Ask anybody what name they most associate with the suffragette movement and almost universally the answer will be Sylvia Pankhurst. This film for all its merits only once mentions her in passing, and then only to suggest that she didn’t really approve of what the suffragettes were doing. What explanation can there be for this distracting mystery? The answer lies in the bourgeois falsification of history, as we shall see.Continue reading “Suffragette – Where’s Sylvia Pankhurst?”→
Red Youth salutes the revolutionary women of the world!
We’d like to take the time over the coming week – until International Women’s Day on 8 March – to discuss why women’s liberation is a key part of the struggle against capitalism, and to remember some inspiring female comrades, past and present, who struggled for the liberation of their people, the liberation of the working class, and who recognised that special attention had to be paid, within these struggles, to the liberation of women, from their subordinate role in society, and the special and additional oppression that women face due to their sex alone.
It will soon be International Women’s Day, a day now used by many capitalist governments in an attempt to portray themselves as ‘progressive’ or ‘egalitarian’.
Formerly known as ‘International Working Women’s Day’ it was celebrated by communists the world over – in the Soviet Union, China, Spain, Germany, and countless other countries – to pay tribute to the efforts and struggles of labouring women.
However, in an unsurprising turn, it was robbed of its core message by the UN, when it was officially decreed that 8 March would be a day for capitalist governments to not only remove the focus on working women, but also to demonise non-western nations in the name of ‘progressivism’.
But there can be no end to misogynistic culture under capitalism, as misogyny is simply too profitable. Mainstream cinema, the cosmetics industry, fashion, general advertising, television, the music industry, and pornography are all hugely lucrative industries that require a culture of misogyny to sustain their existence.
We, as communists, will honour International Women’s Day by acknowledging that capitalism is not the origin of misogyny, but that misogyny cannot be eradicated within capitalism. It is a day to celebrate the achievements of heroic communist women and to think deeply about the way in which misogyny will be rejected both in a future socialist society and within current communist organisations.
Be a revolutionary, not a cheerleader!
Most importantly, it is the role of communists to oppose the idea that women are inherently passive and inherently weak in their attitude, mind, and spirit. A good illustration of how deeply ingrained these attitudes are in capitalist societies is Wang Zheng’s account from Some of Us, a collection of memoirs from women who grew up during the Cultural Revolution:
Not long after I arrived in the United States, I met an American woman at a friend’s home. She told me with apparent pride that her daughter was a cheerleader. I did not know what kind of leader that was. Hearing her explanation, I could not bring myself to present a compliment, as she obviously expected.
I just hoped that my eyes would not betray my disdain as I thought to myself, ‘I guess this American woman has never dreamed of her daughter being a leader cheered by men.’ I feel fortunate that I was “brainwashed” to want to be a revolutionary instead of a cheerleader.
In capitalist society women are expected to be the ‘cheerleaders’ for both working men when they are generating profit for the ruling classes and echoing the media’s misogyny, and for capitalist men when they gather ever greater profits off of the backs of the workers of the world.
It is our duty to ensure that while capitalism is destroyed, alongside it goes misogyny, so that such prejudices will never again blight human progress.
Red Youth is having a meeting in Birmingham on 9 March to discuss and celebrate the role of revolutionary women in the struggle to defeat capitalism, imperialism, and fascism, and how women’s liberation is intrinsically linked with workers’ liberation and communism.
Comrades Ella and Joti will ask what 45 years of women’s liberation has done for us, and why there are still so few women involved in politics in 21st-century Britain.
As the crisis deepens, the situation of women is becoming worse and not better. The few areas in which women could find some support are being ruthlessly cut. While taxation rises, wages plunge in inverse proportion to rising unemployment.
Experience shows that it is only under socialism that women’s needs can really be given priority, for it is only under socialism that the whole of production is geared to serving the needs of working people in general rather than the interests of profit, which always grudges every penny spent on wages and social facilities.
Women workers must stand shoulder to shoulder with the revolutionary proletariat as a whole to overthrow capitalism and establish and build socialism. And it stands to reason that the revolutionary proletariat must always put attending to the needs of the working-class women as one of their most urgent priorities, both in their demands on the capitalist class and in the measures that they implement as soon as they seize state power.
Mao, it turns out, brought into being 800 million, well fed, well clothed and well educated human beings: A fact that not only China, but all of us should celebrate. China’s rise has been a great source of enlightenment that exercises a positive influence on human civilisation.
Carlos Martinez, secretary of the “Hands off China” campaign, gives a speech on the legacy of Mao Zedong’s Life, and the impact that his outstanding leadership of the Chinese revolution had upon China and the wider world, at a meeting held jointly with the CPGB-ML to mark the 120th anniversary of his birth. It is a legacy that all progressive humanity should celebrate and applaud.
And yet the neoliberal imperialist narrative, ground out by official capitalist academia and popular media, tries to pass off Mao as some kind of social criminal and mass murderer – when in fact he helped to lift fully one quarter of humanity out of feudal and colonial oppression, and the stultifying and backward mode of existence, rife with starvation, disease, famine and war, crushing oppression of the masses, and of women in particular, that characterised pre-revolutionary china.
For detailed refutation of the standard bourgeois lies regarding the Great Leap forward, this article from LALKAR is instructive: http://www.lalkar.org/issues/contents/nov2012/china.html
The question we should ask, is not how many people died during the years of industrialisation in china, but rather, how many Chinese and other human beings owe their lives to the communist revolution that gave birth to the People’s Republic of China, and the development of modern china; a revolutionary process that Mao played such a major part in initiating, leading and trying to secure against capitalist restoration.
Carlos points out that the population of China was long stagnant at 500million, with a miserable life expectancy of just 35 years in 1949, on the founding of the PRC, when Mao famously declared “the Chinese people have stood up!”
At the time of Mao’s death, 27 years later, in 1976, the population had reached 900 million, and life expectancy 67. If today China is a modern, enlightened, broadly socialist country – not withstanding the encroachments of capitalist economy upon its economic and political life – then 1.3 billion Chinese have much to thank Mao for.
All those countries who rely on China to give them some economic and political breathing space from the crushing weight of Anglo-American imperialist oppression, likewise have much to celebrate on the 120th anniversary of Mao’s birth.
Long live Socialist China! Long live the memory, teaching and example of Mao Zedong!