1910s >> 2018 >> no-97-september-1912

Women and the Socialist Party

Why should the women workers join the S.P.G.B.? This is a question often asked by those outside any particular organisation, whose general idea re woman is, that “her place is at home.”

Socialism, it must be remembered, is not the name of a political party, but a term applied to a certain state of society. It is not a “measure” to be placed on the Statute Book in bits (as our Labour representatives would have us believe), but an economic development. It is not a movement exclusively for the “ bettering of the conditions of the working man,”but a transformation of society—which transformation will mean the abolition of all classes, and must be the work of the working class itself.

Under the present regime of capitalist production, woman finds herself in the labour market, as a seller of labour-power, upon the sale of which her livelihood depends. She, therefore, is a wage-slave, and because of this ought to be with those who are fighting for the abolition of such slavery, and the establishment of Socialism. That is the predominant reason why women should join the Socialist Party—Socialism is their only hope, and for Socialism should be their only fight.

The adherents to the Christian religion would have women believe that their position in society has been considerably elevated through the influence of that religious teaching. But if women will read the religious history of this or any other country they will discover that religion has always been on the side of their repression, and has been, in fact, one of the greatest agents in their subjection.

Today, in Christian England, thousands of our women are sweated and bled for the satisfaction of the greed of the capitalist. The existence of a certain class of women who live by means repulsive even to themselves, is a living indictment of capitalism. Prostitution is intensely aggravated by the present regime of industry, and is, in fact, a sine qua non of capitalist production.

Woman under capitalism is not what the poets so glibly tell us. She is a poor, sweated wage-slave. Her maternal instincts are suppressed, her nature is cramped, her mind is warped, her lot is the lot of the slave from birth to death.

Socialism is the only system of society under which equality of sex will obtain. It is the only system where woman will be able to fulfil her true destiny; in which her life will be able to blend and harmonise with the life of the community; in which her faculties will find full expression and her nature real manifestation.

We appeal to the women of our class to shun the calls and the traps of the capitalist profit-mongers, to refute the false optimistic gabble of the parson, to realise their true class position in society, and to augment the band of wage-slaves who have realised that they “have nothing to lose but their chains, and a world to win.”

J. H. Lamb

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