist writings by women

A collection of writings by women anarchists who were or are members of the Workers Solidarity Movement

Anarchist women

Why half the world's children go to bed hungry [1991]
It's hard to know how any one can consider capitalism a viable system when looking at the situation of the less developed countries. A recent UN report estimates that 30 million people face starvation. Yet EC beef, butter and wine mountains rot in European warehouses, farmers are ploughing crops back into the land, in US corn belt fields of wheat are burnt.

Abortion: It's every Womans Right to Choose [1992]
Anarchists believe that every woman has the right to choose an abortion when faced with a crisis pregnancy irrespective of the reasons for the abortion. At least 4,000 Irish women have abortions in England every year at present.

Equality for some women? [1992]
It isn't sexism that holds us in the worse paid jobs but rather the economic reality of the capitalism system. To survive in the market place any company has to be competitive, to maximise profits. In todays society, creches and child-care are a luxury that the profit motive can rarely afford.

The not very 'natural' oppression of women [1992]
In the majority of societies half our species (women) has been held in an inferior position to the other half (men). Why is this the case? The answer to this question should explain two things. It should explain why today with all our equal rights legislation women are still second class citizens, and secondly it should indicate the mechanisms and tactics we have to use to achieve womens' liberation.

Sex, Class and the Queen of England [1992]
Violence and discrimination against women are still very real. Large numbers of women want to fight back. Aileen O'Carroll looks at some of the issues. Can women of all classes share a common goal? Should women organise separately? Is there a connection between fighting sexism and fighting capitalism?

Abortion vote [1992]
We are being faced with three separate, and each in their own way highly insulting, referenda. These are on the right to Travel, the right to Information and on the right to Abortion in certain very restricted circumstances. Anarchists will be voting Yes to Travel, Yes to Information and No to the so called '"pro-life"' wording.

Famine in Somalia [1992]
THE FAMINE in Somalia has once again focussed attention on the problems of the less developed countries. Much of the response to the crisis is a short term one in the form of food aid. However in order to understand the causes of this and other famines in Africa it is necessary to race back the roots of the problem to colonisation and imperialism.

Anti-abortionists told to SPUC OFF! [1993]
}Where previously the church was an almost unquestioned authority on moral issues in Ireland, now the positions many Irish people hold on social issues are in direct conflict with the church. The most recent example of this were the abortion referenda held on November 26th, 1992.

Review: Anarchism by Daniel Guerin [1993]
This book is an easy reading introduction to the main ideas in anarchist thought and the events that have helped to form them.

Bigots send for sherrif [1993]
THE FIGHT between SPUC and the student unions over the provision of abortion information has entered a new phase. SPUC's solicitors, are now seeking costs from the student unions for the earlier stages of the case.

The Myth of the Student Radical [1993]
There is a commonly held idea that universities are some sort of "red nucleus", a hotbed of activism and socialism. The fact is that students come from many different backgrounds and classes, although mainly 'middle' and upper class. There is no underlying political or economic interest that unites or could unite all students.

New law aids pimps and protection rackets [1993]
Tagged on to the end of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 were further restrictions on prostitution. Under the new act, prostitutes are now liable to fines of up to £1,000 and up to six months in prison.

Freedom & Revolution [1994]
Does the end justify the means? Many on the left belive so. Aileen O'Carroll argues that the means used play a part in creating the end that is achieved. The best example of this is the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Burn that witch [1994]
'Not Your Girl', a women's radio programme was taken off the air at Anna Livia FM by an all-male Board of Directors just before Christmas.

Waiting on the housing list [1994]
3,500 households are waiting for housing in Dublin. The average wait for a local authority house in Dublin is now two years and rising.

Loud and Proud [1994]
The coming into effect last June of legislation which decriminalised certain male homosexual acts was the subject of much celebration in the gay community. For many it was felt the battle for equality had been won.

The heroin menace [1994]
Dublin is experiencing a heroin epidemic similar to the in the late 1970s. That epidemic left hundreds of young people hooked on heroin and dozens of them have since died of AIDS and AIDS related diseases. Some big criminals made fortunes out of it

Travellers fighting back [1995]
Patricia McCarthy examines the history of Irish Travellers' struggle for civil rights and ethnic recognition. Their struggles have much in common with those of Indigenous people worldwide and with the struggles of Native Americans and Australian Aboriginals and also with the struggles of Gypsies, Travellers and nomads against racism and oppression.

Government schemes to hammer unemployed [1995]
Community Employment Schemes (CE) were introduced by the Government last year and have replaced all the other schemes, such as S.E.S.

No room at the refuge [1995]
An Eastern Health Board report published in December 1994, shows a huge increase in the number of homeless people put up in Bed and Breakfast accommodation by the Health Board.

Anarchism and Religion [1995]
The popular stereotype of anarchists' relationship to religion is that we are all priest-killers and church-burners. This is, as is usually the case with mainstream representations of anarchism, almost completely false.

Who are the Travellers? [1995]
Travellers are a distinct "ethnic" group with their own traditions and customs. Very few people want to accept that they are. This reflects the widespread racism towards them, a racism which insists on seeing them as "failed settled people".

Drug Crisis: Dublin Communities Organise [1996]
The heroin epidemic in Dublin is causing major problems for addicts and for the communities where they live. Oddly enough you would not get any inkling of this crisis from the bourgeois press. That is because the epidemic and its effects are confined to the inner city and the working class suburbs like Ballymun, Tallaght, Clondalkin and Blanchardstown.

Homeless in Ireland in 1996 [1996]
How big a problem is hopelessness in Ireland and who is most affected

Emma Goldman [1996]
A brief look at the life and writings of Emma Goldman

Church sells off The Secret Garden [1997]
There has been a Community Training Workshop in the grounds of All Hallows College for the past fifteen years. The workshop takes most of its trainees from the prisons and the probation service. Their landlord (the Catholic Church) has sold the land the workshop is on to a private housing developer

Girl Power? what a shower! [1997]
Alice Nutter of Chumbawamba on the Spice Girls 'Girl Power'

Organising & Agitating [1998]
'Don't mourn, Organise', Joe Hill said before he was executed by the US state. It's nothing more than common sense to say that two heads are better than one. The more people working together, the more that can be achieved. But organisation is more than the coming together of kindred spirits.

Dublin Dockland to be developed - Who will benefit? [1998]
The Dublin Docklands, from Ringsend to Sheriff Street, are starting a very major re-development which will take place over the next fifteen years. Already the property developers are in the area buying up the land, a lot of which is owned by state and semi-state companies.

Mujeres Libres [1998]
Mujeres Libres (Free Women) were a group of women anarchists who organised and fought both for women's liberation and an anarchist revolution during the Spanish Civil War. The work they did is truly inspirational.

Louise Michel [1998]
Louise Michel was a French anarchist women who fought in the Paris commune and after escaping the death penalty spent the rest of her live in the anarchist movement.

Review: African Anarchism: The history of a movement [1998]
This book is written by two members of the Awareness League, a 1000-strong anarcho-syndicalist organisation in Nigeria

The Platform: What's in it? [1998]
So you want to change the world? What next? Unsurprisingly this simple question has provoked much discussion among anarchists. Aileen O'Carroll looks at the answer provided by some Russians.

The Anarchist Collectives in the Countryside during the Spanish Civil War [1999]
In the rural parts of the Republican zone, under the influence of CNT and FAI (Federation of Iberian Anarchists) members, collectivisation was the most far reaching.

Is This As Good As It Gets? [1999]
Lets not talk about the Celtic Tiger bringing prosperity. Pay levels have stayed the same, tax rates have increased and there has been the massive increase in property prices throughout the country. A third of todays wage earners can no longer afford to buy a home of their own.

Free Women of Spain [1999]
Conditions for the vast majority of people in Spain in the 1920s and 1930s were appalling. For women they were especially bad. In the two years before the 1936 revolution, two groups of anarchist women in Barcelona and Madrid had begun organising.

Abortion: the medical procedure that dare not speak its name [1999]
OVER THE SUMMER there were developments in the long struggle over women's rights to control their own bodies.

Anarchism in the Land of the Rising Sun (and falling Yen) [1999]
In Japan anarchist ideas were first popularised by Kotoku Shusui and the movement grew despite severe repression into the 1920's.

Beyond the 'Days of action against global capital' [2000]
For decades, the organisations that manage capitalism have met to divvy up the world among themselves. For the first time, their role as dealers of poverty and misery has been exposed by thousands of angry protesters.

Anarchists and the right to choose [2000]
We envisage an anarchist society as a society where people are free to make choices about their own lives. For women, this includes the decision whether or not to become pregnant, whether or not to remain pregnant, whether or not to have children.

Womens liberation

Sex, Class and womens oppression
A 14 page pamphlet of anarchist articles against the oppression of women. It's a PDF file so you can print it out complete with graphics and distribute it locally!

Review: The Corrosion of Character [2001]
This is a thoughtful and thought provoking book. It describes a section of society that is affluent and yet hollow and empty. Anyone working in a Celtic Tiger computer company will find much to think about in this book.

Attempt to curtail protest defeated [2001]
If Dublin Corporation had their way, there would be no more large marches in the city centre. In April they tried to introduce new by-laws which would prevent protests occurring in O'Connell Street.

What did you hear about Genoa? [2001]
Review of TV coverage of the Genoa G8 protests by an Irish anarchist looking at the assumptions made by the media coverage.

Bolivia: debtors armed with dynamite and molotovs [2001]
In La Paz, a group of small debtors armed with dynamite and molotovs occupied the building of a banking supervisory agency. There they held hostage 94 of the institution's functionaries

Vote No in government's anti-choice referendum [2002]
As we face into campaigning against yet another abortion referendum we are taking this opportunity to detail why we this is such an important issue for us.

Abortion rights - It's up to you and me [2002]
Media 'experts' and commentators have been saying that the progressive changes that occurred around contraception, divorce and equal age of consent for gays in Ireland in the early to mid-nineties were a natural result of modernisation of Irish society and occurred because liberal politicians decided to push for these changes. We are supposed to feel that only our rulers can change things, that the rest of us are pretty powerless. Well, it's not true.

Women - still carrying the baby at work and home!! [2002]
Over the last 100 years, there is no doubt that women's situation in most first world countries has improved dramatically. Now that we've reached the 21st century, many would say that sexist inequality no longer really exists. However, if we take a brief look at just one aspect of our lives - work - it is clear that there is still a lot left to fight for.

Low pay = Jobs? A global lie [2002]
A low paid job is better than no job. At least that's what those supporting corporate Globalisation argue. Big companies like Nike and Gap pay workers badly, expect them to work long hours in appalling conditions, buy off or exclude their trade-unions but at least at the end of the day, these workers take home a pay packet.

An American Addiction: Drugs, Guerillas, Counterinsurgency - US Intervention in Colombia. [2002]
Almost all of the 1.7 bn in 'aid' travelling to Colombia is in the form of chemical and biological warfare and money that is given to the military and paramilitaries (almost one and the same) who in turn are responsible for the majority of atrocities committed as well as being the main proponents of narcotics-trafficking in the country.

Israel/Palestine: Roots of the conflict [2002]
The historical roots of the current conflict in the Middle East

Politics of the car [2002]
With growing traffic jams, longer journeys to work and increasing road deaths Aileen O'Carroll makes a contribution to the debate about how to get out of this mess.

Chile: 30 years of 9-11 protests [2003]
Throughout the country Chileans commemorate September 11th 1973, the day of Pinochets bloody (US facilitated) coup. This is a longer version of the article than the one that appears in the printed/PDF editions

Repressing Abortion in Ireland by Mary Favier (Doctors For Choice) [2003]
The Republic of Ireland has one of the most draconian abortion laws in the world. At present abortion may only be performed where continuation of pregnancy poses a 'real and substantial' risk to a pregnant woman's life - about 5 cases per year of 50,000 pregnancies

Industrial Collectivisation during the Spanish Revolution by Deirdre Hogan [2003]
Within hours of the start of the Spanish revolution workers had seized control of 3000 enterprises. This included all public transportation services, shipping, electric and power companies, gas and water works, engineering and automobile assembly plants, mines, cement works, textile mills and paper factories, electrical and chemical concerns, glass bottle factories and perfumeries, food processing plants and breweries.

Anarcha-Feminism [2004]
An important principle of anarchism and one that more than any other differentiates it from other types of socialism is its emphasis on freedom and non-hierarchical social relations. Central to anarchism is the rejection of any power hierarchy between men and women.

International Women's Day [2004]
International Women's Day is an expressly political day. In 1907 women sweatshop workers marched in New York and thus the first International Women's day was born.

Hijab: lifting the veil [2004]
Standing up to religious oppression or state racism? Ultimately we believe that people should have the freedom to dress whatever way they like. This means freedom from state interference and freedom from religious interference in how one should dress.

On the frontlines of the health crisis [2004]
An interview with Dr. Ciara McMeel, a GP working in West Tallaght

Abortion Rights Still Denied [2004]
In 1861, abortion was made a criminal offence in Ireland. One hundred and forty three years later the Irish government continues to deny women their right to choice.

Ireland's 'Traditional' Racism Remains
An interview with Mrs Ellen Mongan, a Traveller with seven children. It's 2004 and close to 1,000 Traveller famlies are still living on the roadside without access to basic facilities-water, sanitation or electricity

We Don't Want Your Vote
Most, if not all, of the left wing political parties in Ireland are standing candidates in the up-coming local elections. Members of the Workers Solidarity Movement will not be joining them

Deported to be Mutilated? [2004]
Make Female Genital Mutilation Grounds for Asylum

International Women's Day [2005]
International Women's Day (IWD) is on 8th March and is an inherently political event that started in 1910 when Clara Zetkin proposed that it be celebrated every year around the world at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women.

Womens liberation

Sex, Class and womens oppression
A 14 page pamphlet of anarchist articles against the oppression of women. It's a PDF file so you can print it out complete with graphics and distribute it locally!


Text of talks

Feminism & Anarchism [1992]
Basically we view feminism as a progressive movement but one which is capable of taking up confused and sometimes reactionary demands because it fails to locate the cause of womens oppression in the class nature of capitalist society.

Feminism & Anarchism again [1993]
I am going to look at the different traditions of political thought that have developed to critique this vision of women's role in society. There are broadly speaking, four theories; Liberal Feminism, Traditional Marxism, Radical Feminism and Socialist Feminism.

Why women are not yet liberated? [1992]
A lot of the institutionalised oppression that women such as my mother would have argued against in the 1960's has disappeared. Yet it is also obvious that women are still far from equal. For the majority of us, our right to choose the way of life we wish to lead is as limited as it has always been.

The Left and the Fight for Women's Liberation [1993]
The struggle for women's liberation has generally been bound up with other, wider social and economic changes. The first written evidence of equality with men being put seriously on the agenda was during the reformation starting in the sixteenth century.

Abortion in Ireland - Historical Perspective and current campaigning [1992]
Abortion was totally illegal in Ireland under all circumstances until the Supreme Court judgement in the "X" case earlier this year, which seems to permit abortion in the extremely limited case of threatened suicide by the mother. The 1861 Offences against the Persons Act states that any person "performing, attempting and or assisting in an abortion is liable to penal servitude for life".

Emma Goldman [1993]
What initially drew Goldman to anarchism was the outcry that followed the Haymarket Square tragedy in 1886 in Chicago. Emma Goldman had followed the event intensely and on the day of the hanging she decided to become a revolutionary.

The Paris Commune [1993]
The commune was formally installed in the Hotel de Ville two days later in the glorious spring sunshine of Tuesday, 28 March. The national Guard battalions assembled, the names of the newly elected members were read out , as, wearing red, they lined up on the steps of the Hotel de Ville under a canopy surmounted by a bust to the republic. On high the red flag was flying as it had done ever since 18 March and guns saluted the proclamation of the Paris Commune

Racism [1994]
Any discussion of Racism needs to examine the roots of Racism in order to understand it and to struggle against it effectively. There are basically 3 explanations for the existence of racism.

Racism and Irish travellers [1995]
Irish travellers are an ethnic minority who are culturally separate to the rest of Irish society. Because they are white and most of the are Irish, people reject the idea that the concept of racism applies to them. However an examination of policies and practises operated by the state and by non-state bodies clearly shows that it is racism that defines these policies and practises.

Mujeres Libres [1995]
The women who founded Mujeres Libres were all active within the anarchist movement, in the CNT or in the FIJL, however as women they were in a minority and found it difficult to incorporate more women into the activist core, either because of the sexism of the men, or because of the reluctance of the women or a combination of both

The Limerick soviet of 1919 [1994]
The first problem facing the strikers was how to feed Limericks 38,000 inhabitants. The committee sat in secession all of monday organising food distrubution. The committee was divided into two sections, one to recieve food and one to deliver it. Hundreds of special permits were issued allowing shops to open


The international
'Anarchist Platform'

We invite you to look at the 'Anarchist Platform' points and if you agree with them to subscribe to this international anarchist mailing list

Read the 'Anarchist Platform'