A Day of Remembrance: Remembering the Holocaust of the Witches
Here is an excerpt from Andrea Dworkin's "Remembering the Witches" from her collection of essays titled, OUR BLOOD: Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics.
Feile Oiche Shamhna!
Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam (A country without a language is a country without a soul.)
Remembering the Witches
By Andrea Dworkin
Tonight, on Halloween, we are here to remember another gynocide, the mass slaughter of the nine million women who were called witches. These women, our sisters, were killed over a period of three hundred years in Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Holland Switzerland, England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Amerika. They were killed in the name of God the Father and His only Son, Jesus Christ.
The organized persecution of the witches began officially on December 9, 1484. Pope Innocent VIII named two Dominican monks, Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, as Inquisitors and asked the good fathers to define witchcraft, to isolate the modus operandi of the witches, and to standardize trial procedures and sentencing. Kramer and Sprenger wrote a text called the Malleus Maleficarum. The Malleus Maleficarum was high Catholic theology and working Catholic jurisprudence. It might be compared to the Amerikan Constitution. It was the law. Anyone who challenged it was guilty of heresy, a capital crime. Anyone who refuted its authority or questioned its credibility on any level was guilty of heresy, a capital crime.
The struggle of women, the feminist struggle, is not a struggle for more money per hour, or for equal rights under male law, or for more women legislators who will operate within the confines of male law. These are all emergency measures designed to save women's lives, as many as possible, now, today. But these reforms will not stem the tide of gynocide; these reforms will not end the relentless violence perpetrated by the gender class men against the gender class women. These reforms will not stop the increasing rape epidemic in this country, or the wife-beating epidemic in England. They will not stop the sterilizations of black and poor white women who are the victims of male doctors who hate female carnality. These reforms will not empty mental institutions of women put into them by male relatives who hate them for rebelling against the limits of the female role, or against the conditions of female servitude. They will not empty prisons filled with women who, in order to survive, whored; or who, after being beaten, killed the man who was killing them. These reforms will not stop men from living off exploited female domestic labor, nor will these reforms stop men from reinforcing male identity by psychologically victimizing women in so-called "love" relationships.
Before we can live and love, we will have to hone ourselves into a revolutionary sisterhood. That means that we must stop supporting the men who oppress us; that we must refuse to let them take their sustenance from our lives. That means that we will have to divest ourselves of the identity we have been trained to as females - that we will have to divest ourselves of all traces of the masochism we have been told is synonymous with being female. That means that we will have to attack and destroy every institution, law, philosophy, religion, custom, and habit of this patriarchy - this patriarchy that feeds on our "dirty" blood, that is built on our "trivial" labor.
Halloween is the appropriate time to commit ourselves to this revolutionary sisterhood. On this night we remember our dead. On this night we remember together that nine million women were killed because men said that they were carnal, malicious, and wicked. On this night we know that they live now through us.
Let us together rename this night Witches' Eve. Let us together make it a time of mourning: for all women who are victims of gynocide, dead, in jail, in mental institutions, raped, sterilized against their wills, brutalized. And let us on this night consecrate our lives to developing the revolutionary sisterhood - the political strategies, the feminist actions - which will stop for all time the devastating violence against us.
Labels: Andrea Dworkin