“Internationally, one of the most remarkable developments in the capitalist era has been the emergence and growth of the women’s movement. For the first time in human history women came out collectively to demand their rights, their place under the sun. The emancipation of women from centuries of oppression became an urgent and immediate question. The movement threw up theoretical analyses and solutions on the question of women’s oppression. The women’s movement has challenged the present patriarchal, exploitative society both through its activities and through its theories.” – Anuradha Ghandy
In honor of the call to action from the Anuradha Ghandy Campaign, we are announcing the formation of Women’s Militant Front (WMF), a proletarian feminist mass organization committed to building a revolutionary women’s liberation movement in Charlotte, North Carolina. Anuradha Ghandy was a revolutionary communist in India who created the theoretical foundation for proletarian feminism in “Philosophical Trends in the Feminist Movement”. She was a Central Committee member of the underground Communist Party of India (Maoist). She struggled against male chauvinism within the party, and contributed immensely to the women’s and caste questions. Proletarian feminism is the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist synthesis of feminist theory for working class women around the world, recognizing that liberal feminist demands for reforms and identity politics can never liberate women from capitalist exploitation. Comrade Ghandy died before she was able to synthesize and define proletarian feminism, yet her sacrifices and theoretical writings still ignite a fire in revolutionary women all over the world fighting for their emancipation. Anuradha Ghandy is a martyr for our class and for women struggling everywhere. Women’s Militant Front is a continuation of the proletarian feminist struggle, demanding our rights as women and our place under the sun.
Proletarian feminism was examined and theorized in Peru with a piece we recommend all our followers and supporters read entitled, “Marxism, Marietegui, and the Women’s Movement”.
As proletarian feminists, we recognize that women’s liberation can only come from revolution against capitalism. Today, the women’s movement in the United States is made of liberal reformism, postmodernism, and isolationist anarchism – none of which aim to destroy the capitalist-imperialist mode of production.
The formation of Women’s Militant Front represents a break with postmodern deviations regarding women and gender that have appeared in the hegemonic left. Postmodernism is only able to scrape the surface of various forms of oppression – with its focus on microaggressions, language, and identity politics – and obfuscates the real source of oppression that hides in plain sight, which we can discover only through dialectical materialism. Postmodernism claims to be progressive, but due to its focus on the individual it erases our ability to make the generalizations needed to organize proletarian women collectively. Women’s Militant Front seeks to destroy the notion of survivor self-determination that lets so many abusers and rapists off easy – instead we understand the importance of putting power back into the hands of women and victims to prevent further abuse and fight misogyny. Women’s liberation can only come through revolutionary violence that destroys the capitalist machinery which chains women to servitude and objectification.
The class struggle is the women’s struggle and the women’s struggle is the class struggle. In the history of humanity, the first division of labor was between men and women on the basis of sex, with women expected to birth and raise children, and men expected to do productive labor. Humans initially lived in matriarchal, communal settlements where land and titles were passed along matriarchal lines, and there was no restriction on sexual partners for men or women. Over time, humans developed technology that benefited productive labor moreso than reproductive labor, e.g. with improvements in agricultural production, which allowed men to accumulate more property. Women’s oppression began with the institution of marriage and private property, which gave a man ownership of his wife, her progeny, and also allowed him to pass private property to his sons. Today, the family is the unit through which capitalism uses women to pass private property from one generation to the next and give birth to the next generation of workers. Women’s oppression has both material and ideological aspects, which form a dialectic and work together to oppress women, especially proletarian women, to the benefit of the bourgeoisie. This paper will give a brief overview of the struggle that Women’s Militant Front will wage, with a full theoretical piece coming at a later date.
From birth, women are socialized to be feminine, pressured to marry men and have children. The social role that women are expected to fulfill – femininity – outlines what types of labor they are expected to produce (domestic labor, or traditionally feminine jobs), how they are supposed to behave in social situations (docile), and their appearance, as objects of sexual gratification for men. The ideological oppression of women is reinforced in every sector of capitalist culture, from mass media to every day conversations. Women who reject their social role, whether by having romantic partners that are women, or by behaving or presenting in a masculine way, can face violence, have difficulty finding work, and be ostracized from friends and family.
WMF will fight this aspect of women’s oppression by developing leadership and militancy in women and teaching proletarian feminist theory. This education will happen through practice in teaching women self-defense and how to fight the enemies of women. We will also offer education on proletarian feminism and rectifying misogyny for men.
Due to the ideological forces described in the last section, women are denied the ability to have control over their own bodies. This lack of control can appear in a myriad of ways, whether it is from the state preventing access to cheap and widely available birth control and safe abortions, forced sterilization for black and indigenous women, insufficient sex education, or from sexual violence from men.
Women, due to socialization, also perform the majority of domestic labor and child rearing around the world. The bourgeoisie benefits from this labor of women, because it reproduces the next generation of the working class.
WMF will address this aspect of women’s oppression by teaching women self-defense and fighting the enemies of women, such as abusers and anti-choice sexists. We will also be helping women to access birth control and safe abortions.
Although this oppression is formed by the dialectic between ideological and material oppression, the interaction is complex and deserves its own analysis. Bourgeois ideology teaches women that their bodies are only objects for male desire, and thus gives both men and women a warped understanding of human sexuality. In the past fifty years, various feminist movements (both liberal and revolutionary) have caused bourgeois ideology to absorb superficial, supposedly progressive ideas regarding women’s sexuality. This “progress” has mainly served to create a dangerous alcohol and drug-fueled hookup culture in imperialist countries. Today, post-modernism turns women’s liberation upside down and tells us that prostitution, stripping, and pornography are liberating for women, when they are the definition of sexual commodification that perpetuates violence against women.
WMF will address this aspect of women’s oppression by teaching women how to fight dangerous enemies of women, like rapists and pimps. We also hope to offer resources to women who wish to leave prostitution and other related forms of sexual commodification.
Proletarian feminism is not just a catch phrase but something we will embody. We are here to fight for a world where we as women have torn our chains off ourselves and ended our own oppression. This can never happen under capitalism, and the only hope for women is a new world, a new Power, lead by the working class.
Build up the women’s revolutionary movement!
Reject postmodernism, apply proletarian feminism!
–Women’s Militant Front (WMF-CLT), May 2018