International Woman’s Day:  A reflection


The fact that there is an International Woman’s Day is a demonstration of just how far we are from being a fully human civilization. But if women are to get free they are going to have to be about everybody else’s freedom as well, they too have to reject capitalism and the values of the patriarchal Masters.

Women in Spain went on strike today declaring, “we claim a society free of oppression, exploitation and sexual violence…We call for rebellion against the alliance between patriarchy and capitalism that wants us to be docile, submissive and silent.”

Recently a story was released about a Black tourist in Spain who was attacked by a Spanish (White) woman who told him she could do anything she wanted to him and could get away with it. Spanish authorities proved her wrong and have charged her. But her point was made. While millions have gone on strike to highlight the disparities between the treatment of women and men, there are some that are likely holding on to the master’s values.

When the sexual predators in Hollywood were exposed, it also revealed that some folks were susceptible to the bribes offered by criminals like Harvey Weinstein,  because they shared the same materialist values as their abusers. This is not meant to disparage those that were victimized, because they are victims in every sense of the word.

In the case of some of the more outlandish sexual misbehavior by public figures like Matt Lauer, too many women knew about his ability to lock his door with a button in his desk and said nothing.

Therefore it is important that as women seek to advance themselves, they reject the materialism of neo-liberal capitalism which tempts folks to sell their selves and their souls.

Women like other oppressed folks have to be one another’s advocates. And yes even in the face of potential ostracism.

Women have learned the hard way, like oppressed minorities that all women aren’t on their side. Margaret Thatcher ran British Imperialism quite well, Angela Merkel held the line on patriarchal German capitalism. Aung San Suu Kyi current Prime Minister of Myammar after surviving years of abuse and detention at the hands of the government now sits as one of the leaders of that government which ignores the plight of the Muslim minority Rohingya.

Sexism/patriarchy exists in the developed world and developing world because it is profitable.  At bottom it is a function of class society, which seeks to separate us all, thus making ruling easier. The social devaluation of women leads to their economic devaluation. It makes sense that women are paid less for the same work that men perform if it is accepted that women are unequal to men.

Therefore the women’s movement like other movements (if it is really to be successful ) has to call out global capitalism. As that great African revolutionary Thomas Sankara put it, “the status of women will improve only with the elimination of the system that exploits them….”

Unfortunately like movements of others oppressed by class society, women are also infiltrated by collaborators; Aunt Thomasina’s(men are Uncle Tom’s)

Ironically, these sell outs are placed at the front of the movements for women’s rights by the men who run these patriarchal set ups.

The US women’s march was a prime example of this, as it was themed, “Hear our Voice Hear our Vote” but didn’t make any demands on the power structure. There was no accompanying platform for which women could vote.

There was a lot of speechifying by liberals and Democratic Party supporters but no real program was advanced.

There was no call for more stringent sentencing of men found guilty of sexual assault. There was no call for changing the rules that favor the victimizer over the victim. There was no demand for equal pay, for equal work. There was no demand for the end to the assault on Planned Parenthood, which also provides valuable prenatal care to poor women. There was no call for government run daycare, which would make it easier for parents to enter the workplace. There was no call for salary increases for day care providers. No call for extended paid maternal leave, which some European countries offer.

These are demands which US women can be organized around , but the liberal Democratic party operatives get out front so that real demands aren’t raised and prevent real organizing around these issues from being done.

As others have learned identity politics alone won’t carry the day.

And it’s not enough to brow beat individual men, or groups of men, as on occasion some well- meaning Black women’s groups have done to Black men. While Black men ought to be held responsible for their sexism and misbehavior,  it ought to be recognized that they too are victims. And that if this patriarchal anti -woman and sexist system were pulled up by the root, it would stop producing sexist men.

Women can’t get free without making real demands on the system that oppress them along with rejecting the values of that system. And women won’t get free without helping other folks get free.  And to paraphrase Sankara, the emancipation of woman present our best hope of achieving a world of justice, prosperity, equality and freedom. As one woman said, “When women stop the world stops.”

justice then peace


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