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Women Strike for Peace

Traditional Motherhood and Radical Politics in the 1960s

Women Strike for Peace is the only historical account of this ground-breaking women’s movement. Amy Swerdlow, a founding member of WSP, restores to the historical record a significant chapter on American politics and women’s studies. Weaving together narrative and analysis, she traces WSP’s triumphs, problems, and legacy for the women’s movement and American society.

Women Strike for Peace began on November 1, 1961, when thousands of white, middle-class women walked out of their kitchens and off their jobs in a one-day protest against Soviet and American nuclear policies. The protest led to a national organization of women who fought against nuclear arms and U.S. intervention in Vietnam. While maintaining traditional maternal and feminine roles, members of WSP effectively challenged national policies—defeating a proposal for a NATO nuclear fleet, withstanding an investigation by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and sending one of its leaders to Congress as a peace candidate.

As a study of a dissident group grounded in prescribed female culture, and the struggle of its members to avoid being trapped within that culture, this book adds a crucial new dimension to women’s studies. In addition, this account of WSP’s success as a grass roots, nonhierarchical movement will be of great interest to historians, political scientists, and anyone interested in peace studies or conflict resolution.

"Swerdlow has re-created a unique piece of American political history, a chapter of the international peace movement, and an origin of the modern feminist movement. No historian, activist, or self-respecting woman should be without Women Strike for Peace. It shows not only how one group of women created change, but also how they inevitably changed themselves."—Gloria Steinem

326 pages | 32 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 1993

Women in Culture and Society

History: American History

Women's Studies

Table of Contents

Foreword by Catharine R. Stimpson
1. "Raising a Hue and Cry"
2. Prelude to a Peace Strike
3. Who Are These Women?
4. Organizing a "Nonorganization"
5. Ladies’ Day at the Capitol
6. A Not-so-funny Thing Happened on the Way to Disarmament
7. "The Women’s Vote Is the Peace Vote"
8. Not Our Sons, Not Your Sons, Not Their Sons: Hell, No, We Won’t Let Them Go!
9. We Have Met the Enemy—and They Are Our Sisters!

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