In 1910, Clara Zetkin, one of the main socialist and feminist leaders, proposed 8 March as International Women’s Day at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen; vindicating, especially, the more than 15,000 textile workers who mobilised in New York in March 1908 demanding a reduction of working hours, better wages, and the right to vote. Gone are 110 years since those historic days of struggle and our best tribute is to continue mobilised for our rights.
After a year in which we women have been protagonists of great struggles around the world against labour reforms and austerity plans in countries like France, Brazil, Panama, or Argentina; where we have demonstrated against sexist violence and femicide, from Mexico and Peru to the Spanish State, Italy, and Turkey; where we demanded the right to abortion as in Chile, Bolivia, or Poland; where we demanded basic freedoms like going out alone on the street, managing or deciding how to dress like in the Arab Emirates and Iran; this year in over 200 cities around the world we want to be protagonists of the Second International Women’s Strike in history. We want to show how we women organise ourselves, using globally the strike, the method of struggle of the working class, to curb the austerity plans that capitalist governments apply around the world and that hit us, women, particularly. The massive mobilisations in the United States, to mark the first year of Trump, account for this and with the slogan “Women at the head of the resistance” showed the fight is not only against the misogynist and racist verbiage of the president but against all his policy of attacking our rights. We will also denounce the complicity of the Vatican against the rights of women, such as the right to abortion and sex education without dogmas.
Recently, an Oxfam report published that 82 percent of the world’s wealth generated during 2017 went to the hands of the richest one percent of the world’s population. According to these data, the most affected are women, who suffer higher levels of discrimination in the workplace and assume most of the unpaid care work. This is why we are the poorest of the poor and we organise ourselves to face this capitalist and patriarchal system that overexploits us.
This 8 March, we have the great challenge of promoting the organisation of women independently of governments and bosses organisations that seek to stop our mobilization, with repression or diverting it to the polls, without attacking the pillars of patriarchal capitalism. Therefore, it will not be the day of Angela Merkel, Theresa May, Erna Solberg, or Michelle Bachelet, Dilma Rousseff, or Cristina Kirchner, because they are bosses politicians who rule or ruled against women’s rights.
Instead, it will be the day of gaoled Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi and the thousands of Palestinians who resist the imperialist occupation by the Zionist settlers; it will be the day of the women migrants who die in the seas or in front of the walls the repressors raise; it will be the day of Syrian women refugees fleeing from hunger and the criminal actions of al-Assad, Russia, the USA, and all foreign powers; of the Kurdish women fighters who suffer and face the criminal aggression of the Turkish army. It will be the day of the women migrants who do the worst qualified work and of all the women workers who go out to fight for wage increases, better working conditions and against employment discrimination.
It will be our day, of all of us who fight against all kinds of gender violence; those who want to end trafficking networks for sexual exploitation; those who fight for the right to legal, safe, and free abortion. That is why, from the International Workers Unity – Fourth International, we call to organize a great day of struggle on 8 March and to make heard the voice of working women who face the austerity plans of all capitalist governments.
Women will not pay the crisis. The governments are responsible. Enough of adjustment plans around the world. Same work, same salary. Separation of church and state Enough of femicides, violence, and trafficking networks Not one less. We want us Live and Free Legal, safe, and free abortion.
Long live the International Working Women’s Day! Long live our struggles around the world!
International Workers Unity – Fourth International (IWU–FI)