maintaining male supremacy.
Lesbians must form our own political movement.
Changes which will have more than token effects on our
lives will be led by woman-identified lesbians who
understand the nature of our oppression and are therefore
in a position to end it.
LESBIANS MUST DEVELOP AN IDEOLOGY
Women must gain political power in order to reorganize
our society, eliminating domination by sex, race, class, and
nation. The world's survival depends on these changes and
we cannot trust men, who have drug us through centuries
of war and disaster, to lead in making real changes. Building
a mass movement for political power among women is a
long process; but we can suggest some ways to start.
We must begin to change ourselves into new people,
woman-identified women intent upon gaining control of
the systems that have power over our lives. As we see how
heterosexual, class, race and national privileges separate us,
we have no alternative but to change so that we do not
damage each other by privileged behavior and can build a
cohesive women's force. Lesbianism is the starting place
because it is central to building an ideology and it touches
all women. Every woman has the potential to be a lesbian
and can rid herself of heterosexual privilege. Middle
and white women must use and share our class and race
privileges with working class and black women. We must
also rid ourselves of classist and racist behavior which keeps
working class and black women oppressed. Only if we
change ourselves and stop oppressing other lesbians can we
unite to stop male domination.
womans ideology is essential to our success.
Without such an ideology, we float from
project to project with
direction and little
motion forward. We can learn from previous revolu–
tions and ideologies, but we cannot blindly copy their
ideas and experiences. Developing an ideology requires
systematic study and analysis, accompanied by trial
and error in practice throughout the country. Crucial
to this development is a strong women's media. We
will, of course, also have to create institutions to meet
women's basic needs and to support ourselves as we
change: economic cooperatives, childcare centers, food
coops, health clinics, halfway houses, skills centers, etc.
But such institutions will survive only if we are
already united around an ideology and specific political
As we take these initial steps--changing ourselves,
ideology, and creating supportive
institutions-- we will discover how we must further change
and what we must do next. Ultimately, women must be
prepared to take over the power of the state and reorganize
society. As long as power remains in the hands of men, we
are at their whims and our lives will not be free.
This article is an outline of the ideology that we are
beginning to develop in our collective. To be in touch with
us and our developing thought and program, see
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