The righteous cries of women rising up in spectacular eruptions of rebellion are ricocheting across the world. Against being endlessly degraded, abused and treated as lesser beings – because they were born female in a world of male domination – women everywhere are rising up and demanding to put an end to their oppression. Bob Avakian, architect of a radical new framework for human emancipation, sharply emphasizes that “If you want to talk about a group in society whose fundamental need to be able to breathe, and to live as human beings, cannot be met other than through the communist revolution, there’s no group for whom that’s more true than the masses of women.”
This is also a scientific truth: We are living in an extraordinary time in human history when it is possible to finally move beyond all this—beyond the denial of women’s full humanity – and beyond all forms of exploitation and oppression through a real revolution. Today’s world – which has always been a horror for billions of the most oppressed, trapped in menial labour and impoverishment at the bottom of the global food chain – is being ripped apart by the rapacious workings and drives of the global capitalist-imperialist system and the intensifying rivalry among the imperialist gangsters of the East and West. Titanic shifts and changes are tearing up the normal functioning and cohering norms of societies, and everywhere fascist forces are rising to put the fragmented pieces back together by violently re-imposing traditional values and trying to cement the chokehold of reactionary ruling forces. A fierce clash is raging across the planet over whether society is going to be dragged back into even greater horrors – as seen in the revengeful assertion of unbridled patriarchy, environmental destruction or even a nuclear war leading to the very extinction of humanity and life on the planet – or whether society can be moved forward by the conscious act of making this marauding and murderous capitalist-imperialist system finally extinct.
And half of humanity – the world’s women and their thirst for emancipation – are at the heart of this battle, and their world-resonating cry symbolizes that humanity cannot live this way – another way must be brought forward! The oppression of women has been woven through thousands of years of patriarchal traditions deeply entrenched and carried forward in all societies that have been ruled by exploiting classes. In recent decades imperialist globalization has brought hundreds of millions of women into the global work force. Women’s place is no longer so strictly confined to the home, as they have gained some limited but real independence and exposure to the wider world, opening a sense of possibility. But this has sharply challenged the traditional family and gender roles that are key cohering and stabilizing factors in all oppressive and exploitative societies. Around the world we have seen a vicious backlash and revenge from governments, institutions and all those who feel threatened by women becoming even more independent. Sexual assault, rape, violence, and hostility towards women are escalating. Fascist forces are whipping up this backlash and moving to viciously clamp down on women as part of their overall programme of extreme reaction, from Hungary, Poland, Italy, here in Germany and throughout the world.
Bob Avakian, looking at these trends in their beginning stages, wrote nearly 40 years ago: “It is not conceivable that all this will find any resolution other than in the most radical terms… The question to be determined is: will it be a radical reactionary or radical revolutionary resolution—will it mean the reinforcing of those chains of enslavement or the shattering of the most decisive links in those chains and opening up the possibility of realizing the complete elimination of all forms of such enslavement.”
The answer to the way women’s oppression will be resolved is tightly bound up with the whole direction of society. And if you look only at the surface of developments, then the spectre of a terrible future looms only too clearly: Fascist forces seem to be rising inexorably – after Poland, Hungary, India, Turkey and so many others, now seizing governmental power in neighbouring Italy, now ripping away the abortion rights of US women won five decades ago through mass struggle. Environmental collapse draws nearer by the day. Immigrants fleeing lives of misery, war and famine go on being drowned in the icy waters of the Mediterranean, while Europe’s leaders squabble only about how better to stop them. And only a few hundreds of kilometers away, Russia is squaring off with the US and NATO and Ukraine in a war that seems to be heading in only one direction, escalation and further escalation.
But looking at all this, Bob Avakian unveils the truth that within this situation, a force of revolutionaries, acting on these very same developments, could unlock an unprecedented potential for sweeping away the capitalist-imperialist system that is responsible for these and so many other horrors and make serious advances forward for a revolution aimed at emancipating not only the masses of women but all humanity. Think about how millions of women fiercely rose up against the stripping away of abortion rights in Poland and the US, resisting the fascist drive to impose enslavement by forced motherhood and treat women as nothing more than breeders of the next generation. This potential has also been closely felt during the unfolding of the women’s uprising in Iran: The brutality, the depravity and the life-destroying barbaric patriarchy and hatred of women by the theocratic fascist dictatorship of the ruling class has become the target of the courageous rebelling and fury of Iran’s women joined by masses of people who are aspiring to be free from oppression and exploitation. Nothing other than forging the forces and strategy for a thorough-going revolution can prevent the surrender of women and all the masses yet again to the cold-blooded schemes and bloody manipulations of these very same mullahs and/or the global powers seeking to cash in on the regime’s difficulties and impose another form of stranglehold on the people. It’s of great importance that there’s a revolutionary communist party in Iran – the CPI(MLM) – that has taken up this challenge.
This kind of fascist aggression together with all the other unprecedented horrors being inflicted under this system is churning up people’s thinking, forcing more and more out of their slumber, and compelling them to confront the question of, why is all this happening? Do things have to be this way? Is there another way the world could be? And the degradation and oppression of women and their right to be treated as full human beings is a harbinger and central factor in what direction humanity will take – whether the chains of oppression will be tightened like a noose, or finally shattered and cast off.
This same system that enslaves women is now fighting over who’s going to be the biggest slavemaster in the world. In Ukraine, the Western rulers and their imperialist propaganda machine are mobilising people to join in the orgy of imperialist patriotic warmongering, to “defend democracy against autocracy”. What bullshit from puppet masters of a global network of vicious dictators, from Egyptian military juntas to Saudi feudal sheiks to fascist Israeli enforcers of apartheid! Shamefully, way too many people have been only too willing to slumber along with this slaughterfest, while forgiving or ignoring the past war crimes of the US and its Western allies like Germany, from Vietnam to Hiroshima – acting like previous generations of Hitlerite “good Germans” yet again! – including a good many “progressives”, led by the olive-green Grüne, refusing to face the simple truth: this is a war of bloodthirsty Russian imperialism versus bloodthirsty US-led Western imperialism, two gangs of mobsters driven by the logic of a system of capitalist-imperialism to wage war for world domination, with the Ukrainian people being cynically used as “cannonfodder” and fed into the meatgrinder of the Russian war machine to serve US and Western imperialism to weaken one of the their main imperialist rivals. Who dares to join us in defending the interests of humanity!
A terrible, monstrously oppressive future is the direction things are headed today. UNLESS a force can be forged – amidst this turmoil and ripping apart of the cohering order of society that takes up an understanding of why all this is happening and seize on the potential for revolution. International Women’s Day brings this urgent need for revolution into bold relief. There is a radically new framework for human emancipation, the new communism, forged by Bob Avakian, that builds on the first wave of communist revolution but also makes critical ruptures with its shortcomings and weaknesses – not least in the field of women’s emancipation. If you’ve ever dreamed about such a world, or felt yourself longing for something radically better, how could you not want to learn about the new communism and become a part of a force aiming for a real revolution, a force of emancipators of humanity. Join us in putting this liberating Revolution on the Map. Get people together in your house, in your neighborhood, on your campus, in your city to find out more about this architect of the new communism by watching Up Close and Personal with Bob Avakian: Heart and Soul & Hard-Core for Revolution on the website revcom.us and check out our weekly YouTube show: The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show.
Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!
Capitalism and Patriarchy – You Can’t End One without Ending the Other!