15 August 2009

No Woman, No Revolution

[CU for Monday 17 August 2009]

Feminism, particularly in the field of politics itself, has often proved to work to the advantage of the bourgeoisie. Examples would be the elevation of Helen Zille, Margaret Thatcher, Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright and Hilary Clinton to leadership.

What happens in those cases is that agitation leads to a correct requirement that more women be promoted to leadership. But then, at the critical moment, no female candidate appears, except the well-prepared female candidate of the reactionaries. The result is a catastrophe for all, and especially for the women

In the Umsebenzi Online of 6 August 2009 the SACP General Secretary, Dr Blade Nzimande, wrote that the majority of the membership of the Young Communist League at present is young black women.

This remarkable achievement ranks alongside of the achievement of the 52nd National Conference of the African National Congress which elected a National Executive Committee that consists of 50% women and 50% men.

This indicates that there is now an established stream of women cadres at an equivalent scale to men, and that their placement in leadership is happening. These achievements are the result of consistent work and determination over many years. They cannot be regarded as extra, or simply “nice-to-have”. They are necessary building blocks of Socialism.

The proletarian revolution is inconceivable without the involvement of the more than 50% of the population which is female. That is the general situation.

But the particular situation is that the working-class movement and its allies must be able to find winning female candidates at all levels and must never again be put in the position of seeing a reactionary being elected because she is a woman, only because there is no working-class woman candidate.

Alexandra Kollontai [pictured] understood all this very well. In 1908 she wrote: The feminists seek equality in the framework of the existing class society, in no way do they attack the basis of this society.” (the full document is linked below). “Where, then, is that general “woman question”? Where is that unity of tasks and aspirations about which the feminists have so much to say? A sober glance at reality shows that such unity does not and cannot exist,” wrote Kollontai.

This text will be followed in coming days by others relating to women, under the general series title of “No Woman, No revolution”.

Click on this link:

Social Basis of the Woman Question, abstract, Kollontai, 1909 (6619 words)


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