When the Personal Became Too Political: ASIO and the Monitoring of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Australia

In the official history of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), there is only one mention of the women’s liberation movement . . . However, we know from files released by the National Archives of Australia that ASIO heavily monitored the women’s liberation movement in Australia . . . This article examines the ASIO files on the Australian women’s liberation movement and the anxiety that the authorities felt about the ‘threat’ of the personal becoming too politicised.
‘Because of its relentless critique of the existing social order, and the unique nature of its critique,’ ASIO stated, the women’s liberation movement was ‘a fertile field for communist activity’ The report continued…
Women’s Liberation is engaged in the same process of dismantling existing institutions that the communists engage in AFTER the revolution (and, of course, continuously attempt). The communists are delighted to have a ‘captive audience’ which can be mobilised against the capitalist system…
From the Women’s Liberation social analysis, then, it is a short step to the communist analysis of political and social power in capitalist societies.

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