Love, Sex, and Social Justice: The Anarcha-Feminist Free Love Debate

Spring 2019

Feminists today debate questions about just social arrangements for love and sex that were also being discussed by anarcha-feminists in the United States over a hundred years ago. Our contextual analysis of Lucy Parsons, Emma Goldman, and Voltairine De Cleyre’s commentaries on the dispute between free love and marriage shows that the forced choice between these two social arrangements is misleading. By arguing that patriarchal/hierarchal power compromises both free love and marriage, these anarcha-feminists show that anarchism provides hope for social justice in the realms of love and sex since an anarchist society would displace and undermine the norms that buttress domination.

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