International Women’s Day event
Sunday 8th March 2020
A day of international celebration for what we do, and will continue to do, to envision, and bring about, a world of justice, equality, and compassion– and an end to poverty and exploitation.
We will assemble at 2 pm at the La Pasionaria statue located on the north bank of the River Clyde next to Glasgow Bridge, opposite the Custom House on Clyde Street.
We will be joining the collective Feministas Hispanohablantes en Glasgow at Donald Dewart Statue (Buchanan Street) at 3 pm and we will perform A RAPIST IN YOUR PATH with them.
This site was chosen because of the international response– including Scotland’s– to the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, in defense of the Spanish Republic; and because the statue of La Pasionaria by Arthur Dooley so beautifully represents the courage and strength of women revolutionaries throughout history that inspires many of us today.
In this regard, our International Women’s Day event proudly honours one of our own: the Scottish revolutionary, Ethel MacDonald, who was a key figure in the Scottish anarchist movement and in the Spanish Civil War. In 1936 she was sent by the United Socialist Movement to Barcelona where she became world-renowned as the English-speaking reporter for an anarchist radio station. She also remained an activist, daringly organising hunger strikes among the political prisoners, smuggling in letters, and helping some escape.
So Save the Date, and join us at the La Pasionaria sculpture on the River Clyde at 2 pm for a lively march through the City Centre to the Buchanan Street Steps for a rally including music, songs, open mic, and tributes to our role models past and present.
All are welcome to attend this event, initiated by the Clydeside Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World. The ‘Rapist in your path’ welcomes everyone who identifies as a woman (trans, intersex, non-binary and gender fluid inclusive). Allies are welcome to support and watch.
Solidarity, Sisterhood, and Comradeship Are Powerful… Another World is Possible!
Feminist Waves, Radical Ways: Guidance From the Past
There is more than one era or one way to be a radical.
50 years ago, the Women’s Liberation Movement along with the Gay Rights and Black Power movements were exciting people to the possibility of fundamental social, economic, political, and interpersonal change on a global scale. Since then, slowly but surely, we find the legacy of these movements in keener awareness of our interdependence. We are more deeply internationalist. Our communication is better. We understand capitalism and patriarchy more clearly. We are fighting back with more purpose, We are more wary. We are more radical.
Two years ago when I first saw the La Pasionaria statue by the sculptor Arthur Dooley, and before I knew anything about La Pasionaria herself, or much about the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, I felt– through the power and beauty of Dooley’s work– the courage, strength, and importance of women radicals. That gut moment of seeing that sculpture will remain with me forever.
Later I read a book and saw a documentary film about the Scottish revolutionary, Ethel MacDonald, who was a key figure in the Scottish anarchist movement and in the Spanish Civil War. In 1936 she was sent by the United Socialist Movement to Barcelona where she became world-renowned as the English-speaking reporter for an anarchist radio station. She also remained an activist, daringly organising hunger strikes among the political prisoners, smuggling in letters, and helping some escape. I think of her whenever I back away from discomfort or danger.
When I moved to Scotland 10 years ago I had a lot to learn about Glasgow culture. Soon enough I found out about the rent strike of 1915 organised by the unstoppable women of Clydebank, Paisley, Partick, and Govan– including Mary Barbour, Helen Crawfurd, Agnes Dollan, Mary Burns Laird, and Mary Jeff. They were determined to stand up to the landlords and the government. Together with the shipyard workers, whose labour was essential in this First World War period, they got the government to set the rents back to the pre-war level till the war was over. Quite a victory against big odds!
Frequently another radical woman comes to mind– a Catholic nun named Nan Pfefferle: a staunch socialist feminist. She didn’t hesitate to confront the predominantly-male membership of the Socialist Party USA with new procedures such as a ‘go around’ at the start of each meeting; ‘feminist process’ guidelines (much like the safer spaces policies of today); and the concept of ‘the women’s voice’ which did a lot to encourage and support women members.
So thank you all, and others like you, for challenging us. You acted on your radical principles in different ways, but always for the good of our class, while remembering that solidarity and comradeship are powerful– and another world is possible!
About International Women’s Day
The history of IWD begins in the first decades of the 20th Century and is explicitly against capitalism and patriarchy.
In 1909, the Women’s Commission of the Socialist Party of America organises national Women’s Day marches to support women’s suffrage in the context of women’s rights, workers’ rights, and liberation from hierarchy and exploitation.
Inspired by these events, the Second International Congress, meeting in Copenhagen in August 1910, approves the proposal of its Conference of Socialist Women for an annual International day of action to demand the rights of women to full participation in all aspects of society.
In 1913, Russian women organise International Women’s Day rallies. They choose the 8th of March as the date because it coincides, in their new calendar, with the date of the 1909 marches. In 1917 on 8 March, the women in Petrograd take to the streets demanding an end to Russian involvement in the First World War. This sparks a revolution that topples three centuries of czarist autocracy, and establishes 8 March for the worldwide celebration of International Women’s Day.
Since then, women have not stopped fighting back against repression– personal, economic, and political. The analysis, programme, and actions of these socialist feminist women of our radical past can help guide our way.
This post was written by Susan Dorazio
Member of the Clydeside Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World
(It does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the IWW)
An equal world is an enabled world.
For more information about International Women’s Day click here
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