In Struggle for a Proletarian Feminist Line!

In Struggle for a Proletarian Feminist Line!

Gender Oppressed Worker’s Day

Today, March 8th, the Revolutionary Student Movement celebrates Gender Oppressed Workers Day. Our celebration is part of a long tradition of celebrating International Working Women’s Day, a day that since 1911 has served to remember the history and current reality of patriarchal and capitalist violence. But it is not just to celebrate but to organize, resist, and win. Until the full liberation of proletarian women through the end of patriarchy and the end of capitalism we must continue to dare to struggle, and dare to win!

In celebrating under the name Gender Oppressed Workers Day, we recognize the need to continue developing an analysis to smash patriarchy. More specifically the ways in which patriarchal ideology exists to oppress the working class under capitalism and through cis-normative and binary ideas of gender. Our task as the Revolutionary Student Movement remains to uphold the struggles of historical revolutionary victories against patriarchy while fighting to end capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism.

“Gender Oppressed Workers Day” was adopted at the 6th MER-RSM Pan-Canadian Congress in an effort to challenge cis-normative narratives and put forward an analysis on the root of patriarchy. At the Congress and since then there has been line struggle within the organization. Moreover, we have received criticism from Comrades both in Canada and internationally over the decision. As the leading body of the MER-RSM, the Coordinating Committee is happy to receive these criticisms. Instead of retreating to dogmatism, we recognize the need to take them seriously and sharpen our work in the coming years, as we continue to celebrate and resist every March 8th, be it under Gender Oppressed Worker’s Day or International Working Women’s Day.

In order to give this struggle a means to resolve itself, the Coordinating Committee has voted to re-initiate the debate in the MER-RSM on the purpose of the name change and the name change itself. We hold that the organization was in error to change the name performatively without having struggled to develop an elaborated political line on patriarchy and celebrating resistance to patriarchy. While we are mandated to uphold the decisions of the Congress, the Coordinating Committee will be initiating an internal struggle on this question before the next MER-RSM Pan-Canadian Congress in 2019 to rectify this issue. We will be distributing more detailed criticisms of the resolution to all sections in the coming weeks and will ask all sections to adopt positions on this question, in order to push this struggle forward.

Whatever the result of the line struggle is, our core political commitment to proletarian feminism will not change. The name Gender Oppressed Worker’s Day acknowledges that it is not only the working-class cis-women who are oppressed by patriarchy, but that patriarchal ideology reinforces a binary and biological essentialist ideas of gender, neither of which reflect material reality. In rejecting these patriarchal ideas, the MER-RSM upholds proletarian feminism. We remain opposed to liberal and/or bourgeois feminism that erases class analysis and views gender identity through homogeneous categories and says the plight of the working mother and the trans-woman line worker can be solved in the same way as the “feminist” CEO who gladly exploits workers in Canada and abroad. The solution for proletarians will always be revolution. Without the end of capitalism the exploited masses of workers who are disproportionately women (trans and cis), trans-men, and gender non-conforming will continue to suffer.

Historical significance

March 8th is a day of celebration of the historical and ongoing revolutionary efforts in fighting patriarchal oppression under capitalism and is commonly celebrated by socialist movements. Its acknowledgment around the globe began with historically communist countries. The historical significance of March 8 can be traced back to 1911 when International Working Women’s Day was adopted by a congress of revolutionary women from across the world. In turn it was chosen to commemorate the 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union and the mass action of garment workers for a 10-hour work day and other better wage conditions on March 8, 1857. Perhaps the most famous and significant mobilization took place in 1917 Petrograd, Russia, when women textile workers have started a strike as a mass protest against the war, to the Czarist rationing system on flour and bread and the monarchy. The strike paralyzed the city and sparked the February Revolution which abolished to monarchy only 7 days after the strike. This strike sharpened the class struggle in the former Russian Empire and eventually paved the way for the first successful socialist revolution to take place – the Great October Revolution.

Local actions for Proletarian Feminism

Following the footsteps of our comrades from a history of mass-orientated action, we remember the revolutionary theoretical developments of feminism initiated by Anuradha Ghandy, a Maoist from India, who first put forward a theoretical base to proletarian feminism and Comrade Pavarti from Nepal who organized the women of the country to combat feudalism, capitalism and patriarchy within their own party. Locally in Canada, RSM sections have been actively organizing and pushing forward lines on proletarian feminism.

In Winnipeg, the RSM sections have occupied tables used by anti-abortion groups to stop them from spreading their hateful and fascist propaganda, disrupted on-campus anti-abortion presentations, and more recently held a workshop on “Proletarian Feminism: Combatting Anti-Choice Groups in Winnipeg”.

In Hamilton, RSM comrades organized a large disruption at Jordan Peterson’s talk (a known fascist and transphobe) and comrades in other cities have joined to protest and shut down his events.

In Peterborough the development of the Revolutionary Sexuality and Gender Education Initiative, and a March 8th rally and social last year were part of the work done to forward proletarian feminist politics, in addition to shutting down anti-abortion protestors.

In Ottawa and Toronto our comrades have organized actions to shut down the so-called anti-feminist “men’s rights activist” organizing throughout the last several years, effectively pushing them out of some campuses.

And in Charlottetown, the RSM has been a leading force in successfully organizing the mass movement to allow abortion access in PEI in 2016-17. All of our comrades study proletarian feminist works as part of our organizing and actively support local actions aimed at combating patriarchy.

We congratulate the efforts of RSM sections in upholding proletarian feminism and organizing against class-based patriarchy and fascism on campuses. We hope that the fight and growth of the revolutionary movement continues until the working class is liberated from their chains!

In Struggle for a Proletarian Feminist Line!
In Struggle against capitalism and patriarchy!

Coordinating Committee of the MER-RSM

 

Readings and sources

Philosophical Trends in the Feminist Movement – Anuradha Ghandy
https://rsmtoronto.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/brave-new-world-philosophical-trends-in-the-feminist-movement-by-avanti.pdf

International Working Women’s Day: a day of class struggle
http://koleksyon-inip.org/international-working-womens-day-a-day-of-class-struggle/

Video of RSM Hamilton disrupting fascist and transphobe Jordan Peterson talk
https://www.facebook.com/RSMHamilton/videos/473619419636861/

Militancy Not Masculinity – Proletarian Youth Organization

International Working Women’s Day 2016 – A March and Demonstration for Abortion Access in Charlottetown, PEI

In February 2016, the Revolutionary Student Movement at UPEI initiated a united front for abortion access. Working with affiliates of the Campus Alliance for Reproductive Justice (CARJ), the PEI Reproductive Rights Organization (PRRO), the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARRC), and Abortion Access Now PEI (AANPEI), we organized a demonstration which took place on March 8th, International Working Women’s Day, to raise the struggle for abortion access.

The rally started on Kent Street at 4 o’clock, where we distributed signs, flags, and the now-iconic red braids and bandannas of the ‘militant Anne of Green Gables’ street art, created by a local artist known only as iamkarats. We started by singing an abortion-themed parody of the Ice Cream song from Anne, and then began our march down Great George Street, past the Province House, and toward the Gentleman’s Club on King Street. Speeches were given over a megaphone by a few participants. The demonstration ended with a Scream Choir, to put the frustration and rage of the masses on display.

This demonstration, however, does not signify the pinnacle of the struggle we are waging for reproductive justice and against patriarchy. Capitalism and patriarchy have developed together, out of the same historical process, as a dual system of exploitation and oppression. As long as there is capitalism, there will be an economic system in which patriarchy can flourish. And as long as there is patriarchal oppression, there will be a society that favours capitalist exploitation. It is only by smashing both capitalism and patriarchy through communist revolution that we can end gender oppression, and secure a future that is free from exploitation and oppression. We will continue organizing demonstrations like these to bring more proletarian women, and other gender-oppressed people, into the mass struggle for liberation. Guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and Proletarian Feminism, we must wage an endless struggle against all forms of oppression to build socialism and communism.

 

A March and Demonstration for Abortion Access
Photo by Jon Viau
Revolutionaries shut down Men’s Rights Activists Event at the University of Toronto

Revolutionaries shut down Men’s Rights Activists Event at the University of Toronto

Comrades from the Revolutionary Student Movement, the Proletarian Feminist Front, and the Proletarian Revolutionary Action Committee confronted reactionary Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) as they gathered to spread their message of misogyny this past Tuesday at the University of Toronto.

MRAs, organized under the dubiously-named “Canadian Association For Equality” were completely unprepared for the opposition they must inevitably face. After facing the organized resistance of the comrades, who disrupted the meeting by shouting slogans, heckling, and singing “The Internationale”, the MRAs disbanded their meeting and attempted to relocate and reconvene. The comrades pursued them, again forcing an end to their event.

After dispersing entirely, the MRAs scattered like cockroaches and found a hidden corner of the campus in which to collectively lick their wounds. Laughably, they have even attempted to use this fact as evidence that their event was not shut down!

The emergence of Men’s Rights Activists, who attempt to paint feminism as the source of men’s “oppression” and “declining status” – is a trend which must be curtailed. From rape apologism to the stalking, harassment and threatening of feminist activists, MRAs have revealed that they are more interested in being the enemies of women than anything else.

This is another in a series of examples where organized resistance to Men’s Rights reaction is met with overwhelming success. They demonstrate time and again that they are incapable of holding firm in the face of opposition. A cowardly politics gives rise to cowardly behaviour, and with resolution and organization we can drive this anti-people ideology into the dustbin of history!

Revolutionaries shut down Mens’ Rights Activists Event at the University of Toronto

Revolutionaries shut down Mens’ Rights Activists Event at the University of Toronto

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Comrades from the Revolutionary Student Movement, the Proletarian Feminist Front, and the Proletarian Revolutionary Action Committee confronted reactionary Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) as they gathered to spread their message of misogyny this past Tuesday at the University of Toronto.

MRAs, organized under the dubiously-named “Canadian Association For Equality” were completely unprepared for the opposition they must inevitably face. After facing the organized resistance of the comrades, who disrupted the meeting by shouting slogans, heckling, and singing “The Internationale”, the MRAs disbanded their meeting and attempted to relocate and reconvene. The comrades pursued them, again forcing an end to their event.

After dispersing entirely, the MRAs scattered like cockroaches and found a hidden corner of the campus in which to collectively lick their wounds. Laughably, they have even attempted to use this fact as evidence that their event was not shut down!

The emergence of Men’s Rights Activists, who attempt to paint feminism as the source of men’s “oppression” and “declining status” – is a trend which must be curtailed. From rape apologism to the stalking, harassment and threatening of feminist activists, MRAs have revealed that they are more interested in being the enemies of women than anything else.

This is another in a series of examples where organized resistance to Men’s Rights reaction is met with overwhelming success. They demonstrate time and again that they are incapable of holding firm in the face of opposition. A cowardly politics gives rise to cowardly behaviour, and with resolution and organization we can drive this anti-people ideology into the dustbin of history!

Students Challenge Hate-Activists at University of Toronto

On the evening of Thursday April 3rd, students from the Toronto Revolutionary Students Movement (RSM) and several other progressive campus groups at University of Toronto (U of T) gathered at the corner of St. George and Harbord. They stood on the manicured lawn and shouted, “Down with misogyny! Down with U of T! Down with the bourgeoisie!”

What were the students protesting? Once again, U of T had lent its halls to Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs), inviting them to do its fourth event on campus since September 2012. The prim bourgeois facade of the university provided a good cover for the ugly misogyny being hosted inside.

The vilest of the MRAs are associated with the website, A Voice for Men (as if men lacked a voice in our society!). The members of this website are best known for posting photographs of female students who protested their event back in November 2012, publishing their names and other personal information and going so far as to encourage people to “track down and harass” the students. Amusingly referring to themselves as non-violent and civil, they incite hatred against women who dare to speak up against them.

The men came together on a talk that examines how society has changed from being misogynistic to misandrist (yes- this is a serious concern of MRAs). Of the 40 or some people who attended the event, about 40+ came to protest. The group of protestors were modestly sized but effective and garnered a great deal of support from people passing through the area. Several students spoke, but it was the member of the RSM who revealed the true nature of men’s “oppression” – laying the blame squarely at the feet of capitalism.

At 7 pm, the students entered the building where the MRA were hosting their event. They banged on the doors behind which locked MRAs were too scared to come out. Campus pigs were called in to defend them. The students’ chanting thundered down the hallway of the building, “One struggle, one fight! Women, men & trans people unite!”

By 8 pm the MRAs had been flushed out by a fire alarm. The protesters and the MRAs converged outside the building. The students chanted and shouted through their megaphone and one MRA hit a student in anger. The student fought back. Several people scuffled and exchanged verbal assaults. The tension between those who wish to see liberation of all oppressed women and those who refer to women as “fuckmuffins” was understandably high.

The most interesting fact about the MRAs is how easily they have laid claim to the language of equality and anti-oppression. It is telling that this language is so effortlessly co-opted. According to the MRAs they are being silenced and oppressed, their voice drowned out by the evil feminists- they frame themselves as victims.

The RSM rejects the postmodern idea that every viewpoint is inherently valid and that reactionaries are entitled to free expression, we see how backwards politics can be easily masked by a veil of liberalism.

Segments of the population that are suddenly experiencing a loss of privilege have been retreating to reactionary politics to look for answers. Revolutionary working-class consciousness is so low that any loss of privilege is perceived as an act of oppression.

If the MRAs were genuine they would be mobilizing with anti-poverty groups to struggle for shelter beds for the homeless, or protesting the racist prison-industrial complex that kills hundreds of marginalized men. The MRAs who gathered around the U of T campus would do well to fight to save the Transitional Year Program, where many proletarian men and women alike are given a second chance to receive a university education. This is assuming the MRAs are serious when they say they care about these issues and are not just using them as excuses to rage against feminism.

There are legitimate questions that must be addressed – why are men overwhelmingly the ones inside prisons? Why do men often work dangerous jobs while simultaneously suffering poor mental health? The answer to these questions can be traced to capitalism which upholds oppressive gender roles for its own profit. It is not feminism that has made men “disposable” – it is capitalism, where human beings become mere commodities. The MRAs refuse to acknowledge that even with these issues facing men, men are still the ones with power; even the most powerless man can feel superior to women in this misogynist society. Proletarian women are still the most economically marginalized, they are still harassed and assaulted on a daily basis and burdened with childcare, care of the elderly and domestic duties in addition to their undervalued and underpaid jobs.

The modern day reactionary phenomenon known as MRAs shows the agony of the animal who does not know where his pain comes from, but also the vicious claws of a rabid dog. Communists should definitely fight the MRAs, but they should reach the masses before MRA ideology and similar backwards ideas take a firm hold. Communists should also struggle with liberal feminists to assert the correct feminist position, one that traces the root of oppression to the class struggle.

Gender and race are but class in drag!

Denounce the MRAs! Defend Womens’ Rights! Build the Revolutionary Student Movement!

Recently, U of T has seen an upsurge of men’s rights activism (MRA).  Warren Farrell travelled to the university to discuss his new book, The Myth of Male Power.  His “in-depth” outline of male powerless has incited a new pro-men movement on our campus.  MRAs on campus have been campaigning with posters and guest speakers in order to draw attention towards new issues men are facing within our society. Some of these issues revolve around the erosion of masculinity, sexual consent, biased portrayals of men in the media and a global lack of representation.

It is not a surprise that significant numbers of Western men are drawn towards a pro-male movement that distinguishes women as the reason for economic depression and the erosion of patriarchal norms. Men feel threatened by dramatic changes in their traditional roles in recent decades. They have seen a dramatic decline in their economic status and ability to achieve economic success or stability, a shift in their ‘historic’ role as breadwinner and a general shift away from patriarchal structures of the family.

As a result, the underworld of misogynists has been unleashed. From the blogosphere, to men’s separatist movements and now to campuses nationwide their fury goes well beyond criticisms of the family court system, domestic violence laws and false rape accusations. The scary reality is literally hundreds of websites, action groups and advocates whose political line reeks of misogyny: within this movement, women are branded sluts, gold diggers and temptresses and the police have been named ‘armed enablers’ or women’s rights. Unfortunately, men’s rights activist and the organizations they politically affiliate themselves with hold other anti-modern, proto-fascist sentiments such as opposition to same sex marriage, immigration, women in the workplace and the economic advancement of non-white citizens.

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We do not deny that men have suffered in daily life, mental health and self-esteem. However, we contend that blame placed on women is misdirected.  Instead of understanding economic hardship and political powerlessness as the manifestations of the capitalist order, in which increasing numbers of proletarians are forced to compete for crumbs, while the bourgeoisie reap record profits, MRAs categorically blame women for their losses of social, legal and economic status. We cannot tolerate this reactionary point-of-view! The MRAs must be exposed for what they really are—at best, opportunistic hate-mongers who are taking advantage of the powerlessness keenly felt by the masses. At worst, they represent the most reactive, backward voices within the masses. As such, they need to be verbally condemned as well as physically challenged.

Only a revolutionary students’ movement that unites the progressives on campus will be successful in fighting this hateful, opportunistic trend as well as future proto-fascist movements. Only a RSM can unite proletarian women on campus with those who seek to defend and further women’s rights, and all genders’ liberation. Let’s build the RSM!