Leftist Debates

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1974 Across the Berlin Wall

The sociologist Marcia Keller asked Cillie Rentmeister and me to explain the difference between the politics of our West Berlin women’s center and those of the women’s organization in the GDR in an essay for a US magazine – entitled “Women in two systems”. In the first part we described the projects and discussions of[...]

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1996 Revisiting Old Battles

Strategies of the women’s movement in comparison   Frigga Haug was one of the leading figures in the Action Council for the Liberation of Women. At the time she succeeded in implementing the idea of ideological training classes, which ultimately led to the dissolution of the group and its refounding in 1970 as the Socialist[...]

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1970-80 Socialist Women’s League

The search for “levers” to mobilize the female “masses”   The Socialist Women’s League of West Berlin (SFB) saw the capitalist means of production as the root of women’s oppression. Since in capitalism women continued to work in isolation as housewives, they would only be able to change their situation if they emerged from this[...]

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1968er Movement Splits (1969 )

Two directions: Cadre party versus grassroots group/ Subordination or emancipation/ Courting workers or anticipating utopia?/ DKP: 120,000 members, cadre groups: 16,000, “Spontis“: 5,000 The new women’s movement is often viewed as an echo of the ’68er movement. While that is true, a large portion of the Left was extremely hostile to feminist politics. It is[...]

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1968 Helke Sanders Speech

Inventing the Kinderladen/ Speech at the SDS congress in Frankfurt in ’68/ The famous tomato toss   Helke Sander during the production of her film “A Reward for Irene” in 1970. Photo: Private collection     Inventing the Kinderladen There is a story behind Helke Sander’s famous speech, as I found out during a conversation[...]

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1968 Action Council to Free Women

Lacking intellectual autonomy, “the student movement’s most successful undertaking” succumbs to the leftist dogmatization process/ The struggle of authoritarian women/A look at the cheerful, chaotic sexuality group   The Action Council was without a doubt the most successful undertaking to emerge from the student movement, since within just a few months its members had founded[...]

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Berlin goes feminist