3/8/8 International Womens Day Messages

The Road to Women's Liberation Runs Through the Anti-Imperialist Struggle!

In honor of the global struggle of women for equality, justice and freedom, everyday should be women's day. The struggle to gender, class and race equality has been a tortuous one, marked by victories and set-backs but consistently moving forward toward the day when women can say at last that we have achieved liberation on all fronts and all aspects of human existence. As a sister organization of GABRIELA Philippines, we abhor the fact that we commemorate International Women's Day at a time when 2,500 US troops are in the Philippines, rampaging through Palawan Island and spying on its oil reserves. We foresee the war and pillage that will accompany the theft of these resources by multinational corporations. We foresee Filipinos and Filipinas bereft of their property and means of livelihood; their environment polluted, their very lives forfeit and their children enslaved. Filipinas will end up, as they have ended up in the last 30 years, as commodity in the international labor and sex markets. All this destruction and suffering in exchange for $35 million in US aid.

We also abhor the incalculable suffering visited upon the women of the Middle East, particularly Iraq, by US imperialism. The unspeakable conditions of war and occupation in Iraq compel the country's women to endure the unendurable: death and carnage, starvation, total disruption of existence, raids, arrests, imprisonment and execution. In the desperation of their situation, some women in Iraq are forced into prostitution as a means of survival. We abhor the fact that there remain men and women unmoved by this situation who continue to collaborate with US imperialism.

The chaos that imperialism brings to people's lives is exemplified by Haiti. That country has suffered from colonization and intervention by France and the United States. The result is clear. Armed conflict, destruction of all democratic structures, a reign of thugs and dictators - all these come from the West's refusal to allow Haitians to forge a destiny of and on their own.

We abhor the fact that here in the US, over 60,000 men and women have been deported, in the aftermath of 9/11. The continuing assault on democratic rights and liberties, upon which this nation was founded, and the continuing violation of the rights of people of color are a domestic reflection of the violence US imperialism has unleashed upon the world.

In consideration of this and other facts of our times, we say that the road to women's liberation runs through the terrain of the anti-imperialist struggle. Now, more than ever, women must join in the world-wide effort to dismantle the structures of globalization and imperialism, towards world peace, justice and equality.

STRK! Sa Tagumpay ng Rebolusyonaryong Kababaihan! Sa Tagumpay ng Rebolusyong Kababaihan!
Victory to Revolutionary Women! Victory to the Women's Revolution!

GABRIELA Network
Statement on March 8, 2004
International Women's Day
Women's History Month

National and Women’s Liberation: The Iraqi Resistance and the Blackmail Campaign of “Iraqi Women Organizations”

For many leftists in the west, especially in the United States, the question of Iraq remains shrouded in ambiguity. They know that supporting an occupation isn't right, only they keep hearing these supposedly labor and women’s groups saying "we need the occupation". So when the left in the US denounces the occupation of Iraq, it can only do so half-heartedly because leftists are supposed to admit at the same time "it’s doing some good".

The result is that the left is in horrible confusion and therefore deadlocked - except for a handful of activists. Partly that's Zionist influence in the left in the west, but it’s due as well to this flood of all sorts of disinformation, especially disinformation about the Iraqi Resistance.

To this end, Nada Al-Rubaiee’s piece comes to fill a very important void.

The Editorial Board of the FREE ARAB VOICE
Nada Al-Rubaiee
Member of the Central Committee of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance ( IPA)

During Bush’s campaign to invade Iraq, issues concerning Iraqi women were raised on several occasions. Part of this “feminist” hoopla was carried out by a few Iraqi women who promoted the invasion as a means of “liberating” Iraqi women from male and state repression. After the desired ’“liberation” of Iraq was accomplished, some of these same women were appointed to ‘prestigious positions in different occupation institutions of the “New Iraq” like the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) and the Interim Iraqi Government of Ayad Allawy (Prime Minster). Others started operating openly inside Iraq under the banner of foreign-financed so-called NGO’s, as well as human rights and women’s organizations

In November 2003, a delegation of Iraqi women visited the White House to personally thank Bush ” for “helping Iraq and to ask him not to withdraw his troops allegedly because “Iraq still needs them”. Several months later, on the very special occasion of International Women’s Day on the 8th of March 2004, Colin Powell unleashed two initiatives: Iraqi Women's Democracy Initiative, and the U.S.-Iraq Women's Network. Powell, henceforth, allocated $10 million to cover the first initiative, and $27 million dollars more to cover the second!

Many fundamental questions arise here by default: why is the US administration shedding millions to promote women’s democracy in occupied Iraq, while other basic and essential human needs, like water and electricity, are not being minimally satisfied yet? Why is the issue of women so important for the occupiers? And how can we understand spending money in the name of democracy for the sake of women, while humiliating, torturing, and killing thousands of men and women also in the name of democracy? Finally, what role do those newly-established Iraqi women’s organizations play in this scheme?

Many of these organizations –if not all of them- have started to raise very controversial issues in a country still reeling under occupation. Their slogans are not limited to calls for more “private and sexual freedom of Iraqi women”, but are strongly directed against the Iraqi resistance. It is true these organizations say the Iraqi people should be rid of the occupation. However, they only do so while calling at the same time for the rejection of “the current terrorist resistance”! Moreover, they have taken upon themselves the additional responsibility of “resisting Islamic terrorism….”.

But, aren’t these the same lines pushed by Rumsfeld and Bush? There is no doubt the rhetoric of these women’s organizations borrows heavily from the terminology of the occupation.

Thus, it is only rational to ask ourselves whether there is a link between such calls ‘to liberate Iraqi women’, on one hand, and the concomitant anti-resistance slogans, on the other hand? What is the common denominator between the occupation and these women organization?

Many dishonest and cheap accusations were directed both by the occupation and those organizations against the heroic Iraqi resistance in cities like Fallujah for example. Both accused the resistance of committing heinous crimes, such as kidnapping and killing Iraqi women ‘for wearing jeans or walking without a scarf’, and even raping girls ‘before the occupiers rape them"!

This latest accusation was openly made by the Organization for Womens Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) www.equalityiniraq.com) against the Fallujah’s Shura Council, a religious council that served as spokesperson for the heroic resistance against the brutal aggressors during the siege of Fallujah. Thus, OWFI made the absurd charge that the Shura Council had issued a fatwa (religious decree) stipulating that “Mujahideen ”fighters should rape girls starting at the age of 10 before they are raped by Americans"!

Such bizarre accusations are completely baseless, but they do unveil the real face of organizations that were created merely to blackmail the resistance and lengthen the occupation. While distracting attention away from the real criminals, those organizations do not miss a chance to conjure up hatred for the resistance.

Back to Fallujah again, in a letter “in defence” of the people of a city destroyed during the latest (continued) aggression of the occupiers, OWFI addressed the following point: “The terrorist Islamists are seeking to implement their medieval laws through fear and horror”.

In fact, not only does OWFI accuse the resistance of committing horrifying acts, it is also dismissing it as a cast made up of outsiders who “have come to Iraq holding signs of swords dripping with blood”!

Naturally, we cannot ignore that there are crimes and injustices perpetrated against women in Iraq. But who is behind those crimes?

For example, in the southern provinces of Iraq, whole families have been threatened after their men -and women attended pro-resistance solidarity meetings, or what the occupying forces call 'anti occupation, anti-coalition, or anti-government meetings'. Many families are hence forced to leave their homes to avoid the jailing or killing of mothers and daughters.

But rather than accusing British occupation forces of giving cover to these threats, or accusing the collaborationist Badr Brigades of terrorizing families, "Iraqi women’s organizations" accuse resistance fighters of committing atrocious acts against women To them, the resistance is always guilty of “killing any creature moving on the ground!”

In northern Iraq, the case is slightly different. According to an Iraqi newspaper, there were around 30 girls kidnapped in one week in the city of Kirkuk alone, most of them snatched on their way to school. Beside criminal groups kidnapping girls for ransom, there’s as well the active involvement of the two Peshmerga’s militias trying to force Arab families out of Kirkuk believing it is their historical right as Kurds to govern the city.

In the meantime, Iraqi female scientists[1], doctors, and university professors are being systematically , kidnapped , jailed and killed. The same crucial question arises here too: who benefits from liquidating these women? And why are Iraqi female scientists still languishing in the prisons of the occupation?

Most likely, these actions are part of the strategy of occupying forces and their cronies to eliminate the basic elements needed to rebuild the former charismatic Iraqi state. That is, they are part of the effort to invent the New Iraq: a weak dependent Iraq.

Evidently the Iraqi resistance has no interest whatsoever in attacking those women. On the contrary, those highly educated women are needed to intellectually lead and support our struggle against the Zionist-Imperialist occupation of our country, to regain our liberty and independence, and to write our constitution.

In fact, Iraqi women get arrested and tortured by the US regime. And THAT is the real way that the US is "working" for women's liberation, by torturing women and torturing men and turning them all into the Resistance. One case in point is the well-known example of Fatimah in the infamous Abu Ghraib Prison who was gang-raped repeatedly by American jailers. Another well-known case is that of a woman killed while trying, under US fire, to retrieve the body of her son, a Resistance fighter, in ar-Ramadi.

Iraqi women, furthermore, have taken an active part in the resistance on many occasions. To cite examples from the early part of January 2005 alone, women fighters were reported in Mosul in northern Iraq on 2 and 3 January 2005. One week later, a religious leader issued a fatwa urging women in the city to carry weapons and fight. And there was a funeral there of a female martyr who was killed in the fighting. Her husband and sons attended (also fighters). Women in al-Jazirah village near ar-Ramadi encouraged fighters 11 January 2005. Women in al-Mushahadah in Baghdad area threw stones at US troops in Humvees 9 January 2005. Around the same period, women in ar-Ramadi were seen on rooftops with weapons when it was anticipated that the Americans were coming.

These are the REAL changes, the REAL liberation of the real local women, not wealthy ones who fly to London for manicures, or fly to Washington to meet Bush.

To clarify the matter further, we emphasize the fact that the Iraqi resistance has both Islamic and secular elements, with a mainly anti-imperialist general profile, and a top priority given to fighting the invaders and their stooges.

To these women’s organizations we have a clear message: women liberation is a noble aim, but this cannot be reached unless coupled with the (armed) struggle for national liberation and for an Iraqi constitution written by the Iraqis themselves.

[1] Huda Salih Ammash and Rihaab Taha have both been in US custody since May 2003, without any charges. This while keeping in mind that these two scientist were accused of playing a role in the WMD and chemical – biological program of the Iraqi former government. Now, there is no single proof that the former Iraqi government maintained such programs on the eve of the invasion of Iraq; nevertheless, these scientists and many others remain in jail.
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Hollow Women of the Hegemon
By Dr. June Terpstra
3-8-08

This article is a call in honor of International Women’s Day warning the people not to follow the woman leader who stands by her hegemon. This is a call for new women leaders who will stand with men to resist and defend the people against tyrannical governments posing as democracies. This is a call to us all, women and men, to end the oppression of globalized debt based economics that funds all wars, profiting from state terror while fomenting all states of terror. The interlocking directorate of rulers who employ women leaders, such as Margaret Thatcher, Benizer Bhutto, Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, Corazon Aquino, Madeline Albright, Janet Reno, Condoleezza Rice, or Hillary Clinton, do so because they are loyal supporters to the men of the hegemon reveling in the greed, wars, invasions, occupations, and the New World Order. As such, they along with their power hungry husbands, fathers and brothers must be stopped.

Today’s women in power are focused on power for themselves “in solidarity” with the men of the hegemon. They neither represent the liberal feminists “ethic of care” or the revolutionary women’s demand for a radical reordering of society. Instead they have joined the front lines in the agenda to, as Kissinger stated, “depopulate” the women, men and children of the planet. They are power hungry women who want to be included in the process of “add women and stir” to the list of acceptable positions of power and profit of the hegemon.

Let us begin with Condoleezza Rice, who is said to be the most powerful woman in the world today. She is a highly educated woman who fronts for the oil companies and bankers as a neoconservative secretary of state. Her stated ambitions for the sons and daughters of the people of the USA, red or yellow, black or brown, is to be the dead and wounded “investment” that the people make in the 21st century’s hundred year war. She says Iraq is "worth the investment" in American lives and dollars and that the United States can still win a conflict that has been more difficult than she expected.

Rice represents a dramatic and symbolic historic shift in the way imperial monarchies, oligarchies and plutocracies worked in the past. The traditional paradigm was of the male military hawks working with Catholic Priests and the Protestant intelligentsia to con the public into feeding their boys to the military cannons profiting the kings, bankers and weapons manufacturers. Women in general and mothers in particular, historically decried wars and abhorred sending their sons to battle. Yet since WWII, we have Golda, Indira, Margaret, Benazir, Corazon, Madeline, and perhaps Hilary, if she becomes the President, all representing for the bankers, military complex and oil industries.

Here is hegemon’s historical array of women leaders urging their country’s children to die, and celebrating that suicidal military “service” to the Judeo-Christian god and plutocracy with college educations to the tune of cheesy “proud to be” country and western patriarchy songs. More young women -- some married with infant children -- are joining the US branch of terrorism training camps because they have been told they are “free to be all they can be” so “sign on” for training with a company and a unit that their government and corporations care nothing about as is evidenced in the jobs or healthcare they will never have. Those jobs were outsourced to India and the healthcare is too expensive.

Here is what has been and is preached by the hegemon’s women war lords who pose as government leaders:

“I know from the point of view of not just the monetary cost but the sacrifice of American lives, a lot has been sacrificed for Iraq, a lot has been invested in Iraq," Rice said.

“Bush would not ask for continued sacrifice and spending "if he didn't believe, and in fact I believe as well, that we can in fact succeed", Rice said. Stand by your man, Condi!

Hilary Clinton was asked about the "ticking time bomb" scenario, and said in skillful doublespeak, "I have said that those are very rare but if they occur there has to be some lawful authority for pursuing that," she responded. "Again, I think the President has to take responsibility. There has to be some check and balance, some reporting. I don't mind if it’s reporting in a top secret context. But that shouldn’t be the tail that wags the dog, that should be the exception to the rule."

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says, referring to a half million children dead in Iraq, more children than died in Hiroshima, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.”

“The significance of the Falklands War was enormous, both for Britain's self-confidence and for our standing in the world. Since the Suez fiasco in 1956, British foreign policy had been one long retreat… Victory in the Falklands changed that. Everywhere I went after the war, Britain's name meant something more than it had, ” Thatcher says in her memoirs.

Or the O.G., Golda Meir, who once put it: "… we cannot forgive you for making us kill your children."

As is evidenced today, women’s participation in the military industrial complex is embedded in every way. Legislation for the draft submitted after 2001 explicitly defined both men and women of the ages between 18 and 26 as “conscripted” for military service. In 2004 women, including a woman general, officers and grunts stationed at Abu-Ghraib prison in Iraq are on trial for torturing Iraqi men, women and children. One of the women of Abu-Ghraib had also been accused of torture in Afghanistan.

Media and educational systems now include women experts and representatives of legal organizations such as the National Organization of Women are quick to appear publicly to criticize women’s oppression in Middle Eastern countries. These accusations become part of the rhetoric of American women’s liberation under “American democracy” fronting as an excuse for US invasion and occupation. The hegemon uses the subject of women’s oppression selectively when stirring up sentiment for war against Muslims and Arabs. Without consulting Arab and Muslim women about their purported oppression, or only consulting exiled women who are agents and assets of the US state, there occurs a double form of imperialism and racism perpetrated by the American women “experts.”

While ignoring the statistical realities of the obscene numbers of women raped, beaten and killed by men in the USA these “experts” are used to gain women’s support for war. As women in the USA support war under the guise of democracy and liberation a divisive diversion is wedged between women and men who are resisting hegemonic invasion and occupation. Visible token women leaders clucking sanctimoniously over “women’s rights” as bombs are being dropped on their “sisters” are examples of Western feminist “success” within the hegemon; women such as Margaret Thatcher, Corazon Aquino, Condoleezza Rice and Hilary Clinton.

The hegemon makes and breaks the rules that govern domestic global political and economic relations by controlling most of the research, legal and governing international institutions. Women’s increased participation and support in these institutions is crucial for continued maintenance of the hegemon. Whether in media, education, government, or corporations, women play critical roles as leaders, managers and foot soldiers paving the way as role models for future obedient leaders and workers for the hegemon. As the hegemon minimally provides for the needs of its poorest women the illusion of equal opportunity and equity is fostered when a Hilary and Condi take the stage together.

In the same pattern in which Fanon described the desire of the “native” for the white man’s power so do many women of the world desire the power of their master’s. Desiring the master’s power is the opposite of desiring liberty. Liberation and resistance means desiring freedom, it is struggle, and the struggle requires we build ties by nurturing the desire for liberty in each specific situation. The historical tragedies of torture and genocide now are commandeered by the “powerful” women allowed to act as overseer for the global masters.

Resistance to the state terror of the New World Order (NOW) carries even greater risks than those posed by the danger of the car bomb or dynamite rigged vest. The US combatant has left their humanity at the boot camp door. A moment's hesitation costs innocent lives, like the four doctors allegedly killed by one of my students at an Iraqi checkpoint or the 14 year-old girl raped by the US combatant who laughs about it on You Tube. One could be the next innocent victim rendition to Poland or incarcerated by the NYPD in an asbestos laden condemned warehouse on the docks.

Our failure to hesitate to stop these leaders has a price here and there. As more women and children are recruited by their women leaders more defenseless women and children will be tortured, shot and killed. It is all part of the grand depopulation plan of the US lords of war. All the hegemon’s boys and girls are to follow the "harsh arithmetic of pain," whereby civilian casualties on both sides "play in their favor," the favor of the ruling class that is. They like to pose that democracies lose, both politically and emotionally when they kill civilians, even inadvertently. Yet, the state terrorists are dropping bombs on civilians from Somalia to Iraq killing numbers thousands weekly, far surpassing the numbers killed by the bits of dynamite strapped to the resistance fighters vest.

Since WWII women in power have been agents and assets for the state and the corporations behind the state. With a clear political agenda they are caught up in the tendencies and values of imperialism. They revel in the hegemon and in the benefits that come with rising to the top of it. So total is hegemony now established over the mind and spirit of American women who almost never perceive it at all, striking the mind as ‘normal” as capitalism markets the “uncovered” woman who is “free to be” having “sex in the city” buying $400 shoes (even when her historical people are drowning in New Orleans) because she is “worth it.”

It will come as no surprise to the people that the answer to the question “who benefits” from these women leaders is the “new world order”. I refer here to the term “new world order”, by which I mean the globalizing hegemonic force, as announced by George Herbert Walker Bush on the eve of “declared” war against Iraq in 1991. The hegemon benefits the most from women’s leadership and if it did not, they would not be there.

People who are standing with the oppressed and for liberation need new rules, strategies and tactics to deal effectively and fairly with these dangerous realities of the new gender and color blind imperialism . We cannot simply wait until the next generation of sons and daughters decide to follow a Condi’s or a Hillary’s demands for more cannon fodder. We must stop these leaders, whether female or male, before they export their perverted propaganda, their sick and dangerous militaristic terrorism, their culture of death to the children and grandchildren here so they do not spread it to the children and grandchildren over there.

Those of us who are dedicated to ending the terrorism and imperialism of the hegemon need new rules, strategies and tactics to deal effectively with the dangerous realities of US military aggression here and abroad. We cannot simply wait until another son or daughter of people decide to follow the leader’s con jobs and deceptions. We must stop this madness of pre-emptive war games and the Judeo-Christian culture of death that the leadership of the hegemon, male, female, GLBT, left, right, red or yellow, black or white, is spreading from sea to poisoned sea.

June Scorza Terpstra, Ph.D. is an activist educator and university lecturer in Justice Studies, Criminal Justice and Sociology. She has founded numerous programs for homeless, abused, youth and oppressed people in the USA. She is presently teaching courses on Law and Terrorism, Social Justice, Resistance, Criminology, and Juvenile Justice. She is a former Community Research Fellow and doctoral graduate of Loyola University Chicago.