Tag Archives: Kenya

Female Gender Mutilation is Part of The Special Oppression of Women

 

The economic subjugation of women knows no bounds. Against the backdrop of the fascists in Russia’s sexist anti-gay laws and another rape causing outrage in New Delhi, the “cutters” in Kenya are women who specialize in female genital mutilation. They use a razor blade or an old nail to cut the clitoris from a naked young girl sitting on a rock and toss it to feed the birds. They are now worried about how they’re going to eat. The fact that they earn their living by mutilating young girls isn’t their concern. That’s capitalism for you. It creates a conflict where one shouldn’t be.

It is wrong to remove the sex organ from a young girl. It is sexist and barbaric. Yet, the need to buy and earn money is primary. The brutalization of women is an aspect of reactionary movements like the Taliban and a fundamental aspect of sex tourism in places like the Philippines and Thailand. Exploitative and brutal aspects of Beauty, virginity, and honor are used to objectify and subjugate women. Honor killings are common in Afghanistan and were legitimized rape in a court in India. The sexual exploitation of women is a cornerstone of capitalism. Women are exploited as part of advertising, have the value of their labor devalued by the wage system, and outright stolen when it comes to child rearing.

The sheer brutality of the Taliban and Islamic, Christian, and other religious based ideologies is the hammer that falls on women. The characteristics of the socially constructed female gender are calibrated to inculcate passivity, remove enjoyment, and enslave the female sex to the need to produce the next generation of workers. Women are brutalized by their gender and their race. They are the first victims in war as rape is a constant weapon used against them as civilians and in the US military with over 25,000 sexual assaults in 2012 alone. They are sold by US allies such as Yemen and Saudi Arabia and are silenced by legislation from the US backed puppet government in Afghanistan.

We should have the same sympathy for cutters as we do for pimps and drug dealers whose need to enrich themselves does not absolve them from the pain and misery they cause their victims. The parasites should be exterminated. Let the cutters be cut out of history. They deserve none of our sympathy. They suffer like the rest of the women, but they get a bit more of an income due to their barbaric practice of mutilating young girls. Capitalist imperialists are the real enemy. Only under capitalism would the economic plight of the cutters elicit any sympathy. Only under such a rotten and totalizing false consciousness would well-meaning anthropologists and other social scientists defend the practice of female genital mutilation as a cultural expression and our attempts to condemn it and stop it as cultural imperialism. Capitalism uses its sick rationalization to make wrong right and right wrong.

Only a Communist revolution will negate sexism, gender, and all of the rotten and absurd ideologies of capitalism. We applaud the young girls, women, and men who are organizing to stop this barbaric practice, as anything that can lessen the burden of brutality that the female gender feels is a good thing. But, PLP is very clear when we say that ending female genital mutilation, sexism, and exploitative and divisive gender roles and identities will require a negation of false consciousness and culture that will only happen under Communism.

Update on Michoacán

The vigilante uprising has been placed under the control of the state and is driving out the cartel.  They still serve as an inspiration, but they are becoming, if not already have been, co-opted by the state.  

Bosnian Spring or Western Meddling?

The very real anger that the working class is feeling in Bosnia at the capitalist restoration and rollback of socialism and any working class gains has been a nightmare for the workers there. It is inspiring that workers are attacking the politicians’ cars, homes, the presidential palace, and government buildings leaving smoldering husks of the former symbols of wealth. Uprisings against the bosses and the state apparatus are always inspiring. PLP is wary about the fact that bourgeois media is already labeling this a “blah blah” spring. This time it’s the Bosnia spring and last time it was the Arab Spring. Just as the last Spring did not lead to working class liberation, neither will this, even if it is the genuine expression of working class struggle and solidarity, without Communist politics at the core, the protests will eventually be co-opted by one camp of capitalists or another.

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Battle for Resources Behind Endless Wars in Africa

The bosses’ mass media reports about Africa only when Madonna or Angelina Jolie adopts another baby or when another massacre or tragedy occurs. But they rarely explain what’s really happening there. This series will present a communist analysis of events on that continent.

Kenya is the latest victim of a combination of imperialist super-exploitation of Africa’s workers and its resources and how crooked capitalist politicians use tribal politics to pursue their own interests. For many years, there was little tribal conflict in modern Kenya; people basically got along. U.S. and British imperialists used Kenya as a base to invest, super-exploit and wage their “war on terror” in the region. But amid growing inter-imperialist rivalry and capitalist economic turmoil, the imperialist-created “stability” of Kenya was bound to fail.

The power struggle between President Kibaki and opposition leader Odinga sparked an explosion. Kibaki stole the December election and now refuses to give Odinga a piece of the action despite calls by Koffin Annan, Barack Obama (whose father is Kenyan), Gordon Brown (UK Prime Minister) and Condi Rice. Hundreds have died in clashes between supporters of both politicians, and 500,000 now need immediate relief because of this politicians’ dogfight.

4 Million Killed in Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has again erupted into a bloody civil war, particularly in its Eastern region. It’s being labeled a re-play of the fight between Tutsis and Hutus that led to the murder of hundreds of thousands in Rwanda and Burundi over a decade ago.

A front-page NY Times article (1/10) reported: “The recent clashes in eastern Congo…have exacted a grievous toll on a region ravaged by a decade of war. Around 400,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, thousands of women have been raped and hundreds of children have been press-ganged into militias, the United Nations says….But the fighting is also rekindling the kind of ethnic hatred that previously dragged this region into the most deadly conflict since World War II.”
The rebels fighting the Congo army are Tutsis, who many see representing the Rwandan rulers who aim to control this part of the Congo. But while this conflict is defined as involving ethnic and tribal politics, economic and political factors are really behind this endless war in that country. (Since the 1990s, this war has killed over four million people, beginning with the fall of long-time strongman Mobutu, a rabid anti-communist first installed by the CIA and then propped up in his last few years by French imperialism).

The real fight is over the region’s mineral wealth — gold, diamonds and coltan (used in ballistic missiles and cell phones) are among the many lucrative minerals mined there. Usually, local bosses and generals work as subcontractors for multi-national corporations from Europe, the U.S. and South Africa which buy and trade these minerals.

(Future articles will explore the role of inter-imperialist rivalry in the misery of Africa; Chinese and Russian energy giants’ involvement in the imperialist power game, from Darfur to Nigeria; Pentagon creation of a new command to protect U.S. imperialist interests in the region; and how the powerful working class of South Africa and Nigeria can play an important role — if given red leadership — in helping liberate all of Africa from imperialism and their local capitalist lackeys.)

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KENYA: Imperialist-Sponsored ‘Democracy’ Blows Up

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan. 2 — Kenya was considered the most stable capitalist democracy in this part of Africa and a gold mine for imperialist exploitation, but the violence following the rigged presidential election last week has blown all that. Kenya is too important for world imperialism not to try to squash a power struggle between two politicians that could turn into another Rwanda. The two candidates are using tribal politics in their fight but in reality their thirst for a bigger piece of the capitalist pie is behind this conflict. The two men became enemies after Kibaki (the current ruler) reneged on a 2002 deal that would have given Odinga (the opposition candidate claiming fraud) the premiership in return for his support in the election.

Kenya’s importance to the imperialists is as a regional base for multi-national corporations like Barclays Bank, British American Tobacco and Unilever, among others who viciously exploit African workers. Its port of Mombassa is crucial to transport manufactured goods, fuel and military equipment for Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and southern Sudan. Financial Times columnist Michael Holman, wrote (1/1/08)): “For the outside world, Kenya has been the acceptable face of Africa: a safe destination for a million tourists a year from Europe, Asia and North America to the country of surf and safari; a reliable base, in a tough neighbourhood, for a burgeoning aid industry; regional headquarters for the United Nations; and — less well-known — a country whose military pacts with the U.S. and Britain have made it a crucial ally in the ‘war against terror.’ Kenyan politics, however, has never been healthy. It has been dominated by ethnic allegiances, stained by assassination, distorted by one-party rule until 1991 and, above all, oiled by endemic corruption.” These are central features of worldwide capitalism.

The U.S. government wanted the situation to remain stable enough to have congratulated Kibaki for his “victory,” even though it’s common knowledge it was fraudulent. Then, on Dec. 31, Washington effectively retracted that initial position with a fresh statement expressing concern about “serious problems experienced during the vote-counting process.”

The instability of world capitalism, with its imperialist wars, economic crises, corruption and fascist terror, is deadly for workers and their allies in Kenya, Pakistan, Iraq and more “hot spots” that will surely arise in the future. This instability sharpens the divisions among workers and their allies along tribal, religious and national lines. These contradictions cannot be solved under capitalism. The world’s workers are in dire need of rebuilding an international revolutionary communist movement that unites our class and allies based on our common interests to fight our common enemy: capitalism, imperialism and their crooked politicians.

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