March 8th is International Working Women’s Day or International Women’s Day. This is a day of celebration and recognition for the struggles overcame and accomplishments achieved by women, especially working women. We begin on March 8, 1857 when garment workers in New York City march and picket demanding better working conditions, a ten hour work day and equal rights for women. The brave women who had dared to fight for better conditions were dispersed by the police. A full fifty-one years later on the same day on March 8, 1908, women in the needle trades in New York City marched again. The march this time, honoring that historic march on 1857 demanded the right for women to vote, they also demanded an end to child labor. Just as in the past the police were there to disperse them.
In commemoration of these struggles, in 1910 at the Second International, a worldwide socialist party congress, German socialist Clara Zetkin proposed that March 8th be proclaimed as International Working Women’s Day, to commemorate the mobilization of women workers in the US and honor working women the world over. Since then, we recognize all efforts to improve the lives of women, both locally and globally. It is also an occasion to unite, mobilize and struggle for a radical change that is still desperately needed.
While some women have made great progress in all kinds of careers they find it tougher than men to be hired in certain industries. Women are still struggling. In addition, despite the multitude of equal-pay legislation, women still get paid less than men for equivalent work and this pay gap is even wider for women of color and oppressed nationalities. Another crucial area where women particularly still suffer is trying to make ends meet for their family, without access to full-paid maternity leave and affordable childcare.
Sexual violence is a societal issue that requires systemic change. Sexual violence is influenced by our larger social systems, including the workplace. Women from all experiences are attacked each year at work. Immigrant working women are especially vulnerable to abuse because of their race or immigration status due to fear of retaliation and deportation should they speak up. This patriarchy is an issue that is not only morally repugnant but very dangerous as well. Living in a patriarchal society, women deal with misogyny in many forms, from street harassment to sexual/physical violence to institutional and blatant sexism. Society is compliant with this violence, and even commends it at times. Men’s Rights Activists (MRA’s) have in the past month called for an international day of action to demand literally for the decriminalization of rape and are led by the deeply sexist, and misogynistic author, ‘Roosh V’.
Roosh V and the MRAs believe that men are oppressed by feminists and that they are victims of “reverse discrimination”. Roosh has stated in his blog that the solution to rape and rape culture is to “make rape legal if done on private property.” Roosh V and his followers from “Return of the Kings” claim this to be a satirical piece, and should not be taken literally. The problem is that because of the way our society is constructed, his words will be taken literally, and groups, like the MRAs will harm women and believe they are entitled to do so. We have mobilized our comrades to confront them physically along with our allies in Kansas City and they were no where to be found. We hope to continue to organize against them and other forces of patriarchy as a means to empower and mobilize the awesome force of women.
We must strengthen our forces which have been engaged in the war against women by linking with struggles against racism, imperialism, heterosexism, capitalism and other forms of oppression. Progressive Youth Organization as a Proletarian Feminist organization is dedicated to the struggle of women and to the dismantlement of the cis-hetero-racist-patriarchal capitalist system that continues to persecute all women and in particular working women of color. We seek to educate women to seek out their real enemy and to arm them ideologically with Proletarian Feminism and have formed the Proletarian Feminist Committee to carry out this task. We firmly believe that patriarchy and misogyny cannot be reformed and that they are upheld by the interests of capitalism and the international bourgeois class. We also believe that we must organize in order to fight dangerous groups like the MRAs and the Return of the Kings and their pro-rape beliefs by any means necessary. We must condemn the system, which keeps a sexist society alive, which is the capitalist system. We must create a safe world for all women across identities, races and economic backgrounds. We must smash patriarchy at its roots. We can only do this by building a united front of women, non-men and progressive and revolutionary men of all nationalities to fight for socialism. Join us this Tuesday as we commemorate the struggle of working women at UMKC at 12 pm. More importantly join us in Progressive Youth Organization and struggle with us against a patriarchal world!
Long Live International Working Women’s Day!
Women Hold Up Half The Sky!
Women Hold Down The Streets!