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Introduction

Ellen Willis was a journalist, feminist, and cultural critic, best known for her political essays. She also drew on her Jewish background in essays on religion and anti-Semitism. In 1969, she co-founded a radical feminist organization called Redstockings. The excerpt below is taken from her essay, "Letter to the Left," which was written in 1969 to explain the need for a movement focused specifically on women's liberation. Whereas many on the Left identified capitalism as the source of all social problems and inequalities, Willis argued that patriarchy – the social system based on governance by or dominance of males – was the root of women's oppression, and that women's oppression would not be alleviated by dismantling capitalism alone. Willis submitted this letter to The Guardian, the leading national Left newspaper of the time, but the editor refused to publish it.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Introduction." (Viewed on April 24, 2014) <http://jwa.org/node/11955>.