Women must champion the struggle for worker-peasant rule and socialism!
Let us unite and escalate our struggle, as workers and as women!
Statement of the Central Committee of Communist Ghadar Party of India, 25th February, 2014
As we mark International Women’s Day on 8th March this year, it is necessary that we recall the genesis of this annual global celebration, which started more than a hundred years ago. The first IWD was celebrated in 1911, at a conference of working women from Europe and the United States. That historic conference was held under the banner of the struggle for socialism.
The conclusion drawn by working women a century ago was that the liberation of women from all forms of exploitation and oppression requires the destruction of capitalism and its replacement by socialism. The opposite message has been bombarded at us for the past 30 years or so. This is the message that socialism does not work and “there is no alternative” to the capitalist-imperialist system. Leaving everything to the “market forces” has been promoted as the most efficient course for the economy, by successive capitalist spokespersons, from Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher to Manmohan Singh and Barack Obama.
Life experience of the past three decades, in India and on the world scale, has reconfirmed the truth that capitalism does not and cannot liberate women. Capitalism cannot and will not liberate working men either, because it is based on ever-intensifying exploitation of human labour. Capitalism cannot open the path for the progress of society. On the contrary, capitalism at its final and most parasitic stage is threatening humankind and nature with colossal and complete destruction.
In our country, a minority of big capitalist houses have grown richer at an unprecedented rate while the toiling majority of people are denied any share in prosperity and deprived of security and even the most basic needs. Everything we need for a dignified human life is left to chance under capitalism, and denied for masses of toiling people in our country. A secure home with safe drinking water, sanitation, electricity and cooking fuel, access to good schools for children, hospitals and health services, remain out of reach for the majority of our people. Babies are born in squalor and many die an early death; lakhs of women continue to die at childbirth. At the other pole, a set of Indian billionaires live in palatial homes, fly around the world in their jet planes and spend crores of rupees on vacations and on their pets.
Throughout the world, the rights of working women and men are being trampled in the mud. New entrants to the labour force in North America and Europe are finding no jobs. Many have no social security either. Billions of dollars get spent to save the biggest corporations from bankruptcy, and billions continue to be spent on speculation, on militarization and wars of conquest and occupation of the territory of other nations and peoples.
Imperialism is fostering wars and destruction of planet Earth, in pursuit of maximum profits for the world’s financial oligarchs. It is responsible for the present horrific situation in Syria, Pakistan and Ukraine. These are not isolated instances. The same conditions were engineered in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. War and devastation of nations and peoples are inherent to the imperialist system. Thousands of women have been widowed and children orphaned in the modern-day wars being waged by Anglo-American imperialism and its allies. Women, children and the aged are dying in their thousands in refugee camps, as they flee from war and famines.
In our country, the rights of women, their safety and security are all trampled in the mud blatantly, on a daily basis. The authority defends only the privileged elite. The state machinery and political process operate to defend the system of exploitation and plunder, and to impose the dictate of capitalist monopolies on the toiling majority of women and men.
The human and material productive forces of our country are being exploited and plundered to satisfy the insatiable greed of Indian and foreign capitalists for maximum profits. Anyone who opposes this increasingly parasitic surplus extraction process is deemed to be a criminal, an extremist, a fundamentalist or terrorist.
Women are the worst victims of communal violence and state terror, the preferred method of rule of the bourgeois class and its main rival parties in Parliament. Today, Muzafarnagar in UP is a stark example of how women and children are brutally victimized by the communal and caste-based electoral campaigns of rival bourgeois parties. Women of Kashmir and the North-eastern states have borne the brunt of state terrorism and national oppression, with blatant violation of the right to life itself being justified in the name of defending “national unity and territorial integrity of India”.
Capitalism not only exploits women as cheap labour and as unpaid domestic labour but also degrades women as less than equal human beings, treating them as objects of sexual gratification. From advertising merchandise to trafficking of women for prostitution, capitalism fosters many grotesque forms of using women and their sexuality for reaping maximum returns on capital. In addition to all of these, the Indian state perpetuates numerous backward customs and feudal practices, including the caste hierarchy and its outmoded rules, all of which overburdens Indian women and makes their oppression unbearable.
Indian women fought militantly in the front ranks of the struggle against the course of the “market oriented” program of economic reforms, right from when it was unveiled in 1991. Women’s organisations carried out united mass protests against the drive towards globalisation through liberalisation and privatization. They raised the banner of women’s rights and of human rights. They demanded political empowerment, the right to have a say in the orientation of our economy and society.
The Indian ruling class has responded to the demands of women with one diabolical diversion after another. Programs for “economic empowerment” of women have been rolled out by the central and state governments. Land pattas have been issued and bank accounts opened in the names of women. But how can women become economically empowered when their households are poverty stricken, the land is too small and barren, and the banks accounts mostly empty? The thousands of “self-help groups” and women’s thrift societies, promoted by government programs, with loans from micro-finance institutions, have been plunged into debt and bankruptcy, after having generated huge profits for their promoters.
In the political sphere, the promise of reservation of one-third seats in Parliament for women has been used to divert the attention of women from the anti-social offensive of the bourgeoisie. Reservation of 33% seats for women has been dangled as a carrot in front of women. This has served to promote the lie that the nature of the State and economic orientation will change qualitatively if at least one-third of the Members of Parliament are women. Life experience has shown that the nature of the State and the economy do not change even when a woman becomes Chief Minister or Prime Minister.
The latest diversion that is being thrown at the workers, peasants, women and youth is the notion that the main problem is not with capitalism and the anti-social reform program, but with corrupt politicians and “crony capitalism”. This is the message being conveyed by the major contestants in the coming Lok Sabha elections. They are all promoting the illusion that capitalism can be made to work for all, provided some “anti-corruption and governance reforms” are implemented. The aim of this propaganda is to deny that capitalism is the main roadblock to the emancipation of women and of all who work.
Capitalism has reached its final stage of monopoly capitalism and imperialism, a stage in which it is unbearably parasitic, corrupt and destructive to human society and nature. Any vision of a “free and fair” capitalism is a myth, a harmful deception. Capitalism cannot be reformed; it has to be overthrown.
In our society, the woman is invariably the one who toils for the sake of the family, the one who works without even asking what she will get in return. Working women who also contribute to social production perform multiple forms of labour and get only partially remunerated. They get doubly exploited, as workers and as women.
Women will not be respected and protected in a social system that does not respect, but seeks to exploit human labour. As long as human labour power is bought and sold like a commodity, and is exploited for the benefit of a propertied minority, women will continue to be exploited and treated like commodities. The solution lies in converting the means of social production from capitalist private property to socialist common property. This was the conclusion of the working women who originated International Women’s Day. This conclusion remains valid today. It stands reconfirmed by the experience of capitalist “reforms” that go by the name of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation.
When the means of social production are owned by the people as a whole, then the surplus produced by our collective toil can and will be deployed to fulfill the rising needs of all members of society. Women will be able to raise their level of participation in social affairs without worrying about who will look after their children and feed their families, because there would be reliable social support mechanisms in a socialist society. Bringing up children and looking after the elderly will be social responsibilities, which the State is duty bound to fulfill. It will no longer be left to every individual family to fend for itself.
Women must organise as women, and as part of the working class and toiling majority of people, to defend ourselves and our rights. We must reject the promises of rival parties to reform the capitalist system and make it free of corruption. We must wage our struggle with the perspective of establishing the class rule of those who toil, in place of the rule of the exploiters of labour. Only such a political power can ensure the transition from capitalism to socialism, paving the way for the complete emancipation of labour and of women from all forms of exploitation and oppression.
We, the working women and men, girls and boys, youth and students, must build our own samitis in our workplaces, campuses and residential locations. These samitis must be developed as organs of struggle and collective self-defence. They must be built as instruments for preparing ourselves to become the future rulers of society. We must not succumb to the pressure to integrate such samitis with the existing state apparatus.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2014, 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 globalisation through liberalisation and privatisation!
Let us fight for the establishment of workers’ and peasants’ rule so as to reorient the economy to provide prosperity and protection for all!
Let us unite around the aim of overthrowing capitalism as the condition for the completion of the democratic, anti-colonial, anti-feudal and anti-imperialist struggle!
We call on women who are committed to fight for the cause of social progress to join Communist Ghadar Party and strengthen the leadership of the working class and the revolutionary movement for socialism and communism!