Imperialism, the Oppression of Women and the Struggle for Liberation (Part 2)


5.             Imperialism involves the brutal super-exploitation of the poor countries of the world and the inhuman oppression of poor women. However, the bourgeois media spread the illusion that parts of the world are democratic and free. But each and every progressive element and reform in today's societies exists solely thanks to two main factors: First, the historically successful struggles of the workers and oppressed for these reforms. And second, the readiness of the ruling classes to pacify entire layers of the oppressed classes in order to weaken their resistance. This is the reason why, for example, the rich countries can create the illusion of relative equality of women. It appears as if women in imperialist countries are nearly equal, because of reforms which give them advantages that women in the semi-colonial countries don't have. However, while the women of the oppressed classes in the imperialist countries are far from being equal to men of their respective class, it is the women in the semi-colonial countries who experience the full extent of the brutality of the imperialist beast. But revolutionary women do not accept relative equality for one part of the world, but rather fight for full equality for all parts of the world. This struggle is based on a revolutionary program for the liberation of all workers and oppressed. Part of this program is the struggle for the liberation of the women in the semi-colonial countries.


6.             A revolutionary program for the liberation of the women of the poor countries is based on their economic, political and ideological liberation. It is the task of all revolutionaries throughout the world, irrespective of gender, age, or nationality, to fight together with the women in the semi-colonial countries for their liberation. In this struggle, the women of the poor countries are the teachers. We women in the poor countries have unique experiences to share and we are the architects of our own future. Furthermore, women of the semi-colonial countries are also a crucial and leading part in the building of an international revolutionary women’s movement and the revolutionary world party. It is no exaggeration to say: None of these can be achieved without the leading role played by the women of the semi-colonial countries.


7.             Economic development means less isolation for women. In Black Africa as well as in Southern Asia more than 60% (in some countries, even more than 80%) of all working women labor in agriculture. Often concentrated in time-intense and physically challenging occupations, these working women are often unpaid or remunerated very poorly. No wonder that in Black Africa only 21.4 % of the working women are wage earners. In Southern Asia the number is even smaller (20%). All other working women are occupied in family-related work, mainly agricultural. Irrespective of the concrete relationship with the family members, there is nothing idyllic about agricultural, family-related work. Work in factories and other professional fields is also hard, but at least it offers the possibility of communicating with many other working women (and men) and of exchanging experiences. In addition, women working in factories and other professional fields receive a wage and therefore have a base for relative economic independence vis. à vis. their male relatives. Whatever the concrete relationship with male relatives looks like, an economically independent base is always an advantage for us women. For this reason, revolutionary women fight for public employment programs which can increase the integration of women in the working class (in agriculture as well) and higher wages for women. They fight against the dependence of women upon their male relatives. As the woman revolutionary leader Alexandra Kollontai has stated, women who become part of the working class also become more “independent inside and self-reliant outside.


8.             Militant trade unions are crucial for organizing working class women against the arbitrariness of their bosses. We, as working class women, gain some important independence from our men folk when we receive our own income. However, this does not mean that the struggle for equality and independence is complete for women. This is just the beginning and needs to be organized against the capitalist bosses. This also means joining forces with male workers against the bosses. Working class women are not only an important part of the work force and, therefore, important fighters against capitalism. Often it is reported that women of the oppressed classes and peoples are far more determined in their struggle against the oppressors. Yaa Asantewaa, for example, the queen of Edweso and a strategic leader of the revolutionary uprising of the Ashanti people, provoked an uprising against the British occupiers in 1900 by claiming that the women will start a war against the British occupiers if the men refuse to do so. Militant trade unions should learn from history and organize women, putting them in positions of leadership. Furthermore, militant trade unions need to fight for day care centers, paid maternity leave and other demands which are very important for women workers. Women caucuses within the trade unions must be built, supported by progressive male workers, in order to fight against any form of sexism within the labor movement! Revolutionary women fight for such militant trade unions; they build and lead them together with male workers. The latter can consider themselves lucky to have such determined partners in class struggle!