Fast Forward Feminism: Manifesto Workshop

In February, we were invited to run a manifesto workshop by Fast Forward Feminism, a student-led festival that aimed to propose actions to resist what bell hooks calls the current ‘neo-colonial, white sumpremacist capitalist patriarchy.’ In the workshop, we took the first steps towards creating a manifesto together, and the text we produced was added to, revised and rebuilt through the variety of feminist ideologies explored during the festival. 

A manifesto is an adventure in expression—a demand, a public declaration of aims, ideals, and desires. For the workshop, we’d made a composite manifesto—each stanza was comprised of an extract from a different feminist manifesto from the past 50 years. By extracting and manipulating existing texts, we tried to create a collective document outlining our hopes and aims for a reimagined feminist future. We began the workshop by reading it out loud, in chorus. 

Reading these different manifestoes was disturbing and inspiring: it was disturbing to witness how women remain oppressed through sexism, racism, classism, colonialism, heterosexism, and ableism, but inspiring to witness, in these repeated tellings of injustices and injuries, that under every sort of political regime, in every era and possible set of circumstances, there has been feminist resistance. We learn from them about alternative ways of structuring our families and our communities, of describing citizens and supporting workers, of distributing resources and sharing burdens. Manifestoes are exercises in thinking collective life and imagining futurity and utopianism. 

Our composite manifesto included extracts from the Combahee River Collective, a radical Black feminist organisation formed in 1974; an LGBTI Manifesto written in Nairobi in April 2010, linking the LGBTI movement to Pan-African struggles for liberation and challenging certain assumptions about the lack of resistance to homophobia on the continent; Sara Ahmed’s book Living a Feminist Life, and its Killjoy Manifesto, where Ahmed writes about the way in which manifestos ‘render perceptible a new order of ideas’; and Laboria Cuboniks’ Xenofeminist Manifesto (2015), which seeks to dismantle gender as a ‘grid for the asymmetric operation of power’.

Our collective reading was followed by an act of collective authorship: we handed round copies of 30 different feminist manifestoes and extracted our favourite lines, editing, adding, and combining demands from different feminist collectives/groups. This collective editing and rewriting reflected the ways in which feminist manifestoes not only inspire political action but are also the outcome of feminist actions—a diversity of voices, informed by experience and reflection and dialogue, come together to demand a different future. 


Manifesto chorus

I am not willing to get over histories that are not over 1

Unbounded unleashed unforgiving 2

We reject pedestals, queenhood, and walking ten paces behind 3

We need gender justicewe need environmental justicewe need erotic justicewe need racial and ethnic justice 4

We’ll be your dream and their nightmareLesbian powerBelieve in creative activism: loud, bold, sexy, silly, fierce,Tasty and dramatic. Arrest optional 5

We affirm our will to act to change the capitalist and patriarchal world which puts the interests of the market before the rights of people 6

Safety is a right not a privilegeWe fight for the safety of all of our siblings: we work in solidarity with the movements for trans liberation and sex worker rights 7

Nothing should be accepted as fixed, permanent, or ‘given’—neither material conditions nor social forms.Let a hundred sexes bloomIf nature is unjust, change nature 8

We will: Change our attitude: get pissed off, refuse, resist, walk out, speak upWe will: Join with others, find common ground, build community 9

Seeing reality and still being able to dream 10

We will continue walking in a feminist spirit, to take on the maintenance of hope and happiness in the face of a culture of death and suffering The revolution will be feminist or it will not be at all 11

Miranda Critchley and David Roberts


  1. Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life, 2017
  2. VNX Matrix, Cyberfeminist Manifesto for the 21st Century, 1991
  3. Combahee River Collective, A Black Feminist Statement, 1977
  4. African LGBTI Manifesto, 2010
  5. Dyke Manifesto, Lesbian Avengers, 1994
  6. Nyéléni, Women’s Declaration on Food Sovereignty, 2007
  7. Sisters Uncut, Feministo, 2014
  8. Laboria Cuboniks, Xenofeminist Manifesto, 2015
  9. Waves of Resistance, Manifesto of the First Pan-Canadian Young Feminist Gathering, 2008
  10. Agnes Denes, A Manifesto, 1969
  11. Centre for Women’s Rights, Honduran Feminist Manifesto, 2013