March 8, 2009
Happy International Women's Day from Radical Women!
Around the world, International Women's Day is a time to commemorate the courageous battles by and for women. Inspired by the valiant struggle of female garment workers in the United States, German socialist Clara Zetkin in 1910 proposed March 8 as a working-class women's holiday to celebrate past victories and carry the fight forward.
Today we salute the women organizing for equality, social and economic justice and an end to brutal living conditions. In Iceland, women with pots and pans protested — demanding aid for people not banks, criminal investigations and electoral reform. Shortly after the demonstrations the prime minister and cabinet resigned! The Puerto Rican teachers' union, which is 80 percent women, went on strike to stop the privatization of schools. A recent general strike in France denounced cuts in teacher positions, and demanded job security and a halt to President Sarkozy's tighten-the-belt reforms. Worldwide women, men and youth poured into the streets to stop Israel's savage attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. In the U.S., Stella D'oro workers in the Bronx — largely immigrant women of color have been on strike for over six months to prevent new owners from chopping wages by 25 percent and busting their union.
The current economic meltdown chillingly illustrates the workings of capitalism: while top dogs in banks and industry make enormous profits, everyone else faces unemployment, home foreclosures, retirement and wage cuts, tuition hikes, homelessness and hunger. In the United States, women — especially women of color and immigrants — pay the biggest price for government bailouts and economic "reform." Social programs and services such as healthcare, welfare, and education are slashed, effectively balancing the budget on the backs of women. Instead of providing more government support, conservative ideologists think women should be limited to unpaid service and caregiving at home, and poverty wages on the job!
These bitter life experiences have created an army of female organizers in every community. Women are crucial drivers in the antiwar, racial equality, immigrant, welfare rights, student and queer movements. And they recognize the necessity of uniting these struggles. Now is the time to build support and solidarity among feminist organizations.
Radical Women is for militant women who want to see real change and an end to a rotten profit system that pits us against each other in the scramble for jobs, homes, and other basic needs. We have mobilized for immigrant rights up and down the West Coast and in New York City, protested budget cuts at city council meetings, demonstrated in the streets against war and occupation, organized for queer marriage as a civil right, agitated for expanding access to abortion and reproductive healthcare, and fought alongside the homeless. We combine political education on the issues with activism on the solutions, and train women leaders. Join us!
Together, let's organize around demands that show what's needed to become a safe and healthy society. As a start:
Email National Radical Women or find the local chapter nearest you to start collaborating on these and other issues. United, we can make things happen and open up the way toward a genuinely better future!
National Executive Committee