[Marxism] ALL VIOLENCE IS CAUSED BY CAPITALISM
juancarloscruz at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 27 07:24:03 MST 2005
HELLO MY REVOLUTIONARY-SOCIALISTS FRIENDS:
I think that the problem of all oppression and violence from a stronger
class toward a weaker class of society in this world comes from capitalism.
The root and real causes of domestic violence against women, children, and
weaker people is caused by capitalism itself. I think that another system
is possible and that the world must move toward a more equal, and democratic
peaceful world instead of the one we have today. Thanks I live you with an
article about domestic violence i found in the internet:
Sexisms logical outcome
Capitalism breeds violence against women
By Donna Goodman
Thousands marched in Juarez City, Mexico on May 27 against murders of women
around the maquiladoras.
Photo: Barbara Vazquez
There are many ways to assess the position of women in a society. We can
look at their participation in the labor force, their income compared to
that of men, laws promoting equality, the number of women in government and
the right to divorce, own property or control reproduction.
One unambiguous indicator of womens place in society is the incidence of
violence against women.
A global problem
Despite the many advances made by women over decades of struggle, violence
against women remains pervasive worldwide. This violence cuts across
culture, class, education, income, ethnicity and age. It may take the form
of domestic abuse or murder. It may take the form of female infanticide,
genital mutilation, dowry burning, sexual assault, kidnapping, murder,
forced suicide of widows, honor killing, or rape within marriage. It takes
place in the United States as well as in exploited countries like India or
But in every case, violence against women is a vestige of womens historic
status as propertya product of the division of society into exploited and
exploiting classes. It is a symptom of their continued subordinate status in
class society. Global capitalism, far from solving the historic inequality
of women, has incorporated violence against women into its business
practices and its imperialist military strategies.
Worldwide, one out of three women has been beaten, forced into sex or abused
in her lifetime. Up to 70 percent of female murder victims are killed by
their male partners.
In the most oppressed countries, structural adjustment programs are forcing
governments to privatize resources and eliminate social services. This has
lead to increased inequality and an accompanying upsurge of violence against
For example, in the transnational sweatshops doing business under free trade
agreements like NAFTA, young women working for slave wages are routinely
abused at work. In a dramatic case, more than 300 girls and women have been
killed since 1993 in Juarez, Mexico. Most were workers in the maquiladora
factories in the free trade zone on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The formerly socialist countries in Eastern Europe have seen capitalism
destroy their economic safety nets and shatter their many gains in gender
equality. Sexist violence has been a dramatic result.
War causes massive suffering to women. Civilian casualties of todays wars
far outnumber those of armed combatants, and 80 percent of those are women
and children. Women and girls are routinely the target of sexual violence,
Every year 200,000 women in the United States are victims of sexual
Photo: Bill Hackwell
Violence against women in the United States
In the United States, men are more likely than women to be victims of
violent crimes. But violence against women is specifically gender-based and
often sexual. Every two minutes, somewhere in the United States, a woman is
sexually assaulted and every six minutes one is raped. This amounts to about
200,000 victims per year.
It is estimated that only 40 percent of sexual assaults are reported to law
enforcement. Many women prefer not to risk the shame, blame or indifference
of law enforcement and the courts.
Since 1993, official statistics show a decline of nearly 50 percent in all
violent crime. But that figure hides differences in crimes against men and
Crimes against men have decreased more sharply than those against women. In
some areas, reports of sexual assault have risen. In New York City, for
example, sexual assault cases rose 10 percent from 2001 to 2002. This is
sometimes attributed to better reporting. But it is also important to
understand how data are collected and reported by police departments.
In 2001, the Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that local police were
misrepresenting rape complaints, leading to fewer investigations and lower
rape statistics. The newspaper also raised concerns about police practices
in four other cities. Since police reports are a source of federal data, the
reliability of certain rape statistics is questionable.
The most vulnerable women are most often targets of violence. About half of
all rape victims are poor, in the lowest third of income distribution. Women
in prison suffer sexual assault, body searches, shackling during childbirth
and rape by prison guards, few of whom are ever prosecuted. Women who dont
fit traditional gender roles, like lesbians and transgendered people, are
especially vulnerable to attacks by police and prison officials.
The frequency of domestic violence
One of the main forms of violence against women is domestic
violencebeatings and murder of women by their partners. In the privacy of
the home, this remnant of property rights within marriage or the monogamous
relationship lives on. It is a problem that affects not only the women who
are attacked, but also children who are abused or witness the abuse.
The scale of domestic abuse in the United States is dramatic. A woman is
battered by an intimate partner every 15 seconds. One-third of female murder
victims are killed by an intimate partner. Sixty-four percent of women who
are raped, assaulted or stalked are victimized by a current or former
More than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every
day. Homicide is the leading cause of death for pregnant women. Thirty-one
percent of U.S. women have been physically or sexually abused by an intimate
partner at some point in their lives. Up to 14 percent of married women are
raped by their husbands.
Violence against women affects poor women most severely. Those who work risk
losing their jobs because of harassment or absenteeism. A disproportionate
percentage of welfare recipients were domestic violence victims, many of
whom used welfare as a means of gaining some economic independence from an
That was before welfare was gutted in 1996. The loss of this safety net has
deprived women of a critical option for physical and economic survival. Poor
women who flee their homes often become homeless, with no affordable housing
available to them. Access to an independent income, childcare and
transportation are among the primary needs for women who seek to escape
violence at home.
Although women experience the vicious cycle of violence and poverty in
isolation, it is not an individual problem. It is a social and political
problem in a country whose ruling class has appropriated an increasing share
of societys wealth to enrich itself, deplete social services for workers
and the poor and expand military conquest abroad.
Like other forms of violence against women, domestic violence is
underreported to law enforcement. Not only do women fear reprisals, but they
are also skeptical of police officers commitment to help them.
Domestic violence among cops, military
One reason for this mistrust may have to do with what is happening in more
than a few officers homes. According to the National Center for Women and
Policing, domestic violence is two to four times more prevalent among police
families than among U.S. families in generalwith 24 percent to 40 percent
of women in police officer families experiencing domestic violence. Victims
of a police officer are particularly vulnerable because the abuser has a
gun, knows the location of battered womens shelters and knows how to
manipulate the legal system.
Nor is this due to individual bad apples in the police department. A 2003
incident in Los Angeles reveals that domestic violence by cops is officially
tolerated. According to a report by the Feminist Majority Foundation, a
criminal defense consultant leaked confidential files that revealed a
pattern of domestic violence and cover-ups by officers in the Los Angeles
Police Department. Of those accused of domestic violence, 29 percent were
later promoted. Thirty percent were repeat offenders. But the whistle blower
was jailed for contempt for leaking the files. Although the LAPD instituted
some reforms after the incident was publicized, the case highlighted the
institutional nature of anti-women violence within the states repressive
The same patterns of victimization of women can be seen in the
militaryanother instrument of state repression. Despite a growing number of
women in the military, there is a pervasive culture of hostility toward
women that is promoted from the highest ranks of the officer corps. Widely
publicized incidents like the 1991 Tailhook incident tell only part of the
A recent Pentagon report noted a 25 percent increase in the number of
reported sexual assault cases with service member victims from 2003 to 2004,
as well as a 41 percent increase from 2002 to 2004. Domestic violence rates
in the military are two to three times higher than in the civilian
population, with only a small proportion of violators prosecuted or
disciplined. These crimes are most common among the elite special forces,
including the four widely publicized 2002 murders of military wives at Fort
Bragg, North Carolina.
This violence is above and beyond the violence against women civilians that
occurs wherever U.S. armed forces are stationed, whether in U.S.-occupied
Iraq or near U.S. military bases in Japan.
The womens liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s won important
Photo: Ron Innell/Toronto Star
Women win important reforms
Following the mass womens movement in the 1970s, women have won important
reforms in the struggle against gender-based violence. Mass education and
publicity campaigns have led to increased awareness of the issue and
pressure on the legal, educational and health care system has produced
significant remedies. Thousands of rape crisis centers, battered womens
shelters and domestic violence hotlines have been established; medical
practitioners routinely screen female patients for abuse; and police receive
mandated training in dealing with victims.
Legal changes include defining the degrees of sexual assault, eliminating
the requirement for witnesses in sexual assault cases and excluding victims
prior sexual history as evidence. In 1992 the National Council of Juvenile
and Family Court Judges published model state codes on domestic violence.
Years of street action and intense lobbying for a federal law culminated in
the 1994 passage of the Violence against Women Act. The law, which is up for
reauthorization this year, brings national attention to gender-based crime
and gives legitimacy to the issue in all government agencies.
Many states have coalitions, task forces or inter-agency programs dedicated
to ending violence against women. In 1993 marital rape became a crime in all
50 states, under at least one section of the sexual offense codes. New York
State has a Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the attorney generals
office website shows an extensive list of rights and resources for women.
This year New York States highest court ruled that women could not lose
custody of their children solely because the children saw them being
battered by abusive partners.
There have also been some steps forward for women internationally. The 1948
Universal Declaration of Human Rights had declared the equality of all human
beings, including with respect to sex, and called for the prohibition of
torture or degrading treatment. In 1993 the UN General Assembly passed the
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the first
international human rights instrument to deal exclusively with violence
against women. This was a model for other processes, such as the
Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of
Violence against Women, and the African Convention on Human and Peoples
Rights. The 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing included
elimination of all forms of violence against women as one of its twelve
Of course, for all of these declarations, conditions for the vast majority
of women in the world remain miserable.
Capitalism: a constant threat to reforms
But in a world economy dominated by capitalismproduction for private
profitspecial oppression against women has an economic basis. Having whole
groups of people subject to terror and insecurity in their personal lives
erodes the possibilities for organizing for better living conditionsand,
consequently, lower rates of profit.
So every legal gain made by women under capitalism is under constant attack.
For every success, there is a setback.
For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development now requires
detailed information on battered women to be collected from domestic
violence shelters that receive HUD funding. This information is computerized
and available to other government agencies. Over 40,000 women each year use
shelters financed by HUD.
The Personal Responsibility, Work and Family Promotion Act of 2005, now in
the Senate, will spend $1.6 billion to promote marriage and force poor
women to accept low-wage, dead-end jobs, leaving their children in
inadequate childcare. The government is already spending over $100 million
on marriage promotion, taking funds from other social programs.
These marriage promotion laws do nothing to provide the foundation for
providing families with adequate wages, health care or childcare. Rather,
they provide incentives for women to enter into relationships that may be
abusive or unstable.
Anti-imperialism and the struggle against sexism
The sheer magnitude of the problem of violence against women around the
world, including in the most advanced capitalist countries, shows that it is
not a random or an individual crime. It is a tool of oppression that keeps
Ideologically, sexist violence in the United Statesthe most advanced
capitalist state in the worldis a symbol of the glorification of war,
violence and the male hero that pervades U.S. culture. Imperialist
expansion and war have intensified the exploitation and suffering of women
here and in other countries.
The womens movement has won important reforms in the political, economic
and social spheres. Every victory was won because women and their allies
took to the streets and lit a fire under legislatures, courts and police.
The causes of womens oppression are rooted in class society. The ongoing
struggle for womens equality and freedom from violence is an international
one, integral to the struggle against imperialism and war. The renewal of
activism in response to the Iraq war and capitalist globalization presents
an excellent opportunity to unite in fighting womens oppression, capitalist
exploitation and militarism.
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