Women's Rights Day 2009: Sisters, It's Time to Fight!

Dear Friends,

Greetings on the 89th anniversary of Women's Rights Day, the feminist holiday that celebrates U.S. women winning the vote. The suffragists were passionate anti-slavery activists, both white and of color, who became feminists when they began to address their own oppression as a sex. Radical Women (RW), a multi-racial, queer and straight socialist feminist organization, salutes our foremothers' courage and tenacity in waging hunger strikes and enduring beatings and imprisonment during decades of struggle for equality.

Send us your thoughts on Women's Rights
Day! Here’s some responses so far!

Solidarity from Canada

Greetings from Zimbabwe

Though women fought and died for the vote and other survival reforms, these struggles can achieve only limited results as long as the profit-driven capitalist system rules. Women are still marginalized workers and are triply oppressed as people of color, queers, immigrants and the disabled. In times of economic downturn, our lives are thrown to the junk heap.

In the present crisis, one out of every ten women maintaining a family is unemployed. Black and Hispanic female heads of household are experiencing unemployment rates of 13.3% and 11% respectively. Nationally, 600,000 children and teenagers are without a home. The highly successful Head Start program for poor children is losing the equivalent of 35,432 classroom slots. Add the state cuts in public school funds, child- care vouchers and medical coverage, and it is clear that all workingclass families are losing important lifelines.

Congressional hearings on a national health care plan, the Employee Free Choice Act (which would help unions organize), and the economy have consistently shown our "representatives" acting as the voice of the health care industry, anti-union employers, and big business insiders. They bail out corporations and the wealthy, but balk at helping workers
and the poor.

Meanwhile, economic insecurity is heightening rightwing attacks on immigrants and people of color. Bigoted cops and predators are targeting lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders. Earlier this month, an embittered follower of a misogynist religious leader killed three women and injured nine others in a shooting at a Pennsylvania fitness center. From 2005 - 2007, there was a 42% jump in reports of domestic violence. This social warfare will not be stopped by timid politicians or a president who received 59% of women's votes but offered only a two-sentence sympathy statement on the assassination of abortion provider George Tiller -- and subsequently promised the Pope to cut the rate of U.S. abortions.

But Democratic and Republican politicians have never been on the front lines for the most oppressed. And this has never stopped women, standing on the shoulders of our militant ancestors, from fighting back.

In New York, Domestic Workers United is demanding a Bill of Rights to protect those who toil in near-slavery. And after an 11-month strike, the largely immigrant and female labor force of the Stella D'oro cookie factory has returned to work without losing their union contract.

Women are taking the lead in moratoriums against home foreclosures in Minneapolis, fighting tuition hikes at the City University system of New York, and countering right-to-life groups from coast to coast.

Radical Women has been deeply involved in these issues in every chapter. We have mobilized to defend immigrants, protested budget cuts, demonstrated against war and occupation, organized for queer civil rights, agitated for reproductive justice, and fought alongside the homeless. We train women leaders and combine political education on the issues with activism on the solutions. If this sounds good, join us!

Currently, Radical Women is nearing the conclusion of an ambitious three-month $45,000 fund drive to guarantee that an unbought and unbossed revolutionary socialist feminist program is there to build community struggles and support global uprisings. RW National Organizer, Anne Slater, is finding enthusiastic audiences as she barnstorms the country with the message: "No more singing capitalist blues: Sisters, it's time to fight!"

Women owe it to their sisters and foremothers to stop "singing the capitalist blues." Let's educate, agitate and organize for a socialist society based on full equality, democracy and sharing the wealth among all the world's precious inhabitants.

In solidarity,

Betty Maloney
Radical Women, New York City
National Executive Committee