The Anarca-Feminist Reading Group was a mixed organization (gay/bi/straight, men/women) which met for about one year. A chief founder was the late Peter Ridley, an Englishman who had become aware of anarchism while living in Britain. There were ten or twelve members.
The group was leftist in focus, and especially studied the thought and career of early twentieth-century feminist Emma Goldman, and of Mujeres Libres, an anarca-feminist group in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Anarca-feminists see male power over women as yet another of the forms of authority which must be overcome. Anarca-feminists believe in resisting authority and in the essential goodness of the people: if freed of government rules and constraints, the people themselves will create the free, fair, and consensual institutions that society needs. This socialist "less government" approach is very different from the "less-government" right wingers of today, who if freed of government constraints would, for example, do away with minimum wage and environmental controls in order to create wealth for themselves, using police and military to oppress the people in the name of "law and order."
Among the articles read and discussed were "The tyranny of structurelessness," by Jo Freeman, a critique of contemporary feminism, and the response "The tyranny of tyranny," by Cathy Levine. The group also read the (now defunct) BC anarchist newspaper Open Road. Most readings were photocopied articles, but some material, especially on anarchist history, was available in the Red Herring Cooperative Bookstore.
The group's most influential action was, along with allies, putting together Halifax's first Reclaim The Night march. Among the participants were members of InStruggle? and of the Red Herring Bookstore cooperative. Refusing to submit to authority by asking police for a permit to march on the street, the activists marched on the sidewalk instead. It was also agreed that it was in keeping with the event that women alone should march: supportive men would provide child care. Many men outside the group were hurt and/or angered by this decision, including socialist men, who said they had always supported women's struggles. There was some ironic discussion of this point by socialist women. In later years, Reclaim the Night became TakeBackTheNight, and (the AnarcaFeminist Reading Group having folded) no longer had an anarchist focus.
This first Reclaim the Night march was echoed by the first Pride March, which also declined to ask for a permit and marched on the sidewalk.
LynnMurphy writes: "I have forgotten most of the names, but besides Peter there were Ginny, Donna, Ray and I."
Note on spelling : the more usual term is "anarcha-feminist," but we used "anarca."