Russian Maoists: “Feminism is not toxic!”
Written by: Russian Maoist Party on 21 May 2022
(Above: Protesting the decriminalisation of domestic violence, Moscow, February 2017)
The CPA (M-L) has sent a message of solidarity to the Russian Maoist Party and support for its efforts to fight the deplorable misogyny of the Putin regime. Our message, below, is followed by a statement from the Russian Maoist Party under the heading “Feminism is not toxic!”
Solidarity with the Russian Maoist Party
The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) warmly supports the Russian Maoist Party’s call for the first all-Russia day of action against the misogynist repression of the Putin regime on May 22.
That repression includes the restrictions on abortions and the appalling decriminalization of domestic violence.
The repression of women also extends to the measures taken against the LGBT community.
We pay tribute to the release of the immense potential of working class women in socialist Russia (1920s - 1950s) and their achievements in all fields of life. Socialist Russia (and the Socialist Soviet Union) laid the foundations and conditions for the liberation of women and inspired all oppressed peoples to struggle for their liberation.
We highly evaluate the attempts by the Russian Maoist Party to unify the feminist organisations and to lead the Russian women’s movement in the direction of a socialist future.
Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
Feminism is not toxic!
RMP Russia calls for a day of action on May 22, 2022 under the slogan "Feminism is not toxic"
AGAINST ANTI-WOMEN CENSORSHIP AND REPRESSION IN RUSSIA!
After the fall of bureaucratic capitalism in 1991, the mass women's movement in Russia began to grow gradually. This was facilitated by the vanishing power of Soviet revisionism and a strong cultural exchange with Western countries.
However, the most important basis for the development of Russian feminism was the government's neo-liberal reforms, which severely affected the position of women in society. The number of women's workplaces decreased because of the collapse of whole sectors of the economy. Women's incomes were hit by the general decline in living conditions. The number of women involved in prostitution increased and there was an active export of women abroad. During the 1990s, the criminal environment did not improve due to the high level of banditry and the high level of alcohol consumption. All this led to a consistently high level of violence against women. However, the Yeltsin government did not pursue an active anti-feminist policy.
A new era in the development of the mass women's movement began with the New Imperialist rise of Russia and Putin's accession to power. As in any new-imperialist country, Russia witnessed both the growth of liberation movements and the reactive growth of regime fascism and reactionary transformations in society.
Since the late 2000s the Russian government, increasingly clerical and anti-democratic, began to consistently advocate restricting abortion in the country ("week of silence" - a time for contemplation for a woman if she really wants an abortion, consultations with a psychologist and priest, sudden week-long abortion bans in certain regions of the country, discussions regarding the need to adopt German practices of articles 218-219 of the Criminal Code of the Federal Republic of Germany).
In 2013, a homophobic and lesbophobic law against "propaganda of homosexuality" was adopted, followed by a crackdown on the LGBT community. In 2017, domestic violence was legalised in Russia. In parallel, the rhetoric of imposing childbirth (as part of a fertility incentive programme along with financial rewards for having many children) and anti-feminism on the part of the ruling United Russia party as well as Putin's proxy opposition in the CPRF, LDPR and Just Russia has intensified. At the same time, the Russian women's movement was actively developing.
Whereas in the early 2010s Russian feminism borrowed heavily from Western trends in the women's movement and relied on the support of Western foundations for its activities, in the second half of the 2010s Russian feminism shifted massively to radical feminist stances, which had a more solid mass base.
The early 2019-2020s saw the first major street demonstrations by feminists as the Russian State Duma considered a law against domestic violence (which was not eventually adopted). The Russian women's movement is growing rapidly on social media as well. Unfortunately, however, the movement is still decentralized. All attempts to create a nationwide feminist organization/feminist party have so far failed. Feminists are scattered across the cities. In some cities there are 2-3 feminist organisations that are at odds with each other.
Finally, on 29 January 2022, at a meeting of the Russian Human Rights Council, Putin instructed his deputy chief of staff, Sergei Kiriyenko, to consider creating a register of "toxic content" by 1 June. By "toxic content," Putin's order includes demagogically equated radical feminism, LGBT, and Child Free on the one hand, and violence, zoophilia, and anti-vaccination on the other. Furthermore, it is important to note that officials understand radical feminism as any kind of feminism, as they are ignorant of the trends. To them, anything that requires some kind of change in the position of women in Russia is radical. This last initiative, if successful, will have a serious impact on the rights of women and LGBT people in Russia, which is what the monopolistic bourgeoisie is counting on, promoting it through its reactionary politicians.
Russian feminism remains fractured at the moment. The women's movement in Russia has also been hit hard by the wave of mass emigration of democratic activists from the country following the outbreak of the war of aggression against Ukraine. The LGBT movement has been severely stifled by repression in recent years. The imperialist war with Ukraine is a convenient excuse to force fascism and reactionary reforms. Putin's regime is fast moving towards a fascist dictatorship, total censorship and mass repression.
The Russian Maoist Party is actively preparing a protest against the anti-woman initiative of the Russian bourgeoisie. We have scheduled the first all-Russia protest for 22 May. We are trying to unite the feminist movement of the country, we are setting up a resistance committee, we are strengthening the initiative on the local levels. We're trying to involve in the struggle all the democratic, women's and youth forces that will be affected by the repressive, censorship initiative of the Russian authorities.
We are calling on our ICOR comrades from other countries to show international solidarity and to hold actions of solidarity with our struggle for women's freedom in Russia, the struggle for democracy and true socialism on 22 May 2022.
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