Evelyn Reed

Evelyn Reed (1905  1979) was an American communist and women’s rights activist.

In January 1940, she traveled to Mexico to see the exiled Russian Revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his wife Natalia Sedova. There, at the house of Trotsky in Coyoacán, Reed met the American Trotskyist leader James P. Cannon, leader of the Socialist Workers Party (United States). Reed joined in the same year, and remained a leading party member until her death.

An active participant in the Women's liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Reed was a founding member of the Women’s National Abortion Action Coalition in 1971. During these years she spoke and debated on women’s rights in cities throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, the United Kingdom and France.

Inspired by the works on women and the family by Friedrich Engels and Alexandra Kollontai, Reed is the author of many books on Marxist feminism and the origin of the oppression of women and the fight for their emancipation. Some of the most notable works by Reed are: Problems of Women’s Liberation, Woman’s Evolution: From Matriarchal Clan to Patriarchal Family, Is Biology Woman’s Destiny?, and Cosmetics, Fashions, and the Exploitation of Women (with Joseph Hansen and Mary-Alice Waters.)

She was nominated as a candidate for President of the United States for the Socialist Workers Party in the United States presidential election, 1972. On the ballot in only three states (Indiana, New York, and Wisconsin), Reed received a total of 13,878 votes. The main candidate for the Party was Linda Jenness, who received 37,423 votes.


"The woman question can only be resolved through the lineup of working men and women against the ruling men and women. This means that the interests of the workers as a class are identical; and not the interests of all women as a sex. Ruling-class women have exactly the same interest in upholding and perpetuating capitalist society as their men have. The bourgeois feminists fought, among other things, for the right of women as well as men to hold property in their own name. They won this right. Today, plutocratic women hold fabulous wealth in their own names. They are completely in alliance with the plutocratic men to perpetuate the capitalist system. They are not in alliance with the working women, whose needs can only be served through the abolition of capitalism. Thus, the emancipation of working women will not be achieved in alliance with women of the enemy class, but just the opposite; in a struggle against them as part and parcel of the whole class struggle."
- Cosmetics, Fashions, and the Exploitation of Women

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Party political offices
Preceded by
Fred Halstead
Socialist Workers Party nominee for
President of the United States

Succeeded by
Peter Camejo
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