Skip to content

Free the Wimyn!

May 10, 2008


Spokesperson, White Panther Organization

Before there were gods, there was the Goddess. Before Zeus, Horus and Yaweh, there was the Great Mother. The Earth was her physical presence and fertility was the most potent expression of her power. The feminine conceptualization of deity was a reflection of a time when lineage was reckoned according to the womyn (as opposed to the man), and wimyn as a whole were greatly revered as the source of one’s life and being. In short, fertility was the all-important aspect of these economically simple times, most prominently displayed in wimyn giving birth, and therefore the power of fertility was personified in the Great Mother.

However, as man’s role in the economic production of society increased, so the deity (or deities) began to take on more masculine forms. And as the man began to express his new-found prominence in more dominant ways, so did the deity begin to morph from a life-giver or an incarnation of nature to an overlord, kind and tyrant. Mother right was overthrown and patriarchy took the throne. The same gods that were created by the male would end up instituting male-dominated priesthoods and codes of law, in which were enshrined, codified, and ratified the divinely sanctioned lordship of the male over the female. As the economic production and exchange in society became increasingly more complex, syncretistic and contradictory, this symbiotic relationship between the male and his god followed suit, and the nature of the deity became more paradoxical, illogical, and unfortunately oppressive.

Almost nowhere is the materialist conception of history given such credence than in the parallel between a society’s economic relations and its idea of a god. But more concrete than issues of change in religious dogma is the way that wimyn have suffered since the establishment of patriarchy as the norm in male-female relations. The role of wimyn in society has undergone its various transformations as the mode of human production has evolved to present-day imperialist capitalism, with ever-increasing subtle subjection and oppression as the theme that runs through every societal change. As the capitalist system compels the bourgeoisie to exploit the proletariat if such a system is to exist; and as the system of slavery by its very nature necessitates the exploitation of the slave by the slave master; so the current socioeconomic system of oppression pro ts by reinforcing the concept that the womyn is to remain subordinate to the rule of the man, that she must stay in her god-sanctioned “place” in society, and that she will always be the “weaker vessel.”

I mean, think about it. Wimyn make up about 51 percent of the United States population. And a great number of those are to this day living in some form of repression, as wimyn, whether they realize it or not. That’s 51 percent of a country’s population that not only has to deal with the crushing weight of capitalist exploitation, but also the double weight of gender oppression. In other words, the pervasive patriarchal mentality that is supported by the current system serves to ensure that wimyn, half the nation’s population, are held in submission by debilitating psychological chains. It is therefore doubly more dif cult to rebel against the current order, not having the advantage of “male privilege.”

And all of this in spite of suffrage. Yet, does the right to vote signify that liberation has come? Did New Afrikan suffrage liberate New Afrikans? The first major wave of the wimyn’s liberation movement took place in the 1800s, mainly as a response to the great economic and political changes brought about by the industrial revolution, a very significant parallel with the proletarian rebellions of that time (It is also no accident that many of the equal rights feminists were at the time leaders of the abolition movement). Wimyn’s liberation peaked in the 1920s, and then declined after the primary goal of suffrage had been reached. The second wave occurred at an equally significant time, the revolutionary 1960s, when political and social changes were dramatically taking place all over the world. This second wave sought a greater equality for wimyn in the family, the workplace, and political life. However, while some concessions have been gained, wimyn are far from liberated. There is a dangerous trend within liberation movements to mistake concessions as liberation, and this trend quenches the revolutionary spirit.

Concessions quickly turn from stepping stones toward final liberation into a compromise made with the slavemaster, a pacifier. Polished handcuffs are still handcuffs.

Concessions, like religion, can be the opium of the masses. Reform can be one of the greatest weapons against revolution. And just as former colonies of Empires can be held in neo-colonialsm – a state of being politically independent yet in economic bondage – so can voting wimyn still be held in neo-patriarchy – politically free (i.e. able to vote, hold public office, etc.) yet economically and psychologically held under the sway of the male gender.

To put it blatantly, wimyn are still considered as the man’s slave. Suffrage has not effected liberation, for the capitalist system in which these votes are cast gorges itself on all kinds of oppression and exploitation, and cannot be voted into ceasing this ravenous trend. Consider the television commercials that are forced down our throats and into our minds. Of all the advertisements for cleaning products, grocery shopping, cooking supplies, and all the other things that have to do with the household, when have you ever seen a man doing the mopping, cleaning the toilet, buying the groceries, feeding the children (or the wife)?

It is always the womyn doing these things, reinforcing the idea that a womyn’s place is in the home, acting out her divinely sanctioned role as the man’s servant, the man’s accessory, the man’s slave. It is still considered as a “romantic” exception to the rule when the man cooks for the womyn. This mentally is also dominant in television shows like sitcoms, where the womyn is seen doing all the housework, where it is humorous how the man usually hates his wife (especially as they get older), where he usually hates to have sex with her, or when he does have sex with her it is a joking thirty-second ordeal.

Furthermore, it is still taken for granted that the womyn who marries will change her name to the man’s name, relegating her birth name (which is probably her father’s name) to the position of “maiden name.” Hell, it is still taken for granted that marriage, with all of its political, economic, and religions intrusions, is the accepted route to be taken for a man and a womyn who have committed to each other, and that those who do not marry are not actually committed, and any children born to them are damned by that disparaging adverbial phrase “out of wedlock.”

Again, wimyn have yet to be liberated. Reforms and concessions may make some positive changes; but if the underlying socioeconomic system remains intact, then the oppression will only take on more creative and subtle forms designed to perpetuate wimyn’s bondage. Wimyn therefore need revolution just as bad as oppressed nationalities. For wimyn to truly be liberated, a revolutionary change must take place to sweep away the exploitative order and restructure the society from the bottom up according to truly human values instead of financial gain. Wimyn will not be liberated by allowing their movement to be placed on the backburner in the freedom struggles, or by passively expecting liberation to be granted automatically when revolution comes. Wimyn must consciously link their freedom struggle to the greater proletarian international struggle to abolish capitalist imperialism. Feminine capitalism will not benefit wimyn any more than Black capitalism benefits Blacks.

Which brings me tot the next point: Not only do wimyn need revolution, but the revolution needs wimyn. The Panthers need wimyn. As we seek to embody, even in the headquarters of global capitalism, the future socialist society, we need wimyn in our ranks equally as great, if not greater, than we need men. A male-dominated revolutionary movement can be just as patriarchal as capitalism, and the result will be a pseudo-socialist society that continues to hold onto male privilege, just as white privilege will be retained if nationalism is not held in its proper significance.

But an isolated feminine movement can be just as reactionary as reverse racism. Wimyn must be their own liberators; however, that can only truly happen if their struggle is kept in the right perspective, within the broader focus of ending capitalistic exploitation of humanity, viewing every specific liberation as a microcosm of the whole. We need wimyn in our ranks, creating revolutionary programs that serve to liberate themselves and at the same time promote the liberation of the international proletariat as a whole.

Wimyn, we need you! Rise up and throw off the millennia-old yoke of male domination; demand your liberation and your equality, and join the Panthers in the revolutionary movement to abolish all oppression and bring humanity from the epoch of exploitation to the epoch of freedom.


Billy Johnson
P.O. Box 279
Clifton, TN 38425 USA

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: