Make room for working women!

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All reactionary bourgeois political movements that appear and develop on the planet—from Trump in the United States or Bolsonaro in Brazil to the xenophobic and fascist parties in Europe, through jihadism and islamist dictatorships—concentrate their most heinous political attacks against the rights of women. The latter constitute everywhere, with migrants, ethnical and sexual minorities, the scapegoat offered to “fatherland” in order to shoulder the faults of capitalism, which transformed each of these countries into an economic, social and political garbage pile.

Everywhere in the world, women are the first victims of the effects of crisis, unemployment, austerity and job insecurity. And they already started from a markedly inferior level to that of their male colleagues, in terms of job quality and wage. In general, their domestic work load remains far superior to that of men and they continue to be in their majority the ones who take care of children, elderly persons, chronically ill and disabled people. All these tasks should fall on the whole society.

Within the 21st century, millions of women still suffer from genital mutilations, forced juvenile marriages and sexual slavery. Working women from the poorest countries are the main victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation purposes, and this activity knows an exponential growth in all countries, in particular the richest ones.

Macho domination in the family, professional and social environments, physical and psychological violence towards women, the commodification of their bodies or their reduction to a breeding animal, not only do not disappear, but find, on the contrary, an increased ideological support in religions and in the new reactionary political currents that develop and, when they govern, aim first and foremost at increasing as much as possible exploitation and destroying the gains and rights conquered by workers.

Religions, patriarchy, misogynist and macho ideology—as well as xenophobia, racism or homophobia—have been used by the capitalist class, since it exists, as a powerful instrument of division inside working classes. This division provides a great mass of cheap working women brought up to submission. That is why the oppression of women, in particular of working ones, never totally disappears and is mitigated only where great social struggles unfolded for their liberation … when the bourgeoisie did not succeed in cancelling them.

The right to free abortion on demand, for instance, was introduced for the first time in history by the Russian revolution. It took decades of fierce struggle to obtain that abortion would no more be a crime in a certain number of countries. But today, this right is called into question in almost all of these countries. Fascist-Christians threaten doctors in Ireland, in the United States … Trump in the United States, the PP and VOX in Spain, the governments of Brazil, Poland, Hungary, Austria, among others, are intent on doing away with it. Nevertheless, the victories of women in Spain in 2014 and in Poland in 2016, compelling their respective governments to withdraw anti-abortion laws, announced a new wave of important mobilisations in numerous countries, which culminated on March 8, 2018, and which can repeat themselves, indeed grow, in 2019.

With two epicentres, one in Argentina and the other in Spain, recent mobilisations have the merit of having started to break, in part, the iron-collar of decayed bourgeois and petty-bourgeois feminism that has dominated since decades, up to stifling it, the women’s liberation movement. The actual process rests on the organisation by all kinds of associations, open assemblies, generally neighbourhood assemblies, which, in both countries, succeeded in extending their roots among young working women. Thus, the specific demands of working women, migrants, ethnical minorities have naturally made their way among those of the of the working class, confronted as a whole to its exploiters. A “class feminism”, as it designates itself, develops itself resting, at least in Spain, on minority labour unions (CGT, CNT, COS, etc.). Class struggle develops itself, at last, inside feminism, and the inclusion of demands of working women into those of the whole working class reinforces mobilisations. However, in the absence of a genuine revolutionary organisation proposing a coherent programme, the adopted methods and aims are sometimes contradictory and often very confused, loaded with a dominant ideology centred about the private sphere, moralising and charity-minded, so characteristic of North-American petty-bourgeois and bourgeois feminism.

In Spain, the movement’s coordination, meeting in Valence at the beginning of February, called for a “feminist general strike”, in fact for a day of strike without concrete objective to tear from employers or the government. The “sorority” currents that practice the war of sexes speak only to women, while the “class struggle” currents call on both sexes to join together in the strike, in a solidary and common struggle directed, of course, by working women, and call on organisations of the working class to take their demands again.

We consider as a duty and necessity that the whole working class and all its organisations commit themselves resolutely for the defence of the freedom and equality of women in all domains, for the defence of their right to control their life, their body and their reproductive capacity, and for the defence of all their specific demands as working women, especially exploited and oppressed.

We also consider that only a global programmatic vision having as objective to definitively put an end to class society, which lies at the origin of every oppression, can give to the struggle for women’s liberation and for the demands of working women the perspective that unifies it and integrates it to the definitive liberation of the whole working class.

With Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zetkin and Alexandra Kollontai: Make room for working women!

  • Against all forms of discrimination and oppression of women.
  • For work sharing between all, the reduction of the working day without wage cut, until unemployment is completely absorbed.
  • Against precarious work and for real wage equality between men and women.
  • Wages, benefits and pensions allowing all workers to live decently.
  • Plentiful free high-quality public services, for the care of children, sick and dependent persons.
  • Decent housing for all workers.
  • For the immediate elimination of any religion in school. For a unique, secular, free and mixed public school.
  • Scientific sexual education axed on love and respect of one’s own sexual freedom and of that of others, whatever one’s orientation.
  • No form of direct or indirect funding to the various religious faiths.
  • Free contraception and abortion on demand covered by public health. Defence of a universal, free and secular public health. Respect and adequate medical treatment for specifically feminine pathologies and diseases.
  • Against objectification and commodification of women. For the banning and criminalisation of pimping. For the banning of surrogate motherhood.
  • Right to freely and safely cross borders for all workers and studying youths. Down with walls and borders!
  • Against macho justice and all forms of media lynching. Purge of all reactionary judges. For a truly democratic, non-sexist justice, with judges elected and revocable by councils of workers.
  • For a workers’ government towards a classless society, without exploitation and oppression. For international socialism.

March 8, 2019

IKC / Spanish State
TML / Brazil
FT-VP / Brazil