Bread and Roses

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Excerpted from the 1981 Draft Basis of Unity

“Bread and Roses is a group of individual women, who generally agree with its basis of unity. The group has two purposes: to build the women’s movement, that is, to increase the number of women of all races who are feminists, and to win women to the perspective on the world that Bread and Roses has. The way we want to build the women’s movement is through action.

Secondly, Bread and Roses is intended to be a support group to women who are working in other groups and who want to talk with women with a similar perspective about what is happening in their workplaces, trade unions, women’s groups, mixed groups, etc.. By support we mean, for example, problem-solving, help with analysis of actions and decisions about tasks to be taken up, difficulties dealing with sexism, racism, homophobia.

We think it is important to base our understandings of the world and how it operates on the perspective of women. We are feminists.

This society is divided by ideas about the inequality of women and men. The division between women and men has developed through history. It is based on ideas about the capabilities of women and men. These capabilities are seen to be different, and the differences are described as ‘natural,’ or ‘biologically determined’ … These divisions make it possible for men to make the decisions about how women will control their reproductive ability, about the public practice of women’s sexuality, about what kinds of work women can do. These divisions are the patriarchal base of power in this society.

There is also an unequal division of resources in this society. The unequal ownership of the wealth of the world is based on the exploitation of the labour of working women and men for the profit of the few who own the majority of the wealth Imperialist corporations, which have offices in Europe and North America, own land and factories in other countries. Workers in these factories are paid less for their labour than workers in Canada. These workers (many of them women) produce goods which are sold at high profits in other countries. This is capitalism.

The divisions between men and women that have historically existed because of the patriarchy also support the capitalist economic system. For example, women are paid less for their work (even though it is essential to the production of profit) than men are paid. This results in even greater profits for the owners of wealth. We call this social system capitalist patriarchy.

We see that it is possible to make some gains for women in this system, by organizing ourselves in great numbers and bringing pressure on the government and the corporations. But we also recognize that there will be no real liberation of women under this system. The capitalist patriarchy and all the divisions which support it, must be destroyed. The relations between women and men, and between those who produce wealth and those who own wealth must be changed and made equal.”

Bread and Roses Documents

Title Date Region
Basis of Unity (Draft) – July 1981 1981 British Columbia
Basis of Unity Statement (Draft) 1981 British Columbia
Comments on Basis of Unity Draft Statement – Vancouver 1981 British Columbia
Letter to the Vancouver Sun -- British Columbia
Meeting Minutes – 24 May 1981 1981 British Columbia
Meeting Minutes – April 5, 1981 1981 British Columbia
Meeting Minutes – August 1981 1981 British Columbia
Meeting Minutes – December 7, 1980 1980 British Columbia
Meeting Minutes – January 11, 1981 1981 British Columbia
Meeting Minutes – March 1, 1981 1981 British Columbia
Meeting Minutes – May 31 1981 1981 British Columbia
Meeting Minutes -13 December 1981 1981 British Columbia
Strategies Summary – December 1, 1980 1980 British Columbia

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