International Women’s Day 2007

Empowerment of people is the road to liberation of women!

On 8 March 2007 women all over the world will take a pledge to put an end to exploitation, oppression, and hypocrisy, and to take forward the struggle for the liberation of women.

Empowerment of people is the road to liberation of women!

On 8 March 2007 women all over the world will take a pledge to put an end to exploitation, oppression, and hypocrisy, and to take forward the struggle for the liberation of women. Whether it is the struggle in America and Europe against war and occupation, or struggle against price rise, destruction of agriculture, acquisition of land by force, displacement, increasing unemployment, rape, and state terrorism, they are at the forefront. Everywhere they are raising their voices for a society where the wellbeing of all women and men is primary and not the interest of a minority big bourgeoisie and their profits.

It is well known that under the all round offensive of the ruling bourgeois class against all working people, the women become special targets. In addition to this offensive, women are targets of the most backward customs and prejudices. One the one hand, under the name of privatization, liberalization and globalization, women are being deprived of labour rights and have to toil for 12-14 hours daily, besides other dangers that follow with working late; on the other, they are the target of female foeticide, using the most "modern" techniques, apart from being victims of rape, sexual violence, and malnutrition.

There are many laws supposedly for protection of women, including the recently enacted Domestic Violence Act. In spite of all the laws, the oppression and exploitation of women has not come down, it has only increased. Time and again, those guilty of crime against women go scot-free, they are never punished. After a long ordeal of going through a legal battle, and facing social discrimination, many of our sisters never ever get justice. Why is this the case? What must we do to change this situation?

Under the present system, state power is not in the hands of working women and men. Neither do we have the right to take decisions on matter closely related to our life nor does anybody care to ask us our opinion. When it comes to acquisition of land and natural resources, and depriving people, peasants and tribal people of their livelihood, to ensure maximum profits for the big bourgeois, closing down of factories and throwing out people to fend for themselves, denying labour rights, deploying goons and armed forces to rape and kill women who are fighting for their rights, the state machinery performs this tasks with great efficiency. But when it a question of guaranteeing basic right to education, life, housing, health, water, sanitations, and so on to all people, there are no mechanisms to enforce this.

This is the basic reason why those guilty of economic, administrative, political, social and domestic crimes, against women are never punished. We have no means, no mechanism to affirm our rights.

What kind of democracy is this, where people have no means to enforce their rights? Under the name of democracy, elections are held every few years to various institutions at different levels including panchayat, municipality, state assemblies and lok sabha; but what kind of candidates stand for elections? Established parties of the bourgeoisie field their candidates and the role of people is limited to electing the "lesser of the evils". To make sure that their candidate wins, these parties shamelessly make use of money and muscle power. The elected representatives then implement the agenda of their political party and its high command, and not the programme to fulfill the needs of all. People who have elected the candidate have no control over the representative, since they cannot recall the representative. In practice, they are representatives of their parties or "party pratinidhi" and not representatives of people or janapratinidhi.

This year 8 March International women's day is coming at a time when a number of states including Punjab, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Manipur, and Mumbai have just held or are going in for elections for state assemblies, municipal bodies, or panchayats.

In numerous places, people have taken various initiatives challenging the dominance of big political parties. During panchayat elections in Tamil Nadu and Municipal elections in Mumbai, people took up initiatives to select and put up their own candidates, challenging the candidates of big political parties. In the ongoing elections for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, people across Delhi are setting up local sangharsh samitis (fighting organizations), and constituency committees in various localities and slums. They are holding public meetings to select the candidates from amongst the people. They are setting conditions that candidates must fulfill for standing. They are coming up with practical solutions to ensure that the control remains firmly in the hands of people, like provision to recall a representative if she or he fails to deliver on the commitments made to the people. They are taking steps to ensure that the elected representative is not "party pratinidhi" but janapratinidhi.

If at all levels of governance, the elected representatives are under the control of those who have elected them, it would be an important step towards empowerment of people. The demand for 33 percent reservation for women in elected bodies will not solve the problem if the elected representative continues to remain a party representative and is not accountable to the people. It is a demand of the times that those who are committed to empower women and put an end to injustice and oppression of women must organize to build such mechanisms that would break the dominance of big political parties, and ensure that the elected representative are accountable to people.

On the occasion of 8 March, the Delhi Committee of Communist Ghadar Party of India appeals to all working women and men to break the dominance of big political parties and organize to take power in their own hands. Only under such condition would we be able to make the state work in the interest of women, to ensure their rights and punish those guilty of various crimes against women. This is the only road to the liberation of women!


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