“The Socialist and the Suffragist”: A poem for International Women’s Day

Written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, this was first published in 1895 


Said the Socialist to the suffragist:

“My cause is greater than yours!

You only work for a special class,

We for the gain of the general mass,

Which every good ensures!”


Said the suffragist to the Socialist:

“You underrate my cause!

While women remain a subject class,

You never can move the general mass,

With your economic laws!”


Said the Socialist to the suffragist:

“You misinterpret facts!

There is no room for doubt or schism

In economic determinism—

It governs all our acts!”

Said the suffragist to the Socialist:

“You men will always find

That this old world will never move

More swiftly in its ancient groove

While women stay behind.“


”A lifted world lifts women up,”

The Socialist explained.

“You cannot lift the world at all

While half of it is kept so small,”

The suffragist maintained.


The world awoke, and tartly spoke:

“Your work is all the same:

Work together or work apart,

Work, each of you, with all your heart—

Just get into the game!”


[ht Max Lawson]

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