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US: International Women’s Strike platform (plus 'For a Feminism of the 99% and a militant International Strike on March 8')
February 20, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Women's Strike USA — The International Women’s Strike on March 8th, 2017 is an international day of action, planned and organized by women in over 30 different countries.
In the spirit of solidarity and internationalism, in the United States March 8th will be a day of action organized by and for women who have been marginalized and silenced by decades of neoliberalism directed towards working women, women of color, Native women, disabled women, immigrant women, Muslim women, lesbian, queer and trans women.
March 8 will be the beginning of a new international feminist movement that organizes resistance not just against Trump and his misogynist policies, but also against the conditions that produced Trump, namely the decades long economic inequality, racial and sexual violence, and imperial wars abroad.
We celebrate the diversity of the many social groups that have come together for the International Women’s Strike. We come from many political traditions but are united around the following common principles.
An end to gender violence
All women deserve a life free of violence, both domestic and institutional. Working women, trans women, and women of color face the worst aspects of direct institutionalized violence, be it in the form of police brutality, immigration raids, or day-to-day violence in the form of state policies that create and consolidate poverty in our communities. Against all such state and personal violence, we demand that our lives and labor be treated with dignity for they form the basis of this society.
Reproductive justice for all
We stand for full reproductive justice for all women, cis and trans. We want complete autonomy over our bodies and full reproductive freedom. We demand free abortion without conditions and affordable healthcare for all, irrespective of income, race or citizenship status. The history of sterilization of women of color in this country goes hand in hand with the attack on abortion rights. Reproductive justice for us means the freedom to choose both whether to have children and when to have them.
Labor rights are women’s rights because women’s paid labor in the workplace and unpaid labor at home is the basis of wealth in our society. All over the world millions of women are forced to work for slave wages in dangerous sweatshops and other ‘hell factories’ that kill thousands every year. In the United States 46% of union members are women and a majority of them are women of color. All women, irrespective of citizenship status, sexuality or race, must have equal pay for equal work, $15 minimum wage, including for caregivers, free universal child care, paid maternity leave, sick leave, paid family leave and the freedom to organize a fighting union in the workplace. As working women who hold up half the sky we refuse to be divided over the kind of labor we perform, whether skilled or unskilled, formal or informal, sex work and domestic work.
Full social provisioning
Decades of neoliberal policies have seen the violent dismantling of social provisioning that has affected all women. While our working lives have been made increasingly precarious, social services that might have provided a safety net against such harsh exploitation of labor, have either been attacked or removed completely. Against these attacks, we demand an expansive restructuring of the American welfare system to serve the needs of the majority, such as universal healthcare, robust unemployment and social security benefits, and free education for all. We demand that the welfare system work to support our lives rather than shame us when we access such rights.
For an antiracist and anti-imperialist feminism
Against the open white supremacists in the current government and the far right and anti-Semites they have given confidence to, we stand for an uncompromising anti-racist and anti-colonial feminism. This means that movements such as Black Lives Matter, the struggle against police brutality and mass incarceration, the demand for open borders and for immigrant rights and for the decolonization of Palestine are for us the beating heart of this new feminist movement. We want to dismantle all walls, from prison walls to border walls, from Mexico to Palestine.
Environmental justice for all
We believe that both social inequality and environmental degradation are due to an economic system that puts profit before people. We demand instead that the earth’s natural resources be preserved and sustained to enrich our lives and those of our children. The struggle of Water Protectors against the Dakota Access Pipe Line inspires us. The emancipation of women and the emancipation of the planet must go hand in hand.
Beyond Lean-In: For a Feminism of the 99% and a Militant International Strike on March 8
By Linda Martín Alcoff, Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, Nancy Fraser, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Rasmea Yousef Odeh, Angela Davis and Barbara Ransby
February 20, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Viewpoint Magazine — The massive women’s marches of January 21 may mark the beginning of a new wave of militant feminist struggle. But what exactly will be its focus? In our view, it is not enough to oppose Trump and his aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies; we also need to target the ongoing neoliberal attack on social provision and labor rights. While Trump’s blatant misogyny was the immediate trigger for the massive response on January 21, the attack on women (and all working people) long predates his administration. Women’s conditions of life, especially those of women of color and of working, unemployed and migrant women, have steadily deteriorated over the last 30 years, thanks to financialization and corporate globalization. Lean-in feminism and other variants of corporate feminism have failed the overwhelming majority of us, who do not have access to individual self-promotion and advancement and whose conditions of life can be improved only through policies that defend social reproduction, secure reproductive justice, and guarantee labor rights. As we see it, the new wave of women’s mobilization must address all these concerns in a frontal way. It must be a feminism for the 99%.
The kind of feminism we seek is already emerging internationally, in struggles across the globe: from the women’s strike in Poland against the abortion ban to the women’s strikes and marches in Latin America against male violence; from the massive women’s demonstration of the last November in Italy to the protests and the women’s strike in defense of reproductive rights in South Korea and Ireland. What is striking about these mobilizations is that several of them combined struggles against male violence with opposition to the casualization of labor and wage inequality, while also opposing homophobia, transphobia and xenophobic immigration policies. Together, they herald a new international feminist movement with an expanded agenda–at once anti-racist, anti-imperialist, anti-heterosexist, and anti-neoliberal.
We want to contribute to the development of this new, more expansive feminist movement.
As a first step, we propose to help build an international strike against male violence and in defense of reproductive rights on March 8. In this, we join with feminist groups from around thirty countries who have called for such a strike. The idea is to mobilize women, including trans-women, and all who support them in an international day of struggle–a day of striking, marching, blocking roads, bridges, and squares, abstaining from domestic, care and sex work, boycotting, calling out misogynistic politicians and companies, striking in educational institutions. These actions are aimed at making visible the needs and aspirations of those whom lean-in feminism ignored: women in the formal labor market, women working in the sphere of social reproduction and care, and unemployed and precarious working women.
In embracing a feminism for the 99%, we take inspiration from the Argentinian coalition Ni Una Menos. Violence against women, as they define it, has many facets: it is domestic violence, but also the violence of the market, of debt, of capitalist property relations, and of the state; the violence of discriminatory policies against lesbian, trans and queer women, the violence of state criminalization of migratory movements, the violence of mass incarceration, and the institutional violence against women’s bodies through abortion bans and lack of access to free healthcare and free abortion. Their perspective informs our determination to oppose the institutional, political, cultural, and economic attacks on Muslim and migrant women, on women of color and working and unemployed women, on lesbian, gender nonconforming, and trans-women.
The women’s marches of January 21 have shown that in the United States too a new feminist movement may be in the making. It is important not to lose momentum. Let us join together on March 8 to strike, walk out, march and demonstrate. Let us use the occasion of this international day of action to be done with lean-feminism and to build in its place a feminism for the 99%, a grass-roots, anti-capitalist feminism–a feminism in solidarity with working women, their families, and their allies throughout the world.
Linda Martín Alcoff is a professor of philosophy at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center and the author of Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self. She is currently at work on a new book on sexual violence, and another on decolonizing epistemology.
Cinzia Arruzza is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York and a feminist and socialist activist. She is the author of the author of Dangerous Liaisons: The Marriages and Divorces of Marxism and Feminism.
Tithi Bhattacharya teaches history at Purdue University. Her first book, The Sentinels of Culture: Class, Education, and the Colonial Intellectual in Bengal (Oxford, 2005), is about the obsession with culture and education in the middle class. Her work has been published in journals such as the Journal of Asian Studies, South Asia Research and New Left Review, and she is currently working on a book project entitled Uncanny Histories: Fear, Superstition and Reason in Colonial Bengal.
Nancy Fraser is Loeb Professor of Philosophy and Politics at the New School for Social Research. Her books include Redistribution or Recognition and Fortunes of Feminism.
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is an assistant professor in Princeton University's Center for African American Studies and the author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation.
Rasmea Yousef Odeh is the associate director of the Arab American Action Network and leader of that group's Arab Women's Committee.
Angela Davis is Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California Santa Cruz and a member of the jury for the 2012 Russell Tribunal on Palestine.
Barbara Ransby is an activist, writer, historian, and professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement, the editor-in-chief of SOULS, and President of the National Women's Studies Association.