Working-class Appalachian women on the picket line, fighting for better working conditions. White women organizing against the racial integration of schools. Native American women struggling for Indian treaty rights. African American women in the Black Panther Party. What prompts these women to adopt political stances outside mainstream politics? How are these women changed by personal experiences of militancy and activism?
Until recently, radical and militant activists have been viewed largely as male, while women have been assumed to be apolitical, more interested in domestic concerns and personal relationships than in public issues and political controversies. Despite evidence that women have been involved in a wide range of political activities, from revolutionary parties to racial hate groups, little attention has been paid to women's radical action.
No Middle Ground brings together a wide variety of contributors to uncover women's roles in radical and militant movements. Examining women's radicalism in the United States from the 1950s through the 1990s, the volume details women's activism in both right-wing and left-wing movements, in feminist as well as anti-feminist groups, and in both movements supporting racial equality and those favoring race supremacism. The essays shed light on the conditions which encourage women's militancy, the issues around which women mobilize, how they organize, and what divides them in organizations.
The essays and personal narratives in No Middle Ground advance our understanding of the gendered underpinnings of activism that occurs outside the "middle ground" of conventional electoral and pressure group politics. They suggest the significance of identity, consciousness, personal biography, and external context for understanding women's involvement with radical protest movements.
No Middle Ground brings new insight into women's oppositional politics, as well as into our understandings of radical action.
"Are they needed? To be sure. The Darwinian industry, industrious though it is, has failed to provide texts of more than a handful of Darwin's books. If you want to know what Darwin said about barnacles (still an essential reference to cirripedists, apart from any historical importance) you are forced to search shelves, or wait while someone does it for you; some have been in print for a century; various reprints have appeared and since vanished."
-Eric Korn, "Times Literary Supplement"