Women as Property of the State?
The United States recently had "women's issues" injected into the presidential campaign unexpectedly by Obama's handlers to stem women's defection from Obama. Ironically, however, his numbers have dropped a further 12% since the contraceptive mandate.
Alleging a "war on women" by the right, Team Obama and the left divert attention from the left's own war on women. Looking back -- not at the new starlet or professional Women's Equal Rights Legal Defense and Education Fund league -- let's review the left's victimization of women back in its heyday...and today.
(Yes, yes... we know that only last week The Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party, honoring the Lenin-established International Women's Day, harped that "only communism can end sexism," because -- you knew it -- sexism is inherent in capitalism.)
History is illustrative here. Karl Marx had a female slave who was a child of 8, eventually using her as his mistress. Uncle Joe's wife committed suicide, although there are mysteries surrounding that death, as the gun was found on one side of the bed and she was shot on the opposite side of the head -- tricky even for OGPU types.
The left says these were anomalies, and the line from the Daily Worker was that Stalin abandoned Lenin's principles. For Lenin promised the All-Russian Congress of Women that "[t]he aim of the Soviet Republic is to abolish ... all restrictions on women. The Soviet Government has completely abolished the source of bourgeois filth, repression and humiliation. ... In no other country have the toiling women achieved such complete freedom and equality" (Women and Communism, 42, 1918).
The left's premise that they have women's interests at heart and that women's liberation arose from socialism is false. The Seneca Falls Convention took place in New York in 1848, and the early feminists were not socialists, though many who came later were. But the left's shrieking sorority insists that women would be barefoot in the kitchen and domestic slaves without leaders like Nancy Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, and Hillary Clinton!
Disconcerting evidence of the left's view of women is available from the beginning of the Bolshevik revolution. You can find the facts in the 1918 edition of the New York Times -- so it must be true. "Soviets Make Girls Property of the State." Correct. That was the actual headline. In certain Bolshevist Soviets, Russian "maidens," when they reached the age of 18, were compelled to register at a government "Bureau of Free Love" (Vladimir Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies). The Bolsheviks nationalized women - - just like nationalizing GM and Chrysler. They were treated as objects -- commodities of the state.
Under the decree, a woman "had the right to choose from among men between 19 and 50 a cohabitant husband." The consent of the man was not necessary, the man chosen having no right to make any protest.
Likewise, men between 19 and 50 were allowed to choose from among the registered women, and "without the consent of the women." These arrangements were considered "in the interest of the state." A report surfaced that a "few days after the Soviet's decree ... two men, known to nobody, arrived in the town and seized the two daughters of a 'well known nonbourgeois comrade,' declaring they had chosen them as wives and that the girls, without further ceremony, must submit, as they had not observed the registration rules" (NYT 4/23/1919).
Girls who escaped from Russia at the time reported the horrors they had seen:
Things were done differently in Odessa where I was forced to work in Bolshevist hospital (sic). There at frequent intervals Bolsheviki held a 'week for lovers' at which time they ordered all girls and women of marriageable age over 14 years into the streets to meet their future husbands. With this announcement Red soldiers invaded all the houses, searching out the women. (NYT 8/11/1921)
An American who traveled in Russia later testified to the Senate Committee that a woman told him:
On the first floor of our spacious institute, which used to be a palace, you know those large rooms that we have on the first floor. These Bolshevik officials have put hundreds of red soldiers, sailors, and marines of the red army and the red navy and given orders that in the other half of the same floor the girls of our institute should remain, girls who are from 12 to 16 years ... . I wish I had died before I witnessed all this. But I want you to tell the women of America.
Finally, though, an intrepid New York Times reporter dug for the truth -- Walter Duranty, the paper's shill, who defended Stalin's engineered famine and prison camps with his infamous remark: "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs."
Duranty's Newspeak was an attempt at damage control over the nationalization of women:
Of all the calumnies wherewith the fact of bolshevism was blackened in the first five years after the revolution none caused the bolshevi more distress and fury than the legend of the nationalization of women. Because if there was one thing upon which they prided themselves it was that their revolution had liberated Russian womanhood[.] (NYT 3/15/36)
Regardless of Duranty's claims, the edict from the Vladimir Soviet of Workers and Soldiers and similar decrees is confirmed from at least two other sources: the Overman Committee of the U.S. Senate and "Communism and Woman," and by Fulton Sheen of Catholic University.
But that was Russia. What about the left's treatment of women in the U.S.? Women's issues were secondary to the left in the U.S., and only in 1922 did the Communist International urge parties to set up women's departments (Weigand, Red Feminism, 20).
Manning Johnson, a top African-American communist who trained at the Lenin Institute in Russia, described how the Party used women:
[W]hite women communists are used as political prostitutes, cohabiting with high-level Negro communists in order to spy on them. Through such intimate relations, these white women communists are able to elicit information pertaining to family background, sources of income, marital difficulties, arrests, convictions, opinions on communist policy and communist leadership. This information is invaluable to the red hierarchy in their relations with their Negro lickspittles. In top red circles, this is known as "bedroom politics." White communist women are also used to maneuver top Negro reds into compromising positions that, if revealed, would result in public scandal or disgrace. (Manning Johnson, Color Communism and Common Sense)
The party's attitude toward women is also illustrated in this incident: a party member approached a communist and told him he had to work harder for the party.
"And starve," he replied. "I've got to keep my job. I can't make a living just doing Party work." The Party solution: "Let your wife work. That'll hold you for a while, or borrow money if need be." "But she can't make enough," he protested. Which led to this exchange: "She's a drawback a definite hindrance. What are you going to do, stand up for the Party or your wife?" The next question from the member was: "What do you want me to do? Divorce my wife?" "If your marriage is such that you can't work for the Party." (Hoover, Masters of Deceit, 79)
The second premise of the left, that women didn't have power and work in professions until socialism, is also false. Isabella of Spain (1566-1633), Elizabeth of England (1635-1650), and Catherine the Great of Russia (1762-1796) ruled countries. Joan of Arc (1412-1431) led an army against the English. Marie Curie (1867-1934) originated the theory of radioactivity, conducted the first studies for the treatment of cancer using radioactive isotopes, and won the Nobel Prize. Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) authored Little Women. Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) dedicated her life to the women's suffrage movement and paved the way for the constitutional amendment which gave women the right to vote. Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)'s Uncle Tom's Cabin was responsible for raising the issue of slavery -- as Lincoln is reported to have said, "[s]o this is the little lady who started this great war" -- leading to the Emancipation Proclamation.
Turns out Lincoln was a Republican. What is common to all these women was not only their achievements, but the fact that their achievements were accomplished before the revolution of 1917.
More proximately, how did the left treat accomplished women such as Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Laura Ingraham?
If women had power, participated in professions with distinction, and influenced society before socialism, why did the Bolshevik lies come about? A Russian text hints at it (emphasis added):
Women's labor has become one of the main sources from which industry could draw fresh supplies of workers. During the earlier years of the first Five Year Plan, there were about six million housewives in the towns. All the local Communist organizations received orders to call up these reserves and attach them to production." (Shaburova, Woman is a Great Power, 1935, quoted in Sheen)
Did socialism see women as people to be exploited for labor -- for the state? Does the left now see "women's health" as a means to promote the left's agenda? Is it really the left that's waging a war on women for its collective cause -- their vote?
Do women believe that their most personal decision is the business of the state? With the contraceptive mandate, is the left trying to make women's bodies the "property of the left"?