Prises de position - Prese di posizione - Toma de posición - Statements - Prohlášení - Заявления


The emancipation of women will never take place in the capitalist society: it will be the result of the struggle of proletarian men and women united in one classist movement and revolutionary movement for communism



The most advanced democratic republics, in addition to boasting of ever-increasing progress in the economic and social spheres, as well as in the technical and scientific ones, boast also of having reached a level of civilisation which no previous society has ever reached, and of possessing the only political and social mechanism – that is, the system of democracy in general– capable of ensuring the overcoming of every contradiction, every inequality, every social confrontation, based on an ideological framework which has at its centre the full freedom and equality of every individual, both between men and women as well as between nations.

Every republican constitution praises ideological, political and social values that justify any struggle, any war to destroy the ideological, political and social obstacles represented by the remnants of previous societies, usually classified as totalitarian, authoritarian regimes, fascisms that past and present history has made us know and that still exist today in different parts of the world.

Today's bourgeoisie, like the bourgeoisie of the past and the bourgeoisie of the future, attaches an enormous historical value to the spasmodic pursuit of profit, the profit which is nothing other than the economic and social result of the ever more intense and bestial exploitation of wage labour, not only at workplace or national level, but worldwide. The difference between the 21st century and the 19th century lies only in the intensifying development of capitalism at the global level: a development that has not only meant economic and industrial progress, but which has inevitably brought with it the inequalities, oppression, violence and wars that have characterised that very development – and amplified its worst consequences.

The bourgeoisie glorifies the people, but the people are, in fact, made up of social classes which are in an antagonistic relationship to each other: the possessing class, which owns everything – land, industry, commerce, transport and everything that is produced – and which defends private property through the central state, and the proletarian class, the class of wage-labourers, the people without reserves, who own nothing and whose life depends exclusively on the exploitation of their labour power by the possessing class, the capitalist class. These are the main classes of modern society, the classes which have specific historical goals: the bourgeois class, once revolutionary, which has transformed feudal society into a society of a superior level through the merit of associated and wage labour and industrial development, and the proletarian class, that is, the class of workers and all working people who live exclusively on their wages and who, through their labour, create all the wealth of any nation. In between these two main classes are the so-called middle classes, the strata of the petty bourgeoisie, which still corresponds to small-scale production, small-scale trade, small land property, and which occupy all the functions and tasks required by corporate and public administration; the middle classes which have not entirely disappeared with the development of industrial and financial capitalism, but which, on the contrary, especially in times of economic crises, constitute an important social base for the recovery of the capitalist economy.

Thus, any reference to the people is, in fact, a camouflage of social reality, which lies precisely in the antagonism between the bourgeois ruling class and the proletarian class. This class antagonism is not an invention of Marxism; it is, on the contrary, the historical product of the division of society into classes, by virtue of which the ruling classes, just as they once oppressed all the subordinated classes (peasants, artisans, urban petty bourgeoisie), so they oppress the working class in bourgeois society today. Why does the ruling class need to oppress the working class? Because the ruling class, even though it is a minority, can only exercise its domination over the whole of society on condition that it subjugates by force to its demands those very classes from which through exploitation it extracts surplus-value, i.e. essentially profit. But the oppression which the bourgeois class exerts on the proletarian class today is not the only oppression that exists. Once the bourgeoisie has established itself as the ruling class at the national level and cleared the way for competition, it is precisely because it strives to dominate the market (which is the necessary outlet for its commodities) that it defends the regime of private property and its economic, social, and therefore political domination, and comes into clashes with the other social classes, which the bourgeoisie subjugates according to its specific class interests. Within this pivotal regime of oppression, all other forms of oppression that are characteristic of any class-divided society, especially the oppression of women and weaker peoples, also unfold.

The progress of the bourgeoisie in the sphere of civil rights, industry and culture has by no means led to the overcoming of the oppression of the older social formations, but, on the contrary, has intensified it and spread it over the whole world. Thus, to the oppression of women and weaker peoples already known in older societies, the modern bourgeoisie has added wage oppression.

With the development of industrial technology, with the development of trade and the market, the need to produce more, to produce more things, to distribute them to more markets nationally and increasingly internationally, has grown. To the exploitation of wage labour in which proletarian men were thrown, at some point the exploitation of child and female labour was added: the whole proletarian family was thus subjected to capitalist exploitation. The inequality in wages which had already been instituted for the various industrial specialisations was extended and accentuated in the realm of child and women's labour. Thus, another oppression, that of wage labour, fell on women who were already suffering from the oppression inherited by bourgeois society from earlier societies. It is obvious that these oppressions fall most heavily on proletarian women, on women of the common masses and the poor peasantry, while they fall much less heavily on women who belong to the bourgeois ruling class.

The bourgeois society, with all its economic and social progress, with all its modern civilization, with all its values of freedom and equality, of democracy, has not been able, even two and a half centuries after the Great French Bourgeois Revolution, to overcome the oppression that was characteristic of the old feudal and patriarchal societies, which however were fought against and finally defeated.

Freedom and equality have remained words written on banners and in constitutions, but they have never found their application in the reality; and this not because of the malice of the bourgeois, who, as revolutionaries of the time, truly believed they could apply them, but for very concrete and inexorable material reasons: the capitalist mode of production, which the bourgeoisie had developed powerfully after the destruction of the rule of the old ruling classes, did not concede any other freedom than the freedom of the capitalist to exploit the wage labour force to increase his economic and social power, the freedom of conduct of the capitalist in competition with other capitalists; it did not concede any equality other than an equality which would result solely from temporary economic interests shared with other capitalists. The freedom and equality which the ruling bourgeoisie has left to and reserves for the exploited and impoverished masses have always been only false attractions: verbal and even written promises which are never actually kept or applied, and with which the exploited and impoverished masses are deceived.

And even though the bourgeoisie agrees to pass certain laws (regarding marriage, family law, divorce, abortion, education of children, public health care, etc.) under the pressure of demonstrations and economic and political struggles that mobilise the great masses to democratically call for the application or recognition of at least some of the rights promised or enshrined in the constitutions that the ruling classes themselves were involved in authoring, they do so with the attempt to limit these concessions as much as possible and are always ready to revoke them in subsequent situations or simply to make them particularly unfeasible (as is the case, for example, with the freedom of abortion, etc.).

This shows that democracy, cooperation between the classes, “social dialogue”, parliamentary debates, petitions, signature collections, etc., i.e., the entire endless series of forms of pressure that bourgeois democracy allows to achieve the recognition of rights considered basic for a modern civilised society, are absolutely not conducive to the real and lasting recognition of these rights. The constitutional charters enshrine the right to live with dignity in full security, freedom of speech and thought, and thousands of other “rights” that are not recognised in reality by the bourgeois justice system unless they are in favour of members of the big bourgeoisie.

And what about women's right not to be subjected to violence at home, in the workplace, on the street or in places of leisure and entertainment? What about the thousands of forms of violence to which women are exposed from an early age in the same families where they are brought up to be subordinate to men, to be dependent on men and to devote themselves fully to housework and childcare? What about women who lose their jobs because they refuse to submit to harassment and sexual violence from bosses and superiors? What about women who, in full freedom and according to their feelings, decide to leave a man with whom they have entered into a relationship and are killed by him as if they were his property, and who does not accept that they might belong to another? What about women who are beaten and tortured because they wear the veil incorrectly or because they do not submit to an arranged marriage or to the sexual desires of their partner?

The oppression of women in modern capitalist society is masked in a thousand ways; women are pushed towards careerism in working life, to make themselves well off in the family circle, to make money no matter what, and, if left to their fate and without work, also to the “oldest craft in the world”, i.e. prostitution. Politicians of all stripes discuss “gender quotas” for those standing for election, and conversely, politically “dissident” intellectuals point out that there are very few women in corporate management, especially in the public sector, very few female chancellors and prime ministers, almost no female presidents of republics, let alone female generals or chiefs of staff… The bourgeois are unable to see the reality of their society, as they are stupefied by their own lies. This does not detract from the fact that they have a peculiar sensitivity to instinctively sense the dangers of a social movement that enters the terrain of even a fierce clash with political power, such as the recent mobilisations over pensions in France may have been. Their fears are still essentially the same: that social movements expressing a general dissatisfaction with the present conditions in which the proletarian and semi-proletarian masses survive, will surpass and break through the political and police confines built specifically to defend the established order, and go out to meet experiences of classist struggle that can lay the basis not for democratic struggle but for the resumption of the class struggle.

In fact, as long as the questions that relate specifically to the oppression of women remain in the realm of the so-called “women's question” and are of interest only to women, any struggles that arise on these questions will remain curtailed, inevitably sterile, as has been the case until now. The oppression of women cannot be separated from the general oppression which the bourgeoisie exerts on the whole of society and especially on the proletarian class. The proletarian class is made up of proletarian men and women, it is made up of working men and women who are squeezed to the last drop of sweat and blood, by an economic and social system that cannot survive on its own except as a huge vampire, a huge cannibalistic machinery that lives not only on the exploitation of the majority of humanity, but also on the systematic deaths in workplaces, in the streets, in homes, in prisons, in wars.

The emancipation of women, Lenin emphasized, can only happen with the emancipation of the proletariat from capitalism. It is in the joint struggle of proletarian men and women against the capitalists, against the capitalist economic and social system, against bourgeois power and its state, that the oppression of women can find the only real response to overcome it: the class response. As long as capitalism, and therefore bourgeois power, exists, no form of oppression of this society will be overcome.


The proletarian women in particular, more than women in general, are compelled to place themselves on the terrain of the classist struggle because they are the most affected in every respect and because they experience a double oppression – at home and on the wage level – from which, unless they unite with the proletarian men in a common anti-capitalist struggle, they will never be able to free themselves. Proletarian men must also train themselves in anti-capitalist struggle by overcoming the contrast between the two sexes which bourgeois society systematically fuels. Proletarian men do not suffer the double oppression that proletarian women are subjected to. They have become accustomed to treating women in the same way as the bourgeoisie, and are influenced by the male chauvinist and patriarchal culture that is typical of the bourgeoisie. However, in the classist struggle against wage oppression, they stand shoulder to shoulder with female workers who experience the same conditions of oppression, and it is in this united and fraternal class struggle that proletarian men and women find the basis for the more general struggle against bourgeois and capitalist society, as happened in Russia in October 1917.

The emancipation of women at that time, under the dictatorship of the proletariat, began with the abolition of all laws that discriminated against women and, above all, with the beginning of the struggle against the domestic women's slavery and prostitution, the creation of public canteens and public kindergartens, and the involvement of women in productive work. The humiliating and degrading petty domestic work was the first obstacle to women's emancipation that had to be broken: this is where proletarian power began. There is still a long way to go before the proletarian communist revolution, just as there is in preparing the proletariat for the class struggle. But it is impossible to stop history, just as it was impossible to stop the bourgeois revolution which began in the middle of the seventeenth century in England and reached the end of the eighteenth century in France and from the middle of the nineteenth century in Europe and then throughout the world. It is capitalism itself, with its irresolvable contradictions, which is paving the way for the resumption of the class and revolutionary struggle. For communists, faith in history never dies, and that is why we tenaciously continue our struggle!


March, 6th 2024



International Communist Party

Il comunista - le prolétaire - el proletario - proletarian - programme communiste - el programa comunista - Communist Program


Top  -  Back Texts and Thesis  -  Back Archive Communist ProgramBack Communist Program Sumary  - Back Proletarian Sumary - Back to Statements  -  Back to Archives