AUSTRIA - Hold high the Red 8th of March!

Here we want to publish a tranlation of a document from the "Rot Front Kollektiv (Österreich)" (Red Front Collective, Austria), which was published on the Webpage "Dem Volke Dienen". We see it as an important contribution on the discussion about devoloping the proletarian line within the Women's Movement and recommend it to our readers.

Proletarians of all countries, unite!

International Women's Day 2021: Hold high the Red 8th of March!

110 years ago hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets for the first time on “International Women's Day”. Ten years later, International Women's Day was celebrated for the first time worldwide on the 8th of March, as a sign of the “international act” against patriarchy and capital. The first worldwide 8th of March demonstrations in 1921 took place in the midst of a pandemic (Spanish flu), which did not prevent women from taking part, but on the contrary became a symbol of struggle against oppression and exploitation. Especially on this 100th anniversary of 8th of March, we want to highlight and welcome all women who make the 8th of March 2021 a powerful day of struggle for the mobilization, politicization and organization of women, with the firm goal to unleash the strength of women for the revolution!

The enormous aggravation of the general crisis of capitalism, catalyzed and pushed forward by the policy of the ruling class towards the corona pandemic, has led to an uneven but erratic development of class struggles and the people's movement in Austria last year. In the attempt to shift the burden of the crisis on the shoulders of the working class and the people, the bourgeoisie developed a reactionary offensive that amounts to a campaign against democratic and social rights that have already been achieved. The "Western value" of equality between women and men, which has so often been propagated in recent years, vanished into thin air and the conservative and reactionary policy of "women back to the stove" openly became one of the central pillars of capitalist crisis management. Child care and school were almost entirely passed on to the family, and thus mainly to women. In addition, the bourgeois policy to “fight the pandemic” caused mass unemployment to climb to a sad high, which led to further impoverishment, especially among women (due to the mostly lower previous income), and will continue to do so. Above all, this means that the bonds of “domestic patriarchy” are tightening, dependence on man is increased, an explosive cauldron that is more and more expressed in increasing violence against women and children, as well as killings of women. All these attacks by the bourgeoisie increased the participation of women in political disputes in the class struggle, women from different areas and branches opposed the measures of the ruling class, especially against the shifting of childcare on their shoulders, and push for developing this struggle even further and more consistently. A significant mass of previously unpolitical women was drawn into this dispute in the storm of happenings, because the sharp attacks by the bourgeoisie made the apparently “private four walls” more clearly a hard-fought field of class struggle.

In this struggle, above all tendencies within the women's movement must be fought, which want to support and manifest the bourgeois politics "women back to the stove" in an apparently "socially acceptable cover". Demands for "paid private care-work", the so-called "housewife wage", or the "unconditional basic income", serve the ruling class to tighten the patriarchal bonds, because they bind women even closer to "their own four walls" in which "the man represents the bourgeois". The struggling and progressive women have to oppose this with the firm and determined struggle against social cuts and fascization, for the expansion of public and free care and education, as a prerequisite that the women can participate in the production process, which not only in the past but also today is the main “place of collective action of the working class”.

Against the background of the massive aggravation of the general crisis of capitalism, the division into “systemically important” and “not systemically important” work is nothing more than a macabre and perverse game by the rulers to split the working class and to mobilize the women for their own purposes. The women in the so-called “care work” are applauded as the “crisis rescuers”, a diversionary maneuver to distract from the current massive intensification of the double oppression of women in wage labor and in (private) reproductive work. The SPÖ in particular plays an important role as the “opposition party” for the ruling class, trying to win over women as a “strong force” for “saving capitalism” with the argument of “systemic relevance”, one for the women's movement currently particularly dangerous attempt of misleading and political conservatism. Such maneuvers have not been uncommon in history and have been practiced by every faction of the bourgeoisie. Here, too, the revolutionary and communist forces must rely firmly on the only scientific and proletarian ideology, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and apply it, because in capitalism reproduction is only the necessary complement to exploitation in production. The attempt to mobilize women under the banner of the bourgeoisie must be countered by the independent struggle of the workers and the people. This means repelling attacks on wages, collective labor agreements, robbery of pensions and labor rights as well as mobilizing women for the socialist revolution, as the only consistent way to smash patriarchy and capitalism.

In order to strengthen the influence of the revolutionary forces within the women's movement, it is necessary to build up independent mass organisms of the struggling women in order to strengthen the increasing urge of women to struggle against the attacks of the bourgeoisie, by struggling together with the masses, systematizing their concerns and politicize them step by step. The struggle against shifting the burden of the crisis must be given special priority, because it was not the “corona pandemic” as such that caused the harsh attacks on the democratic and social rights of workers and the people, but it was the pretext for a policy in the service of capital that can bring about no other answers to the pandemic than a much deeper and intensified exploitation and oppression of the broad masses. In this situation, it is necessary to oppose ultra-liberal demands within the popular movement, which reject any measures against the pandemic as "damaging to capitalism", and thus orientate the broad masses to pay the price for a completely broken health system. But to achieve "Zero-Covid", the pseudo-liberal "answer" of certain parts of the so-called "left" through an even tougher lockdown, is not only a dangerous illusion, but also tries to propagate and promote a "class-neutral" way out of the crisis and requires measures against women, such as homeschooling and domestic child and elderly care! Women in particular have no interests in the politics of mass unemployment, shifting childcare and schooling or impoverishment, nor to blindly follow illusions that demand “class neutrality” in the Corona question. But the aggravation of the crisis shows the immediate need for women to unite firmly and to unleash the strength of women as driving force for the socialist revolution.

The aim of introducing “International Women's Day” was to bring this perspective and orientation into the women's movement. The struggling and communist women should rely on that at this 8th of March 2021, because it is not only the 110th anniversary of International Women's Day, but also the 100th anniversary of the “8th of March”. The communist Clara Zetkin, who already played a prominent role in the introduction of International Women's Day, was also the one who, ten years later, under the leadership of Lenin and the Communist International, enforced the decision to hold an annual Women's Day on 8th of March, a day which is a symbol of the struggle and strength of women until today. To refer to this decision of the Communist International today and to uphold it, must mean to defend and uphold the red character of the 8th of March, with firm trust in the truth and scientificity of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, which developed the women's movement into a powerful force. The persistent struggle for the implementation of the 8th of March shows how urgent and necessary a firm and united “International of Action” is for the progress of the women's movement in every country, which gives expression to the common concerns of women and their struggle and put it into practice. This teaching must encourage all struggling and class-conscious women today, to firmly support the reunification of communists on a world level, the creation of a New International Organization of the Proletariat.

The 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune, which will be celebrated on the 18th of March, should also be celebrated on this 8th of March. As the first dictatorship of the proletariat in history, the Commune “will be forever celebrated as the glorious harbinger of a new society. Its martyrs are enshrined in the great heart of the working class.” (K. Marx). The Paris Commune was an excellent confirmation of the revolutionary force of women, who played already 150 years ago a strong and highly important role in the conquest of power and the defense of the Commune. Let us use this teaching for the development of the red forces within the women's movement, to push back bourgeois influences in the women's movement, which want to take away the struggling power of women through reformism and revisionism. In the struggle against the bourgeoisie, loyalty to the emperor and the occupiers of their homeland, the women of the commune refuted the supposedly "peaceful female nature". In its manifesto of the 6th of May, the Central Committee of the Union of Women actively called for the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat: “No, not peace, but relentless war is what the female workers of Paris call for!”. We find this teaching confirmed today wherever women struggle under revolutionary leadership and must be held up as the guiding stars of the international women's movement: In the people's wars in Peru, India, Turkey and the Philippines.

The increasing development of the class struggle and the people's movement in the course of the aggravated general crisis of capitalism, developed excellent prerequisites for the proletarian and red forces to increasingly lead the political struggle for the direction and orientation within the women's movement. It is not enough to be on the supposedly “right side”, it is primarily a matter of step by step enforcing those positions and lines which “in fact” create organization and leadership for women in the struggle against patriarchy and imperialism. The red women have a special responsibility to involve as broad sections of women as possible in the struggle and to fight sharply against sectarianism and right-wing opportunism. The 8th of March must be a mass action! “But a communist who doesn't care that her sisters move forward is a bad communist. (...) It is the first obligation of every communist to do everything in her power to draw the masses of women to the side of communism and not to allow fascism to take advantage of them against the working class”. This statement of the Communist International had the consequence that there were thousands of women (also in Austria) who took an active part in the struggle against fascism. That should be an important inspiration today! Struggling women: Turn to your neighbor who doesn't know where she should leave her children during work! Go to the housewives who have to save the money by mouth to get by! Unite with the students in their urge for change! Give them organization and learn to struggle and move forward together!

Hold high the red 8th of March!

Long live the 100th anniversary of 8th of March! Long live the 110th anniversary of International Women's Day!

Forward to the New International Organization of the Proletariat!

For a class-conscious and struggling women's movement!

Unleash the strength of women for the revolution!

Rot Front Kollektiv (Austria), 8th of March 2021