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

What the MER-RSM Has Done in 2017

What the MER-RSM Has Done in 2017

This year has been full of major events for the MER-RSM and for the revolutionary movement in Canada. We have held our 6th Pan-Canadian Congress in February, where delegates from 14 sections across the country came together to decide on the course of our organization and share organizing experience. The Congress has elected an almost entirely new Pan-Canadian Coordinating Committee to guide the work of our organization and serves as a good indication of the growth and qualitative improvement that we are experiencing.

As the Canadian state was celebrating 150 years since its founding, many anti-colonial movements and organizers have shown their opposition to this blatant celebration of settler colonialism, capitalism and imperialism. The MER-RSM has joined the FuckThe150th campaign initiated by the Revolutionary Communist Party to protest these celebrations on the ground and to counter the messages spread by the Canadian state on social media.

More MER-RSM sections than ever before have joined in the International Workers’ Day (or May Day) events across the country by taking part and organizing marches, public talks and social events. We have also taken part in celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Great October Revolution, a very important historic event to commemorate and learn from.

This year has also been marked by the rise of the extreme right organizations, which have been trying to take to the streets in a series of coordinated, country-wide efforts. Most of these attempts have been shut down or constrained to tiny perimeter by anti-racist and anti-fascist organizers that have been coming out to oppose them. Members of the MER-RSM have joined the efforts to stop the extreme right from taking root on campuses and anywhere they try to rear their ugly head.

It has never been a secret that the state and its running dogs – the police, try to suppress any radical organizing that challenges it and aims to change the society. As the quality of work of revolutionary organizations across the country has been on the rise, police repression followed. This has been particularly evident in Sudbury, Quebec City, and Ottawa. Despite that, we are committed to continuing to build solidarity against state repression and against the rising threat of fascism.

Many new comrades have joined our organization this year, with several new sections being created: Brandon (Manitoba), Guelph (Ontario), Waterloo (Ontario), Windsor (Ontario). Other sections have seen growth of membership and the scope of work. Regrettably, we have seen the departure of the Montreal section of the MER-RSM due to serious political disagreements. However, we have restarted our organizing in Montreal, namely at Concordia university, and we expect to expand our organizing there in the coming year.

We have big plans in the coming year! We are going to distribute our first-ever publication, Classmates, in January. Comrades in Ottawa, Hamilton, Peterborough, Saskatoon, Toronto and Winnipeg are going to be engaged in campaigns to create or improve General Assemblies on their campuses, which will become a platform where political struggles get brought out in the open and a tool to exert direct democratic control over student unions. As the experience of campuses with functional General Assemblies demonstrates, it is one of the best tools for advancing radical politics; building the culture of resistance to capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, patriarchy and other reactionary systems of oppression; and challenging the bourgeois notion of representative democracy, where the small minority detached from the needs of the majority holds most of the decision-making power. Lastly, we will hold Regional Conferences where comrades will come together to meet each other, share organizing experience, and come up with ideas and proposals for the time between then and the 2019 Pan-Canadian Congress.

We are the largest and the most active anti-capitalist student movement in Canada. We remain committed to organizing in struggle against capitalism, colonialism, racism, patriarchy, ableism and other forms of oppression both on and off campuses.

Now is a good time to join our movement!

Get in touch with us: info@mer-rsm.ca

https://www.facebook.com/RevolutionaryStudentMovement/

 

Dare to struggle, dare to win!

Coordinating Committee of the MER-RSM