WSF (1996): “Working And Poor Women: Unite Against Oppression!”

WSF (1996): “Working And Poor Women: Unite Against Oppression!”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 2, number 2, third quarter 1996. Complete PDF is here

Every day thousands of women are beaten, raped, killed. We are treated like dirt by sexist men. Workers Solidarity says: No to Violence Against Women!

All women suffer abuse. But we working -class and poor women suffer the most. When we are abused we can’t hire fancy lawyers, or psychologists, or go stay in private clinics. Often we are financially dependent on the very same thugs that give us hell.

We Say: There is no excuse for women’s oppression. It is a lie to say that women are inferior to men or their natural slaves. Down with All Oppression!

The bosses newspapers and T.V promote derogatory views of women. They say that women are there to be used and abused.

And some of our men believe these lies. They take out their frustrations from their oppression at work, or unemployment, out on their families. They want to be “big boss” in the home.

We say: No More Bosses. Forward to a Workers Democracy!

The businessmen and the managers exploit women. They give us the worst work with no job security. They pay us low wages. This exploits us and divides the workers. When we get pregnant we are fired because the bosses do not want to pay extra for maternity benefits or leave. Even if our children get ill, they will not give us time off. And some bosses sexually harass and abuse us.

And when we get home from jobs we have to start a second shift as unpaid domestics servants. We have to do all the house work with no help from our men. And this work is made harder by the fact that many townships and squatter camps have no electricity or plumbing.

Workers Solidarity Says: Working and poor women must unite to fight their oppression,. Al progressive male comrades must support this struggle. Women’s oppression must be smashed in the community and workplace by a class- struggle against the bosses and the sexists. We must therefore raise this in our civics, youth organisations and unions.

* Free 24 hour child care funded by the bosses and the state.
* Men to share housework
* Equal wages for men and women.
* Job security for women.
* Paid maternity leave and guaranteed re- employment.
* End to violence against women
* No to sexism in civics, youth structures and unions.


About Lucien van der Walt

I teach at Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape. I’m South African, born and bred. I am currently also involved in union education and have a background in social movement and left-wing activism, the Workers’ Library and Museum, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, and the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). I’ve presented papers at more than 120 conferences and workshops, published in key journals like 'Capital and Class' and 'Labor History', have co-edited 3 journal specials (these on global labour history, African labour, and unions in the Global South), and written well over 130 other articles, papers and entries. I was Southern Africa editor for the 2009 'International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest' (Blackwell). My focus has been on South Africa, but I have also done research in Zambia and Zimbabwe. I won the 2008 international 'Labor History' thesis prize, and the 2008/2009 Council for the Development of Social Science Research prize for best African dissertation, for my PhD thesis on South African anarchism, syndicalism and black militants. I have several books, including 'Negro e Vermelho: anarquismo, sindicalismo revolucionário e pessoas de cor na África Meridional nas décadas de 1880-1920,' and 'Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1880-1940: the praxis of national liberation, internationalism, and social revolution' (co-edited with Steve Hirsch, Brill, 2010/ 2014).