It has long been established that communists fight for all democratic rights. And the equality of women is one of those important democratic rights. But communists are also clear that democracy has not and cannot resolve the problems of inequality and oppression. Furthermore, the democracy of even the “freest” republic is always limited and subordinated to the most important bourgeois freedom: the freedom to exploit labour power, to make a profit. As long as society remains divided into classes women will retain the overwhelming responsibility for the upbringing of children and for household work. As long as a social division exists between men and women this will inevitably mean that women are unequal and subordinated to men in many ways.

We have seen that even in bourgeois-democratic countries such as the United States, France or the United Kingdom, the equality of women has not been achieved. A quick glance at the parliaments, the lists of the heads of states, or at corporate boardrooms in these countries shows that men overwhelmingly dominate them. Despite a general tendency for the equality of wages to be declared by law, it is a well-established fact that wages for women are considerably lower than for men with comparative levels of training and skill.

Furthermore, even in the imperialist countries there is a marked tendency for the desperately poor to be made up of an increasingly higher percentage of women. Late twentieth-century capitalism continues along with its “two-tier” system in which a sizeable minority of the population is ground down into shocking conditions of immiseration. In so many cases this means families are headed by single mothers, women are locked into very low-paying work or out of the job market altogether and completely shackled to the drudgery of domestic work, while faced with the task of bringing up children in desperate conditions. Some Western sociologists have coined the term “feminisa­tion of poverty” to describe this ­phenomenon.

But the oppression of women cuts across class lines; in other words, in class society women are oppressed generally, giving rise to resistance and important movements among the women of various social classes and strata in both the imperialist and oppressed countries. Throughout the world women are confronted with variants of patriarchy and male chauvinism, as well as the backward ideas and practices that accompany them, rarely censured by and often enshrined in bourgeois-democratic social institutions and laws.

Rebellious women who refuse the role that bourgeois society has allotted them constitute an important stream of the mass resistance against the ruling classes of these countries. The struggle against the oppression of women thus brings new and powerful forces into play which the proletarian vanguard needs to learn how to lead as part of the overall struggle for revolution.

Unlike early Americans, who were obsessed with the decline and fall of republics, the justices seem to suppose that, once established, democracy cannot fail. This view flies in the face of history. It also suggests why the justices seem so complacent about the danger that their own rulings will erode democracy.

Many Canadians aren’t voting. Have they stopped caring about democracy?

Michael Adams is president of the Environics Institute for Survey Research. Maryantonett Flumian is president of the Institute on Governance.

It wasn’t long ago that Canadians voted in large numbers. Just a few decades ago it was normal to see turnout rates for federal elections in the mid 70s. In some contests nearly 80 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot. Since 2000, however, turnout rates have hovered around 60 per cent.

Six in ten may still sound fairly respectable, but the generational trends are striking. While about three-quarters of those aged 65 to 74 voted in the 2011 federal election, the turnout rate for the 18 to 24 cohort was fewer than four in 10. According to Elections Canada, this pattern has been evident in every election since 2004, the year they started performing generational comparisons.

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Party Political Broadcast

We are the Apathy Party
For those who dare not to care

For those too busy or too blasé
For those who are happy without a say

Give us your vote, it’s the easiest to cast
You don’t even need to get off your backside

Take a seat to make a stand
Maybe you think it’s too difficult to understand

The hyperbole and hypocrisy
Involved with this democracy

Maybe you think all the parties one and the same?
Maybe you think those who voted Lib Dem are to blame?

Maybe you think the Con-Dems conned them all?
Maybe you don’t think about it at all?

Then we are the perfect party for you
Vote for us, all you have to do is nothing.

Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military–industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy
— 

George F Kennan in his preface to Norman Cousin’s ‘The Pathology Of Power’

Well guess what happened?

Thanks to John Oliver, Washington just introduced a bill no other state has 

He’s warned us about the tyranny of pumpkin spice, demolished the myth of class mobility and spoke the truth about New Years’ Eve. But if all that wasn’t enough, you can now thank John Oliver for changing our politics for the better.

The Stranger reports that Washington State Senator Cyrus Habib has authored a bill directly inspired by the comedian.

As of July 2011, of all the Native children that were placed in foster care, 87 percent were in non-Native foster homes, while anywhere from 13 - 28, out of the 65 available, licensed Native foster care homes sat empty.

The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) expressly states that each state is to undertake all reasonable efforts to reunite Native children with their family, unless that state actively proved to an independent judicial magistrate that there was a good cause to refrain from doing so. If children cannot be reunited, ICWA also mandates that they be placed first, with family members, and if that is not available, within Native foster homes. Only when neither of these options is available, is the state allowed to place Native American children in non-Native foster care.

South Dakota has blatantly violated federal law by placing 87 percent of Native foster children in non-Native homes.

Please help put a stop to this injustice. Sign the petition and Re-blog!!

Petition: lakotalaw.org/action

In June the world will celebrate 800 years since the issuing of Magna Carta. But 2015 is also the anniversary of another important, and far more radical, British milestone in democratic history.

Almost exactly 750 years ago, an extraordinary parliament opened in Westminster. For the very first time, elected representatives from every county and major town in England were invited to parliament on behalf of their local communities.

It was, in the words of one historian, “the House of Commons in embryo”.

Read more on BBC, that is covering the topic extensively, for the BBC Democracy Day (20 Jan)

Image: Statue of de Montfort on the Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower in Leicester