International Women’s Day: Our Day of Empowerment, Resistance, Celebration

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About IWD History…

1909: The Woman’s National Committee of the Socialist Party of America calls for a national day of protest on the last Sunday of February to support women’s suffrage in the context of the broader movement for women’s rights, workers’ rights, and social justice.

1910: The Women’s Congress of the Socialist International meets in August in Copenhagen and approves the call for an international day of protest. The specific date is left open to the participants in each country.

1913: Russian socialists begin celebrating International Women’s Day. Their intention is to organize rallies for the same day as that set in the United States, but since the Julian calendar lags 13 days behind the Western calendar (not used in Russia until 1918), the events take place in early March by our reckoning.

1917: The date of March 8 for International Women’s Day gets established when tens of thousands of women, demonstrating on that day in Petrograd, the capital of Russia, spark a revolution that topples three centuries of czarist autocracy.

About IWD and Peace….

In August 1914, World War I erupted, leading to the slaughter of millions. International Women’s Day became a focal point for those calling for an immediate end to the war. On February 23, 1917, (March 8 on the new calendar), tens of thousands of Russian women celebrated International Women’s Day by surging onto the streets of Petrograd demanding peace. These militant protests led to the downfall of the czar and, soon afterward, Russia’s decision to leave the war.

Senseless wars continue. Once again we are told that military action is intended to promote freedom and peace, and once again we know the real reasons are about power and wealth. As we demonstrate our opposition to war and occupation this and every International Women’s Day, we commemorate the heroic actions of the women in Petrograd in 1917 and all of us since then who fight back against capitalism and patriarchy. In doing so, we maintain an unbroken link in the struggle for peace, justice, and equality.

About IWD and Power…

International Women’s Day is about power: theirs and ours. Their power puts courts and legislatures in charge of whether or not a woman can have an abortion. Our power leaves this decision where it belongs: with the woman herself.

Their power resides with greedy corporations owned by an ultra-wealthy few that deplete the world’s resources and exploit its people. Our power depends on building a mass movement for a new society rooted in cooperation, equality, and workers and community control.

Their power dumps toxic waste sites in our poorest communities, and builds dams that destroy the livelihoods of countless farmers in our poorest countries. Our power demands environmental justice. Their power busts unions. Our power is at our worksites, talking with our co-workers about the connections between workers’ rights, human rights, and women’s rights. Their power is so-called reforms like Workfare that push women into low-paid, dead-end jobs. Our power is the fight for the creation of good jobs with pay equity and benefits, and the full funding of quality child care, education, and social services.

Their power dupes young men and women into signing away their rights and often their lives for the sake of national glory. Our power gets the word out on alternatives to military service and calls for huge cuts in the military budget. Their power blames hunger and poverty on over-population. Our power blames hunger and poverty on policies and practices consciously designed to protect and enrich the global capitalist class, in particular the agribusiness of the most developed countries.

Their power gets channeled through politicians whose primary allegiance is to the economic requirements of global capitalism. Our power gets exerted through political action completely independent of the mainstream, capitalist parties. Their power resides in exploitation, inequality, domination, violence, and deception. Our power resides in cooperation, compassion, respectful communication, justice, and collective action.

March 8th — International Women’s Day– is our day. It’s our opportunity to come together to speak out for a world where democratic socialist feminist values and programs enable people to live lives in ways they never will be able to under capitalism and patriarchy. That’s the truth. That’s our power.

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