Revolution #225, February 27, 2011
From "A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity"
Revolutionary State Power—A Most Liberating Thing
The following excerpt is taken from a special issue of Revolution newspaper, "A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity," published for International Women's Day, March 8, 2009. Anyone who has any desire to know why HALF of humanity remains in chains because of their gender… who wants to understand the oppression of women AND what can actually be done to radically uproot this oppression and bring into being a world without it… needs to read, discuss and get deeply into this Declaration. Go online at revcom.us, visit a Revolution Books store (listed on page 15), or ask your local Revolution newspaper distributor to help you get a copy of this Declaration.
Imagine if the pent-up anger, as well as the creativity and yearning for a different way of living, that burns inside women were unleashed and given conscious direction; if it became fuel in not only challenging any and every form of women's oppression but in contributing to the development and revolutionization of society and the world as a whole.
Imagine if half of humanity were no longer forced to live with the ever-present knowledge that at any time of day or night, in their own homes or on the street, they could be attacked and raped—by conquering soldiers, predatory strangers, and most often by their own so-called "lovers." Imagine what it would feel like if women could walk the earth truly free of that kind of fear.
It's not just a dream—it is possible.
In many ways, and particularly for men, the woman question and whether you seek to completely abolish or to preserve the existing property and social relations and corresponding ideology that enslave women (or maybe "just a little bit" of them) is a touchstone question among the oppressed themselves. It is a dividing line between "wanting in" and really "wanting out": between fighting to end all oppression and exploitation—and the very division of society into classes—and seeking in the final analysis to get your part in this.
Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
Imagine if never again did a woman know what it was to sell her body as a desperate last resort to feed herself or her children, or in any other way have her sexuality forced or coerced.
Imagine, instead, if sexuality and intimacy became for everyone something only engaged in when it was free and voluntary and on the basis of mutual respect, equality and a shared desire. Imagine young people growing up with the education and support they need to explore healthy relationships and sex when they are ready, unburdened by physical danger or unnecessary emotional harm.
It's not just a dream—it is possible.
Think what it means that today for men there is no insult that hits harder than being called a "pussy" or a "fag." Now, imagine a day when people look back at today's restrictive notions of gender—of what it is to be a "man" and what it is to be a "woman"—as mind-boggling absurdities of humanity's oppressive past.
Imagine a society in which women were not evaluated on the basis of physical beauty standards, their human worth and potential reduced to one or another body part—but instead were related to as human beings, in the fullest sense.
Imagine if abortion and birth control were available to all women at all times without stigma or apology. Imagine if everyone learned the science surrounding women's biology—as well as science and the scientific method more broadly—so that never again could so-called "holy men" prey on people's ignorance to heap the weight of tradition, the shackles of forced motherhood, and the suffocation of shame on women for exercising these most fundamental rights.
It's not just a dream—it is possible—and it is urgently crying out to be done.
But imagine more than this.
Imagine if all this were insisted on and given guidance and resources by a new revolutionary state and its communist leadership. Now imagine, if in that context and on that foundation, a whole process were unleashed in which debate and dissent were actually encouraged throughout society. Where those who were impatient at the rate of change were not suppressed, but given a platform to criticize and the reins to experiment. Imagine if people from all parts of society and different backgrounds were working together to spring into the air, and to radically change, all of human relations established through thousands of years of tradition's chains.
Imagine if, instead of being a place where people's need for love and compassion is so often frustrated and even mocked, families themselves were undergoing a radical transformation. Imagine marriages and partnerships forged on a truly voluntary basis in a context where love, respect, compassion and equality were increasingly characterizing the way people related throughout society. Imagine if people had privacy and ease of mind within their homes, but if, at the same time, everyone knew that if they experienced abuse or other forms of degradation they would be supported by society and its institutions if they came forward to expose it, struggle against it, or leave.
Imagine if people were aiming to go even further, developing new forms of community and ways in which people sustained each other, and mutually flourished together, that were increasingly breaking down and creating the basis to finally transcend the institution of family based on the narrow—and narrowing—ties of biological kinship.
Imagine if, as a transition to that, in diverse ways, from among different communities and in their interrelations, society as a whole—both men and women—began taking responsibility for and finding joy in the rearing of new generations. Children would no longer be the property of their parents—neither expected to fulfill their parents' dreams nor lacking options because of their parents' hardships—and the idea of "illegitimacy" would again go out of existence and be regarded as the outmoded and outrageous notion it is. Imagine a whole new generation reared with play that no longer inculcated young minds with notions of boys being better than girls or one people better than another. Imagine each new generation coming up instilled with the ethos of a new society that prioritized the common good while unleashing critical thinking, creativity and individual expression.
Imagine a society where creative energies were no longer channeled into ever-descending new ways to demean women and accentuate oppressive social divisions, but instead, without the restrictions of gender or other unequal and oppressive social divisions, people broadly were brought into the process of creating art that uplifts people, challenges them to think critically, and expands their horizons. Imagine boys and men not mired in stupid and exploitative "guy culture," no longer influenced by a lifetime of bombardment with images of women's bodies, half-naked and half-starved, used to sell everything from consumer goods to ideology and wars—boys and men able instead to relate to women as equal human beings. Imagine the flowering of this radically new and liberating culture–founded on equality and mutual respect between men and women and between different cultures and peoples, teeming with diversity, and filled with fun as well as seriousness, meaning as well as humor, critical thought as well as exploration and beauty.
Imagine how all this would create a whole different atmosphere in which people would encounter each other and relate. Imagine the conversations it would give rise to and the new thinking it would generate. Imagine if, as one young woman said after having her horizons expanded by stepping into the revolutionary movement, "you walked into coffee shops and overheard young women talking about philosophy and how to solve humanity's biggest problems instead of the size of their butts." Imagine how this would help fuel and give initiative to, and interact positively with, innovations in the sciences and sports, education and philosophy, and all the other realms of human activity and thought.
Imagine if outbreaks of struggle against vestiges of the oppression of women—even where they ran up against or "disrupted" other important efforts to solve real social needs—were not squashed down or suppressed, but drawn forward, given life and enabled to play a key part in the process of changing the world. If leadership were given so that these challenges, too, became part of learning more deeply about the social transformations that were needed and how the needs of society could be met in new ways, ways that are in line with and a living advance towards the ultimate aim of a communist world, free of all forms of oppression and exploitation.
Utopian? Not in the least.
The RCP, USA has set its sights on making revolution, learning from the world historical experience of the communist revolution and the socialist societies it has brought into being—drawing on the great achievements and summing up the serious problems and errors of those revolutions. To dig more deeply into all that is "imagined" in this excerpt…and how this could actually be brought into being, check out Bob Avakian’s talk, "Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution" and the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (both available at revcom.us, Revolution Books stores and from local Revolution newspaper distributors). Such a visionary and liberating revolution is not a pipedream. There is an actual way to accomplish this—described in the article, "On the Strategy for Revolution" by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. This is now available at revcom.us and next week, this will be published in a special issue of Revolution.
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