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Women & Jura - Draft Statement - 12 Aug

Policy / Discussion Document on Womin and Feminism in Jura

Accepted by the collective as policy on 20th October 2006

About Jura Books

Jura Books is an anarchist bookshop and infoshop located in Sydney, Australia. The shop was named in tribute to the Jura Federation, an anarchist group that organised in the region of the Jura Mountains (France / Switzerland) during the 19th century. The shop has operated since August 1977, first on King Street, Newtown, before moving to Petersham. As anarchists, we try to organise without hierarchy or privilege.


This statement is part of a larger attempt to set out our thoughts and feelings on a number of political issues – both within Jura and in the world at large.

The Jura Books Collective (Jura) recognises that we are living in a society of oppressive inequalies which are often arbitrary. Jura acknowledges that no struggle against inequality or oppression is intrinsically more urgent than any other - our priorities are shaped by our individual experiences and desires. When we come together as a collective, we aim to diminish oppression and inequality in our relationships (as individuals and as a collective relating to the world at large).

Jura’s relationship to women activists

The Price of my solidarity with you is your rejection of the Privilege you have over me” – Anna Aniston

Jura acknowledges that the society we live in is patriarchal at a very deep level, and that women are actively oppressed within patriarchy. Jura also recognises that men are oppressed by patriarchy, despite the many advantages they might have over many women. This oppression gets in the way of us forming equal, mutual and co-operative relationships and living happily.

It may be impossible to rid ourselves of patriarchy in our lifetimes, nonetheless, Jura is committed to minimising its influence at Jura Books and in the lives of collective members, our comrades, friends, families, workplaces, etc. Indeed, wherever patriarchy is found, we will attempt to minimise its power in our lives. Our struggle against patriarchy is both personal, political and co-operative – we have to make an effort as individuals and as a collective. Jura commits to welcoming women who wish to participate in the Jura Books Project. We hope to facilitate the participation of women through the following actions and committments:

Our strategic / political commitments that inform our appreciation of women in Jura:

Recognising that challenging patriarchy is a legitimate form of struggle with many sites. At home, at work, at the supermarket, within the collective and in the bedroom. There is no need to deprioritise this struggle, nor to falsely elevate it.

Recognising that challenging patriarchy is not the sole responsibility of women, though this task is often undertaken by women

Recognising the tension between the need for women's autonomous organising and a need for multi-gender organising

Acknowledging that the current gender imbalance in the Jura collective is not representative of the participation of women in the wider struggle. Jura has to make changes to welcome women to the collective, and support them in their involvement.

Being aware of power dynamics which naturally form between people, especially when these are
dominating, abusive or alienating

Jura needs a political appraisal of feminism. It needs to accept a consciousness of why feminist organising is useful to an anarchist struggle, or a struggle against all forms of oppression. That analysis would be quite
helpful in attracting women comrades to hang out with us and make revolution.

We would like to try to consciously co-operate and not be mean.

Action points that the collective would like to undertake to welcome and promote women and feminist politics:

Making a womens autonomous space regularly available for women to use (to organise, chill out, or anything else they like)

Supporting activism which challenges patriarchy

Actively forming links with other libertarian groups who organise to challenge patriarchy, and offering to share resources with them

Challenging manifestation of patriarchy when they arise within Jura

Recognising that “women's issues” and women's interests are not limited to gynaecology, health and childcare. Stocking appropriate books, and shelving books appropriately

Use progressive speaking lists in Jura meetings and public discussions

Promote events for and about women, etc

Maintaining Jura as a clean space – free from the domination caused by personal mess which can be unwelcoming, especially to women who are often expected to perform domestic

Men in the collective in particular should be aware of our interpersonal behaviour... how far we stand away from people, gestures we make, swearing, getting angry... not always a problem but can be aware of, to try and make our interpersonal behaviour non-dominating if possible

Jura should start to post and advertise a series of discussion groups for men about how to be pro-feminist

Continually try to collectivise – to share information and work and avoid development of
entrenched power-bases

A reading group – could be different purposes. But a reading group would be good.

Interested in inviting men. How do you stop people being sexist? Women shouldn't have to do it. Men should do it. There are good readings about men dealing with sexism – eg chris crass “going places that scare me”. Should be about exploring, not just towing the line. It's an essay available on the internet.

Trying to make the computer space more accessible. Women are sometimes wary of computers. It doesn't feel like you can go and use the computers very easily.

A little spot, shelf, cubby hole or something for a feminist resource centre. Open to women to leave stuff there, and know it will be safe.

File Womin and feminism in Jura.rtf25.37 KB
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