On This March 8 When the Future of Women Is Being Fought Out All Over the World...
Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!
In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse To Accept A Fascist America
March 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
The following is the text of a speech that was prepared by the Revolutionary Communist Party and given at International Women’s Day celebrations around the country this past weekend.
Welcome everyone to this celebration and gathering for International Women’s Day. And welcome to the screening and discussion of clips from Bob Avakian’s historic speech REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! This is a real treat because no one has gone as deeply as he has into the roots of women’s oppression and how we can end this oppression that binds half of humanity once and for all as a key part of making revolution to end all exploitation and oppression everywhere. If this were all he had done, this would be a huge contribution; but BA has actually taken the science of revolution, of human emancipation and communism, to a new level... he has made this method available to all... he has developed a Constitution for a new society, the New Socialist Republic in North America... and he has developed a strategy for how people could fight for and actually win, when millions are ready to fight and the time is right, an all-out revolution with a real chance of winning. And he has done this from the standpoint of making revolution all around the globe, from the interests of the seven billion...
And in addition to all that, BA leads the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA – he’s fought to keep it on the revolutionary road and right now that party is preparing the ground to make a real revolution in the belly of this beast at the soonest possible time and, as a crucial immediate part of that, joining with others to drive out the Trump-Pence regime.
So, for everyone who is perhaps engaging BA for the first time today, this should be just the beginning of going deeper into his work—and for everyone else, the same.
Before we dive into the film clips, I want to speak a little bit about the moment we are in.
International Women’s Day could not be more important and urgent than it is this year. We gather at a time when all across the globe, women are being violated, brutalized, humiliated, kidnapped, and beaten, bought and sold into sexual slavery, objectified and humiliated in pornography, denied control over their own lives and reproduction, forced to have children against their will or to risk their lives and even die to avoid it... Women are raped, stalked, viciously exploited in the factories and fields, imprisoned in veils and harassed on the street, terrorized, shamed, taught to submit, and treated as less than human. Everywhere.
Think about this: Just this past week the New York Times ran a headline exposing a “secret” Facebook group of Marines and ex-Marines that shared naked and sexually compromising pictures of female soldiers—pictures that vengeful boyfriends had leaked, pictures they had taken surreptitiously while women were changing or going to the bathroom, or pictures they had stolen. And then they traded crude comments about these women, threatening and “joking” about rape and sexual violence against these women, demeaning them for their bodies, insulting their humanity. Now, when you hear the word “secret” in the headline, you think this might have been a few Marines who ran this site... or maybe a few hundred... but no, it was 30,000 Marines. It wasn’t a “secret”—it was a widespread alliance of male supremacy and predation, tens of thousands of Marines who took part in this, who reveled in it, who bonded over it—who openly conspired together to degrade and humiliate the females they work and fight alongside. Men who have been conditioned to see these women they work and live among not as full human beings, but as sex objects to be threatened and dehumanized for sport and for bonding. This goes along with the epidemic levels of rape, sexual assault, and rampant harassment and violence against women in the military. And this is not just the military—armies are a concentration of the kind of society and the kind of relations they are fighting to protect and extend. The oppression and degradation of women, treating women like sex objects or punching bags, like breeders of children or servants of men, is a cornerstone of U.S. society—just as it is a cornerstone of all societies based on exploitation and oppression.
Or, think about this: Cervical cancer—a cancer which by its very nature only affects women—is completely preventable, but it takes the lives of a quarter of a million women worldwide every year, 4,000 women right here in the U.S.—a hugely disproportionate number of them Black women. Revolution newspaper, www.revcom.us, got into why this is, in an article last week—you should read the whole thing. Actually, you should read revcom.us every day. The article gets into the two big things that stand in the way of stopping these needless deaths of women. First, there is the “bottom line.” Like everything under capitalism, medicine is an industry. People get health care if some capitalist can make a profit—otherwise, they are left to suffer and die. Black women are doubly oppressed and disproportionately in extreme poverty, so they die needlessly in disproportionate numbers. But then there is the other part. For years, Christian fascists like those grouped around Trump have fought against the vaccine that could prevent this deadly cancer. Why? Because the main strains of cervical cancer come from sexually transmitted infections, and these woman-haters don’t want to send the message that it’s OK for women to have non-marital sex. Women, in their view, must be virgins until marriage and then breeders for their husbands. They are so opposed to women controlling their own sexuality that they have absolutely no problem punishing these women with death if they choose to have sex.
But that is not all. We gather at a time when, despite all the claims of progress and equality—and even despite the very real and heroic struggle of women to break out of many traditional forms of enslavement and oppression—all around the world, the chains of women’s oppression are being tightened, patriarchy is being violently reasserted and intensified, and women are being slammed even further backwards. Mass and repeated rape as a weapon of war. Trafficking of millions of women and young girls as sexual slaves. Shrouding women in burqas and veils and burning them with acid if they don’t submit. Sexually harassing women in the workplaces, raping them in the prisons and detention centers. Beating them in their homes—from one corner of the globe to the other.
Right here in the U.S., Donald Trump—a man who boasted about sexually assaulting women in the most crude and degrading terms, a man who has unapologetically shamed women, calling them “fat pigs” and “slobs” and “dogs,” a man who oozes arrogant contempt and hatred for women—has become president. He is not only enshrining this open, crude degradation and hatred of women as normal and acceptable from the highest office of the land, he is championing a cruel revenge against women—whipping up and giving vent to the frustration that many men have felt about having to hold back their desire to degrade and hold women down after it got challenged for a time by women rising up. Trump is ushering this back with a vengeance. And all the while, he is holding hands with that Christian fascist theocrat Mike Pence—a man who has spent decades shaming women, fighting to criminalize abortion even in cases of rape and incest, and even when the woman’s life is in danger, and who has also fought to take away birth control from women, to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ people, and to enforce Old Testament Biblical literalism as the law of the land.
One of their first acts was to sign the Global Gag Rule, which denies funding to any agency around the world that provides health care or any other services if they even so much as mention to women where they might go to find a legal, safe abortion. In other words, they are blackmailing health agencies around the world—telling them you cannot provide Ebola care or other health care if you don’t become part of denying women access to safe abortions. This immediately sentenced thousands of women to death—because when women cannot access safe, legal abortions, they die from illegal back-alley abortions. Some 70,000 women die every year around the world from lack of safe abortions. But that is not all: Millions of women have their lives foreclosed by being forced to have children against their will; they are driven into poverty or trapped in abusive relationships, or forced to drop out of school, or go to desperate measures to survive and feed their children. This has already been done by these woman-haters in the White House, and they are only getting started. They have the full intent to stamp out abortion and birth control for women altogether, including here. And let’s be very clear—this is NOT about the so-called life of the fetus, this is about controlling and enslaving women. Fetuses are not babies. Abortion is not murder. Women are not incubators. Women are full human beings.
Or look what they are doing to women who are driven in desperation to flee their countries and make the dangerous and degrading trip across the border into this country. Not only has Trump whipped up all this vicious anti-immigrant hatred... not only has he already unleashed the state to kick down doors and snatch immigrants away from their children and families... Trump is openly threatening to charge women who are detained near the border with their children with the crime of “human trafficking”! To take their children from them, detain the children and women separately—and then to charge these women with human trafficking—as if they, who are risking everything to help their children escape desperate conditions, are the criminals and traffickers! This is tantamount to the great crime of the U.S. in turning away Jewish refugees in the 1930s from Nazi Germany, but it’s worse—it’s as if they had also charged these women with crimes! All this from a boastful sexual predator!
These two men—Trump and Pence—concentrate not only the vile hatred and misogyny that stalks women all over the world, but also the ugly revenge and punishment that is being unleashed against the ways that women have risen up against and broken out of many of the traditional forms of oppression they have faced—and as a means for seeking to hold society together in a reactionary way precisely in a time when their system is going through major challenges and big changes. This violent reassertion of patriarchy is part of an all-around fascist remaking of society they are hammering into place—with their violent attacks on immigrants and Muslims, their threats against the press, their undermining of the separation of powers, their denial of climate change and frontal assault on science altogether, and much more.
It would be very difficult to overstate the profound danger this represents not only to women everywhere, but to all of humanity. This regime must not be allowed to consolidate its fascist agenda; it must be driven from power. So, we gather at a time of great and growing danger.
But this is not the only thing going on. We also live in a time of profound stirrings of resistance and outrage. It is very important that the day after Trump’s inauguration, millions of women and men poured into the streets and clogged up every major city and many small towns across this country—as well as many around the world. They could not sit home and stomach all this—they had to be among others, make their voices and outrage heard and felt. This has been followed by other very important forms of resistance—against the Muslim ban when people flooded to the airports, against the roundups of immigrants as Latino immigrants and others went on strike and took to the streets, among students rising up against fascists on their campuses and in other ways. And, just a few days ago, women across the country and around the world once again rose up—taking off work, going into the streets, wearing red, giving voice to their righteous outrage. This is extremely important—and it must be built upon, it must get even broader and more determined, and it must spread. At the same time, it must get increasingly linked up with the fight to drive this fascist regime from power—and growing numbers within it need to increasingly be linking this to the fight to make an actual revolution, to dig up the roots of this oppression by overthrowing the system that requires and reinforces this oppression, by putting an end to all exploitation and oppression and the very division of society into classes, into masters and slaves, oppressors and oppressed, exploiters and exploited.
Most of all: We gather at a time when the future of women—half of humanity—is being fiercely battled out. And this fight is completely bound up with the fight for the future of all of humanity. As Bob Avakian put it several decades ago, but which continues to be true and even sharper today:
The whole question of the position and role of women in society is more and more acutely posing itself in today’s extreme circumstances... It is not conceivable that all this will find any resolution other than in the most radical terms... The question yet to be determined is: will it be a radical reactionary or a radical revolutionary resolution; will it mean the reinforcing of the chains of enslavement or the shattering of the most decisive links in those chains and the opening up of the possibility of realizing the complete elimination of all forms of such enslavement?
The answer to this question—of whether this struggle over the role of women will be resolved in the most revolutionary and liberating of ways, or whether it will be resolved through the forceful reassertion and cementing into place of even more cruel and oppressive enslavement—is not yet determined. What we do has a lot to do with what the answer will be. And, what we understand is going to shape what we do.
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