On the #Totalshutdown 1 Aug 2018
Gender-based violence is an international scourge and it is sustained by the world capitalist system. It is a task of the workers' movement to spearhead the total eradication of it. We support a general strike against all forms of gender-based violence (ie violence against women and all gender non-conforming groups).
Mass rapes have been used as a method of war by imperialism to destroy families and to clear villages in the DRC for plunder. In this sense the cellphone and electronics industry is based on continued gender-based violence. Most of the raw materials (tin, cassiterite, etc) used for cellphones, laptops, playstations, etc come from the land in the DRC, which has been cleared of villages by imperialism. Between 1996 and 2003 more than 6 million of the masses in the DRC died as a result of the wars between factions all sponsored by imperialism.
Eradication of gender-based violence requires the overthrow of the capitalist system. This not to say that the struggle even for partial reforms is not to be supported. On the contrary, these partial struggles, such as the ones on 1st Aug 2018, calling for an Ombud on Gender-based violence, must be supported. However, the limitations and contradictions need to be pointed out. For years there has been a Women's Ministry. Has it helped? Are we not creating illusions in a parliament that has failed to hold imperialism-capitalism to account for their active support of the apartheid regime and its death squads? That has allowed imperialism to systematically plunder SA and the rest of the continent of trillions, thereby maintaining slave-relations. The SA govt sends soldiers to the DRC to protect the mining operations of imperialism. Kabila was supposed to step down in 2016, he is still clinging to power by violent means. In December the DRC regime massacred churchgoers who protested against Kabila. Each SA soldier is paid R50 000 per month for serving in the DRC, in effect supporting the mass gender-based violence perpetrated by imperialism.
Most diamonds from SA and the rest of Africa is taken by Anglo American to Israel, for cutting and polishing. This is money-laundering by imperialism to prop up the Israeli fascist state, which has just declared that only Jews have rights. Since 1948 the Palestinian refugees, now numbering 7 million, have been denied their right of return, despite a UN resolution to allow them to go home. The 7 million Palestinian refugees are the biggest refugee group in the world. Since 30 March 2018 there have been marches of unarmed Palestinians to the fence in Gaza, demanding only the right to go home. More than 137 have been shot down in cold blood by zionist snipers.
Any march that wants to really address gender-based violence, has to address demands on the violence in the DRC and the right of Palestinian refugees to go home.
Fundamentally, the liberation of women can only take place if what is regarded as 'women's work' is socialised. Otherwise, working class women will remain on the margins of social, economic and political life. There has to be demands for cheap public laundries, for state-run creches in communities and at places of work, where companies and the state are forced to cover the full costs; for mass, cheap eating houses; for house-cleaning to be shared.
Now a last point: There are leading ANC and DA women who are labour brokers, the DA leaders are crushing our women through high tariffs and water management devices; they want to poison us with desalinated water. Let us remember whistle blower in the Life Esidemeni massacre, Noma Kunene, who is still missing to this day. Let us remember that it is working class women who bear the brunt of gender-based violence. Let us remember Dinah Makheta and many other housing activists who are serving long jail sentences for standing up for decent housing for all. Day by day, Zille, De Lille and others are evicting us. A river of blood stands between working class and lower middle class women and the capitalist women and the rest of the capitalist class.
The united working class in struggle is the only class that can end gender-based violence.
We support #totalshutdown on the above basis.