South African Communist Party

Forward to complete, universal emancipation, forward to women’s emancipation and gender equality Put people before profit: Socialism is the Future – Build it Now. We mark 2021 Women’s Month in the context of 100 years of unbroken communist struggle for equality, people’s democracy, and human development. The theme of the SACP centenary, Put People Before Profit: Socialism is the Future—Build it Now, aptly reflects our strategic tasks regarding gender equality. Gender equality, universal emancipation The social emancipation of South African women is not possible under capitalism. What it requires is embedded gender equality and anti-patriarchal struggle in the organs of people’s power from community level to the state, in the family and cultural institutions, in the education and training sector, in the economy and world of work, and in the building of the socialist institutions and practices. The struggle against patriarchal oppression and gender inequality is far from over. We commit to build on the shoulders of communist women who have gone before us, in full appreciation of the class and national content of the gender struggle and the gender content of the class and national struggles. True to their contributions, we will ensure that women are never relegated or pigeonholed to particular roles and tasks in society. We are proud of the communist women who served as trade unionists: Ray Alexander, Liz Abrahams, Sarah Carneson; who contributed to people’s journalism: Ruth First; who organised childcare in their communities: Dora Tamana; who fought for better human settlements: Josie Mpama; who built community organisations and resisted the Group Areas Act: Fatima Seedat; who resisted the pass laws: Lilian Ngoyi; who contributed to the Freedom Charter: Hilda Bernstein, Florence Mkhize; who organised women across class and across race; who took their place in leadership in South African and international organisations; who fought in the armed struggle against apartheid oppression: Dorothy Nyembe; who mobilised for world peace and against fascism and repression: Rica Hodgson, to name but a few. In the past century, South African women stood firm against repression, against state violence, against lawlessness, and for peace. Women joined the armed struggle, Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) and self-defence units precisely to build a society based on the Freedom Charter, which commits us to “Peace and friendship amongst all our people shall be secured by upholding equal rights, opportunities and status for all.” As our nation reflects on the failed July 2021 insurrection, violence, and looting, and as we rebuild our communities, local economies and infrastructure, women, of all races, must re-establish our collective voice, with working class and peasant women building and advancing a leading role. Now is the time for women’s inclusivity, for defence of the non-racialism that the SACP has championed from its inception. Now is the time to ensure that the strong voice of women is heard in preventing destruction of public property, damaging economic activity resulting in loss of jobs and more hardship, in preventing inter-personal violence and killing. The organs of people’s defence against looting, arson and violence, the community driven initiatives to rebuild the stores and township and village economies, must actively include women. The struggle on two fronts The struggle on two fronts—against parasitic networks that have looted state coffers and against the neo-liberal austerity agenda—must address the disproportionate impact of poverty, unemployment and inequality on working class and peasant women. The voice of South African women must ring out against the things that are wrong in society and strengthen the revolutionary moral compass of the nation. The billions of rand that have been looted from state coffers has severely impacted on programmes that should directly…

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SACP statement on 2021 National Women’s Day