Guns, Sisters, Guns


First Published: Red Star, No. 5, March 1971
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The first instruments of production were the first weapons, the club and the spear, the bow and arrow. These were the tools of the hunt. Weapons were the basis of the first great division of labor which took place in primitive savage society. The women did not participate in the hunt (not convenient to pregnancy), and the instruments of the hunt were in the hands of the males, products of the owners labor and buried with him. This first form of property, which arose as the personal possessions of males, took a great historical leap as savagery gave way to barbarism and ownership of herds of cattle became the second form of property. Private property was the basis upon which class society was founded. However, the appearance of property in the form of substantial herds of cattle did not immediately give rise to classes, so long as inheritance of property fell in the line of the mothers which was true of the pairing family. The first expression of the class struggle was the subjugation of the females by the males through the enforcement of monogamy (one husband). Monogamy overthrow the mother-right and weapons and herds which were the domain of the males as well as the land which was tilled collectively by the women were now in possession of the father to he inherited by his son.

Class society began with the female and the male diametrically opposed. Class struggle has given rise to two diametrically opposed classes: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The overthrowal of class society is ultimately the struggle of the women for their own emancipation in a communist society.

State power was enforced in its earliest and most decentralized form: the males exercised property right by establishing their paternity through the enslavement of women. The tools of the hunt became the weapons through which men subdued the women. Class society first takes the form of chattel slavery. The fathers applied to ”their” women the same principle that they used in the maintenance of herds: domesticated animals give not only the benefit of their products, but also were capable of reproducing. The first slaves were not cattle, however, but chattel. Slavery was superseded by feudalism without overthrowing slavery, but maintaining it in a new form. During feudalism military knighthoods and robber barons led armies of males to the pope’s holy war and against the masses of revolutionary peasants. Women were in the leadership of the peasant rebellions. It was during feudalism that the contradiction between men and women reached its most antagonistic point, with the burning alive of 9 million “witches.” Throughout history it has been the interest of the ruling classes to keep women unarmed and unorganized, physically weakened, without weapons or military experience. Standing armies arose with the bourgeois nation-state, conscripted armies of workingclass males with their ruling officer elites drawn from the bourgeoisie. Only by totally disarming the women could the ruling class perpetuate the slavery of all women and most men. The proletariat, whose dictatorship is the only state in history in which women exercise state power, also create the army of a new type in which women freely enlist and fight with equality. The army is the main component of state power; it is a question of who possesses the gun (the modern weapon) which determines who shall wield state power. There is no greater threat to the ruling class than the masses of workingwomen in arms. The whole system of slavery founded upon the enslavement of women is bound to fall.

We must initiate our revolutionary struggle with the organization of military units, first on the fundamental level of self-defense, then on the level of armed defense groups which will ultimately be forged into a RED ARMY. In order to bring about our total emancipation, it is necessary for workingwomen to learn unarmed combat and train themselves to shoot accurately. We shall liberate ourselves with the weapons, which, in the hands of the ruling classes, have been used to oppress us.

WOMEN’S ARMED DEFENSE GROUPS