- Category: Feminism & Sexuality
- Created on Wednesday, 27 February 2008 15:10
- Written by Mike Ely
For many years, the RCP,USA has raised the slogan: “Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!”
This slogan was later adopted by the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, and for a while by some other Maoist forces around the world.
The slogan has some obvious strengths: It denounces the ancient patriarchal "chains" of women's oppression (echoing the words of the Internationale "No more tradition's chains shall bind us.) And it situates that struggle against women's oppression as a powerful component of the great revolutionary process that is needed across the globe.
I have always heard three major objections raised to this slogan (by quite a few women at various times) and have never heard any real discussion of such issues from the RCP. So I would like to pose those questions here:
1) First and most important: When revolution requires the intellect, consciousness, determination, work, creativity, invention, subversive power of women, why focus so singlemindedly on their "fury"? Doesn't that major focus on "the FURY of women" play into the ancient depiction of women as emotional (upset, hysterical and so on), and not analytical beings?
2) The use of the word "unleash" (in some Maoist politics) implies a great deal of spontaneity -- as if the positive power of people is merely "leashed" and just needs to be "unleashed" to work its magic. Is that really what the task is, in relation to the oppression of women, to "unleash" their fury? Where do the other tasks come in: like raising consciousness to the point where we "know the world to change the world"?
3) Who is this slogan addressed at? Who is supposed to do this "unleashing"? This is obviously not a demand against the ruling classes (which is fine). It does not seem to be a slogan for the people themselves to adopt and raise -- i.e. it does not speak in their name, from their conditions. It seems unfocused in its direction. If we are going to rally people (and especially women) in a revolutoinary struggle to end the oppression of women -- does this capture and concentrate the most advanced sentiments and understandings that people have?
I note for example that in the accompanying post from revolutionary women of Iran and Afghanistan they write "We women of the world must break our chains and unleash women as mighty force for this epochal change." Notice an absence of special attention toward "fury." Notice that they make explicit who the unleashing is to be done by.