(AA)++ 'Femmes Libres' is ten years oldd! 15 May 1996 (Fr)

esperanto (lingvoj@lds.co.uk)
Thu, 16 May 1996 23:49:39 +0200

'Femmes Libres' is ten years old!

The broadcast 'Femmes Libres' (Free Women) was born May 1986
- on the anniversary of the Spanish revolution. The name of the
programme was chosen in homage to the organisation 'Mujeres
Libres' founded in April 1936 and bringing together more than
20,000 Spanish women anarchists.

The organisation's goal was, 'to free women from the three forms
of slavery they were subjected to: a slavery of ignorance, slavery as
producers and slavery as women'.

The early broadcasts were dedicated to a historic study of the
organisation, throwing into relief the enormous work that was
achieved in a war situation and the tremendous participation
involved. Very soon I began to identify with their struggle which
had its roots in a dual awareness:

- social and political, aspiring for the liberation of all oppressed
- feminist, aspiring to women's liberation.

It became clear to me that it was vital to create in an anarchist
radical radio station a space for reflection whose object was the
study of the specific oppression that affects women in a patriarchal
and capitalist society based on male authoritarianism (which could
also serve libertarians) and strategies both defensive and critical
which also sought to reconstruct in the light of analysis the social
relationships between the sexes.

Over the last ten years because of these two hours a week a very
large number of women and some men came together to debate,
give testimony to their struggles, their quests and their


As a general rule the programme comes in three parts:

The first section is dedicated to promoting militant, anarchist and
feminist meetings; personally I feel this is vital in so far as
practically no (non militant) media outlet reports on anarchist and
feminist demonstrations be they political or cultural.

The second section is comprised of a brief press review. I feel it is
interesting to analyse the 'mainstream press' and how they do or
don't take into account the concerns of women and to show that
those who have no access to the feminist press can, if they are
interested, have a minimum amount of information and be equally
aware of the discrepancy between the facts and the reporting of

For example we spent months working with international feminist
networks to ensure that the mass rapings whose victims had been
women in the former Yugoslavia should be recognised and

The third section - the most important one - is given over to
guests. Women, and very rarely men (they show little interest in
feminist questions) come in to talk about their work, their research
or, more simply, to tell of the oppression they suffer.

Three trends emerge.

One, militant, emphasises grass root activity. For example the
struggle for the right to abortion and contraception, the struggle
against violence (battered women, incest, rape sexual harassment,
discrimination, exploitation) solidarity with immigrant workers,
women overseas, pacifism, anti-clericalism, anti-racism...)

A second, more intellectual, considers the theoretical analyses,
feminist studies carried out by researchers (history, sociology,
philosophy, science).

The third strain is cultural and deals with creativity (literature,
cinema, the plastic arts, theatre, song...)

All of this within an international context. Feminism, like
anarchism, recognises no frontiers!

In point of fact, through this broadcast, I try to highlight on the
one hand the immense suffering of women throughout the world
and on the other the immense work which they have achieved -
work which the various powers that be continue to exploit by
denying its existence (be it domestic work, production,
reproduction or feminist, Syndicalist and political struggle).

I hope that this information will help raise the level of
consciousness, a raising of self-confidence and a desire to struggle
because, let us not forget, that even if women have overcome the
barriers of exclusion: 'When exclusion ends discrimination begins'
(Genevi=E8ve Fraisse) e.g. equal work, equal pay.

'If equality between the sexes was recognised this would be a
famous victory against human stupidity... Everywhere man suffers
in a debased society but no pain is comparable to that of women...'

These two sentences could serve as a motto for the programme.
They are still pertinent. Louise Michel got it right. She also said
'power is rotten' and women certainly are aware of that fact.


Femmes Libres
Radio Libertaire (89.4)
Every Wednesday 18h30 - 20h30