World March of Women - Reform or Revolution?

Manifesto at the Women's Day

After centuries of fighting for freedom and equality, what have we got?

  • we still earn less than men for the same work - globally we earn 40% less;
  • Equal Pay legislation has failed. In those countries which introduced legislation - some more than 30 years ago - women still earn 75% of male wages (in the US it’s more like 58% if you’re not white);
  • domestic violence worldwide is getting worse. It is reaching epidemic proportions in countries like Britain. In some poorer states half of all women and girls suffer from domestic violence and 60 million are currently ‘missing’ - most killed by their own families;
  • gender apartheid is alive and well in parts of the world like Iran and Afghanistan, where women face segregation and open hostility and discrimination;
  • rape as a military strategy is also increasing. In wars like those in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda rape is used by the military against civilians. In the Gulf War the US even used it against their own military personnel;
  • even in ‘peacetime’ violence against women is increasing. One woman is raped every 17 minutes in Canada, every 5 minutes in the US. In Canada, 1 woman in 8 will be sexually abused by the time she reaches 18.

Far from being the dream of liberation presented by some feminists, the workplace is a living hell for most working class women. Not only are pay and conditions getting worse but sexual abuse is rife. Even in richer countries like Canada, 10% of all women are reporting some kind of abuse in their workplace. The more the capitalist crisis deepens the more it needs to seek out cheap, flexible part-time labour and women are perfect. It relies as never before on the exploitation of working class women and children, most of whom are sinking deeper and deeper into poverty. Worldwide rural poverty has increased by over 50% since the start of capitalism’s present economic crisis in the '70’s. Slavery is one of the answers capitalism has found. One million women and children are sold as slaves each year, and more than 30 million women have been sold worldwide, many into the multi-billion dollar sex trade.

For feminists the answer to all this is to have more women in positions of power. Unfortunately they don’t mean power by working class women to run society as a whole. They mean individual women ‘making it’ under capitalism. They ignore the fact this means exploiting other women. They also ignore the fact that some women are doing very nicely under the present social set up. Feminism can’t get round the fact that capitalism is based on the violent exploitation of one class by another and it has inequality at its very core. If you’re female and belong to the exploited class then the best thing you can hope for is the chance to be exploited on equal terms with men. If you’re rich then inequality isn’t a problem. It is the working class who pay for this system, especially those who are most disadvantaged, from women and children to the old and immigrants. Capitalism can’t end oppression because it thrives on divisions, between men and women, between races, between religions, ages, nations, whatever it can think of, and feminism is just another of the ideologies it uses to do this. Capitalism only exists only to make a profit, and it exploits women and children to the death to get it.

We want working class women to have real power.

Instead of pleading for equal pay with men, we want the overthrow of the wages system. Instead of asking for equality under capitalism, we want its abolition. We want a society of freely associated producers who produce for human need and don’t exploit for profit.

We’re fighting for communism because it is the only realistic way to fight inequality and the violence and oppression that goes with it.

Fight with us!