Socialist revolution is road to women’s liberation
Published Dec 2, 2010 10:40 PM
Megan Spencer, left, with
WW photo: Bryan G. Pfeifer
Following are excerpts from Nov. 13 talk by Megan Spencer at the Workers World Party national
conference. A student activist and WWP member, Spencer is a co-founder of the
Coalition Against Sexual Violence at Michigan State University.
In globalized capitalism’s current crisis, women around the world are
facing increased oppression and attacks. Capitalism is a racist, imperialist
and misogynistic system that exploits women; colonizes, occupies and displaces
people of color; and destroys the diversity of life on the planet. The many
injustices that women worldwide are fighting against can be traced back to
their capitalist roots.
Globalized capitalism, with its imperialist expansion, must be fought and
ultimately destroyed through a socialist revolution that acknowledges and
overcomes women’s oppression, and that recognizes women’s
contributions and leadership in the struggle.
Under capitalism and patriarchy, women’s historic status as property
resulted from the division of society into exploited and exploiting classes.
Capitalism has enforced the idea that women can be reduced to resources for
reproduction, which has devalued women’s work in and outside of the home.
This and other social injustices that result from capitalism have translated
into significant threats to women’s health and well-being, particularly
for Indigenous women, women of color, immigrant and refugee women, Muslim
women, working-class and poor women, queer and transgender women, disabled
women, young women and girls, and older women.
Women around the world face violence and injustice every day, whether
it’s economic violence, sexual and domestic violence, attacks on
reproductive autonomy and food sovereignty, or ecological destruction. Many of
capitalism’s injustices affect women especially adversely. They manifest
in concrete ways in women’s lives. This is true in the United States and
Globalization is causing horrible consequences for women, especially women
workers internationally. Because women and their work have been so devalued,
women are especially underpaid and exploited in many workplaces, especially by
In Juárez, Mexico, hundreds, maybe thousands of women working in
maquiladoras have been tortured, mutilated and murdered. These murders have
gone unsolved. The companies which employ the women offer little protection.
These young women have the choice to go to work and risk being harassed,
assaulted or killed, or to not work and suffer from the poverty that NAFTA [the
North American Free Trade Agreement] has inflicted on Mexico.
Capitalism intensifies attacks
Capitalism is reaching its limits, and intensifying the attacks that oppressed
people already face. It’s not the bankers, politicians and capitalists
who suffer from this, but workers, poor people, women and people of color. No
bankers are losing their homes or worrying about how to provide food and health
care for their families, as people around the world are losing homes, jobs and
funding for education and health care due to capitalist greed.
This is evident in the U.S. foreclosure crisis, which has devastated Detroit
especially, but it is also happening because of gentrification and
environmental disasters in other areas. Look at New Orleans and the Gulf
Indigenous women in the U.S. face high rates of rape, domestic violence and
suicide, each of which is linked to their high rates of unemployment and
Internationally, many crises are being fueled by capitalism. Millions of
Haitians have been displaced and killed due to the January earthquake. Yet, the
legacy of colonialism and imperialism has intensified this crisis, as the
imperialist powers have failed to provide food, water and shelter to Haitians
in need. Haitian women, who have lost homes and families, face sexual assault
in the tent camps. Now, Haiti is facing the cholera epidemic.
In Pakistan, millions have been killed and displaced from their homes because
of the climate-change-induced flood catastrophe, which put 20 percent of the
country underwater. Displaced women face sexual assault, starvation and
disease. Rather than providing aid to human beings who are in dire need, the
U.S. imperialist war machine continues its destructive drone attacks on the
Militarism and imperialism as capitalist tools have negative consequences for
women globally, especially in occupied countries in the Middle East such as
Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. Militarism is misogynistic and homophobic in
nature. Women face many types of violence during wars and occupations, and the
policies put into place after these conflicts fail to address women’s
needs, keeping them impoverished.
Ultimately, we need to be conscious of the struggles that women are facing
within the context of capitalism, imperialism and militarism. We must recognize
how the well-being of women is so closely linked to struggles for economic and
environmental justice and against imperialism.
We must fight for a socialist revolution and align ourselves with the
resistance and militant struggles that women around the world are engaged in,
because women who are resisting injustice are facing a lot of repression and
Sister Ahlam Mohsen is a young woman of color who faces possible federal
charges and an FBI investigation for speaking out against U.S. imperialism and
militarism. She faces racism and anti-Arab repression for expressing solidarity
with the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.
We stand with women around the world who are resisting capitalism, imperialism
and misogyny, because we cannot fight for women’s liberation without
addressing occupation, militarism and racism. Solidarity is a must. Down with
capitalism! Build a Workers’ World!
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