Without knowing it, I’ve been a socialist and a feminist since around the age of nine. My single mother was dating a Jewish, dairy grocer, around the corner from our apartment, on 149th St., in Harlem, NYC, N.Y.. Mr Schwartz gave her credit, when she needed it, and gave me a job running milk, cheese and eggs up the tenement staircases. His eighteen square block turf gave him plenty opportunity to use his old 1940s pickup truck as a classroom, and he’d fill my eager brain with Marxist-Leninist theory and even taught me part of the original Internationale. On one occasion, I accompanied him to a meeting of the Communist Party. He lifted me on his shoulders so I could see what was happening. All I really can recall, from that one piece of time, was this one woman, the secretary of the meeting, ranting and raving about how cowardly and quiet some members had behaved at some demonstration. She berated them for allowing the cops to push them around, trying to incite them, and how easily they obeyed every command, while the demonstrators had been following a pre-agreed upon route. “Make them keep the bargain” she said, “or they will always keep on pushing.” I had never seen a woman that pissed, that eloquent and that hypnotizing, ever before in my life. She made me realize that women were just as strong as men, when it comes to leadership roles, in any endeavor.
Today I hear rumblings. I hear rumblings from women, in certain groups, to which I donate time and funds, that they are not treated equally by their male comrades. I hear that feminist issues are not as respected as they should be. I say only this: remember The Black Panther Party and the entire Civil Rights movement, in general, were weakened by their inability to allow women to rise to ranks of leadership committees. Also remember that the women’s struggle was not well received or supported by the male left. We have a chance today. A chance that has been long in coming, to win seats in congress and on state levels, all over this nation. We need cohesion and a fully engaged and diversified camaraderie. Every platform should start out with the inclusion of the weapons needed to fight the establishment’s war on women. We cannot and must not let “Broism” do to us what it is doing to the country. Solidarity, Forever.