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Contribution of the Communist Workers Party for Peace and Socialism Finland

Feb 26, 2024


I’d like to thank the KKE for organizing this teleconference on the topic of gender inequality. It is very important that communists talk about, consult each other and educate themselves on this topic.

The conversation on women’s societal position has been largely co-opted by the liberal feminist movement. In reality the communist movement and communist parties, as the most progressive force in society, should be the driving force in the fight for women’s equality. This has also historically been the case. Unfortunately, since the fall of the Soviet Union the communist movement has been so small in most countries that we have fallen behind in our participation in other social movements, including the feminist movement.

This has given the liberals a chance to revise history and present themselves in a far more flattering light in regards to their historical efforts for women’s rights. They say they were the ones who gave women the vote, allowed women to work and earn a wage equal to men, gave women independence from the men in their lives etc. In Finland these are all the working women’s movements achievements, and it was the bourgeois liberals who opposed them.

Capitalists will always care about profit over anything else. They would sell all of our civil rights just to keep and grow their capital. And they do. This is the reason why working women should not trust the liberal feminists. We do not slander the liberal feminists because we are a competing movement for women’s rights and bitter about their success, but we aim to warn working women of them because they do not care about women’s rights at all.

We should to the best of our abilities with the resources we have try to educate working women on how their position relates to capitalism. This is done for example by writing articles on the topic and distributing them, organizing events and giving women work in the party. Women and other communists should read theory on women’s current and historical conditions.

Stalin said: “Not a single great movement of the oppressed in the history of mankind has been able to do without the participation of working women. Working women, the most oppressed among the oppressed, never have or could stand aside from the broad path of the liberation movement.” (Stalin, International women’s day, 1925)

A communist party should have a women’s department. We started a women’s department in our party last year. We also have a women’s organization close to our party called Finnish women’s democratic league, which tries to organize all progressive women. We are trying to activate these both. We have participated in and organized protests on the UN day against violence towards women and organize an event every International women’s day. There is still definitely more we should do. Our numbers are quite small and we need to develop  more women cadres.

We should be very loud about our support for women's equality, as many people (due to defamation by the bourgeoisie) are suspicious of communists’ social progressiveness. We

should shed light on the historical facts of the women’s liberation movement, how for example the Soviet Union liberated women more extensively than any capitalist country in the world, and more importantly how we can do that again.

In Finland with the increasingly anti-popular policies of the state and increasingly reactionary political climate, women’s rights are also under attack in various ways. In 2022 the Finnish government (at the time led by supposedly “leftist” social-democrats and by a female social-democrat prime minister) passed a law banning nurses, who are poorly paid workers, and mostly women, from striking.

With the coming into power of the current conservative-nationalist government, the restricting of women’s abortion rights has been thrown around in parliament discussion. The continuing austerity measures of the Finnish governments, which all represent the capitalist class regardless of which bourgeois party is in power, also especially hurt women.

Women around the world struggle with the same kinds of problems as they did before the October revolution, small wages, lack of child care and maternal leave, being forced into prostitution etc., and once again the liberal feminist movement has left all of these issues unsolved, as it is good for capital. We must make it clear that these problems are solvable and we are willing to solve them.

In capitalism the workers are expected to produce and reproduce capital with their labor power. In many ways this exploitation doesn’t end at the workplace. Working women are not only expected to reproduce capital but also the entire capitalist system, to create more workers for the capitalist to exploit. Capitalists, though, are short-sighted and want to do as little as possible for the well being of mothers and children, constantly trying to cut funding from childcare, education, family benefits etc.

Women are also paid lesser wages. This is not only great for capital because it makes the ratio of surplus labor is larger for half the population. The bourgeoisie also benefits from the workers competing with each other over jobs, essentially fighting over who can be exploited the most. A hierarchy among the proletariat is perfect for this.

The bourgeoisie will explain it with misogyny, chauvinism, tradition and everything else, but these are merely excuses. The true reasons for women’s inequality lie in the very structure of our society's economic organization, in capitalism.

It is then inevitable that women’s issues can only be solved via the destruction of this system, by a socialist revolution.

It is not enough that we know this. As said earlier, we must spread the message in our agitation and propaganda. It is inevitable that women, like all workers, will at some point come to realize the necessity for socialist revolution. This doesn’t happen automatically however. We must help each other in our efforts to educate working women and make our parties more attractive spaces to women workers.

We wish all of you success in your efforts and the fight for women’s rights as well as the rights of all workers. Capitalism has no future, the future belongs to socialism, workers and all oppressed people.