43 years ago over Thanksgiving, the emerging groups of women’s liberation held a conference in Lake Villa IL as a follow up to an earlier one held in August 1968 in Sandy Springs, Md.

Women from across the United States attended and many brought with them the manifestos that have become the foundation of their histories.  In re-reading the New York Radical Women’s Statement of Principles, I was struck by the implicit reliance on pragmatism, although I’m not sure they would have known James had they tripped over him in Sandy Spring

We ask not if something is “reformist,” “radical,” “revolutionary,” or “moral.” We ask: is it good for women or bad for women?

We ask not if something is “political.” We ask: is it effective? Does it get us closest to what we really want in the fastest way?   

We are critical of all past ideology

I find not only their rejection of meta-narratives fascinating, but the emphasis on action.  Although the group would eventually dissolve over these issues, with Shulamith Firestone and her followers becoming more interested in the production of theory (merging marxism and feminism) and Robin Morgan and her followers becoming more interested in doing rather than talking, for a while it the very beginning, an insistence on the liberation of women was enough to bind their disparate approaches together.

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