In the following proclamation, the Association of Women for the Defence of Paris and Aid to the Wounded directly draw the connection between sex discrimination and ruling class privilege. In subsequent publications, they called for capitalism to be replaced by workers’ self-management. In Volume One of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, I included Louise Michel’s defence of women’s rights, as well as her statement before the military tribunal in which she dared them to put her to death for her role during the Paris Commune.
That it is the duty and the right of everyone to fight for the sacred cause of the people, that is, for the Revolution;
That danger is imminent and the enemy are at the gates of Paris;
That union makes strength; in time of danger all individual efforts must combine to form a collective, invincible resistance by the whole population;
That the Commune—representing the principle of the extinction of all privilege and all inequality—should therefore consider all legitimate grievances of any section of the population without discrimination of sex, such discrimination having been made and enforced as a means of maintaining the privileges of the ruling classes;
That the success of the present conflict, whose aim is to put an end to corruption, and ultimately to regenerate society by ensuring the rule of Labour and Justice, is of as much significance to women as it is to the men of Paris;
That many among them are determined that in the event of the enemy breaking into Paris, they will fight to the finish in defence of our common rights;
That effective organization of this revolutionary element into a vigorous force for the defence of Paris Commune can only be achieved with concrete aid from the government of the Commune itself;
Consequently, the delegates of the women citizens of Paris request the Executive Commission of the Commune:
1. To order all district town halls to make available in each district a room that can serve as headquarters of the committees;
2. To request that they provide large premises for meetings of women citizens;
3. To have the Commune subsidize the printing of circulars, posters and notices that these committees decide to distribute.
For the members of the Central Committee of Women