I Declare: We Have No More Time—or Women’s Lives—To Waste Before Making Revolution!
by Sunsara Taylor
Reprinted from Revolution newspaper #283 10/28/12
Every day we are told that women have achieved unprecedented equality in this “greatest of all possible countries.” Every day politicians point their fingers at the very real crimes against women in other countries to reinforce the idea that it is so much better here. Every day, the news media and the Democrats bombard us with the horrifically enslaving program of the Christian fascists and the Republican Party to attempt to get us to accept the deadly “status quo” of society’s treatment of women.
But let’s look at the reality of life for women in this so-called “best of all possible worlds.”
On October 21, in Brookfield, Wisconsin, a woman who had been physically abused and terrorized by her estranged husband, a woman who had repeatedly sought police protection and a restraining order, was hunted down at her job and shot dead by him. Not only that, but two other women were murdered by this man and at least four other women were shot and sent to the hospital.
In one morning, the lives of three women were extinguished. For years their families, their children, their loved ones will battle the sorrow and the rage of this loss. Their lives will be haunted by this cruel viciousness and they will never fill the holes left by the theft of these women’s lives.
Four other women were severely injured. For the rest of their lives, they will bear the trauma and the scars of having dared to go to a salon—whether for work or for relaxation—in a world where men feel entitled to murder and punish women with startling regularity. That they had no personal connection to the killer is of no consequence, their crime was simply being female in this world where men are trained to view women as disposable and worthy of punishment.
For everyone else who was present, this day will rival—if not overshadow—all the other memorable days of their lives (the birth of their children, their greatest achievement, etc.) as the one that leaves the most lasting impression. For the rest of their days, they will not only sense in their heads, but they will feel in their bones, the constant force of hatred and violence that rains down on women. The way that all of us are touched at every minute by this war, whether head-on as its primary targets or “merely” as its “collateral damage.”
And all throughout society, women everywhere have been cruelly reminded: you live in a society that has accepted violence and hatred against women as a constant and the murder of women as routine.
So, what was the response to this massacre by the ruling authorities in this “oh-so-greatest-of-all-possible-countries”?
The mayor of Brookfield (where the massacre took place), Steven V. Ponto, put it this way: “Today’s action was a senseless act on the part of one person… Try as we might, these can’t be avoided.”
In other words: Ponto asks us to ignore the fact that every single day in this country three or four women are killed, most often by men they consider their most intimate partners. Ponto asks us to ignore the fact that every 15 seconds a woman is beaten. Ponto asks us to ignore the fact that one in every four women will be raped or sexually assaulted. Ponto asks us to ignore the way that the celebration of violence against women is a cornerstone that shapes the outlook of men in this culture—from the increasingly brutal and humiliating nature of pornography to the TV news and crime shows that titillatingly recount stories of stalking, rape, and murder to the video games that give points for beating or killing prostituted women and more. Ponto asks us to ignore the fact that for centuries women have been treated overtly as the property of men such that the notion, “If I can’t have you, I’ll make sure no one else can,” is so common that most women are killed precisely when they are trying to leave their abusers.
Ponto, acting as a perfect spokesperson for a system that has no answer to the hatred, violence, degradation, disrespect, and terror that is the constant companion of women, asks us to willfully ignore the realities that surround us every minute of every day and treat this as a mere “isolated incident.”
But not only that, he then promises, “Try as we might, these can’t be avoided.”
No. This is not acceptable and we should refuse to accept it. While these things “can’t be avoided” under this system, they can be avoided—and ended for good—through making revolution to get rid of this system!
Violence against women is not just part of human nature. It is part of the nature of people as they are shaped and conditioned by this male-supremacist, woman-subjugating, patriarchal, capitalist-imperialist system. But through making the kind of communist revolution that has been re-envisioned by Bob Avakian, it is possible to dig up thousands of years of class divisions and the corresponding oppression of women by men and to bring about a new “human nature.”
It is possible to bring into being a world where no woman ever knows what it is to fear for her safety at the hands of men while walking down the street any time of night or day. A world where no woman ever knows what it is to give herself to a man sexually for any reason other than her own desire—free of pressure, judgment, or degradation. A world where men view women as full human beings and full partners—both in their intimate lives and throughout society and in the world more broadly. A world where law enforcement and the courts, for as long as we need law enforcement and the courts, really prosecute and hold accountable the perpetrators of violence against women, rather than blaming the woman for what she was wearing or whether she did something to “provoke” the man. A world where the culture is filled with poetry and music, television and movies, that foster deep respect towards women and that celebrate women’s full participation in every realm of human endeavor together with men—as part of bringing about a world without any form of exploitation or oppression.
As it says right at the outset of the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) which is based on the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian, “Abolishing and uprooting all this is one of the most important objectives of the New Socialist Republic in North America. This is expressed not only in full legal equality between women and men, but beyond that in the declared orientation and policy of this Republic to overcome all ‘tradition’s chains’ embodied in traditional gender roles and divisions, and all the oppressive relations bound up with this, in every sphere of society, and to enable women, as fully as men, to take part in and contribute to every aspect of the struggle to transform society, and the world, in order to uproot and abolish all relations of oppression and exploitation and emancipate humanity as a whole.”
Today, all who are sickened by and refuse to accept that “these [massacres of women] can’t be avoided” need to be part of fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution. You need to be digging into this Constitution and the concrete vision it puts forward. And you need to be joining me to rally thousands and soon tens of thousands to join in the fight to End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women; standing up today and drawing forward others to bring forward society-wide resistance to the war against women. We have a world to win and not a day—or another woman’s life—to waste.