Women Come Rally

Women Come Rally

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Women have played an important but little known part in Australian socialist and Communist movement. This book documents the activity and vision of those women who fought against capitalism, oppression and injustice, in the hope of establishing a more humane social order. But this book goes beyond merely documenting the deeds of female activists and restoring their place in history. It also attempts to explore the subtle and often hidden ways in which issues relating to gender can define and influence politics and poltical life. The main focus of the book is an examination of gender relations within left wing organisations. It critiques the ways in which those are legitimized and reinforced, and considers how gendered concepts and meanings are constructed and reproduced within a historical context. The construction and representation of masculinity and femininity within the labour movement forms the basis of this analysis. A critical study of the language, ideas, iconography and traditions of the left can unravel ways in which gendered meanings and relations between men and women are reinforced and maintained. These themes are encapsulated and reflected in autobiographics by communists, which suggest the ways in which radical politics was a different social, cultural and political experience for men and for women. By exploring the relationship between gender and leftwing politics, this book attemps to show that firstly, women were not mere appendages of theirmale comrades, but were active participants in their own right, and secondly, how and why their activism was restricted by the existence of particular gender relations within the movement.