On the occasion of the 11th Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice on June 26th, the Liaison Committee for a New Communist Party raised the flag of trans liberation and proletarian feminism and the struggle of trans women and trans women of color in particular alongside our comrades from the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee.
We do so as fighters among the people, but also as trans people ourselves, fighting for our total liberation.
It is not necessary that we revisit the litany of reasons why we fight. We all already know. We live it in our own skins. We know ourselves oppressed and exploited. We see our sisters, our comrades, fall. We ourselves stumble. We live in a world that often even refuses to recognize our existence. We all know and feel this.
We want to speak, however, about what we can do about our oppression and our exploitation. What are we doing about our oppression and our exploitation. And the origin of our oppression and exploitation.
Contrary to the anti-communist propaganda, communism is not some ugly, grey society, much worse for trans and queer people than our society. In fact, the first successful socialist revolution to seek to build communism was notorious (and attacked) for abolishing all laws regarding sexuality and gender differences (except those related to consent). The eventual overthrow of this was coupled with the eventual overthrow of socialism itself.
Our definition of communism is clear: without gender liberation, without sexual liberation, there is no revolution. We have to overthrow not just the system of exploitation (capitalism-imperialism,) but the systems of oppression that enable it. Without white supremacy, male supremacy, cis supremacy, heterosexism, national chauvinism and all other forms of oppression being relentlessly confronted by revolutionaries, the old way of doing things will be restored sooner or later. This happened in the Soviet Union, it happened in revolutionary China, it happened in every country that claimed to be socialist. We recognize that failure, while understanding that we can learn from their successes, which put to shame those of capitalism-imperialism.
Why proletarian feminism?
Proletarian feminism is the self-determined theory and practice put forth by communists world-wide on the question of gender and gender identity. It is born out of the criticism of the patriarchal failure of previous communist movements.
While proletarian feminism is a recent development of theory and practice, this is no reason to not pursue it. In fact, it is an opportunity to sum up and to develop further the theoretical and practical lessons of the women’s movement up to now. We want to go beyond our experience of activism and into a revolutionary movement, a real revolutionary movement, a movement for real power for the liberation of all of us, the oppressed and the exploited.
Proletarian feminists reject biological arguments that support cis chauvinism and cis supremacy, and embrace gender liberation. We make it clear that gender, as identity, is in itself not the problem, but rather that gender roles (specially gender roles rooted in patriarchy) are the problem. These roles are ultimately rooted in class society, which in our times is capitalism-imperialism. “Feminist” trends that attack trans people for affirming their gender identity (and social being when possible) either in the name of gender abolition or in the name of defending a gender binary based on a sex binary, are actually engaging in a patriarchal definition of gender, and a capitalist-imperialist definition of gender. Until one’s gender identity and gender expression is only relevant as an expression of individuality, with no consequences as they relate to oppression and exploitation, we must fight for liberation.
Patriarchy orders gender today – this is why we are feminists. Working class and poor trans people have more in common with our working class and poor siblings (even when they are transantagonistic) than with even trans people at the top – this is why we are proletarian. Our total liberation is not possible until all oppression and exploitation is overthrown, this is why we are communists.
Caitlyn Jenner is a woman and our class enemy, but CeCe McDonald is a woman and our comrade!
Socialism is no guarantee against cis supremacy – it is up to us as trans people to ensure that the movement to overthrow capitalism doesn’t leave us behind. It is also the task of cis gender comrades to embrace, defend, listen, and march side by side with us, not to tokenize and dictate – but to be our comrades in trans liberation. We need physical and armed self-defense by any means necessary – it is with political organization this self-defense is the most effective. We cannot do it alone. Self-determination is not isolation!
Trans communists are part of the vanguard of the struggle for liberation, because capitalism-imperialism puts us at the bottom. We welcome trans organizations like the Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People Against Capitalism (RATPAC) emerging, and look forward to explicitly proletarian and communist trans struggle, which has had a long time coming. RATPAC and others have begun to speak about proletarian transfeminism – and we look forward to engage with what this means in theory and practice – as trans and cis proletarian feminists we didn’t think we needed a further development. That said, we are not opposed to this development if it enriches and deepens our liberation. We need a trans movement that upholds and defends CeCe McDonald or Chelsea Manning as our examples – women who raised the level of struggle with their example, and any theoretical development that sums up and marches forward such a movement will be embraced.
We stand on the shoulders of trans women like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, or Leslie Feinberg, comrades who embraced not just their own liberation, but that of all the people, without losing sight of self-determination as the starting point.
We seek to deepen their theoretical and practical contributions and develop a communist movement that moves beyond trans inclusion, and into acting shoulder to shoulder as comrades in trans liberation.
Trans women are women, there is no women’s liberation without trans woman liberation!
We have nothing to lose but our chains!
*the ‘T’ in S.T.A.R used to be Transvestite before becoming an outdated term.