Publication Year: 2010
A member of both movements, Greta Gaard bases her analysis on her personal experience as well as extensive secondary sources and interviews with key theorists, activists, and speakers across the United States. By allowing each movement's members to speak for themselves, she traces the separate origins and development of each movement, explains their connections, and reveals the light that each can cast upon the other and on the difficulties facing social action in general.
Beginning with the ecofeminists, Gaard describes the paths -- environmental causes, the feminist peace movement, the feminist spirituality movement, the animal liberation movement, and the anti-toxics movements, as well as experiences of interconnectedness -- that have led women (and a few men) to articulate an ecofeminist perspective. Tracing the movement from the 1980s to the present, she defines its present strands as liberal ecofeminism, radical ecofeminism, socialist ecofeminism, and social ecofeminism.
Gaard illustrates the development of the U.S. Greens from a national movement into a political party. She defines the various factions -- the Left Greens, the Youth Greens, and the Green Politics Network -- that influenced the movement's direction and underlay the debates during Ralph Nadar's 1996 presidential campaign. She shows how the history of these three groups can be seen as stages in the transition from a leftist and sometimes anarchist action that places the Green movement squarely within the pattern of other social movements around the world.
Despite the significant influence that ecofeminists have had in shaping the Greens as a national movement, many have chosen to withdraw from the Greens. Gaard looks at the reasons for member disaffection and draws disturbing conclusions about the compatibility between liberal feminism and cultural ecofeminism and patriarchal politics. She also presents the divisions within the Greens as ongoing battles within the new left, the radical ecology movement, and various social justice movements. She focuses on three general areas -- conflicts over philosophy, conflicts over representation, and conflicts over strategy -- to make suggestions for how to bring about the kind of social transformation envisioned by both the Greens and the ecofeminists. Arguing that the Concord Principles represent a populist form of liberal democracy that fundamentally betrays both ecofeminism and Green philosophy, she uses the 1996 Nadar campaign as a departure point to developing an ecofeminist theory of radical democracy and to speculate on future directions for Green politics and for ecofeminism. Her analysis illuminates the nature and direction of each of these important movements and the pressures and conflicts experienced by all social movements at the end of the twentieth century.
Published by: Temple University Press
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On the shores of Lake Superior, while I was working on the actions and interviews that would find expression in this book, Jan Hartley was working out many of these same ideas in her art. In 1989, Jan gave up her commercial art work and began painting the images that came to her in meditation. Though all her work addresses issues of environmental concern, I was drawn to her Spirit...
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Every history is an act of interpretation. Originally, my goal in this book was to tell the story of ecofeminist activism and participation within the U.S. Green movement and to chronicle the history and development of the Greens from movement to party. As I wrote, I kept photographs of the activists and theorists near my writing table. Since many of them disagreed with one another, and I...
1. Ecofeminist Roots
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Although it hardly seems likely in a decade characterized by an overwhelming assault on the gains of the feminist movement in television, print media, education, and the workplace, the 1980s marked the birth and coming of age of ecofeminism in the United States. The decade was bookended by two events that signify the direction and development of ecofeminism: on one end was the...
2. The U.S. Greens: From Movement to Party
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When Ronald Reagan took office as U.S. president in 1980, his election was hailed by many as the end of the dwindling influence of the Left and the coming of age of the Right. The final loss of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1982 was emblematic of an era characterized by regressive economic policies ("Reaganomics") that gave unprecedented tax breaks to the wealthy and eliminated...
3. The U.S. Greens as a Social Movement
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The parallel development of ecofeminism and Green politics in the United States can be informed by examining these movements through the lens of social movement theory. In this chapter I detail the development of the Green movement in the United States specifically as a social movement, by chronicling the history of three important groups: the Left Green Network (LGN), the...
4. Ecofeminists in the Greens
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From Petra Kelly in West Germany, to Ariel Salleh in Australia and Charlene Spretnak in the United States, ecofeminists have been central to the founding of the Green movement internationally. In the United States, the book written primarily by ecofeminist Charlene Spretnak, Green Politics, sparked the founding meeting of the Committees of Correspondence. Moreover, the history of the...
5. Divisions among the Greens
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The cover of the March 1990 issue of Green Synthesis depicts an elephant surrounded by six men with their eyes closed, their hands touching various parts of the animal. On the elephant's back, one man feels the ear; on the ground, two men touch either the trunk or the tusks, while two others grip the leg or the tail, and the sixth man stands with his palm flat on the elephant's side. Of...
6. Democracy, Ecofeminism, and the Nader Presidential Campaign
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Insofar as democracy is concerned with relationships, with equality and power, feminism is a requisite component of any truly democratic theory. Although the link between feminism and democracy now seems self-evident to most feminists, the two theories did not develop in tandem: according to accounts from patriarchal history, democracy has been around since the time of ancient...
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In a 1988 article written for Z Magazine, Ynestra King, one of the principal organizers of the first ecofeminist conference and one of four keynote speakers at the Greens' first national gathering, voiced a cautious optimism about the potential future of the Greens. If they could create "a theory, culture, and strategy that embodies the legacy of the new left come of age," she wrote, "the lefts,...
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Publication Year: 2010