Has anyone read "Suffragette Bombers"?

Jun 2017
545
maine
Why did Ada Nield Chew then criticize the WSPU in 1904 by saying that "the entire class of wealthy women would be enfranchised, that the great body of working women, married or single, would be voteless still"? Why did WSPU fall out with the Independent Labour Party over universal suffrage?
Mrs. Chew was a radical member of a group that was, itself, radical. A fringe of a fringe--if you will. She spoke for herself and what she had to say is interesting--but the voice of one person.

WSPU was interested in votes for women. The ILP was interested in universal suffrage. Two different things. Isabella Ford pointed out that many working class men didn't have a vote and that their cause ought to be included but WSPU was focused.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,252
Sydney
There always is a bit of university upper middle class stench about modern Feminism
Maybe my olfactories need re-educating
 
Jun 2017
545
maine
Perhaps they do. Having the time, resources and contacts for a major undertaking is perhaps why leadership in most movements--male or female--often is initially undertaken by wealthier types. However, in both cases, were it not for the active and enthusiastic support of people in general, these movements would remain as fringes. The suffrage movement had major support not only among working class women but among men. Opposition to women getting university educations and being socially & politcally aware is another issue.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,666
Republika Srpska
@duncanness
It is known that Emmeline Pankhurst was interested in equal suffrage, so women would get the vote under the same condition as men, which would leave property-less women without the vote. In 1900, at the meeting of the Labour Representation Committee she wanted to gain support for her views, but the Committee decided to endorse universal suffrage for both genders. Some socialists criticized WSPU claiming that their slogan should be Votes for Ladies. Also, Sylvia Pankhurst later claimed that Christabel said: "a working women’s movement was of no value".
 
Jun 2017
545
maine
@duncanness
It is known that Emmeline Pankhurst was interested in equal suffrage, so women would get the vote under the same condition as men, which would leave property-less women without the vote. In 1900, at the meeting of the Labour Representation Committee she wanted to gain support for her views, but the Committee decided to endorse universal suffrage for both genders. Some socialists criticized WSPU claiming that their slogan should be Votes for Ladies. Also, Sylvia Pankhurst later claimed that Christabel said: "a working women’s movement was of no value".
Socialists, in general, criticize a good many things. That is a great part of their value. If you have "some" Socialists saying one thing, it is likely that you have others who say something else.

When someone asks you to "cite your sources," two things are meant: (1) do you have a source for what you say? and (2) how good is that source? Here you have two sisters known to disagree violently--I wouldn't take the statement of either on each other as credible. That being said, it is your business as a historical observer to pick among conflicting "truths". Is it reasonable for a woman who is a leader of a group made up largely of working women, to made such a statement? Perhaps she did--but I'd be a bit skeptical. Is it likely that a mill worker like Annie Kenney would go to jail and be mistreated simply to support a cause and an organization that excludes her? Perhaps she was that altruistic, but--again--I'd be skeptical.

If these are the kind of arguments this book is putting forth, I'd have some real misgivings about its quality of research and accuracy. It certainly looks like this author is out to make a few dollars--period en punto.
 
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Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,666
Republika Srpska
When someone asks you to "cite your sources," two things are meant: (1) do you have a source for what you say? and (2) how good is that source? Here you have two sisters known to disagree violently--I wouldn't take the statement of either on each other as credible.
A fair point, but Sylvia Pankhurst was not the only one that accused WSPU of disregarding working class women. Adelaide Knight had this to say after leaving WSPU: "They betrayed their promises to working women".


That being said, it is your business as a historical observer to pick among conflicting "truths". Is it reasonable for a woman who is a leader of a group made up largely of working women, to made such a statement?
Well, other members of the WSPU got fed up with Emmeline and founded their own group, Women's Freedom League exactly because they disagreed with Pankhurst's actions.

Perhaps she did--but I'd be a bit skeptical. Is it likely that a mill worker like Annie Kenney would go to jail and be mistreated simply to support a cause and an organization that excludes her?
Well, you also have examples of working class women that left the WSPU. Hannah Mitchell comes to mind. Also keep in mind that Sylvia Pankhurst recruited quite a few working-class women from East London into the WSPU but Christabel Pankhurst expelled them in 1914.

If these are the kind of arguments this book is putting forth, I'd have some real misgivings about its quality of research and accuracy. It certainly looks like this author is out to make a few dollars--period en punto.
While some of these events are mentioned in the book, I checked them with some other sources and they seem to be credible.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,756
Australia
It is said that any revolution eats its children. Where it not for the "self indulgent posturing," the movement wouldn't have gone anywhere: working class women didn't have the time or energy to expend. In any case, it was the very exclusion of working class women that motivated WSPU.

Here in Maine, it was the unstinting efforts of middle and upper income women--frequently aided by their husbands--that raised the movement into the awareness of the middle and upper income men who dominated government. The it was the strong, genuine assistance of factory women and farm wives that carried suffrage into law (1919 in Maine, 1920 nationally).
The 'awareness' the Suffragettes were generating was doing far more harm than good to their cause. ( Which was actually the vote for women like themselves rather than the working class.) It was the effort of women in the war effort that was recognised and placed female suffrage firmly on the agenda. In any case female suffrage had already been achieved in Australia and New Zealand without the violence or class distinctions that characterised the WSPU, who would have done better to model their campaigns on those countrys instead of resorting to violence.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,666
Republika Srpska
I mean, here are the words of Emmeline Pankhurst herself:
"In the spring of 1904 I went to the annual conference of the Independent Labour Party, determined if possible to induce the members to prepare a suffrage bill to be laid before Parliament in the approaching session. Although I was a member of the National Administrative Council and presumably a person holding some influence in the party, I knew that my plan would be bitterly OPPOSED by a strong minority, who held that the Labour Party should direct all its efforts toward securing universal adult suffrage for both men and women."
(E. Pankhurst, My Own Story, pg. 41)
 

Sindane

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
4,686
Europe
It was the efforts of working class women in the factories, on the farms and in the armed forces during WWI that got women the vote in Britain, not the self indulgent posturing and downright criminal activity of the upper and middle class "suffragettes".

Working class women did not support the Suffragettes true, but it was more to do with the period of industrial unrest and strike action just prior to WW1. AKA the 'Great Unrest'
At the time there had been a huge rise in trade union membership and women had already worked in industry and agriculture for centuries. The Suffragettes, who were mostly middle class and based there protests mostly in London, took attention away from the workers struggle for better conditions and pay in the industrial districts .
As I've said before on here, my Grt Grandmother was a worsted spinner, from childhood, and very much a working class woman from the north of England and whose husband was involved in trade union activity, and she absolutely loathed the Suffragettes and told us so herself often .
 
Jun 2017
545
maine
The 'awareness' the Suffragettes were generating was doing far more harm than good to their cause. ( Which was actually the vote for women like themselves rather than the working class.) It was the effort of women in the war effort that was recognised and placed female suffrage firmly on the agenda. In any case female suffrage had already been achieved in Australia and New Zealand without the violence or class distinctions that characterised the WSPU, who would have done better to model their campaigns on those countrys instead of resorting to violence.
It has never been my intention to defend WSPU. I am the coordinator of an exhibit on suffrage here in Maine (the anniversary is coming right up). In the course of my own research, I found that many of the statements that were made were overblown or simply not true--and I said so. Certainly the negative impact of the situation in Britain was one of the arguments used by anti-suffrage forces here in New England. I was interested in the thread because I want to be able to counter the neanderthals who are sure to crawl out of the woodwork here. Violence is never an acceptable method and the end never justifies the means.