The Gender Consciousness and the Class Consciousness
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It is one of the reality of the communist and revolutionary ranks to be skeptical about the concept of "gender consciousness" for the sake of the concept of "class consciousness"; to find a feminist deviation from Marxism-Leninism or from the revolution, to believe that propaganda works and political struggles around this concept do actually push "the class consciousness" and "the class struggle" into the background. This situation is not equal and same everywhere. In some parties and organizations, this mentality is much more close to be limited with their male forces, however in others, it stands more to be a general situation.


This is not surprising, because every revolutionary search and demand of the women's freedom struggle has encountered such similar questions. Even the demand for "women's suffrage", which today needs no discussion, was accepted in 1907, in the 1st Socialist Women's International after an intense struggle against reactionary patriarchal worries, such as "it will blur the class war". Again, the idea of a special organization of women, led by Clara Zetkin, came to the life only after the great struggles given within the German Communist Party (KPD).
Many issues and approaches of which those of today would say "ofcourse we accept" while seeing a contradiction between the gender consciousness and the class consciousness, were became the topics of similar discussions in the 20th century.

 

The Proletariat for the Emancipation of the whole Humanity
The material basis of the complete abolition of the private property and the class society (the social production which makes this abolition necessary and possible) and its subject, the social force (proletariat) had emerged with the capitalism. Because of both its place in this capitalist mode of production and its relationship of property, the proletariat gained a historical mission as the vanguard of the classless society, the grave digger of capitalism, in terms of being the class who gathers the elements for the social emancipation of all humanity within its own class qualities and whose objective interest is to abolish all classes together with itself.
Then, it is a fact that the proletariat could play its historical role because and as much as it is able to represent the emancipation of all the oppressed and exploited sections at the forefront and in a most consistent way.
As Lenin states by addressing Karl Kautsky, the struggle of the working class is not a byword for the struggle of socialism: "...socialist consciousness appears to be a necessary and direct result of the proletarian class struggle. But this is absolutely untrue (...) But socialism and the class struggle arise side by side and not one out of the other; each arises under different conditions."1
What is "the class consciousness" for the proletariat?
"Working-class consciousness cannot be genuine political consciousness unless the workers are trained to respond to all cases of tyranny, oppression, violence, and abuse, no matter what class is affected unless they are trained, moreover, to respond from a Social-Democratic point of view and no other . (...) Those who concentrate the attention, observation, and consciousness of the working class exclusively, or even mainly, upon itself alone are not Social-Democrats; for the self-knowledge of the working class is indissolubly bound up, not solely with a fully clear theoretical understanding or rather, not so much with the theoretical, as with the practical, understanding of the relationships between all the various classes of modern society, acquired through the experience of political life ."2
Lenin not only describes class consciousness, he also explains why communists must take the relationship between all classes as a course of its own revolutionary action:
"Class political consciousness can be brought to the workers only from without, (...) ...the reply to the question as to what must be done to bring political knowledge to the workers cannot be merely the answer with which, in the majority of cases, the practical workers, especially those inclined towards Economism, mostly content themselves, namely: "To go among the workers." To bring political knowledge to the workers the Social-Democrats must go among all classes of the population; they must dispatch units of their army in all directions. "3
So, it is not the communists' understanding and action, but of the economists, that holds the proletariat as a purpose for its own, and the class consciousness as a consciousness merely for its own. Besides, we do all know that the entire history of communists' struggle has developed as a history of a ideological and political struggle against these such currents.

 

Social Genders as a Social Differentiation Within the Oppressed Class
What role does the gender consciousness play, under the conditions in which the society is divided not only into classes, but at the same time into social genders which are all included in each of these classes?
The social genders (the oppressive male gender and the oppressed female gender) have been differentiated within themselves into classes. Both genders (one as the oppressor, the other as the oppressed) have their own common gender interests within themselves. But when we discuss from the viewpoint of the oppressed gender, the class differentiation within a social gender provides the women of the ruling class with satisfactory class privileges to such a degree that they would be content themselves with some limited gender gainings. Yet, the members of the oppressor gender from the same ruling class are in a position to make concessions in this manner, which they actually did throughout the history. These kind of class privileges and this form of a relationship with the private property are so strong that even the contradiction between bourgeois woman and bourgeois man remains no longer antagonistic.
The classes are also differentiated into social genders. If we discuss the issue this time from the perspective of the oppressed and the exploited working class, then we see the fact that the privileges of the oppressive gender are not based on their right of disposition in a way to have an interest in maintaining the private property over the means of production. Thus, the gender privileges of the oppressive gender don't exclude the antagonistic character of the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie of the oppressive gender. For this reason, both parts of the gender differentiation within the working class can play a role against the private property. On the other hand, the oppressed gender, the women, undertake a special role in the social revolution (which we'll discuss below) due to their objective reality that they won't be able to be emancipated unless the entire material basis of the private property over the means/materials of both production and personal consumption would be abolished.
Then, what kind of a role does the social gender differentiation, which, in Engels' words, is "the first class antagonism" that coincides with the "development of the antagonism between women and men in the monogamous marriage", which is "the first class oppression" that coincides with the "oppression of the female gender by male gender", play over the class consciousness?
The struggle between the oppressive male gender and the oppressed female gender becomes one of the aspects of the class war as well as one of the social dynamics of the liquidation of the private property. As long as this social dynamic is clarified, organized and leaded by a revolutionary subject, the class war becomes much more sharp and strong.


What blurs the class consciousness is not the gender consciousness itself but on the contrary, it is the obscureness of the social gender differentiation in the eyes of the proletariat.
"The gender unconsciousness" blurs the class consciousness of the proletarian man, because his privileges rooted in being the oppressed gender becomes a bond, a shackle, at least an aggravating factor in terms of playing his revolutionary role. If the proletarian man doesn't take the right position in the women's freedom struggle, or at least be neutral, then he keeps the danger to be reserved by the reactionary and counter-revolutionary approaches, organizations and forces. It is not for nothing that the communists have been targeted in countless regions of the world for many years, with discourses around the"community of women in communism". The aim was to weaken the class war of the proletariat on the basis of the backward consciousness of men within the oppressed classes. This backward consciousness has no chance of being effective, let alone being right. Anyway, it is also possible to define "the gender unconsciousness" of a proletarian man as a "gender consciousness", but, as a backward one of the oppressor gender or similarly, a spontaneous "gender consciousness" of a man. That is to say, as long as the material reality exists, in which one belongs to a gender and between these genders there is a social differentiation, every proletarian man and every proletarian woman, whether spontaneously or in an organized way, whether with the class conscious or not, will necessarily take position in one side of this differentiation, as long as he*she belongs to a gender. Because it is not possible to think and act outside of the social reality which they live within.
"Gender Unconsciousness" also blurs the class consciousness of the proletarian woman. (It is true that one does not understand only the man when we say "proletarian", isn't it?!) It becomes difficult for women to participate in the ranks of struggle, if she cannot understood that she is subjected to a double exploitation, oppression and male violence because she belongs to a particular social gender. Patriarchal traditions become the strongest ideological weapon against woman to naturalize and legitimize the capitalist exploitation. Furthermore the male violence, oppression and obstacle over woman realizing in the name of father-man, the husband-man and the brother-man, would be a de-facto physical obstacle for her participation in social struggles, unless a consciousness of the necessity for her to directly fight against this obstacle would be developed. The gender conscious woman becomes a stronger subject in the fight of changing the world.
From the point of view of the both genders, the right relationship with the woman's freedom struggle, will strengthen also their political class consciousness.

 

The Social Classes As a Social Differentiation Within The Oppressed Gender
So, this is the situation in terms of the gender differentiation within the proletariat. But then, the skeptic towards the "gender consciousness" for the sake of the "class consciousness" that finds a feminist deviation from the revolution or Marxism-Leninism would ask: "Since the gender consciousness doesn't only deal with the proletarian woman but with the whole gender, then wouldn't it correspond to a class reconciliation on behalf of the women of the ruling class?
Afterwards, that understanding would add more and say "my point is not anything about fighting for the issues of women. The matter is that, under the name of the gender consciousness, women of all classes are qualified as the oppressed and counted as revolutionary subjects, which disrupts the class standpoint and deviates from the communist perspective!"
Furthermore, the issue would even be discussed through comparisons and examples, which infact doesn't amount to a great theoretical abstraction, such as Condoleezza Rice, Tansu Çiller (the prime minister of Turkey at 90's, who is famous with counter-guerilla massacres) or Angela Merkel, and the problem will be enlightened in one fell swoop: "Are they also suppressed?", "Are we gonna target also their liberation?".
Let us take this objection, point of view, question or thesis into account, in the light of the social gender with regards to the class situation of the oppressed gender:
Above, it was said that there is also a class differentiation within the social gender. The oppressed gender woman, including both the women of the ruling class and the proletarian women, involves women from various oppressed classes and stratas.
(We must add this note before moving on: Actually, until a certain period of capitalism, we can not talk of women who are "members" of a particular class, but "belong" to a particular class. Because all women, extending to the wives of the sultans, were the "property" of a man of a particular class, until the time, when the capitalist order let women get in touch with the "outside world" and through this character of "being a property of man", they were experiencing both the privileges and the disadvantages of a certain class. They were not beings on their own for themselves. In capitalism, on the other hand, the woman has reached the state of belonging to herself, to be a thing in itself. The achievements of the bourgeois women in terms of hereditary and property rights, the "right" of the proletarian woman to wage slavery, and the totality of these relationships for women in general, have led them to be a member of a certain class on their own. Ultimately, from the perspective of our topic, the situation of the woman who is in relationship with the ruling class through both mediations, are same, and as it will be described below!)
Men's right of disposition of labor and the body of women, no matter which class or social strata they belong to, was socialized in the capitalist order. In the capitalist order, women are exploited as domestic servants/workers, as workers and laborers, and as a general commodity in every situation. The woman's body, not the body of woman A or B, but in the sense of a general being is a general commodity and a for capital investment.
The bourgeoisie has made the press of the patriarchy as loosen as possible for a certain part of women, for the women of the bourgeois class. What they posses on the basis of class privileges is much more than what they suffer on the basis of the gender differentiation. So that women in this class can live in peace with the order of the private property and the patriarchal order in two ways: first, as a class, as the upholders; rulers, property owners and bureaucrats of this order. Second, as a gender, they can the consequences of the capital's general right of disposition of women by means of the privileges that the ruling class recognizes. In this sense, the housework has been left to other women, whereas they have security walls against the patriarchal threats of the men outside from their class, have the opportunity to benefit laws not only on paper, but also in practice, etc... They are the conductors of the misogynist politics; the ones who provide the continuity of the order.
For some of the petty-bourgeois women, it is possible to realize some essential concessions within the limits of the capitalist order. For example, access to legal rights, child care and similar opportunities, improvements in individual sexual rights and innumerable achievements have been gained in European countries depending on the development of the petty-bourgeois feminist movement. The realization of these concessions is related to the level of the women's struggle, as well as the general political and economic situation of each country; and in the last analysis they are periodical.
But for the other women of the oppressed and exploited classes, essential changes that they can practically benefit, can only come on the agenda when political and social revolutionary conditions arise.
Nevertheless, beyond all these, the capitalist economy, is a large-scale economy, a social economy and, without exception, all material and social relations between all classes and stratas are formed on a social scale: all men oppress all women, and they oppress them directly. The commodification of the woman's body, socializes the privilege of looking at the goods showing the naked body of women, for all men even though there is no equal distribution. Classically speaking, this concrete woman, whose naked body is commodified, can stay much higher from the class perspective than that concrete man, who consumes the commodity, but nevertheless the action of using this commodity with the possibilities of capitalism, thanks to the conditions produced by capitalism, in which the woman is commodified in a social extent, means that the man uses his patriarchal privileges. In this order, in which the women are directed outside the house to the streets, all women can be harassed or raped. All women, including the presidents, ministers, company owners etc. can be oppressed by sexist verbal abuse. All these examples that can be endlessly increased without any doubt, are the forms of oppression, humiliation and domination which affect all women from all classes.
To claim that the Marxist-Leninist Communists, especially the Communist Women, who correctly understand the relationship between man and woman as a social relationship and define this relationship in their specific form first in capitalism and later under the conditions of the imperialist globalization, who define correctly that the men as a whole social part oppress the women as a social part, who correctly define the special form in which the oppression of the woman occur outside the boundaries of home and family and that this is realized on a social scale, and who set the gender consciousness on this axis, would make class compromises, let's say with Angela Merkel, on the basis of the gender consciousness, will be more or less the same to treat, for example, those who emphasize the objective anti-imperialist character of various Islamic forces against the US occupation in Iraq, as if they are the potential supporters of the racist-fascist Islamic State. There is a huge difference between the question of theory / program concerning the correct definition of a social law, relation and objectivity, and the strategic / tactical question of what relation has to be established with which of the forces acting in that objectivity.
Yes, gender consciousness is the consciousness of the existence of a social order in which all women are oppressed by all men. But no, this doesn't mean that all of these women can have the gender consciousness or can fight against the patriarchal order. How and on which level women from various classes will play a role in the women's freedom struggle depends on how much the class they belong to can play a progressive role within the social and material reality of a given country.
What is important is that, also in such these circumstances, the gender consciousness among women does not mean to a class reconciliation, but plays a differentiating role, because women from different classes have very different attitudes towards various issues of the women's freedom struggle. Uniting the most possible wide strata of women for a revolutionary women's freedom program, for the women's revolution program, and building alliances with the organized representatives of these stratas to strengthen that program on the basis of current tactics, will broaden and develop the class war in every situation. It will simplify the polarization of the oppressed and working masses against the capitalist order.
The problem is at what extent the owners of that understanding described above see the women of this or that class as a mature subject that can determine its own life. Of course, those who consider the history as a stage that takes place among the men, who think that the big deals are handled by men and women only play a fortifying reserve role depending on which class / strata they belong to, cannot describe the social forces in a right way and develop a strategy.

 

The Gender Consciousness And the Development Level of the Class Movement
The topic must be discussed on the basis of this very simple but very functional question, and we must receive very real, as in any reality, very revolutionary answers: What do the spontaneous movements of the masses and the concrete experiences of the class war tell us?
After all, does "the class consciousness" mean the comprehension of the own historical mission for the proletarian woman and the proletarian man, namely their uncompromising rejection of the order of private property, or not?
Is the class consciousness of a proletarian man backward or progressive, when he accepts any privilege of private property order, any of the "boons" of the patriarchal capitalist order?
An important part of those whose hands are soiled by the blood of the murdered women are the men from the ranks of the working class! The others belong to the fundamental allies of the revolution, the peasants and the urban poor! Is this backward consciousness which is close to the struggle for freedom and socialism? Isn't it one of the most important lessons of the democracy school that the working class has to go through, that women develop gender consciousness, beat back patriarchal violence, understanding and action?
Is it the backwardness, or progressiveness of the class consciousness of a proletarian woman, when she postpones, accepts or remains uninterested on the patriarchal reactionism that legitimizes the private property order and restricts her own revolutionary action, when she remains insensitive to the problems of the oppressed of her own gender? Isn't it a very simple, very pure reality that the gender-conscious women who are in struggle with the patriarchal order have a more progressive revolutionary potential than women who live in peace with the patriarchal order?
Is the class consciousness more progressive in where the democratic movements of women from different classes are strong or where they are weaker?
In Egypt, Tunisia, Chile, Spain, and countless other countries in which a wave of uprisings has spread recently, in which the women of all the oppressed and exploited stratas, especially the youth, participated broadly, even predominately, have been accompanied by the emergence of broad movements for the rights and freedoms of women and several women organizations and institutions, haven't it?
Isn't it right that, without exception, the women's movement, everywhere and in every example, comes to be not just the product, but also the vanguard force of the developing class wars?
Yes, as the class war develops, the gender consciousness of women develops as well. And vice versa, women become one of the dynamics that develops the class war in any situation of which their gender consciousness improves and overflows to the streets.
No matter for what reason (national or class) a woman wants to participate in the social struggle, the first threshold that has to be passed beyond is anyway the doorstep of her house! And just like the proletariat, who can't develop their class consciousness without being trained in the school of democracy, women can't gain the gender consciousness, neither individually nor collectively, unless she includes the struggle against patriarchy in her daily political work, without shifting it into an indeterminate future, to socialism and the process after.
At the same time, the achievements of the struggles that are given to expand the political and social rights and freedoms within the bourgeois order, create more suitable conditions for the organization and politicization of women. Just as the 8-hour working day has created more appropriate conditions for organizing the working class. The right to vote, equality before the laws (including the civil and the criminal laws), the right to divorce, the decline of male violence against women, all of these reveal better opportunities for women to become subjects in the social struggle, and in these struggles, women strengthen their collective consciousness, as well as their ability to act together and accumulates experiences of political struggle.
If all these clear realities of the spontaneous integration of the women's freedom struggle development with the development of the political struggle of the working class are accepted, then what is the opposed matter? Is it the communists' action, that theoretically abstract this reality, combine it with the revolutionary will and head to organize it distinctively?
It is no big deal at all to define and accept the existence of the "spontaneous" progress of the women's movement, the "spontaneous rising" in terms of women's participation and becoming subjects in the revolutionary ranks. The contradiction between the social and private character of the production, that is, the fundamental contradiction of capitalism, also functions in the social gender differentiation. As much as the bourgeoisie needs the patriarchal reactionism, supports and strengthens its ideological apparatus and means of violence, it strengthens also the conditions for the destruction of the private property, by the channel of double exploitation of woman, on the basis of the exploitation of her labor power and body, whereby women are in a constantly increasing and advancing manner pulled outside the house, on the streets, into the social life. The consequences of this simple reality aren't only seen by the Marxist-Leninists, but also by the bourgeoisie with all its currents and institutions. The tendencies of the bourgeois parties to gain cadres and grow among women, to discuss women quotas in the executives of big corporate and monopolies, to issue more women in the showcases of economic and political institutions are all attempts to absorb this social dynamic within the prevailing order. Rather than a zoraki accepting in a "freezed" (dönmüş) manner, the revolutionary attitude towards this reality is to create the program, the strategy and the organizational means that polarize this social dynamic against the ruling order and to build the daily politics and tactics on this basis.
The thesis that "gender consciousness blurs the class consciousness", beyond the definition of reality and its acceptance, forms a barricade against a revolutionary attitude.
Discussing the vanguardist mission of the proletariat, Lenin said:
"For it is not enough to call ourselves the "vanguard", the advanced contingent; we must act in such a way that all the other contingents recognise and are obliged to admit that we are marching in the vanguard. And we ask the reader: Are the representatives of the other "contingents" such fools as to take our word for it when we say that we are the "vanguard"? "4
For the proletariat to be accepted by the democratic women's movement as vanguard, isn't it the necessary condition to prove it by giving the most advanced struggles with its political action for winning these rights? Then, who will be the vanguard of the proletariat in this action? Who, if not its gender-conscious representatives?

 

With Whom Do the Communists Must Deal with?
Those who see an uncompromising contradiction between the gender consciousness and the class consciousness, and who also pretend that this is not the line of a political party, but only the line of women, are sure to apply the highest degree of justice and to have the most advanced and pure ML attitude, while they tell female communists, "you should deal with the capitalist order, the patriarchal order, instead of dealing with us!" But this is just one kind of the arrogance, which is well known by ruling nations, religions and classes inside of the oppressive gender!
What is not understood: exactly because we are dealing with the patriarchal, capitalist order, we cannot ignore these such approaches. Because they are reconciliatory with the patriarchal capitalist order and do represent no progressive class consciousness, but a backward one. Because we cannot allow the proletariat to have a consciousness blurred by the ideology and privileges of the order. Because we call proletarian women, men and LGBTI's to become vanguards in a social struggle by fighting against all the privileges of the patriarchal and capitalist order, the order of private property. For this reason, we have to deal with the approaches that reduce class consciousness to the lower level of a spontaneous consciousness, to the lower level of daily struggles with economic demands.

Not because of the achievements that Engels and Zetkin brought to the communist movement boil down to this, but because of the fact that we couldn't embrace these in a productive way; this such a confrontation within the communist movement, which remained on the plane of "women and men all together" that led a limited development in theoretical, organizational and political sense, became a surprising and annoying"new situation" especially for the communist men.
But in reality, this confrontation is not new to the communist women, but it's essentially new to the communist men! Anyway the communist women is in a fight against the limits of the patriarchy in any station of her own development and action. So with the term and the approach of "gender consciousness", the proletarian man and woman won't create and construct a gender differentiation or a gender conflict between themselves. The point is, to turn the existing material reality, an objective contradiction, which functions in disadvantage of the struggle for socialism, into a favorable one for socialism with consciousness and will! The point is, to make the man see the reality, of which the woman sees, lives and experiences anyway, and from which the man experiences privileges. The point is, to render the woman conscious who doesn't know what she is fighting against individually in many situations and to open her a collective battlefield!
And, of course, what is about is the further: the consciousness and the action that approves women as even more revolutionary social dynamic and revolutionary subject!
But the whole comprehension and practice of gender consciousness and the women's revolution, really don't target mainly the revolutionary man and the communist man! The communist man makes himself a target by the weakness of his own revolutionary action for the change and his disinterest and insufficiency in the implementation and comprehension of the Marxist women revolution line. Even in this situation , however, he's not at the center of the ideological struggle of the political line of the women's revolution, but standing on the side of it. Reasons for the discussions about "mainly with whom" women should deal, is the tendency of men to put themselves on the center of every topic, due to the kind of thinking and feeling formed through the patriarchal culture. Otherwise, the "main" goal of this entire political program and action, is to win the women, primarily the women of the working and laboring strata, for the revolution, to win the revolution for women, and to lead the ultimate victory of the new society. On this issue, communist men have to do something they are not used to, they have to show the responsibility of realizing that they aren't the center of women's action, but a detail, and that this is due to their weaknesses to renounce from their gender privileges and let their gender renounce this privileges individually, as well as collectively.

 

What the Practical Experiences Of Socialism Have Taught
This comprehension of the "class consciousness" is able to limit the struggle of the communists against the patriarchal and capitalist order and it can also become to a real limited focus in the construction of a socialist society.
As the support and ideological basis for women to become a subject, a social dynamic and an organization in a collective sense, the gender consciousness is the assurance of the construction of the socialist society. The liberation of women and the end of social gender inequality are fundamental to build socialism and the communist society. The socialist society can only progress towards communism, as much as it abolishes not only the contradictions of the urban-rural and intellectual-manual labor, but also the social gender contradiction and all manifestations of sexism.
By integrating itself to all class societies, patriarchy has reproduced itself by shaping the mindset, culture, traditions, comprehensions and sentiments of the society thousands of years and thus has almost gained the appearance of "god's gift". Capitalist society is the last link of this. For that reason, the point is much more rooted that it can not be abolished easily by transforming the position against the production means. The new human who thinks in a new language, who has gained a new heart, and whose mindset, culture, traditions, mentality and feelings would be on this basis, has to become "typical". In other words, the abolition of the private property on the means of production will only create the preconditions for a social transformation that will abolish gender inequality and won't solve the problem by itself or automatically. Decrees and laws are not enough to make that change happen. All reflections of the patriarchy over the social formation continue to resist against this change.
The objective basis of the gender difference is not abolished completely neither in socialism. Without reaching to a productivity level which would first socialize the housework and childcare within the framework of the reproduction of the lineage and secondly, abolish the private property on the individual consumer goods, thus, the foundations of the individual accumulation on the axis of the family; the social gender differentiation that locates the woman as a secondary gender on the basis of the family and the law of succession would remain the new society.
The question of building a new society, including all its dimensions, cannot be handled on the basis of a spontaneous economic development. The intervention not only in the infrastructure but also in the superstructure, in the political institutions, together with the participation of women is obligatory for socialism to progress towards this way. Yes, in order to have the housework and childcare completely socialized, the productivity has to reach a particular level however, the development of this socialization can be ensured only by involving women, under their leadership.
Otherwise, the continuity of the individual accumulation, the gender division of labor and the family would remain as a handicap, a regressive factor and an obstruction not only for women but also for the whole socialist society; the male habit and the culture becomes a destabilizing factor for the socialism in terms of economy, politics and the organization of the society.
The women's freedom is also obligatory in respect to the economic foundation of socialism. Socialism is possible only by the complete development of the productive forces, as well as by the freedom of women's labor in a true meaning. This corresponds to the women's participation in the social production, in the social life. It is also one of the fundamental elements to abolish "the the contradiction between the development of the productive force and the relations of production".
On his speech given at the "IV. Moscow City Conference of Non-Party Working Women" in 1919, Lenin emphasizes the revolutionary significance that October Revolution had immediately ensured the equality between men and women before the law, and continues: "Owing to her work in the house, the woman is still in a difficult position. (...) We are now making serious preparations to clear the ground for the building of socialism, but the building of socialism will begin only when we have achieved the complete equality of women and when we undertake the new work together with women who have been emancipated from that petty, stultifying, unproductive work. This is a job that will take us many, many years. (...) And the work of organising all these institutions will fall mainly to women. (...) We say that the emancipation of the workers must be effected by the workers themselves, and in exactly the same way the emancipation of working women is a matter for the working women themselves. The working women must them selves see to it that such institutions are developed, and this activity will bring about a complete change in their position as compared with what it was under the old, capitalist society. "5
The line of MLKP in terms of politicization and organization on the axis of gender consciousness-women revolution, is nothing other than a logical outcome of Lenin's words. In the Soviet experience, this idea and necessity couldn't find a sufficient response in terms of organizational and political leadership, theoretical approach and political practice and eventually, the revolution couldn't preserve the reached level due to the fact that it failed to create the means of organizing the women's power in a collective way.
In this context, this assessment of the utopian socialist Fourier, which Marx and Engels was also sharing, has been proved not only by the Soviet experience but also by the ongoing revolutionary struggles of today: "The change in a historical epoch can always be determined by the progress of women towards freedom, because in the relation of woman to man, of the weak to the strong, the victory of human nature over brutality is most evident. The degree of emancipation of women is the natural measure of general emancipation." (Charles Fourier, 1841)
During the revolutionary armed struggle period in Nepal, the participation of women in the ranks of the guerrilla had been reached up to 40 percents, as an indicator of the change in women's social status. However, since this situation is comprehended under a superficial manner of equality leading to assume that the social gender differentiation has automatically gained the class character and the patriarchal mentality has completely lost its foundation in the ranks of the party, this quantity of women in guerrilla ranks couldn't transformed into a quality that can be ensured by women commandership and thus, only in the first two years of the peace process, the women participation declined to 12 percents on the basis of the reconciliation with the family and traditions. While the quantity of the guerrillas were declining generally, the first ones going back home became the women. It is not that much difficult to see the role of the unconsciousness of women as a gender and their unorganized situation within the organization, which failed to resist this result. That is, the unorganized one becomes immediately liquidated!
The role of women's fertility on the Palestinian resistance has been mentioned many times. In fact, the material reality that obliges a population policy against Israel's war of genocide, couldn't be administrated on the basis of gender consciousness even at a minimum level. Yes, the continuity of the lineage is a must, moreover, it is an essential condition and form of the war. But in the Palestinian case, it is maintained on the basis of the traditional division of labor, which is counted as "natural", without developing not any special revolutionary policy to change it. Can we suppose that this had brought grave consequences only for the women? No, not at all. Since the "Palestinian warrior" was formed among the men, who have the responsibility to maintain the family in economic sense under this social division of labor, this situation did objectively bring a kind of a waged military system, despite their paramount level of sacrifice; that influenced the relationships of some of the Palestinian organizations with the Arab states, even paving the way for presenting reactionary attitudes, and also became a factor of the lack of the creation of an ideological alternative against the political Islamic reactionism.
Same periods have also been experienced in the Kurdish women's movement case. We can easily assess that, every liquidation wave emerged throughout the PKK (The Kurdistan Workers' Party ) history was developed around the women's liberation issue at the same time. The US originated liquidation plan, which had developed by the axis of the discourses such as "social reform", "freedom to marry", is one of the most clear example of it. And it is also very clear that, it was the women's organizational level itself that allowed the Kurdish women movement as well as the PKK and KCK (The Kurdistan Communities Union) leadership to develop a way out from this liquidation plan. Yet, regarding to its given material reality, Kurdistan is quite suitable for its own revolutionary subject to be defeated against the patriarchy in the society, however, by leaning on the organized collective women will, these such problems have been overcame.
In 1920, on his speech on the International Working Women's Day, Lenin was summarizing the achievements of the October Revolution: "Complete equality has not been granted even by the most progressive republican, and democratic bourgeois states. The Soviet Republic of Russia, on the other hand, at once swept away all legislative traces of the inequality of women without exception, and immediately ensured their complete equality before the law. "6
This was a matter of a great political courage and a great revolutionary action! Think about it: you will take a fragile power, have the duty to implement socialism in a concrete way, which has not been tried before, besides, you will do all these in a country which owns unsuitable conditions in terms of the material conditions of socialism, and while doing so, however, you will lean your power not on the safe harbour of the patriarchy but on the "abstract potentiality" of women's liberation. And on top of that, you will be light years away from the concerns connected with the patriarchal culture and mentality such as "this will blur the class consciousness" or "at the present moment, this will endanger the gainings of the class"...!
And next to this picture, let us locate these approaches this time: those leaving the duty of declining the patriarchal tradition and morality to the bourgeoisie, to its power of resolving society into pieces, as a result of the concerns such as "not distracting the class" or "paying regard to sensitivities of the society". Or others, that reconcile with the backward manners of the society in numerous fields such as family, marriage, divorce, clothing, sexuality, etc... and accept to take a step only when the struggle of the feminist movement or the spontaneous influence of the urbanization process render another type of a movement legitimate; those become objectively accepting the vanguardism of the feminist movement, while having the claim of fighting against feminism, or similarly, those become objectively accepting the vanguardism of the bourgeoisie, while while having the claim of raising the class consciousness against the bourgeois class.
The October Revolution had responded promptly and courageously to all of these fundamental questions about the women's freedom struggle of that time: legal rights, socialization of housework, and inclusion of women in political and social life.
It is no question that repeating Lenin's words or remembering the steps taken that time, would not won't solve the task of today's revolutionary leadership. What is need to be done, is to think and act in a Leninist way. Is it possible to do that, by other means than claiming all of the fundamental problems of today's women's liberation struggle and positioning as the political leader of those?

 

The Task Of The Revolutionary Theory And Action
Concerning social gender, the Communist Movement actually has limited itself with consuming Engel's theoretical heritage and the practical heritage of October Revolution and has put many few upon these. Thus, this field, has been left to feminism in terms of theory, ideological aliveness and influence. Instead of discussing the questions of today, in a concrete way, the communist movement caged itself by addressing either the past ( by adopting only the manner of giving quotes) or to the future (by adopting the narrowness of "socialism will solve the question"); even couldn't manage to be inspired from how Clara Zetkin and Lenin established relation with Marx and Engels. In this situation, it is one of the outstanding features of MLKP that in the context of the women's liberation struggle, it is in a constant development, transformation and renewing/innovation in terms of theory, organization and political practice.
There can be no other development path for the communists either. All in all, socialism mainly as an idea based on scientific knowledge in Marx, came to the reality with Lenin and it had been updated, renewed and developed.
We all know what kind of a situation that those who couldn't understand the different forms of the class war, failed to comprehend the Marxist-Leninist method in a dynamic way, found themselves in regard to the Kurdistan issue. Since they couldn't comprehend that the national struggle in Kurdistan corresponds to the sharpest form of the class struggle, they failed to reach to a development capable of turning the society upside down. Yet in reality, both the workers and the poor peasants of Kurdistan have taken their sides through this national struggle.
Gender consciousness is also a topic of this kind, and those who don't understand the struggle against the social division of gender as a form of the class war, become the ones who turn their backs on a great dynamic of the class war, on its revolutionary power. This leads not only to political, but also to ideological loss and limitation.
In his discussion with the economists about the class consciousness, which was often cited above, when Lenin faces with the question " the work among all the other classes , will this not mean a retreat, or lead to a retreat, from the class point of view? But if we have to undertake all of these, in what way will then the class character of our movement be expressed?" he gives a reply briefly as so: "all of these will be conducted by the party with a consistently Social-Democratic spirit" (the summary belongs to us)7
We would also like to answer the questions about gender consciousness remembering the same reality: all these works will be conducted by the communist party and the communist women, with the communist program, the program of the women revolution!
Those who develop the theoretical and political work in the context of gender consciousness is the Communist Party and the communist women, the Marxist-Leninist women; the organizational and political leaders, organizers, constructors and actioners of the glorious practice given in very different areas that make up the history of Marxist-Leninist Communists.
And we have no other guarantee than this.

-----------

1 V.I. Lenin, What is to be Done, in Collected Works vol.5, (Progress Publishers, 1977), p.383
2 Ibid., p.412
3 Ibid., p. 422
4 Ibid, p. 426
5 V.I. Lenin, Speech Delivered at the Forth Moscow City Conference of Non-Party Working Women, in Collected Works vol.30, (Progress Publishers, 1974), p. 383
6 V.I. Lenin, International Working Women's Day, in Collected Works vol.30, p. 408
7 V.I. Lenin, What is to be Done, p. 432

 

 

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The Gender Consciousness and the Class Consciousness
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It is one of the reality of the communist and revolutionary ranks to be skeptical about the concept of "gender consciousness" for the sake of the concept of "class consciousness"; to find a feminist deviation from Marxism-Leninism or from the revolution, to believe that propaganda works and political struggles around this concept do actually push "the class consciousness" and "the class struggle" into the background. This situation is not equal and same everywhere. In some parties and organizations, this mentality is much more close to be limited with their male forces, however in others, it stands more to be a general situation.


This is not surprising, because every revolutionary search and demand of the women's freedom struggle has encountered such similar questions. Even the demand for "women's suffrage", which today needs no discussion, was accepted in 1907, in the 1st Socialist Women's International after an intense struggle against reactionary patriarchal worries, such as "it will blur the class war". Again, the idea of a special organization of women, led by Clara Zetkin, came to the life only after the great struggles given within the German Communist Party (KPD).
Many issues and approaches of which those of today would say "ofcourse we accept" while seeing a contradiction between the gender consciousness and the class consciousness, were became the topics of similar discussions in the 20th century.

 

The Proletariat for the Emancipation of the whole Humanity
The material basis of the complete abolition of the private property and the class society (the social production which makes this abolition necessary and possible) and its subject, the social force (proletariat) had emerged with the capitalism. Because of both its place in this capitalist mode of production and its relationship of property, the proletariat gained a historical mission as the vanguard of the classless society, the grave digger of capitalism, in terms of being the class who gathers the elements for the social emancipation of all humanity within its own class qualities and whose objective interest is to abolish all classes together with itself.
Then, it is a fact that the proletariat could play its historical role because and as much as it is able to represent the emancipation of all the oppressed and exploited sections at the forefront and in a most consistent way.
As Lenin states by addressing Karl Kautsky, the struggle of the working class is not a byword for the struggle of socialism: "...socialist consciousness appears to be a necessary and direct result of the proletarian class struggle. But this is absolutely untrue (...) But socialism and the class struggle arise side by side and not one out of the other; each arises under different conditions."1
What is "the class consciousness" for the proletariat?
"Working-class consciousness cannot be genuine political consciousness unless the workers are trained to respond to all cases of tyranny, oppression, violence, and abuse, no matter what class is affected unless they are trained, moreover, to respond from a Social-Democratic point of view and no other . (...) Those who concentrate the attention, observation, and consciousness of the working class exclusively, or even mainly, upon itself alone are not Social-Democrats; for the self-knowledge of the working class is indissolubly bound up, not solely with a fully clear theoretical understanding or rather, not so much with the theoretical, as with the practical, understanding of the relationships between all the various classes of modern society, acquired through the experience of political life ."2
Lenin not only describes class consciousness, he also explains why communists must take the relationship between all classes as a course of its own revolutionary action:
"Class political consciousness can be brought to the workers only from without, (...) ...the reply to the question as to what must be done to bring political knowledge to the workers cannot be merely the answer with which, in the majority of cases, the practical workers, especially those inclined towards Economism, mostly content themselves, namely: "To go among the workers." To bring political knowledge to the workers the Social-Democrats must go among all classes of the population; they must dispatch units of their army in all directions. "3
So, it is not the communists' understanding and action, but of the economists, that holds the proletariat as a purpose for its own, and the class consciousness as a consciousness merely for its own. Besides, we do all know that the entire history of communists' struggle has developed as a history of a ideological and political struggle against these such currents.

 

Social Genders as a Social Differentiation Within the Oppressed Class
What role does the gender consciousness play, under the conditions in which the society is divided not only into classes, but at the same time into social genders which are all included in each of these classes?
The social genders (the oppressive male gender and the oppressed female gender) have been differentiated within themselves into classes. Both genders (one as the oppressor, the other as the oppressed) have their own common gender interests within themselves. But when we discuss from the viewpoint of the oppressed gender, the class differentiation within a social gender provides the women of the ruling class with satisfactory class privileges to such a degree that they would be content themselves with some limited gender gainings. Yet, the members of the oppressor gender from the same ruling class are in a position to make concessions in this manner, which they actually did throughout the history. These kind of class privileges and this form of a relationship with the private property are so strong that even the contradiction between bourgeois woman and bourgeois man remains no longer antagonistic.
The classes are also differentiated into social genders. If we discuss the issue this time from the perspective of the oppressed and the exploited working class, then we see the fact that the privileges of the oppressive gender are not based on their right of disposition in a way to have an interest in maintaining the private property over the means of production. Thus, the gender privileges of the oppressive gender don't exclude the antagonistic character of the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie of the oppressive gender. For this reason, both parts of the gender differentiation within the working class can play a role against the private property. On the other hand, the oppressed gender, the women, undertake a special role in the social revolution (which we'll discuss below) due to their objective reality that they won't be able to be emancipated unless the entire material basis of the private property over the means/materials of both production and personal consumption would be abolished.
Then, what kind of a role does the social gender differentiation, which, in Engels' words, is "the first class antagonism" that coincides with the "development of the antagonism between women and men in the monogamous marriage", which is "the first class oppression" that coincides with the "oppression of the female gender by male gender", play over the class consciousness?
The struggle between the oppressive male gender and the oppressed female gender becomes one of the aspects of the class war as well as one of the social dynamics of the liquidation of the private property. As long as this social dynamic is clarified, organized and leaded by a revolutionary subject, the class war becomes much more sharp and strong.


What blurs the class consciousness is not the gender consciousness itself but on the contrary, it is the obscureness of the social gender differentiation in the eyes of the proletariat.
"The gender unconsciousness" blurs the class consciousness of the proletarian man, because his privileges rooted in being the oppressed gender becomes a bond, a shackle, at least an aggravating factor in terms of playing his revolutionary role. If the proletarian man doesn't take the right position in the women's freedom struggle, or at least be neutral, then he keeps the danger to be reserved by the reactionary and counter-revolutionary approaches, organizations and forces. It is not for nothing that the communists have been targeted in countless regions of the world for many years, with discourses around the"community of women in communism". The aim was to weaken the class war of the proletariat on the basis of the backward consciousness of men within the oppressed classes. This backward consciousness has no chance of being effective, let alone being right. Anyway, it is also possible to define "the gender unconsciousness" of a proletarian man as a "gender consciousness", but, as a backward one of the oppressor gender or similarly, a spontaneous "gender consciousness" of a man. That is to say, as long as the material reality exists, in which one belongs to a gender and between these genders there is a social differentiation, every proletarian man and every proletarian woman, whether spontaneously or in an organized way, whether with the class conscious or not, will necessarily take position in one side of this differentiation, as long as he*she belongs to a gender. Because it is not possible to think and act outside of the social reality which they live within.
"Gender Unconsciousness" also blurs the class consciousness of the proletarian woman. (It is true that one does not understand only the man when we say "proletarian", isn't it?!) It becomes difficult for women to participate in the ranks of struggle, if she cannot understood that she is subjected to a double exploitation, oppression and male violence because she belongs to a particular social gender. Patriarchal traditions become the strongest ideological weapon against woman to naturalize and legitimize the capitalist exploitation. Furthermore the male violence, oppression and obstacle over woman realizing in the name of father-man, the husband-man and the brother-man, would be a de-facto physical obstacle for her participation in social struggles, unless a consciousness of the necessity for her to directly fight against this obstacle would be developed. The gender conscious woman becomes a stronger subject in the fight of changing the world.
From the point of view of the both genders, the right relationship with the woman's freedom struggle, will strengthen also their political class consciousness.

 

The Social Classes As a Social Differentiation Within The Oppressed Gender
So, this is the situation in terms of the gender differentiation within the proletariat. But then, the skeptic towards the "gender consciousness" for the sake of the "class consciousness" that finds a feminist deviation from the revolution or Marxism-Leninism would ask: "Since the gender consciousness doesn't only deal with the proletarian woman but with the whole gender, then wouldn't it correspond to a class reconciliation on behalf of the women of the ruling class?
Afterwards, that understanding would add more and say "my point is not anything about fighting for the issues of women. The matter is that, under the name of the gender consciousness, women of all classes are qualified as the oppressed and counted as revolutionary subjects, which disrupts the class standpoint and deviates from the communist perspective!"
Furthermore, the issue would even be discussed through comparisons and examples, which infact doesn't amount to a great theoretical abstraction, such as Condoleezza Rice, Tansu Çiller (the prime minister of Turkey at 90's, who is famous with counter-guerilla massacres) or Angela Merkel, and the problem will be enlightened in one fell swoop: "Are they also suppressed?", "Are we gonna target also their liberation?".
Let us take this objection, point of view, question or thesis into account, in the light of the social gender with regards to the class situation of the oppressed gender:
Above, it was said that there is also a class differentiation within the social gender. The oppressed gender woman, including both the women of the ruling class and the proletarian women, involves women from various oppressed classes and stratas.
(We must add this note before moving on: Actually, until a certain period of capitalism, we can not talk of women who are "members" of a particular class, but "belong" to a particular class. Because all women, extending to the wives of the sultans, were the "property" of a man of a particular class, until the time, when the capitalist order let women get in touch with the "outside world" and through this character of "being a property of man", they were experiencing both the privileges and the disadvantages of a certain class. They were not beings on their own for themselves. In capitalism, on the other hand, the woman has reached the state of belonging to herself, to be a thing in itself. The achievements of the bourgeois women in terms of hereditary and property rights, the "right" of the proletarian woman to wage slavery, and the totality of these relationships for women in general, have led them to be a member of a certain class on their own. Ultimately, from the perspective of our topic, the situation of the woman who is in relationship with the ruling class through both mediations, are same, and as it will be described below!)
Men's right of disposition of labor and the body of women, no matter which class or social strata they belong to, was socialized in the capitalist order. In the capitalist order, women are exploited as domestic servants/workers, as workers and laborers, and as a general commodity in every situation. The woman's body, not the body of woman A or B, but in the sense of a general being is a general commodity and a for capital investment.
The bourgeoisie has made the press of the patriarchy as loosen as possible for a certain part of women, for the women of the bourgeois class. What they posses on the basis of class privileges is much more than what they suffer on the basis of the gender differentiation. So that women in this class can live in peace with the order of the private property and the patriarchal order in two ways: first, as a class, as the upholders; rulers, property owners and bureaucrats of this order. Second, as a gender, they can the consequences of the capital's general right of disposition of women by means of the privileges that the ruling class recognizes. In this sense, the housework has been left to other women, whereas they have security walls against the patriarchal threats of the men outside from their class, have the opportunity to benefit laws not only on paper, but also in practice, etc... They are the conductors of the misogynist politics; the ones who provide the continuity of the order.
For some of the petty-bourgeois women, it is possible to realize some essential concessions within the limits of the capitalist order. For example, access to legal rights, child care and similar opportunities, improvements in individual sexual rights and innumerable achievements have been gained in European countries depending on the development of the petty-bourgeois feminist movement. The realization of these concessions is related to the level of the women's struggle, as well as the general political and economic situation of each country; and in the last analysis they are periodical.
But for the other women of the oppressed and exploited classes, essential changes that they can practically benefit, can only come on the agenda when political and social revolutionary conditions arise.
Nevertheless, beyond all these, the capitalist economy, is a large-scale economy, a social economy and, without exception, all material and social relations between all classes and stratas are formed on a social scale: all men oppress all women, and they oppress them directly. The commodification of the woman's body, socializes the privilege of looking at the goods showing the naked body of women, for all men even though there is no equal distribution. Classically speaking, this concrete woman, whose naked body is commodified, can stay much higher from the class perspective than that concrete man, who consumes the commodity, but nevertheless the action of using this commodity with the possibilities of capitalism, thanks to the conditions produced by capitalism, in which the woman is commodified in a social extent, means that the man uses his patriarchal privileges. In this order, in which the women are directed outside the house to the streets, all women can be harassed or raped. All women, including the presidents, ministers, company owners etc. can be oppressed by sexist verbal abuse. All these examples that can be endlessly increased without any doubt, are the forms of oppression, humiliation and domination which affect all women from all classes.
To claim that the Marxist-Leninist Communists, especially the Communist Women, who correctly understand the relationship between man and woman as a social relationship and define this relationship in their specific form first in capitalism and later under the conditions of the imperialist globalization, who define correctly that the men as a whole social part oppress the women as a social part, who correctly define the special form in which the oppression of the woman occur outside the boundaries of home and family and that this is realized on a social scale, and who set the gender consciousness on this axis, would make class compromises, let's say with Angela Merkel, on the basis of the gender consciousness, will be more or less the same to treat, for example, those who emphasize the objective anti-imperialist character of various Islamic forces against the US occupation in Iraq, as if they are the potential supporters of the racist-fascist Islamic State. There is a huge difference between the question of theory / program concerning the correct definition of a social law, relation and objectivity, and the strategic / tactical question of what relation has to be established with which of the forces acting in that objectivity.
Yes, gender consciousness is the consciousness of the existence of a social order in which all women are oppressed by all men. But no, this doesn't mean that all of these women can have the gender consciousness or can fight against the patriarchal order. How and on which level women from various classes will play a role in the women's freedom struggle depends on how much the class they belong to can play a progressive role within the social and material reality of a given country.
What is important is that, also in such these circumstances, the gender consciousness among women does not mean to a class reconciliation, but plays a differentiating role, because women from different classes have very different attitudes towards various issues of the women's freedom struggle. Uniting the most possible wide strata of women for a revolutionary women's freedom program, for the women's revolution program, and building alliances with the organized representatives of these stratas to strengthen that program on the basis of current tactics, will broaden and develop the class war in every situation. It will simplify the polarization of the oppressed and working masses against the capitalist order.
The problem is at what extent the owners of that understanding described above see the women of this or that class as a mature subject that can determine its own life. Of course, those who consider the history as a stage that takes place among the men, who think that the big deals are handled by men and women only play a fortifying reserve role depending on which class / strata they belong to, cannot describe the social forces in a right way and develop a strategy.

 

The Gender Consciousness And the Development Level of the Class Movement
The topic must be discussed on the basis of this very simple but very functional question, and we must receive very real, as in any reality, very revolutionary answers: What do the spontaneous movements of the masses and the concrete experiences of the class war tell us?
After all, does "the class consciousness" mean the comprehension of the own historical mission for the proletarian woman and the proletarian man, namely their uncompromising rejection of the order of private property, or not?
Is the class consciousness of a proletarian man backward or progressive, when he accepts any privilege of private property order, any of the "boons" of the patriarchal capitalist order?
An important part of those whose hands are soiled by the blood of the murdered women are the men from the ranks of the working class! The others belong to the fundamental allies of the revolution, the peasants and the urban poor! Is this backward consciousness which is close to the struggle for freedom and socialism? Isn't it one of the most important lessons of the democracy school that the working class has to go through, that women develop gender consciousness, beat back patriarchal violence, understanding and action?
Is it the backwardness, or progressiveness of the class consciousness of a proletarian woman, when she postpones, accepts or remains uninterested on the patriarchal reactionism that legitimizes the private property order and restricts her own revolutionary action, when she remains insensitive to the problems of the oppressed of her own gender? Isn't it a very simple, very pure reality that the gender-conscious women who are in struggle with the patriarchal order have a more progressive revolutionary potential than women who live in peace with the patriarchal order?
Is the class consciousness more progressive in where the democratic movements of women from different classes are strong or where they are weaker?
In Egypt, Tunisia, Chile, Spain, and countless other countries in which a wave of uprisings has spread recently, in which the women of all the oppressed and exploited stratas, especially the youth, participated broadly, even predominately, have been accompanied by the emergence of broad movements for the rights and freedoms of women and several women organizations and institutions, haven't it?
Isn't it right that, without exception, the women's movement, everywhere and in every example, comes to be not just the product, but also the vanguard force of the developing class wars?
Yes, as the class war develops, the gender consciousness of women develops as well. And vice versa, women become one of the dynamics that develops the class war in any situation of which their gender consciousness improves and overflows to the streets.
No matter for what reason (national or class) a woman wants to participate in the social struggle, the first threshold that has to be passed beyond is anyway the doorstep of her house! And just like the proletariat, who can't develop their class consciousness without being trained in the school of democracy, women can't gain the gender consciousness, neither individually nor collectively, unless she includes the struggle against patriarchy in her daily political work, without shifting it into an indeterminate future, to socialism and the process after.
At the same time, the achievements of the struggles that are given to expand the political and social rights and freedoms within the bourgeois order, create more suitable conditions for the organization and politicization of women. Just as the 8-hour working day has created more appropriate conditions for organizing the working class. The right to vote, equality before the laws (including the civil and the criminal laws), the right to divorce, the decline of male violence against women, all of these reveal better opportunities for women to become subjects in the social struggle, and in these struggles, women strengthen their collective consciousness, as well as their ability to act together and accumulates experiences of political struggle.
If all these clear realities of the spontaneous integration of the women's freedom struggle development with the development of the political struggle of the working class are accepted, then what is the opposed matter? Is it the communists' action, that theoretically abstract this reality, combine it with the revolutionary will and head to organize it distinctively?
It is no big deal at all to define and accept the existence of the "spontaneous" progress of the women's movement, the "spontaneous rising" in terms of women's participation and becoming subjects in the revolutionary ranks. The contradiction between the social and private character of the production, that is, the fundamental contradiction of capitalism, also functions in the social gender differentiation. As much as the bourgeoisie needs the patriarchal reactionism, supports and strengthens its ideological apparatus and means of violence, it strengthens also the conditions for the destruction of the private property, by the channel of double exploitation of woman, on the basis of the exploitation of her labor power and body, whereby women are in a constantly increasing and advancing manner pulled outside the house, on the streets, into the social life. The consequences of this simple reality aren't only seen by the Marxist-Leninists, but also by the bourgeoisie with all its currents and institutions. The tendencies of the bourgeois parties to gain cadres and grow among women, to discuss women quotas in the executives of big corporate and monopolies, to issue more women in the showcases of economic and political institutions are all attempts to absorb this social dynamic within the prevailing order. Rather than a zoraki accepting in a "freezed" (dönmüş) manner, the revolutionary attitude towards this reality is to create the program, the strategy and the organizational means that polarize this social dynamic against the ruling order and to build the daily politics and tactics on this basis.
The thesis that "gender consciousness blurs the class consciousness", beyond the definition of reality and its acceptance, forms a barricade against a revolutionary attitude.
Discussing the vanguardist mission of the proletariat, Lenin said:
"For it is not enough to call ourselves the "vanguard", the advanced contingent; we must act in such a way that all the other contingents recognise and are obliged to admit that we are marching in the vanguard. And we ask the reader: Are the representatives of the other "contingents" such fools as to take our word for it when we say that we are the "vanguard"? "4
For the proletariat to be accepted by the democratic women's movement as vanguard, isn't it the necessary condition to prove it by giving the most advanced struggles with its political action for winning these rights? Then, who will be the vanguard of the proletariat in this action? Who, if not its gender-conscious representatives?

 

With Whom Do the Communists Must Deal with?
Those who see an uncompromising contradiction between the gender consciousness and the class consciousness, and who also pretend that this is not the line of a political party, but only the line of women, are sure to apply the highest degree of justice and to have the most advanced and pure ML attitude, while they tell female communists, "you should deal with the capitalist order, the patriarchal order, instead of dealing with us!" But this is just one kind of the arrogance, which is well known by ruling nations, religions and classes inside of the oppressive gender!
What is not understood: exactly because we are dealing with the patriarchal, capitalist order, we cannot ignore these such approaches. Because they are reconciliatory with the patriarchal capitalist order and do represent no progressive class consciousness, but a backward one. Because we cannot allow the proletariat to have a consciousness blurred by the ideology and privileges of the order. Because we call proletarian women, men and LGBTI's to become vanguards in a social struggle by fighting against all the privileges of the patriarchal and capitalist order, the order of private property. For this reason, we have to deal with the approaches that reduce class consciousness to the lower level of a spontaneous consciousness, to the lower level of daily struggles with economic demands.

Not because of the achievements that Engels and Zetkin brought to the communist movement boil down to this, but because of the fact that we couldn't embrace these in a productive way; this such a confrontation within the communist movement, which remained on the plane of "women and men all together" that led a limited development in theoretical, organizational and political sense, became a surprising and annoying"new situation" especially for the communist men.
But in reality, this confrontation is not new to the communist women, but it's essentially new to the communist men! Anyway the communist women is in a fight against the limits of the patriarchy in any station of her own development and action. So with the term and the approach of "gender consciousness", the proletarian man and woman won't create and construct a gender differentiation or a gender conflict between themselves. The point is, to turn the existing material reality, an objective contradiction, which functions in disadvantage of the struggle for socialism, into a favorable one for socialism with consciousness and will! The point is, to make the man see the reality, of which the woman sees, lives and experiences anyway, and from which the man experiences privileges. The point is, to render the woman conscious who doesn't know what she is fighting against individually in many situations and to open her a collective battlefield!
And, of course, what is about is the further: the consciousness and the action that approves women as even more revolutionary social dynamic and revolutionary subject!
But the whole comprehension and practice of gender consciousness and the women's revolution, really don't target mainly the revolutionary man and the communist man! The communist man makes himself a target by the weakness of his own revolutionary action for the change and his disinterest and insufficiency in the implementation and comprehension of the Marxist women revolution line. Even in this situation , however, he's not at the center of the ideological struggle of the political line of the women's revolution, but standing on the side of it. Reasons for the discussions about "mainly with whom" women should deal, is the tendency of men to put themselves on the center of every topic, due to the kind of thinking and feeling formed through the patriarchal culture. Otherwise, the "main" goal of this entire political program and action, is to win the women, primarily the women of the working and laboring strata, for the revolution, to win the revolution for women, and to lead the ultimate victory of the new society. On this issue, communist men have to do something they are not used to, they have to show the responsibility of realizing that they aren't the center of women's action, but a detail, and that this is due to their weaknesses to renounce from their gender privileges and let their gender renounce this privileges individually, as well as collectively.

 

What the Practical Experiences Of Socialism Have Taught
This comprehension of the "class consciousness" is able to limit the struggle of the communists against the patriarchal and capitalist order and it can also become to a real limited focus in the construction of a socialist society.
As the support and ideological basis for women to become a subject, a social dynamic and an organization in a collective sense, the gender consciousness is the assurance of the construction of the socialist society. The liberation of women and the end of social gender inequality are fundamental to build socialism and the communist society. The socialist society can only progress towards communism, as much as it abolishes not only the contradictions of the urban-rural and intellectual-manual labor, but also the social gender contradiction and all manifestations of sexism.
By integrating itself to all class societies, patriarchy has reproduced itself by shaping the mindset, culture, traditions, comprehensions and sentiments of the society thousands of years and thus has almost gained the appearance of "god's gift". Capitalist society is the last link of this. For that reason, the point is much more rooted that it can not be abolished easily by transforming the position against the production means. The new human who thinks in a new language, who has gained a new heart, and whose mindset, culture, traditions, mentality and feelings would be on this basis, has to become "typical". In other words, the abolition of the private property on the means of production will only create the preconditions for a social transformation that will abolish gender inequality and won't solve the problem by itself or automatically. Decrees and laws are not enough to make that change happen. All reflections of the patriarchy over the social formation continue to resist against this change.
The objective basis of the gender difference is not abolished completely neither in socialism. Without reaching to a productivity level which would first socialize the housework and childcare within the framework of the reproduction of the lineage and secondly, abolish the private property on the individual consumer goods, thus, the foundations of the individual accumulation on the axis of the family; the social gender differentiation that locates the woman as a secondary gender on the basis of the family and the law of succession would remain the new society.
The question of building a new society, including all its dimensions, cannot be handled on the basis of a spontaneous economic development. The intervention not only in the infrastructure but also in the superstructure, in the political institutions, together with the participation of women is obligatory for socialism to progress towards this way. Yes, in order to have the housework and childcare completely socialized, the productivity has to reach a particular level however, the development of this socialization can be ensured only by involving women, under their leadership.
Otherwise, the continuity of the individual accumulation, the gender division of labor and the family would remain as a handicap, a regressive factor and an obstruction not only for women but also for the whole socialist society; the male habit and the culture becomes a destabilizing factor for the socialism in terms of economy, politics and the organization of the society.
The women's freedom is also obligatory in respect to the economic foundation of socialism. Socialism is possible only by the complete development of the productive forces, as well as by the freedom of women's labor in a true meaning. This corresponds to the women's participation in the social production, in the social life. It is also one of the fundamental elements to abolish "the the contradiction between the development of the productive force and the relations of production".
On his speech given at the "IV. Moscow City Conference of Non-Party Working Women" in 1919, Lenin emphasizes the revolutionary significance that October Revolution had immediately ensured the equality between men and women before the law, and continues: "Owing to her work in the house, the woman is still in a difficult position. (...) We are now making serious preparations to clear the ground for the building of socialism, but the building of socialism will begin only when we have achieved the complete equality of women and when we undertake the new work together with women who have been emancipated from that petty, stultifying, unproductive work. This is a job that will take us many, many years. (...) And the work of organising all these institutions will fall mainly to women. (...) We say that the emancipation of the workers must be effected by the workers themselves, and in exactly the same way the emancipation of working women is a matter for the working women themselves. The working women must them selves see to it that such institutions are developed, and this activity will bring about a complete change in their position as compared with what it was under the old, capitalist society. "5
The line of MLKP in terms of politicization and organization on the axis of gender consciousness-women revolution, is nothing other than a logical outcome of Lenin's words. In the Soviet experience, this idea and necessity couldn't find a sufficient response in terms of organizational and political leadership, theoretical approach and political practice and eventually, the revolution couldn't preserve the reached level due to the fact that it failed to create the means of organizing the women's power in a collective way.
In this context, this assessment of the utopian socialist Fourier, which Marx and Engels was also sharing, has been proved not only by the Soviet experience but also by the ongoing revolutionary struggles of today: "The change in a historical epoch can always be determined by the progress of women towards freedom, because in the relation of woman to man, of the weak to the strong, the victory of human nature over brutality is most evident. The degree of emancipation of women is the natural measure of general emancipation." (Charles Fourier, 1841)
During the revolutionary armed struggle period in Nepal, the participation of women in the ranks of the guerrilla had been reached up to 40 percents, as an indicator of the change in women's social status. However, since this situation is comprehended under a superficial manner of equality leading to assume that the social gender differentiation has automatically gained the class character and the patriarchal mentality has completely lost its foundation in the ranks of the party, this quantity of women in guerrilla ranks couldn't transformed into a quality that can be ensured by women commandership and thus, only in the first two years of the peace process, the women participation declined to 12 percents on the basis of the reconciliation with the family and traditions. While the quantity of the guerrillas were declining generally, the first ones going back home became the women. It is not that much difficult to see the role of the unconsciousness of women as a gender and their unorganized situation within the organization, which failed to resist this result. That is, the unorganized one becomes immediately liquidated!
The role of women's fertility on the Palestinian resistance has been mentioned many times. In fact, the material reality that obliges a population policy against Israel's war of genocide, couldn't be administrated on the basis of gender consciousness even at a minimum level. Yes, the continuity of the lineage is a must, moreover, it is an essential condition and form of the war. But in the Palestinian case, it is maintained on the basis of the traditional division of labor, which is counted as "natural", without developing not any special revolutionary policy to change it. Can we suppose that this had brought grave consequences only for the women? No, not at all. Since the "Palestinian warrior" was formed among the men, who have the responsibility to maintain the family in economic sense under this social division of labor, this situation did objectively bring a kind of a waged military system, despite their paramount level of sacrifice; that influenced the relationships of some of the Palestinian organizations with the Arab states, even paving the way for presenting reactionary attitudes, and also became a factor of the lack of the creation of an ideological alternative against the political Islamic reactionism.
Same periods have also been experienced in the Kurdish women's movement case. We can easily assess that, every liquidation wave emerged throughout the PKK (The Kurdistan Workers' Party ) history was developed around the women's liberation issue at the same time. The US originated liquidation plan, which had developed by the axis of the discourses such as "social reform", "freedom to marry", is one of the most clear example of it. And it is also very clear that, it was the women's organizational level itself that allowed the Kurdish women movement as well as the PKK and KCK (The Kurdistan Communities Union) leadership to develop a way out from this liquidation plan. Yet, regarding to its given material reality, Kurdistan is quite suitable for its own revolutionary subject to be defeated against the patriarchy in the society, however, by leaning on the organized collective women will, these such problems have been overcame.
In 1920, on his speech on the International Working Women's Day, Lenin was summarizing the achievements of the October Revolution: "Complete equality has not been granted even by the most progressive republican, and democratic bourgeois states. The Soviet Republic of Russia, on the other hand, at once swept away all legislative traces of the inequality of women without exception, and immediately ensured their complete equality before the law. "6
This was a matter of a great political courage and a great revolutionary action! Think about it: you will take a fragile power, have the duty to implement socialism in a concrete way, which has not been tried before, besides, you will do all these in a country which owns unsuitable conditions in terms of the material conditions of socialism, and while doing so, however, you will lean your power not on the safe harbour of the patriarchy but on the "abstract potentiality" of women's liberation. And on top of that, you will be light years away from the concerns connected with the patriarchal culture and mentality such as "this will blur the class consciousness" or "at the present moment, this will endanger the gainings of the class"...!
And next to this picture, let us locate these approaches this time: those leaving the duty of declining the patriarchal tradition and morality to the bourgeoisie, to its power of resolving society into pieces, as a result of the concerns such as "not distracting the class" or "paying regard to sensitivities of the society". Or others, that reconcile with the backward manners of the society in numerous fields such as family, marriage, divorce, clothing, sexuality, etc... and accept to take a step only when the struggle of the feminist movement or the spontaneous influence of the urbanization process render another type of a movement legitimate; those become objectively accepting the vanguardism of the feminist movement, while having the claim of fighting against feminism, or similarly, those become objectively accepting the vanguardism of the bourgeoisie, while while having the claim of raising the class consciousness against the bourgeois class.
The October Revolution had responded promptly and courageously to all of these fundamental questions about the women's freedom struggle of that time: legal rights, socialization of housework, and inclusion of women in political and social life.
It is no question that repeating Lenin's words or remembering the steps taken that time, would not won't solve the task of today's revolutionary leadership. What is need to be done, is to think and act in a Leninist way. Is it possible to do that, by other means than claiming all of the fundamental problems of today's women's liberation struggle and positioning as the political leader of those?

 

The Task Of The Revolutionary Theory And Action
Concerning social gender, the Communist Movement actually has limited itself with consuming Engel's theoretical heritage and the practical heritage of October Revolution and has put many few upon these. Thus, this field, has been left to feminism in terms of theory, ideological aliveness and influence. Instead of discussing the questions of today, in a concrete way, the communist movement caged itself by addressing either the past ( by adopting only the manner of giving quotes) or to the future (by adopting the narrowness of "socialism will solve the question"); even couldn't manage to be inspired from how Clara Zetkin and Lenin established relation with Marx and Engels. In this situation, it is one of the outstanding features of MLKP that in the context of the women's liberation struggle, it is in a constant development, transformation and renewing/innovation in terms of theory, organization and political practice.
There can be no other development path for the communists either. All in all, socialism mainly as an idea based on scientific knowledge in Marx, came to the reality with Lenin and it had been updated, renewed and developed.
We all know what kind of a situation that those who couldn't understand the different forms of the class war, failed to comprehend the Marxist-Leninist method in a dynamic way, found themselves in regard to the Kurdistan issue. Since they couldn't comprehend that the national struggle in Kurdistan corresponds to the sharpest form of the class struggle, they failed to reach to a development capable of turning the society upside down. Yet in reality, both the workers and the poor peasants of Kurdistan have taken their sides through this national struggle.
Gender consciousness is also a topic of this kind, and those who don't understand the struggle against the social division of gender as a form of the class war, become the ones who turn their backs on a great dynamic of the class war, on its revolutionary power. This leads not only to political, but also to ideological loss and limitation.
In his discussion with the economists about the class consciousness, which was often cited above, when Lenin faces with the question " the work among all the other classes , will this not mean a retreat, or lead to a retreat, from the class point of view? But if we have to undertake all of these, in what way will then the class character of our movement be expressed?" he gives a reply briefly as so: "all of these will be conducted by the party with a consistently Social-Democratic spirit" (the summary belongs to us)7
We would also like to answer the questions about gender consciousness remembering the same reality: all these works will be conducted by the communist party and the communist women, with the communist program, the program of the women revolution!
Those who develop the theoretical and political work in the context of gender consciousness is the Communist Party and the communist women, the Marxist-Leninist women; the organizational and political leaders, organizers, constructors and actioners of the glorious practice given in very different areas that make up the history of Marxist-Leninist Communists.
And we have no other guarantee than this.

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1 V.I. Lenin, What is to be Done, in Collected Works vol.5, (Progress Publishers, 1977), p.383
2 Ibid., p.412
3 Ibid., p. 422
4 Ibid, p. 426
5 V.I. Lenin, Speech Delivered at the Forth Moscow City Conference of Non-Party Working Women, in Collected Works vol.30, (Progress Publishers, 1974), p. 383
6 V.I. Lenin, International Working Women's Day, in Collected Works vol.30, p. 408
7 V.I. Lenin, What is to be Done, p. 432