‘Lifting our voices’ against oppression

Detroit — A “Lifting Our Voices” speakout against capitalism and imperialism took place in Detroit on March 8 for International Women’s Day. The meeting hall at 5920 Second Ave. was packed with women and men of varying ages, nationalities, backgrounds and abilities. Women attended from National Action Network who are petitioning for a $15 minimum wage in Michigan, along with Moratorium NOW! Coalition activists, Workers World Party organizers and other activists. A delicious dinner was prepared and provided by male comrades.

The audience listened intently as more than a dozen women took the microphone in what turned out to be an evening in solidarity with the most oppressed and poorest women in capitalist society. Women activists described, in intensely personal and political terms, what their lives and the lives of their neighbors and sisters were like, and the many struggles they were engaged in for social and economic justice. One said her mother was her role model and source of strength, and called her a “revolutionary” who “told the white sharecropper boss that his math was wrong” and then had to flee for her life, ending up in Detroit.

Women spoke bitterly about poverty, oppression and the struggle for survival; about devastating “welfare reform” and attacks on women’s reproductive rights; the huge cuts that retirees face while banks take their pensions and medical benefits; youth organizing and the struggle for health care for all; the oppression faced by lesbians, bisexual and transgender women; the bias and dangers faced by women with disabilities; and more.

The origins of women’s oppression in the rise of class society and the historic need for socialism were raised as well. Two of the speakers gave a call to “Shut it down!” on April 1, the day when objectors to the Detroit emergency manager’s bankruptcy plan of austerity and giveaways to the banks will turn in their objections and rally outside the federal bankruptcy court.