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Revolutionary Mothering book cover
China Martens is a co-editor of REVOLUTIONARY MOTHERING: LOVE ON THE FRONT LINES (PM Press, 2016). / Inspired by the legacy of radical and queer black feminists of the 1970s and ’80s, Revolutionary Mothering places marginalized mothers of color at the center of a world of necessary transformation. The challenges we face as movements working for racial, economic, reproductive, gender, and food justice, as well as anti-violence, anti-imperialist, and queer liberation are the same challenges that many mothers face every day.

Mourning on Motherday


I wrote this piece for Mothers Day 2021. Full essay with book review resources here:

PDF icon Mourning on Motherday

Maternal Journal introduction

"Who is s/he/they? Mother Artist: work is easy, motherhood more difficult. Is motherhood the last taboo? For a serious artist to admit, contain, show their (maternal) body?"

Maternal Journal Introduction (2018) - from The Artist Mother Studio (AMS) zine, Maternal Journal.

PDF icon Maternal Journal introduction

Childhoood Is Over

I remember, years back, the children sorting through our garbage and throwing it up in the air like Christmas, wild to find the buried toys that I had thrown away when we were packing to leave Baltimore and my daughter was in kindergarten. I had thrown away some of her broken toys, snuck them in the refuse since we couldn’t carry it all and I knew she would object. When I put out the bags and bags of trash from our households debris that night I didn’t think about the kids who played in the alley. In the morning, she looked out the window of our third floor apartment, down in horror to the snow banks of used maxi-pads and egg shells wreckage, where her former play-mates had struck gold, digging through the discarded trash to find broken plastic bows without their rubber arrows. “My toys!” she screeched. I don’t think I will ever live that down.

PDF icon Childhoood Is Over


About China

Baltimore City

China Martens's picture
China Martens is a zinestress extraordinaire born in Baltimore. Her first book, "The Future Generation", is a compilation of 16 years of her first zine that was reissued in March 2017. She is also the co-editor of "Don't Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways To Support Families In Social Justice Movements & Communities" (PM Press, 2012) and "Revolutionary Mothering: Love On The Front Lines" (PM Press, 2016), an anthology which centers mothers of color and marginalized mothers voices,... more

THE FUTURE GENERATION: A Zine-Book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends & Others


China Martens started her pioneering mamazine The Future Generation in 1990. She was a young anarchist punk rock mother who didn't feel that the mamas in her community had enough support, so she began publishing articles on radical parenting in an age before the internet.

The anthology of her zine, The Future Generation: The Zine-Book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends & Others, was first printed in 2007 and has been out of print for many years. Covering sixteen years, it uses individual issues as chapters, focusing on personal writing, and retaining the character of a zine that changed over the years—from her daughter’s birth to teenagehood and beyond.

We are proud to present a tenth-anniversary edition including a new afterword by China's grown daughter. The Future Generation remains a timeless resource for parents, caregivers, and those who care about them. Though first published in the 1990s, many of the essays and observations—about parenting, children, and surviving in a hostile political climate—still ring true today. The next four years are going to be especially demanding for those trying to balance parenting, politics, and survival. We're going to need the voices and experiences in The Future Generation now more than ever.


“The original punk parent zine.” 
—Ariel Gore, Hip Mama

“Martens has been writing since long before the mommy wars were a media trope, but her work is a powerful response to punditry casting institutional and political problems as personal issues of 'work-life balance' for mothers (notably, not fathers).” 
—Lisa Jervis, Bitch magazine

The Future Generation is a must read for anyone who wants to understand Adrienne Rich's idea of mothering (Of Woman Born) based on the mother's own experience, not the patriarchal definition of motherhood in which mothers must be surveilled, controlled, advised, and punished. For here is an evolution of mothering, a memoir of a conscious mother. Get it. Read it. Pass it on.” 
—Katherine Arnoldi, author of The Amazing True Story of a Teenage Single Mom and All Things Are Labor

“I am deeply inspired by The Future Generation. I remember feeling seen, held, and affirmed when I read the anthology. I felt like I had a sister in all the complex things I was feeling as a new mother.” 
—Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, author of Karma’s Footsteps and Dear Continuum: Letters to a Poet Crafting Liberation

The Future Generation is deeply touching and eye-openingly intimate.” 
—Jordannah Elizabeth, author of Don’t Lose Track

China Martens’ “The Future Generation” zine, which she started in 1990, two years after her daughter Clover’s birth, was an unconventional but necessary radical parenting guide. Less of a “how-to” and more of a “how-I-did-it,” this second-edition anthology of 16 years of “The Future Generation” issues offers Martens’ firsthand insight as a young single mother, pushing against the solitude of both parenthood and childhood, advocating for collective, nurturing environments for kids, taking a closer look at how society influences or provides for kids—and how it doesn’t quite do enough. (Rebekah Kirkman) - #3 Winner of The Beat's Top 10 Baltimore Books of 2017/Baltimore Beat

‘How Do We Make a Better World?’ A Q&A With ‘The Future Generation’ Author China Martens

Oct 18, 2017,
 Victoria Law


Baltimore Museum of Art, Open Hours
The Future Generation—Parenting, Children, and Community Stories
May 18 · 12:00pm – 3:00pm
All are welcome to attend this inclusive conversation and group zine workshop centered on motherhood, specifically marginalized mothers.

China Martens talking about The Future Generation on She’s a Punk podcast, Zine episode - By Siobhan Woodrow

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To view the contents of the book online:

Revolutionary Mothering: Love On The Front Lines

- Co-edited with Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Mai'a Williams -

Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines is juicy, gutsy, vulnerable, and very brave.  A radical vision, many radical visions of how to mother in a time of resistance and of pain.”    —Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and activist

“For women of color, mothering—the art of mothering—has been framed by the most virulent systems, historically: enslavement, colonialism, capitalism, imperialism. We have had few opportunities to define mothering not only as an aspect of individual lives and choices, but as the processes of love and as a way of structuring community. Revolutionary Mothering arrives as a needed balm.”

—Alexis De Veaux, author of Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde

“Although it is primarily written for mothers of all ages, the issues that are raised—about family, love, struggle, sacrifice, and acceptance—are universal as they speak to the revolutionary that exists within all of us.”
—Karsonya Wise Whitehead, PhD, assistant professor of communication and African and African American studies, Loyola University Maryland

“We can learn to mother ourselves.” Audre Lorde, 1983

All mothers have the potential to be revolutionary. Some mothers stand on the shoreline, are born and reborn here, inside the flux of time and space, overcoming the traumatic repetition of oppression. Our very existence is disobedience to the powers that be.

At times, in moments, we as mothers choose to stand in a zone of claimed risk and fierce transformation, the frontline. In infinite ways, both practiced and yet to be imagined, we put our bodies between the violent repetition of the norm and the future we already deserve, exactly because our children deserve it too. We make this choice for many reasons and in different contexts, but at the core we have this in common: we refuse to obey. We refuse to give into fear. We insist on joy no matter what and by every means necessary and possible.

In this anthology we are exploring how we are informed by and participating with those mothers, especially radical women of color, who have sought for decades, if not centuries, to create relationships to each other, transformative relationships to feminism and a transnational anti-imperialist literary, cultural and everyday practice.

Sometimes for radical mamas, our mothering in radical community makes visible the huge gulfs between communities, between parents and non-parents, in class and other privileges AND most importantly the wide gulf between what we say in activist communities and what we actually do. Radical mothering is the imperative to build bridges that allow us to relate across these very real barriers. For and by radical mother of color, but also inclusive of other working class, marginalized, low income, no income radical mothers.

For more info and book reviews:

  • Laura Flanders Show: Revolutionary Mothering

    On this special Mother’s day episode, guest host Alexis Pauline Gumbs explores revolutionary mothering with a panel of guests including China Martens, Mai’a Williams, Lisa Factora-Borchers, Victoria Law, and Cynthia Dewi Oka. China Martens is the author of, among many other works, The Future Generation: The Zine-book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends and Others, and co-editor of Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities.
  • Revolutionary Mothering, Southern Texas Tour Poster

    Fall 2016 "Sirenas" Tour Poster. / Art work by Noemi Martinez. / All the way from Baltimore to read with Revolutionary Mothering Book contributors in: Ashville, NC; Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis TN; Denton, Austin, Kingsville, Edinburg, Brownsville, Houstin TX; New Orleans, and Athens, GA.

Zines, Zines, Zines!

underground, maybe in your bathroom, you may find one of my zines still floating around

EARLY ZINE INTERVIEW - an oldy and still a goody:

Radical Childcare: The Kidz City Model

Kidz City Baltimore is an anarcha-feminist collective, composed predominately of non-parents working as allies to support parents’ and children’s participation at social justice gatherings and events in Baltimore, Maryland. We started at the City from Below Conference in 2009. After working together at many subsequent events—including book-fairs, community dinners, and conferences such as the Fair Development Conference, DIY Fest, and IWW Convention—certain organizing patterns and methods emerged. We started to develop our own model for organizing collective support for caregivers and children.


for more about Kidz City:

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind, edited by Victoria Law and China Martens, is a collection of concrete tips, suggestions, and narratives on ways that non-parents can support parents, children, and caregivers in their communities, social movements, and collective processes. Don't Leave Your Friends Behind focuses on issues affecting children and caregivers within the larger framework of social justice, mutual aid, and collective liberation.

How do we create new, nonhierarchical structures of support and mutual aid, and include all ages in the struggle for social justice? There are many books on parenting, but few on being a good community member and a good ally to parents, caregivers, and children as we collectively build a strong all-ages culture of resistance. Any group of parents will tell you how hard their struggles are and how they are left out, but no book focuses on how allies can address issues of caretakers' and children's oppression. Many well-intentioned childless activists don't interact with young people on a regular basis and don't know how. Don't Leave Your Friends Behind provides them with the resources and support to get started.

For more info (and links to reviews and interviews):

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"All told, the collection is stimulating, and whether we are parents, eldercare providers, or simply concerned human beings, inclusivity - not leaving anyone behind - is key to making the changes we wish to see. After all, if another world is possible, doesn't it have to include the young, the old and the in between - whether able-bodied or not?"
- from Book Review by Eleanor J Bader for Truthout

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind Blog:
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Radio Interview w/ China Martens on "The Signal":

Recent talks and essays

  • Reverse Keynote Discussion - "Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines"

    JHU Online Program in the History of Medicine February 2021 Reverse Keynote Discussion of “Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines, edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Mai’a Williams, and China Martens” featuring Victoria Law (freelance author, editor, and organizer), Kellee Coleman (organizer with Vibrant Woman/Mama Sana prenatal clinic), Tanay Lynn Harris (co-founder of the Bloom Collective Baltimore), Cecilia Caballero (PhD Candidate at the University of Southern California), China Martens (organizer, editor, and author), Mai’a Williams (journalist, organizer, editor, and author), and
  • Educating & Parenting for Liberation: Panel discussion

    Zoom author discussion hosted by Firestorm Books
    Join a panel of activist educators and radical parents to discuss lessons, challenges, and triumphs of parenting and educating during pandemic and isolation, uprisings for racial justice, the rise of fascism, and more. Let's get unified against oppression and readily use our homes, communities, spaces, and classrooms to fight for human liberation, social justice, systemic change, and true equality. Panelists include Mai'a Williams, China Martens, Michelle Cruz Gonzales, and Akilah S.
  • Hags on Fire

    photo that went with the essay, The Premise
  • The Changing Premise

    Poem (and photo) published in HAGS ON FIRE, issue 2 - Winter 2020

    HAGS ON FIRE is a biannual literary zine focused on women’s embodied experiences of perimenopause, menopause, and croning—minus the patriarchy.

    PDF icon The Changing Premise

China's Curated Collection

View China's favorite works from other Baker Artists