The Promise of International Women's Day

By Mary Lou Greenberg, RCP, New York Branch

Revolutionary Worker #1094, March 11, 2001, posted at

International Women's Day 2001: a day of celebration and struggle...a day when we reaffirm our commitment, our passion--to fight for a world when women no longer walk this earth facing inequality, rape, beating, pornography, domestic servitude, and the thousand and one ways this system downpresses women...a day to celebrate the great contribution of women to bringing about a whole new realm of freedom for human beings as a whole.

IWD 2001 comes at a time of great suffering but also great promise for women around the globe.

From the highest mountains to sea-level deltas, rain forests to deserts, crowded cities to isolated villages, women are the poorest of the poor and the slaves of the slaves. Women confront beyond-words suffering: beatings and assaults, most often by family members; rapes and sexual enslavement; death from childbirth or unsafe abortion; mutilation of both body and spirit. From fundamentalist-ruled Afghanistan, where women must live inside tent-like body veils and locked houses, to the democratically ruled U.S. where a woman suffers every nine seconds from physical abuse and every two minutes from rape or attempted rape--the situation calls out for drastic change.

We confront the most brutal enforcement of female subservience--whether "modern" or feudal, and sometimes a vicious merging of both--all to control the lives of half of humanity so that the status quo can be preserved, so that the classes in power and the existing property relations can be maintained. The subjugation of women arose and goes hand-in-hand with class divisions, the exploitation of the many by the few. And it can only end, finally, when the many overthrow the few and come to power, bringing to birth, through great struggle and sacrifice, a new world free from all oppression and exploitation.

The promise of International Women's Day 2001 is this: such a new world is possible! It was begun in the achievements of socialist societies in the past and especially in revolutionary China under Mao. And outlines of such a world are taking shape today in the course of People's Wars being waged in Nepal and Peru under the leadership of Maoist parties, participants in the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement. These people's wars are attracting great numbers of women as fighters and political and military leaders because the liberation of women is an integral and critical part of Maoist revolution. And by their participation these women are breaking centuries of tradition's chains and pioneering new liberating relationships while powerfully strengthening the fight overall with their fierce dedication and determination.

Women worldwide are crying out for liberation--and are finding ways to act to bring it closer. When I was in South Asia this summer as part of a speaking tour to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Chinese Revolution, I talked with a group of women in a rural village in Punjab in northern India. They told me about their lives and their struggles, including the fight to bring to justice rapists and murderers of women. They asked about the situation of women in the U.S. I told them that rape and abuse of women are commonplace in the U.S. as well, and talked about the struggles of the oppressed here. They wanted me to tell people here that they saw their struggles linked to the struggles of people in other countries; that they supported those struggles--and they hoped others would support their struggle, as well.

As we parted, I pinned a button on the leader of the group that said, "Romper Las Cadenas! Desencadenar la furia de la mujer como una fuerza poderosa para la revolución!" I explained in English that it was the international slogan "Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!" in the Spanish language. As my English words about the slogan in Spanish were translated into Punjabi, we all smiled and laughed in delight at the internationalist bonds being forged. We embraced each other warmly, in the certainty that even though we probably would not see each other again, the common struggle of the proletariat and the oppressed around the world meant that we would not be apart.

Together we confront a global system where ages-old oppression co-exists with "advanced" capitalist forms of subjugation--in the maquiladoras on the Mexico-U.S. border, the sex "trade" of young girls from Thailand to Eastern Europe; the impoverished shantytowns in Latin America, Africa, Asia. Here in the belly of the beast responsible for so much of the world's suffering, we have a great task ahead of us: to bring it down; to end its bloody rampage by proletarian revolution.

Here where things are so "advanced," the new president and his allies plot to make reproductive choice impossible by making abortion increasingly inaccessible. Christian fascists are unleashed to kill doctors and spew lies--denying women precious resources, spreading superstition, and reenforcing the chains of male domination. Women in need are denied assistance, child care, and decent jobs and then blamed for all the problems of the youth. We grow up with the threat of rape and violence burned into our consciousness, and an intense hostility towards women infuses the popular culture.

Our resistance is flowering against the dog-eat-dog. A new generation looks for new answers.

A new world cannot come too soon!

And soon we will have in our hands a tool for bringing that world closer: the RCP's new Draft Programme for making revolution in the U.S. How can we break the chains of inequality? How can we tear up the old division of labor in society that keeps women--and all of humanity--down? How can we end the ways of male domination and build new relations between human beings, based on respect?

I invite you to join me to get this Draft into the hands of many people, including many women--in the projects, schools, workplaces, suburbs, on farms and in prisons--all nationalities, all ages, all across the country. Through this process of discussion, of learning and struggle with many different people and social forces, this Draft will be finalized into what we need to forge the way from the old world to the new, a kind of road map for charting our course, and a vision of what that new world could look like.

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

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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