The Chicago Women’s Liberation Union, arguably the most significant of the socialist feminist women’s unions established during the “second wave” feminist movement, was formed in 1969 and played a leading role in the women’s liberation movement in Chicago during the 1970s. CWLU recognized that the liberation of women was not possible unless it also fought against racism and capitalism, and for gay and lesbian liberation.
Building Culture and Community in the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union
By Christine Riddiough
The Chicago Women’s Liberation Union was formed in 1969 and played a leading role in the women’s liberation movement in Chicago during much of the 1970s. Throughout its history the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union concentrated on organizing women to achieve liberation. Not limited to legal equality, the CWLU envisioned a society free of sexism in education, the family, the media, employment, health care, and all areas of social life. CWLU also recognized that this was not possible unless we fought against racism and capitalism. The Political Principles state “We will struggle against racism, imperialism, and capitalism, and dedicate ourselves to developing a consciousness of their effect on women.”
In CWLU we spent our time organizing for social change, for a revolution for women. In the process we built bonds of friendship and comradeship that have, in many cases survived for decades. In this article we will explore some of the factors that allowed us to establish and strengthen those bonds and develop a culture of friendship based on action and camaraderie and revolutionary spirit.