A PROPOSAL FOR COMMUNITY WORK
Note:This document advocated a community based approach to the CWLU's
work to help make the organization more relevant to Chicagoland's workingclass
This movement might best preserve its revolutionary promise
by broadening its base and truly serving women wherever their oppression
is most acute."- Edith Hoshino Altabach, From Feminist to
growing concern within CWLU with the need for us to bring to development
womens liberation programs and actions which deal with the day-to-day
oppression that ordinary women feel (i.e. on their jobs, in needs for
childcare, in medical care, in relationship to the husbands and families,
etc.). Our organization is together enough and we have had enough collective
experience to realize that if we do not begin to deal with the real
needs of all women, our movement will be at best a bohemian subculture
and at worst irrelevant to all but a handful of women.
the growing concern of us all for outreach, we have found it difficult
to concretely propose and experiment with new ideas for program. This
proposal is an attempt to begin an experiment with community based program
which we feel will begin to accomplish many of the political objectives
that are all hoping for -- reaching out around the city, initiating
struggles on a community level around the basic needs of women, involving
a growing number of women in day-to-day moment work.
Why Community Work?
of most women are centered primarily around the community they live
in. Thats where they do their shopping, take their children for
recreation, go to church, send their children to school, get their medical
care, and often make their money if they have jobs, If we are interested
in reaching less privileged women (and by that we mean not only less
privileged economically, but also less mobile, less literate, less independent
of their husbands, more tied down to their children, less confident
of themselves, we must offer service and programs within the communities
that women relate to.
Proposal for Community Work
that the CWLU initiate the formation of four community outposts,
or centers, of the Union in communities around the city. (Two are already
at some stage of development -- the Rogers Park Center and the beginnings
of an Edgewater project. Also the Hyde Park Center has opened again
recently.) We propose that with the immediate purpose of building up
a base and contacts in the neighborhood (using Liberation School and
Womankind contacts), and aim towards the opening of outposts
which would be financed 50% by the Union and 50% through community support.
The centers would be outposts for ongoing and developing program and
would as well initiate their own community-oriented program.
of the outposts having both service and struggle programs. Example of
possible program could include:
counseling (on divorce, defense of illegal day care centers,
discrimination against gay women,welfare cases, etc.)
program for children
referral, abortion counseling
meeting space for womens groups in the community ( e.g. general
of illegal day care
against discrimination in housing, jobs,welfare cases
sexism in local public schools (e.g. sending observers to classes,
- womens brigades- a group of women to come
to defense of women in the community against landlords, husbands,
local merchants, hospitals, etc.
outposts could fit into Union structure by being initiated and run by
a union work group of CWLU members. But the outposts would offer program
to community women who would not necessarily join the organization.
The outposts could help develop local bases for Union program such as
ACDC and the new health program, as well as anything which would develop
in the future (e.g. work around gay womens oppression, welfare
program, educational work, etc.)
that only through the initiation of local community program can we really
involve the several hundred women who have contacted us and who are
interested in becoming active in the womens movement, but for who we
have very little concrete program to get involved in,
hope that communication between the developing outposts would be a regular
thing, not only through the steering committee, but also directly to
give each other ideas and support.