(struggle.ws) 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. Their example shows how the struggle against women’s oppression and against capitalism can be combined in one fight for freedom.
As anarchists they rejected any relegation of women to a secondary position within the libertarian movement. In the 1930’s feminism had a narrower meaning than it does now, and they rejected it as a theory which fought for ‘equality of women within an existing system of privileges’. They argued “We are not, and were not then feminists. We were not fighting against men. We did not want to substitute a feminist hierarchy for a masculine one. It’s necessary to work, to struggle, together because if we don’t we’ll never have a social revolution. But we needed our own organisation to struggle for ourselves”.
They said: “We are aware of the precedents set by both feminist organisations and by the political parties… We could not follow either of these paths. We could not separate the women’s problem from the social problem. Nor could we deny the significance of the first by converting women into a simple instrument for any organisation, even.. our own libertarian organisation.
The intention that underlay our activities was much broader: to serve a doctrine, not a party, to empower women to make of them individuals capable of contributing to the structuring of the future society, individuals who have learned to be self- determining, not to follow blindly the dictates of any organisation”.