The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) is a global alliance of grassroots-based women’s organizations, institutions, alliances, networks and individuals committed to advancing the women’s movement in the 21st century and in moving forward the liberation of women. For more information, visit IWA’s website at internationalwomensalliance.wordpress.com. This statement was released on Feb. 25.
The International Women’s Alliance calls on women all over the globe to advance their ongoing struggles against imperialist globalization and the crisis of capitalism by mobilizing with militant actions on March 8, 2013, to commemorate International Working Women’s Day.
The International Conference of Working Women over 100 years ago gave birth to what is now popularly known as International Women’s Day. The origin of this day was to highlight the resistance and organizing power of working women to gain the right to fair wages and working hours, the right to vote and an end to discrimination. Today, we must remember to hold true to the origins of March 8 and return to the important issues that weigh heavily on women all over the world: the crises of capitalism and imperialism.
Since the economic collapse in 2008, the impact of the crisis on women all over the world has intensified. The capitalist system continues to unfold crisis measures to shore up the profits of the ruling classes, banks and corporations and maintain their global domination. These measures rely on the increased superexploitation of women in low-wage and precarious industries, devaluation of women’s labor, the robbing of the land and livelihood of peasant and Indigenous women, and escalating military intervention, repression and aggression.
As the profits of the 1% are increased and bonus checks are doubled in years of glaring crisis, women of the 99% are reeling under the weight of the crisis and saying ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Imperialist war and plunder have weighed heavily on women in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific regions and are increasing inside the imperialist centers of Europe and North America.
U.S. and other imperialist-backed militarization in countries like Israel use an arsenal of new technologies to engage in drone warfare and occupation, which make security of life and stability of livelihood impossible for women and children in these regions. Women continue to join the resistance. In Tunisia and Egypt, women have taken to the streets and are participating massively in uprisings against new imperialist-backed regimes that have betrayed promises of the Arab Spring. Palestinian women are integral to the resistance movement against U.S.-backed Israeli occupation and genocide.
In the Americas, women continue to fight for their rights to land and livelihood as they face the offensive of transnational extraction companies and the governments doing their bidding. Indigenous women of Canada have been leading a countrywide protest called Idle No More to halt renewed attempts by government to rob them of ancestral land rights and pave the way for the extractive industries.
Women in Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico are confronting the same brutal corporations to protect their land, water and communities at tremendous cost to their safety. The rise of land grabbing and mass layoffs in Indonesia, because of the imperialist crisis, has forced Indonesian women to flock to developed countries to migrate and work as low-wage workers.
Therefore, women from Indonesia, Pakistan and India, to the Philippines and Brazil, are all working and organizing to demand genuine agrarian reform and an end to land monopoly and the rule of agribusiness.
Women are joining and leading struggles against racist immigration policies and austerity measures in rich, capitalist countries. The demand for low-wage labor in the Global North draws swelling numbers of women who are forced to migrate in search of work, and are swept up in labor trafficking and modern-day slavery. While government budgets for basic needs in health care, housing, education and social services are slashed, migrants and immigrants are scapegoated as a burden to the receiving countries and racism is fanned. Crackdowns and criminalization of migrants and deportation of refugees are rampant.
Nevertheless, immigrant and migrant women, women of color, are organizing in their workplaces, neighborhoods and communities to demand the right to decent lives. The recent strike of school bus drivers and matrons in New York, supported by community-based groups led by Latinas, exemplifies women’s ability to mobilize for their rights, the rights of their children and the rights of working people at large.
Black women workers, especially in the public-sector unions in the U.S., continue to be at the forefront of fighting back against reactionary right-to-starve, “right-to-work” laws that weaken and destroy collective bargaining.
As women rise up, the repression and violence against them rises. Recently, we have seen the three Kurdish women activists in Paris brutally gunned down with apparent impunity. Egyptian women in Tahrir Square, the famous site of the uprising two years ago, have been attacked, raped and beaten by armed goons to stop them from participating in protests. Similarly in India, the indigenous Dalit women fighting against land grabs are being hunted and imprisoned. In the Philippines, women of the National Democratic Front who were engaged in peace talks with the government have been in prison for years.
Women are increasingly targets of gender-based violence, whether on the barricades or in the home. Women across the globe have risen to bring awareness of the different forms of violence against women, which is rooted in patriarchal values and maintained by the capitalist system, which thrives on discrimination and oppression of women and other marginalized populations. Women are demanding that all forms of violence against women must STOP!
This March 8, IWA calls on women who are active in the struggles locally, nationally and globally to build solidarity and organize militant actions for International Working Women’s Day. IWA encourages women to raise consciousness about the issues that women and their families, communities and peoples face together. During their March 8 actions, we invite women’s organizations to wear purple armbands or wristbands to show solidarity across actions globally.
IWA calls for:
End imperialist wars of aggression and intervention!
Genuine land/agrarian reform now!
Jobs paying union wages or livable income, health care, housing, education, food now!
No to racist immigration policies, police brutality and mass incarceration!
Stop forced migration and human trafficking!
Stop modern-day slavery and violence against women!
Free all political prisoners in developing and developed countries!
End political repression and human rights violations!