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History of Communism in Europe

Volume 8, 2017

The Other Half of Communism: Women's Outlook

Agnieszka Mrozik
Pages 261-284

Communism as a Generational Herstory
Reading Post-Stalinist Memoirs of Polish Communist Women

The objective of this article is to revise the dominating narrative of communism as male generational history. With the aid of memoirs of communist women, many of whom started their political activity before WWII and belonged to the power-wielding elites of Stalinist Poland, the author shows that the former constituted an integral part of the generation which had planned a revolution and ultimately took over power. Their texts were imbued with a matrilineal perspective on the history of communism: the authors emphasized that other women had strongly motivated them to become involved in politics. However, the memoirs revealed something more: as an attempt to establish new models of emancipation and to transmit them to younger generations of women, they were to rekindle the memory of women as the active agent of that part of Polish history which contemporary feminists refuse to remember.

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