Deborah Thom
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Living through war, waging peace
Comparing Mary Macarthur and Sylvia Pankhurst
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Deborah Thom compares two central figures who were organisers of women during the war: Mary Macarthur and Sylvia Pankhurst. The contrast between them shows some of the problems of historical naturalism assuming that either socialist or feminist is a unitary category. Three main contrasts emerge by comparing their wartime agitation – the question of the state, the role of independent women’s organisation and the idea of what is the legitimate sphere of political action for labouring women.

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