Where Does this War Against Women Come From?
Why is it so Vicious?
Real Revolution Could Not Come a Minute Too Soon!
by Sunsara Taylor | July 30, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Last night in Minneapolis, a woman came up to me at the church where we held a stop on the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride and said, "I am old enough to remember back when abortion was illegal and I never thought we'd end up back here. How did this happen and what is it going to take to make sure that when you are my age you aren't still having to fight this?"
This is a common sentiment that we have run into on this Abortion Rights Freedom Ride. Along with the tremendous courage and depth of support that has poured forward from women and men of all ages, including women very courageously sharing their stories of getting abortions back when it was illegal, has been tremendous searching and questioning as to where these attacks are really coming from, why they are so vicious, and what—if anything—can be done to really defeat and bring into being a world where women are actually treated as full human beings. This has come up not only among those who went through the '60s and '70s but also from younger people who are just waking up to political life.
So what is it going to take to ensure that future generations don't have to keep fighting this battle?
It is going to take revolution, nothing less. In particular, it is going to take communist revolution as it has been re-envisioned by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Interestingly, there are a great many people who are immediately intrigued and eager to get into that. They are clearly hungering for deeper answers, and I intend to write more about this interaction in the days to come. But here I want to speak to the way that this truth-telling from me gets some people nervous. "Abortion is controversial enough, please don't bring communism into it," is the sentiment these people express.
But the question must be asked, "Why is abortion so controversial?" It is a safe, common, medical procedure that absolutely is NOT killing a baby and is totally a moral decision for a woman to make, so WHY is it controversial?
The reason that abortion is controversial is because we live in a society where women, despite the pronouncements of "equality achieved" and advances made, are NOT viewed or treated as full human beings. We live in a society where women are socialized to find their worth in being attractive and useful to men, where men are socialized to view women as objects of sexual service or domestic care, where the cult of motherhood (the idea that women's highest achievement and duty in life is to bear and rear children) is alive and aggressively reasserting itself and where violence and disrespect against women is omnipresent and escalating. We live in a society, like all societies divided into classes before it, that requires patriarchy (that is, the systematic domination of women by men—including the control over women's reproduction, sexuality and childbearing in particular) for its overall functioning. This society requires this kind of control over women and their reproduction in order to maintain property and inheritance lines, social position, and the distribution of wealth from one generation to the next, in this world where some possess obscene wealth while others scrape and starve and watch their children die by the millions of preventable disease. We live in a society which gives rise to and fosters and encourages the most vicious exploitation and oppression and degradation and humiliation of women.
As such, the very notion that a woman would choose to pursue something other than child-bearing is deemed "selfish." Choosing to terminate a pregnancy is viewed as deviating from this "essential role" and, really, the "only acceptable role" for women. Bearing children is still viewed by millions and millions in this society, by the dominant culture which is shaped by the capitalist-imperialist and deeply patriarchal system we live under, as the only way women can redeem themselves for the crime of being born female. (No, this is not merely an outmoded and horrific mandate written into the Bible—though it is that—it is also a cohering and dominant norm of the society we live in.)
Not only this, but this whole system is going through major changes on a global scale driven by the workings of capitalism-imperialism itself—massive migrations of people searching for work and survival, the ever-deeper penetration of imperialist markets into the Third World, the tremendous destruction of wars, and much more. This has brought the question of the role and position of women ever more acutely to the fore in every part of the world—and the question of whether women will be further enslaved and pushed backwards or whether millions will rise to challenge and shatter these outmoded generations of oppression is ever more sharply posed.
This is why there are so many attacks right now on abortion. It is also why so many, even among those who support this right, are defensive about abortion. But it is also why there is a tremendous material basis for millions upon millions to see and to act on the fact that the world no longer has to be this way, if there is a core that fights for this understanding with scientific certitude and the confidence to lead.
All this actually underscores why we MUST bring communism and real communist revolution into this fight. Because, as important and essential as it is to be standing up against the attacks on abortion rights, to be challenging the stigma on abortion, to be defending the doctors who risk their lives every day to provide abortions, to be resisting each new attack (and there are so, so many these days) on women's access to abortion, to be connecting all this up in a massive, uncompromising, nationwide, totally undefensive resistance that mobilizes millions and changes the terms all throughout society on this fight, it is only through revolution that the soil which gives rise to this war on women will be dug up once and for all.
Real revolution, communist revolution as it has been re-envisioned by Bob Avakian goes to the roots of this war on women, and male domination more generally, in the system of capitalism-imperialism and all systems before it that have been divided into antagonistic classes. This revolution provides the only real means to get rid of the relations of production and economic base of society that requires and gives rise to the putrid culture which has, as one very essential element in it, the constant degradation and subordination of women. And this new synthesis of revolution and communism that Bob Avakian has brought forward has the most thoroughgoing approach to really tapping into and unleashing the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution—grasping that real liberation for anyone is impossible without the full liberation of women, and recognizing the positive and driving force for revolution that is this struggle against all forms of male domination, patriarchy, and the degradation of women.
And besides, as most people know, the war on women is far from the only crime of this system—whether you want to talk about the modern-day, state-sanctioned lynching of Trayvon Martin and all that it concentrates about the fate of Black and Brown youth everywhere, or the environmental destruction which is an inevitable outgrowth of a profit-before-all system, or the unending wars of aggression and drones and spying and solitary confinement and war on immigrants and horrific everyday exploitation that is woven into the clothes we wear and the cars we drive and the cell phones we talk on and all the rest (because this is the only way things get produced on a mass scale under capitalism).
So, while it is very important to stress to everyone that whether you are a communist or not, if you care about women you really must join with the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride and fight for it to be as strong and as galvanizing as possible with reverberations all throughout society... while it is important that people join with this effort based on the extreme state of emergency and based on the fact that this Freedom Ride is speaking to and acting to meet the great need of this moment to call forward mass public resistance to turn the tide in this war on women... and while it is very, very wrong to allow anyone to scare you away from this just because there are communists involved or because this might make things more controversial...
Even more fundamentally and importantly for all who want to see a way out of this nightmare once and for all, you should welcome the fact that there are communists at the core of this movement, you should welcome the fact that the Revolutionary Communist Party has a program and strategy to put an end to all this horror and oppression that has been the fate of those born female in every part of the world for thousands of years, you should eagerly engage with the new synthesis of communism brought forward by Bob Avakian through decades of rigorous and dedicated struggle, and you should start relating to and strengthening the movement for revolution that is being built now, and you should join with us in giving everything we can to strengthening this fight to defeat the war on women in a way that lays the basis for, organizes people into, the real solution that humanity needs. A very good place to start this engagement is A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity. Fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution. The real revolution could not come a minute too soon!
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