Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Statement of political agreement for the creation of the CANADIAN COMMUNIST LEAGUE (MARXIST-LENINIST)

VIII. The Struggle of Women: an Integral Part of the Revolutionary Movement

The source of women’s oppression lies in the private ownership of the means of production. The capitalist system is the enemy of women, and it is only through proletarian revolution and the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production and the building of socialism, that the oppression and exploitation of women can disappear.

Complete equality between men and women can only come about with the complete integration of women into economic, social and political life. The complete emancipation of women is only possible in a classless society – communist society. The struggle for women’s emancipation is an integral part of the proletarian revolution in Canada.

The struggle of women for their democratic rights and the struggle for socialism are inseparably linked. Since women suffer a specific oppression under capitalism, the struggle for their democratic rights is a just struggle. It is correct for women to organize themselves in order to fight against their particular oppression.

It is principally the task of women to take their fate into their own hands, since their liberation can only be won through their struggles. This struggle for democratic rights is a mass struggle, involving women from all classes of society.

The tasks of communists in their work with women are the following:

–our principal task in the first stage of party-building is to ensure a sustained work of communist agitation and propaganda among the masses of women, in order to mobilize them in the struggle for proletarian revolution and ensure that the most politically advanced women take their place in the ranks of the CCL(ML).
–communists, secondly, must support the democratic demands of women, and do this, not as

a minimum, a reform program in the sense of the Social-Democrats, of the Second International. It is not a recognition that we believe in the eternal character, or even in the long duration of the rule of the bourgeoisie and their state. It is not an attempt to appease women by reforms and to divert them from the path of revolutionary struggle. It is not that nor any other reformist swindle. Our demands are practical conclusions which we have drawn from the burning needs, the shameful humiliation of women in bourgeois society, defenseless and without rights. We demonstrate thereby that we recognize these needs, and are aware of the humiliation of the woman, the privileges of the man. That we hate, yes, hate everything and will abolish everything which tortures and oppresses the (woman). (Clara Zetkin, Lenin on the Woman Question).

Only in this way, will communists win the confidence of the masses of women and weave close links with them in the struggle against their specific oppression. Communists must show the masses of women that only the dictatorship of the proletariat can guarantee them equal rights and economic, social and political liberation.

The working class, through its communist party, plays the leading role in the struggle for the emancipation of women. The struggle of women for their democratic rights is carried out by the masses of women. These democratic rights, to name a few, are: equal pay for equal work; paid maternity leave; free, parent-controlled daycare; birth control (that is to say, accessibility to contraception and free abortion on demand).

To the extent that we can speak of men’s right to work in the capitalist system, women – because of their position as domestic slaves, of the division of labour according to sex – have a particular interest in struggling for this fundamental right.

Relations between people, between men and women, as well as their attitudes are the result of the private form of ownership. Women suffer a double oppression – that caused by capital and that caused by family dependence and housework. The total emancipation of women is a very long and complex process. It implies not only a free woman, but also a society completely rid of economic, social and political oppression, free from attitudes and prejudices foreign to socialism, especially the idea of male supremacy, (the feeling of domination in men towards women and the submissive attitude of women towards men). Communists must take up the task of resolutely struggling against all bourgeois ideas among the masses.

Socialist revolution creates the basis for the participation of women at all levels of society; in helping to resolve the questions posed by the revolution, woman are at the same time moving forward the struggle for their own emancipation. Socialist revolution assures women of equal rights with men. However, the struggle against male supremacy continues during the period of socialism and will only be completed in a classless society. Though this struggle must mainly be carried out in the ideological sphere, the possibility of using other necessary measures, for example, administrative ones, should not be ruled out.

Communists have to pursue a persistent struggle against feminism, both among the masses and in their own ranks. This includes the struggle against all bourgeois deviations such as:

–turning women away from the struggle for proletarian revolution and limiting their movement to the struggle for democratic rights; or
–making men the source of women’s oppression.

The CCL(ML) must develop a program to guide its work among women and to guide women in the proletarian revolution. This program must be based on a concrete analysis of the position of Canadian women and must put forward the democratic demands of women. The CCL(ML) must carry out consistent struggle against male chauvinism in its own ranks and ensure the development of cadre among communist women. It has to ensure sustained educational work on the women question among its members and must see to answering the specific needs of women members. Even though, in the final analysis, only the Marxist-Leninist party can lead the broad masses of women in the struggle for proletarian revolution and for their complete emancipation in a communist society, the CCL(ML) must undertake sustained work among the masses of women.