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Scarlet moons: the Australian women's liberation movement and the Communist Party of Australia, 1965-1975

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posted on 28.03.2022, 11:18 by Margaret Penson
This thesis analyses the intersection of the Communist Party of Australia and the women's liberation movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It examines a number of theoretical issues and contradictions which arose, and also looks at some of the practical experiences and outcomes for This thesis analyses the intersection of the Communist Party of Australia and the women's liberation movement during thelate 1960s and early 1970s. It examines a number of theoretical issues and contradictions which arose, and also looks at some of the practical experiences and outcomes forCommunist women which resulted from this conjunction. It is argued that the women's liberation movement was a major influence on the Party, assisting in changing some of itspolitical, theoretical and social perspectives. In particular. Party women raised some of the contradictions and theoretical dilemmas which existed in the Party's inherited view of 'the woman question'. The thesis maintains that at the time of the emerging women's liberation movement in Australia, the Communist Party was successfully attempting to analyse its political and ideological heritage. In particular its Stalinist heritage, its relationship to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and to the Communist International were deeply dissected. The thesis analyses the influence of the Soviet Union on the Australian Party, especially the theory and practice of 'work among women'. It also argues that the Communist Party was influenced by traditional labourist definitions and political views of the working class and the labour movement in Australia. The thesis suggests that the impact of the women's liberation movement can be seen in all areas of Party work and life, including its agendas, political programs, ideology and theory, cultural activities, and in the personal lives of some of its members. It is argued that Communist women assisted in the development of feminist critiques, particularly on issues of the family, sexuality , gender and class, patriarchy, the gender division of labour, and the state. Such critiques have been central to the development of socialist feminist theoretical perspectives. The development of such critiques has assisted in the re-definition of many aspects of the socialist project and of the socialist vision. The thesis examines the historical and political threads from the 1970s which assist in explaining the current concerns and problems confronting socialism and socialist feminism. One of the continuing issues has been how to develop a unified theory of socialist feminism. The thesis rejects feminist critiques which deny the relevance of Marxism and class analysis to women's oppression, and argues that the theory of class struggle is essential to analyses of capitalism and provides a unifying theory which links all oppression. Communist women which resulted from this conjunction. It is argued that the women's liberation movement was a major influence on the Party, assisting in changing some of its political, theoretical and social perspectives. In particular. Party women raised some of the contradictions and theoretical dilemmas which existed in the Party's inherited view of 'the woman question'. The thesis maintains that at the time of the emerging women's liberation movement in Australia, the Communist Party was successfully attempting to analyse its political and ideological heritage. In particular its Stalinist heritage, its relationship to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and to the Communist International were deeply dissected. The thesis analyses the influence of the Soviet Union on the Australian Party, especially the theory and practice of 'work among women'. It also argues that the Communist Party was influenced by traditional labourist definitions and political views of the working class and the labour movement in Australia. The thesis suggests that the impact of the women's liberation movement can be seen in all areas of Party work and life, including its agendas, political programs, ideology and theory, cultural activities, and in the personal lives of some of its members. It is argued that Communist women assisted in the development of feminist critiques, particularly on issues of the family, sexuality , gender and class, patriarchy, the gender division of labour, and the state. Such critiques have been central to the development of socialist feminist theoretical perspectives. The development of such critiques has assisted in the re-definition of many aspects of the socialist project and of the socialist vision. The thesis examines the historical and political threads from the 1970s which assist in explaining the current concerns and problems confronting socialism and socialist feminism. One of the continuing issues has been how to develop a unified theory of socialist feminism. The thesis rejects feminist critiques which deny the relevance of Marxism and class analysis to women's oppression, and argues that the theory of class struggle is essential to analyses of capitalism and provides a unifying theory which links all oppression.

History

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Heritage and legacy -- Chapter 2: Crossroads and cracked pathway -- Chapter 3: Liberating communism -- Chapter 4: Definitions and dialectical dilemma -- Chapter 5: Why is it that only women are behind the typewriters? -- Chapter 6: Social structures and hierophantic culture -- Chapter 7: The Parallax view -- Chapter 8: From the vertical to the horizontal -- Chapter 9: Testing times -- Chapter 10: Red renaissance.

Notes

Bibliography: pages 462-477 A Dissertation submitted to the fulfilments of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the School of History, Philosophy and Politics, Macquarie University. Australian Digital Theses.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD

Degree

PhD

Department, Centre or School

School of History, Philosophy and Politics

Year of Award

1992

Principal Supervisor

Duncan Waterson

Additional Supervisor 1

Jim Gillespie

Rights

Copyright disclaimer: http://www.copyright.mq.edu.au Copyright Margaret Penson 1992.

Language

English

Jurisdiction

Australia

Extent

1 online resources (xxxii, 477 pages)

Former Identifiers

mq:38991 http://hdl.handle.net/1959.14/349519