Women and peace


Women and peace

For the Love of Peace: Women and Global Peace Building
By Kaye Murray
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom: 1995. 150 pp.
Reviewed by Connie Frazer.

For anyone curious about WILPF (the acronym so hard to say without a splutter) or, to give it its full title, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, this little book explains everything you wanted to know and more.

Surely one of the longest running women's organisations, WILPF grew out of the Women's Peace Party formed in 1914 by three feminists, English, Hungarian and US. Unlike the suffragists Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, these women refused to "sell out" to the war machine at the outbreak of World War I, but continued to urge women to campaign for both the vote and peace.

The book begins with a general history of WILPF, goes on to chronicle WILPF in Australia and ends with a chapter entitled "Towards a Peaceful World" which gives details of their determination that militarism not be the "hidden agenda" at the forthcoming UN Fourth World Conference on Women.

Author Kaye Murray describes her personal views as a synthesis of socialist feminist and radical feminist thought. I must say I was startled to read her inclusion of Freudianism, Jungianism and Marxism in her list of the major world religions!

Only the Bahais and Quakers are singled out as promoting the equality of the sexes. Thus, by default, the "religion" of Marxism must be unconcerned with the oppression of women. What, I wonder, would the Marxist Clara Zetkin, one of the originators of International Women's Day, have had to say about that? Surely Kaye has never read the Marxist classic The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State by Frederick Engels or pamphlets such as Trotsky's Women and the Family.

However, I recommend the book to everyone working in the peace movement, to feminists, those concerned with social issues, the environment and certainly women going to Beijing. Get a copy to read on the plane. It contains a wealth of essential and interesting information. For instance did you know Rupert Murdoch has interests in a military plant in the US, and this father of Truth newspaper is the second biggest publisher in the world of the Christian Bible? Truly, when it comes to making money, capitalists do not discriminate! [For the Love of Peace can be ordered for $17.50 (including postage) from 5/5 Rocklands Road, Wollstonecraft NSW 2065.]