The Personal is Political
By Carol Hanisch [Download Resource]
‘The paper actually began as a memo that I wrote in February of 1969 while in Gainesville, Florida. It was sent to the women’s caucus of the Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF) a group for whom I was a subsistence-paid organizer doing exploratory work for establishing a women’s liberation project in the South. The memo was originally titled, “Some Thoughts in Response to Dottie’s Thoughts on a Women’s Liberation Movement,” and was written in reply to a memo by another staff member, Dottie Zellner, who contended that consciousness-raising was just therapy and questioned whether the new independent WLM was really ‘political’ …
“The Personal is Political” paper and the theory it contains, was my response in the heat of the battle to the attacks on us by SCEF and the rest of the radical movement. I think it’s important to realize that the paper came out of struggle—not just my struggle in SCEF but the struggle of the independent WLM against those who were trying to either stop it or to push it into directions they found less threatening’
So the reason I participate in these meetings is not to solve any personal problem. One of the first things we discover in these groups is that personal problems are political problems. There are no personal solutions at this time. There is only collective action for a collective solution.