7 June 2010

Women’s Power


Women’s Power

This is an additional text to the last of the ten parts of our CU Generic Course called “No Woman, No Revolution”, of which the main text is the compilation of articles on women from Umsebenzi Online that was previously commented upon, and which will be discussed at our physical get-together on Thursday, the details of which are as follows: 

The Communist University will be meeting in the SACP boardroom, COSATU House, Braamfontein until further notice. The next session will be as follows: 
  • Date: 10 June (Thursday)
  • Time: 17h00 sharp to 18h30 sharp
  • Venue: The SACP boardroom, 3rd floor, COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, corner Biccard, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
  • Topic: Umsebenzi Online on Women

During this course we have looked at the “woman’s question” in a practical way. Especially we have said that it is a revolutionary necessity that the women should be organised en masse in order that they should become a collective “Subject of History”. But we have not closely examined this thing called “Subject of History”.

Simply, being a “Subject of History” means having the power to act, as in the revolutionary slogan “Power to the People!” It means being free. It means having “agency”.

The item linked below is “Postmodernism & Hindu Nationalism” by Meera Nanda [pictured]. In this context this piece of writing can help readers to understand how, in a triple context of philosophy, national liberation and feminism, the crucial or pivotal point of struggle is usually exactly this question of agency.

Postmodernism philosophy, reactionary nationalism and mystical feminism all bear down upon the concept of freedom, attempting to crush it. All try to return the people in general and women in particular to the condition of inevitable bondage and victimhood of circumstances.

What is common to all of these aspects, whether in India or in South Africa, is the evacuation of popular agency and refusal of the mass Subject of History following the liberation struggle, which in both cases promised precisely this thing (freedom) above all other things.

In India the promise was “Swaraj and in South Africa, “Power to the People”. Independence and national sovereignty were supposed to be inseparable from mass popular agency.

In practice, political independence co-existed with bourgeois dictatorship and neo-colonialism, and these latter factors trumped and negated the mass popular power, including organised women’s power.

Revolutionary organs of people’s power were dismantled. Golden Calfs were raised up instead of the slogans of popular power. These substitutes were the slogans of bourgeois nationalism, national mystique, women’s solidarity versus men, and the cult that holds inanimate things (the earth, the environment) to be more valuable than humanity.

In all cases the remedy will best be that of the SACP: Educate, Organise and Mobilise.


Main Text:


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