BLF commemorates Comrade Sankara’s 66th birthday by reflecting on his legacy relating to women’s liberation.
At the International Women’s Day Rally on March 8, 1987 which was attended by thousands of women Thomas Sankara addressed a key issue of the black liberation project – BLACK WOMEN’S LIBERATION as foregrounding the liberation of all. He was mindful of the fact that black life operates within a capitalist, patriarchal, white supremacist reality. Furthermore we are products of these structural ills that enslaves us and the only way out of this slavery is to fight for total liberation.
Here’s Sankara in his own words in an extract of his 1987 speech:
“Imbued with the invigorating sap of freedom, the men of Burkina, the humiliated and outlawed of yesterday, received the stamp of what is most precious in the world: honour and dignity. From this moment on, happiness became accessible. Every day we advance toward it, heady with the first fruits of our struggles, themselves proof of the great strides we have already taken. But the selfish happiness is an illusion. There is something crucial missing: women. They have been excluded from the joyful procession… The revolution’s promises are already a reality for men. But for women, they are still merely a rumour. And yet the authenticity and the future of our revolution depend on women. Nothing definitive or lasting can be accomplished in our country as long as a crucial part of ourselves is kept in this condition of subjugation — a condition imposed … by various systems of exploitation.
Posing the question of women in Burkinabe society today means posing the abolition of the system of slavery to which they have been subjected for millennia. The first step is to try to understand how this system functions, to grasp its real nature in all its subtlety, in order then to work out a line of action that can lead to women’s total emancipation.
We must understand how the struggle of Burkinabe women today is part of the worldwide struggle of all women and, beyond that, part of the struggle for the full rehabilitation of our continent. The condition of women is therefore at the heart of the question of humanity itself, here, there, and everywhere.”
28 years after Sankara’s death we find ourselves operating within a political space where liberal feminism is being thrust as the dominant project – as the legitimate voice of womens’ suffering. BLF recognizes the limitations of liberal feminism which effectively amounts to dividing the revolutionary black subject for settlement of the entire liberation project within neo-liberalism.
Thomas Sankara was against the oppression of women. He was against patriarchy and sexism. In his 1987 speech he elaborates what this commitment means. He articulates a clear path, consistent with our desire for total liberation. In this context we urge our people to take sober counsel from our revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara on the resolution of the women question and to combat liberalism wherever it rears its ugly head.
Happy Birthday Comrade Sankara!
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT
21 DECEMBER 2015
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