Lenin, Maxeke, Charter and March
Nadezhda Krupskaya, b. 1869; Vladimir Lenin, b. 1870; Rosa Luxemburg, b. 1871; Alexandra Kollontai, b. 1872; Charlotte Maxeke, b. 1874. One generation.
If we do not draw women into public activity, into the militia, into political life; if we do not tear women away from the deadening atmosphere of household and kitchen; then it is impossible to secure real freedom, it is impossible even to build democracy, let alone socialism.
Lenin, Third Letter from Afar, Zurich, March 1917
“Let the liars and hypocrites, the dull-witted and blind, the bourgeois and their supporters hoodwink the people with talk about freedom in general, about equality in general, about democracy in general.
“We say to the workers and peasants: Tear the masks from the faces of these liars, open the eyes of these blind ones. Ask them:
“Equality between what sex and what other sex?
“Between what nation and what other nation?
“Between what class and what other class?
“Freedom from what yoke, or from the yoke of what class? Freedom for what class?
“Down with the liars who are talking of freedom and equality for all, while there is an oppressed sex, while there are oppressor classes, while there is private ownership of capital, of shares, while there are the well-fed with their surplus of bread who keep the hungry in bondage. Not freedom for all, not equality for all, but a fight against the oppressors and exploiters, the abolition of every possibility of oppression and exploitation-that is our slogan!
“Freedom and equality for the oppressed sex!
“Freedom and equality for the workers, for the toiling peasants!
“A fight against the oppressors, a fight against the capitalists, a fight against the profiteering kulaks!
“That is our fighting slogan, that is our proletarian truth, the truth of the struggle against capital, the truth which we flung in the face of the world of capital with its honeyed, hypocritical, pompous phrases about freedom and equality in general, about freedom and equality for all.”
Lenin, Soviet Power and the Status of Women, November 1919
The proletariat cannot achieve complete freedom, unless it achieves complete freedom for women.
Lenin, To the Working Women, February 1920
“We should try to link our personal lives with the cause for which we struggle”
Women’s Charter, South Africa, 17 April 1954:
“We women do not form a society separate from the men. There is only one society, and it is made up of both women and men. As women we share the problems and anxieties of our men, and join hands with them to remove social evils and obstacles to progress.”
Freedom Charter, South Africa, 26 June 1955:
· Only a democratic state, based on the will of all the people, can secure to all their birthright without distinction of colour, race, sex or belief;
· Every man and woman shall have the right to vote for and to stand as a candidate for all bodies which make laws;
· The rights of the people shall be the same, regardless of race, colour or sex;
· Men and women of all races shall receive equal pay for equal work;
Women’s March to Union Buildings, 9 August 1956: First of National Women’s Day