© 2015, PRSP Pan-African Revolutionary Socialist Party. All Rights Reserved.
“Time is on the side of the masses, and nothing can permanently frustrate their ultimate fulfillment.”                                                                                                                                               ...Kwame Nkrumah
AFRICAN WOMEN
The DO’S AND DON’T’S OF RELATING TO SISTERS: An Effort to Raise Ourselves Up & Fight Together to Defeat Our Enemy Since slavery it has been an objective of the capitalists of destroying the African family. Now, 600 years later, the relationship between the basic element of society, a woman and a man, has reached a critical stage. The African male has fallen victim to the “big man/boss man” syndrome that prevails in the general society. Consequently, from the most unconscious to the most conscious, the African male has come to disrespect the humanity of the African female. If we are to survive as a people, this behavior must be crushed. It is primary that the conscious male step up and take proactive steps in sparking a greater positive consciousness by all of our brothers. 1. Don’t: 2. Don’t: 3. Don’t: 4. Don’t: 5. Don’t: 1. Do: 2. Do: 3. Do: 4. Do: 5. Do:
See every female as a combination of body parts (e.g. breasts and butts), existing for the Male’s pleasure. Disrespect your sister, partner, by lustfully ogling other sisters. Treat your sister partner as if you are the boss man or father and she is the worker or child. Ogle and talk to females young enough to be your daughters and/or granddaughters! Sisters, “fall” for or be attracted to brothers who commit gender violations                                         * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Treat every female like you yourself would like to be treated: a Human Being. Remember that for African people to win justice and respect, we must work together equally and respectfully as a collective. That includes females, over 50% of us. Give females an equal opportunity to develop. Sisters, give respect to other sisters. We are all in the same boat, suffering from class, race and gender oppression. Sisters, if you see a violation being committed, check your mate right away, let him know you feel disrespected and that’s not cool.
The Gender Oppression of African Females There is no question in our minds that African people globally are still not free. In order to gain true freedom we must reclaim our identity as African people; our land, Africa, and its abundance of resources and use them to develop a better world for our people. In order to achieve this objective, however, we must organize all of our productive forces - our people, our knowledge and our tools - so that we can help to destroy the vicious system of capitalism, the economic system that is at the root of our oppression, and reach our fullest potential. This is our challenge: to heighten the awareness level and skills of our people to enable us to become victorious in our quest. There are 3 major ways in which capitalism has exploited and oppressed us. The first way is class exploitation in which those who control the resources exploit the labor of the majority of humanity in order for a few to profit. Secondly, it has used people’s ignorance of history to create false ideas of African people and Africa’s contributions to the world. This system of ideas we call “national oppression” - racism. Finally, there is gender oppression. It is when males fall for the notion that they are superior to females. It is in fact practiced by all men, including Africans, and even those males engaged in the revolutionary struggle. Most revolutionary parties, even though they may have established units of some form to struggle with the “Woman’s question,” have been guilty of displaying oppressive behavior towards women. This includes our party, the Pan- African Revolutionary Socialist Party, from the youngest to the oldest male militant. Capitalism, because it is an exploitative economic system dominated by men, socializes males to believe that they are the superior part of the human species. Therefore, we find African males displaying behavior toward African women that violate our principles, principles historically rooted in the emergence of the struggle of a great people to survive: Humanism - treating each as one wants to be treated; Collectivism - recognizing the need for the contribution of all; Egalitarianism - allowing each to develop to their fullest potential (females & males). The violation of our principles by African men in their relationships with African women is described by Maulana Karenga as an outgrowth of our being a part of the capitalist system. He calls these violations “the connections” of which there are four. The fist is the “cash” connection. The world of the capitalists centers on the perceived power of cash. In our relationships, males invest their money in females socially and then expect the female to share her body with him in exchange. Women are taught by their mothers to place greater value on the economic strength of the man. In other words, relationships are made with cash. The second connection is “flesh.” The enslavement of African people was based on human flesh and not the wholeness of the human. In this aspect of relations, men often focus on the quest of the woman’s body for sexual gratification as opposed to developing relationships that are based on the wholeness of the woman’s mind and body. All types of bizarre behavior are used as ways of satisfying sexual urges. The female partner is seen as an object as males fantasize over body parts like breasts and butts. Some men become brutal in the treatment of the female, using the woman as a sexual product to be sold to others. The third connection is “force.” Historically, we know that through force we were stolen and our land raped. Through force the capitalists have amassed their wealth. In relationships, men have used their strength to subdue women when words failed. The combination of “flesh” and “force” often merges into the act of rape, a major abuse experienced by women today. The final connection is that of “dependency.” Historically, the master taught the slave that he or she was subservient to the master. After a woman has been converted into an object and abused, the logical outcome is for her to be seen by man as subordinate and dependent on him. A review of history will reveal violations of each of the connections by the masses, including those engaged in progressive and revolutionary struggle. In essence, our mothers, sisters and daughters are being denied their rights to develop to their fullest, a violation of the principle of egalitarianism. Sekou Toure, former president of Guinea and a leading voice in the Pan-African struggle, noted that to continue the oppression of our mothers and sisters is to stifle the development of more than 50% of the African nation. We can never be free as long as the African female is denied her humanity. Solutions What do we do? There is this massive disease, capitalism, which devours the principles of our people and destroys the possible harmony between woman and man. Today, our males are too often objectifying the African woman, seeing her as a combination of body parts for their personal gratification. Our males, particularly the youth, are growing more disrespectful and antagonistic toward their female counterparts. The answer lies in building organizations that confront this evil directly. African women must organize themselves as must African men. The question might be asked “why separate organizations?” There is a tendency for females and males, even those who claim revolution, to have greater dialogue among only their own gender. This flows from the tendency of the female to feel reluctant to speak freely among the very ones who abuse her. Likewise, males will often seek to posture to be seen as being “correct” in a mixed gender setting. (It’s like the slave challenging the master for being abusive and the master citing how good he has been to his slaves.) Therefore, African women must come together and dialogue and organize themselves based on their reality and needs. They can also aid their brothers to become more conscious through forthright criticism of the many forms of gender oppression they experience through the hands of their comrades, husbands, fathers and brothers. Simultaneously, African males must become more conscious of the backwardness of their ways. They too need to organize themselves and examine their failure to practice egalitarianism as well as to wage constructive criticism as to how to purge negative behavior. Collectively, we must study the history of gender oppression with the same intensity used to study the histories of class exploitation and national oppression (racism) in order to build revolutionary organizations to wage war against the principal source form which class exploitation and national and gender oppression emerge - capitalism. Daily, we must wage constant struggle against gender oppression wherever we see it raise its ugly head - in our relationships, our marriages, in the behavior of our brothers and sons, in the workplace. Everywhere and anywhere.
Healing Steps For the Oppressor in the Relationship (Mostly Brothas) 1. Search: Make a truthful moral victory of ourselves. 2. Admit: that we have been unfaithful. 3. Understand: that egalitarianism is the only way we as a people will win. 4. Believe: that our people will win if we do our part in living up to our principles. 5. Accept: that there can be no boss man (i.e. the capitalist) within our families, our households if we are struggling for socialism. 6. Ask: our friends, family and people to help us live a more humanist, egalitarian life. 7. Make amends: to our girlfriends or spouses whom we’ve hurt so badly because of our violation(s). 8. Continue: to take a personal inventory of our behavior. 9. Join: a brotha’s group to discuss transgressions and to strategize about preventing future ones. 10. Share: Your understanding with other brothas so that we can heal as a nation. For the Oppressed in the Relationship (Mostly Sistas) 1. Forgive: No one can forget, but we can move forward as long as our partners are willing to. 2. Demand faithfulness: Discuss the concept of faithfulness that each partner must abide by. (There are no exceptions because one happens to be born male.) 3. Criticize: Don’t wait until you are angry to criticize; when you witness a violation, point it out. 4. Equality: Demand equality in regard to housekeeping, childrearing, problem solving. 5. Theory vs. Practice: Words are cheap. Practice is what counts. 6. The “Better Man” Concept: Reject it. Living up to our principles should be the goal, not being better than the Jones next door. 7. Gossip: Stop gossiping about other sisters. We are all in the same boat. 8. The “loose woman”: We are not Jezebels, bit---, or wh---. Reject this capitalist image of sistas that comes out of slavery. And, stop dressing the part! 9. Sista Circles: Join or start one today. Sistas need to be in discussion groups so that we can strategize about what needs to be done. 10. Remember: Only the oppressed can play the principal role in liberating ourselves.
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