One year ago, the reactionary flag of the Islamic Emirate of the Taliban was raised in Afghanistan. The whole world, from the Christian fascists of the U.S. Republican Party to the Democratic Party, from the European Union to Pakistan, Iran, and Qatar, China, Russia, and India—they all rolled out a red carpet for the Taliban or turned a blind eye to their past crimes. The fate of millions of people in Afghanistan was sacrificed so that the anti-people and anti-woman Islamic fundamentalists could come to power. This brought to power the same exact forces that the NATO imperialists once swore to annihilate when they invaded the country [in 2001], bombing and killing, promising that would bring “freedom for the women of Afghanistan.”
One of the first reactionary acts of the Taliban terrorist group upon coming to power was to exclude women from all social arenas, including workplaces and education centers. The Taliban also deprived women of the right to choose their own clothing, which led to widespread protests and women coming into the streets with shouts of rebellious fury. From the very first day, women of Afghanistan stood face to face against the Taliban and raised their voices, “No to Reactionaries! Either Death or Freedom!”
The Taliban, like other Islamic fundamentalists, began implementing Sharia law by imprisoning women and enslaving them inside the fortress of fundamentalist religious laws. This was done in order to rebuild the old patriarchal relations, shackling women’s feet in order to reorganize society in the Taliban’s own image as fast as possible. What happened in Afghanistan in one year—what was imposed on women—has been nothing less than an organized program to enslave them!
No decent person should remain silent and turn a blind eye to this enslavement. No one should unite with the Taliban and their misogynistic ideas. No one should have any illusions that the Taliban’s dark-ages ideology and mentality can be swayed by begging for petty concessions for the women and people of Afghanistan!
The many layers of the enslavement of women in Afghanistan by the Islamists are in line with the enslavement of more and more women happening at a global level. Today, we witness attacks on women’s rights and freedom in the Middle East and North Africa and the Indian subcontinent, in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Turkey. We even see Christian fundamentalists/fascists banning abortion in Europe and the United States, in El Salvador, Poland and Ghana. On the other hand, we also see the unprecedented expansion and promotion of the sex industry and sexual slavery of women in the four corners of the world. These are all expressions of the different aspects of the horror and filth the capitalist system inflicts on women. Despite all this horror, women are standing on the front lines of resistance against reactionaries and the patriarchy. From the protest movement against the mandatory hijab in Iran, to the movement against honor killing in Turkey, to the abortion rights movement in America, to Chile, many are raising their voices “No to Reactionaries! Either Freedom or Death!”
Build the struggle of the women of Afghanistan in unison with the struggle of women for their rights and justice all over the world against slavery and patriarchy.
We want to emphasize that at this moment the oppression of women in many parts of the world is playing the role of a fundamental fault line for revolution. Despite the differences of regional dynamics, they are all operating within the same global imperialist-capitalist economic framework.
It is necessary and essential to understand that the historical oppression of women, worsening by the day, is due to the direct connection between the class and social systems, with the mode of production in command. This working imposes the disaster of unnecessary suffering, unbearable misery, and horror on billions of people around the world.
Therefore, to eliminate all oppression, we have to not only pay close attention to particular contradictions such as the oppression of women, but at the same time, we must understand the necessity of replacing the economic system, or mode of production, with one that allows for changes in society.
This necessity cannot be achieved without a revolution in the political superstructure. “The Communist revolution and nothing less” is necessary for the oppressed and exploited all over the world, including women.
The solution to the problems of women in Afghanistan cannot be achieved with identity politics, from within the narrow confines of reformism, or by demanding small changes, but only with a revolution, one that requires organizing and raising the understanding of the masses of women of the need for revolution. The brave demonstrations of women in the streets of Kabul and other provinces in the last year were important and inspirational, but they cannot lead to fundamental change and will remain within the framework of this system.
The immediate remedy proposed by identity politics or concentrating on certain minor demands diverts the vision of women who are angry about the patriarchy and its connection to the capitalist system. This system is incapable of eliminating the root cause of the problem.
As long as women activists in Afghanistan are still caught between the two outmoded systems of imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism, seeking support from the imperialists (or so-called international community) while also meeting and negotiating with the Taliban. But neither of these forces can bring them freedom from oppression.
The situation of women in Afghanistan in the past year—and for the last 20 years—shows that you cannot free women from oppression by issuing a few specific demands. On the contrary, the liberation of women must be an urgent part of an overall countrywide and worldwide strategy for revolution. At this moment, women’s oppression in Afghanistan has the greatest potential to galvanize rebellion against the Taliban and all other types of jihadist and Islamist or patriarchal concepts and traditions.
We are followers of the New Synthesis of Communism developed by Bob Avakian. We in JAKNA see women’s oppression in the overall context of a scientific analysis of all the contradictions that exist in Afghan society.
We are clear of the need to unleash the fury of women in Afghanistan against the Taliban and Jihadist rule, against the patriarchy and the imperialist-capitalist system to make a communist revolution. On this one-year anniversary of the reactionary rise of the Islamic Taliban, Afghanistan needs a movement of “women’s rebellion” more than ever. This movement can and should contribute to overthrowing the Taliban regime as part of paving the way to build a new and emancipatory society.
The women rebels of Afghanistan are standing face to face against the terrorist Taliban and shouting “No reactionaries! Death or Liberation.” The women in the ranks of this movement need to become “strategic commanders of the communist revolution.”
To all who hate the enslavement of women by the Taliban and other Islamist patriarchs in Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world:
To all who are tired of living in this nightmarish society:
Join us in solidarity actions on August 14 all over the world.
Join the ranks of freedom lovers, the revolutionary and communist men and women. Let’s unite hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder to fight for a world without discrimination, oppression and capital, a world without patriarchy, exploitation, and humiliation!
Down with the Islamic Emirate of the Taliban!
Down with the Imperialists—the U.S., Russia, China, and NATO!
Long live the women's liberation movement!
Long live the communist revolution!
—New Communism Movement of Afghanistan (JAKNA) August 7, 2022