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Solidarity Message to the ILPS Women's Conference Against Imperialist War and Plunder

1 November 2002

As General Consultant of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), I congratulate Grassroots Women and Gabriela Philippines for their successful efforts in convening "Towards our Liberation: an International Women’s Conference Against Imperialist War and Plunder" under the auspices of the ILPS.

There is urgent need for the conference. The crisis of the world capitalist system has become so severe that the imperialists headed by the Bush ruling clique in the US and rabid puppet regimes like that of Macapagal-Arroyo are raving for wars of aggression and further repress the people under the pretext of a "war on terrorism".

The ever-worsening economic and social crises as well as the war hysteria and state terrorism victimize the broad masses of the people. Women and children suffer the most. It is to be expected for the women to be outraged and driven to swell and energize the ranks of the masses in defending their rights and promoting their well-being.

I stand in solidarity with the convenors and all the participants of the conference. I support you wholeheartedly in your determination to rally women to throw off the ever mounting burden of oppression and exploitation and to realize the four objectives of the conference that you have defined and announced.

I am confident that the conference will help to sharpen your critical and analytical faculties and raise the level of your consciousness concerning imperialist globalization and wars of aggression and their attacks on women. Thus you will gain a solid ground to stand on in developing and implementing campaigns, action plans and mobilizations to expose and oppose US-led wars of aggression and imperialist globalization.

I admire your resolve, courage and militancy in striving to arouse, organize and mobilize women in order to advance the struggle for national and social liberation. In the process you are surely carrying forward the cause of women’s liberation and other necessary concerns under the banner of the ILPS.

It is fine that you oppose the wars of aggression and struggle for a just and lasting peace. The burden of war, the deaths, the destruction and the misery fall most heavily on the women and children. While the able-bodied are away, the women tend to stay with the family and work the hardest for the vital necessities of the community. They are also exposed to the barbarities of the enemy, including rape and forced prostitution.

It is necessary to denounce and repudiate imperialist globalization and its attacks on women’s rights. You must confront the accelerated daily violence of exploitation under monopoly capitalism. This masquerades as "free market" capitalism to unleash the most unbridled forms of exploitation.

The women in the third world and the retrogressive countries of Eastern Europe are subjected to the most brutal forms of exploitation. These take the form of unpaid labor in the drudgery of household chores, under the crushing conditions of mass unemployment and low wages for those who are employed. In employment, they are subjected to gender inequality and discrimination. They get the lower types of jobs and the lower wages.

When women migrate to work in other countries, they are exposed to all the rigors and dangers posed by the lack of protection from the reactionary sending government, by the diminution or lack of rights in the host country, by the exploitativeness of employers, by the unscrupulousness of many job recruiters and, of course, by the separation from family. It is shameful that reactionary governments take pride in keeping their countries underdeveloped under the sway of imperialism and in sending away women and men to take the bottom jobs at low wages abroad.

I appreciate your stand against the religious fundamentalism that seeks to lead the people astray from the road of resistance, gender equality and social progress and to perpetuate the most sordid forms of patriarchalism and degradation of women. The psy-war experts of imperialists and their local puppets have spawned such fundamentalism if you review the history of Al Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf and the flashy anti-communist Christian Right and evangelical born-agains.

While we take notice of the crudest ways of degrading women in economically backward countries, we must also see through the most glossy or garish ways of exploiting women in the supposedly more advanced countries of the world capitalist system. In both the imperialist and client countries, there is the crying need for women to struggle and to liberate themselves from imperialism and all reaction.

You can strengthen the revolutionary ranks of women only by struggling for national and social liberation. You do so by drawing them at the same time to the general struggle of the people and to the struggle of the women as women who need to lift themselves from the modern forms of bourgeois exploitation and male chauvinism as well as from the malignant traditions, customs and habits built up by millennia of patriarchalism in earlier forms of class exploitation.

The people’s struggle against imperialism and all reaction can be sustained and won only by arousing, organizing and mobilizing the women as the indispensable half of the people. The more women are engaged in the struggle, and the more quickly that they are engaged, the quicker, the more comprehensive and deeper is the victory won. The more solid is the basis for advancing further in women’s liberation and social revolution.

I look forward to the accelerated development of the women’s liberation movement and to the resurgence of the broad anti-imperialist and democratic movement of the people of the world. I wish your conference the utmost success. #

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