International Women’s Day
‘Women hold up half the sky’
Women constitute half the world’s population, and yet they continue to be oppressed and held back by the system we live under. The capitalist system enforces age old patriarchy, that is the power of men over women and the power to control their bodies. Women are still on the whole paid less then men. The remnants of patriarchy are encouraged and promoted through popular culture in the imperialist nations, objectifying women and demeaning them.
No woman is inferior to a man. Class society long ago took advantage of women’s reproductive system and used it to oppress her, and women continue to fight back. Despite making huge gains women still face oppression through centuries of sexist culture and lies. Today women are still expected to be primary carers for children and face even greater burden where international finance capital has destroyed social welfare provision for child care. In many countries, including Britain, women must pay taxes on such items as sanitary towels. There is a growing backlash by the forces of reaction against the right of women to have abortions and to control their sexuality. Contraception is often unavailable or not free in some countries. Gender roles are enforced, not only to subjugate women but also to create antagonism between oppressed working class women and men thus weakening resistance to the ruling capitalist class.
Women’s labour is considered tto be of lower value then their male counterparts. As a result they are forced into ‘invisible’ domestic servant employment and herded into garment factories in the global south where they endure long hours and dangerous conditions.
Globalisation has led to the intensification of imperialist penetration into other nations. With the removal of trade barriers and the IMF imposing ‘structural adjustment programmes’ it is the working women of the world who shoulder the burden, forcing many to migrate to the centres of imperialism where they face even more exploitation and prejudice. Many are working below the value of their labour power as domestic servants or enslaved into prostitution which is a prop of colonialism and racism.
Working class women in the imperialist countries like Britain also are expected to raise the children and carry out unpaid domestic labour while also working for the capitalists in offices, retail outlets or factory employment. The expansion of the global working class in the past three decades has seen a huge influx of women into wage labour. The old sexist image of the worker being a white, hetrosexual man who supported the family has long since been dispelled. It is often the working woman who is the main provider for the children,
Those who are unmarried or childless still face social pressures and cultural pressures to either breed children or to fulfil an objectified role as a submissive appendage to a man. Women all over the world are still encouraged and pressurised by media and fashion brands to inflict torturous ways of dressing upon themselves. The only true winner from this are the capitalist producers of such fashions, reaping huge profits at the expense of the woman as worker and consumer.
The revelations about sexual assault in the film industry are of no surprise to most labouring women around the world. They have put up with harassment, assault and rape for millennia. The outrage by some circles of the ruling class and middle layers are hypocrisy and false. Working class and oppressed women the world over have to fight on a daily basis against such threats often fearing losing their jobs and homes if they defy their employer.
The ruling class, in particular those in the US and their satellites, proclaim the rights of women as sacred and to be defended. However these same circles, the cheerleaders for Hilary Clinton, have done huge damage to the struggle of women all over the world, through massive cuts to welfare in the west, leaving women struggling alone to feed and cloth children, and destructive wars on the Middle East and Asia, often with women bearing the brunt of warfare. Disgracefully these charlatans in the Pentagon and Whitehall claimed that by bombing Afghanistan into the stone age they would liberate women from Islamic fundamentalism. Instead they have maimed, killed and destroyed untold women. Their troops have prostituted and raped untold more and forced many more to become refugees.
Despite the degenerate media’s portrayal of women as passive and submissive the truth could not be more different. Labouring women have always been in the vanguard of struggle, from the Suffragettes, the Russian Revolution, the National Liberation Struggles and the Chinese Revolution, women have played a leading role. Women have proved that the stereotype promoted by capitalism to keep them in servitude and to keep their wages low is nothing but a fiction. In Britain a century ago women took up a violent struggle against the state to win the vote and their struggle terrified the ruling class. However working class women would not win the vote until a decade later than did the bourgeois women. Many women were organising in the workplace and struggling against capitalist employers such as the working class women of the East End of London, led and organised by militant Communists Eleanor Marx and later Sylvia Pankhurst.
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s was partly led by a woman, Chiang Ching, revolutionary Communist and political aid to Chairman Mao. This revolution against the ‘four olds’ (old customs, old culture, old habits and old ideas) inspired millions of women to throw off centuries of oppression, bondage and arranged marriage. Many entered work and education for the first time, became actively engaged in politics and even changed their names to revolutionary ones encompassing the spirit of class struggle. New works of art promoted the true and powerful nature of women’s struggle, such as The Red Detachment of Women. Chairman Mao correctly proclaimed ‘women hold up half the sky’.
The capitalist-imperialist system today is the greatest barrier to the liberation of women all over the planet. Women can only further their struggle for liberation by uniting with all oppressed and exploited people, including exploited men, and overthrowing capitalism. In struggle women will always prove their true nature as equal to any man. Today women are playing a leading role in the People’s War in India and the Philippines led by genuine communist parties. Capitalism can only be totally defeated and Communism achieved when the old culture and habits of centuries have also been eradicated. That means women must be completely liberated from patriarchy, unplanned reproduction, the tyranny of fashion, domestic burdens and gender roles. In this way men will be finally free as well. The only society which can create the conditions for such human liberation is a socialist society, advancing toward Communism. It can only be successful with women playing a leading role!
Long Live International Women’s Day!
Continue the fight against Patriarchy!
Defend the right for abortion on demand!
Victory to Peoples War!