Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Like Brothers and Sisters

Manuel Monléon Burgos.
Valencia 1905 -Mislata 1976


Mujeres Libres was a libertarian women´s movement that
existed from April 1936 till February 1939

"During it's short two year existence Mujeres Libres came to number 30,000 women and achieved much throughout republican Spain. A major focus was on education. In Barcelona they set up the Casa de La Dona, a major women's college, in 1937. By December 1938 the Casa was taking in 600-800 women per day. They ran numerous schools and courses to train women to enter industry in both Madrid and Barcelona. As well as technical training they urged trainees to fight for full equality within the workplace.

They also undertook military training, setting up a shooting range in Madrid. They opened maternity hospitals in Terrasa and Barcelona, and many schools for young children. These schools based themselves on the anarchist idea of education as a process of development and exploration rather then one of factual brainwashing.They also fought for and won legalised abortion, contraception and divorce and, locally, some rights to child care for women workers. As the war went on many members became increasingly involved in the housing and education of refugees...

It is clear that the revolution did bring some real gains for women. It is also clear from the events of the Spanish revolution that women's freedom cannot be ignored or side-lined by revolutionaries. It cannot be left until after the revolution or to "the women's section." A struggle which does not, from the beginning, aim to win freedom and equality for all does not deserve the name revolution."

Conor McLoughlin.

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