Feminism: Our Basis of Unity. Michelle A. Smith

Last week I read a terrific monograph – Feminism:  Our Basis of Unity.  This was written by Michelle A. Smith, in 2003, for the Ad Hoc Committee of Equality Seeking Organizations (of Newfoundland and Labrador).  A friend sent me the pdf, and if you want a copy, let me know.  I will forward it to you.  (The only link I can find on the WWW is broken.)

This “guide on feminism and unity” (p.5) could just as easily, and just as powerfully, be a guide on citizenship and community.  The world the author and the sponsors are working toward is one of which I would be happy to be a citizen.

Beginning with principles of peace, equality and inclusion, and justice, the author writes about the importance of having a “mentoring tool” to spark discussions and facilitate workshops – about culture, values, directions, choices, and processes — that are healthy, inclusive and participatory.  Doesn’t that sound like strong democracy?

Ms. Smith goes on to elaborate the “feminists dozen (13)” principles that must underlie the practices and processes of feminism.

Accountability

Advocacy

Challenge and Conflict

Choice

Consultation

Diversity

Education and Mentoring

Equality and Inclusion

Evaluation

Joy and Celebration

Leadership

Power Sharing

Safety

Reading about each of these principles, chapter by chapter, one could replace the word “feminist”, wherever it appears, and read in the word “citizen”.  The result would be a great guide to citizenship and strong democracy.  In fact, I recommend that for all my political friends, regardless of their political inclinations.

By the way, when reading in the word “citizen” don’t expunge the word “feminist”.  When thinking about the limits of inclusion and equality in our culture, there is no better place to start than with the constrained conditions of women.  We can only start to feel comfortable that perhaps we are peaceful, inclusive and equal, and celebratory of diversity when the women of our community feel those conditions in the marrow of their bones.

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