Statement of the Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, 8 March, 2023
The Communist Ghadar Party of India salutes the millions of fighting women on the occasion of International Women’s Day, 2023. We salute the working women who are in the front lines of the battles against privatisation and liberalisation in our country. We salute all those who are fighting against state organised communal violence, state terrorism and all forms of violence against women. We salute the women of Europe who have come out on the streets against the imperialist warmongering NATO. We salute the women of all countries who are demanding their rights, as women and as human beings.
Women have rights, as human beings and as women, owing to their specific role in reproduction. However, women are among the worst victims of capitalist exploitation and of a brutal social system that perpetually relegates them to a position of inferior human beings.
In our country, women suffer from capitalist exploitation as well as the remnants of feudalism and the caste system. They are victims of the prevailing notion that a girl child is a burden. This is manifested in widespread instances of female foeticide, discrimination between female and male child, child marriage, dowry and numerous other such heinous practices that capitalism has kept alive. According to such feudal customs and practices, a woman’s place is in the home. When a woman is attacked at work or on the streets, the failure of the state to ensure her protection is not questioned; instead, the question is raised as to why she was outside her home in the first place.
The Government of India claims to be committed to educate and empower women. The majority of girls in our country face numerous obstacles to completing school – the lack of toilets for girls, the long distance and difficult terrain to be crossed to reach school and other such conditions that make their daily lives insecure and make them vulnerable to sexual harassment, rape, etc. They continue to face similar problems when they become working women.
Safe child birth facilities are not guaranteed for a vast majority of pregnant women in our country. A recent study estimated that nearly 13 lakh women have died during childbirth in the past 20 years.
There are various rights of women which are recognised in law but not enforced in practice. Equal pay for equal work is one such right. The right to maternity leave and childcare facilities is another. Capitalist employers consider the rights of working women as additional costs which cut into their profits, which are hence to be minimised or avoided altogether. The state does not punish capitalists who violate the rights of women workers.
The bourgeois ruling classes in all the capitalist countries spread maximum confusion about the source of the oppression and subordinate position of women in society. They argue that women have always been oppressed in every society from early times, and hence will continue to be so, because it is in the natural order of things. They spread the notion that the source of the problem lies in men. They present it as a fight between women and men. They promote the illusion that women can overcome their problems within the capitalist system, through various policy measures and government programs.
The reality is that the subordinate position of women in society has its source in the class division of society. Women will remain oppressed as long as workers remain an exploited class in society. This was recognised by the leaders of working women in North America and Europe more than 100 years ago. The communist leaders of working women at that time declared that the path to the liberation of women lies in the struggle for the transformation of society from capitalism to socialism. It was at the initiative of communist women that the 8th of March was celebrated as International Working Women’s Day for the first time in 1910.
The birth and advance of socialism in Soviet Russia and numerous countries of Eastern Europe laid the ground for the elimination of the exploitation of human labour, following the conversion of the means of production into social property. It led to a tremendous advance in the level of participation of women in all spheres of social life. The socialist state took up the responsibility to establish crèches, nurseries, and other facilities which reduce the burden of domestic work. Hospitals and medical facilities geared to looking after the special health needs of women and children were established in every locality. The socialist countries became known for their huge force of women doctors, engineers, teachers, skilled workers and highly qualified scientific and technical personnel.
The advance of socialism had a tremendous impact on all countries of the world. It compelled all governments to accept the principle, at least in words, that women must enjoy equal economic and political rights as men, including the right to elect and be elected. However, as long as the economic system continues to be driven by the motive of capitalists to maximise private profits through the exploitation of human labour, rights of workers, both women and men, remain largely on paper. They are violated in practice. There are no mechanisms within the system to ensure the implementation of these rights.
Various parties and organisations promote the notion that the problems of women will get addressed if more women occupy official positions. However, life experience has shown that the accommodation of more women in high places does not change the capitalist nature of the economic system. It does not end the cruel exploitation and the blatant violation of the rights of workers, both women and men. It does not change the oppressive nature of the state or the anti-people character of the political process.
The existing political process is designed to exclude the vast majority of women and men from having any say in decisions that affect them. Through periodic elections, one or another political party comes to power to carry out the same agenda of enriching the capitalist class, headed by the monopoly houses.
For more than 30 years now, the ruling class has been pursuing the program of globalization, through liberalization and privatization. Repeated rounds of elections have made no difference. Rival parties have replaced one another and slogans have changed; but the agenda has remained the same. The goal remains the maximization of private profits of monopoly capitalists, through intensified exploitation and oppression of the majority of toiling women and men.
The economic offensive is accompanied by the criminalization and communalization of politics. Brutal crimes against young girls and women have been rising in scale and becoming more barbaric. Parties that claim to represent the people have themselves been guilty of some of the most monstrous crimes against women.
Ending the monopoly of political power in the hands of an exploiting minority and its criminalised parties is the first and necessary step to open the path for profound revolutionary transformations. What women and the working people need is political power in their hands so that they can set the agenda and change their conditions. The means of production, currently private property in the hands of the capitalists, need to be converted to social property, in order that the economy can be oriented to ensure the fulfilment of the needs of the people rather than the greed of the capitalists.
The Communist Ghadar Party of India calls on women to unite with all the exploited and oppressed, and fight for an end to the anti-worker, anti-women and anti-social program of globalisation, through liberalisation and privatisation. Let us advance the struggle against communal violence and all forms of state terrorism, in defence of democratic and human rights. Let us fight with the perspective of ushering in a State and economic system that will ensure prosperity and protection for all. Let us fight for the goal of building a system where there will be no exploitation, oppression or discrimination on the basis of gender, caste, class or any other consideration.
Long live International Women’s Day!
Unite and fight for freedom from all forms of exploitation, oppression and discrimination!