jenny wolmark

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The pleasure-pain of feminist politics
in the 1970s



1. This phrase has its origins in the 1970s and is linked to the notion of sexual politics pioneered by Kate Millet, who redefined accepted definitions of 'politics' by suggesting that 'sex is a status category with political implications' (1976:24). She argued that, despite the so-called sexual revolution of the sixties, patriarchy remained entrenched in all aspects of social and cultural life, and her analysis of sexual politics sought to dismantle the artificial separation between 'private' and 'public' life. Bea Campbell made the link between these concepts even more explicit by pointing out that 'It is in woman's domestic role that we see the roots of her social position' ([1970] 1974:99). back

2. The Working Women's Charter was based on the ten demands for working women put forward by the London Trades Council in 1974. These demands generated enormous popular support and led to the formation of a network of Working Women's Charter groups that organised with the trade union movement to campaign for policy changes that would benefit women. The TUC included most of the demands in its own charter, Aims for Women at Work, which was published in 1975. back

3. Democratic centralism has been one of the key organising principles of revolutionary parties in Europe, including the British Communist Party. It is a complex term that, historically, has been subject to much debate and redefinition. The British CP abandoned the use of the term at the end of the seventies and became committed to the creation of, and involvement in, broad democratic alliances. back