International Working Women’s Day: Celebrating liberation and revolution

International Working Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 in countries around the globe. Here in the United States, Workers World members helped organize and participated in activities in a number of cities, including those mentioned here.

Workers World Party in Detroit hosted an International Working Women’s Day speakout for justice and revolution on March 10, Harriet Tubman Day. The heroic freedom fighter and abolitionist, born into slavery in Maryland on an unknown date, died on March 10, 1913. An engaging and political talk on Tubman was given by Wanda, an activist walker and poet. The audience also heard about the revolutionary origins and history of International Women’s Day in a talk by WWP youth organizer Jamie, with comments from other speakout participants.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of Warrior Woman awards by WWP leader Debbie Johnson to three African-American workers, retirees and organizers. Lula Millender, Margaret Harris and Yvonne Jones were honored for their tireless commitment to the struggles of Detroiters and the oppressed worldwide. Their dedication includes passing out thousands of flyers, picketing the banks and eviction courts countless times, and raising money to help continue the ongoing struggle against austerity and racism led by their organization, the Moratorium Now! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions & Utility Shutoffs.

The Women’s Fightback Network-Maryland/D.C. gathered for a celebration of IWWD in Baltimore at People’s Park on Charles Street and then marched to an indoor dinner and rally. The keynote speaker was Takiyah Thompson, the Durham, N.C., freedom fighter charged in 2017 with taking down a Confederate statue outside the Durham County Courthouse. That action came three days after neo-fascists and KKK members assaulted anti-racist demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., killing activist Heather Hyer. Thompson’s arrest, along with other freedom fighters in Durham, sparked months of rallies, marches and acts of solidarity. Their slogan, “Fighting racism is not a crime,” was successfully upheld when all were acquitted or had their charges dropped on Feb. 20.

For International Working Women’s Day in Buffalo, N.Y., women’s rights and women’s liberation supporters from several groups defied a snowstorm to demand justice for Indigenous, Black and Brown women; full access to health care, including the choice of abortion, for all women; an end to racism and violence against women and against immigrant workers, and more. The March 8 demonstration lined a major traffic-clogged street during the evening commute and received non-stop honking, raised fists and delighted applause from car, truck and bus drivers going by.

The International Working Women’s Day Coalition held a “Women in Rebellion” march on March 10 in New York City, beginning at Penn Station, home to famed Madison Square Garden. Those marching included delegations from Women Workers for Peace, Honduran Department 19 USA, Ecuadoran Women’s Forum, Stop FBI Repression, Gabriela NYC, Workers World Party and others.

The boisterous demonstration went downstairs into Penn Station where travelers waiting for Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and Long Island Railroad trains saw and heard them. Many passengers raised their fists or clapped in solidarity. The marchers stopped in front of restaurants like KFC and Dunkin Donuts to pass out flyers while chanting “Justice for fast food workers!”

Along the protest route, two male construction workers, one Black and one white, stopped jackhammering when they saw the “No War on Women” lead banner, giving their strong approval with the thumbs-up sign.

After the demonstration, an indoor roundtable discussion was led by representatives from some of the groups who had marched. They spoke about their struggles and why it is important to build a united front against patriarchy, capitalism, racism and imperialism. Male supporters fixed a delicious lunch for the gathering.

Contributing to this roundup were Sharon Black, Ellie Dorritie, Kris Balderas Hamel and Monica Moorehead.

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