Sisters – Let Us become Heroines of the Liberation Struggle of Our Gender, as Well as of All Oppressed!
Resolution of the First World Congress of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), October 2016, www.thecommunists.net
Throughout human history, our gender has mastered dehumanizing situations: we have experienced humiliation, oppression and exploitation; yet we have also achieved unimaginable accomplishments. Since the development of private property and the associated origin of class societies, women were forced into an existence of systematic oppression. The oppression of women is the oldest form of oppression of human history and has been reproduced through the centuries and millennia in every class-based society. It has thus developed simultaneously with the emergence of oppressed classes. The existence of women's oppression is therefore merged with the existence of classes and will be buried together with them.
Just as capitalism created the proletariat, its own gravediggers, with the suppression of our gender it has forged an army of proletarians and poor women who will be more than willing to push this barbaric system into the grave. The glow of a future of freedom and equality of all people shimmers beneath the filth of revolting exploitation and oppression – in the faces of our militant class sisters all over the world. They form a unity with our oppressed and exploited brothers, whose freedom is inextricably linked to the liberation of women.
The Struggle of Our Sisters in Black Africa
The imperialist beast reveals its repulsive face in particular towards our sisters, as well as brothers, in Africa. Similarly, black people in other parts of the world – whether in the US, Europe, Latin America, or wherever they may be – also experience massive racial oppression. Thus, our black sisters, wherever they may live, are automatically obliged to also fight against other forms of oppression – in addition to their specific struggle against oppression as women. In this way they embody, in the truest sense, the unity of resistance against all forms of oppression and exploitation.
Our sisters in sub-Saharan Africa live under the yoke of imperialist exploitation – the former colonial masters from Europe and the US as well as that of Chinese imperialism. In the factories, our sisters are drilled together with their class brothers like military troops. As in many other parts of the world, the informal sector in Sub-Saharan Africa is, in particular, a hotbed of exploitation. In the current reality workers in the formal sector earn 75% (Benin) to 250% (Burkina Faso) more than their brothers and sisters in the informal sector.
Corruption has all of Saharan Africa in its grip – with Somalia at the top of the list. The poverty is devastating and manifests itself especially among poor farmers and the landless. The unique exploitation of Black Africa by the colonialists in the past and by the imperialists in the imperialist epoch has driven the development of the region to one of extreme disorganization, both economically and politically. In addition to the existence of numerous criminal gangs and chauvinist-extremist paramilitaries, Saharan Africa provides 40% of all child soldiers worldwide.
In addition, millions of women and girls in Africa (as well as Asia) are still subjected to the tradition of genital mutilation, which is a particularly painful and dangerous form of circumcision!
To make matters worse, the entire continent suffers such abject poverty due to the imperialist monster that the simplest diseases, in principle curable for a long time, cause the death of hundreds of thousands people! Given the inseparable connection of women's oppression with other forms of oppression, it is easy to imagine how all this affects our sisters in sub-Saharan Africa.
Despite all these obstacles, our sisters and brothers in sub-Saharan Africa have initiated numerous battles and strikes. Take for example actions like the multiple-day occupation of the Chevron-Texaco ferry by 150 women from a village in Nigeria in 2002, which de facto they forced the country’s main oil corporation to stop the transport and production of oil for a week. Or the miners' strike in South Africa in 2012 in which women played active roles. In July 2016, there were also a number of anti-Mugabe protests in Zimbabwe organized by the social democratic MDC-T in which thousands of women participated.
These are just three examples of many women-led, progressive struggles, which demonstrate, despite the false, reformist leadership, the immense potential for effective combat by our sisters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is this militancy that needs to find its highest expression, among other things, in the creation of independent class organs (action committees in factories, neighborhoods and villages; proletarian women's movements, militant unions, etc.). The founding of consistently revolutionary parties in the countries of Black Africa, parties which will organize the still young but growing proletariat along with the support of the poor rural and urban masses, is a top priority for our sisters and brothers in the region. Only such revolutionary parties can lead future struggles towards victory. The RCIT raises the following aims of such struggles:
* Liberation of the entire continent from the imperialist stranglehold! Immediate and cancellation of all debts which have in reality already been paid back to the imperialist beast by our brothers and sisters hundreds and thousands of times! Nationalization of the corporations under workers' control! Cessation of all military interventions by imperialist troops, immediate withdrawal of these from the continent
* Our sisters working in the corporations and all companies associated with them are not only super-exploited, but are also sexually harassed or even systematically raped by the factory owners and their henchmen. For the forming of worker-led anti-sexism committees in the factories to organize themselves against such file encroachments! For the struggle for to improve the living conditions of the female workers, in particular the extension of maternity leave, the creation of free and high-quality childcare facilities in factories, companies, and offices, etc.!
* It is the task of the international workers' movement to organize in a completely transparent way assistance for our sisters and brothers in sub-Saharan Africa. The current NGO system uses almost all donations for its own apparatus and is used deliberately to keep the masses of the continent in passivity and to pacify them. Only the solidarity of the international workers' movement in cooperation with the democratic popular organs of the continent can alleviate the immediate suffering of our sisters and brothers.
* Fight the informal sector and any type of "moonlighting" which involves not only the gross exploitation of our brothers and sisters, but which also risks their health and, in the case of our sisters, makes it more difficult to avoid sexual assaults! Instead, it is necessary to create a massive public employment program which will be financed by expropriation of the corporations and the support of the international workers' movement!
* The massive expansion of the health system should be part of a public employment program! This should include a massive improvement of health care, especially for the villages and a number of information campaigns on female genital mutilation. It should also include information campaigns for preventing and dealing with sexually transmitted and other infectious diseases! Invest in the training of midwives and nurses which could massively improve both the enlightenment and health care for our sisters in every village!
* For the solidarity of the young, aspiring working class, together with the poor peasantry and the rural and urban poor in the organized struggle against the consequences of grinding poverty and the economic and political backwardness of the region! This includes the systematic fight by popular militias against criminal gangs and sects, and also includes the protection of children from being used as soldiers!
* Consistently fight against the corrupt governments in the region up to the overthrow of these governments by a revolution of the workers and the poor and the creation of workers' and peasants republics in a United Socialist Federation of Black Africa. Only such a revolution can expel the imperialist beast from the continent and only such a federation can lay the foundation for building the economy and the social system for the benefit of the masses throughout the region!
The Struggle of Our Black Sisters Internationally
While the struggle of our sisters in sub-Saharan Africa is characterized, in the first place, by the struggle against the imperialist stranglehold of their continent, the struggle of our black sisters outside Africa is directed against racial oppression. More than 150 years after the official abolition of slavery, and more than 50 years after the official end of apartheid in the US, the living conditions of our sisters and their class brothers are devastating. African-Americans represent a majority of the unemployed, of the prison inmates, of the super-exploited workers, of the homeless and the poor, as well as of the victims of the violence of the capitalist state apparatus.
Our sisters have demonstrated superhuman strength and prowess during their history. Let’s recall, for example, Harriet Tubman, a leading figure in the struggle against the slave owners. Or take Rosa Parks or Angela Davis, among many other famous African American women, who led struggles against apartheid and the systematic oppression of blacks in the US. The petty bourgeois-led "Black Lives Matter" movement, which is growing both in the US and in Britain, demonstrates that an immense potential for building a revolutionary black movement exists if we succeed in removing the present-day non-revolutionary leadership. In particular, our sisters should be in the forefront of the founding of a revolutionary black movement, as they have already done in numerous battles of the past.
In addition to building a revolutionary party, the building of a revolutionary black movement is of the utmost importance for the successful struggle for the liberation of our sisters and their class brothers.
Women's oppression has merged symbiotically with racial oppression, oppression of migrants, national oppression and other forms of oppression. Racism, which can be found in the white working class, is an obstacle in the struggle for proletarian leadership of the movement! Every manifestation of racism, which in reality is an expression of chauvinism, constitutes a major problem.
Irrespective of its political weaknesses, the petty-bourgeois-led "Black Lives Matter" movement receives the sympathy and support of at least 2/3 all African-American women in the US, while only 40% of white US citizens support the movement! Chauvinism of white workers must be combated not only by the non-white workers but especially by the white sector of the vanguard of the working class! That is one of the first duties for honorable white proletarians! The fusion of the revolutionary movements of women, blacks, the immigrants and other oppressed groups under the leadership of the multi-national working class movement is essential! In fact, the best starting point for the first steps in the construction of such movements and the revolutionary party is currently the "Black Lives Matter" movement. The struggle for proletarian leadership of the movement on a revolutionary basis is linked to the struggle for:
* The creation of militant, armed self-defense units of the movement to defend itself against racist attacks of the repressive apparatus;
* Fraternization with the struggle of nationally oppressed and mostly super-exploited migrants against the capitalist system;
* The democratic centralist structuring of the movement and thus the proletarization by anti-racism committees in the workplaces, proletarian districts, schools and other residential areas of the multinational proletarian;
* The necessary proletarian-led fight against any form of open or covert sexism within the movement, which has become visible through the "SayHerName" initiative;
* The connection of the struggles of blacks with those of migrants and the progressive sections of the white working class is possible especially via the struggle for a revolutionary women's movement! Our sisters encounter, in all movements of the oppressed including the workers' movement, similar "internal" issues such as the fight against sexist prejudices – they should act against this via joint meetings and organs (such as commissions)! A lively exchange and the cooperation of women of each movement can create close bonds between all movements of the oppressed!
* The open and consistent political struggle within the movement for its revolutionizing through rank and file assemblies that needs to be organized by anti-racism committee. Only by means of a fierce political fight can the ultimately harmful effects of petty-bourgeois pacifism be made visible to all activists. Our revolutionary sisters should, hand in hand with their revolutionary brothers, combine such a struggle with the founding of the revolutionary party.
* It is not only the task but also the highest duty of white workers to provide their full and active support in building a revolutionary movement of blacks as well as migrants! There should never be any doubt among our white class sisters or brothers in the necessity for unrestricted identification and dedication with this cause!
The Struggle of our Sisters in the Arab World
Our sisters in the Arab world have demonstrated since the beginning of 2011 that the epoch of revolutions in not over: the best times for revolutions has come with the new period of deep capitalist crisis which started in 2008. The “Arab Spring”, which spread from Tunisia to Egypt, Libya, Syria and other countries, has shown the important role of our sisters in the revolution. But the situation has changed for our brothers and sisters since beginning of this unfinished revolution: Tunisia has not succeeded to get rid of the whole rotten apparatus of the former dictatorship und did experience neither a civil war not a significant success for the oppressed people.
We stand with the heroic struggle of our Kurdish sisters. Their fight for their liberation as women and for the liberation of their country need to be supported by all revolutionaries in the region! We demand that all foreign armies retreat immediately from Kurdish land – no matter if it is the Turkish-, Iranian, Syrian Army, the NATO-forces and Daesh/IS. We salute the bravery of the women of Rojava who have humiliated Daesh/IS. It is important that our Kurdish sisters be aware that no imperialist great power will bring them liberation, their weapons must be directed against them too. Unfortunately the current political leadership, the PKK/PYD/YPG – despite their progressive approach towards women – is collaborating with imperialism.
Libya is in the stranglehold of imperialism. Egypt is ruled by the brutal and bloody military dictatorship of General Sisi. Syria is a battlefield of the uprising against the tyrant Assad and is under attack by the imperialist robbers Russia, US and EU as well as their proxies. Palestine has been destroyed in the Gaza war 2014 but it keeps heroically living and fighting! The task of our sisters in the whole Arab world is to revitalize the endangered flame of democratic revolution.
The imperialist threat – the biggest threat for all oppressed people – must be fought back consistently. The tyrant Sisi and Assad must be overthrown together with their complete apparatus. The state of Israel, a local imperialist, must be destroyed once for all and replaced by a free and red Palestine! The democratic revolution must be started spurred again but this time it has to be brought to a close. This means it has to be impelled to a socialist revolution, the conquest of power by the working class in alliance with the urban and rural poor. Our sisters should fight for:
* Immediate release of all prisoners of the military dictatorship in Egypt! For investigation commissions of the workers movement jointly with women abused to fight against the mistreatment of women by the military!
* Forward to the Third Intifada of the whole Palestinian people! For systematic armament and training of women in the militias of the Palestinian resistance! A Third Intifada will definitely need the already proven courage and fighting strength of our sisters!
* For the creation of international workers aid for the oppressed people in Syria! For women’s campaign as part of such an aid project of the international workers movement which focuses on organizing sanitary products, medical supplies, etc. for women and their families!
The Struggle of Our Sisters in India
Our sisters in India are involved in one of the most remarkable and heroic struggles against their oppression. They demonstrate how inextricably their own liberation is connected with the liberation of the workers and the urban and rural poor. The emergence of the self-defense units of the Pink Saris (also called Gulabi Gang) is an example for this. It has its origins in the violent humiliation of a poor peasant woman committed by a male member of one of India’s high castes. In the same spirit, the Gulabi Gang, founded by Sampat Pat Devi and already numbering 150,000 women, fights armed not only against all forms of violence against women, but also against all forms of violence against the poor and the untouchable and lower caste members of all genders and ages.
The strike of the untouchables in the summer of 2016, which was also supported by the severely oppressed Muslims in India, demonstrates that the very poor can indeed play a vanguard role in the class struggle. The heroic resistance of the people in Kashmir against the Indian state apparatus, as well as the general strike of 180 million workers on 2 September 2016 – the perhaps largest in the history of humanity – illustrate once again the importance of the Indian working class and poor for the international class struggle.
The formation of the Gulabi Gang is also a pointer to what our oppressed class brothers need: independent working class and popular armed self-defense units. Such militias of workers and the poor in urban and rural areas can later form the basis of an armed uprising as the opening of the road to socialist revolution. Although India will be the country with the most wage laborers in the near future, it is nevertheless urgent for the proletariat to win over the rural peasants and poor as close allies. Let’s not forget that Gulabi Gang emerged in the rural villages of Utter Pradesh. Therefore, such an alliance is crucial for our sisters in India:
* Close the ranks with all the oppressed, regardless of their gender in the struggle against oppression and exploitation! Support the right of national self-determination of Kashmir which is occupied by India, regardless of your own national origin! Fight a consistent and determined struggle against Hindu chauvinism, whether it is directed against Dalits, Muslims, women or other oppressed!
* For the formation of women committees in all movements and institutions of the oppressed in India! Sexism and rape as any other violence against women should be systematically combated especially in the ranks of our own movements! For regular meetings of women in the neighborhoods, the villages, at work and in schools, to talk openly about all forms of oppression of women and to be able to organize themselves against it!
* Women workers, fight together with your class brothers for the control over the factories and enterprises! One-day general strikes are not enough – for an open-ended general strike against the government's attacks! Against Special Economic Zones and for the nationalization of imperialist corporations under the control of the workers! For the expropriation and disempowerment of the ruling class by a proletarian revolution!
* Women in the villages – fight together with your Dalit brothers for control of the village courts! These local, democratic institutions need to be placed under control of the oppressed in cooperation with the workers' movement in India!
* Systematically expand the Gulabi Gang to a nationwide mass movement of women workers and poor women in close association with the movement of the Dalit, Muslim and other oppressed and the workers' movement! Fight for a revolutionary leadership in the Gulabi Gang, the women's movement and every movement of the oppressed. For the founding of a revolutionary party and for its close association with these movements!
The Struggle of Our Sisters in the Rest of Asia
The struggle of our sisters in India has some unique features. However, the struggles of our sisters in other parts of Asia are in no way less important for the liberation of working class women, the poor peasantry as well as all urban and rural poor. Be it the hundreds of thousands of factory workers in the textile industry of Cambodia and, in particular, the province of Phnom Penh fighting against exploitation; be it the struggles of the Chinese proletariat, where women constitute most of the lowest strata of the working class and migrant workers; be it the hunger strike of workers of Indonesia and their huge mass strikes in recent years which both showed the overwhelming fighting spirit of the Indonesian working class and of the women workers in particular. Just like the struggles of our sisters in India, the struggles against the imperialist beast are also crucial for our sisters in the rest of Asia! The fight against the imperialist beast means a fight against not only against the US, Russia and the Great Powers of Europe, but also against other imperialist powers in Asia like Japan, China and South Korea.
* Fight the imperialist beast! The powerful proletariat of Asia is particularly important for the international class struggle! You may lead a victorious struggle against the beast and become a role model for the international proletariat by expropriating the big corporations and putting them under workers’ control!
* Fight for a revolutionary leadership of the unions and all organs of the workers' movement! Replace the pro-business unions by real organs of class struggle!
* The Asian proletariat in particular has developed impressive female strike leaders in female-dominated factories! These heroines of the working class must play a leading role in the building of the revolutionary women's movement as well as the revolutionary party! They are already a shining example for all proletarian women worldwide!
* A revolutionary women's movement under the working class leadership has to also orientate its’ campaigns towards educating the rural poor to put an end to reactionary traditions like forced marriage, genital mutilation, questionable "health practices" for pregnant women, widow burning and others!
* The proletariat of Asia has organized itself in its millions during one-day general strikes! It is high time for an indefinite general strike to defeat the attacks of the government! Ultimately, only the armed uprising of the proletariat will open the road to liberation!
The struggle of the powerful Asian proletariat is necessarily connected to the struggle of the poor and the landless peasants. The Asian proletariat is in most parts of the region much more developed, organized and greater in numbers than, for example, the working class in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the agrarian issues are also of great importance for Asia. In fact, the workers’ revolution in Asia as well as worldwide will need the support of the poor peasantry and in general the support of the urban and rural poor. The revolutionary women's movement has indeed to be under the political leadership of the working class. However the masses of the women of the other oppressed classes and layers also have to be organized by this movement. To make this possible, the struggle for a public employment program which serves the poor as well as for the struggle to distribute land to the poor peasantry is a vital and inseparable part of the revolutionary strategy of every liberation movement, and thus also of the revolutionary women's movement.
Our Sisters in Latin America
In Latin America, there is a long tradition of women's movements which are directed against machismo. For many years, we have seen major demonstrations of our sisters, which give expression to the lively, daily struggle of our sisters against sexism and women's oppression. In particular, noteworthy is the struggle against the blatant killing of women, so-called Femicide, which has become a central issue for mass demonstrations.
In Argentina, numerous actions took place under the slogan "Ni una menos" (Not one less) as well as in Mexico under the slogan “Ni una muerta más” (Not one more female death). These slogans have become the battle cry of the women's movements of Argentina, of Mexico and now also of Peru. These movements specifically take up the interests of poor women, as these sisters are the main targets of femicide in nearly all areas of Latin America.
In Buenos Aires, more than 200,000 women demonstrated against femicide in June 2015. In Lima, in August 2016, between 200,000 and one million people took to the streets to protest violence against women – the largest march in the history of the country! On the average, every day, murder is attempted against a woman in Peru. On every third day in that country, one of our sisters actually dies! In Mexico alone, on the average, 6 females are murdered every day! Among our sisters in Argentina, a woman is murdered every 30 hours! To protest this situation, our sisters in Argentina held a major demonstration in October 2016 as well as conducted a one-hour strike against. In Mexico, Bolivia, Chile, El Salvador, Paraguay and Uruguay simultaneous demonstrations against femicide have been held . In La Paz (Bolivia), indigenous women of the Aymara also joined the protest. In Chile, 25,000 women demonstrated in the capital Santiago. In this latter country in particular, in a country-wide protest held in October 2016, one of our murdered sisters became a symbol: 16-year-old Lucia Perez, who was drugged and raped before her murder.
The governments of all these countries are complicit in the situation that exists, as they are not able, and even more so, are not willing to take serious measures to alleviate the danger in which women are living. In addition the movements themselves are dominated by petit bourgeois feminists, who in some cases (like in Mexico) argue against men’s participating at any protests as they are the “evil” in the eyes of these so-called feminists.
The struggle against machismo is life and death struggle for our sisters in Latin America, in the truest sense of the word. The current movements of the "Ni una menos" and “Ni una muerta más” must not be the climax in this struggle but must be the beginning of the resistance against machismo and femicide. For our sisters, the slogans "Ni una menos" and “Ni una muerta más” must become a reality. Simple demonstrations and short strikes are not enough! In memory of all the fallen sisters like Lucia Perez, the working class and poor women in Latin America should fight for:
* Building self-defense units of women, supported by the workers' movement and all progressive organizations!
* Workers' tribunals to address the perpetrators in each individual case of violence against women. Such workers’ tribunals should be nominated by the workers' movement, and in particular, by the proletarian women's movement.
* It is high time that solidarity campaigns be organized by the entire workers' movement alongside the conducting of awareness campaigns against violence. Our proletarian brothers must do everything in their might to support the movement in the struggle against machismo and femicide!
* Women's commissions within the workers' movement, which will combat sexism in its own ranks! We also need women’s assemblies in workplaces, schools and universities, as well as in neighborhoods, to openly discuss and fight against women’s oppression!
*The right of women to seek abortion at any public hospital for free! Full access to birth control for free!
* For a revolutionary proletarian women's movement that unites the struggle against machismo and femicide in every country of Latin America and throughout the entire region!
For an International Revolutionary Women's Movement!
The regions of the world and the struggles of our class sisters and brothers we mentioned so far are just a selection of hotspots which are crucial for the whole female proletariat, for the women of the poor peasantry and the urban and rural poor. The solutions mentioned so far are only portions of the revolutionary program which should also form the basis of the international, revolutionary women's movement! Such an international, revolutionary women's movement has to unite with the struggles of other liberation movements as the fate of the female proletariat is objectively closely connected with the struggles of the semi-colonies, with the racially, ethnically and nationally oppressed masses in different parts of the world and with the billions of poor.
Contrary to the strategy of the bourgeois and petty bourgeois women's movements, which advocate a cross-class unity of all women, the RCIT calls for the unity of our class and all oppressed! The existence of women's oppression is bound to the class system which is directly or indirectly defended by the bourgeois and petty bourgeois feminists. Apart from our biological sex we have NOTHING in common with the bourgeois feminists and we DON’T WANT to share any other similarities with them. Consequently, we fight all those petty-bourgeois feminists who serve the bourgeois forces.
However, we don’t ignore all those other petty-bourgeois feminists who are actively connected to the oppressed masses and who are supporting progressive struggles of the oppressed. Instead, we attempt to win them over to breaking consistently with their non-revolutionary politics. We try to help them understand that, in the end, it is only possible to transform their honest wishes for women’s liberation and the liberation of all oppressed into reality if the struggle is based upon a revolutionary leadership of the working class!
In addition to the demands we have already mentioned, a revolutionary proletarian program for women’s’ liberation has to include the following calls:
* Fight consistently against the violence that women suffer from! For self-defense units of women in order to fight together against violence! For nationwide, self-organized women crisis centers to protect victimized women and their children against the violence! For a broad campaign of the workers' movement and all movements of the oppressed to educate the masses to stand up against violence on women!
* Equal pay for equal work! Build Anti-Sexism Committees in the workers' movement as well as in all movements of the oppressed!
* No to unstable and precarious jobs! Fight for a minimum wage!
* Organize the masses of working women in the trade unions!
* Expropriate large landowners! Distribute the land to the poor peasantry! Equal rights for poor farmers regardless of their gender in the distribution of land and control of the country!
* Free and full access to contraceptive methods! For the right to abortion!
* Fight the imperialist beast wherever it raises its head! For the liberation of the semi-colonies from the imperialist yoke of oppression and exploitation! For the victory of the oppressed peoples against the imperialists!
* Socialization of housework and childcare! Fight for free and high-quality facilities such as laundry rooms, canteens, nurseries and others!
The revolutionary, international women's movement is the unity of all class sisters with all other oppressed regardless of differences in gender, age, nationality or any other superficial difference! The revolutionary, international women's movement does not limit its struggle to its own successful development but rather participates in and actively supports all liberation movements of the oppressed, as well as the workers' movement and the struggle for building the revolutionary world party!
To all the feminists in their ivory towers of gender mainstreaming and discussions about “language is creating consciousness and reality”: We, the women workers – together with our class brothers and all the oppressed – we create consciousness and the reality through our DEEDS! Not you, through your musings about the importance of academic terms. You will soon be forgotten.
Our deeds will sweep away any oppression and exploitation! We will free all women and even all of humanity! We will be the future glorious heroines of human history who will have smashed capitalism and imperialism and who will end class-based society, poverty and misery once and for all!