Women In Social Struggles
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The utopian socialist Fourier once said, "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]

It is necessary to evaluate the participation and achievements of women in the social struggles from this perspective, but also each of the struggles themselves in terms of their level, strength and power to change the society.
First of all, it must be said that the gender struggle itself is an independent and fundamental social struggle. For this reason, all these struggles, from fighting for electoral rights to fighting for equal pay for equal work, from organizing to the right to abortion and the fight against violence against women, are also social struggles.
Therefore, it would be the result of a missing perspective, if we discuss the role and the contribution of women in social struggles only by focusing mainly on what percentage of women participate in the guerrilla forces in a given country, or in other, which sense women contribute to a civil war process, etc... Women not only contribute to the development of social struggles only by participating in their various fronts, but also by fighting for women's freedom, for their demands and aspirations. Entirely women-centric struggles do develop social struggles in general in terms of denouncing the bourgeois society, paving the way for struggles of other social sectors, developing the democratic consciousness of the working class and the oppressed, etc..
On top of that, women make up the half of society, the half of the working class and oppressed, which are fighting for different demands and different slogans. Therefore, the title "Women in Social Struggles" should not only focus on how women prove themselves within social struggles or their usefulness. In this sense, the scale of the success and developmental force of social struggles in any time or place must be their level of usefulness on the sexual freedom question; whether they prove themselves or not in this regard. Assessments made in this light do actually reveal that what Fourier said in 1808 has been verified several times throughout the history of revolutions and class wars.

 

The Developing Struggle Dynamics of Women
It is possible to see the active role of women in social struggles in almost every revolutionary warfare, every popular uprisings and even in partial struggles, strikes and resistances.
And what we see also is that the quality of this involvement of women has been steadily strengthening in the course of its history; increasing its influence level on the social struggles as well as developing its gender identity, collective participation and its unique and autonomous level of organization.
Women participate actively in all areas of life and struggle: in struggles for national democratic demands and aspirations, in resistances against imperialist wars and occupations, in uprisings for political freedoms against repressive regimes and dictatorships, and in revolutionary warfares which directly target the bourgeois order. The direction of this involvement assumes more and more the form of being the leading political subject of these struggles, establishing their own specific organizations and participating in the movements under these organizations, being more represented in percentage terms within the leading political structures of struggles.
Women's desire for freedom against patriarchy unites with the necessity for a social upheaval. In many situations the woman sees the opportunity to brake the chains of the patriarchal yoke in the social struggles. For instance, a woman participates in a national struggle because as much as she carries a desire and longing for the national liberation, she also finds this struggle as a response for her desire of freedom, of uprising and resistance against her own life conditions, against the oppression of the partner, family or the society. Again, she participates in an urban uprising also because she considers that the only way for the change in her own living conditions, in the patriarchal moral and value concepts surrounding her, could happen by changing the present order and social consciousness. However, this form of participation does not always happen on the basis of the gender consciousness. It does not always directly come along with the slogan of freedom for women. But it contains almost always an objection to the given conditions of life. Throughout history, the gender consciousness axis of this involvement has developed linearly.
There is no doubt that the development of cities and industry, and above all, the objective consequences of the phase of imperialist globalization play a role in this. However, the decisive factors are undoubtedly the political, ideological, theoretical and organizational achievements of the women's freedom struggle. With the roles they have played in many uprisings and resistances of the working class and the oppressed in the 19th but mostly the 20th century, as well as with the independent struggles they developed for their own demands and aspirations, women have brought the desire for a genderless society and the woman freedom consciousness in the progressive accumulation of history. They have attained ideological positions, so that no force that claims to be progressive and revolutionary could demonstrate the honesty of its own claim, without appreciating this accumulation and those positions, at least without agreeing with them. Along with the unique organizing methods, they have also gained organizational positions such as quotas, equal representation, zipper system and these mechanisms have been turned to the collective accumulation of the progressive and revolutionary movement. In fact, more and more political subjects with working left-wing quality and democratic mass organizations are directed to claim these mechanisms. The political achievements of women's freedom struggles have fundamentally changed the situation of women in society, and within the limits of the bourgeois order, of course these haven't been able to solve the question of women's freedom and abolish social gender contradiction, but developed the conditions for women, especially for laboring women, to participate in social life and struggle.
At the beginning of the 21st century, as the color of women became no longer only visible but dominant within the struggles, as well as the LGBTI people headed towards establishing stronger links with the other social struggles, almost every resistance, uprising and struggle has gained also the quality of a gender rebellion.
One clear quality of the wave of uprisings and revolutions which shook the Arab countries was the active participation and the vanguard manner of women, especially the young women. One of the fundamental factors influencing this involvement is the demand for individual sexual rights. The aspirations and demands of the young women in these uprisings (most notably in the uprisings of Tunisia and Egypt), which were most commonly referred to in social media, in interviews, even in agitation speeches and slogans, were the demands to marry whom one wants, not to be forcibly married, the freedom to uncover or cover one's head, the opportunity to participate freely in the socio-cultural life, to be able to walk on the streets freely with the beloved and to loosen the pressure of family and society. The young women have participated in the uprisings with the idea and feeling that the sexual oppression they are exposed to is related to the political repression of society and they have acted with a spontaneous consciousness of their individual freedom integrating with society's freedom and the question of political freedom. In the case of the middle aged women; poverty, exploitation, "secular oppression" (over Muslim women), "Islamic oppression" (over non-Muslim women) as well as the anger and rage against the anti-democratic oppression and implementations affecting their family members, relatives and friends, were the determinant factors for their participation in these uprisings.
In the uprisings that spread throughout Europe and the US, anger against capitalism, unemployment, poverty, patriarchal violence, and the destructive consequences of imperialist globalization over women's bodies and labor is explicit. In these uprisings, again the young women stood out, but their sexual identity was more clearly expressed with innumerable independent organizations, because the traditions of mass organizations, unlike in the Arab world, were even more developed.
In the Gezi-June uprising in Turkey, the determinant participation of women not only in quantitative but also in qualitative sense, their ability to lead the slogans, the action forms and the political-ideological atmosphere of the uprising, as well as the LGBTI's strong fusion with the social struggle, were all revealed a mass struggle in which the struggle against patriarchy and for sexual freedom became the most dominant color throughout Turkey's history.
Women have become the vanguard of the uprising against the insolent Trump, the racist, chauvinist, anti-black and anti-immigrant president of the United States, and this struggle has uncovered the inevitable parallelism of the reactionary tendencies with misogyny and male chauvinism.
And finally, the Rojava Revolution. The first revolutionary experience of the 21st century and the glorious banner of the regional revolutionary situation in the Middle East, has been materialized also as a women's revolution. As the resistance against the most wild and bloody representative of the patriarchy, the ISIS, became symbolized by the women fighters, especially during the period of the Kobanê resistance on behalf of Arin Mirkan, the Rojava revolution has become the world-wide sign of women's freedom. Moreover, in a land where the political and social reactionism is explicitly dominant and the socio-economic structure is much more backward than many other countries in the world, the revolution gave effort towards establishing a political-social system that is based on equal representation and co-presidency, even in the most remote villages. By doing so, it has emphasized the lack of women's representation in the imperialist metropoles together with revealing the limits of women's freedom in the bourgeois order. This level, which even the most advanced capitalist countries, with the most advanced examples of women's equality, are nowhere near approaching, has become a new standard, a new threshold for the subjects of women's freedom struggle and the revolutionary political subjects of the world.
All of these and the women's struggles that have spread from Ukraine to Poland, from India to Argentina and countless other countries show that the 21st century will also be the century of women's revolutions.

 

Women's Participation In The Social Struggle and the Gender Division of Labor
The role of women in the social struggle and the contribution of this role to women's freedom as well as to the social emancipation are an unquestionable reality, however, it is not that much easy and free from troubles.
As long as there is a gender division of labor in the society, it is inevitably maintain in women's participation in the struggle in some degree or other. Especially when we move from the realm of the political subjects to the realm of the mass-subject, this reality is much more present. That is to say, this applies to all struggles which exceed a certain threshold towards becoming a mass struggle.
In this gender division of labor, the female gender essentially takes over the task to maintain maintain the continuity of the struggling community. This shows itself through fertility, care work, as well as the efforts to organize and maintain the social life.
From individual strikes to the resistances in neighborhoods and quarters, this condition manifests itself in all minor struggles and much more, in the long-term periods of hard war or genocidal attacks. The production of "new generations of warriors", the fulfillment of health and other needs of the people on the hinterland or a fighter at the front, as well as undertaking the social production tasks (agriculture and industry) under war conditions and all the other similar functions focus on preserving the continuation of the "house", of social life.
As long as we speak of a gendered society, the participation women in the struggles as in the forms of mother-woman, carer-woman and women-in-the-house, including the struggles which puts the gendered society as a target or has the freedom of women in their program, is neither good nor bad in itself, but simply a reality. What matters is how to handle with this reality.
One side of this reality is this: In the phases of such kind of social struggles, the caring labor becomes socialized or shows the tendency of socialization, and thus, a ground for the socialization of women emerges rapidly. However, it would weaken the struggle of woman's freedom, if one finds it sufficient by ignoring that this situation realizes on the basis of a gender division of labor. Because it is also possible to see this axis of socialization as a revolutionary possibility, to transform it into a lever for the development of the women's organization and to change the social consciousness.
What is important, is not to ignore the role which women play in various social struggles on this basis and not to allow the labor and action of women to become invisible in the name of rejecting the gender division of labor. For the sake of not giving any credit to the praise of "woman and mother", which excludes woman from the the whole social life, especially from the areas "belonging to men", does not necessitate to underestimate women's labor and action, their contribution and value. Of course, it is necessary to show and teach women, who devoted their lives caring their loved ones and realizes themselves through this action and more, who consider their contribution power to the struggle limited to this action, that there are other ways to live, to love, to be loved and to be valuable and useful within this life. But this does mean trivializing the woman's action, which in reality is very valuable for society and also indispensable unless the conditions for organizing the whole society completely in a different form.
Shortly, the gender division of labor, which is symbolized in one degree or another as the "world as the man's house" and the "house as the woman's world", is reproduced in the social struggles as a division of labor between the hinterland and the fore front. And in the presence of the hinterland, the action and the labor of the woman is devalued again, whereas there cannot be a forefront without a hinterland. The place of the woman in the struggle as a "mother", which was symbolized by the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina and the Saturday Mothers in Turkey, belongs to the women and to the women's freedom struggle; so as her role as a "fertile human" in Palestine, in the Soviet Union or in Kurdistan. Many resistances against occupations have risen on the shoulders of the women, who have maintained the production in the factories while the men were at war and thus kept the whole society alive. This action of them also belongs to the women. In all of these, women were not the victims but the subjects even they suffered from gender inequality and injustice.
Then, women should never allow their readings of history regarding the social struggles to devalue the role that women play in the hinterland. However, the results come out from this history reading for today and future are exposing the necessity of a continuous intervention on the gender division of labor between hinterland and forefront. Correspondingly, they tell us the fact that a political subject, who does not head towards changing this situation in a systematic and increasing way, or even worse, who tries to keep it by seeing it natural, would fail with regards to the social upheaval and the social revolution.
Far from bringing freedom to women, insisting on the gender division of labor, considering women's position in the hinterland, encouraging the motherhood cannot produce anything good for the social struggle as whole, in fact they didn't so far. Without an intervention on the gender division of labor within the social struggles, it is impossible in reality to keep a revolutionary path forever. An uprising, struggle or a war that is based on "male fighters" and "male commanders" inevitably needs a family order that ensures the continuity of the fighters and the war. It is not the society itself, but the existing social order which is condemned to the gender division of labor in order to stay on its feet. A struggle which aims to destroy this order cannot be based on the same foundations that keep this order alive. The Family and the gender division of labor are the essential parts of an order that is based on woman's domestic slavery. It is the class and gender society order. And considering women's social position as normal, and even more, trying to progress while keeping this position as so, reproduce the old order; does not and cannot create a new society.

 

The Influence of Women's participation in Social Struggles on the Gender Division of Labor

The participation of women in social struggles, even in their most spontaneous forms, has made it possible to overcome the gender division of labor, even though it still includes it. Each revolutionary struggle, mass uprising, workers strike or guerrilla warfare has brought forth the participation of women in all parts and fronts of the struggle as well as the changing in the old forms of relationships and the questioning of the traditional roles. No matter what extent the woman participate in, every social struggle lead her to give a blow to the house slavery and socialize.
Almost every struggle in our revolutionary world history has brought vanguard women who became the symbols of the struggles. The disruption of the gender division of labor is one of the most clear indicators for the consciousness of working class and the oppressed, but ofcourse, primarily of the women, by exposing the limits of the old order as well as the necessity to build a new one. In the mind and the heart of the oppressed, the freedom of the woman shines as the materialized form of the possibility of freedom and a symbol that the oppressed can free themselves from the their shackles. A woman who has become free, is the hope for the whole society in terms of the possibility of a new society. And this manner is materialized above all in the vanguard women who have become symbols.
For example, Leyla Khaled doesn't reflect the average form and quality of Palestinian women's participation in the Intifada, infact, she reflects only the situation of a small minority. Palestinian women have played and are still playing a major role in the resistance, but they have participated in the struggle much more with the traditional roles rather than as soldiers and political leaders.
For example, the PLO didn't have a women representative throughout its history. However on the other hand, Leyla Khaled is not only a symbol of the Palestinian women, but one of the most important symbols of the whole Palestinian struggle for freedom.
The picture of Vida Mohaved, who took off her headscarf and waved as a flag during the recent Iranian uprising, became the symbol of the image of a vanguarding section of the women in the uprising. Besides, the viewpoint of the oppressed men involved in the uprising is probably far behind the meaning of this symbol, nevertheless it has become the heart and conscience of this uprising.
In short, the struggle itself also changes the minds of men and women while it changes their action, whether they are conscious of it or not. The participation of women in the struggle as a collective existence with their own demands and slogans, taking part in various areas of struggle accelerates the changing in the consciousness and enriches the social struggle with an inner dynamism and renewing power.
An important part of the women's freedom struggles, especially those that have overcome a certain threshold in terms of mass participation, influence and achievements, have developed by taking part in the struggles on the basis of more general social problems, demands and slogans of a particular phase and within these struggles, a collective identity has been gained more and more and specific struggles for women-related issues began. This is an important phenomenon., with regards to the particular development of women's freedom struggle.
The participation of women in guerrilla warfare, their involvement in the struggle by military means as the most intensified form of politics, dissolves the old conditions all by itself. Even if this participation doesn't involve a women-centered organization and work among women and society as a whole, it creates major upheavals. The fact that "women are able to do" in these particular periods of the struggle echoes in the consciousness of the society and drive them to question the patriarchy as the obstacle leading "women are not able to do" in other periods.

 

Gender Polarization Within Social Struggles
The gender contradiction and the gender polarization continue to maintain within each of all social struggles that women participate.
Above all, no matter in which form or area it happens, it is a common tendency to regard the state of women's socialization, which comes along with the struggle processes of women, as a "temporary state". After a social struggle, whether it ends in defeat or victory, the fundamental question lays in front of women is the question of "returning home". Of course, there is never a complete sense of "returning home" after a social struggle. The struggle changes the participants of the struggle, as well as their living conditions. The "returning home" then realizes under different conditions than yesterday, but the matter is still clear: Will the woman want a place for herself that is below her present level and activity, or a more advanced one?
Will the mothers who went out streets for their children uphold the old order in their homes? Will the old order and division of labor continue in these homes, where revolutionaries have been welcomed and where various needs of them have been met, from courier works to the health care? Will a young woman, who was involved in an urban uprising, dream of marriage and a ‘happy' life, or will she become active in the political struggle and pave a new path? Will a female guerrilla marry a comrade after the war and become a regular houseworker, while he continues to carry out revolutionary works in any area? Will a woman kept in prison continue to fight with other means under new conditions, or will she wait until her time is up? And if victory is gained, will the new society develop and progress the socialization level of the woman with revolutionary impulses, or will it hold with the gender division of labor and women will be send back home?
One of the fundamental axes in which gender struggle maintains in the social struggles, is about how much space the aspirations and slogans, needs and desires of women and LGBTI's find in these struggles. In the history of struggles, the struggle for "suffrage" was seen as divisive for the working class and as a blurring factor for its path; the "right to abortion" was considered irresponsible and individual, and at the same time marginal; "sexual freedom" was seen as bourgeois, degenerating and unnecessary; LGBTI demands were thought to be detractive and for the masses. In fact, every claim of gender struggle has met with these kinds of reactions to some extent.
No matter it is the working class, or a particular nation or any other section which maintains the struggle, the society wants and expects women to support this struggle for the sake of "their own emancipation". However, this "support" includes the renunciation of their own demands in varying degrees.
In the final analysis, this sexual contradiction is expressed by the form of an expectation that women would "successfully" represent the "honor" of the movement. Is the right to vote desired to gain sexual freedom? Which sexual understanding leads to the right to abortion? What is the purpose of the demands for a change of marriage and divorce law? What will the other parts of society say, if the women wear what they want? Furthermore, wouldn't let the demands on the basis of sexual freedom, which in most cases will not even go beyond demanding the women's right to decide for their own sexuality, the honor of entire struggle go down the drain? These are the most common questions arise in these cases. Because it is really about the contradiction between the sexes, even the most general political demands are implicated in the problem of protecting the rights and privileges of men over the sexuality of women.
Women have to be in the forefront of all fundamental fronts of these social struggles. In a way, she has to prove her merit to the society. This is the precondition of the leadership and vanguarding. No part of the society that has a claim to be a leader/vanguard can evade that. Moreover, since human is a social being, the women's struggle has to pay regard the social reality in which it takes place. But proving oneself has nothing to do with closing your eyes to the patriarchal yoke, protecting the sexual freedom of the man and bowing to the existing moral rules that mean nothing but the continuation of his privileges. Above all, the hardest moral test that awaits any social struggle is that women, like all the sections of a struggle, have the freedom to determine their own demands.
In many situations, women are expected to join a struggle by accepting "to continue their old situation". The masses and political subjects are also subjected to a hard democracy test in relation to the social gender issue. The forces of a social struggle can have the power to change a ruling order, only if they successfully pass the simple (but certainly not easy) democracy test by accepting and defending women's demands and slogans, no matter what those aspirations and slogans may be and, above all, consider it natural for women to determine those by their own.

 

Political And Organizational Continuity
Because in every social struggle there is also the contradiction and the confrontation between the genders, a fundamental element for analyzing the participation of women in social struggles, is not the individual but collective existence of women in the struggles and their organizational level. The organization of women as a gender is an indispensable position terms of gaining the power to make their independent demands and aspirations as the ones of the whole social struggles, developing and guiding the participation of women in the struggle in a manner to disrupt the gender division of labor, creating revolutionary channels of solution for the problem of "returning home" and protecting and improving the achievements of struggle.
There are many dimensions of women's history of social struggles that need to be discussed. But it has to be emphasized once again that all direction of the existing development is towards ensuring women to become subjects in social struggles, both individually and collectively, and realizing in the form that the question and the phases of the social revolution is getting more and more integrated with the women's revolution. The common message of the past and ongoing struggles is that each of the revolutions of the 21st century will simultaneously be the women's revolutions the same time and anyway they are obliged to women's revolution, if they want to succeed.

 

 

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Women In Social Struggles
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The utopian socialist Fourier once said, "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]

It is necessary to evaluate the participation and achievements of women in the social struggles from this perspective, but also each of the struggles themselves in terms of their level, strength and power to change the society.
First of all, it must be said that the gender struggle itself is an independent and fundamental social struggle. For this reason, all these struggles, from fighting for electoral rights to fighting for equal pay for equal work, from organizing to the right to abortion and the fight against violence against women, are also social struggles.
Therefore, it would be the result of a missing perspective, if we discuss the role and the contribution of women in social struggles only by focusing mainly on what percentage of women participate in the guerrilla forces in a given country, or in other, which sense women contribute to a civil war process, etc... Women not only contribute to the development of social struggles only by participating in their various fronts, but also by fighting for women's freedom, for their demands and aspirations. Entirely women-centric struggles do develop social struggles in general in terms of denouncing the bourgeois society, paving the way for struggles of other social sectors, developing the democratic consciousness of the working class and the oppressed, etc..
On top of that, women make up the half of society, the half of the working class and oppressed, which are fighting for different demands and different slogans. Therefore, the title "Women in Social Struggles" should not only focus on how women prove themselves within social struggles or their usefulness. In this sense, the scale of the success and developmental force of social struggles in any time or place must be their level of usefulness on the sexual freedom question; whether they prove themselves or not in this regard. Assessments made in this light do actually reveal that what Fourier said in 1808 has been verified several times throughout the history of revolutions and class wars.

 

The Developing Struggle Dynamics of Women
It is possible to see the active role of women in social struggles in almost every revolutionary warfare, every popular uprisings and even in partial struggles, strikes and resistances.
And what we see also is that the quality of this involvement of women has been steadily strengthening in the course of its history; increasing its influence level on the social struggles as well as developing its gender identity, collective participation and its unique and autonomous level of organization.
Women participate actively in all areas of life and struggle: in struggles for national democratic demands and aspirations, in resistances against imperialist wars and occupations, in uprisings for political freedoms against repressive regimes and dictatorships, and in revolutionary warfares which directly target the bourgeois order. The direction of this involvement assumes more and more the form of being the leading political subject of these struggles, establishing their own specific organizations and participating in the movements under these organizations, being more represented in percentage terms within the leading political structures of struggles.
Women's desire for freedom against patriarchy unites with the necessity for a social upheaval. In many situations the woman sees the opportunity to brake the chains of the patriarchal yoke in the social struggles. For instance, a woman participates in a national struggle because as much as she carries a desire and longing for the national liberation, she also finds this struggle as a response for her desire of freedom, of uprising and resistance against her own life conditions, against the oppression of the partner, family or the society. Again, she participates in an urban uprising also because she considers that the only way for the change in her own living conditions, in the patriarchal moral and value concepts surrounding her, could happen by changing the present order and social consciousness. However, this form of participation does not always happen on the basis of the gender consciousness. It does not always directly come along with the slogan of freedom for women. But it contains almost always an objection to the given conditions of life. Throughout history, the gender consciousness axis of this involvement has developed linearly.
There is no doubt that the development of cities and industry, and above all, the objective consequences of the phase of imperialist globalization play a role in this. However, the decisive factors are undoubtedly the political, ideological, theoretical and organizational achievements of the women's freedom struggle. With the roles they have played in many uprisings and resistances of the working class and the oppressed in the 19th but mostly the 20th century, as well as with the independent struggles they developed for their own demands and aspirations, women have brought the desire for a genderless society and the woman freedom consciousness in the progressive accumulation of history. They have attained ideological positions, so that no force that claims to be progressive and revolutionary could demonstrate the honesty of its own claim, without appreciating this accumulation and those positions, at least without agreeing with them. Along with the unique organizing methods, they have also gained organizational positions such as quotas, equal representation, zipper system and these mechanisms have been turned to the collective accumulation of the progressive and revolutionary movement. In fact, more and more political subjects with working left-wing quality and democratic mass organizations are directed to claim these mechanisms. The political achievements of women's freedom struggles have fundamentally changed the situation of women in society, and within the limits of the bourgeois order, of course these haven't been able to solve the question of women's freedom and abolish social gender contradiction, but developed the conditions for women, especially for laboring women, to participate in social life and struggle.
At the beginning of the 21st century, as the color of women became no longer only visible but dominant within the struggles, as well as the LGBTI people headed towards establishing stronger links with the other social struggles, almost every resistance, uprising and struggle has gained also the quality of a gender rebellion.
One clear quality of the wave of uprisings and revolutions which shook the Arab countries was the active participation and the vanguard manner of women, especially the young women. One of the fundamental factors influencing this involvement is the demand for individual sexual rights. The aspirations and demands of the young women in these uprisings (most notably in the uprisings of Tunisia and Egypt), which were most commonly referred to in social media, in interviews, even in agitation speeches and slogans, were the demands to marry whom one wants, not to be forcibly married, the freedom to uncover or cover one's head, the opportunity to participate freely in the socio-cultural life, to be able to walk on the streets freely with the beloved and to loosen the pressure of family and society. The young women have participated in the uprisings with the idea and feeling that the sexual oppression they are exposed to is related to the political repression of society and they have acted with a spontaneous consciousness of their individual freedom integrating with society's freedom and the question of political freedom. In the case of the middle aged women; poverty, exploitation, "secular oppression" (over Muslim women), "Islamic oppression" (over non-Muslim women) as well as the anger and rage against the anti-democratic oppression and implementations affecting their family members, relatives and friends, were the determinant factors for their participation in these uprisings.
In the uprisings that spread throughout Europe and the US, anger against capitalism, unemployment, poverty, patriarchal violence, and the destructive consequences of imperialist globalization over women's bodies and labor is explicit. In these uprisings, again the young women stood out, but their sexual identity was more clearly expressed with innumerable independent organizations, because the traditions of mass organizations, unlike in the Arab world, were even more developed.
In the Gezi-June uprising in Turkey, the determinant participation of women not only in quantitative but also in qualitative sense, their ability to lead the slogans, the action forms and the political-ideological atmosphere of the uprising, as well as the LGBTI's strong fusion with the social struggle, were all revealed a mass struggle in which the struggle against patriarchy and for sexual freedom became the most dominant color throughout Turkey's history.
Women have become the vanguard of the uprising against the insolent Trump, the racist, chauvinist, anti-black and anti-immigrant president of the United States, and this struggle has uncovered the inevitable parallelism of the reactionary tendencies with misogyny and male chauvinism.
And finally, the Rojava Revolution. The first revolutionary experience of the 21st century and the glorious banner of the regional revolutionary situation in the Middle East, has been materialized also as a women's revolution. As the resistance against the most wild and bloody representative of the patriarchy, the ISIS, became symbolized by the women fighters, especially during the period of the Kobanê resistance on behalf of Arin Mirkan, the Rojava revolution has become the world-wide sign of women's freedom. Moreover, in a land where the political and social reactionism is explicitly dominant and the socio-economic structure is much more backward than many other countries in the world, the revolution gave effort towards establishing a political-social system that is based on equal representation and co-presidency, even in the most remote villages. By doing so, it has emphasized the lack of women's representation in the imperialist metropoles together with revealing the limits of women's freedom in the bourgeois order. This level, which even the most advanced capitalist countries, with the most advanced examples of women's equality, are nowhere near approaching, has become a new standard, a new threshold for the subjects of women's freedom struggle and the revolutionary political subjects of the world.
All of these and the women's struggles that have spread from Ukraine to Poland, from India to Argentina and countless other countries show that the 21st century will also be the century of women's revolutions.

 

Women's Participation In The Social Struggle and the Gender Division of Labor
The role of women in the social struggle and the contribution of this role to women's freedom as well as to the social emancipation are an unquestionable reality, however, it is not that much easy and free from troubles.
As long as there is a gender division of labor in the society, it is inevitably maintain in women's participation in the struggle in some degree or other. Especially when we move from the realm of the political subjects to the realm of the mass-subject, this reality is much more present. That is to say, this applies to all struggles which exceed a certain threshold towards becoming a mass struggle.
In this gender division of labor, the female gender essentially takes over the task to maintain maintain the continuity of the struggling community. This shows itself through fertility, care work, as well as the efforts to organize and maintain the social life.
From individual strikes to the resistances in neighborhoods and quarters, this condition manifests itself in all minor struggles and much more, in the long-term periods of hard war or genocidal attacks. The production of "new generations of warriors", the fulfillment of health and other needs of the people on the hinterland or a fighter at the front, as well as undertaking the social production tasks (agriculture and industry) under war conditions and all the other similar functions focus on preserving the continuation of the "house", of social life.
As long as we speak of a gendered society, the participation women in the struggles as in the forms of mother-woman, carer-woman and women-in-the-house, including the struggles which puts the gendered society as a target or has the freedom of women in their program, is neither good nor bad in itself, but simply a reality. What matters is how to handle with this reality.
One side of this reality is this: In the phases of such kind of social struggles, the caring labor becomes socialized or shows the tendency of socialization, and thus, a ground for the socialization of women emerges rapidly. However, it would weaken the struggle of woman's freedom, if one finds it sufficient by ignoring that this situation realizes on the basis of a gender division of labor. Because it is also possible to see this axis of socialization as a revolutionary possibility, to transform it into a lever for the development of the women's organization and to change the social consciousness.
What is important, is not to ignore the role which women play in various social struggles on this basis and not to allow the labor and action of women to become invisible in the name of rejecting the gender division of labor. For the sake of not giving any credit to the praise of "woman and mother", which excludes woman from the the whole social life, especially from the areas "belonging to men", does not necessitate to underestimate women's labor and action, their contribution and value. Of course, it is necessary to show and teach women, who devoted their lives caring their loved ones and realizes themselves through this action and more, who consider their contribution power to the struggle limited to this action, that there are other ways to live, to love, to be loved and to be valuable and useful within this life. But this does mean trivializing the woman's action, which in reality is very valuable for society and also indispensable unless the conditions for organizing the whole society completely in a different form.
Shortly, the gender division of labor, which is symbolized in one degree or another as the "world as the man's house" and the "house as the woman's world", is reproduced in the social struggles as a division of labor between the hinterland and the fore front. And in the presence of the hinterland, the action and the labor of the woman is devalued again, whereas there cannot be a forefront without a hinterland. The place of the woman in the struggle as a "mother", which was symbolized by the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina and the Saturday Mothers in Turkey, belongs to the women and to the women's freedom struggle; so as her role as a "fertile human" in Palestine, in the Soviet Union or in Kurdistan. Many resistances against occupations have risen on the shoulders of the women, who have maintained the production in the factories while the men were at war and thus kept the whole society alive. This action of them also belongs to the women. In all of these, women were not the victims but the subjects even they suffered from gender inequality and injustice.
Then, women should never allow their readings of history regarding the social struggles to devalue the role that women play in the hinterland. However, the results come out from this history reading for today and future are exposing the necessity of a continuous intervention on the gender division of labor between hinterland and forefront. Correspondingly, they tell us the fact that a political subject, who does not head towards changing this situation in a systematic and increasing way, or even worse, who tries to keep it by seeing it natural, would fail with regards to the social upheaval and the social revolution.
Far from bringing freedom to women, insisting on the gender division of labor, considering women's position in the hinterland, encouraging the motherhood cannot produce anything good for the social struggle as whole, in fact they didn't so far. Without an intervention on the gender division of labor within the social struggles, it is impossible in reality to keep a revolutionary path forever. An uprising, struggle or a war that is based on "male fighters" and "male commanders" inevitably needs a family order that ensures the continuity of the fighters and the war. It is not the society itself, but the existing social order which is condemned to the gender division of labor in order to stay on its feet. A struggle which aims to destroy this order cannot be based on the same foundations that keep this order alive. The Family and the gender division of labor are the essential parts of an order that is based on woman's domestic slavery. It is the class and gender society order. And considering women's social position as normal, and even more, trying to progress while keeping this position as so, reproduce the old order; does not and cannot create a new society.

 

The Influence of Women's participation in Social Struggles on the Gender Division of Labor

The participation of women in social struggles, even in their most spontaneous forms, has made it possible to overcome the gender division of labor, even though it still includes it. Each revolutionary struggle, mass uprising, workers strike or guerrilla warfare has brought forth the participation of women in all parts and fronts of the struggle as well as the changing in the old forms of relationships and the questioning of the traditional roles. No matter what extent the woman participate in, every social struggle lead her to give a blow to the house slavery and socialize.
Almost every struggle in our revolutionary world history has brought vanguard women who became the symbols of the struggles. The disruption of the gender division of labor is one of the most clear indicators for the consciousness of working class and the oppressed, but ofcourse, primarily of the women, by exposing the limits of the old order as well as the necessity to build a new one. In the mind and the heart of the oppressed, the freedom of the woman shines as the materialized form of the possibility of freedom and a symbol that the oppressed can free themselves from the their shackles. A woman who has become free, is the hope for the whole society in terms of the possibility of a new society. And this manner is materialized above all in the vanguard women who have become symbols.
For example, Leyla Khaled doesn't reflect the average form and quality of Palestinian women's participation in the Intifada, infact, she reflects only the situation of a small minority. Palestinian women have played and are still playing a major role in the resistance, but they have participated in the struggle much more with the traditional roles rather than as soldiers and political leaders.
For example, the PLO didn't have a women representative throughout its history. However on the other hand, Leyla Khaled is not only a symbol of the Palestinian women, but one of the most important symbols of the whole Palestinian struggle for freedom.
The picture of Vida Mohaved, who took off her headscarf and waved as a flag during the recent Iranian uprising, became the symbol of the image of a vanguarding section of the women in the uprising. Besides, the viewpoint of the oppressed men involved in the uprising is probably far behind the meaning of this symbol, nevertheless it has become the heart and conscience of this uprising.
In short, the struggle itself also changes the minds of men and women while it changes their action, whether they are conscious of it or not. The participation of women in the struggle as a collective existence with their own demands and slogans, taking part in various areas of struggle accelerates the changing in the consciousness and enriches the social struggle with an inner dynamism and renewing power.
An important part of the women's freedom struggles, especially those that have overcome a certain threshold in terms of mass participation, influence and achievements, have developed by taking part in the struggles on the basis of more general social problems, demands and slogans of a particular phase and within these struggles, a collective identity has been gained more and more and specific struggles for women-related issues began. This is an important phenomenon., with regards to the particular development of women's freedom struggle.
The participation of women in guerrilla warfare, their involvement in the struggle by military means as the most intensified form of politics, dissolves the old conditions all by itself. Even if this participation doesn't involve a women-centered organization and work among women and society as a whole, it creates major upheavals. The fact that "women are able to do" in these particular periods of the struggle echoes in the consciousness of the society and drive them to question the patriarchy as the obstacle leading "women are not able to do" in other periods.

 

Gender Polarization Within Social Struggles
The gender contradiction and the gender polarization continue to maintain within each of all social struggles that women participate.
Above all, no matter in which form or area it happens, it is a common tendency to regard the state of women's socialization, which comes along with the struggle processes of women, as a "temporary state". After a social struggle, whether it ends in defeat or victory, the fundamental question lays in front of women is the question of "returning home". Of course, there is never a complete sense of "returning home" after a social struggle. The struggle changes the participants of the struggle, as well as their living conditions. The "returning home" then realizes under different conditions than yesterday, but the matter is still clear: Will the woman want a place for herself that is below her present level and activity, or a more advanced one?
Will the mothers who went out streets for their children uphold the old order in their homes? Will the old order and division of labor continue in these homes, where revolutionaries have been welcomed and where various needs of them have been met, from courier works to the health care? Will a young woman, who was involved in an urban uprising, dream of marriage and a ‘happy' life, or will she become active in the political struggle and pave a new path? Will a female guerrilla marry a comrade after the war and become a regular houseworker, while he continues to carry out revolutionary works in any area? Will a woman kept in prison continue to fight with other means under new conditions, or will she wait until her time is up? And if victory is gained, will the new society develop and progress the socialization level of the woman with revolutionary impulses, or will it hold with the gender division of labor and women will be send back home?
One of the fundamental axes in which gender struggle maintains in the social struggles, is about how much space the aspirations and slogans, needs and desires of women and LGBTI's find in these struggles. In the history of struggles, the struggle for "suffrage" was seen as divisive for the working class and as a blurring factor for its path; the "right to abortion" was considered irresponsible and individual, and at the same time marginal; "sexual freedom" was seen as bourgeois, degenerating and unnecessary; LGBTI demands were thought to be detractive and for the masses. In fact, every claim of gender struggle has met with these kinds of reactions to some extent.
No matter it is the working class, or a particular nation or any other section which maintains the struggle, the society wants and expects women to support this struggle for the sake of "their own emancipation". However, this "support" includes the renunciation of their own demands in varying degrees.
In the final analysis, this sexual contradiction is expressed by the form of an expectation that women would "successfully" represent the "honor" of the movement. Is the right to vote desired to gain sexual freedom? Which sexual understanding leads to the right to abortion? What is the purpose of the demands for a change of marriage and divorce law? What will the other parts of society say, if the women wear what they want? Furthermore, wouldn't let the demands on the basis of sexual freedom, which in most cases will not even go beyond demanding the women's right to decide for their own sexuality, the honor of entire struggle go down the drain? These are the most common questions arise in these cases. Because it is really about the contradiction between the sexes, even the most general political demands are implicated in the problem of protecting the rights and privileges of men over the sexuality of women.
Women have to be in the forefront of all fundamental fronts of these social struggles. In a way, she has to prove her merit to the society. This is the precondition of the leadership and vanguarding. No part of the society that has a claim to be a leader/vanguard can evade that. Moreover, since human is a social being, the women's struggle has to pay regard the social reality in which it takes place. But proving oneself has nothing to do with closing your eyes to the patriarchal yoke, protecting the sexual freedom of the man and bowing to the existing moral rules that mean nothing but the continuation of his privileges. Above all, the hardest moral test that awaits any social struggle is that women, like all the sections of a struggle, have the freedom to determine their own demands.
In many situations, women are expected to join a struggle by accepting "to continue their old situation". The masses and political subjects are also subjected to a hard democracy test in relation to the social gender issue. The forces of a social struggle can have the power to change a ruling order, only if they successfully pass the simple (but certainly not easy) democracy test by accepting and defending women's demands and slogans, no matter what those aspirations and slogans may be and, above all, consider it natural for women to determine those by their own.

 

Political And Organizational Continuity
Because in every social struggle there is also the contradiction and the confrontation between the genders, a fundamental element for analyzing the participation of women in social struggles, is not the individual but collective existence of women in the struggles and their organizational level. The organization of women as a gender is an indispensable position terms of gaining the power to make their independent demands and aspirations as the ones of the whole social struggles, developing and guiding the participation of women in the struggle in a manner to disrupt the gender division of labor, creating revolutionary channels of solution for the problem of "returning home" and protecting and improving the achievements of struggle.
There are many dimensions of women's history of social struggles that need to be discussed. But it has to be emphasized once again that all direction of the existing development is towards ensuring women to become subjects in social struggles, both individually and collectively, and realizing in the form that the question and the phases of the social revolution is getting more and more integrated with the women's revolution. The common message of the past and ongoing struggles is that each of the revolutions of the 21st century will simultaneously be the women's revolutions the same time and anyway they are obliged to women's revolution, if they want to succeed.