International Women’s Day, March 8, became an official working-class holiday 105 years ago. Revolutionary women were inspired by a march of 15,000 garment workers, mostly women immigrants from Ireland, Italy and Eastern Europe, in New York on March 8, 1908.
At the Second International Socialist Women’s Conference in Copenhagen in 1910, German socialist Clara Zetkin proposed March 8 as International Women’s Day. The resolution passed unanimously, and in 1911 hundreds of demonstrations were held throughout Europe on that date. Since that time, International Women’s Day has been commemorated by socialists and progressive activists around the globe.
Whether it’s now called International Working Women’s Day or Month, or Working Women’s History or Liberation Month, it is a time to salute the struggles of working-class and oppressed women around the world for justice, equality and liberation.
Members and friends of Workers World Party will be involved in the many activities scheduled to take place in the United States. Here are some of these events.
In celebration of International Women’s Day in Chicago, a “Food Is a Human Right” march and forum on Friday, March 6, are being sponsored by Dominican University Nutrition Science and the Food Is a Right Chicago People’s Assembly. The march will gather at 10 a.m. at the Dirksen Federal Building at 219 S. Dearborn at Adams; the forum starts at 12 p.m. at 135 South LaSalle, Suite 4300.
Participants are invited to speak, and the floor will be open for discussion on such topics as the Black Lives Matter movement and proposals for action. Some of the demands raised include stop all cuts to SNAP (food stamps) and other government food programs; healthy, affordable food for all (no food deserts); and economic justice for food, agricultural and all workers, including a $15 an hour minimum wage and the right to unionize. For more information, call 708-524-6904.
The women of Workers World Party in Detroit are hosting the second annual Women’s Speakout for Liberation and Justice on March 7 to commemorate International Women’s Day. Women there have participated in and led many struggles in the past year, including defending the city’s people against big banks and the emergency manager’s bankruptcy; demanding hands off retiree’s pensions and health care; marching and blockading to stop mass water shutoffs, foreclosures and evictions; and fighting racism and repression.
All women are invited to share their stories and struggles in the spirit of camaraderie and solidarity. The program, including dinner, starts at 5 p.m. at 5920 Second Ave. For more information, call 313-378-2369.
‘Free our sisters! Free ourselves!’
The International Working Women’s Day Coalition in New York City on Sunday, March 8, will gather women and men to demand an end to state repression, police terror and U.S. militarization. Events begin with a 12 p.m. rally at Herald Square, 34th Street at 6th Avenue and Broadway.
The march steps off at 1 p.m. and a speakout, which includes food and cultural presentations, starts at 2 p.m. at the Solidarity Center, 147 W. 24th Street, 2nd floor in Manhattan. For more information, call 212-633-6647 or monitor the Facebook page of the International Working Women’s Day Coalition. (Plans may be changed if there is inclement weather.)
In Oakland, Calif., on March 8, “Uphold the legacy and power of women’s resistance here and abroad!” will include a 12 p.m. rally and speakout, a 12:30 march and a 1:30 celebration to honor the legacy of the 105th anniversary of International Working Women’s Day.
Initiated by GABRIELA USA, the event will be held at the Oakland Lake Merritt Amphitheater, 12th Street and 1st Street. Workers World Party is included among the dozens of endorsers and organizers. For information, contact [email protected].com.
“Free our sisters! Free ourselves!” is the clarion call of Baltimore’s International Women’s Day event on March 8. Initiated by the Baltimore People’s Power Assembly, the youth group FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together) and others, the march will gather at 3 p.m. at 421 Fallsway at Hillen.
The march, led by women, will begin its journey at 3:30 p.m. to the women’s detention center at Fallsway and Eager streets and then on to the Unitarian Church hall. A dinner and rally there will pay homage not only to women of the past but also to today’s activists. The event will include music, song and poetry. To get involved ,call 410-218-4835.
Sharon Black, Teri Kay, Monica Moorehead and J. White contributed information for this report.