It is often said that when capitalism knows no borders, the struggle must be international. That could also be said of the state. Certainly, states have borders. But their role repressing the working class and implementing capitalist friendly policies is global. Indeed, it can be argued that the capitalist system could not have developed without a state that forced workers to accept it. In a sense, they are two facets of the same evil regime of exploitation of a ruling class over the many dispossessed, who were/are forced into the factories.
However, if there truly is a global struggle, that must be the war that women have waged over the centuries against patriarchy. It has taken place over the borders, even across civilisations, in many different societies, traditional and modern, and under many guises. It may have been open revolt or underground silent resistance to male violence, but there are long lines of stubborn struggle handed down over the generations. A muted knowledge and understanding that bonds strong grandmothers to their trailblazing granddaughters. As our Turkish comrades have said somewhere else, we may all be different, but there’s a common kernel inside.
The nature of this struggle is such, that it can’t be co-opted by the capitalist system. Certainly, it does try. Many corporations go around showing off some kind of bland liberal feminism, that in the end proves to be nothing else than a marketing strategy. When complicity is built over the exploitation of millions of women from all over the world it can’t be but an empty shell. Even more, some women claim to have chosen a form of feminism that they call capitalist, or traditional, or what not, even going as far as extolling the virtues of the traditional housewife or announcing how empowered they feel when they utter some reactionary crap. What they conveniently forget is that the sheer fact that they can choose, that they have a choice, is the outcome of centuries of bitter struggle to conquer that freedom. And that was done against the bosses in the workplaces, the landowners in the fields, the elders in the village, the priest and the mullah, the husband, the father and the brother, all male, all domineering. Against patriarchy, dispossession, poverty, war, exploitation…as it continues to be the case today.
Feminism is a struggle to conquer the freedom of all, women, men, children, trans and cis, persons of colour and white people…also, of all those who are not in a situation to do it for themselves. Any freedom is everybody’s freedom. It is for everyone to enjoy, a starting point to build upon, conquering ever more ambitious milestones. Meaningful feminism can only be anticapitalist and radical, as it aims to do away with anything that holds women back. Patriarchy and more, also economic inequalities, racial discrimination, nationalism, the far right…The list is long.
To further this struggle, we build international networks of resistance to support local campaigns and groups, to provide tools to coordinate, to get to know each other’s initiatives. On International Working Women’s Day, anyone marching or striking does so for everyone else: the brave women who built the freedom that we may enjoy today and those who are conquering the freedom that others will enjoy tomorrow. Over the borders and across the generations.
ICL – CIT
Also available in: