Socialist Workers Party statement

Working-class road to end women’s oppression

April 5, 2021

Statement by Sara Lobman, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Manhattan Borough president, March 24.

The fight to defend women’s rights and end forever the second-class status of women is part and parcel of the working class charting a course to unite and take political power into our own hands.

Millions are outraged at violence targeting women, from the murderous assaults at Atlanta massage parlors to London cops attacking women attending a vigil for a woman killed there. But it is only by advancing on a course to eliminate the source of women’s oppression that such violence can be ended.

Social relations born out of the emergence of private property and class society thousands of years ago are the roots of women’s subjugation, not “human nature” or men.

“If class society and the accompanying subordinate status of women is only a stage of human history, one that arose at a certain historical juncture for specific reasons, then it can be eliminated,” writes Mary-Alice Waters, a leader of the Socialist Workers Party, in her introduction to Pathfinder’s Cosmetics, Fashions, and the Exploitation of Women.

The massive expansion of women’s participation in the workforce and fights for women’s rights have strengthened working people; increased the centrality of the fight for women’s emancipation; and brought forward new leaders for today’s working-class battles.

The capitalist rulers benefit from the lower value of women’s labor power and try to perpetuate it — while workers are drawn to stand with all those oppressed and exploited by capital to unify our ranks to fight to raise wages and improve conditions for all workers.

Central to the fight for women’s rights is the fight for unrestricted family planning, including the right to safe and secure abortion. This is essential for women to plan all aspects of their lives, including whether or when to bear a child. Protests in the streets, backed by our unions, are needed to defend access to abortion.

Violence against women can’t be ended by strengthening the bosses’ cops and courts, or hate laws that make what people think a crime. Only by deepening struggles for equal rights for women and on other crucial fronts can working people and social relations be transformed. These struggles can lead to the forging of a working-class party to lead millions of the exploited to take power into our own hands and open the door to women’s emancipation.

By overturning capitalist rule, workers and farmers in Cuba showed this is possible. Led by Fidel Castro and the July 26 Movement, the women and men taking part in that historic struggle changed themselves and changed history. Conquering power gives workers and farmers the most powerful tool possible to drive forward in ending centuries of women’s oppression and opening the door to the liberation of all humanity.

This is a future to win. Join us!