Women and gender-nonconforming people: Nothing to lose but our chains

This is a slightly edited version of a talk given during the“What Road To Socialism?” webinar held by Workers World Party on May 16.

In his book “High Tech, Low Pay,” Sam Marcy, the late Workers World Party chairperson, talks about how technology has diminished the number of skilled workers compared to unskilled workers, changing the social composition of labor. 

So there are more women, Black, Latinx and LGBTQ2+ people in the workforce.   There are fewer privileged workers, and their influence is lessened.  The political leadership has shifted to the working-class elements — those who know intimately what racism, sexism, misogyny, bigotry and xenophobia are.  They are more left, more conscious and more militant.   

An estimated 47 percent of the workforce is women.  Sam Marcy calls that the “feminization of labor.”

Women and gender-nonconforming people are literally fighting for our lives!

Consciousness about class, race, capitalism and imperialism is rising; it is starting to take leaps and bounds — and finally leaping into action. 

Women begin to realize they have nothing to lose but their chains. In the past couple of years, we have witnessed women rising up and taking bold action, demanding justice, dignity, respect and a living wage.  They are prisoners, sex workers, teachers, hotel workers, nurses, immigrants, Black, Latinx, Indigenous and Dalit. And they are reproductive justice fighters,  mothers taking over abandoned housing and many others. 

Every day women are fighting against sexual abuse, harassment and violence.  Domestic violence is on the rise.  Women are viewed as private property.  Some women fight every minute of every day just to stay alive because they have debilitating post traumatic stress disorder from living under capitalism.  

But let us gain courage and strength by going back a few years to the dawn of humanity when there was a matriarchy, meaning the “absence of male supremacy,”    the absence of patriarchy.  If we look back at all of human history as 365 days, one year’s time, the matriarchy existed for 360 days!  Please don’t forget this. 

V.I. Lenin, leader of the Russian Revolution, said: “It has been observed in the experience of all liberation movements that the success of a revolution depends on the extent to which women (and gender nonconforming people) take part in it.”

Through our work in the Party, we can bring women together.  We can listen, deep-organize, educate and empower each other.  We can establish Women’s Assemblies.  We can revitalize the Women’s Fightback Network. 

The coronavirus has highlighted what we know: Socialism is the medicine we need!  The Internationale, the song that is the universal anthem of the working class and oppressed the world over, proclaims: “The earth shall rise on new foundations.  We have been naught. We shall be all!”

Eckfeldt (she/her) has been a member of the WWP Boston branch for over 40 years. She is a mother of three, a nurse, a retired member of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers, and a a founder of the Women’s Fightback Network in Boston.   

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