Workers World Party in Detroit commemorated International Women’s Day on March 9 with a forum called “Women Rising, Fighting Back” featuring Workers World managing editor and queer activist LeiLani Dowell of New York City. Dowell reported on her recent trip to a revolutionary women’s conference in India.
Dowell’s presentation not only addressed the many struggles of women in that country but gave a Marxist history and analysis of women’s oppression in class society. “As people living in the U.S,” Dowell summarized, “we need to show our utmost solidarity with the fierce women’s resistance in India in an unpatronizing way that supports them in determining the nature of their struggle. The best thing we can do to support the struggle of women in India is to continue waging our battles against women’s oppression and against imperialism in the U.S. The Indian women located capitalism and imperialism as the major cause of women’s oppression, and we agree. Therefore, our struggle to destroy capitalism, in the belly of the beast, is of utmost importance to the liberation of women around the world.”
Kris Hamel chaired the March 9 gathering, and began with remarks on the tragic passing and revolutionary legacy of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. A short video from Venezuela was shown, depicting an international women’s congress held in Caracas in April 2007, where Chávez participated at a special session. Both Dowell and Hamel were part of the U.S. solidarity delegation that attended the conference on behalf of the National Women’s Fightback Network, a project of the International Action Center.
The fighting socialist history of IWD was recounted, and then Tachae Davis, a youth activist, worker and student, paid tribute to Harriet Tubman, leader of the Underground Railroad and other struggles who died 100 years ago March 10. “Tubman’s passion, determination and energy must be a foundation on which to expand our struggle as working-class women as a whole with those most oppressed at the forefront of women’s liberation,” concluded Davis.
The Warrior Woman award was presented to WWP member and elder activist Lee Booth of Ypsilanti, Mich., for her many years of anti-imperialism and internationalism in action. Booth has traveled in defiance of U.S. blockades and sanctions to Iraq and Cuba on international solidarity missions, and is a fierce defender of the Palestinian people’s struggle against racist Zionist aggression.
Dowell spoke before a standing- room-only crowd in a cozy cafe in Buffalo, N.Y., on March 7. A lively question-and-answer discussion followed, focusing on the need to end capitalism worldwide in order to truly bring women’s liberation. Dowell is in the midst of a month-long national speaking tour on her trip to India. She spoke in Philadelphia on March 5. n