Call of the Communist Ghadar Party of India on the occasion of International Women’s Day, 8th March, 2013
All over the world, women are on the streets protesting against the existing conditions. Women in all continents are protesting against unjust imperialist wars and occupation of nations by alien armies. They are opposing the brutal violation of human rights in the name of fighting terrorism. They are fighting against the continuing discrimination, degradation and physical violence that women face on a daily basis.
In our country, women are the worst victims of the terror unleashed by the so-called security forces, which actually provide security only to members of the ruling class. The state is colonial and imperialist in nature. The entire security apparatus is hostile to women and men of the working class, of peasant families and of the oppressed nations and peoples. Rape by the central armed forces is an everyday occurrence in Kashmir, the Northeast and other so-called disturbed areas. Women are harassed and raped within police stations and jails all over the country, and even in so-called rehabilitation homes. They are oppressed by the very authority that is supposed to protect them.
It is no wonder that more and more women are coming out on the streets and clashing with the ruling establishment. They are demanding the rights that belong to them as women and as human beings, which are presently denied to them.
As the ones who bear the new generation and play a critical role in human reproduction, women have the rightful claim to state guaranteed basic services to ensure safe motherhood and childbirth. This is not guaranteed to millions of women in our country. Women workers have the right to maternity leave, which right is presently not recognized as a universal right. It is not enforced wherever it is recognized.
What is the root cause of the widespread violation of women’s rights in modern society? This question was answered over 100 years ago by the working women who proclaimed 8th March as International Women’s Day. Working women of that time declared that the root cause of their oppression lies in capitalism and the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. They proclaimed that communism, which is the condition for the emancipation of the working class, is also the condition for the complete emancipation of women. They set their goal as the overthrow of capitalism and its replacement by socialism, the first phase of the revolutionary transition to communism.
Since that historic conclusion was made, capitalism has dragged the world into two devastating world wars. The reactionary bourgeoisie unleashed fascism in response to the advance of the working class movement for socialism. The capitalists of the world collaborated in bringing about the degeneration and destruction of the Soviet Union. They then claimed that Marxism is no longer valid and attempted to impose post-modernism on the women’s movement. Claiming that there is no alternative to a capitalist economy and a bourgeois democratic state, they have created one disaster after another. The imperialist states, headed by the US, are today the primary organizers of large-scale terror and unjust wars of occupation and re-colonization of independent states.
The inescapable conclusion from this entire historical experience is that the overthrow of capitalism is a necessary condition to end the violation of women’s rights. We are still living in the epoch of imperialism and the proletarian revolution. We need to learn from the experience of the class struggle so far to develop the theory and tactics of the revolution suited to the present conditions.
The entire mass propaganda machine of the global monopoly capitalist media has been deployed to prevent women from drawing these warranted conclusions.
Every agency of the United Nations working in India is putting out funds for securing so-called “safe spaces” for women. Security of women has been separated and singled out as the priority issue to be tackled, as if it can be solved without addressing the source of the oppression of women.
The World Bank has posed the following question for discussion in its upcoming global meet: “What will it take to eliminate gender-based violence in South Asia?”
Gender-based violence is not confined only to South Asia. It is a worldwide problem. It has its source in the exploitative and parasitic capitalist-imperialist system, which engenders all kinds of violence to keep down the toiling majority. Hence the real question is: What will it take to put an end to capitalism and open the path to social progress?
The politicians of the ruling class in our country initially responded to the mass protests in Delhi last December by slandering the protestors, calling them “dented and painted women”. The women protesting on the streets were portrayed in the media as being from the so-called middle class. In actual fact, the vast majority of them were working class women and student youth. It is also a fact that both men and women participated actively in the protests.
At the present time, the Manmohan Singh government is making a show of addressing the issue of violence against women. An Ordinance has been issued to strengthen punishment for rape, following the recommendations submitted by the Justice Verma Commission. Finance Minister Chidambaram has announced the setting up of a “Nirbhaya” Fund with a corpus of Rs. 1000 crore, to be used “to make the country safer for women”.
The lack of safety for women in our country is not because there are too few policemen or because too little money is spent on security. The problem lies in the quality, the class nature of the State. The existing state is colonial and imperialist in nature and serves the bourgeois class. The police machinery is trained to enforce a colonial era criminal procedure code, designed to suppress all women and men with the exception of the ruling elite. Strengthening this machinery will only intensify the oppression of the people.
Finance Minister Chidambaram has also promised in his budget speech to create an all-woman bank, to lend money to women’s individual and group enterprises. This is a clever trick of the capitalist class, aimed at making more and more women the targets of bank loans. Its aim is to expand the sphere for banks to loot the hard earned savings of working women. Thousands of such women’s self-help groups in Andhra Pradesh are now facing a debt crisis. The truth is that small enterprises funded by bank loans cannot survive for long in the existing capitalist market dominated by giant monopoly corporations.
The ruling class is resorting to the time tested tactics of appointing commissions, amending laws and introducing special programs to deceive the people and divert us from our main target. We – the workers, peasants, women and youth – must not get diverted. We must remain focused on the capitalist system, which is defended by the colonial-style bourgeois state and governed through the criminalized process of representative democracy.
Capitalism, at its present stage of imperialism, is a global system of exploitation and plunder, of aggression, wars of conquest and wars for the imperialist re-division of the world. It is an extremely exploitative and parasitic social system. It is the source of never-ending violence and terror against the toiling majority of people, in addition to extreme insecurity of livelihood and unbearable levels of poverty.
Within the situation of acute global crisis, capitalism has been growing relatively rapidly in India. This is sharpening class contradictions within our society, especially between the minority of exploiters and the majority of exploited workers and peasants.
Capitalism is the motor behind the aggressive drive of the bourgeoisie and its program of globalisation through liberalisation and privatisation, aimed at enabling India to join the select club of global imperialist powers.
The capitalist economy of our country produces enormous wealth at one pole, concentrated in very few hands, through the exploitation of workers and plunder of the land and natural resources of peasants, tribal peoples and of entire nations and nationalities. The wealth created by workers and peasants is pocketed by the capitalist class, headed by the Tatas, Ambanis, Mittals and other monopoly houses. These monopolies are exporting more and more of their capital these days to plunder various countries abroad. The state apparatus defends this economic system oriented towards maximum plunder at home and abroad.
In a system which turns everything into a source of maximum profits for a super-rich minority, women will inevitably be exploited and oppressed. Women are exploited as workers, as peasants and oppressed as women. They are treated as objects of sexual gratification. The victims of rape are deemed to be impure and ostracized. The capitalist system and the state inherited from colonial times keep alive the caste system and various outdated customs that serve to deny women their most basic rights and to super-exploit them.
Responding to a criticism of recent hikes in the price of electric power in Delhi, Chief Minister Sheila Dixit reportedly said, “people must consume only what they can afford”! This reflects the outlook of the ruling bourgeois class and its leading political representatives. They think a worker’s family or peasant family need not aspire for a refrigerator, air conditioner or any other modern appliance. They think progress in living standards is meant only for privileged elite and not for those who toil.
The political process is called democratic because every adult has an equal right to vote. However, merely having the right to vote has not given the working people any say in shaping the course of society. The only role the vast majority of people have is to choose among candidates selected by different parties of the bourgeois class. This political process, dominated by parties of vested interests, serves the bourgeois class to impose its will on society. It completely excludes the toiling majority from the decision-making process.
The existing state and political system is a democracy only for the bourgeois class. It is a brutal dictatorship over the working class and other oppressed classes and strata whose rights are blatantly violated.
The leaders of the Congress Party and BJP are pretending to be very concerned these days about the safety of women. Such parties of the bourgeoisie are in fact the principal sponsors of organised muscle power for narrow political ends. They maintain informal armies of goondas and are the main drivers of the criminalization of politics in our country. They swear by democracy while acting strictly in defence of the bourgeoisie and the exploitative and parasitic economic system.
Working women and men need to have political power in their hands in order to set the agenda and the course for society. The existing outdated and colonial-style bourgeois republic needs to be replaced with a modern democratic state of workers’ and peasants’ rule.
We need a State that will be an instrument to rid our society of all forms of old oppressive relations -- all remnants of feudalism, the caste hierarchy and the entire legacy of colonialism, including capitalist exploitation and imperialist plunder. It must recognize and protect the rights of every human being, and of every adult citizen, irrespective of caste, gender, religious belief or any other consideration. It must vest sovereignty in the people.
On an immediate basis, we need to organise to defend the rights of women by relying on our own strength and collective fighting capacity. Women and men need to unite and organise collective self-defense and mutual support as the most reliable security.
The parties in the Parliament and the governments they run, the army and police they command, the judiciary that defends the laws they make – none of these can be relied upon to ensure the security or emancipation of women. These institutions are responsible only to the bourgeois class.
Women must organise as women, and as part of the working class and toiling majority of people, to defend ourselves and our rights. We, the working women and men, girl and boy students, must build our own samitis in our workplaces, campuses and residential locations, In the course of fighting for our rights we must prepare to become the rulers of society.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2013, Communist Ghadar Party calls on all women to unite and fight for an immediate end to the anti-worker, anti-people and anti-national program of liberalisation and privatisation!
Let us unite to fight for the Navnirman of India, for the creation of a modern democratic state that vests sovereignty in the people! Let us unite to overthrow capitalism as the condition for the completion of the democratic, anti-colonial, anti-feudal and anti-imperialist struggle! Let us unite to build socialism through revolution!
We call on women who are committed to fight for the cause of social progress to join the Communist Ghadar Party and strengthen the leadership of the working class and the revolutionary movement for communism!