11 France and Britain in the Belle Epoque: -- Part 5
Quite a few got involved in assassinations, which caused a lot of shock and outrage.
The leaders of the socialist left on the Continent believed that only with the end of capitalism and bourgeois domination would it be possible for women to achieve genuine equality.
Some women rose to positions in Europe's socialist movements because of this.
The most famous of them was Rosa Luxemburg, a brilliant intellectual who was associated with the revolutionary wing of the SPD.
She won the affection of rank-and-file workers because of her Jewish origin.
Left-wing parties in Germany counted many Jews in prominent positions beyond their 1 percent of the population.
It would have been almost impossible for a woman and a Jewish woman to rise so high in a non-socialist party.
Sexism and negative attitudes to Jews were not absent from the party's record.
Some of the party's leaders were not happy with her brusque manners, intellectual arrogance, and lack of genuine feelings of comradeship.
Women were more represented in Russia's revolutionary movements than in western Europe, but many of the most famous women revolutionaries in western movements were Jews with roots in the Russian Empire.
The most prominent of them were Emma Goldman, who was an American but internationally famous, and Anna Kuliscioff, who was Mussolini's lover before 1914.
She was arrested for planning to kill other Russian officials.
Alexander II was assassinated in 1881, and a Jewish woman tried to assassinate Lenin.
Krupskaya, the life-long companion of Lenin, who had a Christian background but still did the cooking and housework, was more typical.
Many left-wing leaders in France, Greece, Italy, and Spain had traditional marriages and harbored sexist attitudes; some of the more anti-clerical were against giving women the vote because they feared that women would vote as their priests, not their husbands.
The Victorian era had a time when the differences between men and women were stressed in dress, but the implications of female emancipation were only beginning to be examined.
The main issue was about rights and human dignity, as compared to women's equal ability to do anything men could do.
Equal property rights, birth control, and equal pay for equal work were some of the issues that were close to the hearts of many women.
The conclusion that the vote for women was a necessary first step was logical, but for many socialists a more fundamental step was "making the revolution" since elections under bourgeois domination were inevitably manipulated by those in power.
This was a time of posing awkward questions and of breaking away from previous patterns in the Woman Question.
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