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I Am Powerful: A Woman’s Manifesto
By Sandra Lindberg
October 10, 2018
Decatur IL

At this time of crises, women especially have an opportunity to profoundly alter the course of a diabolical civilization. Women have participated in their subjugation. Stepping into their power first requires women, and their supporters, to reject current assumptions and myths that have kept them enslaved for too long.

The crises destroying this planet are legion. Patriarchal and capitalist systems that enslave many populations, especially female ones, while proclaiming their wisdom, kindness and invincibility, top the list of the demonic realities. Subalterns below these two include a culture of death fueled by decomposed plants and animals, political systems in which the governed have no real control over an economic system that enslaves instead of nurtures them, and a mythic structure in which skin pigment and accidents of birth further subjugate vast numbers of people.

The horrors of the present time destroy more than humans. So sure of their right to rule, the plutocracy turns away from the environmental and biological chaos left in the wake of its path around the globe. Instead, those who claim to be powerful simply narrow their gaze to survey only those privileged vistas they deem beautiful. As the crises they create claim larger and larger areas of the planet, the plutocrats pretend not to notice that where they can find beauty and safety grows ever narrower. Those who believe their own myths of power do not seem to notice how their beautiful prisons grow ever smaller.

Women need feel no pity for the self-circumscribed powerful. They do not need to study and invent ways to secure some of that wealth and power for themselves. There is nothing women can do with or to current society that will significantly transform their condition.

What women have the opportunity to embrace are a set of refusals.

Although an assumed reality so foundational it never makes it into most political or economic analyses, women’s ability to bear children shores up the entire mad world.

If women of childbearing age refuse to bear children, they could end the current hell within a generation.

Women could reject the myth that only having a baby will fulfill them.

They can look carefully and critically at the facts:
  • Having children further impoverishes women who are already disadvantaged by the current system.
  • Children once born become de facto state property. Patriarchal institutions indoctrinate both males and females to accept their social positions. The women who hope children will be their comfort often find they are alienated from their offspring.
Women who absolutely must raise children can do so. Orphans, foster kids, and orphan refugee children could disappear. Collectives of women friends could raise the children together.

Women could choose to live with other women. They could choose women as their primary partners and associate socially with men in much the same way women are forced to socialize with each other after marriage.

At this time, given the too great number of humans, women would be wise to choose female partners, whether sexual or not.

All women deserve access to free birth control. Women and their supporters who have financial means should help to pay for birth control. A woman’s right to terminate an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy should also be supported by people with wealth who understand the need for women to stop having children. And most of all, women of means need to refuse to bear children as their offspring consume ten times or more the resources used by a poor woman’s child. The state will never support enough a woman’s need to control her body. Those with money and/or skill must help to make this a reality for all women.

Women do not have to end all heterosexual relationships, but they need to look critically at the systems of thought that usually accompany such relationships.
  • Living with a man almost always limits a woman’s freedom in one or a million ways.
  • Living with a man serves to strengthen the power and ubiquitousness of patriarchal society. Every time an all female household forms, patriarchal power is robbed of bit players in its drama.
Women living together can lessen patriarchy’s current economic subjugation of them. Women who share resources with each other strengthen each other.

Women should attempt to work with each other, too. Anytime women refuse to work within especially the most patriarchal companies they starve the beast.

When women see the planet’s population has decreased enough for them to consider having children, they must retain control of their bodies and of the rate of reproduction. They must decide in council how many babies their communities can healthily support. They must devise ways to decide who has a child and who does not. Tragically, the domination of patriarchal capitalism has produced such a desperate set of conditions, that this drastic and strict approach to the birth of children will be needed for a long time.

Women must fight to keep their children out of patriarchy’s military organizations. Armies support patriarchy. Soldiers who fight for a country never truly fight for the interests of its cunts. All women must remember that.

Women will need to decide collectively how to deal with men who rape, harm or kill women. All women should study and train to be able to put into practice whatever decisions they make about male perpetrators.

This document is written during a week when a US president openly mocked a woman who risked her life to expose a powerful man’s assault on her.

This is written as patriarchy’s capitalism spawns yet another intense Atlantic storm that will destroy thousands of homes and many lives.

This is written at a time when greed so dominates our world that a person’s spoken word and truth are often divorced.

These words are harsh because any system that is willing to bring profound suffering to so many in order to increase numbers typed into a computer ledger must be denied power. Only fewer humans can starve this bestial system. Only women can create that starvation.

This is written as thousands of species disappear yearly.

This is written by a human female who perceives our species should not have the power to so profoundly change and threaten the planet.

As the human population reduces, those who remain can force the adoption of a socio-political and economic system, such as eco-socialism, that will require humans to live in balance with the other life forms and the planet that all together share. But without the reestablishment of women’s power over reproduction, no new governmental system will solve our problems.

Patriarchy’s influence within our world is so insidious, understanding its effects both subtle and gross can only be undone with blood and flesh--less of it on the planet, to be exact. Either we reintegrate and rebalance humans and this planet through a drastically reduced birth rate, or patriarchal capitalism will reduce our numbers through war, disease, starvation and environmental catastrophe. I believe a women’s revolution will be the kinder of the two.

Many, many people will hate what I have written here. But unless women take responsibility for their power, the planet will be dust, as these words will be.

We are our wombs.
We are more than our wombs.
We are the hope of this planet.

Sandra Lindberg moderates the System Change Not Climate Change forum Toward Feminist Ecosocialism. See www.scncc.net
OK, I understand this post might be considered an outlier, but read this article from The Atlantic called "Why Women Choose Not to Have Children," and consider that this phenomenon is already happening. We just need it to happen more often.

Not having children isn’t selfish. Not having children is a perfectly rational and reasonable response given that humans are essentially parasites on the face of a perfectly lovely and well-balanced planet, ploughing through its natural resources, eradicating its endangered species, and ruining its most wonderful landscapes. This might sound misanthropic, and it is, but it is also true.
I also want to bring forward this article from a decidedly socialist perspective about the unequal burden women and the nuclear family are forced to assume under capitalism. The article appeared in International Socialist Review (2004) under the title "Turning Back the Clock? Women, Work and Family Today."

The institution of the nuclear family as an economic unit is central to meeting the needs of capitalism. Under the current system, employers pay workers a wage, but take no responsibility for most of the social costs of maintaining the current generation of workers—or for raising the next generation of workers into adulthood. Rather than these responsibilities being shared collectively by society as whole through government programs—paid for by taxing the profits of the private enterprises that employ workers—they are shouldered by individual families. And within the family, it is primarily women who are expected to perform the unpaid domestic labor of raising children, cooking, housework, and primary health care.
Finally, a source from my favorite journal, Monthly Review, and an article titled "Women and Class: What Has Happened in Forty Years?" Though the article lacks an eco-socialist perspective, it foregrounds how women lose more and more every year under capitalism. The article was published in 2006, but the years since then have not brought significant gains for women, the economically disadvantaged or people of color.

As feminists, we want to see individual women succeed: to gain access to higher education, to have the opportunity for economic independence, and to find meaningful work. But it isn’t enough for a few women, or even a lot of women, to succeed. Because under capitalism, their success in leaving the class only means others are left behind. Under capitalism, you can’t have a manager without the managed, and you can’t have a winner without a loser. And who is losing? It remains primarily women and people of color who lose the most under capitalism, overrepresented among the working class and the poor. And, in addition, many of those women who are “winners” by virtue of their new degrees and jobs aren’t really winning. They may have more money and more power, but capitalism still constrains their options for caring for others and being cared for. In this way, the women who “win” under capitalism, as well as those who lose, need a cross-class women’s movement to fight for a different model of production and social reproduction that allows us to construct our lives around human needs.
I feel your outrage Sandra. There does appear to be an intensely perverse, reactionary form of patriarchy surging in this historical moment. A moment that requires exactly the opposite. I have daughters and grand daughters who will have to negotiate this grim present and grimmer future and who will have to seriously think about the politics of reproduction.
I understand your outrage. And I appreciate what you post here. I especially resonate with the part that women are "expected" to be the primary caregivers and house workers for maintaining and reproducing workers for capitalists.

"And within the family, it is primarily women who are expected to perform the unpaid domestic labor of raising children, cooking, housework, and primary health care. "

Women with families take the main care of children, the house and any grandparents nearby. We are the ones who arrange and do the long term care for family members who are disabled, whether from age or mental illness or physical illness.

The capitalist system as previous economic systems assume the unpaid labor of women.