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men and women in order to prevent us from acting to end

our oppression and challenging their power. As the question

of homosexuality has become public, reformists define it as

a. private question of who you sleep with in order to

sidetrack om understanding of the politics of sex. For the

lesbian/feminist, it is not private; it is a political question of

oppression, domination, and power. Reformists offer

solutions which make no basic changes in the system which

oppresses us, solutions which keep power in the hands of

the oppressor. The only way-oppressed people end their

oppression is by seizing power: people whose rule depends

on the subordination of others do not voluntarily stop

oppressing others. Our subordination is the basis of male

power.

SEXISM IS THE ROOT OF ALL OTHER OPPRESSIONS

The first division of labor, in pre-history, was based on

sex:. men hunted, women built the villages, took care of

children, and farmed. Women collectively controlled the

land, language, culture, and the communities. Men

conquered women with the weapons that they developed

for hunting as it became clear that women were leading a

more stable, peaceful, and desirable existence. We do not

yet know exactly how this conquest took place, but it is

clear that the original imperialism was male over female:

the male claiming the female body and her services as his

territory (or property).

H

aving secured the domination of women, men

continued this pattern of suppressing people,

now on the basis of tribe, race, and class.

Although there have been numerous battles

over class, race and nation during the past 3000 years,

none of them has brought the liberation of women.

While these other forms of oppression must also be

ended, there is no reason

to

believe that our liberation

will come with the smashing of capitalism, racism, or

1972

DRAWING by WENDY CADDEN, OAKLAND

imperialism today. Women will be free only when we

concentrate on fighting male supremacy.

Our war against male supremacy does, however, involve

attacking the later day dominations based on class, race,

and nation. As lesbians who are outcasts from every group,

it would be suicidal to perpetuate these man-made divisions

among ourselves. We have no heterosexual privileges, and

when we publicly assert our lesbianism, those of us who

had them, lose many of our class and race privileges. Most

of women's privileges are granted to us by our relationships

to ruling men(fathers, husbands, boyfriends) whom we now

reject. This does not mean that there is no racism or class

chauvinism within us: we must destroy those divisive

remnants of privileged behavior among ourselves as the first

step toward their destruction in the society. Race, class,

and national oppressions come from men, serve ruling class

white men's interests, and have no place in a

woman-identified revolution.

LESBIANISM IS THE BASIC THREAT

TO MALE SUPREMACY

Lesbianism is a threat to the ideological, political,

personal, and economic basis of male supremacy. We

threaten the ideology of male supremacy by destroying its

lies about female inferiority, weakness, passivity, and by

denying women's 'innate' need for men. We don't need men

to tell us who we are. Lesbians define our own selves and

literally do not need men (even for procreation if the

science of cloning is developed).

The lesbian's independence and refusal to support one

man undermines the personal power that men exercise over

women. Our rejection of heterosexual sex challenges male

domination in its most individual and common form. Our

rejection of heterosexuality as an institution challenges

collective male power. We offer all women something better

than submission to personal oppression. We offer

~he

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