Printed below is a translation of a 19 August supplement of El Antiimperialista, publication of the Grupo Espartaquista de México, the ICL’s Mexican section.
The situation of women in Mexico is simply horrible: domestic violence, rapes, forced disappearances, murders. Such is the case of Milagros Monserrat, who was stabbed and bled to death in broad daylight in the streets of León, Guanajuato last 10 August. It is clear women are urgently calling for an end to this. But how? We call for guns for women as an immediate demand for women to protect themselves from brutal daily violence. Women being armed would have a direct impact on the number of attacks by making potential aggressors think twice before acting. As they say: God created man and woman, and Samuel Colt made them equal.
With this call, we directly challenge the macho paternalism that presents women as having to depend on men and the bourgeois state for their defence. At the same time, our call is counterposed to the bankrupt schemes pushed by feminists and populists: calls for more security (which means more police in the streets), separation of men and women on transportation and at marches, minimal reforms that they beg the government to implement. The call to arm women challenges the monopoly of violence of the Mexican capitalist state—the police, prisons, army and courts—which serves to maintain the rule and profits of the exploiting class. The state’s interest is not in fighting for women’s liberation, but in perpetuating oppression.
Arming women would provide an immediate response to the epidemic of violent attacks against them, but it does not resolve the issue. The overwhelming majority of violence against women comes from domestic abuse by partners and the family itself. A gun would help in some cases. But these situations are complicated, and addressing them is not simply a question of physical defence against violence.
The brutal conditions of women in Mexico are a direct product of the country’s social backwardness, which is caused by imperialist subjugation of the entire nation. This can be seen most clearly in the extreme backwardness of the countryside and the miserable conditions of the peasantry and indigenous people, but also in the big cities with their great social inequality. To resolve the question not only of violence against women, but also of their oppression in general, it is necessary to raise the level of the country’s social development. To do so, the resources and infrastructure must be wrested from the imperialists’ hands. Combating the oppression of women requires a massive improvement in public services: free, quality health care, education for all, day care centers, public dining halls. All this would contribute to eliminating the domestic slavery to which women are condemned.
Separating the struggle for women’s liberation from the struggle for social and national emancipation condemns it to failure. This is exactly what the feminist programme promotes; it divides society along gender lines, not class lines. Feminism is an obstacle to women’s liberation because it breaks up class unity. The situation of women can truly be improved only through a struggle against imperialism and capitalism. If it is understood that the struggles for social, national and women’s emancipation are inseparable, it is clear that male workers are essential to the cause of women. It is also clear that it has to go in both directions. Men must be won to the perspective of the full social emancipation of women in order to achieve the social and national emancipation of the workers themselves. The struggle for women’s liberation will succeed only under a communist banner.