By Penny Hess, Chair of the African People’s Solidarity Committee
An estimated 2.6 million mostly white women participated in the January 21 Women’s March on Washington and in cities across the country following the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th U.S. president.
The rallies were not considered “protests;” although they had a mission statement, the marches had no demands. Organizers have never revealed the source of their funding that provided buses from nearly every state in the U.S., but it was closely aligned with the Democratic party.
An article at Theburningspear.com, “Nasty women, pink vaginas and support for imperialism,” by Antoinette Taylor of the African National Women’s Organization (ANWO) lays out a critique of the marches from the viewpoint of the revolutionary African women of the Uhuru Movement, who understand their oppression in the context of the struggle to liberate the entire African nation.
The African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC), the organization of white people working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, held a web conference on January 30th summing up the question of “women’s oppression” from an African Internationalist perspective.
The conference was attended by more than 50 people and featured presentations by Yejide Orunmila, President of the African National Women’s Organization, and myself as Chair of APSC. This article is taken from an excerpt of my presentation.
Yes, all white women
All white women, like all white men, sit on the pedestal of the enslavement and oppression of African men, women and children, the genocide of the Indigenous people and the oppression of colonized peoples around the world.
The conditions faced by white women are vastly different from those faced by African women. White women are part of the oppressor nation of capitalist-colonialism and African women are colonized and oppressed in the context of the domination of their entire people, the forcibly dispersed African nation.
It was the enslavement of African people and genocide, colonialism and land theft from the majority of humanity that gave birth to capitalism. This is the basis for the rights, prosperity, education and opportunities of all white people including white women.
As white people, our lives rest on the backs of African people, something that colors all our thoughts, ideas, aspirations and goals.
So while there is real oppression of white women under this system, it is oppression on the backs of the colonized and we have always opportunistically sought our solutions at the expense African people, including African women.
The discussion of oppression that white women experience takes place in that context. All our rights as white women have come at the expense of the suffering of African people and the colonized.
Two waves of white feminism betrayed African people
Inspired by the struggle of African people to be free of chattel slavery, feminism first began in this country as a movement to win the legal right for white women to vote resulting in passage of the 19th amendment in 1920.
A second round of feminism was sparked by the Black Power/Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s.
In both eras the main goal of the white women’s movement was to be able to enjoy equal rights with white men to sit at the table equally as colonizers and imperialists of the capitalist oppressor nation.
Feminism was alive and well when African people were enslaved; when white people were lynching African people, sacking and burning their homes and towns. African people, including African women were being murdered by white working people in a myriad of ways every day.
In spite of the sheer terror that African women experienced during those years, the issues of African women were never taken up by the white women’s movement.
White women fight to share equal power in imperialism
In fact, white women played a major role if not THE major role in the terror attacks called lynchings of African men. White women had equal power with white men of life and death over African people and white women used it with impunity!
White women instigated lynchings with the claim that African men raped them, attempted to rape them, or just looked at them. That was enough. White women gathered the firewood, built the fires and dressed their little girls up in starched pinafores and bows in their hair to pose them in front of the lifeless bodies of burnt, hanged African men!
The second wave of feminism was born in the crucible of the Black Revolution of the 1960s.
Once again white women got our rights at the expense of the African community with the goal to be equal partners in colonialism with white men.
White women fought to be equal killers in the U.S. military like Lynndie England who led the vicious torture of Iraqi men at Abu Ghraib prison.
White women fought to be equal murderers in the police departments like Betty Shelby who killed Terrance Crutcher in Tulsa, OK last year.
As feminists, white women have done nothing to stop the almost-daily murders of African people by the police that has left thousands of African women without their children, spouses or fathers, or to stop the murders of African women themselves by the police—like Sandra Bland or Korryn Gaines and others.
White women have never struggled to end the mass incarceration of African people including the 300 percent increase in the imprisonment of African women in the U.S. over the last 30 years, which has the largest prison population on Earth, according to the Families Against Mandatory Minimums Foundation.
Feminism has never addressed the police State controlling the African community or the government imposition of deadly drugs which has left African women as single mothers. It has never struggled around the 38 percent of African children that grow up in poverty while white families have 22 times the wealth of black families.
Like white men, white women owe reparations to African people.
If we are against the oppression of ALL women, then we white women must stand in solidarity with African people to struggle for their liberation as part of their whole people.
We must fight for reparations to African people for everything that we as white women have done to African people—men, women and children and the lifestyle that we have gained in an economy whose wealth and power are built on hundreds of years of stolen African freedom and labor.
White women: Join Uhuru Solidarity Movement at uhurusolidarity.org