The PSL’s program for women’s and LGBTQ liberation
Karl Marx, the founder of scientific socialism, once wrote that the socialist stage is the beginning of real “human history.” Right now our existence, our lives, our food, our education and basic survival are not guaranteed. People in capitalist society live under the control or at the mercy of the productive forces that are dominated in turn by market forces. Such political and economic forces determine how human beings function, and within that system the vast majority competes with each other for limited resources.
Marx believed that the advent of socialist and communist society put people in control of the productive forces rather than having their lives driven by social and economic forces that they did not control.
There is no exact blueprint for how families, identities or relationships will transform under socialism. But as the beginning of true human history, human beings can really shape their own destiny, become self-determining as individuals, as families, as collective neighborhoods and communities, because the essentials of life have been guaranteed.
Socialism creates powerful economic and political instruments for the people to correct historic injustices and remake society.
In Cuba, which is small, relatively underdeveloped and blockaded by a hostile U.S. government 90 miles away, building socialism has been a process of social, economic and cultural transformation with respect to the status of women and gender relations.
Although Cuban society inherited the historic prejudices of class society, racism, sexism and homophobia, it has been able to transform society and overcome many vestiges of discrimination because it has a people’s government guided by a revolutionary party. Now the force of government is helping to combat homophobia, laws are being rewritten to ensure non-discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
Because of universal and free healthcare provide to all Cubans, sex-change operations, which first began in 1988, are free as well. Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education, CENESEX, is a leading force in promoting celebration of gender diversity.
A socialist government in the United States would be able to quickly improve the lives of millions of working-class women by guaranteeing new social and economic rights: a job, education, health care, housing, retirement, etc. In addition, learning from both the successes and mistakes of previous socialist revolutions, a government of poor and working people would implement a series of special measures to confront sexism and patriarchy.
A program for liberation
What would a government of poor and working people be able to do in the United States? The Party for Socialism and Liberation calls for the following measures to advance the liberation of women and LGBTQ people:
- Struggle against sexism and other forms of male chauvinism and oppression of women shall be a priority as an immediate task, recognizing that this goal will not be achieved automatically or by decree. It shall be prohibited to advocate any form of sexism or male chauvinism.
- The new government shall guarantee the right of women workers to receive the same pay, benefits and treatment as their male counterparts.
- The right to contraception, birth control and abortion services shall not be restricted in any way, nor shall there be any restriction on a woman’s right to decide to have children or not. Abortion services shall be available free and on demand.
- It shall be the responsibility of the new government to provide women with the right to choose to have children by providing free, high-quality pre- and post-natal health care and child care. Any caregiver shall be given access to free child care.
- All forms of bigotry, discrimination or the promotion of hatred against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, or against anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender expression, shall be eliminated, including in marriage rights, employment, housing, adoption and health care. It shall be prohibited to advocate any form of bigotry, discrimination or hatred against LGBTQ people.
- No law or measure shall give preference in word or in deed that favors heterosexual relationships over other relationships.
- There shall be a sustained public education campaign promoting the goals of multinational working-class unity and international solidarity, the advancement of women’s rights, the promotion of respect of sexual orientation and gender expression, as well as exposing the evils of racism, sexism, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, xenophobia and national chauvinism. Affirmative action measures shall be instituted wherever needed to eliminate the effects of historical discrimination in education, employment, promotion, housing and other areas.