Struggle for Women's Emancipation

marxism poster women 1 Image public domainA growing feeling of alienation, injustice and oppression is feeding a general movement of rebellion among women against the existing state of affairs. The awakening of millions of women, especially the younger generation who feel a burning indignation about the discrimination, oppression and humiliation to which they are subjected under an unjust system is a profoundly progressive and revolutionary phenomenon that we should celebrate and support with the utmost enthusiasm.

It goes without saying that Marxists stand one hundred percent in favour of the complete emancipation of women. There cannot be the slightest hesitation, ambiguity or doubt about this. We must fight against the oppression of women at all levels, not just in words but in deeds. Under no circumstances can we allow the impression that this is somehow a secondary issue that can be subsumed under the general category of the class struggle. It would be fatal for the cause of Marxism if women believed that Marxists are prepared to postpone the struggle for their rights until after the victory of socialism. That is entirely false and a vicious caricature of revolutionary Marxism.

While it is true that the complete emancipation of women (and men) can only be achieved in a classless society, it is equally true that such a society can only be achieved through the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. Women cannot be expected to put to one side their immediate, pressing demands and await the arrival of socialism. The victory of the Socialist revolution is unthinkable without the day-to-day struggle for advance under capitalism.

– From Marxism vs Identity Politics

"This transition is a difficult one, because it involves the remoulding of the most deep-rooted, inveterate, hidebound and rigid “order” (indecency and barbarity would be nearer the truth). But the transition has been started, the thing has been set in motion, we have taken the new path."

"Not a single bourgeois state, not even the most progressive, republican democratic state, has brought about complete equality of rights. But the Soviet Republic of Russia promptly wiped out, without any exception, every trace of inequality in the legal status of women, and secured her complete equality in its laws."

"The proletariat cannot achieve complete freedom, unless it achieves complete freedom for women."

"A congress is not a parlor where women display their charm, as we read in novels. A congress is a battlefield in which we fight for the knowledge we need for revolutionary action."

"Soviet Russia puts our demands for women in a new light. Under the proletarian dictatorship those demands are not objects of struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. They are part of the structure of communist society. That indicates to women in other countries the decisive importance of the winning of power by the proletariat."

"Down with the liars who are talking of freedom and equality for all, while there is an oppressed sex, while there are oppressor classes, while there is private ownership of capital, of shares, while there are the well-fed with their surplus of bread who keep the hungry in bondage. Not freedom for all, not equality for all, but a fight against the oppressors and exploiters"

"She was the sword, she was the fire, of the revolution. Rosa Luxemburg will remain one of the greatest figures in the history of international Socialism."

"The real emancipation of women, real communism, will begin only where and when an all-out struggle begins (led by the proletariat wielding the state power) against this petty housekeeping, or rather when its wholesale transformation into a large-scale socialist economy begins."

"For the first time in history, our law has removed everything that denied women rights. But the important thing is not the law. In the cities and industrial areas this law on complete freedom of marriage is doing all right, but in the countryside it all too frequently remains a dead letter."

"No matter how democratic the state may be, the woman remains a "domestic slave" under capitalism, a slave of the bedroom, nursery and kitchen."

"One must take into account the objective fact that otherwise they will snatch the appropriate passages from your pamphlet, interpret them in their own way, make your pamphlet into water pouring on their mill, distort your ideas in the workers’ eyes, “confuse” the workers""

"The recent dispute in Dublin also brought out in a very striking manner the terrible nature of the conditions under which women and girls labour in the capital city, the shocking insanitary conditions of the workshops, the grinding tyranny of those in charge, and the alarmingly low vitality which resulted from the inability to procure proper food and clothes with the meagre wages paid. Consideration of such facts inevitably leads to reflection on the whole position of women in modern Ireland, and their probable attitude towards any such change as that we are forecasting."

"The thing is not what you subjectively “mean” by this. The thing is the objective logic of class relations in affairs of love."

"We stand together in sisterly sympathy for all those who are suffering from these events, and with an unshaken determination to fulfil faithfully our duty as socialists, and not to be led astray when the international enemies of the peoples seek to deceive us, nor to be alarmed by the thrat of danger and persecution."