Women activists unite to fight imperialism
Published Aug 29, 2010 10:36 PM
Uniting under the theme, “Moving forward the militant global
women’s movement in the 21st century,” more than 350 women from 32
countries participated in the Montreal International Women’s Conference,
held Aug. 13-16. The conference resulted in the formation of an International
Women’s Alliance. The IWA will hold its first assembly in 2011 to adopt a
constitution of principles of unity and an action proposal.
WW photo: LeiLani Dowell
Plenary discussions highlighted the effect of imperialism on women and building
resistance. A number of women-oriented workshops were held, including ones on
resisting forms of exploitation; health and reproductive rights; the issues
facing sexual minority women; the impact of migration; fighting racism and
genocide; struggles of the Indigenous; and socialism and national liberation. A
vibrant cultural event was held the evening of Aug. 15, showcasing the serious
talents of many of the conference participants.
While the greatest number of women conference participants came from oppressed
countries, there were women who represented important class struggles inside
the imperialist countries like the U.S. and Germany. Filipinas for Rights and
Empowerment was instrumental in organizing a delegation of women from the U.S.,
including a group from the Women’s Fightback Network. The WFN delegation
included representatives from the Million Worker March Movement; Picture the
Homeless; Transport Workers Union Local 100; the May 1 Coalition for Worker and
Immigrant Rights; Fight Imperialism, Stand Together; and Workers World
Along with the WFN, the other conveners of the MIWC were Women of Diverse
Origins, Gabriela Philippines, Red Género y Economía México, the
Asian Rural Women’s Network and the Action Network for Women’s
Rights and Empowerment.
MWMM leader Brenda Stokely, a plenary and workshop speaker at the MIWC, told
WW: “One of the most affirming experiences at this conference was that we
must build genuine unity and solidarity among women of color, our natural
allies — sisters from Asia, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, the Middle
East and Latin America — sisters whose lives are directly impacted by
imperialist wars of aggression or superexploitation. These women not only spoke
in their own name about conditions they face daily, but they spoke about
various strategies and tactics for resisting and fighting back against those
conditions in rural areas and urban centers. So many experiences of women were
reflected at this conference, which was an inspiration in terms of building an
alliance against all forms of imperialism.
“There were a lot of young women activists and revolutionaries at the
conference who asked thoughtful questions in terms of the various ways on how
to wage the struggle, but also on how to maintain your fortitude and optimism
in the day-to-day task of building alliances with others.
“Those of us from the bowels of U. S. imperialism were able to expose the
conditions of the millions being exploited and facing a legacy of genocide
within the U.S. prison house of oppressed nations — Black, Indigenous,
Chicano/a, Filipino, Puerto Rican, Alaskan and Hawaiian nations as well as the
numerous oppressed minorities. We pledged our solidarity to liberate our own
society from capitalism and stand shoulder to shoulder with sister warriors who
are waging anti-imperialist and revolutionary struggles around the world.
“By forming this International Women’s Alliance, we will be able to
help change the character of the global women’s movement by giving a
strong voice to working-class women, rural women and women of color in order to
define their own action plans and tactics in the struggle against
For more information on the conference and updates on the newly formed
International Women’s Alliance, visit miwc2010.wordpress.com.
The writer was a member of the WFN at the Montreal conference.
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