More on the discussion on WOS:
This email was sent to an email discussion list in response to some blokes questioning choice of having womens' only workshops at an event.
I can understand your confusion, us blokes rarely encounter women only space and when we do it is not usually pleasant as we find ourselves embarrassed as we are asked (mostly politely) to leave. So when the issue of women only space comes up without any positive visualisation on our part we often throw up questions.
Well I have found it very helpful in knowing Anarchobabe and others who have found womens only space a very constructive and productive space to organise for the overthrow of capitalist social relations. At the end of the day those revolutionary women who have found this will organise as they see fit without reference to what men think. The task for men then is how they want to relate to this. Not a case of approval but of our interaction.
At Mayday 98 conference in Bradford groups were put together as half men and women thus leaving half the groups as men only groups, but in contrast to women finding themselves in male space in form of male dominated groups. I had the privilege of being one of half and half groups and was able to observe what a good space it was, though there were many other positive factors that made those groups work well, in the preparation that had gone into the conference. The women's only group on the second day decided on hearing other women's feedback to ask to merge with another group to try out a 50:50 sex ratio group which it did. Issue of gender make of a space effect it outcomes, given the same projects.
I am interested in when diversity of spaces are provided at a conference that women are able to choose what suits them and respect that some women when they take the option of women only space move much more forward with the struggle to overthrow capitalism and patriarchy.
Given revolutionary women wish to organise themselves, this means when a day school or such is organised, one may wish integrate such a diversity of space into it. Much debate can be raise such as the level of autonomy for the women organisers of their space and practical issues of space, though men should take time listen to and trust the women who let them known of, and take on board, the positive experiences of such space. Is an email list suited to this happening?
Like by supporting working class organisation in efforts to end class division and create a classless society, I do not romanticize the working class; Nor do I see my support for women only space (amongst other things) in efforts to overthrow patriarchy and abolition of gender, a call for division along lines of sex (separation).
yours in struggle,