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International Socialist Day emerged in the course of democratic struggle for equal rights and equal wage for women .Women had no voting rights in the western democracies – that is to say even after the declaration of ‘universal franchise’ half of the population did not enjoy political rights .Politics was considered to be against the essential feminine qualities .New Zealand was the first among western democracies to give women voting rights followed by Finland in 1906 .In Britain women activists known as suffragettes started a movement to win for women voting rights which they gained only after the war in 1919.In India very few are familiar with this movement through Indians were under the British rule at that time .Communists viewed the suffragettes disapprovingly as they only fought for phoney political rights under a bourgeois democracy and not the economic rights .Suffragettes on their part would have argued that it was a first step towards winning other rights for women .Patriarchy is still in place in all democracies but it is fast eroding and in Germany and Scandinavian countries it has been considerably weakened .Russia gave its women voting rights soon after the February Revolution before the Bolshevik coup .However, Russia even after 74 years of Communist rule has remained a patriarchal society perhaps best represented by Putin and his authoritarian ways . Putin’s political success owes much to his promotion of the image of an authoritarian male .Women in Russian society are so much under patriarchal hegemony and so permeated with Patriarchal values that a muscular,bare bodied Putin riding a horse becomes an irresistible icon .

Though Engels made a case for women’s emancipation which he saw purely from a ‘ ‘materialist ‘ viewpoint that is say relying solely on economic causality .He came to believe as many Marxists since do, that once the property relationship favouring the male are removed through a revolution and women are made productive members of society ,patriarchy would crumble .Marx in his economic analysis did not take into account the unpaid and even unrecognized labour of women in the household .The middle class women or those belonging to the social elite may not be engaged in what he thought productive labour ,but child bearing and rearing ,cooking, looking after the old and the sick and sundry such chores that kept the women busy from early morning till they went to bed were onerous enough .What they failed to recognize was the ideological structure of patriarchy which is strong enough to endure economic changes .Like race in the USA and the Americas ,caste in Indian subcontinent, gender too a least recognized site of exploitation and domination in almost all societies .This is a blind spot in Marxist theory which had unintended and most undesirable consequences .All Marxist parties have been egregiously patriarchal and they have everywhere promoted a kind of machismo in the name of the so called ‘ proletarian culture ‘ .The once powerful global movement has produced leaders like Lenin ,Trotsky, Stalin ,Mao ,Ho Chi Minh ,Che Guevara or Jyoti Basu but where are the women ,except perhaps Rosa Luxenberg who led a disastrous minor uprising to be crushed? The first and only general secretary of Comintern Anna Balabinova was forcibly removed from her post by a gang of male comrades .She left Russia in despair and lived for the rest of her life in Italy .In the long history of the Communist parties of Soviet Union ,China or India no woman was considered competent enough to lead the party .In other words ,all communist parties are preserves of not only dead ideas but noxious form of patriarchy .The communist leadership is a bunch of hoary headed ,know all males who have ideological reasons to stay in power and lead the party .This will also explain their inveterate hostility to feminism which challenges the basis of patriarchy.It is an obscene and ugly word in the Marxist lexicon which they never tire of stigmatizing.

By contrast social Democrats and socialists have been more sensitive to women’s empowerment and more accommodative to their aspiration in democratizing societies .We ought to have have a dread of the word ‘ emancipation ‘ as it is loaded and larded with layers of ideological thinking which is eventually deceptive – a trap .What is needed most is a cultural transformation and feminization of culture .It requires a ruthless critique not only of patriarchy but other forms of domination such a capitalism, racism and in India caste,religion and feudalism .Both Brahminism and Islam are patriarchal and their religious codes help to perpetuate patriarchal oppression .Our feudal Marxists and socialists are wary of critiquing religion ,particularly after the recrudesscence of religious revivalism .We need to understand religion is a greater evil than capitalism when it comes to woman’s empowerment.In Bangladesh and many other developing countries capitalism is liberating women from the direct control of the male members of the family as well as Mullahs .If Bangladesh is much ahead of Pakistan it is because the development of export oriented garment industry which employs chiefly cheap women workers ,often in awful conditions and more active of role secular intellectuals, particularly women .Such freedoms as brought about by capitalism and globalization have their limits but they are better than such Left schemes as land reforms which ultimately lead to a kind of serfdom as is the case of Indian state of Bengal .In the state where the Left ruled unchallenged till 2011,the condition of women was appalling much behind the states ruled by the Liberal Congress or regional parties like AIDMK / DMK .In 2018 the state accounted for highest level of violence against women with 600 killed in domestic violence .There were killings that went unreported or the police report was diluted to protect the powerful male perpetrators. This is what Marxism does .

*दलित टाइम्स उन करोड़ो लोगो की आवाज़ है जिन्हें हाशिए पर रखा गया है। *

महिला, दलित और आदिवासियों के मुद्दों पर केंद्रित पत्रकारिता करने और मुख्यधारा की मीडिया में इनका प्रतिनिधित्व करने के लिए हमें आर्थिक सहयोग करें।


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