The following text came from an updated brochure issued by the International Working Women’s Day coalition in New York City. The coalition will be holding a Working Women’s Assembly and March on March 8. For more information, go to peoplespowerassemblies.org.
U.S. and European women workers’ actions inspired the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark, to declare International Women’s Day, proposed by Clara Zetkin.
We call on you to join us to commemorate International Women’s Day to honor the women who fought for our liberation by continuing the fight for freedom today.
We see a rise in attacks on women, including Black, Latina, Asian, Indigenous, Arab and white in the U.S., as well as women who live in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East, Pacific Islands, Australia and Europe.
In the U.S., there are attacks on public sector workers’ benefits and union rights; more sexual assaults; violence toward lesbian, bisexual and transgender women; and the detention and deportation of immigrant women. Right-wing millionaire politicians — and their media mouthpieces — publicly spout racist, anti-poor, homophobic and sexist vitriol. State legislatures cut women’s reproductive and other health care services; half of them refuse to expand Medicaid to cover low-income workers.
Attacks on living standards
and the war budget
The economic crisis — intensified by Wall Street’s greed for profits — is distinctively affecting women, as income inequality grows. Women are hit by job loss, low-wage and part-time jobs; foreclosures and evictions; dismantling of public housing; and cuts in unemployment benefits, food stamps and other vital government programs. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits are endangered.
More women, especially poor and of color, are imprisoned than ever.
The war continues on working-class youth and youth of color, with racist police brutality and militarization of schools. Tuition hikes and funding cuts for education and social programs worsen their quality of life. The “economic draft” steals our children, devaluing them into military property, or takes their lives in illegal U.S. wars.
The conditions for women worldwide have deteriorated due to war, occupation and ruthless U.S. foreign policy. Iraq and Afghanistan’s occupations, costing trillions of dollars, are devastating. Impoverished Afghan families are assaulted by U.S./NATO bombs and troops.
The U.S./NATO war on Libya caused great destruction and loss of life. Now threats against Iran and Syria imperil women and their families. The Palestinians, denied any rights, suffer but resist the U.S.-funded Israeli occupation in the West Bank. Gazans still lack necessities due to U.S./Israel’s blockade, while Israel continues aerial and ground attacks.
U.S. drones hit Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Women in Sudan and other African countries are dying from U.S. sanctions and war. Philippine women face brutal reprisals for protesting the U.S.-backed regime.
Haitian women, devastated by the earthquake, then cholera and sexual violence brought by U.N. troops, need reparations, not military occupation. Despite severe repression, Honduran women are active in the popular resistance to the U.S.-backed regime. Bolivian and Venezuelan women celebrate their gains under progressive governments, and so do their sisters in socialist Cuba.
Indigenous women face repression for reclaiming their original lands in the Americas.
Corporate globalization is impoverishing women worldwide, destroying local economies, creating sweatshops, low-wage jobs and unemployment, with 81 million women jobless. Millions must leave their homelands to find jobs, only to face racism and abuse. Seventy percent of the world’s poorest are women and girls. By brute force or impoverishment rooted in imperialist plunder of their countries’ resources, women and children are pushed into sex trafficking.
What women are doing to resist
In the U.S., the right-wing onslaught on the rights of women, workers, people of color, immigrants, low-income communities, youth, seniors and people with disabilities requires a strong, united struggle to push back. Defending the hardest hit communities is essential.
The good news is that resistance is growing!
Fast food and other low-wage workers, demanding a $15 an hour minimum wage, are taking strong action for the right to unionize and for better working conditions, some walking off the job. Women are 65 percent of minimum wage (or less) earners. New union members, largely women, are demanding workplace justice. Hotel, restaurant, domestic and immigrant workers are leading the way. Public sector workers, largely women, Black and Latina, are fighting anti-union assaults. With students, they occupied Wisconsin’s Capitol in 2011 to defend their union rights. Teachers, nurses are standing up.
Meanwhile, women are challenging the right-wing war on their health care services and reproductive rights. Young women in Texas and at North Carolina Moral Monday protests bravely occupied Capitols, facing mass arrests.
The racist murder of African-American youth, Trayvon Martin in Florida, and his killer’s acquittal, sparked mass protests demanding justice. Since that outrage, a Florida vigilante fatally shot Jordan Davis, another Black youth. Police slayings of youth of color, including Alan Blueford, in Oakland, Calif., have brought protesters into the streets to show solidarity with Black and Latino/a youth who daily face racist police and vigilantes.
We defend survivors of domestic and anti-trans violence like Marissa Alexander and CeCe McDonald who have been unjustly imprisoned.
We show solidarity with our sisters Jeralynn Blueford, Sybrina Fulton, Lucia McBath and all mothers, sisters, spouses and daughters of those felled by bigots’ bullets. Opposing racist violence is a woman’s issue.
Every issue is a woman’s issue!
Everywhere there are struggles, women are in the lead — and organize ceaselessly. Our mission is to empower women and to affirm the need to challenge our wealthy oppressors’ divisive tactics — racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia — all rooted in the for-profit, capitalist system.
This call is for all of us to honor and uphold the great traditions of women warriors who continue to display courage, strength, wisdom and the will to resist against great odds. Organize, resist and build our movements for victory!
Let’s build a Women’s Fightback Movement!
The Can We Live! Campaign is a struggle-oriented program aimed to bring women together and to organize initiatives on economic and political issues year-round. Its 10-point program asks “Can We Live” when the superrich 1% deprives us of so much. We call for:
- Healthy, toxin-free food. Restore/expand food stamps and all nutrition programs.
- Jobs for all, not jails. Promote union rights; defend public workers and Social Security; demand $15/hourminimum wage and/or guaranteed income; extend unemployment benefits; pay equity; paid family leave. End discrimination based on age, nationality, pregnancy, disability. Cancel credit card and student debt.
- Health care for all. Preserve/expand Medicaid, Medicare and all social programs. Reproductive justice now.
- Free quality education from cradle to grave.
- Housing is a human right. No foreclosures, evictions, utility shutoffs; end homelessness. Affordable housing for all.
- A healthy planet and clean environment.
- Legalization, not deportation. Unite families; end ICE raids and detentions.
- No domestic and state violence against women. Stop sexual exploitation, trafficking and racist police brutality; restore safe houses.
- No imperialist war: Stop violence against women in the military and in occupied lands. Bring all troops home.
- Full rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.