The BBC has run a story discussing about the controversy behind a sexist campaign that started in Algeria this past week. The sexist concept that “real men” take charge of what the women in their family wear – and they make sure females are covered up in public. The Facebook page “Be a man and don’t let your women out in revealing clothes” has attracted thousands of likes. On the page, men are sharing verses from the Quran and posting photos of their family members wearing conservative clothes. They argue that the Islamic hijab and other modest attire protects women from unwanted attention.
This patriarchal crap is gaining traction in North Africa and causing controversy. Progressive Labor Party is very clear that the special oppression of women is not some mystical quality inherent in men and maleness, some nebulous sin called “patriarchy”, but is a socially constructed ideology utilized by Capitalism to reinforce the specific relationship of production. Women are dually exploited since they are able to produce value with their labor and the next generation of profit generating workers with their bodies.
The miniskirt is the symbolic article of clothing being countered by the Tunisian secular activists who are calling for an “international day of the mini skirt” in a show of solidarity with Algerian women. Though The Progressive Labor Party is happy to see that there are people willing to fight against the rabid sexism at the heart of Islam, we do not agree with using sex to fight sexism. The fight against sexism requires women and men to unite against the system of exploitation in a principled struggle against the divisive role of gender. Sexism is not going to be defeated by millions of women wearing mini skirts on any particular day, neither will it be defeated by women baring their breasts at a protest. Capitalism loves to get people to think that reinforcing its divisions is a form of empowerment: racist identity politics where White people are reduced to allies that can’t ever discuss racism as well as flaunting sexuality as a way of struggling against it. Only by fighting against the system that requires, reproduces, and reinforces sexism with the anti-sexist egalitarian vision of Communism can the special oppression of women and its divisive gender roles get smashed.
The Communist-led but socialist USSR was the first state to legalize abortion and make it available to the working class. The ruling class has always had access to safe termination, but working class women have had to deal with unsafe “back alley” abortions. When the women of the rich were impregnated, they knew which doctors they could turn to and they could afford the proper medical care. The right for women to control their own bodies is an important principle in the fight for Communism. Women will not be baby factories that need to be covered up for their own protection. Women will be fully educated and fully equal to men as leaders in the Party, as workers on the job, and as a voice in the home.
Instead of Koranic sexist garbage, men and women need a real solution, Communism, to the fact that it is women who are constantly feeling the brunt of being exploited for their class and exploited because of their gender. The specific organization of the nuclear family and religion exist to force women into a place of subjugation to men in order to keep them producing the next generation of workers to put profit in the pockets of the bosses. There is no liberation in Islam. None. It is just another form of mental slavery. The Koran, Islam, and all religions will be flushed down the toilet of history when PLP rises, takes state power, and is able to organize a Communist society. We will truly liberate the working class from the brain deadening illusions of religion.
Instead of arguing that women need to be “protected from unwanted attention”, these sexist snakes should be learning to control themselves and not just see women as objects to be leered at and controlled. Who are they protecting women from – other pious Muslims? PLP will continue to organize in North Africa against these sexists. We will organize to smash gender, to fight for women to be considered just as human as males, for the socially constructed gender binary of heterosexuality to not be the only acceptable manner for people to love each other, for collective parenting that shares both child rearing and housework, and the sustained struggle to absolutely obliterate the special oppression of women with Communist Revolution.