From 1970 to 1972, the Toronto Women's Caucus (TWC) was the largest
and most influential Women's Liberation group in Toronto. This essay,
written late in 1972, discusses the history of the TWC from the point of
view of members of the League for Socialist Action, who helped found the
group and were among its leading activists.
The document provides a unique picture of how women from the LSA and
Young Socialists took part in the women's movement and how they learned
and developed as political leaders through that experience. It also
provides important insight into the period when the women's movement was
evolving from "consciousness raising" into organizing for mass
See also Our Line in Practice,
a related document that deals with the period immediately following the
decline of TWC.
Originally published in: League for Socialist Action
/ Ligue Socialiste Ouvriθre Discussion Bulletin 1972. Number 23,
Toronto Women's Caucus:
A Two-Year Experience in a Cross-City Women's Liberation Group
by Lis Angus, Pam Dineen, L. Robertson
Our intervention in the new feminist radicalization has
been one of learning through experience. We don't have a blueprint for
how the women's liberation movement will develop, but we do have a
strategy a mass action strategy. In our interventions in the
developing movement, we have looked for opportunities to intervene and
to win women to this strategy.
One of the most important of our experiences was our
intervention in the Toronto Women's Caucus (TWC).
The purpose of this contribution is to review the
experiences and lessons of our two-year intervention in TWC. It traces
the nature of that intervention, and how our movement benefitted and
developed its ability to carry out our perspective of building and
leading the developing mass feminist movement.
Why We Helped Found TWC
Our participation in the founding of TWC, in June 1970,
was based on the same kind of analysis as our later participation in the
founding of the abortion coalitions: an analysis of the direction of the
movement and of the most effective way to project a mass action
perspective for the movement.
In the spring of 1970, after the successful Abortion
Caravans actions in May, it became clear to us that neither the New
Feminists nor the Women's Liberation Movement (the two existing groups
in Toronto) were willing or able to meet the challenge posed by the
Abortion Caravan: to move beyond the framework of small discussion
groups into public, independent political action. The New Feminists
continued to limit the size of their group to 16 (new women could join
only by the unanimous vote of the 16). The WLM, dominated by a new left
leadership, became a talk shop with meetings often degenerating into
We had spent a year fighting a dead-end battle in these
two groups for a mass action perspective. In June 1970 we took the
initiative, along with several independent women from the New Feminists,
in launching the Toronto Women's Caucus,
TWC represented a way to break out of the narrow
framework of existing Toronto groups and project a mass action
perspective for the feminist movement. We saw that this could be done
most effectively at that time through a group which was open to all
women and dedicated to active struggle against women's oppression. It
had to be a group which constantly reached out to the public and drew
women out of isolation from each other and into collective, active
Frustrated by the non-struggle perspective offered in
existing groups, the founders of TWC based the group on three basic
premises: "non-exclusionism, an activist character, and an orientation
to reaching the population of women at large. (Its aim) is to mobilize
women, to unite them, to be a means by which women can organize to end
their oppression." (November 1970: introductory leaflet)
Early Stages of TWC
In the first months of its existence, TWC grew and
developed rapidly into an activist organization. It reflected the
diffuse and undefined energies of the early women's liberation movement.
Although there was no focus of activity, a large number of the
women who came to meetings became active on one or another of the many
TWC carried actions on a wide variety of issues, aimed
at bringing more women to the group. For example, the first public
meeting sponsored by TWC attracted 150 people to hear British feminist
Jo O'Brien. TWC was further established in Toronto and to some extent
across Canada through publicity around a Miss Toronto demonstration in
July and an August 26 speak-out in Toronto City Hall Square in
solidarity with the August 26 actions across the United States.
(Although carried by only a handful of women, this last action received
front page coverage in Toronto papers and attracted many new women to
TWC also participated in a coalition of women for
inclusion of the word "sex" in the Ontario Human Rights Code; carried
educational discussions around a wide variety of topics, from
socialization and child care to fashion and media; and had a very active
"contact" committee which consistently phoned new women to invite them
to meetings and activities.
The Velvet Fist
During the summer of 1970 TWC launched Velvet
Fist, as a cross-Canada feminist paper putting forward TWC's
perspective on the women's movement. We projected that it was necessary
for the women's liberation movement to have a mass-oriented publication
to pose an action perspective for the movement and lead it forward.
We saw at that time that the Fist would play two
roles: 1) it would be a mobilizer for various actions and campaigns of
the feminist movement, convincing women of a mass action perspective;
and 2) it would be an educator, carrying articles on the origins of
women's oppression, history of women's struggles, etc.
When the Fist was initiated we did not know what
path the feminist movement would take what the key issues would be,
etc. but we know that the women's liberation movement must be
mass-oriented and that it must fight for women's needs. We projected the
Fist as a cross-country paper that would help build the mass
action wing of the feminist movement in Canada and our comrades
intervened in both TWC and Velvet Fist with this
In those early months, TWC became a pole of attraction
in Toronto for women radicalizing around the questions raised by the
women's liberation movement. A report to a Toronto Branch Conference in
the early fall of 1970 observed that TWC had grown (in four months) from
the founding group of five women to a mailing list of 300 and an
activist core of 25 to 30 women, thereby becoming the largest, most
active group in Toronto.
The Emergence of the Abortion Campaign:
Focus for a Mass Action Perspective
a) The Saskatoon Conference In November, 1970,
the first cross-country conference of the new feminist movement was held
in Saskatoon to discuss the way forward for the Canadian movement. A
number of comrades and members of TWC participated.
The leadership of the conference, which was anti-mass
action, hoped once and for all to squash the activist direction which
many new groups had adopted following the Abortion Caravan. They
appeared to fear that new women would dilute the revolutionary content
of the movement.
We had seen the breadth of support for the Abortion
Caravan actions the previous May, and saw the possibilities of ongoing
struggle. We projected that a continued campaign around this issue could
concretely pose a perspective of struggle around concrete demands,
mobilizing the growing sentiment for the right to abortion. Our comrades
at the conference put forward the perspective of continuing to build on
the successes of the Caravan by working towards drawing large numbers of
women into independent struggle around the campaign initiated by the
This debate decisively divided the conference. Many
arguments were put forward to oppose a mass-oriented campaign around
abortion: it was a reformist struggle, the movement would be co-opted
and die just as it did when the vote was won, it was selfish for women
to fight just for themselves we should organize for free health care
for all, etc. It became clear that the opponents of the campaign were
frightened not so much by the issue of abortion, but by the
implications of the struggle to win this right. Not surprisingly,
they projected no actions for the movement coming out of the conference
Our comrades and other supporters of mass action a
minority of the conference met in an afternoon workshop and adopted
the only actions to come out of the conference a call for
cross-country abortion actions on February 13, 1971.
It was at this conference that the abortion campaign
became the dividing line in the Canadian women's liberation movement
between support of mass action and the inward-turned, non-struggle
perspective of the New Left and reformist currents developing in the
b) TWC and the abortion campaign Following the
Saskatoon conference we carried this debate into TWC and convinced TWC
to build the Feb. 13 actions. TWC took on the cross-country
co-ordination of this action.
From that time, TWC was instrumental in building the
abortion campaign until the fall of 1971. Particularly through the
publication of the Velvet Fist, which carried regular
articles on the campaign, TWC was able to play a role in the abortion
struggle in Toronto, and, to a limited degree, across the country.
It was during this year of intensive, defined activity
around the abortion campaign that we won most of our recruits to the LSA
and YS from TWC. All of these comrades were recruited through their
intimate and intensive work with us on the abortion actions of
1971, which included a Christmas torchlight parade, February 13 in
Ottawa, May 8 in Toronto, the founding conference of WONAAC in New York
in July, the founding of the Ontario Womens Abortion Law Repeal
Coalition (OWALRC) in October, and November 20 in Ottawa. Most of the
women we recruited in this period had also participated in the
production of the Velvet Fist.
Throughout 1971 TWC continued to hold other actions and
activities around beauty contests, sexist advertising, public meetings
on the Status of Women report, etc. However, the only ongoing project
of TWC apart from the production of Velvet Fist was
the abortion campaign. It was this continuing focus which carried TWC
through lull periods and enabled it to overcome periods of inactivity.
It was also TWCs ongoing work in the abortion campaign which enabled it
to support a staff person for three months around the building of May 8.
The bulk of donations which made the staff position possible were made
on the basis of TWC's role in the abortion campaign.
The experiences of this period enabled us to begin to
assess concretely the best ways to build the abortion struggle.
In building for Feb. 13, knowing that we had to broaden
the struggle beyond TWC, we initiated a coalition of various groups in
the city (this coalition disintegrated before the action because of
disagreement over the slogan "Free Abortion on Demand").
After the experience of May 8 in Toronto which was
organized by TWC and marked the public emergence of Right to Life (they
held a counter-demonstration and outnumbered us two-to-one) we began
to see more and more clearly the need to broaden the abortion campaign
to include the growing numbers of organizations and individuals who were
beginning to declare their support for abortion law repeal.
c) Rising opposition to mass action The whole
period of TWC's existence was a time of differentiation and drawing of
political lines in the women's movement as the radicalization spread
and deepened. Different tendencies developed: the personal liberation
and self-help programs of women's centres; women's studies courses; the
closed collectives and consciousness-raising of the radical feminists
and so on. There were those women, many of whom were leaders of the
early movement who dropped out entirely, determined to find their
liberation in communes and alternative lifestyles.
Increasingly, in this period of differentiation, the
abortion campaign posed the clear direction forward for the feminist
movement; a strategy of struggle around demands against the institutions
which oppress women.
Outside the women's movement, lines were also being
drawn. We saw the first obvious mobilization of anti-woman forces in the
form of anti-abortion groups which sprang up across the country. Even
within the "left," many groups abstained from or opposed participating
in the women's liberation movement, particularly the abortion campaign.
It was around the abortion campaign that all the various
lines of opposition coalesced. This was the campaign which concretely
posed a mass action perspective for the movement; and it was around this
struggle that our opponents, varied as their positions were, could agree
in opposition opposed to the abortion struggle and opposed to mass
Many members of TWC felt pressured by these positions
and agitated in the group for a pulling back from the abortion campaign
alleging that TWC was becoming "too identified" with this struggle.
Although generally the women in TWC were open to our politics and
accepted our leadership within the group, by the fall of 1971 the
pressures to pull back from the campaign began to affect the functioning
of the group, leading to inactivity and in some cases, opposition to
covering the campaign in Velvet Fist. Editorial Board
meetings, which included the main activist core of TWC, became the main
focus of the abortion and mass action debate within TWC.
Our experiences in building the abortion campaign led us
to realize that forces outside of TWC and outside the organized feminist
movement were prepared to support this campaign; however, these forces
were in part being excluded from the campaign by the slogan "free
abortion on demand." These experiences led to our recognition by the
summer of 1971 that the demand which the broadest forces could agree
with was the demand to repeal the abortion laws.
Through a number of educational discussions, we were
able to win TWC to support of this demand. In the fall, we and other TWC
women participated in the founding of OWALRC (Ontario Women's Abortion
Law Repeal Coalition).
d) The founding of a provincial abortion law repeal
coalition In the late summer of 1971 we projected the formation of
broad action coalitions for abortion law repeal because we felt these
formations would attract the broadest number of forces allowing women
with many different approaches, backgrounds and beliefs to unite
organizationally around their common agreement of the necessity of
abortion law repeal.
Support for the right to abortion was growing well
beyond the confines of the organized feminist movement. Many of these
groups would not join the TWC to build the campaign e.g. the United
Church, the YWCA, Planned Parenthood, other feminist groups but would
participate in a coalition organized around repeal. We saw that TWC
women could be important builders of this coalition.
The founding of the Ontario Women's Abortion Law Repeal
Coalition in October 1971 had a tremendous impact on TWC. Several key
women in TWC, along with comrades, played a major role in launching the
Coalition. It was shortly after this experience that we recruited
several of these activist women to the LSA/LSO. They were the last women
to be recruited from TWC.
Once the central co-ordination of the abortion campaign
had moved from TWC to the Coalition, TWC began to decline in activity.
In spite of continual protests that TWC should carry other campaigns
besides abortion, when the opportunity presented itself, there were no
women willing to act on these ideas.
During that fall, even the spot actions of TWC ended,
despite the continued intervention of comrades. Women were less and less
willing to take on tasks and activities. Although the meetings continued
to attract many new women, they came primarily just to be at meetings
and participate in discussions. Without the focus of activity offered by
organizing the abortion campaign, the turnover of women was tremendous.
The atmosphere of the early period of TWC, when almost every woman who
came to a meeting felt she should volunteer to work on some committee,
was entirely missing. We were not successful in involving TWC in a major
way in the activities of the Coalition except through the formal
representation of one member, who saw herself as "the feminist"
representative in the Coalition. We were, however, able to convince TWC
to take on a modest petition quota; and it was around petitioning and
the production of the Velvet Fist that the last activist
elements of TWC focused.
e) Growing challenges of the abortion campaign "which
side are you on?" Through the fall and winter of 1971-72 the
challenges of the abortion campaign became more sharply posed. The
increasing organization of opposition the growth of Right to Life
groups, the New York and Ontario abortion injunctions, posed the urgency
More than ever before, the necessity of a mass action
perspective as posed by the abortion campaign became apparent. More
and more women, particularly within the feminist movement, were being
forced to make a decision about priorities.
In February of 1972, in order to answer the growing
attacks on the repeal movement from both right and left wing tendencies,
the Ontario Coalition launched a cross-country tour to answer the
Ontario injunction and build for a cross-country abortion law repeal
conference, March 18-19 in Winnipeg. We projected the conference as a
major step forward for the repeal movement: a uniting of she resources,
experiences, and strength of the provincial coalitions into a
coordinated cross-country movement.
The Decline of TWC
As noted earlier, TWC began a steady drift away from
action and toward inward-turned armchair feminism in the fall of 1971,
as activist women became attracted to the newly-founded abortion
coalition. TWC lasted the longest of the multi issue, cross-city groups,
largely because of its consistent work in coordinating the abortion
Its only public activity from the fall to its final
meeting in June, 1972 was a panel discussion in February on "Women's
Struggles in 1972," a panel which dealt with major issues facing women,
including day-care, abortion, and the Status of Women report. Despite
the broad character of the meeting, it was primarily organized by one
comrade, with little or no participation from other TWC women apart
from their questioning of whether an abortion speaker should be included
on the panel. We had to carry a fight to have a coalition speaker there.
Comrades continued to assume organizational
responsibility for, and give political direction and leadership to TWC
until the end of April, 1972. (In fact, by that time, it was nearly
impossible to get other women to assume any organizational tasks.)
Meetings grew smaller and smaller.
New women were discovering that their needs could be met
elsewhere. Many new groups were forming around various issues as
feminism took on a respectable face. We saw the emergence of the
National Action Committee on the Status of Women, Women for Political
Action and the Women's Place (a women's centre set up under a LIP grant
which ran educational and self-help courses) to name several. At this
time the popularity of university women's studies courses was also
growing. The vacuum in the women's liberation movement, which TWC filled
for nearly two years, was now being filled in a myriad of ways. Most
important for us, activist women were being attracted to the abortion
campaign and a mass action perspective. This campaign offered us a
concrete way to convince women in all these developing groups of the
importance of active struggle by challenging them and their
organizations to sponsor and actively support the abortion campaign.
It was during this period that the debate on mass action
and the abortion campaign, which had been rumbling in TWC for many
months, climaxed in Feb. through a discussion initiated by our comrades
on the, necessity of a cross-country abortion publication,
The Velvet Fist Debate:
Mass Action or Personal Liberation?
The necessity of a publication to coordinate and
mobilize for the abortion law repeal campaign was repeatedly drawn to
our attention by comrades across the country who pointed out that
Velvet Fist was not meeting this need. (It should be noted
that by this time, February 1972, TWC was the only viable cross-city
women's liberation group in Canada. Comrades' interventions in the
women's movement were primarily through provincial abortion law repeal
Apart from sales to abortion coalitions, Velvet
Fist circulation was almost non-existent at this time.
When the Fist was founded, the media were by and
large blacking out women's liberation; so part of the role we saw for
the Fist was that as an educator around women's
oppression. We also saw it as a cross-country organizer of women
into action against their oppression.
By 1971, there were many feminist papers, including mass
circulation ones like Ms. The media also opened up to feminist
material. What was downplayed, omitted, and even attacked in many of
these publications was the abortion struggle, the only cross-country
struggle women were engaging in at the time.
In considering the small forces of our movement and of
TWC and the still narrow resources of the whole feminist movement in
Canada it was apparent that it would be very difficult (if not
impossible), to continue publishing and circulating the Fist as
well as launching a publication of the abortion campaign. Since the
Fist by this time had a very small audience as a multi-issue paper,
and was not satisfactory as an organizer of women into action the
logical evolution of the Fist, as we saw it, was to put its
resources into building an abortion campaign paper.
We decided that the most principled thing to do was to
carry the whole discussion into TWC: to pose to them the importance of
the abortion campaign and the desirability of carrying on the traditions
and purpose of Velvet Fist by putting the personnel and
experience of the Fist at the disposal of the cross-Canada
Coalition (which was proposed to be founded at the upcoming Winnipeg
conference) for the purpose of producing a cross-country paper for the
We did this through a discussion paper presented by Lis
Angus who was then functioning as editor of Velvet Fist.
We did not know if it was possible to convince TWC of this perspective,
but we knew it was important to try the alternative was simply to
withdraw our comrades from production of the Fist without
clarifying the political issues involved. We were looked to as leaders
in TWC and we understood our responsibility to explain and try to win
support for our positions.
We quickly discovered that the debate was much broader
and inclusive than we had anticipated. Although the discussion formally
centered around the proposal for the paper, in fact this proposal was
only a catalyst for a full debate over the direction and priorities of
the women's movement.
Our position in the debate challenged TWC to make a firm
commitment to the abortion campaign. Although most of the women left in
the group had for months given verbal support to the perspective of mass
action and the central role, at this time, of the abortion campaign
what this debate revealed was that, when it came to concrete decisions
on priorities, they stood on the other side of the fence.
The discussion, which continued over several weeks,
revealed a clear clash between two perspectives: for mass action and for
individual solutions. The women opposing our view revealed that, though
they gave lip service to a mass action perspective, in actual fact they
did not support it. Nowhere in the written reply by seven TWC women to
Lis Angus paper did they talk about the importance of drawing women
into action (the very basis of TWC), either on abortion or any other
issue: "More and more women are aware and want to read about the
feminist movement"; "conveying personal experiences is an important
function of the Velvet Fist."
As the debate continued, it became extremely clear that,
to them, a "multi-issue" group meant in fact a "no-issue" group when it
came to action. There was no understanding of the necessity of
collective struggle. As they said in their paper: "We feel every woman
should decide on her own what her responsibilities are and then act on
them." These positions reflected a conscious rejection of a mass action
perspective, despite the fact that we had spent many months both in
meetings and individual discussion attempting to educate and convince
all the women in the group on precisely these points.
Our participation in the "Velvet Fist
debate" was very principled and in fact, a model of such discussions.
Our positions, both written and verbal, were designed to clarify the
issues and bring them out into the open.
Once the nature of the debate became clear to us, we
withdrew the specific proposal that Velvet Fist merge
with an abortion publication because the proposal was unreal unless
the group as a whole could substantially agree with it.
TWC did unanimously vote to present a proposal to the
Winnipeg Conference that an abortion publication be launched and to
encourage any TWC women who wished to work on that publication to do so.
When in fact our comrades did begin work on
Spokeswoman and ceased taking responsibility for Velvet
Fist, it was completely clear to the other women in TWC why we did
so, and, although they did not agree with us, they defended our decision
to women outside TWC.
The debate introduced a much-needed political clarity
into TWC and forced women to define their priorities mass action or
personal liberation. Their conclusion was made clear when, apart from
our comrades, only one woman from TWC who was also a contact of the
League attended the founding conference of the Canadian Womens
Coalition to Repeal the Abortion Laws, in Winnipeg the following month.
The Last Days of TWC
By April 1972, the direction of the group had become
clear: with no clear focus of struggle, and no specific constituency to
organize in, TWC had become inward-turned. Meetings continued to grow
smaller. We ceased at this time to take responsibility for the
organization of TWC, although one comrade remained on the House
Management Committee, which was responsible for agendas, etc. Several
comrades, depending on what was coming up at the meetings, were assigned
to intervene in an educational way by selling our press and
Spokeswoman and raising the abortion campaign in the discussions.
With the launching of Spokeswoman in March,
comrades were no longer involved in the production or distribution of
Velvet Fist although we maintained good relations with the
women who continued to put out the Fist, giving technical advice
when necessary and having a Velvet Fist representative on
the Spokeswoman editorial board. Rather than taking up the other
issues in women's liberation, the Velvet Fist began to
carry a personal liberation line and offered no perspective of struggle
around any issue, let alone abortion. The three or four women
involved put out two issues of the paper; their experience was that they
could not involve any other women in production or circulation, and that
the sales, which had always been low, continued to drop.
In June 1972, TWC which by this time was a tiny core
of women decided to call a general meeting to discuss the future of
the group. We agreed with this step and helped to publicize the meeting.
We took no proposals to the meeting and saw our role as an educational
one around the growth of the women's liberation movement since the
founding of TWC and the role of the abortion campaign. Despite a massive
mailing, the attendance at the meeting was about twenty-five women, made
up mainly of ourselves and the women who were putting out Velvet
Fist. The decision of the meeting was that TWC move its offices
to the Women's Place.
No woman present was willing to assume any
responsibility for the group, beyond the several who volunteered to take
care of the arrangements of moving to the Women's Place.
TWC held one discussion group meeting at the Women's
Place and has not met since. Its mailing list, office equipment, etc,
were turned over to the Women's Place. At the time of writing this
contribution, the women who continued putting out the Velvet
Fist are involved in discussions to consider merging with The
Other Woman and Bellyful, two Toronto feminist papers.
It is important to note that none of these women ever
attempted to blame us for the decline of the TWC; in fact, they have
defended our participation in TWC and our view of the abortion campaign
as a priority when other women (e.g. at the Women's Place) have
attempted to red-bait our past role in TWO.
Our Intervention In TWC
We learned a great deal in TWC about how intervene as
revolutionary socialists. One of the most memorable experiences in this
process was the "Corileen North experience."
When we helped found TWC, our comrades were new and
inexperienced, unsure of how to intervene. The first Branch conference
report after the founding of TWC is full of phrases like "we must learn
to be sensitive," etc. Corileen North, an NDP woman and founder of TWC
who referred to herself as "basically of a Trotskyist orientation," took
it upon herself to instruct us in how to intervene including writing a
document for our branch conference advocating, among other things, that
comrades receive sensitivity-training before intervening in TWC! The
thread of her advice was to soft-pedal the politics basically to hide
our politics from the women in the group, We were somewhat influenced by
this advice, although we did not take it to heart so much as to prevent
us from recruiting two women in this period.
We did not entirely come to grips with the soft-pedal
approach until several months later when (after the Saskatoon
conference) we were confronted with a vile red-baiting attack by North
and Yvonne Trower which attacked us for dominating TWC, This written
attack was sent to the major daily papers in Toronto, the mailing list
of TWC and "all womens liberation groups in North America and Britain."
We countered that attack with a paper of our own,
explaining our politics and defending our right to be in the women's
movement. We learned from that experience that hiding our politics only
lays us open to attack. The only reason the North-Trower attack did not
seriously injure us in TWC was that we had been sufficiently open and
principled in our participation to have won the respect of most of the
From that time we continued what we had already begun,
to openly intervene with our movements program in educationals, where
we had the opportunity for fuller explanations, and also in other kinds
of discussions. We regularly had our literature on hand to sell to the
women, and tried to sell our press regularly most active members of
TWC (as most coalition activists now) had subscriptions to at least one
of our papers. We encouraged women to come to our forums and classes,
particularly ones which we felt contacts would be most interested in.
Our comrades were widely known and respected as LSAers. We were more
than ready to get into further discussions on our program with contacts.
Other activities of our movement were built in TWC as well
particularly the anti-war movement: we had several excellent
educationals on why women should oppose the war, and regularly brought
TWC women to women's contingents in demonstrations.
It was our consistent work as LSAers that gained us wide
respect for our politics even from women who disagreed completely with
us. It was this work which enabled us to recruit eight women in the
first 1-1/2 years of our intervention in TWC. And it was this work
which, even after TWC had dispersed, led the women we had worked with to
defend our role in TWC and in the abortion campaign.
Our work in TWC was an extremely valuable experience in
other ways as well. We learned some very valuable lessons in how to
organize meetings, demonstrations, fund drives, etc; how to put out a
mass-oriented paper; how to popularize the concepts of feminism and
socialism, and how to put forward a mass action perspective. We gained
experience in how to judge the correctness and effectiveness of slogans;
and gained some valuable contacts which have aided us in our work of
building the abortion campaign. In fact, the ability of our movement and
our women comrades to effectively build the abortion campaign rests in
many ways on the lessons learned in the TWC.
The final meeting of TWC confirmed that there was no
objective basis for the continuation of TWC. As pointed out earlier,
particularly the final year of TWC was a period of differentiating and
drawing priorities in the women's liberation movement and TWC could
not escape that process. Our experience with TWC was not unique; it is
one example of the process which took place in cross-city feminist
groups across Canada
In the process of building the mass feminist movement of
the future, we are not committed to any one organizational form. As the
movement grows, we will continue to make organizational adjustments,
when and if necessary in order to most effectively implement and pose a
mass action strategy.
Our intervention in the developing feminist movement is
based on our understanding of the importance to the coming Canadian and
world revolution of the independent action of oppressed sectors of
society, as part of the struggle against the capitalist class and its
state. We intervene in such struggles to lead them in a mass action,
anti-capitalist direction and to win the best militants to revolutionary
socialism and our movement.
Our decision to help found TWC was correct; we made many
important gains and learned a great deal about the dynamics of the
feminist movement. Although TWC was not an organization which continued
to meet the needs of that movement as it grew that fact in no way
lessens the contribution which TWC and other groups like it made to the
In many ways, our intervention in TWC was a model
intervention: one which we can point to with considerable pride, and
certainly one which helped develop our understanding of the tasks ahead,
and our abilities to meet them.