How I Left a Life of Crime and Came to America

In 1975 shoplifting was common in my radical-feminist circles—some of us terrified of getting caught and others defiantly careless, even taking pride in our arrests. One friend, among the wealthiest feminists in London, was drawing unemployment at the time she was arrested for stealing food from a supermarket. Nobody thought twice about someone that well-off being on the dole and, mostly by virtue of being a single mother, she beat the rap. We liked to think of this petty thievery as defiance against an authority we were rejecting—or perhaps as rehearsals for the time when our politics would require us to break the law, but really they were no more than adolescent attempts to gain notoriety.

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