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      Our Heritage - Evelyn Reed

      (October 31, 1905 - March 22, 1979)
      Revolutionary leader and women's revolutionary theorist

      What is the source of women’s oppression? Those who maintain that women constitute a caste or class are led to the conclusion that it is not capitalism but men who are the prime enemy. This position leads to a false strategy in our struggle for liberation.

      The new stage in the struggle for women’s liberation already stands on a higher ideological level than did the feminist movement of the last century. Many of the participants today respect the Marxist analysis of capitalism and subscribe to Engels’ classic explanation of the origins of women’s oppression. It came about through the development of class society, founded upon the family, private property and the state.

      But there still remain considerable misunderstandings and misinterpretations of Marxist positions which have led some women who consider themselves radicals or socialists to go off course and become theoretically disoriented. Influenced by the myth that women have always been handicapped by their child-bearing functions, they tend to attribute the roots of women’s oppression, at least in part, to biological sexual differences. In actuality its causes are exclusively historical and social in character.

      Excerpts from International Socialist Review, September 1970 - "Women:Caste, Class or Oppressed Sex"

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