UON Women, Land, Labour
Fellow students ….because we are all here to learn ………. I would like first of all to thank the organisers of today’s discussions for giving us the opportunity to share our thoughts and to learn from each other.
Women …. Land ……. Labour
I will speak on all of them but let me start with Women Power
Women Power – many will say have it all, what more do they want?
Women have made great strides:
A century ago -The vote
Two weeks ago – Ireland, staunchly Catholic – abortion rights
Rape in marriage
Male occupations – pilots to space travel
Presidents of boardrooms + nations
That is one side of the story. The other side is that
The higher up you go in society – the presence of women diminishes drastically. Nowhere near the ratio of 50-50. So by and large …No decision-making in national/global stage.
Women have built sterling careers & broken the glass ceiling
But you know what ? Statistics after all this: Women own only 1% of world’s wealth.
Oppression not simply to do with economics : sexual harassment, domestic violence, FGM, Gang Rapes and rape as a weapon of war.
Fact is: As Feminism spreads and grows; Patriarchy becomes even more entrenched.
In the ME TOO Movt in the USA, supposedly the most advanced country in the world, certainly the richest and most militarised – women at the top of the ladder still have trouble speaking out against their male ‘superiors’. We here can only dream about it.
In upper classes – women seem liberated Are they really?
They suffer silently protecting the very men who mistreat them. Which upper class woman will ever admit that her husband beats her?
Let us take just one example: 2/3 representation matter in the Bunge. The 2010 Constitution made this requirement mandatory but we are still trying to implement it – more than 5 years on.
We all know about the sexism and abuse that women MPs face from their male colleagues in Parliament. It takes a lot of courage for women to speak about women’s rights/liberation there.
And anyway Who are we seeking to liberate? Surely not just ourselves? Have you ever heard of women MPs demanding that female domestic workers should be paid more +conditions improved. The truth is that we women are here today because we have a house maid who is toiling to clean, cook, baby-sit, etc etc for our families – for a pittance. We are not about to commit suicide by asking for her wages to be raised!
Fact is WOMEN ARE TRAPPED WITHIN THE FAMILY. They are the first slaves in human history – still enslaved. But you know The family ………….. did not always exist.
Homo Sapiens have been around for 130,000 years.
Family structure only developed with the class system just 10,000 years ago. So for 90% of human history – no hierarchies, no systematic oppression. People lived as a collective – all chores and responsibilities were a social function of the group. We see remnants of this even today in African extended families.
Only when we started to accumulate a surplus was the division of labour introduced. Woman then became ‘property’ and later on ‘private property’ and her primary role was that of guardian of the home, the family and culture.
Our culture, our education, our story-telling – everything emphasizes this reality. The 3 theistic religions make this a God-ordained reality and thus are one of the biggest hurdles to women’s emancipation.
SO WHAT DO WE DO? The family is considered the kingpin of the capitalist society we live in today.
I think the title of today’s event brilliant. Women, Land , Labour – these are the 3 pillars of capitalism. ………… Land .. planet + nature ….major asset. Capitalism is development and the Motive is profit. Profit can only be made thru labour. And Who provides the labour? Women – not just their own labour………….producers of the next generation of workers.
So These 3 pillars are intrinsically intertwined – Liberate one and you liberate ALL.
Capitalism is now kaput. Imperialists have been Trying to Fix it for several decades ……plug one leak and another one springs out. A New World Order is emerging. Imperialism is desperately trying to hold it back – one can see it as it seeks to control Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba. Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, Bernie Sanders in the USA, Tsipras and Yanis in Greece and all their supporters are the new leaders. In Africa ……the Arab Spring.
TIME for us in Kenya to move on too. We must get beyond Jubilee and ODM,
Beyond Luo, Kikuyu and Wahindi Christianity, Islam, etc
Straights and queers.
These are side shows deliberately set up to distract …from real goal.
I am not saying we should not demand
2/3 representation … free and fair elections …. An end to extra-judicial killings ….higher wages and better working conditions ….
Revolutions do not happen overnight.
But We must understand that the problem is much larger and deeper. …. We must think dialectically and stop being idealists.
EG the whole world is lambasting Trump …. Of course he is a monster …. But for us in the Third World … some of his madness is good. We welcome the scrapping of the trade agreements of WTO, etc which were set up for, and are, exploiting us. By all means let us befriend Putin and Kim Jong Un – we have nothing to gain from fomenting a war with them.
We must learn about how capitalism entraps us, and what kind of socialism do we want. We must do this with an open mind and throw out the capitalist baggage that is hindering our progress.
Aluta Continua na Asante kunisikiza.