New in August 2023: 1970s Women’s Liberation Movement articles from Catcall.

‘Strength will not come through hiding or minimizing our differences.’ Two articles originally published in the nineteen-seventies give an insight into some of the developments and political debates in the UK Women’s Liberation Movement at the time, while raising some issues still relevant to feminist and other social movements today.

Censorship and Self-oppression (1976) by Judy Greenway, argues that difficulties in dealing with disagreements and controversy can lead to suppression of dissent and a ‘tyranny of virtue’ within some parts of the Women’s Liberation Movement, and urges the necessity of open discussion.

Anarchism and The Women’s Liberation Movement (1977) by Lynn Alderson, argues for the relevance of anarchist ideas to autonomous feminist organising. Originally written as a starting point for discussion at a conference on Feminism and Anarchism, it now includes her new afterword, contextualising and reflecting on those earlier debates.

Cover of Catcall: a feminist discussion paper, issue 4, price 15p, with drawing of woman in a clown or carnival costume

Both articles were published in Catcall, a feminist paper which aimed to provide a space where such debates could take place, providing a non-sectarian open forum ‘for discussion, theory, and the exchange of ideas by and for women in the women’s liberation movement’, with an emphasis on the relationship between theory and practice. Originally founded by Margot Farnham, Deborah Hart and myself, it was produced collectively and sold at cost price in women’s centres, at meetings, conferences and demonstrations, or by subscription. There were sixteen issues altogether, published at irregular intervals between 1976 and 1984. I hope to write more about Catcall at a later date.