Monday, June 18, 2007

ALD in Senegal and Samora Machel on Women's Emancipation

Building African Women’s & Youth Movements and Forming International Sisterhood

African Liberation Day and African Women’s and Youth Conference Report

The African Women’s and Youth conference honoring African Liberation Day held at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal on May 27, 2007 was a tremendous success. The African Women’s Charity Organization and the Pan African Youth Organization of Senegal organized the conference.

Flyers and posters were distributed throughout Dakar and its different schools, its suburbs and their schools, the countryside( Touba, Thies, Bagny, Rufisque and Mbacke ) and its schools. The debate was waged at a high level (politico-economic, social and moral ).Various sisters brought their contribution to the debate. The call for building women collective savings, collective health care, education and agriculture have been put forward by the students.

The African Women’s Charity Organization thanks the Pan-African Youth Organization for co-sponsoring this event with the African Women’s Charity Organization. Our next conference will be in Ghana on March 8, 2008. We would like to thank all the people who are helping us build African Women and Youth Movements that are necessary to educate, mobilize, and organize the largest number of African Women and Youth as possible.

Our vision includes collectively solving our problems to obtain proper childcare, housing, collective kitchens, transportation, healthcare, clean drinking water for all and employment/skills, etc. We must build a strong infrastructure in Africa and we must be tightly organized outside of Africa.

We call for people who want to be an active part of the movement to contact us.


Women are the Complimentary Sex (Not the Opposite Sex)

From President Samora Machel’s book: "An African Revolutionary: The Exploiters’ Power is to Oppress the People, Our Power is the Power of the People”

At the dawn of mankind, when the change from ape to man occurred, pre-humans lived in nomadic bands governed by the concern for survival. The entire productive effort was consumed immediately, and often failed to satisfy basic needs. These pre-humans lived on roots, wild fruit and animal corpses.

Mankind’s forebears lived like this for hundreds of thousands of years. At a certain stage these forebears began to use bones or sticks to dig up roots, to hunt animals. They began to use tools to produce their food, production albeit highly primitive began, and the ape gave way to man. Production distinguishes man from the beast, unleashes his brain, and opens the way to progress.

With the emergence of production, initially gathering and hunting, and in a second phase agriculture and animal husbandry, mankind begins to develop. A division of labor arises and an improvement in tools for production and production techniques. So man’s productive effort can now yield more than he himself needs for subsistence. Production generates a surplus.

The existence of surplus production provides the material basis, the objective conditions, for forces to emerge in society that seek to appropriate the surpluses to the detriment of those who have produced them.

The society divides into opposing classes, with differing interests: some want to appropriate the fruit of the labor of others, while the latter object. Human relations which have until now been co-operative become relations of conflict between exploiters and exploited.

Obviously this whole process took hundreds of thousands of years: opposing interests had appeared in society, the fundamental issue in that society was one of ‘power’: who could make decisions, on what criteria, and in whose favor.

A given group can impose its interests and project its aims only if it controls the society, or in other words rules that society.

Ruling a society means organizing the society to serve the interests of the ruling group, imposing the will of this group on all other groups whether they agree or not. With passage of time, the ruling group makes the other groups regard its domination as the best, the fairest and the wisest, and one that corresponds to the interests of all.

This goes on until the moment when new forces within the society, realizing that their interests are prejudiced by the ruling group, unite, struggle, overthrow the former power, and establish their new power, reorganizing society to satisfy their own appetites.

Until a recent period of mankind’s history it has been the various exploiting classes—slave-owners, feudalists, bourgeoisie---who have successively dominated society and organized its politics, economics, ideology, culture, administration and legal system for their own benefit.

This was possible because the exploited masses did not have sufficient class consciousness to unite them, or an ideology able to give them an overall view of their interests and provide the appropriate strategy and tactics for the struggle to win and exercise power.”

As men when we get together we discuss many topics. But one topic that we rarely discuss is women’s emancipation. Are we for it or are we against it? A fundamental topic that we do not discuss is, which side are we on, the oppressors or the oppressed? We may fear this fundamental question because of how it may affect the relationships within the group. We must make a decision about our commitment. Are we for the masses of our people (which include women) or are we dedicated to a convoluted notion of manhood that comes straight from the oppressors’ education. This is a part of what we call the class struggle. If a man is anti-woman then he is against the people. He may be part of the population but he is not of the people.

We are going to quote President Seku Toure from an article “Women in Society”: ”We often say that it is easier to fight against colonialism to conquer the freedom of the People, than to fight within the ranks of the People to re-establish social equality.

Indeed, in the struggle for social equality we are at once the fighter and the adversary…the exploitation of women by men is so “natural” that to eliminate it, the regime of exploitation itself will have to be attacked up at its very roots…And if we want to strike at the root of the evil it is the mode of production that must be aimed at…Any man who exploits another cannot be truly free, for the injustice, exploitation and oppression he metes out to others constitute his infirmity, blurring his vision of freedom and dignity…An unbalanced man is the one who does not respect women. He is an ungrateful person. He forgets that he must pay his debt to those who brought him forth.

Now, anyone who does not settle his debt to society degrades himself and dies like an animal…If, the women’s condition as compared to the man’s is the one of the exploited, it is normal that, representing the most dejected class, she makes the problems of the revolutionary organization her own problems when she is aware of them. And when the enemy was saying that our Party was just a Party for women, it was too narrow-minded to realize that in fact, he was expressing the fact that our Party was already and still remains authentically and radically revolutionary.

We must first of all commit ourselves to the building of a society whose mode of production excludes any exploitation of man by man. Then, the political, economic, social and cultural options must be clear; finally, the objective attitude in the class struggle must also be clearly defined. When this is obtained, we can legitimately expect that within a minimum time, qualitative changes will set off qualitative transformations, sweeping away old objects and old customs.

It is only then that the woman and the man will fine themselves on an equal footing…Just as the struggle of African women cannot be waged and pursued outside the context of the struggle of our Peoples for the liberation and emancipation of our continent, so the freedom of African cannot be effective if it does not lead, concretely, to the liberation of the women of Africa.

We learned from our sisters in the Organization of Angolan Women that has over a million and a half women in its organization that women are the complimentary sex, while the exploiters teach that women are the opposite sex. What is the difference? When we see women as the complimentary sex it is in a spirit of co-operation. When we see women as being the opposite sex then it is more in a spirit of competition.

Because most of us were educated by the exploiters we have come to think that manhood has something to do with the domination of our women. This is the greatest example of people being against themselves because the only way that the people will have power is for men and women to be strongly united against the exploiting ruling class. Men having power struggles with our women aides the oppressors. It is also very important that women see the necessity of political power because it is the only way to liberation of the people.

It is foolish as men for us to engage ourselves in a power struggle with our women and then be cowards when it comes to fighting for the political power that is necessary for the people to control their destiny. MEN AND WOMEN ARE COMPLIMENTARY SEXES. The emancipation of the women means the emancipation of the men and the whole society. This is precisely why we are Men for the Emancipation of Women.
Charity begins at home for African women and women of African descent.

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