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The Struggle for Equal Rights (October 7, 1968)

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When we started working six months ago, most of the male comrades responded with mockery. Now they resent our having withdrawn. They are even trying to prove to us that our theories are all wrong; they are trying to pin on us that we claim that women do not need any men for their liberation and all kinds of bullshit that we never claimed. They insist that they are oppressed, too, which we know. We just no longer see why we should passively accept the oppression through which they are oppressing us. We are here precisely because we believe that liberation is only possible with respect to all of society. We have to make it clear that slightly more women than men are part of all of society, and we think it is high time that we register the demands that derive from that, and we demand that they be included in future planning. If the SDS cannot manage to take the big step forward to this insight, then we would of course have to resort to a power struggle that we would prefer to avoid (it would be a waste of our energy). Because we will win this power struggle, since we are on the right side historically.

The helplessness and arrogance that has to accompany our appearance here today is not much fun at all.

We feel helpless because we actually expected progressive men to understand the urgency of our conflict. And our arrogance comes from being able to see what blockheads you are, because you can’t see that, without your having done anything at all, people are suddenly organizing, [people] you never even thought about before, and in numbers that, were we workers, you would take as the absolute dawning of liberty.

Comrades, your meetings are unbearable. You are full of inhibitions, which you vent as aggression against other comrades who say something stupid or something you already know. This aggression comes only in part from political insight into the stupidity of the other camp. Why don’t you finally say that you’re worn out from last year, that you don’t know how you can take the stress any longer of exhausting yourselves physically and mentally in political actions, without connecting it with any pleasure. Before you start new campaigns, why don’t you talk about how they should actually be implemented? Why are you all going out and buying yourselves Reich*? Why do you talk about class struggle here and about trouble having an orgasm at home? Is that not a subject for the SDS?

We don’t want to go along with all this repression anymore. [ . . . ]

* This is a reference to Wilhelm Reich's Function of the Orgasm – trans.

Source: Helke Sander, “Der SDS – ein aufgeblasener konterrevolutionärer Hefeteig” [“The SDS – An Overblown, Counterrevolutionary Ball of Yeast Dough”], konkret, no. 12, October 7, 1968.

Translation: Allison Brown

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