Time’s up on sexism and racism
Last year’s Women’s March on Washington and simultaneous local demonstrations brought out millions of women in the U.S. and throughout the world on Jan. 21 — to denounce the presidency of racist, xenophobic, misogynist Donald Trump. Since then, as women have organized across a spectrum of issues, the #MeToo movement in the U.S. has developed into a forceful voice against sexual misconduct.
That campaign, started in 2006 by Tarana Burke, an African-American activist, was taken up last year by women in the Hollywood movie industry demanding an end to workplace sexual abuse. It quickly expanded to include women who work in offices, factories, hotels, fast food eateries and agricultural fields, who are Black, Latinx, Native, Asian, Indigenous, immigrants, disabled and LGBTQ, as well as low-wage white workers.
TIME’S UP says its campaign “addresses the systemic inequality and injustice in the workplace” and has established a Legal Defense Fund to help workers fight sexual misconduct on the job.
Marking the first year of Trump’s presidency on Jan. 20, women and people of all genders will be marching again to denounce his policies. Certainly a fitting slogan for a march banner would be: “Stop sexual abuse from Hollywood to McDonald’s.”
Yet wider solidarity is imperative. At this one-year mark, Trump is amping up his racist attacks — slandering entire peoples, defaming Haiti and the continent of Africa as “shithole countries.” The white supremacist Trump administration ended temporary protected status for 60,000 Haitians and 200,000 Salvadorans, as mass deportations loom. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is intensifying round-ups of undocumented Latinx immigrants, including movement activists. Young immigrants so far protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program may soon be in jeopardy.
Racists in the White House and racist immigration policies are not new. Bigotry has been embedded in the country’s very foundations ever since George Washington took office as president while claiming ownership of enslaved people. This country was built on the backs of African people and their descendants, along with the genocidal theft of Indigenous lands and part of Mexico.
Jim Crow racism was pushed back by the heroic Civil Rights Movement, which won passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts. It wasn’t voting, but strong struggle that made these gains. And integral to those struggles were African-American women who also suffered generations of rape and sexual abuse under white supremacy.
If we are to stop workplace abuse against women and gender-nonconforming people, we must also stop racism. Racist ideology persists, continually reasserting its ugly head — as blatantly expressed by Trump and his cronies, as shown by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., and as acted out by bigoted police.
Calls from ruling-class politicians to cut Medicaid coverage and other essential government programs are aimed at African-American, Latinx and other oppressed and disabled and low-income workers, at least half of whom are women. Racism is embedded within capitalism. It is inherent to the system, as are misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and classicism.
The richest 1% deliberately try to divide the population, while super-exploiting millions of workers, especially people of color and immigrants. The way this divides women is clear from a look at current wage rates. While women as a whole earn 78 percent of what men make, our African-American and Latinx sisters still earn only 66 cents and 55 cents, respectively, of every dollar a white male wage-earner makes. Their male counterparts don’t earn much more. These exploitation wages put mega-profits into the coffers of the super-rich bosses and bankers.
As women march across the U.S., we call on all women to unite to denounce Trump’s white supremacy.
We urge concrete solidarity with our Haitian, Latinx and African sisters at this critical time. As the U.S.continues to ramp up bigotry and extend imperialist war, we affirm our support for our Arab, Muslim and Asian sisters.
Workers World says in order to stop rampant misogyny, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, income inequality and class exploitation, we must join together and organize to abolish capitalism.
We can have a world built on respect, fairness and equality, where everyone has a job, housing, medical care, education, nutritious food, art, music and more — if we fight for socialism.