The left should revisit the good old days of the feminist collective.
Our fearless scribe is pining for the days of “anti-hierarchical collective working” in the twilight of the Seventies. When, coincidentally, she was young. “In many ways collective working was successful,” says she, though the basis for this claim is somewhat sketchy, beyond a further claim that “eminent professionals” and “working class women” bathed in mutual respect and “recognised we could learn from each other.” Ms Bindel’s attempt to persuade us of the virtues of feminist collectives is, however, derailed by sharing her memories of actually being in one:
I recall a collective meeting about setting up a weekly telephone support service for lesbians. It was decided that each collective member would volunteer to take turns manning the phones at their own home, until we could raise the money to rent a space. One of the members did not have a telephone in her house, but insisted she was being discriminated against and “oppressed” by being left out of the rota.
Some difficulties involved scheduling conflicts:
Whenever the media wanted a quote from a feminist organisation, the collectives always missed out in favour of those with a hierarchical structure. All decisions had to be made by consensus, so if the journalist’s deadline was the next day, it was no use explaining that our next meeting was a week on Thursday.
The list of problems does in fact take up quite a lot of the article:
Sitting in endless meetings, unable to reach agreements, and taking days to produce one leaflet because someone objected to the word seminal.
Perhaps sensing that her sales pitch is faltering somewhat, Ms Bindel stresses the immense radicalism of it all:
There was a total resistance to the cult of the individual… until the Thatcher government declared war on society.
What, you didn’t know?