Organising for AFem2014: an anarcha-feminist conference
London on Sunday October 19th 2014
Who are we?
We are a group of anarcha-feminists of varying genders, backgrounds and histories. Some of us belong to national and international organisations; some of us work in the tradition of less formal anarchist organising. We have come together to organise an anarcha-feminist conference. We want to use it to build concretely towards the transformation of our own experience, and towards toppling all institutions and ideas which oppress us.
The supposed gains of left and liberal feminism have not brought equality. Mainstream reformers and authoritarian-left political parties achieve little for us. This is the case in legal, economic, social and political terms, and in personal relationships. As anarcha-feminists, we concern ourselves with every aspect of human activity and experience. Many feminists understand that we are kept down and divided by many different kinds of oppression, overlapping and intersecting in complex ways. But other forces keep these in place. As such, we also seek the destruction of the state and of the class system, and all forms of social and cultural hierarchy and coercion, of capitalism and all economic exploitation. We want to explore the intersections between oppressions, developing theory, learning from others and arriving at practical outcomes. Anarcha-feminist theory and practice equips us to do this. And as well as being a critique, anarcha-feminism is a weapon we can use in our daily lives, to understand better and fight more effectively those social forms which shape our material reality and personal well-being.
What is AFem2014?
AFem2014 will be the first of what we hope will be a series of international anarcha-feminist conferences. The focus in this first year will be mainly, but not exclusively, on the anarchist movement itself and our place within it. The need for this has been obvious for a long time within anarchist organising. We are not represented in equal numbers and often are not taken seriously. Barriers to our full political participation remain intact and are reinforced by our own movement. We face oppression even in our own groups and organisations. Efforts to shut us down, belittle our ideas, and physically assault and abuse us have led to our anger. We identify an anti-feminist backlash where we have raised feminist and related anti-oppressive ideas. This means that our anarchist movement is not truly ‘anarchist’. We will no longer tolerate this. We want to transform our movement.
Who is the conference open to?
Our conference is open to all people who are the target of gender oppression, by which we mean sexism, misogyny, trans misogyny, cissexism, transphobia and binarism. If this applies to you, you are welcome as long as you act in accordance with our safer spaces policy.
We wish in particular to stress that, as anarcha-feminists, we take transphobia very seriously. Feminism and anarchism as movements have historically excluded and marginalised trans people, and continue to do so. Trans women, in particular, have been excluded from many branches of feminism. Because of this, we want to be especially clear that including trans women is a high priority for the conference.
How will the conference be structured and organised?
We propose a structure of intersecting, thematic meetings and strands, with outcomes by the end of the conference which we can take away with us, use and build on. We invite people to initiate meetings and whole strands with a focus on anarcha-feminist analysis and activity.
These strands should include those self-organised by people of colour, trans, genderqueer, gender fluid and non binary people, queer people, sex workers, people living in poverty, disabled people and people with mental health issues. We are committed to doing what we can to involve a diverse range of people in our organising, so such strands will be supported and resourced as a priority through the wider project.
To support the full and free participation of those encouraged to attend, the conference will have an explicit and meaningful safer spaces policy.
Please get involved
Groups, collectives and organisations already involved in the conference include the Anarchist Federation, The Solidarity Federation, the International of Anarchist Federations, and a growing number of non-aligned and autonomous anarcha-feminists. We hope this list continues to grow. There are a lot of things that we need to do, and we invite you to get involved to help shape this exciting event, in terms of ideas, concepts, and practical organising – not least, raising money!
Please get in touch if you agree with the approach above and would like to join the organising group, as an individual or as a delegate, including if you would like to participate in or help organise a specific meeting or strand.
Please also circulate this statement widely within your groups, organisations and networks, and get them to join the list of supporters and contributors.
Please help us raise money for the event. The more we get, the more inclusive and international the conference can be.
Looking forward to working with you…
Brighton, England. March 22nd 2014.
Email: afem [at] afed.org.uk