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Thursday, 11 November 2010

Nora Dacre Fox and Fascism

Nora Dacre Fox (Norah Elam) provides a good example of Women's Social and Political Union and British Union of Fascist membership. On the surface it might seem strange that there are close links with the WSPU and fascism. After all, the WSPU fought for equal rights for women whereas fascists believed that men were superior to women. However, several leaders of the WSPU also held senior positions in the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s. Emmeline Pankhurst and two of her daughters, Adela and Christabel, moved to the far right after the First World War. Adela actually joined the fascist party in Australia. The main reason for this is the WSPU was run as a dictatorship. Those who believed in a democratic organisation left to form the Women's Freedom League. In reality, the WSPU, was always a very small organisation. At its peak it only had 2,000 members and by 1914 it only had a small number of activists. On the other hand, the fully democratic, National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) had over 100,000 members. After women gained the vote, the NUWSS were active in the Labour and Liberal parties, the WSPU members tended to join the Conservative Party and the British Union of Fascists. Under the leadership of Emmeline Pankhurst, the WSPU was an authoritarian organisation. It therefore attracted authoritarian personalities.

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