It’s said that one can judge how “civilised” a society is by how it treats women. So how should we rate the politicians of the rich imperialist countries who today point their fingers at the Taliban regime in Afghanistan over their denial of women’s rights? For instance those who preside over a system in the wonderful “land of the free and the brave”, which allows Texan politicians to declare abortions after 6 weeks illegal? Indeed, a system which means that in the whole of the US, only 5 states out of 50 still recognise the full legal right to abortion, as upheld against challenge in the famous “Roe vs Wade” ruling in 1973. Today this already-eroded “right” is threatened with total extinction in the US.
Of course, the backward nature of the Taliban regime is undeniable. But what about the backward nature of the Texan regime and beyond it, the“we will hunt you down”mentality of US politicians like Biden or Johnson?
Their system maintains the rich capitalist class in power: those who make weapons and drones which kill many more civilians than military “targets”. Through the deprivation they impose on their own populations they nurture the growth of fundamentalist and conspiratorial backwardness - often armed to the teeth, just like the religious Taliban - invoking their own “God’s” blessings.
Let’s remember that the backwardness of the Taliban or Northern Alliance fighters didn’t stop Western imperialists from helping them to power, finally ending the relative equality of women which the former Soviet-backed regime, had promoted. “Winning” the Cold War was the imperialists’ priority - even if it was a phoney war, aimed at preventing the working class from finding its own political feet. At the time, it was a case of “screw women’s rights”.
So today, as Afghan women in the streets of Kabul risk their lives to demand their rights, the very least we can do over here, men and women workers together, is to defend our own.