predominantly white organizations to sponsor forums and conferences on racism within the women's movement, to seek out multiracial formations, and to fight racism in the larger society and in South Africa. Additionally, increasing numbers of women have become involved in the formation of public policy and have run for public office, especially at the state and local level.
While these are signs that a broader women's movement is possible, they should not provoke too much optimism about the way ahead. The challenges of the current period are formidable -- with the agenda of the New Right institutionalized by Reagan's policies, his Supreme Court and judicial appointments, and his increased militarization of our economy and society. The work of creating and sustaining real multiracial and cross-class alliances among women remains great. There is evidence in this book to confirm the extraordinary power of corporations and of the state to limit the gains of women's activism. But there is also plenty of evidence of creative, diligent organizing, successful mobilization, and a changing political consciousness among women. If this book inspires the hope of a progressive movement that truly combines the major concerns of women, people of color, and the working class, or if it aids activists and feminist theorists as they consider the political experience of working-class women, it will have more than served its purpose.
We want to acknowledge the title and spirit of the song, "Carry It On", written by Gil Turner (Melody Trails, BMI) and sung by Joan Baez and Judy Collins. It conveys our sense of a tradition to be continued and of the need for persistence despite the odds in women's quest for political empowerment.