Thursday, June 16, 2016

Women and draft registration

....The pro-imperialist position of the bourgeois feminists comes as no surprise. When the Carter administration reinstituted registration for the draft as part of the U.S. rulers’ renewed militarization drive following their defeat in Vietnam, the national leadership of NOW took the stance that if there was going to be conscription, women should have the "right" to be drafted alongside men. It’s useful to read how the Socialist Workers Party rejected this position in 1980.

"The question of the draft cannot be separated from the class character and function of the military," the party said. "The military is the centerpiece of the bourgeois state--the armed ruling class against the working class. Moreover, the U.S. imperialist army cannot fight a progressive war. It can’t advance the struggles of the oppressed and exploited one iota anywhere in the world. We say, not one soldier for this army. Are women excluded? Good. It is that much less cannon fodder."

SWP leader Mary-Alice Waters explained in "Washington’s Third Militarization Drive," printed in New International no. 7: "By linking the fight for the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment] with extending draft registration and the draft of women, figures in NOW and other women’s rights organizations gave the kiss of death to the ERA. The idea that ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment might bring closer the conscription of young women was used demagogically by the enemies of the ERA. Many women and men who had been inclined toward it, or undecided about it, turned against the amendment."

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