The following was written by "A group of revolutionary communists – Afghanistan";
In memory of women textile workers in New York who, with their heroic struggle, helped lay the foundation for a united women's struggle on a world scale!
In memory of all the rebellious, revolutionary and communist women who consciously and tirelessly struggled against patriarchy, to break the chains of gender oppression and exploitation.
It is not possible to talk about women's day, women's struggle against patriarchy and male chauvinism, and not talk about the situation of millions of women who have been enslaved just because they are women, women who have been devastated under the weight of the oppression and exploitation of patriarchal and exploiting systems, women who have been enslaved by backward traditions, women who have been burned in the fire of superstitious and outmoded thinking, women who have been trafficked by deception, tricks or force. Those who have been sold under the compulsion of poverty and misery, those who have lost their life due to the endless oppression and saw no solution but to burn under the burden of their grief and sorrow or set themselves on fire.
We cannot be silent about what women in Afghanistan have endured either, especially during the last four decades.
Is it possible to forget the bloody face of Farkhunda and her eyes as she held the gaze of the thugs of ignorance and superstition while her body was being shattered, before they burned it to ashes?
Could we possibly forget the look of young Rokhshana when her face and head were being smashed by the vicious weapon of patriarchy? How can we not be outraged by this savagery?
The death of Farkhunda and Rokhshana and the broken lives of Setara and hundreds of other women in the last year and years indicates the situation for women in Afghanistan. They are not safe at home, among their relatives, in the society, by religion or law. They are threatened by all of these relations and institutions.
History shows that the oppression of women has been a major pillar of all exploiting systems. It shows that the interest of these systems is to protect and consolidate the various forms of the oppression of women and patriarchy.
The imperialists who brutally invaded and occupied Afghanistan under the pretext of liberating its women showed the people of the world that what they call the liberation of women is nothing but the installation of a patriarchal regime, whether in traditional garments or Western clothing. Some forces were trained in male chauvinism by the imperialists they serve, in the US, Germany and UK. Others were trained in enmity toward women by the reactionaries in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran, whose interests they serve. They all participate in the intensification of the degradation of women, and the oppression and exploitation of people, and, in sum, serve the interests of their class and world imperialism.
After 15 years, the regime installed by the imperialists in Afghanistan can only compare their so-called achievements for women with the situation of women under the Taliban regime. Even the pre-war situation for women in Afghanistan in the 1960s and '70s is far beyond their reach.
However, we must refer to another bitter reality about the woman question in Afghanistan. Given their deviations and the dominant wrong line, the communist movement in Afghanistan has not been able to launch a principled and scientific struggle against the oppression of women. This movement has not been able to take a serious and solid step forward in the struggle for the real liberation of women in Afghanistan. This movement could not fully grasp the importance and position of women's oppression in the exploitation system of the oppressive ruling class, both those in power and those seeking it, yesterday and today.
Also, the bitter truth is that the members and supporters of the communist movement in Afghanistan have been totally buried in the dust of patriarchy. This has been one of the main obstacles to a correct handling of this thousands-of-years-old oppression. That movement has the obligation to get rid of this thick layer of dust by relying on the science of revolution. Without a deep rectification of the line and outlook regarding gender oppression and a vigorous and merciless struggle against patriarchy in this movement, it would not be possible to organise a struggle that can mobilise and organise the masses of women. The screams of Farkhunda under the fists and kicks of thugs and the loud cry of Rokhshana under the rain of stones of the outmoded forces are also telling us: we are fed up with male chauvinist and revisionist excuses. How much longer can you can justify your lack of concern and ignore the reality of women's daily oppression by resorting to arguments like “the issue of women is subordinate to the main issue"?
It is true that the liberation of women can only be achieved in a communist society. It is also true that the contradiction between men and women will express itself in some way until a communist society is achieved. But these truths cannot and must not be a justification for indifference to the countless and extreme forms of the oppression of women today, which cannot be simply overlooked. They cannot be used to justify a movement that is made up only of men. They cannot be a pretext to ally with or in some way support anti-women criminals or to downplay the contradiction under the pretext that imperialism is the main enemy. We cannot ignore gender oppression and overlook these crimes, and fail to struggle against these hard-core enemies of humanity and other reactionary, outmoded forces.
This line and method goes against the teaching of our great leaders. Lenin said that the answer to the woman question is socialism, but he also emphasised that there can be no talk about socialism without the struggle and participation of women. Women are a potentially powerful force, half of population of the society, a force that is full of outrage towards the enemies of humanity. They can only join the ranks of conscious struggle against class exploitation and gender oppression if communist forces make an effort and struggle to mobilise and organise the masses of women and try to win over their most advanced forces.
After the crisis of the international communist movement and the occupation of the country by the Russians, the Maoist movement that had taken shape in Afghanistan during the 1960s liquidated its communist identity under the excuse that the occupation of the country was the main contradiction. Most of the Maoists took part in the resistance against the Russians under the umbrella of anti-women Islamist and jihadi forces. Under such conditions, how could those who related to the communist movement mobilise and organise a conscious struggle against gender oppression? How could this movement do away with the ideological and political influence of these fundamentalists?
Women in Afghanistan can and must struggle against gender oppression, domestic and state violence, reactionary anti-women laws and traditions, religion and the patriarchal state, anti-women imperialism and fundamentalism by organising themselves in a mass organisation. In an organisation that can draw a line of demarcation with patriarchal imperialism and anti-woman reactionaries, and struggle for a revolution of the toiling masses and the goal of a world without oppression and exploitation. An organisation whose advanced members are organised in a real revolutionary and communist party and are led through that party.
A correct, communist handling of the woman question is an expression of our outlook towards the future society. The fighters and revolutionary communists cannot realise a revolution without winning over and organising the masses of toiling women in struggle against gender oppression and winning over the advanced to their own ranks. For such a mobilisation, first of all we must get rid of the thick chauvinist dust that has influenced all of our movements, and we should no longer postpone the struggle against women's oppression and the struggle for the liberation of women to "after seizing power". It is already too late. The communist movement in Afghanistan must make up for its failures and assume it’s long overdue responsibilities regarding the oppression of women.
Pix by www.indymedia.org.uk.