Note: Murry Weiss originally wrote Permanent Revolution and Women’s Emancipation as a draft resolution for the October 1978 National Conference of the Committee for a Revolutionary Socialist Party (CRSP). The document was printed in the CRSP Discussion Bulletin under the title Draft Resolution on Permanent Revolution and Women’s Liberation. and was condensed for publication in the Spring, 1978 FS.
Weiss died on December 26, 1981, leaving his profound paper uncompleted, and for this third, expanded version, FS writer Robert Crisman has drawn upon his notes of discussions with Weiss in August 1981 concerning the nature of Permanent Revolution today. Crisman has also added relevant topical material.
Permanent Revolution is the process of worldwide, uninterrupted, and uninterruptible struggle of all oppressed people, led by the proletariat, for economic, social and political liberation.
Its main tenets are:
1. The unfinished bourgeois-democratic tasks of humanity can only be carried through by proletarian socialist revolution. This is the gist of the theory.
2. Revolution does not stop at the proletarian dictatorship but continues as political clashes in the cultural, social, and economic spheres throughout each successive stage on the way to classless society.
3. Permanent Revolution is international in character and scope. The objectives of national liberation and democratic struggles in all countries are indissolubly bound up with the success of proletarian revolution in the advanced industrialized countries.
These three laws of social development are interrelated and they outline and illuminate the shape, tasks, and perspectives of world revolution in our era. Permanent Revolution today takes aim at the capitalist state, its institutions, and the vast interlocking system of human and social relations that form the matrix of world bourgeois oppression. It recognizes the proletariat as the motor force of world economy and the strategic spearhead of international revolution. And it bases itself on the mutual interdependence of proletarian and all other liberation struggles.
Women under capitalism. No democratic struggle today is older, deeper, or wider-reaching than that waged by women.
Everyone, except blatant male chauvinists, agrees that women in every strata — oppressed nationalities, the peasantry, the working class, the middle class, and even some from the ruling class — are conducting an uninterrupted, permanent struggle for equality.
Women are the oppressed of the oppressed: unpaid domestic slave laborers, breeding machines for capitalist factories and armies, the bulk of industry’s reserve labor, and primary victims of the sexism that divides and paralyzes the proletariat and the world’s liberation movements.
Age-old sexual and familial constraints on women remain the central life-supports to the established order. Not for an instant can capitalism survive real liberation for women. Nor can any reforms accommodate the aspirations for true equality of a total sex!
Consequently, women’s emancipation depends on the forward march of Permanent Revolution and its impending victory over the profit system. The reverse is equally true: Permanent Revolution will grind to a halt without the momentum of women’s accelerating struggle for equality.
Women’s massive entry into the modern proletariat, their continuing existence as the most oppressed within each repressed sector, their age-old common affliction as women — and their demonstrated will to fight it — have conjoined today to make female fighters the radicalizing, unifying leaders of world anti-capitalist struggle.
Dictatorship of the proletariat. In grappling with the problems of the Russian Revolution, Trotsky and Lenin extended and enriched the theory of Permanent Revolution which had first been formulated by Marx.
All Russian Social Democrats agreed that the industrial West was ripe for socialism, but that Russia had yet to achieve a capitalist order. Lenin and Trotsky insisted, however, that the Russian bourgeoisie was too socially and politically insignificant, its interests too tied to the landlords and the semi-feudal order, to play anything but a reactionary role in the coming revolution.
Only the proletariat, they said, in alliance with the peasantry, could topple the Czar. Trotsky went even further. Workers’ leadership in the revolution meant proletarian dictatorship over the bourgeoisie after the seizure of power.
This in turn meant the imposition of socialist measures to accomplish the uncompleted democratic tasks caused by Russia’s pre-capitalist conditions. Prime among these democratic demands was the emancipation of women and oppressed minorities.
The February and October revolutions in 1917 provided stunning verification of the theory of Permanent Revolution. They demonstrated conclusively that for all backward countries the road to democracy passes into the dictatorship of the proletariat. The struggle of every stratum of the oppressed in these nations can only be resolved through socialist revolution.
What is not often recognized is that women’s emergence into leadership of the proletariat during the 1917 uprising not only proved crucial to the Bolsheviks’ victory but previewed the role women would come to play in contemporary workers’ and liberation struggles.
The international core. The Soviet Union emerged from the revolution bled white from the slaughter of World War I. Civil war further decimated its proletariat and destroyed virtually its entire economy.
This devastation, superimposed on centuries of economic and social backwardness, was the enforced starting point for socialist reconstruction in the Soviet Union.
The Bolsheviks issued blizzards of measures designed to revive the prostrate country, and by the early 1920s, the USSR began to edge toward recovery.
But the Soviets lay isolated in a hostile and encircling capitalist sea. The West stood on an incomparably higher level industrially, technologically, and militarily, with its guns trained on the first workers’ state.
Trotsky warned that unless the Soviet Union broke through its isolation and the revolution found its way into the imperialist heartland, the proletarian dictatorship would eventually be strangled.
The profound importance of international revolution, he taught, had its roots in the character of world economy, the world development of class forces, and the world scale of class struggle. Capitalist development had created an international division of labor among nations based on the uneven world development of industrial technique and the unequal distribution of resources. All national economies were now subordinated to the world market.
This fact was of overriding significance to the Soviet Union, awash in the meagerness and inadequacy of its own capitalist development. Trotsky ridiculed the idea of a “national socialism” based on a “pre-capitalist inventory.” He insisted that the inherited backwardness of the Soviet state and its continuing inability to gain access to world resources, international credit, and financing constituted an insurmountable obstacle to economic development.
Consolidation and growth of the economy, moreover, were all that could insure a modicum of social stability, provide for a widening of democratic freedoms, and unleash the human and material resources necessary to liberate women and oppressed minorities from the institutional constraints of prior Russian barbarism.
The sole solution lay in workers’ revolution beyond the Soviet borders.
Single-state socialism. Internationalism was the guiding perspective of the Soviet Union and the Communist (3rd) International from their beginnings until the early 1920s, when the rising Soviet bureaucracy began to agitate for a turn away from the workers of the world.
In 1924, Stalin counter-posed “socialism in one country” to Permanent Revolution as the prevailing Communist ideology.
The prospect of revolution in the West had ebbed with the defeat of the German revolutions of 1918-19 and 1923. This reinforced the isolation of the USSR, as well as the conservatism of the Soviet bureaucrats who owed their power to the privation, exhaustion, and backwardness that shackled the first workers’ state.
Single-state socialism had been cut to suit these stand-pat reactionaries, grown fond of their privileges and fearful of any disturbances that might jeopardize them.
Stalin’s theory artificially separated the national from the international revolution, and deemed the Soviet Union capable of achieving socialism in autarchic isolation from world economy. The Bolshevik seizure of power, it seems, had not opened but closed the era of socialist revolution, and, thereafter, gradual and peaceful reforms would lead the USSR to the Valhalla of classless society.
In the international arena, “socialism in one country” fostered another theoretical abortion — the “two-stage” theory of revolution.
This theory postulated that while the industrial West was ripe for socialism, and the Soviet Union had already achieved a workers’ dictatorship, the colonial countries must limit themselves to bourgeois-democratic struggles — the “first stage” of revolution. The second, socialist, stage was separate and was postponed to an indefinite future.
Hence, Stalin repudiated the theory, dynamics, and strategies that had mid-wifed the Soviet state itself!
In this way, by insuring in advance the defeat of colonial up-surge, the Stalinists hoped to develop a tranquil equilibrium between the USSR and the imperialist West.
“Socialism in one country” paved the way for a series of disastrous defeats for world revolution. The 1923 German revolution, the 1925-27 revolution in China, the British General Strike of 1926, and the bureaucratically degenerated Soviet Union itself all fell victim to Stalin’s treacherous theory. Fascist counterrevolution in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s and a prolonged setback for colonial liberation were the further fruits of Stalin’s anti-Marxist strategies. And with them came the demoralization and theoretical disorientation of the world proletariat.
Shattering the Stalinist monolith. Trotsky undertook to continue and advance Marxist science. He applied and developed Leninism in response to every fresh turn, mutation, and vicissitude of the struggle for democracy and socialism. He fought throughout his life to extend world revolution under the banner of Permanent Revolution, despite the twin pincers of Stalinist and capitalist slander, vilification, and murder.
By the end of the ’30s, the Stalinist police state and the fascist barbarism that arose and fattened on the corpse of the defeated European revolution seemed to the timid, weary, demoralized, and cynical to have rung down the curtain forever on international proletarian struggle.
But the cataclysm of World War II exploded the viselike grip of the reaction and unleashed Permanent Revolution anew on the world arena. The post-war defeats of imperialist dictatorship in Yugoslavia, China, Cuba, and Vietnam kicked off, in turn, the inexorable disintegration of the Stalinist monolith.
The rise of workers in other lands provoked revolts in the Eastern European deformed workers’ states created by Soviet bureaucratic and military dictate after World War II. These revolts threatened time and again to infect and unleash the Soviet workers themselves, whose rulers could no longer claim the isolation of the USSR as justification for repression.
Permanent Revolution today sits perched on the doorstep of every Stalinist bureaucracy. In every workers’ state, whether degenerated because of isolation and overwhelming problems, or deformed at birth by Stalinist leadership, the residual oppressions inherited from class society fester in every arena of life, and breed resistance. Revolts in East Germany in 1953, Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Poland in 1956, 1970, and today, irrepressibly hold forth the promise of Bolshevism in the homeland, and graveyard, of Stalinism.
How wonderfully ironic that within the Soviet orbit itself, the simultaneous fight for democracy and socialism — Permanent Revolution — attains its highest expression.
The hidden question. Since World War II, Permanent Revolution has struck deeply and boldly inside the imperialist heartland in new and unexpected ways, and in advance of the long-delayed proletarian overthrow itself.
Fierce liberation struggles on issues of sex, race, sexuality, and human relations exploded in the industrial countries. The attendant social, familial, and moral upheavals, which even Trotsky tended to regard as matters for post-capitalist society, battered again and again at the rotten hulk of bourgeois society.
And these sex and race fights swiftly infiltrated and integrated themselves with the proletarian struggle, becoming in fact its motor force (to the dismay of Stalinists and sexist radicals everywhere).
Permanent Revolution, and the Trotskyist dictum that within its framework the most oppressed would rise from the depths to become the backbone of workers’ and colonial struggles, provides the key to understanding the contours and dynamics of world revolution in our era.
An entire new generation of Marxists is awakening to the fact that Permanent Revolution is inextricably linked to the question of women’s liberation.
Permanent Revolution has often been confounded and ignored. It bursts into clear view only at the highest point of a revolution. Similarly, women’s emancipation is only now starting to be seen as key to contemporary politics. This centrality has always existed. But it has been drowned too often beneath the surface of even the highest Marxist consciousness.
Feminism — women’s all-encompassing struggle for equality — is hardly a new reality. More than half the human race has been engaged for millennia in a passionate war to throw off the shackles of humiliation, super-exploitation, and grimly institutionalized exclusion from every significant area of leadership and decision-making.
Again and again this majority of the human race has arisen to attack the pre-historic crime of male supremacy.
Return of the first revolutionaries. Women led the earliest revolution: the vast leap in productivity caused by advances in agriculture, domestication of animals, tools, medicine, and the arts. This revolution engendered the communal ownership of property and its derivatives: freedom and equality.
But women’s leadership was overthrown by the inexorable encroachment of surplus wealth and accrual of private property. The first surplus was in cattle, and herds were in the hands of men who used them in trade relations with other tribes. Barter grew into buying and selling, and cattle became the money economy. A new economic, social, and sexual imperative arose that conflicted with the matrilineal communal tribal system and overthrew it.
Men, the owners of the new wealth, became the first owning class and women the first oppressed class, the earliest harbinger of the modern proletariat. That’s why Engels called the sex struggle the earliest class struggle. The degradation of women is intertwined with and basic to all class societies — ancient slavery, Asian despotism, feudalism, and capitalism.
The true her story of women was submerged as class society took painful root in the world, marked by fierce female resistance every step of the way. The general exclusion of women from power prevailed until the 19th century, when the internal convulsions of bourgeois society and the rise of the industrial proletariat began to rip at the entire fabric of human oppression.
Women took the leadership of suffragist, abolitionist, and working-class struggles throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. But all too often their interests were subsumed or sacrificed to the “larger,” “central” struggles; the explosive power of feminism was rarely accorded the respect and recognition it deserved.
And it still isn’t. A significant portion of the Left today refuses to come to terms with women’s emancipation as the connecting link and detonator of proletarian, race, and national liberation struggles. Women, say the pundits, are secondary to everyone else — and a revolution or two away from the pundits’ agenda.
But the composition of the world proletariat has changed since WWII. Women now compose a staggering 45-50% of the working class in all imperialist countries, and their numbers have skyrocketed in colonial countries.
A global liberation network has formed, calling due all the unpaid bills from long ages of unresolved oppression, and women are threaded throughout this network. The newly-arisen feminine linkage between the proletariat and all other struggles is enormous.
All the oppressed must eventually turn toward proletarian leadership and socialist revolution as a solution to their otherwise insoluble problems. The problem of problems, however, is the crisis of leadership within the working class. And consideration of this problem constitutes the cutting edge of revolutionary theory and practice today, and the one on which most of the Left has emasculated itself by defeminizing itself.
Women not only seek their democratic rights but are radical catalysts within all other oppressed groups and furnish indissoluble links between them!
Rising from the depths of every democratic struggle, insistently acting as a spur and a model, women are truly the unacknowledged leadership of the proletariat today, despite the sneers and disbelief of the Left chauvinists!
Our assessment leads to an unavoidable conclusion: the solution to the revolutionary leadership crisis is wholly dependent upon and inseparable from the struggle for women’s emancipation. Moreover, the great changes taking place among revolutionary women are breeding corollary changes in revolutionary parties.
Menshevik schemas vs. Bolshevik dynamics. When Permanent Revolution exploded in the streets of Petrograd in 1917, its most implacable enemies were the Mensheviks, the anti-Bolshevik minority of the party.
Like their Stalinist descendents, the Mensheviks insisted that world revolution must arise in distinct and not-to-be-avoided stages. Only the industrial West, they maintained, was “ripe” for socialist revolution. Backward agrarian Russia would have to settle for bourgeois revolution led by the distinctly unrevolutionary bourgeoisie. The proletariat would have to fight its way to socialism later.
February 1917 found the workers at the head of the insurrection. They were in alliance with the peasantry, but against the bourgeoisie, whose profits were too securely tied to the landlords and the semi-feudal order to support the fundamental changes needed.
Within 8 months, the revolution would find it necessary to expropriate the bourgeoisie and grow over into socialist revolution. Only this agenda could insure the elementary freedoms supposedly gained with bourgeois democracy. From February to October 1917, Permanent Revolution “grew over” from theory to blazing, ineradicable life.
The women of February. Five short days in February were all It took for workers in the streets of Petrograd to win the masses to their side and tumble the monarchy forever.
Astonishingly, the Bolsheviks furnished no leadership in those opening days. Lenin and Trotsky were in exile, and the timing, scope, and magnitude of the insurrection caught the party totally unprepared.
Who, then, led the workers’ overthrow of the monarchy? Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution provides us with an answer: worker-Bolsheviks educated and trained for this moment by the party of Lenin.
But what were the inner connections and interactions among the different layers of Petrograd workers? Who among the proletariat took the decisive leadership?
Trotsky again offers invaluable insights. And an examination of revolutionary forces and leadership today takes us even further in answering this question than could Trotsky’s necessarily limited estimate at the time.
The History illuminates the events and dynamics of February and enables us to recognize those forces that drove the revolution into high gear.
The 23rd of February was International Women’s Day … Not a single organization called for strikes on that day. What is more, even a Bolshevik organization, and a most militant one — the Vyborg borough committee, all workers — was opposing strikes … any strike would threaten to turn into an open fight. But since the committee thought the time unripe for militant action … they decided not to call for strikes but to prepare for revolutionary action at some indefinite time in the future.
How far even the Bolsheviks lagged behind events! But the revolution waits for no man. Nor do revolutionary women!
On the following morning, however, in spite of all directives, the women textile workers went on strike, and sent delegates to the metal workers with an appeal for support.
“With reluctance,” writes Kayurov, “the Bolsheviks agreed, they were followed by the workers — Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries.”
What is evident, Trotsky notes, is that “the February revolution was begun from below … the initiative being taken of their own accord by the most oppressed women textile workers.” [Our italics. Eds.]
The February insurrection was not a “spontaneous” outbreak, as portrayed by superficial historians. A conscious act of revolutionary initiative by Bolshevik women workers touched off the entire train of events. The Vyborg women prepared the moment. They developed the closest, most sensitive contact with the metal workers and other workers. They drew to themselves women of all sectors and classes. They consulted in daily and hourly caucuses, and dared to weigh the party’s directives against their own superior sense of the situation.
When the time was right, they struck. And they brought the other worker leaders along with them.
The Bolsheviks, faced with this consummate boldness, reluctantly agreed to join them. Thus was the entire class brought in on the action.
Then the problem loomed of what to do next. Trotsky quotes Kayurov: ” , . . . once there is a mass strike, one must call everybody into the streets and take the lead.” The leaders were now face to face with the problem of how to win the soldiers to the side of the insurrection. Trotsky offers the following account of the boldness which tipped the balance in favor of the revolution:
. . . About 90,000 workers, men and women, were on strike that day … The movement began in the Vyborg district with its large industrial establishment; thence it crossed over to the Petersburg side … A mass of women, not all of them workers, flocked to the municipal duma demanding bread … Red banners appeared in different parts of the city, and inscriptions showed that the workers wanted bread, but neither autocracy or war. Women’s day passed successfully; with enthusiasm and without victims. But what it concealed within itself, no one guessed even by nightfall.
No one? Not quite. The women, “among them, no doubt, many soldiers’ wives,” had guessed and now matched strength with the soldiers.
A great role is played by women workers in relations between the workers and the soldiers. They go up to the cordons more boldly than men, take hold of the rifles, beseech, almost command: “Put down your bayonets — join us!” The soldiers are excited, ashamed, exchange anxious glances, waver; someone makes up his mind first, and the bayonets rise above the shoulders of the advancing crowd. The barrier is opened, a joyous and grateful “Harrah!” shakes the air. The soldiers are surrounded. Everywhere arguments, reproaches, appeals — the revolution takes a forward step.
These opening gambits were repeated countless times in those five days and afterwards. And they are a microcosm of the Permanent Revolution itself, actions of the masses in interaction with their authentic leaders. The Vyborg women were the authentic leaders.
The revolutionary statesmanship of the women textile workers was remarkable.
1. They seized the initiative and acted as the highest conscious force in the February insurrection.
Their special viewpoint, formed from their independent and collective experience as women workers, enabled them to discount the directives of leaders who lagged far behind the onrush of events.
And their decisiveness won over the rest of the leading cadre and welded them into a cohesive force.
2. They attracted women from all strata and classes and involved them in revolutionary action.
The immediate issue that sparked the insurrection was bread. This issue soon became extended to and linked with issues of the highest revolutionary order: an end to war and the overthrow of autocracy.
3. On the decisive question of winning over the soldiers, the women were the primary agents of victory. When the soldiers were sent to crush the workers, the women went up to them and the soldiers refrained from direct conflict. The strike thereby gained courage and enthusiasm, and broadened into outright insurrection.
The vanguard stance of these women was neither an isolated occurrence nor an accident. But the story of the February insurrection has been passed down and refracted through the filter of the male’s superiority complex. The lessons of those days, and their meaning and inference for the future, have gone too long ignored.
Trotsky’s study, however, forms the basis of the message we must grasp: liberated and liberating women, lodged irreversibly in the vitals of the proletariat and all the democratic movements, play the pivotal role in conditions of upsurge.
And then came October. The Vyborg women spearheaded the February victories. But February was only half a revolution. What role did women play in paving the road from insurrection to the Bolshevik seizure of power in October?
Trotsky poses this question along with the leadership problem that confronted the workers:
Who led the February revolution? We can answer definitely enough: conscious and tempered workers educated for the most part by the party of Lenin … this leadership proved sufficient to guarantee the victory of the insurrection, but it was not adequate to transfer immediately into the hands of the proletarian vanguard the leadership of the revolution.
When Lenin arrived in Petrograd in April 1917, he found that the power the workers had wrested from the autocracy had been turned over to capitalist proprietors. This was the work of the Menshevik and Social Revolutionary leadership in the Soviets. While the workers were out making the revolution, these compromisers had contracted for a capitalist state. Immediately, against the growing revolutionary tide, the petty-bourgeois socialists set about building the respectable edifice of a liberal bourgeois state.
Even more horrifying, the entire right wing of the Bolshevik party — its most powerful wing in every crisis — was scrambling to fuse with the Mensheviks in support of the bourgeois Provisional Government!
Lenin opened up a polemical broadside. His April Thesis demanded an end to support for the Provisional Government and called for the open seizure of power by the working class.
The Bolshevik old guard was aghast. Lenin stood virtually alone against the entire party leadership. Yet he prevailed, and swiftly. Says Trotsky:
Lenin found support in another layer of the party, already tempered, but more fresh and more closely united with the masses. In the February insurrection, the worker-Bolsheviks played the decisive role. They thought it self-evident that the class which had won the victory should seize power.
Who was Trotsky specially referring to? The Vyborg women, the first to strike, the first to challenge the soldiers, the most closely united with the masses in Petrograd.
And among the Bolshevik Party leadership itself, only Alexandra Kollontai supported Lenin. She wrote in her autobiography:
When in April, Lenin delivered his famous programmatic speech within the frame of the soviets, I was the only one of his party comrades who took the floor to support his thesis.
Lenin’s overpowering theoretical, strategical, and tactical command, plus his tremendous moral authority, carried the day and rearmed the party. Once again, the women of February were decisive to his victory.
Bolsheviks of today. The tempered consciousness of the Vyborg women and other worker leaders was not enough, by itself, to carry the revolution through to the end. And the Bolshevik leadership fell far short of the requisite grasp and determination. Without Lenin, February would not have passed over into October.
But how often does a Lenin or Trotsky come along in a century? What guarantees every revolution a leadership comparable to theirs? And what bearing has this leadership question on the tasks and perspectives facing the American revolutionary party today?
The party that leads the coming American revolution will be Bolshevik in theoretical outlook and organizational methods. It will be thoroughly grounded in the heritage of Lenin and Trotsky. But the tasks of the American party can by no means be measured in terms of the overthrow of the Czarist monarchy and the Kerensky government.
Revolution in the U.S. means nothing less than the overthrow and dismantling of the mightiest, richest, most advanced, and most horrendously destructive imperialist power in history.
Hence, with or without a Lenin and Trotsky, we must be better than the Bolsheviks of 1917. We must be more alert and perceptive, more steeled and prepared, more intent on carrying through.
We must be a Bolshevik party in which the right wing has been neutralized or sloughed all. Only a leadership that reflects, expresses, and bases itself upon the kind of brilliant interaction that prevailed between the Vyborg women and the Petrograd masses can hope to lead the American revolution to victory.
This means a leadership rooted in the masses, attuned to every major twist and turn in world revolution, cognizant of the radically altered racial and genderal balance within the proletariat and other revolutionary cadre, and, above all, determined to weld this cadre into a strike force capable of beating back and destroying the U.S. imperialist enemy.
Twilight of the gods. Women textile workers live in the Vyborgs of today. Co-mingled with them are the racially, sexually, and nationally oppressed. The Vyborgs are assuredly the gravitational centers of world revolution. Standing as a counterweight within the working class, however, is the U. S. labor bureaucracy, longtime bulwark of U.S. imperialism and the chief transmission belt for reformism in the labor movement.
Lenin dissected the international labor bureaucracy in his preface to the 1920 edition of Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism:
… it is quite possible to bribe the labor leaders and the upper stratum of the labor aristocracy. And the capitalists of the “advanced” countries are bribing them; they bribe them in a thousand different ways, direct and indirect, overt and covert.
This stratum of bourgeoisified workers, or the “labor aristocracy,” who are quite philistine in their mode of life, in the size of their earnings and in their outlook, serve as the principal prop of the Second International, and, in our day, the principal social … prop of the bourgeoisie in the labor movement …
Not the slightest progress can be made toward the solution of the practical problems of the communist movement and the impending social revolution unless the economic roots of this phenomenon are understood and its political and sociological significance appreciated.
Lenin’s description and analysis hold doubly true for the U.S. labor bureaucracy today. Not even the vast capitalist bureaucracy cements U.S. imperialist power so tightly as do its bought-and-paid-for labor skates.
The labor bureaucracy functions as the organized carrier of racist, sexist, homophobic, and imperialist standards and culture into the working class. And just below the bureaucracy stands its conveyer belt, the aristocracy of labor.
This huge, privileged, predominantly white male sector identifies with and supports the union misleaders and engenders enormous political approval of the bosses and the government.
Roughly analogous to the labor bureaucracy are the reformists who afflict all the movements for social change — the Betty Friedans and Jesse Jacksons who prescribe pablum for the starving.
The bureaucrats, bourgeoisified workers, and opportunists of all races and both sexes are parasites feeding on the misery of poor workers and the oppressed. As the economic and social equilibrium of global capitalism begins to totter and crumble, these worthies dig their spurs ever deeper into the flanks of their beleaguered movements.
The byword is audacity. The power of militant women will break their stranglehold! It will neutralize the intransigents and win over the many who are fast losing their privileges, faith, and hope.
Women impel the proletariat and the social movements. They continually exhibit an unmatched audacity, more audacity, and still more audacity! They will unleash an incalculable revolutionary power which will bolster and inspire the working class to defeat the union bureaucrats and destroy the imperialist butchers who sponsor them.
Revolutionaries of both sexes and all skin colors and nations, with the sense and sensibility to link up with the most downtrodden of our age, will together forge a mighty socialist feminist party.
This is the promise that crowns the present reality and foretells the paramount role in Permanent Revolution enacted by women who dare.