The Personal is Still Political
I have always learned most about politics from people who tell stories about their lives. For me, at least, it is easier to grasp lessons told through narrative than ones that are more abstract. In the early days of women’s liberation, we said the personal is political, and it’s still true.
For that reason, when I had the opportunity to work with Laura Micham, director of the Sallie Bingham Center at Duke University, on a conference to celebrate their acquisition of my papers, I asked the speakers to tell the stories of their lives and what they’d learned from them. That turned out to be harder than it was in 1969. How do you fit thirty or forty years of political work into one speech? But also, people had gotten out of the habit of talking that way. However, by the end of the conference, we had all concluded that the exercise of confronting one’s own life and trying to find its political meaning is as rewarding as it ever was, and consciousness-raising needs to be revived.
Duke has now posted the videos of the speeches so others can listen to them. Here is the program and the links:
Keynote addresses by Meredith Tax and Patricia McFadden:
First panel: Origin myths of the women’s movement and other social justice movements:
Anissa Helie, Ann Snitow, and Mandy Carter; moderated by Trude Bennett:
Second panel: Intersections of Class, Race and Gender from the 70s to the Present
Amber Hollibaugh and Mia Herndon, moderated by Victoria Hesford
Fourth panel: Pressing Issues and New Directions for Political Work
Gita Sahgal, Ynestra King, and Jacqui Friedman, moderated by Kathi Weeks