Monday, August 30, 2010

A socialist-feminist document from 1849

FRATERNAL ASSOCIATION

OF THE

SOCIALIST DEMOCRATS

OF BOTH SEXES

FOR THE POLITICAL AND SOCIAL EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN

1849

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DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES

In the name of God and the solidarity which links all the member of the great human family;

We affirm that women have the same right as men to liberty, equality and fraternity.

Liberty, for woman as for man, is the right and the power to develop and exercise freely and harmoniously all his physical, intellectual and moral faculties, without any limit but respect for the rights of each. All liberties are solidary; one cannot undermine any without damaging the others.

Equality is, for man as for woman, he right and power to take part in all the acts of social life, to the degree that one’s faculties and aptitudes allow.

To split humanity into two unequal parts, to refuse to woman here rights to liberty and equality, is to undermine principle and sanction the right of the strongest and of privilege.

Fraternity is the practice of liberty and equality for all, male and female; it is the respect of the rights of all the members of the great human family, the dedication of all to each and each to all.

To refuse to woman her rights of liberty and equality is to perpetuate antagonism, to neglect the respect for human dignity and the principles of fraternity and solidarity which are the basis of universal harmony.

Humanity is male and female; the law formulated by man alone cannot satisfy the needs of humanity.

The law of God, the rights of the people and of woman are misunderstood; the woman, the child, the laborer are oppressed and exploited by incomplete, oppressive and foolish laws, to the profit of the strongest and of those privileged by birth or fortune.

We affirm, in the name of the holy law of solidarity, that no one has the right to be completely free and happy as long as there is one single being that is oppressed and suffering.

We affirm that social reform cannot be accomplished without the assistance of woman, of half of humanity. And just as the political emancipation of the proletarian is the first step towards his physical emancipation, just so the political emancipation of woman is the first step towards the complete liberation of all the oppressed.

That is why we appeal to all women and to all men of heart and intelligence, to all those (male and female) who have the courage of their opinions, respect for principles, and who never recoil from practice, to come to our aid, to enter into the real path of social reform, opening the gates of the city to the last of the pariahs, to woman, without whom we cannot accomplish the work of our social redemption.

1˚. The members of the association are all women and all men who accept our declaration of principles, and who commit themselves to assist, to the degree enabled by their faculties and aptitudes, in the propagation, teaching and realization of these principles.

2˚. The members of the association are either apostles, propagators or subscribers.

3˚. Three commissioners direct the labors of the association: an apostolic commission, a commission of propaganda, and a commission of administration.

4˚. The apostolic commission is composed of men and women who dedicate themselves to develop, teach and sustain by speech, in all the public meetings, and by their writings, the principles contained in our declaration.

5˚. The propaganda commission is composed of all the men and women who have for mission to collect the memberships, and to establish centera of correspondence in all the arrondissements of Paris and all the departments.

6˚. The administrative commission is composed of twelve members elected by he subscribers; it is occupied with all the details of administration; a regulation will fix its allocations.

7˚. The subscriptions will be used for the transformation of our monthly journal into a weekly journal, the publication of writings approved by the apostolic Pommission, the payment of travel expenses and of all the expenditures necessary for the propagation of principles.

For the members of the Apostolic Commission,

JEANNE DEROIN.
JEAN MACÉ.
HENRIETTE, ARTISTE.
DELBROUCK.
ANNETTE LAMY.
EUGÈNE STOURM.

The members of the Propaganda Commission send the lists of membership and subscription the first of each month to the seat of the Apostolic Commission, at the office of the journal l’Opinion des femmes, 29, grande rue verte.

[translation by Shawn P. Wilbur]

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