International Women's Day 1999:
Women: A Mighty Force for Revolution

Revolutionary Worker #997, March 7, 1999

Wind and rain escorted Spring's departure,
Flying snow welcomes spring's return.
On the ice-clad rock rising high and sheer
A flower blooms sweet and fair.

Sweet and fair, she craves not Spring for herself alone,
To be the harbinger of Spring she is content.
When the mountain flowers are in full bloom
She will smile, mingling in their midst.

Ode to the Plum Blossom, Mao Tsetung December 1961

All over the planet, women are ripped off, exploited, brutalized and dismissed. Where oppression is intolerable, the conditions of women are the most intolerable. But oppression gives rise to resistance, and a new resistance is on the rise. On March 8, International Women's Day, we invite you to join with revolutionary proletarians around the world to celebrate the role of women in our struggle and our determination to put an end to inequality and the oppression of women.

We see this determination so clearly in the faces of our brave sisters who have taken up arms in the people's wars led by the Maoist parties of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement in Peru and Nepal, in the Maoist people's war in the Philippines, and everywhere our people are preparing for the day when it will be possible to rise up and overthrow the oppressors for real.

The images of these sisters are striking. They are young but their faces show the marks of hardship and poverty. There is resolve in the way they hold their rifles across their chests, confidence in the way they sling their rifles over their shoulders. There is optimism in their eyes and the way they hold their heads up high.

These women strike you one way or another--depending on whether you are the oppressor or the oppressed. For the oppressors there is fear and panic. "This is not the way it is supposed to be. Not the way women are supposed to act. It's unfeminine. Vicious. Women with guns! Taking up Maoism. Fanatics. A threat to our control. Bad for business."

But for the oppressed and working people everywhere these revolutionary women are uplifting. For people in the barrios and ghettos in places like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, these sisters are part of us. They are like us. They are part of our blood, sweat and tears. They are part of our fearless struggle not just to survive but to bring about a new revolutionary day.

These women are shining a light on a brighter future--where there are no rich and poor--where women are not treated like the dogs of the world. These women are proving that the future belongs to the dispossessed. They challenge us and give us heart to step up the struggle for revolution in every corner of the world.


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"

We revolutionary communists have a deep uncompromising commitment to women's liberation. The fight against women's oppression is a component part of our whole program, strategy and goals. The communist revolution does not just see women as more soldiers for the revolution. For real communists the participation of women has everything to do with what kind of a revolution we are waging--a revolution to do away with all oppression.

We know that the oppression of women arose with the division of society into classes. And women's participation in the revolutionary struggle strikes at all the oppressive social relations which have developed since the emergence of classes themselves.

For thousands of years, women have been dominated in society. Today society in the modern world is based on bourgeois property, on the rule of the rich owning classes--where most people in the world slave to make a minority rich, and where the imperialist countries dominate whole nations and peoples. Today's capitalist/ imperialist system has updated, refined and worsened the whole system of male domination--called patriarchy. Across the planet this imperialist system has created a nightmarish mix that combines ancient customs with the latest hi-tech forms of exploitation.

In both the imperialist countries and the countries of the Third World, the oppression of women is tied by a thousand threads to the operation of the imperialist system. On one hand the workings of the system itself break down the old traditional family relations and on the other hand, male domination is being enforced and reinforced.

As the year 2000 approaches, we confront the "feminization of wage labor" as women by the thousands are being forced into the factories of the new globalized economy. We confront the "feminization of poverty." We confront "gender apartheid" as women in countries like Afghanistan and Iran are subjected to the most extreme forms of patriarchal oppression. We confront the culture wars and the anti-abortion crusaders of traditional family values in the U.S.A.

When our movement says BREAK THE CHAINS! this means: tear down this imperialist capitalist system and all the many ways it smothers and exploits the lives of women around the world.

"Once again the development of the People's War in Nepal is proving what has already been shown in Peru and other revolutionary movements as well--the tremendous unleashing of the revolutionary potential of women as a mighty force for revolution. In both of these countries the masses of poor women, especially the poor peasantry which in both societies make up the main revolutionary force led by the proletariat, have astounded many observers by their massive outpouring of support for the revolutionary cause. In example after example the downtrodden of yesterday are becoming the gravediggers of the reactionaries--and the builders of the future--as women join the revolution in every sphere of activity, taking part in guerrilla units or as leaders of mass organizations and members and leaders of the vanguard party itself."

"Women--Slaves No More,"
A World to Win magazine No. 24.

Why are women flocking to join these revolutions? They like the idea that all existing governing structures must be destroyed in order to rebuild society from the bottom up. They are attracted to a struggle aimed at digging up the deep systemic roots in class society that place women under the foot of just about every person, place and thing. They see no hope in pitiful reforms. And they refuse to live and die on their knees.

In the people's war they know they will not be raped by the revolutionary soldiers. They will not be humiliated and degraded for being poor and having no formal education. They will not be put down for being a woman. Instead they will be welcomed, trained in the science of revolution, and given a gun. They will become confident leaders and fighters against the system that has kept them down since the day they were born.

Together with their male comrades they are fighting for power, but not the old kind of power. They are fighting for power to create a new kind of society headed up by the proletariat, the exploited class of people who got nothing and got nothing to lose--nothing but their chains. Power to break the chains that keep women in a low-down place. Power to change the male-dominator ways so the brothers stop bringing pain to the sisters and treat women like equal human beings. Power for the exploited and oppressed people to take control of society as a whole and change it completely from top to bottom.

This International Women's Day, everyone who dreams of a new society free from all forms of oppression can take heart from the revolutionary women on the front lines of the proletarian revolution.

They are fighting in unity with all our struggles against the system--for an end to all oppression and a brighter future for all humanity.

Break the chains! Unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution!

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