Young Communist League Canada

YCL-LJC CEC, December 6, 2020

The YCL-LJC recognizes November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and December 6th, the Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It has been over 30 years since the murder of 14 young women at École Polytechnique in Montréal, who were targeted on December 6th, 1989, simply for being women.

This December 6th, we remember Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz, and all other victims of misogynistic and chauvinistic violence.

As Young Communists, we struggle against male chauvinism and misogyny in what is now known as Canada, and recognize that we are part of an international struggle against gender oppression. We, as students and young people, remember on December 6th this violent massacre against women at École Polytechnique in Montréal, and we seek further action against gender-based violence in the broader student struggle. We recognize not only the work of students and workers calling for better policies addressing consent and sexual violence on campuses and in the workplace, but also the fight against this same sexism that we continue to see in academia, and the homophobia and transphobia that both students and workers continue to experience in the classroom and workplace.

In Canada, the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis have disproportionately affected women: women comprise 82 per cent of health workers in Canada, nearly 10 per cent higher than the global rate of 75 per cent. In addition, women have to look after their children while daycares are closed, some also juggling working from home, supervising online classes, and ensuring that their children are safe.

There was a striking gender divide in job losses this March. Women between 25 and 54, who are more likely to have school-aged children, lost more than 2x the jobs (298,500) as men in the same age cohort (127,600). Almost twenty per cent of employed women in that age bracket lost all or the majority of their usual work hours in March, compared with 13.9 percent of similarly-aged men. More than 20,000 women left the workforce between February and October, while around 68,000 men joined it. Mothers with children under six only made up 41 per cent of the labour force in February, and yet they account for two-thirds of this exodus. The disproportionate impact of the economic crisis on women is rooted in the gendered division of labour.

As the pandemic has spread, the issue of violence against women has become even more widespread. Women’s shelters, already turning women away before the crisis, are overwhelmed. The high cost of housing is another huge barrier for women and their children to escape violence. A new survey by Women’s Shelters Canada says 52 per cent of 266 participating shelters reported seeing clients who were experiencing either somewhat or much more severe violence at home. The survey also found 37 per cent of shelters reported changes in the type of violence clients faced, including increased physical attacks resulting in broken bones, strangulation, and stabbings.

It is clear to us as Young Communists that the main driving force behind patriarchy and male chauvinism is capitalism. Capitalism necessitates the artificial development of the gender divide through the development of separate classes, and women and gender-oppressed people have historically been charged with reproductive work and domestic labour. The drive to produce new generations of working people has always fallen on women, who, in modern capitalist society, are forced to work the “double burden” of both the regular work day and unpaid domestic labour, including cleaning, child-rearing, cooking, and other household duties. Thus, patriarchal attitudes and the capitalist system rely deeply on each other, and mutually reinforce one another. Communists have always taken up the call for increased gender equality, and have continuously fought for accessible, affordable childcare and reproductive healthcare, truly equal pay rates, and higher rates of education for women and gender-oppressed people.

The struggle of gender-oppressed people is connected to broader struggles throughout the world, including the struggle against femicide and gender-based violence in Mexico and Argentina, the struggle of women for bodily autonomy in Poland and Chile, and also the struggle for women’s rights in the United States. We recognize the legacy of women in the fight for socialism, including such figures as Clara Zetkin, Rosa Luxemburg, and Angela Davis, and we applaud the new generations of women, especially BIPOC women, who lead these struggles for liberation.

We young communists are in solidarity with First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and all Indigenous peoples, and the struggle for self-determination of sovereignty of the peoples. We take up the demand that the Federal government take action on the 231 imperative changes called for by the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People. We firmly reject not only the negligence of the Canadian government, but the active state violence it perpetuates against Indigenous peoples, especially Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people, who are some of the most vulnerable to acts of male chauvinism and misogynistic violence. Indigenous women are three times more likely to be victims of violence than non-Indigenous women.

The YCL-LJC reaffirms its solidarity with the struggle against patriarchy in Canada and internationally, and we call on our international sister organizations and all youth to strengthen the call for an end to male chauvinism, misogyny, and transphobia. This battle can only be won under conditions of working class consciousness and unity. We reaffirm: down with male chauvinism! Down with misogyny! Down with the oppression of women, girls, and gender nonconforming people! Down with capitalist exploitation! The youth are the future — the future is socialism!

Source: Young Communist League Canada – On December 6th, the YCL-LJC Demands an End to Misogyny