Monika Gärtner-Engel - Contribution to the Demonstration on 8th March 2007 in The Hague

Member of the Central Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany and of the Militant Women’s Council, the coordinating group of the Women’s Political Counsel Contribution to the Demonstration on 8th March 2007 in The Hague

Monika Gärtner-Engel
Member of the Central Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany and of the Militant Women’s Council, the coordinating group of the Women’s Political Counsel

Schmalhorststr. 1 c, D-45899 Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Phone: ++49 (209) 951940
Fax: ++49 (209) 9519460
E-Mail: info@mlpd.de
Homepage: www.mlpd.de

8 March 2007

Contribution to the Demonstration on 8th March 2007 in The Hague

Dear women, dear girls,

Dear participants,

My name is Monika Gärtner-Engel,

I am a member of the Central Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany and of the Militant Women’s Council, the coordinating group of the Women’s Political Counsel.

The 7th Women’s Political Counsel of last October, which was attended by 1600 women and men and had large international participation, became the most significant women’s political event in Germany.

Some of you who are demonstrating today were also there.

I would like to thank you cordially for the invitation to today’s event.

With your demonstration today, you are making the cries of women and girls be heard who, especially in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, are exposed to horrible terror.

Like you, I am seized with rage and horror when I hear and read about stoning, forced marriages, murders of honor, genital mutilation, to which millions of girls and women fall victim.

The indignation about this and resolute resistance must become a single cry, but, more importantly, a determined common action of all progressive people all over the world - no matter whether they are women or men.

How is it possible that today - at the beginning of the 21st century - such medieval torture is not decreasing, but even increasing?

This cannot be explained by the influence of tradition and religious customs alone.

Religious-fundamentalist currents - whether Christian or Islamic - are always especially promoted by the rulers in those situations in which the broad masses are seeking social alternatives.

Today and in the past, imperialist powers systematically promoted such groupings like the Taliban.

The funds for Islamic fundamentalists are often pouring out of Saudi-Arabia, the closest ally of the USA in the Middle East.

The aim of their machinations, which designate women in particular for an existence in slavery, is to counteract the process of the revolutionizing of the masses.

Even greater are the hypocrisy and the cynicism, when imperialist wars are waged under the pretext that they are aiming at the liberation of women from Burkha and Sharia.

This is how the former federal government led by the SPD and the Greens argued before the invasion of Afghanistan and this is how the coalition government of CDU and SPD today justifies the extension of the war efforts.

The fate of the women in Afghanistan or Iraq is quite something else:

There is a female minister and a girls’ school for show - however, the occupying forces have already been collaborating for quite some time with the old, feudal war lords.

The production of opium has been boosted at the expense of food production.

The situation is more desperate than ever for the masses of women - it is all the more admirable how they are somehow able to accomplish the survival of their children and families, in spite of the misery of war and occupation.

There can be no common struggle with the imperialist powers - whether of US-American, Russian or German shape - in the struggle against the double exploitation and oppression of women.

On the contrary: anyone who desires an attack of the USA on Iran strengthens the Mullah regime with its ultra reactionary policy.

Such forces deny the desire and capability of the masses to cope with these regimes on their own and spread the illusion that the “progressive” imperialists are still better than open ultra reactionary forces.

This choice between plague and cholera cannot be the alternative for the women’s movement.

The women - and men - of Iran, Afghanistan or Iraq can rather find allies among all people in the whole world who are exploited and oppressed by capitalism and imperialism.

At first glance, the situation of women and girls in the imperialist metropolises - and especially here in Europe - seems to be far better than those of their sisters in the regions ruled by Islamic fundamentalists.

In the meantime, girls outrun boys in school exams, they start out in life with conspicuous self-confidence.

An important basis is that the number of working women is constantly increasing, despite growing mass unemployment.

Within the EU 56.3 per cent of all women were working in 2005, 2.7 per cent more than in the 2000.

However, women’s wages are still more than 25% lower than those of men, and very many women are toiling hard in part-time jobs and so-called mini-jobs.

Despite all formal legal achievements, massive violence is perpetrated against women in all western capitalist countries, regardless of how progressive they claim to be.

That is because, even today, most of the burdens of private family work is shouldered by women - and what remains is the dependency upon the main “breadwinner of the family”, - what remains is poverty in old age - what remains is the double exploitation and oppression of the masses of the working women, in our countries, too.

The compulsory nature of the private responsibility for keeping house and the family as the indispensable counterpart of capitalist exploitation of wage labor - that is at the root of the social discrimination of women as long as capitalism and imperialism exist.

The bourgeois, capitalist system of exploitation and its family system are two sides of a coin, which constantly reproduce the social inequality of men and women in capitalism and which are reflected in the fetters of bourgeois morals and tradition.

(!!)

Our female-led German federal government has even worsened the situation - with privatisation and austerity programs in the fields of child care, youth and women, it is increasingly shifting the burdens upon the families.

As Marxist-Leninists we regard it as an important task in our women’s work to help women and girls recognize the societal causes of their personal strain and to encourage them to join together and gather forces in a struggle for their everyday needs.

A thorough analysis of the history of the women’s movement and its great achievements in the first socialists countries of the world on the basis of Marxism-Leninism, combined with many and diverse practical experiences, has strengthened our conviction that it is necessary to promote the development of a militant women’s movement as an independent force in the struggle for a society freed from every form of exploitation and oppression.

This can only be achieved through the struggle for an international socialist revolution.

We consciously refrained from established our own women’s organization of the party and support ueberparteiliche (non-party affiliated) women’s organizations and movements like the “Women’s League Courage”, the Women’s Political Counsel and the movement “Women and Girls for Peace, Bread and Roses”.

Many of our female comrades also do trade union work among women.

And everywhere - international consciousness is also growing.

The desire to learn from each other, to make new friends and to organize common action is becoming more and more urgent.

That is why the proposal of the Women’s Political Counsel for a World Women’s Conference for rank and file women in the year 2010 met with great enthusiasm.

For more than ten years, since the reorganization of international capitalist production, the neo-colonial exploitation of many countries has even enormously increased the catastrophic destruction of the natural environment, of war and the threat of war, as well as the double exploitation and oppression of the masses of women.

At the same time, with the growth of the modern productive forces, the preconditions for a social organization and a high-quality of the satisfaction of all existential needs of the masses are as mature as never before.

In the entire world, no social movements would be possible without the active participation of women.

Women have particularly close ties to the struggle for the immediate interests of life.

In South Africa in the care for aids orphans, in Columbia in the defence of child care institutions and against the repression of female trade unionists through fascist paramilitary forces, in Argentina in the prosecution of drug dealers, and in our country, in the protests against cut-backs in child-care, in youth and women’s facilities.

As in the entire world, militant women and girls are going into the streets in Germany today together with the MLPD and Rebell, with their non-party affiliated women’s organizations, trade union groups and migrant organizations.

On International Women’s Day, in particular, there are always lively debates and also many alliances with parts of the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois women’s movement.

But this always demands a lively struggle against bourgeois and petty-bourgeois feminism, which aim at tying the women to capitalism and orienting the women’s movement to anticommunism.

With a divisive hostility towards men, they separate the women’s movement from the working-class movement in this way.

Whoever wants to struggle for the real liberation of women must struggle against imperialism - must struggle for socialism and communism!

Whoever wants to struggle for socialism and communism must learn from the great achievements, but also from the mistakes and errors of the communist movement regarding the issue of the women’s rights.

The 150th birthday of Clara Zetkin, the German communist and initiator of International Women’s Day, is for us an occasion to emphasize the close ties between the militant women’s movement and the revolutionary working-class movement and the worldwide, anti-imperialist liberation struggle.

In this societal debate, the MLPD stands for a strong, independent women’s movement and for the firm unity with the working-class movement and its revolutionary goals.

In this spirit, I have the hope for today’s rally ,too, that the cries of the oppressed women will become a song which cannot be overheard and a common worldwide struggle for the liberation of women and a socialist future.




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