What is the structure of Boston Feminists for Liberation?
We are an autonomous organization that has three tiers of participation. We are funded solely by donations and are not beholden to foundations or state entities to exist. We have two business meetings a month, one which is open to non-members, to make major decisions. We have semi-permanent working groups for smaller projects and campaigns.
What are the tiers of participation?
We have leadership, members, and participants.
Leadership is for women who have longevity and experience organizing with BFL. The role of leadership is to provide conflict mediation, mentoring, and guidance for our projects and campaigns. We currently have four women who have taken on leadership roles. A member can pursue leadership if:
-You have been a member for at least a year AND have taken point on four successful events
–Active participation in 75% of BFL meetings/events; active participation in group emails
-Agree with our platform and are comfortable representing/defending it
-Has shown comfort in approaching and facilitating discussions through disagreement and conflict
A membership is for women who want to be a part of the overall political direction of BFL and take a more involved role in projects and campaigns. Members can submit proposals, vote, and take lead on projects. You can become a member by:
-Attending two open business meetings
-One business meeting and two working group meetings
-Are bringing something to the group beyond attendance
-Can participate in at least one business or working group meeting a month.
A participant is for women who have limited capacity but still want to be involved. Participants cannot submit proposals or vote. However, they can offer their input on decisions and volunteer for projects and campaigns. Participants can take on many roles, whether it is attending our events, coming to our business meetings, volunteering or supporting our political demands.
How can I volunteer?
The best way to be involved in BFL projects and events is to sign up for our volunteer list. We will send out our volunteer needs as they come up. You can also attend any of our public business and working group meetings and take on tasks there.
I’m not a woman and I am not classed as a women, how can I help your work?
Email BFLallies@gmail.com to get in contact with our ally group!
What if I have a hard time coming to events or meetings?
The most common image of activism is of people taking the streets but that is only one small part of the picture. The fact is before people take the streets, there are dozens of people behind the scenes making that action happen. From writing outreach materials to providing emotional support, there are many ways you can be involved.
We do not define participation as coming physically to a space and we prioritize setting up remote access for meetings and events. If you are having trouble finding a way to get involved that is accessible to your needs, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will work with you to make sure you can participate in a way that is sustainable for you. All of our meetings are child friendly and stim friendly.
What is your politics?
We are revolutionary feminists who draw from a variety of feminist traditions. Our goal is to build a liberation movement where women can struggle together for freedom from male supremacy, white supremacy, and capitalism. Our goal is to win. Please see our Politics section for a more in-depth look at our stances.
Why women only? Are you a separatist organization?
We are not a separatist organization. Separatism is a feminist ideology that gained momentum in the 1970’s that operated off of the base assumption that patriarchy is the root of all exploitation, misogyny is the primary harm in a woman’s life, and that the only way to liberate women is to completely separate our lives from men.
While patriarchy may be the root of all exploitation, it has become inextricably linked to capitalism, white supremacy, and colonialism and so solely separating from men is not a viable political strategy to achieve liberation. However, we take no issue with separatism as a lifestyle choice and several of our members practice it.
We are women only because we prioritize and center the needs of women classed people in our organization. We know there are women who would not show up if there were men present. That fact alone was enough for us to be women-only. However, we also took into consideration the astronomical levels of male violence against women and how progressive men have used feminist organizing to brand themselves as safe while using their organizing as a platform to find and harm vulnerable women. The most notable case of this happening is with Hugo Schwyzer. We have no way of preventing men from using our organizing in this way except to keep our organizing women only.
We are also women only because we believe that women are a class of people with shared interests and struggles globally who, when united, have the power to abolish all forms of exploitation. We do not believe there is any essential womenhood that makes us inherently more moral than men just as we believe there is nothing inherent in men that makes them violent.
Having shared interests and struggles does not automatically mean solidarity. Depending on social location, women can enact white supremacist, transmisogynstic, heterosexist, class based and ableist violence against each other. Along with building a women’s liberation movement, we work to develop organizers who are proud race & class traitors, who completely reject the ideology and interests of their privileged identities.
Some of our events will be open to all genders, usually events where having a larger number of people would be beneficial. These events will be labeled as such.
What is the demographics of your membership?
Our members are overwhelmingly working class and disabled lbpq women. The majority of us do not have a college degree and have experienced homelessness. Our ages mostly range from mid-twenties to thirties. We are predominantly white and cis. This will be updated as our membership changes and grows.