Celebrate International Women's Day
March 8, 1998

Women on the Front Lines

Break the Chains!

Revolutionary Worker #947, March 8, 1998

"The liberation of the poor and exploited people of the world is completely bound up with the liberation of women from every form of male supremacist domination and oppression, and vice versa--you cannot have one without the other."

Bob Avakian, "Why Only Proletarian
Revolution Can Liberate Women"

International Women's Day 1998: On this day, we focus on how a woman's right to choose is central to the liberation of women--and how it is connected to the fight to end all oppression.

Millions of people agree it's a woman's right to choose. But we revolutionary communists also come at this from a deeper level. We uphold a woman's right to choose because this is in the best interests of the proletariat and society as a whole. Just as we feel so deeply that the masses of people have to make radical change and revolution, we are firm in our stand that the state or any other repressive institutions in this society should not dictate to women on this question of abortion. Not parents, boyfriends, judges or preachers. And we believe that even in a socialist society the ultimate decision should still be made by the individual woman.

As long as women giving birth to babies is the way human beings reproduce, then social controls on reproduction can be an oppressive thing for women. And if women cannot decide when and if to have children--they are in a slavery situation. This is why the overall physical and social well-being of women must take priority over fetuses. This is a question of women's health. But even more, it is a question of women's right to function fully and with equality in every sphere of society--to be frontline fighters, especially in the struggle to revolutionize society.

As Mary Lou Greenberg says, "A woman who can control her own reproduction and decide whether and when to have children will be stronger, more independent and better able to deal with the world at large, outside the confines of the family. She will be better able to lift her head, better able to dream and visualize the way the world COULD BE. And she will be better able to act to realize these dreams. Stronger women make stronger fighters--for themselves, for their children, for all the women, men and children everywhere who have known conditions of oppression."

From the time human societies became divided along property lines and male dominance was imposed over the family and society, the right to make decisions about reproduction has been taken away from women. Women have been told: "you can't be trusted to make decisions about your own life and body--you must be controlled." And today this problem is connected by a thousand threads to all the other oppressive situations confronting women--and to other forms of oppression brought down on the people in this capitalistic, male dominated and white supremacist society.

It is connected to the insults, threats, abuse, rape, degradation and brutality women suffer at the hands of men. When boyfriends and husbands demand that women have children because "it's my baby" or "it's a woman's duty"--they are treating women like incubators, like their property, not like equal human beings.

It is connected to the whole way women are treated as property throughout society--as commodities to be bought and sold and to be used to sell other commodities. It is part of the same oppressive setup where women are degraded through pornography and prostitution. And it stems from the whole male supremacist domination and oppression of women that is not only an everyday fact of life--but a foundation of capitalism.

The religious-based "traditional morality"--where superstition and unscientific beliefs preach that "a woman's natural role" is to have children--is linked up to all the ways male domination is reinforced on women. Today we are assaulted with ideas like "sexual abstinence is virtuous," and "illegitimacy is shameful." There are efforts to make it harder for women to get a divorce. And as the government mercilessly cuts poor women off welfare, we hear proposals from politicians for things like: "Learnfare," reducing a woman's benefits if her kids skip school; "Bridefare," requiring minors to get married as a condition of receiving benefits; and "Contraceptive Fare," requiring women to consent to the long-term contraceptive Norplant. All this is part of the same climate where women going to clinics for an abortion are assaulted and doctors and health workers have been murdered and bombed.

It is for all these reasons that we are so rock-firm committed to fighting for these rights for women. Because we are coming at it from that deep place--a commitment to end the suffering of the people all over the world from this outmoded capitalistic/imperialistic system and all the oppressive ideas and relationships between people it perpetrates. And because we dare to dream and fight for a different future--where human beings work in common for the common good.

As Chairman of the RCP Bob Avakian has said, "Throughout the entire revolutionary process that aims to create the conditions for communism, the struggle must be waged to continually, and ever more thoroughly, overcome and uproot the relations of inequality and oppression that shackle women; to promote personal, family and sexual relations that are based on mutual love and respect and equality between men and women; and to increasingly develop forms for the masses of people to carry out--through cooperative efforts involving men equally with women--the functions which are now focused overwhelmingly in the family and which are a burden on women in particular."

We want to see all of society transformed. Our aim is to get rid of exploitation and oppression--of all kinds. And an extremely important part of that is uprooting the oppression of women. This is why we say:





This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497
(The RW Online does not currently communicate via email.)