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CAMPAIGN '88 : A Feminist Pledge

October 15, 1987|Maura Dolan

In a Los Angeles auditorium filled with raspberry-colored banners, about 1,200 feminists stood Wednesday night and pledged out loud to vote only for candidates who support women's rights.

"I pledge not to work for, nor support with my vote, money or time, any candidate who does not support and work for women's rights and feminist principles," the audience consisting mostly of women said in unison.

With that vow, they launched a nationwide drive to promote feminist candidates for public office. The campaign, spearheaded by Eleanor Smeal, former president of the National Organization for Women, will organize women into teams to monitor elections for public office across the nation. In races that have no feminist candidate, the teams will find a feminist to run and organize on behalf of her candidacy.

The gathering at the Scottish Rite Auditorium looked like a political convention. Feminist groups had individual identifying banners, and members sat together near them in the audience. Celebrities like Edward Asner and Patty Duke joined such feminists as Smeal in exhorting the audience to organize. The women responded with public pledges of money and time.

The event was produced as kind of a roadshow that will be taken to at least 14 states by June. Similar gatherings will be held in San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento. The campaign, called the "Feminization of Power," primarily will promote feminist candidates for state legislative and congressional races.

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