Clara: The Ex Worker;

Alanis: An audio strike against a monotone world;

Clara: A twice-monthly podcast of anarchist ideas and action;

Alanis: For everyone who dreams of a life off the clock.

Clara: Welcome back to the Ex-Worker! This is Episode 26, in which we’ll begin a two-episode exploration of anarcha-feminism. We’ll start off with some definitions and background, then offer a quick trip through a hundred years of anarchist women’s history, from the barricades of the Paris Commune to the tobacco factories of Puerto Rico to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War.

Alanis: The Revolutionary Anarcha-feminist Group from Dublin, Ireland joins us for an interview, and the AK Press anthology Quiet Rumors appears on the Chopping Block. We’ve also got quite a lot of exciting upcoming events, an intervention into the Contradictionary, and plenty more! I’m Alanis…

Clara: And I’m Clara, and we’ll be your hosts. For links to the events and news we discuss, a bibliography of our sources on anarcha-feminist history, and a transcript of just about every word that comes out of our mouths, pop on over to

Alanis: And don’t forget to send us your feedback on what you think, what you want to hear about, and what we’re missing - email us at podcast at crimethinc dot com, rate us on iTunes, or just join us on the barricades.

Clara: See you there…

Alanis: We’ll get started with the Hot Wire, some news from the global struggle against misery. We’re gonna be quick this time, because we’ve got a lot to cover in this episode. Clara, what’s going on out there?

Clara: In Yemen, at least one demonstrator was killed as protests raged against the government’s decision to cut subsidies that doubled the price of fuel, in response to pressure from the IMF.

Alanis: Environmental protestors and indigenous Chong communities in Cambodia have thus far successfully resisted a Chinese company’s efforts to build a destructive dam in the Areng Valley.

Clara: In Seattle, a Lightrail station where a police killing recently took place was attacked; a communique referred to FBI harrassment of anarchists in the area.

Alanis: A series of anti-capitalist and anti-prison attacks took place in the Basque regions of Spain and France, including electronic attacks, security vehicle sabotage, and the robbery of an armored truck that netted 22,000 euros.

Clara: Anarchist prisoner Sean Swain, whose thoughts we’ve featured in previous episodes of the Ex-Worker, has had his security level has reduced in his Ohio prison in response to a call-in campaign by supporters. Congratulations, Sean!

Alanis: The youth are rioting in France again, as they do; vehicles and dumpsters have been burned and bus windows bashed out across several nights in an urban development zone in Sens.

Clara: We reported in Episode 12 on indigenous protestors from the Elsipogtog community in New Brunswick, who destroyed six cop cars in an effort to keep fracking companies from exploring the land where they live. Germain Junior Breau and Aaron Francis were sentenced to fifteen months in jail for their alleged role in the riots, though each will be out in just a few weeks with time served.

Alanis: Since September 11th, 2001, over 500 people have been prosecuted in US courts on terrorism-related charges. But, claims a new report from the group Human Rights Watch, almost half of the convictions came in informant-based cases, and nearly 30 percent of them were sting operations to foil a supposed plot concocted largely by an informant. Theoretically, entrapment is illegal; but US law requires proof that a defendant was not “predisposed” to commit a crime, meaning that the state can use someone’s politics, beliefs, and reputation to legally justify entrapping them. We’ve got a link to the report, which fleshes out some of the analysis we discussed in Episode 17 and 18 of the FBI’s war on Islamic and radical communities, posted on our website.

Clara: Also, an important legal update: Luke O’Donovan of Atlanta, Georgia will go to trial next week; he’s facing serious prison time for defending himself from a homophobic attack. Supporters are encouraged to come to Atlanta for the trial, which begins August 11th, or to help raise money for legal support; learn more about his case at In the homophobic, transphobic and patriarchal legal system of the US, we often see cases like that of Cece MacDonald or the New Jersey Four, where queer and trans people are prosecuted for defending themselves against anti-queer or trans violence, and a substantial proportion of women in prison for so-called violent crimes were in fact attacking abusive partners to protect themselves. It’s crucial for all of us to stand up for people who bash back against these forms of violence - let Luke know that he’s not alone! Again, that’s


Alanis: And now it’s time to share a piece of the CrimethInc Contradictionary. This episode is brought to you by: Birth Control and Equality.

Clara: [Birth Control…]

Alanis: Hold on. We need to interrupt briefly here. Margaret Sanger, while admirable for her courage in promoting women’s reproductive autonomy in the face of state repression, had highly dubious racial politics. She made racist statements about aboriginal Australians, lectured to the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan in 1926 to a favorable response, and supported restrictions on immigration. She found common cause with eugenicists in seeking what she called “racial betterment” by discouraging the “unfit” from reproducing, and wrote that she believed in the sterilization of “the feeble-minded, the insane, and the syphilitic.” Angela Davis, among others, interpreted her legacy as part of the white supremacist tradition of attacks on black people and families.

But Sanger also worked with black community leaders to create birth control clinics, with the support of W.E.B. DuBois; condemned Hitler’s racist eugenics policies; and was praised by Martin Luther King, Jr. for her work. So was she racist? How does that impact her legacy as a feminist icon?

Meanwhile, today’s conservatives have picked up on this history to make disingenous arguments against Planned Parenthood and abortion rights by emphasizing Sanger’s supposed racism. Rush Limbaugh - not exactly a militant anti-racist - said in 2011, “Margaret Sanger wanted to rid the world of black people. It’s called Planned Parenthood today, and they’re still trying to do it.”

The slogan of the Contradictionary is that there’s a war in every word. And that’s certainly true with a term like birth control. Whose births are seen as valuable? Who gets to control birth, on the individual and collective level? Just as in Sanger’s time, when eugenicists promoted sterilization of those they saw as racially inferior, in recent decades there have been efforts by racist and anti-immigrant groups to infiltrate ecological movements influenced by critiques of population growth.

So what lessons can we draw from this? As anarchists, we know that freedom for any of us requires the freedom of all of us. There are always forces looking to appropriate our struggles and innovations to wield power over others. If we’re not clear from the beginning that we’re fighting for total liberation, we may only strengthen our enemies in the long run. We can’t celebrate Margaret Sanger’s contributions to women’s reproductive autonomy when her failure to take an unambiguously anti-racist stand has poisoned her legacy. Nor will we just condemn Planned Parenthood out of hand today, when right wingers attempt to wage a racially charged crusade against the organization to restrict our bodily autonomy.

Instead, we’ll do our best to make clear in all of our statements and actions that we’re in it for total liberation, that dismantling patriarchy requires that we dismantle white supremacy. So, sorry for the interlude, but we couldn’t in good conscience share a term that overlooked this dimension to Sanger’s legacy. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Contradictionary.

Clara: [Equality…]

Alanis: For more information about the war in every word, visit


Clara: You know, Alanis, in twenty five episodes we’ve talked about a whole lot of things. But there’s one pretty obvious thing we’ve hardly touched on at all.

Alanis: What’s that?

Clara: Gender!

Alanis: Mmm, I dunno if that’s true… I mean, we haven’t focused an episode on it, but, you know, we reviewed Caliban and the Witch, we’ve, well… I dunno, do you think the podcast is sexist?

Clara: It’s not that we’ve totally ignored gender or the existence of women. But we definitely haven’t had gender as a primary lens in our discussions. Our episodes on historical events, like Haymarket and Paris ’68, pretty much just told the story of anarchist or Situationist men. Our green anarchist episode mentioned Judi Bari, but not how her feminism connected to her radical environmentalism, or what green anarchism has to say about patriarchy. Our coverage of global revolts has ignored gender or only touched on it superficially. Our discussions of, say, the prison industrial complex had nothing to say about the situation of women in prison or what gender has to do with incarceration.

Alanis: OK, fair enough. But we were trying to deal with the condition of prisons and prisoners in general, not a specific population.

Clara: And that’s exactly what I’m talking about! Throughout history, women’s lives and struggles have been treated as specific and topical, while men’s have been seen as general and universal. Do you think we can’t learn anything “in general” about anti-prison struggle from how half the human race experiences the prison industrial complex? Male formal wage labor has been the basis for economics, including critiques of capitalism, while the activities women do are rarely seen as important enough to be worth commenting on or organizing around. And this gets reproduced constantly in anarchist struggles, discourses, and podcasts whenever we see men and male experience as an unquestioned default, either by simply neglecting to mention the impact of gender (as if some of us could avoid feeling its impact!) or by treating feminist critiques as secondary or unimportant.

Alanis: Hmm. Yeah, that’s a good point. I guess I sort of assumed that our listeners already got it and were on board with the whole feminism thing.

Clara: “The whole feminism thing?” What do you mean by that?

Alanis: Umm…

Clara: Why would you assume that? Do you know how intense the backlash against feminism or any critical discussion of gender is, even in anarchist circles? Can you even give a coherent definition of feminism, or anarcha-feminism? Is feminism the only anarchist approach to understanding gender? Or the best one? Do you have any idea what you’re talking about?

Alanis: Look, Clara, I’m sorry. I see what you’re saying, and it totally makes sense. Feminism has actually been incredibly transformative for me in my political development and in my personal life… including my understanding that the two of those can’t be separated. It’s pretty central to how I understand my anarchism. But it’s clear that despite that, these perspectives haven’t come across in our episodes so far, except as a mostly unstated backdrop. And you’re right, it’s not safe to assume that other folks share an analysis about gender, feminism, or anything like that - especially when these are such contentious issues, even among folks with a lot of political affinity.

Clara: In this podcast, I know that we’ve tried to have a balance of different genders among folks we interview or authors of texts that we cite, and to integrate feminist or gender-critical perspectives into our discussions. But I think we’ve still ended up reproducing this default sexist notion of politics by failing to look specifically and critically at how gender informs everything, from insurrectionary anarchism to state repression to revolts going on around the globe.

Alanis: Alright then, let’s see what we can do to flesh out our analysis of gender, feminism and anarchism.

Alanis: Clara, I have to admit, this episode is blowing my mind.

Clara: What do you mean?

Alanis: It’s just… there are so many angles by which we could approach it. I mean, obviously one crucial part is the history of women in the anarchist movement, which, contrary to what many of us may be able to remember off the top of our heads, goes way beyond just Emma Goldman (plus maybe Lucy Parsons).

Clara: There’s also the history of the participation of anarchist women (and some men) in early feminist and women’s liberation struggles, around free love and birth control and economic independence and critiques of marriage and the patriarchal family. And of course there’s the tradition of women (and others) challenging sexism within anarchist movements and challenging male anarchists to practice what they preach.

Alanis: There’s the history of folks organizing as anarcha-feminists, which dates back to the era of the New Left and second wave feminism, when women militants from various social movements got fed up with revolutionary sexism and formed consciousness-raising groups based on anti-authoritarian principles.

Clara: And there are the women who’ve been involved in armed struggle against the state and patriarchy, from the Paris Commune and the Spanish Civil War to more recent examples like the Rote Zora and the Wimmin’s Fire Brigade.

Alanis: As well as efforts by contemporary anarchists to attack or abolish gender itself, influenced by queer and transgender perspectives, not to mention all the other different manifestations - womanifestations? tranifestations? - of anarcha-feminism around the world today. I imagine that some of the conversations we’re having now would have been pretty strange to feminists and anarchists in the 19th century.

Clara: Maybe less than you might think. Though some of these debates are new to our generation of anarcha-feminists - particularly around certain articulations of gender beyond the binary - they were anticipated by questions some anarchists were asking a hundred and fifty years ago. And with some contemporary issues - say, the sexism of male anarchists or questions of relationship structures and sexuality - we’ll see that they’ve been an ongoing focus of anarcha-feminists from the beginning. These histories - or herstories, if you like - aren’t just interesting trivia; they can offer useful insight into how many generations of anarchist and feminist radicals grappled with perennial struggles that we still face today.

Clara: Whew! I don’t know if we’ll manage to cover all of this stuff. But let’s give it our best shot.


Clara: Well, where do we get started? I guess we should try to lay out some definitions for what we’re talking about.

Alanis: No matter how we define anarcha-feminism or what angles we take, we’re likely to step on some toes. Talking about gender can get really complicated, particularly when we’re trying to bring a bit more complexity than men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

Clara: And it doesn’t help that a lot of people use really highfalutin terminology, and seem to expect everyone else to have gone to graduate school long enough to know the same jargon they do.

Alanis: So we’ll do our best to lay out some provisional definitions to offer a framework for what we’re talking about in terms we can all understand. But of course all of these ideas are contested. There’s not one “correct” way to define feminism, gender, or any of this stuff; any definition entails certain values and certain politics, and we’ll try to be up front about ours.

Clara: OK, enough disclaiming. Let’s get started. So what is feminism, anyway?

Alanis: Well, according to Wikipedia, feminism is “a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending a state of equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women,” and it emphasizes “contract law, property, and voting” as the kind of rights most of interest to feminists. Not a lot to work with there of interest to anyone who’s not into the state.

Clara: I saw on a bumper sticker once, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.”

Alanis: Umm…

Clara: So, maybe the notion that women are as good as men and deserve equality with men socially, politically, economically, etcetera?

Alanis: Uh… bored now! Equality is not enough. We live in a world divided into all sorts of hierarchies. Integrating women as equals of men within whatever class, racial, national, and other divisions stratify people is not a very radical vision. This was exactly the kind of liberal notion that early radical feminists critiqued. But unfortunately, because this Wikipedia notion of feminism was the least threatening to the overall power structure, this was the concept that has circulated the most widely.

Clara: But even that liberal notion proved to be too much, in the US context at least - look at how the Equal Rights Amendment was defeated in the 70s, or how much backlash there’s been against affirmative action or anti-discrimination laws.

Alanis: And now this concept of “equality” has been taken up as the framework for liberal social movements, like the Human Rights Campaign with their little “equals” sign bumper stickers everywhere in place of what used to be the lesbian and gay liberation movement. Historically, anarchists have promoted equality, but not in the sense of equal integration into oppressive systems along a particular axis like gender or sexual orientation. Anarchist notions of equality have focused on the challenge to all forms of hierarchy; meaningful equality entails a comprehensive attack on every system of oppression that prevents us from flourishing to our fullest potential. So equality for any of us would require, at a bare minimum, the destruction of capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, and state control…. which certainly goes beyond a liberal feminist notion of equal rights for women.

Clara: OK, so what are some more interesting or radical ways to understand feminism?

Alanis: Well, Cellestine Ware put it this way: “Radical feminism is working for the eradication of domination and elitism in all human relationships. This would make self-determination the ultimate good and require the downfall of society as we know it today.”

Clara: Wow, OK! That sounds more like it.

Alanis: bell hooks lays out these definitions: “Feminism is the struggle to end sexist oppression. Feminist struggle takes place anytime anywhere any female or male resists sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression. Feminist movement happens when groups of people come together with an organized strategy to take action to eliminate patriarchy.” So some key components are that: feminism isn’t just a label for an identity group; it’s a focus of struggle that can be adopted by anyone; it focuses on gender oppression, specifically patriarchy (that is, male domination), but with the understanding that tackling patriarchy requires a deeper understanding of social oppression than a single-issue lens. This is often called an intersectional approach.

Clara: Hasn’t that become a kind of leftist buzzword?

Alanis: Maybe, but it’s also a pretty crucial concept to help us analyze how various systems of power converge and overlap to shape our lives. An intersectional approach isn’t just about addition, as in, I have a gender but I also have a race and a class, etc. It’s the recognition that our race, our class, our citizenship, our sexuality, and all these other things shape our experience of gender, which can’t be separated from all of these things. One of the implications of this is that you can’t effectively dismantle sexist oppression without an understanding of capitalism, white supremacy, and other modes of oppression, since these things not only sit alongside patriarchy but actually help constitute what sexist oppression is for people. So in this sense, feminism is a struggle for total liberation beginning from resistance to patriarchy.

Clara: OK, this seems like a useful place to start. So what is anarcha-feminism, then?

Alanis: Well, if we start from that most radical understanding of feminism, of a struggle for total liberation that begins from resistance to patriarchy, and take it to its logical (i.e., most extreme) conclusion, then we’d end up with anarchism.

Clara: In that sense, shouldn’t anarchism entail feminism? I mean, if anarchism is a struggle against all forms of oppression and domination, then doesn’t gender oppression count within that?

Alanis: Well, yeah, of course. But there are a couple of reasons why folks still speak of anarcha-feminism in particular. For one, despite the fact that anarchism should theoretically entail feminism, anarchist men often still behave in sexist ways, treating women as subordinate despite their theoretical politics. So in some cases anarcha-feminism has been a framework for women involved in anarchist struggles to organize autonomously to overcome the sexism within and beyond anarchist scenes.

Clara: Gotcha.

Alanis: Also, anarcha-feminism can be seen as the unfortunately necessary clarification that gender oppression is a particularly important terrain within the struggle against all oppression and domination. This has been a reaction to, for example, the Marxist-influenced notion that capitalism is the fundamental root of all oppression, and therefore that all energy should be devoted into “organizing the workers” (meaning the male wage workers), and that all that pesky sexism stuff will be taken care of after the revolution. Or, let’s say, certain forms of anarchist masculinity that see only physically confrontational and aggressive forms of action as “militant” and therefore worthwhile, and marginalize all other forms of participation in radical struggle. So anarcha-feminism can be an assertion that it really is important to undermine gender dynamics in our daily lives and throughout all of our struggles for a world of freedom and anarchy.

Clara: That sounds about right to me. In 1977, Carol Ehrlich wrote an essay called “Socialism, Anarchism, and Feminism,” where she explains that anarchist feminists, though they have many things in common with other radical feminists, also stand apart: “Because they are anarchists, they work to end all power relationships, all situations in which people can oppress each other. Unlike some radical feminists who are not anarchists, they do not believe that power in the hands of women could possibly lead to a non-coercive society. And unlike most socialist feminists, they do not believe that anything good can come out of a mass movement with a leadership elite. In short, neither a workers’ state nor a matriarchy will end the oppression of everyone. The goal, then, is not to “seize” power, as the socialists are fond of urging, but to abolish power.”

Alanis: Some Norwegian anarcha-feminists from the early 80s put it succinctly: “A serious anarchism must also be feminist; otherwise it is a question of patriarchal half-anarchism and not real anarchism. It is the task of the anarcha-feminists to secure the feminist feature in anarchism. There will be no anarchism without feminism.” Or as Deirdre Hogan from the Irish Worker’s Solidarity Movement put it, “Anarchism and anarcha-feminism are the same thing — anarcha-feminism just emphasizes the feminism that is inherent to anarchism.”

Clara: Well, that all makes sense to me. I wonder, though - do you think it’s always been like this? I mean, have anarchist men for the last hundred fifty or two hundred years been talking about freedom for all, but then neglecting gender as an axis of oppression in theory while marginalizing women in their lives and struggles in practice?

Alanis: To some extent, yes - but it’s more complicated than that. And rather than focus on the history of how anarchist men have dealt with or not dealt with gender, I’d rather look at how anarchist women have resisted this marginalization and laid the foundations for the anarcha-feminism of today.

Clara: OK then;so for this first episode let’s try to tackle some of the legacies of anarchist women and feminist struggles by anarchists over the first hundred years, maybe 1850 to 1950.

Alanis: We should admit, though, that by describing what you might call the history of anarcha-feminism, we’re being a little anachronistic. Anarchism was, as far as we know, first brought into the European political vocabulary by Proudhon in the 1840s; it had been used as an insult to discredit political opponents before then, but only from the 1850s on did folks begin self-identifying with the word. The word feminism appears in Europe as early as 1872, and in English for the first time in the 1890s. And while we need to keep doing research, we haven’t found confirmation of anyone using the hyphenated term anarcha-feminist until 1970. When anarchists were discussing gender in the late 19th and early 20th century, they mostly spoke about “The Woman Question” or women’s emancipation. Emma Goldman is revered today as a feminist icon, but I haven’t been able to find any instance of her using the term to describe herself, though the term was in wide circulation in the US during her lifetime; in fact, her journal Mother Earth printed a critique of feminism for its repressive and middle-class character.

All this is to say - don’t get hung up on the words. We want to try to trace the development of anarchist perspectives on gender and how anarchist women engaged with anarchist and feminist struggles, because this provides the historical - herstorical? - backdrop to the emergence in the last 40 or 50 years of anarcha-feminism as such.

Clara: Speaking of getting hung up on words, though… there’s one more thing I think we need to address before we get started.

Alanis: What’s that?

Clara: Gender.

Alanis: Eh?

Clara: As in: what is it? What is a “woman”? Is that even a category of analysis that makes sense?

Alanis: This is not going to be an easy episode, is it?

Alanis: I know we could spend all day talking about this. But I just wanted to point out that the categories of man and woman aren’t fixed and obvious. They’re not necessarily tied to any inherent essence or bodily configuration, or consistent across cultures and time periods.

Clara: That’s true. In sharing anarcha-feminist histories, it’s important to keep in mind that what it meant to be a woman was not necessarily the same in late imperial China as in colonial Puerto Rico or Republican France. The gendered frameworks that anarchists rebelled against varied by these different contexts, as did the self-understandings of people in rebellion - both who they were and who they wanted to become.

Alanis: In trying to answer the question of what it means to be a woman, many feminists begin by separating sex (a physical difference into male or female based on anatomy, chromosomes, and reproductive capacity) from gender (a social difference into man or woman based on learned cultural messages about appropriate roles and institutional power arrangements). Some also distinguish between gender assignment (the externally imposed role as a boy or a girl based on sex as determined at birth,) versus gender identity (an internally felt sense of oneself as a male or female and consonance or dissonance with one’s sexed body and gendered role). So what it means to be a woman is more than just having certain body parts; it’s a whole process of socialization and behavior as well as feelings and identification.

Clara: But others point out that all of these are contingent - sex, every bit as much as gender, becomes coherent through social norms and power relations. No objective categories exist; the ones we’ve got and the ones we edit or create are still framed by patriarchy. Some contemporary gender radicals argue that the category of woman has no essence or coherence. Only a concept like “not-man,” emphasizing a common position of exclusion and exploitation rather than a particular body or identity, can speak to the realities of patriarchal violence without relying on an imaginary essentialism.

Alanis: We’ll discuss transgender feminisms and anarchist attacks on the gender binary more in future episodes. But for now, we face the dilemma of how to discuss sexual differences in the past that many took for granted, even while challenging their significance… yet without making them seem natural or outside of history. What do we do when we’re talking about, for example, Maria Nikiforova, whose biographer indicates that she may have been “what would now be called an ‘intersex’ person,” who contemporaries described as having “something of the eunuch or the hermaphrodite” in her face? Is Nikiforova part of the history of anarchist women, or of trans history, or both? What pronouns should we use to refer to Nikiforova? When Louise Michel went to the barricades dressed in the uniform of a male soldier, should we see this as an act of gender subversion, or simply a pragmatic step in a social world that prohibited most women from fighting in the ways Michel wanted to fight? What’s the relationship between the personal identities of different insurgents and the systems of state, capital, and patriarchal power they fought to overturn?

Clara: There aren’t any easy answers. What we’ll try to do in these episodes is, when possible, refer to folks using the descriptions they used for themselves or that their comrades used for them. But whenever we speak of a particular woman, or of “women” as a class or category, bear in mind that it’s always contextual, it’s always historical, and it’s always contested. While none of the anarchists we’ve encountered from the 19th and early 20th centuries used the language of dismantling the gender binary that some use today, all of them challenged the roles assigned to men and women, and the systems of authority that claimed to determine what was proper and natural to do based on one’s assigned sex. And in these assertions of radical equality, early anarcha-feminists laid the groundwork for the deconstructions of gender taken on by subsequent generations of radicals.

Alanis: And with that, on to the history. Or, herstory. Or whatever.

Clara: We’ll begin by surveying some of the women who were active in anarchist struggles across the 19th and early 20th centuries. Keep in mind, though, as we sift through these stories, that for every woman whose glamorous militancy made waves or whose writings have been carried to us across the generations, there were hundreds more who supported and shaped anarchist movements across the world. We’ll never know the names of the vast majority of women who organized and radicalized each other in kitchens or factories or schools or households; who sustained countless struggles through their tireless efforts, often overlooked and underappreciated; who refused the constraints imposed on them through gender roles by schools, families, churches, states, and other revolutionaries; who bore and raised new generations of anti-authoritarian children while insisting on their right to determine if or when they would do so; who loved each other in defiance of society and their male comrades; whose lives of rebellion were a testament both to their own courage and to the possibility of anarchism as a path of resistance against patriarchy and against all authority. It’s to these unsung heroines, then and now, that we dedicate this episode.


Alanis: It’s 1793. The French Revolution is underway, and everything Europeans thought they knew about politics and possibilities is being overturned. On that clear January morning in Paris when the former King of France laid his head down on the guillotine, one of the thousands who stood in the crowd craning their necks to witness the bloody birth of the modern world was a 33 year old English woman. A few years before, she had written a renowned pamphlet in defense of the unfolding revolution, including, uniquely, a critique of the patriarchal dimensions of monarchist thought. As the political turmoil of the era challenged the divine right of kings with new notions of republicanism and universal suffrage, some also began to challenge the right of men to exclude women from the public sphere and to dominate them in the home and the family. This woman in the crowd had published an essay just the year before titled “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,” which would become one of the key early texts of the feminist tradition. As the executioner lifted the severed head of Louis XVI aloft to the cheering crowds, who could tell what other sacred ideas would be next on the chopping block?

Clara: Another radical responding to the French Revolution and the new possibilities it revealed was William Godwin, one of the first proponents of what would come to be called anarchism. He arranged to meet the American revolutionary Thomas Paine one evening in 1791, eager to hear his perspectives on the new revolutions. To his dismay, however, a rather uppity woman was also present at dinner, and, as he would recall years later, she seemed to talk the whole time, brazenly disagreeing with Paine and barely letting Godwin get in a word edgewise. Although initially put off, he would in time come to recognize her as one of the most passionate and able minds of her generation. This, of course, was Mary Wollstonecraft, the same woman who saw the king’s head roll two years later and whose writings would challenge future generations of feminists. Godwin and Wollstonecraft married in 1797, though she died later that year giving birth to their daughter Mary, who would become Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. Although Wollstonecraft was much maligned after her death, numerous anarchist women, including Emma Goldman and Voltairine de Cleyre, would later eulogize her and praise her legacy, anticipating her revitalization as a feminist icon later in the 20th century.


Alanis: Here is Louise Michel. She is a menace to society, for she has declared a hundred times that everyone should take part in the banquet of life… What is more, Louise Michel is a woman. If she could only be fooled by the idea that women can get their rights by asking men for them. But she has the villainy to insist that the strong sex is just as much a slave as the weak sex, that it is unable to give what it does not have itself. All inequalities, she claims, will collapse when men and women engage in the common battle together. Louise Michel is a monster who maintains that men and women are not responsible for their situations and claims it is stupidity which causes the evils around us. She claims that politics is a form of that stupidity and is incapable of ennobling the race. If Louise Michel were the only person saying this, people could say she is a pathological case. But there are thousands like her, millions, none of whom gives a damn about authority!

Clara: -Louise Michel, from her memoirs

Alanis: It’s 1871; Paris is in flames. And at the center of every clash is Louise Michel, terror of the bourgeoisie. The bastard child of a twilight aristocrat and a poor servant woman, she grew up in poverty and became a schoolteacher in Paris in the 1860s. She first published a book on education for the developmentally impaired titled, “No more idiots, no more madmen”; colleagues recalled her as a compassionate and radically innovative teacher. Converted to anarchism by another woman who had run a sort of neighborhood Food Not Bombs during the Prussian siege, she became one of the fiercest militants of the Paris Commune. Beforehand, she had participated in the Vigilance Committees in Montmartre, which arranged mutual aid for the poor and planned protests against emperor and later the new republican government. She would first attend the Women’s Vigilance Committee, then often would head over to the meeting of the Men’s Committee, dressed in male military attire.

Clara: In early 1871, the new Republican government attempted to disarm the French people to secure its own position. In March, concerned about the rebellious workers who refused to hand over the cannons they used to defend the city against the Prussians, the Republican army marched into Montmartre. Louise Michel is staying at the house of the radicals who are holding on to the cannons. The house is surrounded by soldiers; many are arrested, some killed. The soldiers pay no attention to a woman, who, posing as a nurse, slips out, and then sounds the alarm call, rousing the vigilance committee to the defense of the cannons. A workers militia confronts the soldiers, while old women put their bodies in front of the cannons and contemptuously refuse to be moved. The generals demand that the soldiers fire on the crowd. The soldiers refuse. By the end of the day, the generals are dead and the entire city is rising in revolt. The Paris Commune has begun.

Alanis: On the barricades, Louise Michel fights tirelessly, helping lead the people’s defense against the invading army and refusing to surrender. When the city falls and she is finally captured and put on trial, she makes one of the most defiant courtroom statements in history, concluding: Clara: *“Since it seems that every heart that beats for freedom has no right to anything but a little slug of lead, I demand my share. If you let me live, I shall never cease to cry for vengeance… If you are not cowards, kill me.”* Alanis: The court were indeed cowards. Despite having reputedly killed numerous policemen and soldiers, Michel wasn’t executed, but instead deported to the South Pacific penal colony of New Caledonia. During her time there, a revolt broke out among the indigenous population; unlike many transported Communards, who side with their captors against the so-called ”savages," she supported the rebels, reportedly showing them how to cut telegraph lines to gain an advantage against the French. Pardoned after seven years in exile, she returned to France, greeted by a crowd of thousands upon her arrival. Clara: Ever wondered why anarchists to this day carry the black flag? It was Louise Michel, who in 1882 demanded that anarchists march with it rather than the customary red flag to distinguish ourselves from the followers of turncoats like Marx, who condemned the Commune from his armchair. She would spend 30 more years touring, speaking, leading riots, organizing radical schools, giving away nearly everything she owned, and agitating for liberation. On a trip to Algeria, where she was attempting to spark a rebellion against the French colonial government, she fell ill, and died in Marseilles in 1905; thousands rallied to the funeral of the defiant woman who never married, never stopped fighting, and became the anti-heroine of the French nation.


Alanis: “My past experience had convinced me that the only way to change the existing order was by force. If any group had shown me a path other than violence, perhaps I would have followed it; at the very least, I would have tried it out. But, as you know, we don’t have a free press in our country, and so ideas cannot be spread by the written word. I saw no signs of protest… nor was literature producing changes in our social life. And so I concluded that violence was the only solution. I could not follow the peaceful path.”

Clara: -Vera Figner, from her memoirs

Alanis: Louise Michel was by no means the only woman to take up arms against the state in those revolutionary decades. Women died on the barricades and were executed by the thousands when the Commune fell. One of the Communards who survived the bloodshed was Andre Leo, a novelist and single mother who worked as a feminist journalist during the uprisings. She escaped to Switzerland, where she collaborated with Bakunin against Marx, who she regarded as a despicable enemy of freedom. Around that time, Switzerland was home to an expanding population of young Russian emigre women, who had come to pursue educational opportunities unavailable to them in socially conservative and autocratic Tsarist Russia. One such woman was Peter Kropotkin’s sister-in-law, who gave him a stack of socialist and anarchist literature upon his arrival in Zurich and played a significant role in radicalizing him.

Clara: Another was Vera Figner, who came to Zurich to pursue a medical degree and soaked up the atmosphere of radical politics. However, in 1873 the Tsarist government demanded that all female students in the city return to Russia, claiming that they were engaging in “free love” and using “their medical knowledge to destroy the fruits of this love.” Figner returned to Russia as a narodnik, one of the idealistic revolutionaries who attempted to educate and sow radical ideas among the peasantry. Alanis: As Figner was heading into the countryside, another young radical named Vera Zasulich had just been released from prison, where she’d found herself in 1869 at the age of twenty after having made contact with the notorious nihilist ne’er-do-well Sergei Nechaev. After getting out, she settled in Kiev and became a prominent member of an anarchist group called the Kievan Insurgents. In 1878, she shot the governor of St Petersburg, who had ordered a political prisoner to be flogged for refusing to take off his hat in his presence. Astonishingly, she was acquitted by a sympathetic jury and fled the country, becoming a heroine to Russian radicals. Clara: Meanwhile, Vera Figner, having had little luck converting the peasantry, joined the People’s Will, a gang of revolutionary terrorists inspired by Vasulich’s propaganda of the deed and convinced that Russia’s repressive autocracy could only be dislodged by force. Another member was Sofia Perovskaya, who at sixteen had deserted her prominent family and run away from home to join the nihilists. Perovskaya went underground, spread propaganda among workers and soldiers, attempted to bust political prisoners out of jail, and in 1881 successfully organized the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. She was captured and executed along with most members of the group, but Figner escaped. Betrayed by an informant two years later, she would spend two decades in Russian prisons before being released into exile, where she campaigned internationally on behalf of Russian political prisoners. During these years, anarchism had becoming a genuinely global struggle, and the deeds of these women would resonate across many continents.


Alanis: “Send forth your petition and let them read it by the red glare of destruction. Thus… you can be assured that you have spoken to these robbers in the only language which they have ever been able to understand… You need no organization when you make up your mind to present this kind of petition. In fact, an organization would be a detriment to you; but each of you hungry tramps who read these lines, avail yourselves of those little methods of warfare which Science has placed in the hands of the poor man, and you will become a power in this or any other land. Learn the use of explosives!”

Clara: -Lucy Parsons, 1884

Alanis: It’s 1887. Lucy Parsons is pacing back and forth along the sidewalk on a blustery November morning in Chicago, fighting for one last chance to say goodbye to her husband before he heads to the gallows. Despite months of grueling work and frenzied international campaigning on behalf of the anarchists arrested after the Haymarket bombing, her husband will be executed this morning. Although he had been nowhere near the square when the fatal bomb exploded the previous May, his unrepentant anarchist politics are enough in the eyes of the state to merit the hangman’s noose. And so this morning Lucy must make the trek downtown to the jail to bid him a final goodbye.

Clara: She has gathered up eight year-old Albert Jr and six year-old Lulu and, flanked by her sister-in-law, braved the chilly wind down to the jail. But the police have roped it off and refuse to let her through, taunting her futile efforts to break through their line. After they refuse even her request to let just the children through, she snaps, screaming, “You murderous villains! You will forbid me to see my husband, whom you are about to kill, and not let him take a last look at the children whom you are about to make orphans!”

Alanis: “Keep quiet,” snarls an officer in response.

Clara: “I will not keep quiet. I have suffered your taunts and cruelties all morning, and I will keep quiet no longer. You murder my husband, and then ask me to keep quiet. I’ll not do it!” Suddenly, she stops, raises her arm defiantly and shouts with contempt and hate, “You must not follow me. I have no bombs about me now, but I could get them if I wanted to, and I could use them too!”

Alanis: The police haul her and her children and sister-in-law off to jail, strip searching all four - even the small children - and throwing them naked into dank cells. As they shiver on the cold stone floor of the Chicago Avenue Station, just a few blocks away Albert Parsons stands on the scaffold, asking the sheriff to speak his final words. He only gets out a sentence before the trap is sprung, and his breath cuts short. The next time his wife and children will see him, he will be a cold corpse. Hundreds of thousands of mourners line the streets for the funeral procession. Lucy will never forget, and never, ever forgive.

Clara: Born into slavery in Texas around 1853, Lucy met Albert in the late 1860s, and before long their radical politics and interracial relationship roused the ire of the local Ku Klux Klan; one of their bullets will remain lodged in Albert for the rest of his life. Around 1873 the couple migrated north to Chicago, first immersing themselves in socialist electoral politics before joining the anarchist International Working People’s Association. In the ferment of militant Chicago working class politics, where workers of many nationalities connected over increasingly brutal conflicts with capitalists and the police that protected them, the Parsons made names for themselves as uncompromisingly radical voices for anti-capitalist revolution. In 1884, Lucy penned an article addressed “To tramps, the unemployed, the disinherited, and miserable,” in which she spewed some of the most fiery class war rhetoric to come out of the anarchist movement. Thousands of copies circulated as a pamphlet, helping set the tone of the militant labor struggles paralyzing Chicago. When her husband and the other seven Haymarket defendants were on trial, she helped lead the solidarity campaign, touring giving speeches and raising money; after the executions, she would devote the rest of her life to continuing the struggles they fought for and keeping their memories alive. She organized countless speaking events, commemorations, and demonstrations, each one an opportunity for confrontation with the authorities. She edited multiple newspapers and journals, refined her talks and circulated them as pamphlets, organized with international campaigns to support political prisoners, and co-founded the International Workers of the World, the most prominent anarchist union of the 20th century. Parsons remained militantly active until her death in a fire in 1942; the police immediately seized her records and correspondence, which have never been seen again. Even after her death, the state feared the power of this woman who devoted every drop of her life to hating and resisting its authority.

[55:18 - different music]


Alanis: It’s 1887 and an agitated crowd has packed into Germania Hall in Rochester, New York. Tension crackles through the air; every seat is filled, and the walls are lined with police. Johanna Greie, a German-American revolutionary socialist, has arrived from New York City to give a talk on the Haymarket case that is roiling the nation. A young seamstress in the audience, a recent emigrant from the Russian empire, sits captivated. She would later vividly recall the speaker:

Clara: “She was a woman in her thirties, pale and ascetic-looking, with large luminous eyes. She spoke with great earnestness, in a voice vibrating with intensity. Her manner engrossed me. I forgot the police, the audience, and everything else about me. I was aware only of the frail woman in black crying out her passionate indictment against the forces that were about to destroy eight human lives.”

Alanis: The speech made a profound impact on the young Russian seamstress, whose life would never be the same.

Clara: "At the end of Greie’s speech I knew what I had surmised all along: the Chicago men were innocent. They were to be put to death for their ideal. But what was their ideal? Johanna Greie spoke of Parsons, Spies, Lingg, and the others as socialists, but I was ignorant of the real meaning of socialism. What I had heard from the local speakers had impressed me as colorless and mechanistic. On the other hand, the papers called these men anarchists, bomb-throwers. What was anarchism? It was all very puzzling. But I had no time for further contemplation. The people were filing out, and I got up to leave. Greie, the chairman, and a group of friends were still on the platform. As I turned towards them, I saw Greie motioning to me. I was startled, my heart beat violently, and my feet felt leaden. When I approached her, she took me by the hand and said: “I never saw a face that reflected such a tumult of emotions as yours. You must be feeling the impending tragedy intensely. Do you know the men?” In a trembling voice I replied: “Unfortunately not, but I do feel the case with every fiber, and when I heard you speak, it seemed to me as if I knew them.” She put her hand on my shoulder. “I have a feeling that you will know them better as you learn their ideal, and that you will make their cause your own.”

Alanis: Greie’s words were prophetic; the young Russian seamstress she spoke to that night in Rochester’s Germania Hall was Emma Goldman, who would become one of the most famous and prolific anarchists who ever lived. After migrating from present-day Lithuania to the United States as a teenager, she found herself trapped in a life of monotonous labor and an unhappy marriage. Inspired by radical visions of the Haymarket anarchists, she escaped to New York City with nothing but a sewing machine and five dollars in her pocket. There she encountered Alexander Berkman, who became her lover and lifelong friend, and Johann Most, a notorious German anarchist who helped train her as a public speaker. She helped Berkman plan his unsuccessful assassination attempt of industrialist Henry Clay Frick; when Most spoke out against it, she horsewhipped him on stage at a public lecture. After delivering an incendiary speech to unemployed workers in New York, she was sentenced to a year in prison, throwing a glass of ice water into the face of a cop who suggested that she snitch on fellow radicals. In prison she studied medicine, and later traveled to Europe to learn skills in massage and midwifery; everywhere she went, she gave rousing speeches to enormous audiences in English, Yiddish, German, and Russian, spreading anarchist ideas as well as birth control information, radical reflections on sexuality and atheism, and perspectives on literature, drama and art. Her journal Mother Earth, published from 1906–1917, was one of the most widely circulated and influential radical publications of the era. Constantly in and out of prison for her ceaseless agitation, she was finally deported from the United States in 1919, arriving hopefully in revolutionary Russia. But to her dismay, the authoritarianism of Lenin’s regime and its persecution of anarchists led her to become quickly disillusioned, and for the rest of her life she wandered the world, writing, speaking and agitating. Towards the end of her life she came to Barcelona to support the anarchist revolution unfolding in Spain. To this day, her life and her writings inspire new generations of anarchists and feminists to live freely and fight fiercely.


Clara: In the years spanning from the Paris Commune to the Spanish Civil War, unprecedented challenges arose to the established order of things, both in terms of states and politics as well as gender and the family. From the Caribbean to east Asia to South America to the Russian steppes, local and regional traditions of rebellion intertwined with European and North American anarchist, feminist, and other radical currents. In all of these places and beyond, anarchist women fought authority as labor organizers, educators, writers, insurgents, and rebels on all fronts of social struggle.

Alanis: Anarchist women involved in labor struggles often organized sectors of workers ignored by the male left and challenged radicals to reconceptualize domestic labor. As early as 1908, Sophie Vasilio of San Francisco called on her IWW comrades to recognize housework as productive labor and begin organizing housewives. Chilean anarchists organized a Working Women’s Union Federation, backed by the IWW, in 1921. Ukrainian anarcho-syndicalist Milly Witkop helped to found an autonomous women’s section of the German Free Worker’s Union in 1920, insisting on the crucial role of housewives and domestic laborers in the class struggle. In the 1920s and 30s in Bolivia, anarchists founded the Women’s Labor Federation and organized unions of florists and domestic and kitchen workers. They operated autonomously from men’s labor organizations and fought for universal divorce and child care along with improved labor conditions. Rose Pesotta, who immigrated from Ukraine to New York in 1913 to escape an arranged marriage, organized Mexican garment workers in Los Angeles, leading to a massive strike in 1933, and became vice president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, though a decade later she would quit the union in protest of their institutional sexism.

Anarchist women often organized infrastructure, in the form of organizations, spaces, and publications to specifically support women’s revolutionary action. As early as 1896, Virginia Bolten founded an anarcha-feminist newspaper titled La Voz De La Mujer (The Women’s Voice), in Rosario, Argentina. By 1901, anarchist women in Uruguay had organized Sociedades de Resistencia, Resistance Societies of women working in laundries and tobacco factories. Voltairine de Cleyre, the prolific American anarchist writer, organized the deceptively named Ladies Liberal League in Philadelphia to provide radical women with a space to discuss and educate one another around anarchism, sexuality, atheism, and other political issues. He Zhen, a Chinese exile in Tokyo and founder of the anarcha-feminist journal Natural Justice, organized the Women’s Rights Recovery Association in 1907; in return for adherence to a strict anti-state and anti-patriarchal code of conduct, the association promised to “come to the aid of any member oppressed by her husband or attempting to resist male dominance in any way.” Anarchist embroidery worker Angelina Soares founded a Women’s Education Center in Brazil in 1914. In 1924, the Louise Michel Libertarian Women’s Group opened a social center in Oporto, Portugal, organizing cultural activities and promoting women’s labor organizing.

Clara: Perhaps the largest and most prominent anarchist women’s organization was Mujeres Libres, who at its height boasted 30,000 members and played a pivotal role in mobilizing women for the Spanish Revolution. Founded in 1936 by activists frustrated with how the larger anarchist movement responded to questions of gender and women’s liberation, Mujeres Libres worked with the CNT, FAI, and FIJL but remained autonomous from these larger male-dominated movement organizations. The group provided day care services for activist women and libertarian education for their children, published a monthly magazine, organized education programs for women around literacy and nursing skills, supported militiawomen on the front lines against male scorn, and traveled into the countryside to support women founding rural chapters. The empowerment experienced by the many thousands of women whose lives were touched by Mujeres Libres made a lasting impact on the libertarian movement in Spain.

Alanis: Anarchist women often worked as journalists, both in more mainstream newspapers - quite rare for women at the time - as well as radical periodicals. Florence Finch Kelly became a regular contributor to the individualist journal Liberty while working as a journalist in Boston in the 1880s. British writer Charlotte Wilson was largely responsible for introducing communist anarchist ideas to English-speaking audiences. In 1886, she co-founded Freedom, an anarchist newspaper still published in the UK today, and served as its editor for the first decade. In 1901 in Guanajuato, Mexico, Juana Belén founded the anarchist newspaper Vesper, which continued through the Revolution and weathered periods of intense repression, lasting until 1936. Anarchist women founded journals and newspapers across Latin America and the Caribbean in conjunction with labor organizing; in Brazil and Chile in 1906, Puerto Rico in 1910, in Peru in 1911, and Uruguay in 1908 and again in 1915.

Clara: Kanno Sugako was arrested repeatedly by the Japanese police for her anti-war and feminist journalism and for founding an anarchist newspaper. Inspired by Sophia Perovskaya, she hatched a plot to assassinate the emperor, but was discovered and executed in 1911. Aniela Wolberg joined the Polish anarchist movement as a teenager in the 1920s, and while studying in Paris, helped publish a Polish-language anarchist monthly journal. Fired from her job and deported for her political organizing, she returned to Poland, faced more repression there, and died in Spain while working for the revolution during the Civil War. Takamure Itsue, one of the most famous women journalists in Japan, founded an anarcha-feminist journal called The Woman’s Front in 1930, publishing sixteen issues before government repression shut it down. Chicago anarchist Anna Edelstein Olay helped run the Spanish Labor Press Bureau, a news service for the anarchists during the Spanish revolution.

Alanis: Others worked as doctors or nurses, as did Louise Michel and Emma Goldman at times. Dr. Natasha Notkin, a pharmacist, worked with de Cleyre in the Ladies Liberal League of Philadelphia, distributed anarchist literature and raised money for prisoner support. Her friend Emma Goldman described her as “the true type of Russian woman revolutionist, with no other interests in life but the movement.” Cross-dressing French radical feminist Madeline Pelletier worked as a physician her whole life, openly performing abortions in defiance of the law. One of the most renowned anarchist physicians in the United States was Dr. Marie Equi, a longtime IWW supporter who provided abortion services to women and treated injured protestors during labor demonstrations. Teresa Torelles Espina ran a hospital in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War; exiled to France after the defeat of the anarchist revolution, she emigrated to South America, becoming active in anarchist movements in Argentina and Venezuela.

Clara: Many anarchist women participated in radical education projects as teachers and organizers. In Brazil, Malvina Tavares and Dorvalina Ribas organized schools inspired by the libertarian models of Spanish anarchist educator Francisco Ferrer and the Modern School. In the US, anarchist Lola Ridge was the first manager of the Ferrer Association and a lifelong activist, organizing solidarity protests for Sacco and Vanzetti. IWW organizer and poet Louise Olivereau worked as a teacher at the Ferrer Modern Day School in Portland, Oregon. Puerto Rican anarchist women took active roles in the organizing of Social Studies Centers, which offered educational opportunities for workers from a radical perspective. Swedish anarcho-syndicalist Elise Ottesen-Jensen focused her lengthy career as a journalist and teacher on feminist sex education, co-founding the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Alanis: Others used their literary talents to promote their anarchist ideals. Italian poet Virgilia D’Andrea evolved from a socialist into an anarchist during the first world war, and used her poetry as tactic to agitate against war and fascism and for free love. When Mussolini rose to power she fled Italy and passed through France, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United States, delivering fiery speeches promoting solidarity with strikers and political prisoners. Lola Ridge contributed her poetry to Emma Goldman’s Mother Earth journal and edited prominent avant-garde literary publications. Japanese anarchist Noe Ito edited a feminist arts and culture magazine and wrote novels, as well as critical essays and translations of Emma Goldman’s writings, before her murder at the hands of the secret police in 1923. Luisa Capetillo, Puerto Rico’s most prolific anarcha-feminist, worked as a lector - someone paid to read to workers at tobacco factories while they rolled cigars - and used the opportunity to disseminate radical ideas, often drawn from her extensive writings in a wide variety of genres. She crafted short fiction and plays that dealt with topics such as free love and free unions, prostitution, revolutionary violence, and gender relations after the revolution.

Clara: Anarchist women were sometimes able to exploit sexist notions of female passivity to play crucial roles as militants under the noses of the authorities, as did Louise Michel when she snuck through police lines in nurse’s garb to raise the flag of mutiny at the start of the Paris Commune. Aurora Novoa Lozano, a Brazilian seamstress active in the anarcho-syndicalist movement, played a crucial role in a strike on the docks of the city of Santos in 1920 and 1921. Unbeknownst to the police, she used her home and workshop as a meeting place for the strikers to drop off notes and messages to each other, manifestos addressed to the working class, and even bombs.

Alanis: And finally, anarchist women fought as armed revolutionaries, on the front lines of guerrilla wars and terrorist campaigns against the state. Inspired by the examples of the Russian nihilist women, they became doubly notorious for their defiance of the law as well as the expectations of their gender.

Clara: Olga Taratuta, a schoolteacher from a small Ukrainian village, became politicized as a social democrat before traveling through Europe, meeting Lenin, and becoming an anarcho-communist. Returning to Odesssa in 1904, she joined an anarchist group called “The Intransigents” and carried out bombings and attacks on military officials before being captured and imprisoned. Released at the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, she returned to Ukraine to work with Makhno and founded the Anarchist Black Cross there to support comrades imprisoned by the Soviet regime. For the rest of her life she was in and out of prison, never wavering in her commitment to supporting anarchist prisoners and struggles, until her murder by the Soviet government in 1938.

Alanis: One of the most celebrated Magonista rebels that fought in the Mexican Revolution was Margarita Ortega. As later recalled by Ricardo Flores Magon, Margarita suggested to her husband in early 1911 that they both join the guerrillas. “I love you,” she told him, "but I also love all who suffer, for whom I will fight and risk my life. I don’t want to see any more men or women spending their strength, their health, their intelligence and their futures on enriching the bourgeois. I don’t want to see men ordering other men around any more.” Her husband refused, so Margarita then turned to her daughter, Rosaura Gortari: “And you, daughter? Are you ready to follow me or would you rather stay at home?” She didn’t hesitate, and both joined the armed groups as fighters. Ortega distinguished herself as an expert horse rider and sharpshooter, and endured capture, abandonment in the desert, rescue, recapture, and torture, refusing to the end to snitch on her comrades to the government forces before being executed.

Clara: Clara Thallmann traveled to Spain to join the Durruti column and fought on the front lines as an anarchist militia-woman in the Spanish Civil War. Betrayed by the Soviet-aligned Communist forces, she spent months in Stalinist jails; after her release, she fled to Paris and formed an underground resistance group, providing refuge for Jews and revolutionaries under the Nazi occupation and forming a rural anarchist commune after the war.

Alanis: Perhaps the most notorious female uncontrollable, the so-called Anarchist Joan of Arc, was Maria Nikiforova. Born sometime around 1885 in Alexandrovsk, Ukraine, Marusya, as she was known, became involved in an underground anarchist group as a working class teenager, washing bottles in a vodka factory. Before reaching legal adulthood, her resume included multiple bombings, armed expropriations, and the alleged murder of a policeman, more than enough to merit a death sentence that was only commuted to twenty years of hard labor because she was still too young for the death penalty. Shortly after her arrival in Siberia, she organized a prison riot and escaped through the wilderness, circling the world from Vladivostok to Japan, the United States, Paris and eventually Barcelona in 1913, where she was wounded in the course of a bank robbery with anarchist militants there. When the Russian revolution broke out, she rallied sailors to rebellion in Kronstadt before returning to her hometown in Ukraine, where she helped expropriate a million rubles from the vodka factory where she used to work, to fund the local worker’s council…

…how’s that for a workplace revenge fantasy? As the October Revolution unfolded, Marusya organized an anarchist Black Guard detachment, raided army weapons depots, pillaged palaces, freed prisoners, and delivered devastating speeches denouncing all authority. As Ukraine slid into civil war, she commanded a large armed force against the invading Germans, burned down the prison in Odessa, was briefly imprisoned by the Bolsheviks, collaborated with Nestor Makhno, and undertook a campaign of robberies, bombings, and assassinations against both the Red and White armies. By the time she was captured and killed in 1919, she had become one of the most infamous enemies of authoritarians of every stripe. As a gloating newspaper decreed after her death, “Several times she was wounded, several times her head was cut off, but like the like the legendary Hydra, she always grew a new one. She survived and turned up again, ready to spill new blood.” Indeed, in the civil war after her death, numerous other Marusyas appeared, carrying on the legacy of charismatic women leading anarchist forces across the steppes under the black flag against the Reds and Whites.

Clara: There are so many more stories to share! We’ve only been able to scratch the surface of the thrilling legacy of anarchist women and early anarcha-feminists, but we’ll continue in future episodes. Hopefully these stories have piqued your interest to learn more; check out our website at for a full bibliography with sources for all the information we cited. Next time we’ll examine the perspectives of the first generations of anarchist women on gender, sexuality, marriage, women’s suffrage, and other focuses of agitation… and then how the second-wave feminist generation adopted anarchist values and practices and lead to the anarcha-feminisms of today.


Alanis: For this episode’s Mugshot, we’re speaking to a member of the Dublin, Ireland-based Revolutionary Anarcha-Feminist Group, or RAG for short.

Angela: Hello, my name is Angela, and I’m in RAG.

Alanis: Can you tell us a little bit about how RAG got started?

Angela: Sure! I’ve been in RAG since 2009, but it actually started about ten years ago, and it started as a publishing collective. There were a group of women who were interested in putting out a magazine. So they actually managed to get a grant for their first issue, and therefore when they sold the magazine, that paid for the following issue, and so on and so forth. So that’s how we’ve managed to keep going financially for so long.

It’s my understanding that it was started because there were women who were in different anarchist groups, or groups that were focused on other issues but identified as anarchists, and they just felt they were not represented and that they wanted their own space. And they debated a lot on the name; RAG had a double meaning… it’s an acronym, it stands for Revolutionary Anarcha-feminist Group. And that magazine is called The Rag. So it has those obvious connotations…

Alanis: Are you based in Dublin, or throughout Ireland? What kinds of people get involved? Did you come mostly from the punk and anarchist scene, or from other feminist circles?

Angela: It’s based entirely in Dublin. We have members from all over. One of our members was from Turkey, we have an Argentinian member, I’m American, and there’s been some Canadians. We had a person from Israel/Palestine in the group for a little while. Yeah. so it’s quite international, despite being out of Dublin.

I’d say the ages range from probably 21 to… the oldest member I think was in her early 50s, late 40s? Most of us, I’d say, are in our 30s. When it was started it was probably more born out of the punk scene. Nowadays it’s more of a mix, much more of a mix. And because a lot of us have gotten older, people who maybe started off as punks maybe 10 years ago now are professional people - they’ve normed out. But yeah, I’d say there’s definitely that punk history there. A lot of times now people join from academic backgrounds, so they’re really looking at things from more of a feminist critique.

And it was really for women only. And I think that caused a bit of controversy within the local anarchist community, I think because a lot of people didn’t understand - this is kind of the same thing that anybody that creates a women only space go through, which is that a lot of people just don’t understand what the point is. But I think particularly with anarchists, they feel that they are more “evolved”; anarchist men often feel that they’ve included the gender issue in with general anarchism. And when the revolution comes, what do you want a separate space for? All that trouble is gonna be gone because everyone will be equal.

Alanis: I was struck by that phrase “general anarchism;” it sounds like on the one hand, there’s an assumption that anarchism entails, or should entail gender equality, a critique of patriarchy, etc., but on the other hand, that the reality within anarchist scenes and struggles doesn’t always live up to that. How has RAG challenged gender oppression within the Irish anarchist movement and Irish society more broadly?

Angela: One thing that has always been always really important to members in RAG has been to create a magazine, and really also our meetings, we have a lot of open public meetings we hold, so not everything we do is exclusive just to RAG members. But we try to be non-academic. You know, I think that anarchism tends to be really academic, and you can really nerd out to all the critical theory, and yadda yadda yadda. And so the magazine I think really wanted to be personal. So we deal with issues around bodily autonomy, body image, a lot about mental health, abortion stories… Particularly the most recent issue had a lot about abortion in it. because there’s a lot going on in Ireland with regards to abortion rights. We don’t have legal abortion here at all. Well, they just passed legislation which would allow for abortion in some cases to save the life of the pregnant woman, but in practicality, it just doesn’t, it’s not going to happen.

So abortion is a big issue. There’s a lot of very personal topics such as sexual assault experiences, language, and there’s been features on women’s communities against drugs, for example, from the 80s. It could just be anything. And we don’t limit ourselves on what can be written about.

Alanis: How have other anarchists and feminists reacted to RAG? What kind of response have you gotten?

Angela: You know, we’re really lucky to have an active group called the Worker’s Solidarity Movement. We get a lot of support from them. They tend to inspire us a lot.

We’re really lucky because so many people support RAG. We’re now, because we’ve been around so long, are kind of looked up to internationally by a lot of people. When we do book fairs and stuff, people are actually excited to see the new issue. I dunno, I feel like people have a soft spot for us because we’re making it work for so long.

It’s kind of great when we get feedback, which doesn’t happen that often, but recently we got a letter, it was a letter that was published in another magazine called “Queer Thing.” Someone wrote this really great - well, it’s an article really, but we kind of felt like it was sort of to us. And it was about the way we had handled trying to be inclusive of trans women in our group. And it was so fantastic, because it spurred this really long conversation about the way we describe our group and also who we let in our group. And we realized this is a conversation we kind of always need to be happening. We did have a trans member, and when she joined a few years ago, that was the first time anybody thought about, oh gosh, we call ourselves women only, but what does that mean? So it was quite obvious that we would let a trans woman in, but then we kind of worded it really funny. In the back of the magazine there’s a description of what RAG is, and we worded it like, “women-identified”. And the person who wrote the article in queer thing was like, you know, we’re just women. You don’t have to say “women-identified”. And that’s when we realized, like, yeah! So yeah, feedback is really great because it gives you a jumping off point for discussion.

Alanis: What are the primary struggles RAG is involved in today?

Angela: Right now, RAG has really taken a back seat to the abortion rights campaign. That’s kind of the most important thing at the moment to a lot of people. The abortion rights campaign didn’t exist two years ago. I like to give us credit for it… I don’t know if that’s everyone else’s version of events! But basically we were sitting at a RAG meeting and we were like, gosh, where are the pro-choice groups? There are so many of them, and they’re not coming together, and there’s no unified campaign. So let’s have a big meeting and we’ll invite everyone and see what happens. And like 40 people came - not a huge turnout, but big enough - representatives from different groups came. So we decided, OK, we’re gonna have a whole day workshop, and that had about 80 to 100 people show up. And that’s when we created something called the Irish Choice Network. And then that group organized the first pro-choice march on International Decriminalization of Abortion Day in September; this was two years ago. And from that we thought, actually, we need a big campaign. And so we created that campaign that has a very anarchist structure to it; local anarchists made sure we had a very non-hierarchical structure and all this kind of stuff. That took about six months to name as the Abortion Rights Campaign, and we’re about to have our third, in September will be our third march.

The campaign, instead of being structured like a lot of campaigns which have a top down approach, what we did is we created five working groups, and those working groups send representatives to a steering group who make the decisions. But we try to make sure there’s a lot of accountability and consensus. When we started it was very important that it was non hierarchical. And that was a real challenge for some people who just wanted to be in charge.

So the five working groups are basically: admin and fundraising, media and social media, politics and lobbying, partnerships and outreach, and creative and direct action. They are all like fingers of the hand, basically. The decision to create that structure was inherently because there were anarcha-feminists involved in setting up the campaign.

Alanis: So just what is anarcha-feminism, according to RAG?

Angela: We don’t consider ourselves or anarcha-feminism to be a political party, so we’re very conscious of the fact that we don’t all agree. And we’re very comfortable with the fact the things go in the magazine or get said by members of the group that other members of the group don’t agree with, and we’re really comfortable with that. We have a kind of blurb that’s our description of ourselves; it’s basically about recognizing that women’s subordination exists, and needs to be fought against, and that it’s not just a sort of afterthought in terms of other forms of oppression, but that it’s the most important thing. If you tackle that issue, you tackle everything else. If you tackle patriarchy, you also would tackle capitalism and racism and everything else.

Part of the role of anarcha-feminism is to think about and fight for under-represented genders, whatever that is, and it’s a spectrum.

Alanis: Are there any examples from the history of feminism or anarchism in Ireland that inspire your organizing today?

Angela: There are lots of really inspirational feminists, particularly from the 70s and 80s. There’s one group called the Irish Women United. And they had a magazine which had a sort of similar feel to ours; it’s called Banshee. It’s so fascinating to read about what they were writing about in the late 70s. They were trying to get equal pay. Even in the 70s, you couldn’t even order a pint of beer if you were a woman in most pubs; you had to get a glass, which is a half of a pint. They were just getting so much hassle. They used to do things like a lot of direct actions, so they would do occupations, building occupations, and break into exclusive tennis clubs that wouldn’t allow women and put feminist graffiti on the tennis courts and stuff like that.

Alanis: Do you have connections with other anarcha-feminist groups outside of Ireland?

Angela: Well, we’re strongly linked to the UK, obviously, because of the close proximity and the language. There’s a few groups over there, the Feminist Library, and their book fair every year - we always do a panel. And there’s a whole network over there in the UK that we link oin with. It’s mostly an email list. But we did, I think about six years ago, we had a RAD gathering and a lot of anarcha-feminists from the UK came over and we camped and had workshops and that kind of thing.

Alanis: What kinds of challenges do you face bringing together feminist and anarchist struggles?

Angela: I think the hardest challenge is work. Women are expected to do so much work in and out of the home that there isn’t a lot of time for activism. There are so many anarchist groups, and you look at who’s going, and it’s men - and it’s not because the women aren’t interested. And I feel like what’s happened with RAG is that the last couple of issues have been really, really difficult to get out. We usually do one a year; we had one come out in October, but before that, it had been three years. So in that time we had had meetings, open meetings, and done lots of events and things like that, but when it came to buckling down and doing the hard work of the magazine, it was really hard. And I find that right now where we’re at is we’re not meeting as much. We’ve got lots of great ideas and not the power to follow through.

You know, you talk to these young anarcha-feminists and they talk about, “Oh, when the revolution comes…” And I’m like, oh God, I just don’t know anymore! I wish I had the idealism and the optimism.

Alanis: Angela, thanks so much for speaking with us!

Angela: Yeah, thank you! Keep up the good work.


Clara: And now it’s time for the Chopping Block, our section of each episode devoted to exploring anarchist books and magazines and telling you what we think. For this episode, we’re taking a look at Quiet Rumors, an anarcha-feminist anthology recently released in its third edition by AK Press. The anthology originated in the 1980s, when the UK-based Dark Star Collective compiled a series of pamphlets on feminism, anarchism and organization into a short book. In 2002, AK Press re-released a second edition with the original essays alongside several other historical and contemporary texts; ten years later came the current edition, which adds three more essays to the previous material. Together, they comprise a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of anarchist consciousness among radicals of the women’s liberation movement, critiques of the internal sexism of left and anarchist movements, and militant challenges to patriarchy around the world.

Some of the strongest portions of the anthology are the original pamphlets, dating back to the 1970s. The classic debates around feminist practices of informal organization, “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” and a response called “The Tyranny of Tyranny,” are mandatory reading for exploring the politics of groups that lack formal structure. Lynne Farrow looks at feminist history and concludes that “feminism practices what anarchism preaches,” Peggy Kornegger develops revolutionary anarchist strategy from her experience within the women’s liberation movement, while Carol Ehrlich connects feminism and situationism. These essays are clearly dated in some ways: they reflect a reaction to the Marxist- and male-dominated New Left and the burgeoning women’s liberation movement, not to mention a largely unquestioned gender essentialism. Still, these fiery, playful, and incisive yet accessible expressions of anarcha-feminist critique remain thought-provoking today.

Other contributions include statements from collectives in the US, Ireland, and Bolivia, offering passionate visions for how anarchism and feminism can come together, and some essays by and about female classical anarchists, including Emma Goldman and Voltarine de Cleyre. There are also two contemporary essays: one by Sally Darity of the online Anarcha library integrates critiques of the gender binary to frame a non-essentialist anarcha-feminism based in struggle for bodily autonomy, while another discusses an anarchist perspective on intersectionality - politics rooted in awareness of overlapping and interlocking systems of oppression. A particularly interesting essay by one Alice Nutter, published in the final issue of the British Class War paper, looks retrospectively at that group’s engagement with gender and how 1980s and 90s working class anarchism related to feminism.

One intriguing feature of the anthology is its willingness to allow contradictions among different anarcha-feminisms to shine through. For example, compare this statement by Mujeres Creando’s Maria Galindo -

Alanis: “We know that social change comes not from hate or violence, but from hope and creativity”

Clara: - against this from the German armed revolutionary group Rote Zora:

Alanis: “We think it is absolutely necessary to tear the oppression of women…out of the ‘private domain’ and show our anger and hate with fire and flames.”

Clara: The diversity of essays allows a broad look into the variety of the anarcha-feminist tradition without trying to define it in a unitary way.

The last decade has seen an explosion of new analysis, practices, and conflicts around gender within North American anarchism. Challenges to the gender binary, explicitly trans-feminist and genderqueer critiques, rejection of identity politics, new formulations of materialist feminism, reinvention of norms around language… the theory and practice of anarcha-feminism has transformed dramatically since the second edition of the anthology. Unfortunately, almost none of this ferment appears in the book; save the one essay by Sally Darity on “The New Woman Question,” plus a brief allusion in the introduction, we see none of this radical shift reflected in the contents. It’s possible that contributions were solicited from Doris Press, Petroleuse Press, Not Yr Cister Press, the LIES Journal, Pink and Black Attack, the Institute for Experimental Freedom, Towards an Insurrectionary Transfeminism, Why She Doesn’t Give A Fuck About Your Insurrection, and the countless other projects and publications that have transformed our discourses around gender in recent years, but we see no reference to them. Nor do we see discussion of many of the sites of conflict that have mobilized anarchists to challenge gender norms recently - sexual abuse, accountability, street harassment, sex work, debates around sex positivity, and so on. So in its current form, Quiet Rumors serves more as a historical document - though certainly with some relevance today - than an exploration of contemporary debates on gender and resistance among anarchists.

Another frustrating feature of the anthology is that almost none of the essays, which span from the 1880s to the 21st century, are dated, so it’s difficult to read them in their historical context or to understand the time-specific references they make. We read of a litany of inspiring militant actions by West German feminist guerrillas and Bolivian art radicals, but we don’t know if they’re still active or when they stopped; communiques from several decades are paired next to each other with nothing to orient us among them. As a result, Quiet Rumors can seem a bit uneven, especially since some essays are about anarcha-feminism while others seem to have been included simply because they were written by anarchist women; three essays by Goldman, de Cleyre and Charlotte Wilson cumulatively mention gender in just a single sentence.

However, bearing these shortcomings in mind, if you’re interested in anarcha-feminism then Quiet Rumors is an excellent, though incomplete, place to start. Look up some context for the essays, seek out some contemporary anarchist discussions of gender, and then enjoy this treasure trove of provocative and thoughtful texts that challenge anarchism to live up to its potential to dismantle all hierarchies.


Alanis: Whew! All right, let’s see what we’ve got for next week’s news this time around. Anything on the calendar?

Clara: The Beat the Pipelines Tour is taking place across Canada this week. Through August 6th, you can see presentations about fracking, gas pipelines, and the resistance forged against them in the Northwest by indigenous communities, anarchists, and environmental activists, along with sick crust punk and metal bands. The tour’s motto is “Social War Against Industrial Expansion.” You can read more at

Alanis: The tour is taking place in solidarity with the Unis’tot’en Camp, an indigenous community in British Columbia that is fiercely resisting the attempts of several energy corporations to build pipelines through their land. Here’s an excerpt from a video made by folks from the Wet’suwet’an nation discussing their response to the Canadian state and energy corporations:

Freda Huson: We’re not afraid of the Harper government; we’re not afraid of anybody that’s going to try to forcibly put their project through our territory when we’ve already said no. And our numbers are quite high right across Canada; indigenous people probably outnumber settler people. So you can guarantee, if there’s an uprising in one community, especially something that’s a bigger project like this that’s gonna impact the entire world with the global warming, you’re guaranteed you’re going to have a lot of upset people across Canada, not just here. Because this impacts everybody. So we’ve had people make vows that they’re going to shut down major highways to impact the Canadian economy, if the Harper government’s going to ignore indigenous people.

Clara: We assume that all of you watch the Stimulator, right? Because if you haven’t yet, you need to immediately press pause on this podcast and go to and watch or listen to what is pretty clearly the best anarchist media program in the universe. Ever. Seriously. And the latest episode has a segment on the Unist’ot’en camp with live footage, interviews, history and context, everything you could want. Don’t miss it -

Alanis: As we mentioned earlier, Luke O’Donovan’s trial for defending himself against homophobic attackers takes place in Atlanta, Georgia on August 11th; if you’re able to make it, he’s asked for folks to come support him in court. Stay tuned to updates at

Clara: Also, the Interference Conference is taking place in Amsterdam on August 15th–17th. What is it, you ask? The organizers respond:

Alanis: Interference tries not to define itself. Interference challenges hacker’s identity, the internal dynamics of hackerculture and its ethical values. It undermines given identities and rejects given definitions. Interference is a hacking event from an anarchist perspective: it doesn’t seek for uniformity on the level of skills or interests, but rather focuses on a shared basis of intuitive resistance and critical attitude towards the techno-social apparatus. Interference is three days of exploring modes of combining theory and practice, breaking and (re)inventing systems and networks, and playing with the art and politics of everyday life. Topics may or may not include philosophy of technology, spectacle, communication guerrilla, temporary autonomous zones, cybernetics, bureaucratic exploits, the illusions of liberating technologies, speculative software, the creative capitalism joke, the maker society and its enemies, hidden- & self- censorship, and the refusal of the binarity of gender, life, and logic. Interference welcomes discordians, intervention artists, artificial lifeforms, digital alchemists, oppressed droids, luddite hackers and critical engineers to diverge from the existent, dance with fire-spitting robots, hack the urban environment, break locks, decentralise and disconnect networks, explore the potential of noise, build botnets, and party all night. You can find out more at

Clara: The Philadelphia Anarchist Book Fair will take place on August 23rd, and the Seattle Anarchist Book Fair is that same weekend on the 23rd and 24th.

Alanis: Actually, August 23rd is going to be an important date for a number of reasons; here’s a statement from the Anarchist Black Cross in Belarus explaining why. They write:

August 23 is not only the anniversary of the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, but also the birthday of another imprisoned anarchist from Belarus: Mikalai Dziadok. This is also the first day of the International Week of Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners. On this day Mikalai will turn 26 and this will be his 4th birthday behind bars. We want to make him a video-postcard, where people form different countries and cities, in different languages congratulate him on this day. We call you to record a short video, alone or with friends, inside or outside, using words or showing slogans. For many of you this can be the only opportunity to express solidarity with him.

Mikalai Dziadok is a Belarussian anarchist. On May 27, 2011 he was found guilty of an attack on the “Shangri La” casino, an attack on the Trade Union Federation building and participation in the anti-militarist demonstration near the General Staff, and was sentenced to four and a half years in standard regime penal colony for group hooliganism. After serving two years of the sentence, he was transferred to a high-security prison.

We accept the videos by August 1st at, then we’ll make a compilation of them all and put it on our website. Mind that it’s going to appear online, so take precautions if you want to hide your identity. Mikalai won’t be able to see this video in prison, but we believe he will be astonished by it when he gets out of prison next March.

Clara: We know that August 1st has already come and gone, but we’re pretty sure they’ll appreciate more videos even if you send ’em in a little late. So check out the links on our website for more details.

Alanis: And also on August 22nd to 24th, a conference is happening in Lund, Sweden called Connecting European Struggles; radical left, anarchist and autonomous activists are inviting folks involved in struggles concerning migration, solidarity work, crisis, feminism, racism and (anti)fascism, exploitation of nature, workers’ struggles, student movements, counter-information media, activist journalism and so on to come together and strategize. Find out more at

Clara: Quite a busy weekend!

Alanis: The Eighth Balkan Anarchist Book Fair will take place in Mostar, Bosnia on the 5th and 6th of September as part of the annual Mostar Anti-fascist festival. The organizers write:

Clara: We invite all anarchist and anti-authoritarian groups, individuals, publishers, initiatives and projects from the Balkans (and beyond) to come and participate at the Fair in discussions and meetings which will help us build solidarity networks and a strong anti-nationalist and anti-capitalist movement.

Alanis: Mostar in many ways represents the misery that has been imposed on much of the Balkans through nationalism, war and competition for power between political elites - who attempt to destroy all social networks that go beyond these artificial differences. This perfectly fits the capitalist logic of “divide and rule”, since it’s used as a tool to prevent social connections and revolts. Even today, almost 20 years after the war, the people of Mostar don’t live together in a single undivided town. Still, in the revolts earlier this year, they did show new ways to resist nationalism and capitalism.

Clara: At this year’s Balkan Anarchist Book Fair we will discuss anti-nationalist and anti-capitalist struggles, anarchist anti-war initiatives and solidarity actions, exchange ideas and strategies, and above all, show that our solidarity goes beyond all borders and divisions created by authority and the state.

Alanis: To send a proposal for a meeting or discussion at the book fair, send an email to can find out more at

Clara: Anarchist Black Cross groups across North America are coming together in Denver, Colorado for a gathering on September 12th to 14th.

Clara: That same weekend in Chicago, the TORCH Anti-fascist Network will host a day of workshops, meetings and music along with South Side Chicago Anti-Racist Action.

Alanis: And the 10th anniversary of the monthly anarchist Really Really Free Market in Carrboro, North Carolina is coming up on October 4th. What’s happening?

Clara: A wild party!, say organizers. The Carrboro Really Really Free Market is celebrating its ten-year anniversary with a massive festival! You’re invited for a whole weekend of really really free activities. We’re hoping comrades from around the world will join us in making this something to remember. And: A clash of utopias! Come demonstrate the life you would prefer instead of capitalism. Set up a booth, offer a workshop, put on a performance, screen a film, carry out some dramatic action, obtain and distribute some resource no one could imagine being free. We want to see a wide range of utopian visions and ungovernable desires manifested. Rather than simply opposing what exists, reactively, we dare you to demonstrate that your alternative to competition and obedience is more nourishing, more exciting, and more fulfilling than anything the market can offer.

Alanis: Well, that sounds like a lively summer and fall! And what about prisoner birthdays?

Clara: Well, there are quite a few coming up. On August 3rd, Bill Dunne, an anti-authoritarian revolutionary locked up since 1979 for helping attempt to break other radical prisoners out of jail,

Alanis: On the 4th, Debbie Sims Africa of the Move 9,

Clara: On the 8th, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, acupuncturist, Black Panther, father of Tupac, accused of robbing banks as part of an underground black liberation cell;

Alanis: On the 14th, Barrett Brown, an internet activist and journalist targeted for reporting on Anonymous and the Stratfor hack;

Clara: And on August 16th, Hanif Shabazz Bey, one of the anti-colonial rebels from the Virgin Island Five.

Alanis: And that’s all for this episode of the Ex-Worker! Many thanks to Angela from RAG in Dublin for speaking with us, to Underground Reverie for the music, and to all of you for listening.

Clara: Next time we’ll continue our discussion of anarcha-feminism from the second wave up through the destruction of gender and the end of all hierarchy and domination.

Alanis: Which should be taken care of in the next two weeks, right?

Clara: Well, I bloody well hope so! It’s about time!

Online resources

Links and references from this episode of The Ex-Worker:

Now, on to the folks we discussed in our history of early anarchist women: