The Path to Women’s Emancipation Can Only Be Achieved by Abolishing Imperialism and Patriarchy Inseparably!

The Path to Women’s Emancipation Can Only Be Achieved by Abolishing Imperialism and Patriarchy Inseparably!

A graphic of a woman tying a red bandana across her lower face. There is a white hammer-sickle on the front of the bandana. The background is red. To the left of her head, it says: "IWWD 2021". To the right of her head, there is a small graphic of the side-profiles of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Gonzalo lined up. At the very bottom, it says: "THE PATH TO WOMEN'S EMNACIPATION CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED BY ABOLISHING IMPERIALISM & PATRIARCHY INSEPARABLY!"March 8 marks International Working Women’s Day.

The first ever Working Women’s Day March was held in New York City in 1908 at the initiation of the (then revolutionary) Socialist Party of America. This march was pushed for after women workers protested their conditions in garment factories across New York City. Its implementation would then be championed principally by German revolutionary Clara Zetkin who, through the Second International, made the mobilization of International Working Women’s Day a world-wide event in 1910. Demonstrations led by revolutionaries – from the US to China – would be held on March 8 to commemorate and advance the struggle for women’s emancipation to be completed through socialist revolution.

Seizing on the revolutionary fervour of the masses, seeking to defang it into a passive day of celebration rather than a combative and militant one, the imperialists would turn IWWD into simply “International Women’s Day”. This can be seen by the United Nations adopting International Women’s Day as a harmless celebration. The change goes beyond just language, it removes the class character of the day and the revolutionary history of struggle surrounding women’s emancipation. The diluting of the class content of IWWD is done to cover for the imperialist and colonial powers that seek only to – at best – give lip service to the struggle against patriarchy, principally the oppression of women, among the big capitalist class. The capitalist women are fundamentally a reactionary group incapable of changing anything but the most superficial elements in the manifestation of patriarchy. They are unable to break this system, and fundamentally it is not in their class interest to do so, as the patriarchal exploitation of working women helps to line their pockets. This reveals the complete bankruptcy of postmodernist conceptions of “gender solidarity” where women can be united as women to fight patriarchy. Like the erasure of the class character of IWWD by the big capitalist class, this only serves to confuse contradictions, divide the working class, and prolong the existence of imperialism. Only the working class can destroy imperialism and only working women can be a vanguard fighter in the inseparable struggle to eradicate patriarchy.

A myth peddled by some is that women’s oppression no longer exists in Canada. This ilk would have you believe that some social and political rights – rights that had to be won by countless women revolutionaries who struggled tooth and nail to achieve them – means that patriarchy has been crushed. They would complement this by saying that patriarchy exists only in the “backward” societies. This is most often seen in countries like Canada in the characterization of Muslim-majority countries, wherein the most die-hard opponents of women’s emancipation in Canada will paint themselves as the most ardent feminists internationally. This lie perpetuated by the imperialists is nothing more than an attack on the people of the Third World, the nations oppressed by imperialism, by painting them as barbaric and thereby justifying intervention economically or militarily toward the strengthening of their political power over these nations. This lie also aims to keep private property and women’s oppression alive in the home markets.

The reality is that the exploitation and oppression of working women is alive and well in Canada and is integral to its functioning. The current economic crisis of imperialism has only sharpened this exploitation. The oppression of women is principally rooted in the existence of private property, whose origin allowed for the subjugation of women. This exploitation manifests in how they are pushed toward the role of reproductive and domestic labour whose value is erased, thereby justifying it going unpayed under capitalism. On top of this assignment to reproductive labour, women are also pushed into the workforce to conduct productive labour on top of reproductive labour. The jobs open to women are often restricted to “feminized labour” that is underpaid and overworked. In this way, capitalism provides the means for women’s emancipation by proletarianizing the bulk of them, yet it simultaneously thrusts this double exploitation, both in the home and as workers outside the home, upon them.

Marxist analysis shows that the State is made up of two main elements, primarily its armed force, and secondarily its massive bureaucratic apparatus. Under capitalism, this bureaucratic apparatus has brought forward a whole host of obstacles to prevent the organization of working women to break their chains. Access to healthcare, housing, stable and viable employment, and other necessities are stonewalled by these bureaucratic obstacles and they face increasing unavailability due to rising costs all around. Reproductive rights that include access to birth control, hormones, and abortion are under relentless attacks, whether from religious fundamentalists and fascists who are catered to by “moderate” politicians on the federal levels, or through economic means by denying funding to clinics for the sake of “balanced budgets” that makes access impossible even if “freed” from bureaucratic red tape. Universal childcare has been mocked as either a waste of resources or derided for “denying women their natural maternal role,” which has greatly worsened the condition of women and children as living expenses increase and schools are fluctuated between being opened or being closed. Increased living expenses and impoverishment has made escape from violence in the home and the workplace all but impossible for many, shackling countless women to incredibly dangerous and abusive living situations.

The already meagre situation of trans women has only been compounded. Access to necessities such as housing and medical services are out of reach due to costs, and trans women often experience violence at work or difficulty gaining stable employment due to discrimination. On top of all this, there are bureaucratic obstacles that are added with the very denial of their right to even call themselves women.

The imperialist and colonial core of Canada has only worked to strengthen women’s oppression. The genocide of Indigenous nations within the borders of Canada has been marked by the most ruthless violence against Indigenous women and Two-Spirit people. The fight to get the Old Canadian State to simply investigate the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women has been resisted, no doubt due to the clear reality that many of these murders were done at the hand of civil servants, police, and soldiers as a result of ongoing colonial policy and action. Within Canada’s borders to the global scale, Canada’s economic and military endeavours have only strengthened the oppression of women.

Canadian imperialism penetrates deeper into the Third World, creating new semi-colonies. The Old Canadian State does this economically through the export of capital to these colonies or through force. In the latter case, economic domination and ultimately political power follows. Imperialism stunts the economies of these nations, forcing many workers and peasants to flock to the imperial centres to support their families. This is best seen in the case of Filipina women who represent one of their country’s biggest exports.

The solutions normally offered to end patriarchy are often short-sighted and outright reactionary. Some liberal feminists believe the solution is through removing some obstacles so the few women at the top can reach esteemed positions easier; more women cops, corporate board members, drone operators and Hollywood producers. It is assumed that slightly better media representation and “sensitivity training” will somehow tear down patriarchy. Some politicians even recognize the primacy of the economic problem at the root of women’s oppression, only to then argue that this is proof there isn’t “patriarchy”, but rather it is an issue of poverty, leading to an argument for a “gender-blind” and purely economic solution. These social-fascists (they may posture behind more radical labels but amount to social-fascists all the same) will advocate a “revolution” to achieve this by incredibly incremental reform achieved only by glorified lobbying of politicians, by petitioning, and by voting. In total, these reforms do not empower women to attack the issues at their root but rather strengthen the reliance on the Old State through welfare aid.

Alongside these “progressives”, there exists a number of reactionaries who wish to cement old-style traditionalist oppression and paint it as liberation. Whether “traditional conservatives” or postmodernists, they will push for conditions that make it “easier” for women to remain subjugated in the home and workforce, whether it be through pushing tax credits to take care of families to outright justifying sexual exploitation as “legitimate options” or “alternatives” in place of destroying the root of patriarchal oppression stemming from putting women in these conditions against their will.

The reality is that only a revolution that destroys imperialism and settler-colonialism, principally imperialism, can destroy patriarchy. The only way to achieve revolution is through the conquest of Power to destroy the Old State through a People’s War under the centralized leadership of a Communist Party.

Today, the working class lacks this Communist Party. They have been robbed of it at least since its liquidation into the “Labour-Progressive Party” at the hands of the revisionist traitor Tim Buck in 1943. Since then, the proletariat has been left with nothing but opportunists and traitors falsely portraying themselves to the masses as a Communist Party. The most recent face adopted by revisionism in Canada is the “Revolutionary Communist Party”. Whether it is the RCP’s historic leadership in Montreal (the self-styled “Continuators”), or their recent splinter calling itself the Charles Gagnon Cell, or the postmodernist sycophants of Joshua Moufawad-Paul in English Canada, they are all the same: obstacles to be disposed of by the working class on the road to the reconstitution of the Communist Party of Canada as a Militarized Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Communist Party.

Only when armed with our reconstituted Communist Party can we join our comrades in India, Peru, Turkey, and the Philippines in waging a glorious People’s War against the Old Canadian State, abolishing patriarchy alongside imperialism and settler-colonialism all the way until Communism, serving the World Proletarian Revolution.

Women of the working class: it is our duty to reconstitute the Communist Party of Canada!

Wave after wave, blow after blow – against imperialism and patriarchy!

Proletarian Feminism for Communism!


Signatories:

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

Join Revolutionary Student Movement-Toronto at Trans March Toronto on the 28th

DOWN WITH TD, DOWN WITH THE BOURGEOISIE!

pridetorontoThe Board Members of Pride Toronto Celebrating Gay Capitalism

June 24, 2013- Toronto Pride Festivities opened this week with the board of directors of Pride Toronto on Bay Street helping to ring in the Toronto Stock Exchange. A news release from the TSX describes Pride Toronto as “celebrating the history, courage, diversity and future of Toronto’s Pride community”.  We need to stop and ask ourselves, a future for whom?

This event, along with the ever present sponsorship from banks such as TD have caused many involved in the left in Toronto to call for an end to “corporate pride”.  However, corporate interests are only one segment of bourgeois society, and what we should be doing is attacking the rotten system that is capitalism.

 

GAY POLITICIANS ARE NOT THE SOLUTION, WHAT QUEERS NEED IS REVOLUTION!

Liberals and so called “progressives” are also taking the time to celebrate Ontario’s out lesbian premier, Kathleen Wynne, as a supposed evidence of the inclusiveness of the capitalist state. However, as the gap between the rich and poor grows ever deeper, the rights of workers to organize is under attack, political protest against the capitalist order is increasingly repressed, and youth in the province suffer high rates of unemployment and overwhelming student debt- it is evident that “victory” of liberal democracy is one that serves only the elites and not the masses.

The liberation of the working class will not come from the board room nor the ballot box.  We commemorate the militant histories of Stonewall, the San Francisco White Night riots, and the Toronto Bathhouse Raid Riots of 1981, by asking LGBT people to join us in fighting capitalism in the streets.

IT IS RIGHT TO REBEL- SEE YOU IN THE STREETS!

-Revolutionary Students Movement Toronto

Join us! Meet us June 28, at 730 pm at George Hislop Park.  Look for the Red Flags.  A link to the march route can be found here.