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1917: The View from the Streets #5 - Women’s Day 1917: How a women’s protest strike launched the Russian revolution
March 6, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal / John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — One hundred years ago today, on or about March 6 (February 21), the Petrograd Mezhrayonka (Interdistrict Committee) distributed the following leaflet regarding International Women’s Day (IWD).
Although the origins of IWD were in the United States, German Social Democrat Clara Zetkin proposed in 1910 the annual celebration of the holiday on March 8 (February 23 in Russia). The holiday was first celebrated on this date in 1911 in Germany and several other European countries. Russia followed with a small demonstration in 1913, but IWD was overshadowed in Russia by May Day and the anniversary of Bloody Sunday (January 9, 1905).
In 1917, Russia’s various socialist groups failed to unite behind common slogans for International Women’s Day and therefore were unable to carry out a joint action. Without a printing press at the time, the Bolsheviks did not issue any leaflets for IWD.
By Liz Mason-Deese
February 20, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Viewpoint Magazine — When women in Argentina, and across Latin America, decided to go on strike on October 19, 2016, the mobilization surpassed all expectations. Organized in only a matter of days, the call resonated across Latin America and hundreds of thousands of women across the continent went on strike, marched, and protested. The strike was an immediate response to the brutal rape and murder of sixteen year old Lucía Perez in Mar del Plata as well as a series of other femicides and violent repression at the National Women’s Meeting in Rosario.
With the slogans “not one less” and “we want ourselves alive,” they were striking not only for an end to violence against women, but also to highlight the connection between this violence and the economic violence of the devaluing of women’s labor. This insistence on the relationship between male violence and the devaluing of women’s labor was one of the strike’s central messages and organizing principles.
By Katarzyna Bielińska-Kowalewska
February 24, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Politics —In Poland the law on abortion is one of the most restrictive in the European Union, sex education does not exist, and contraception is both expensive and hard to obtain because a medical prescription is often needed.
According to a 1993 law, abortion is allowed only in three cases: when pregnancy is a threat to a woman’s life or health; when there is a high possibility of severe malformation or illness of a fetus, confirmed by a prenatal exam; or when a pregnancy is the result of a crime (rape, incest, or pedophilia). In other cases it is criminalized. A doctor or anyone else who helps a woman to perform an abortion, including a partner, a family member, or a friend, may be punished with three years of imprisonment. A woman who has aborted is not prosecuted. For more than 20 years this very restrictive law has been called a compromise by conservative, liberal, and social-democratic politicians.
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.
By Ni Una Menos Collective
February 20, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Viewpoint Magazine — Last October 19, the call for a women’s strike to protest the femicide of sixteen year old Lucía Pérez, who was stabbed to death, connected male violence with forms of labor, economic, social, and territorial violence and precarization, and denounced them as a new “pedagogy of cruelty” on women’s bodies (in a scene with undeniable colonial echoes).
That femicide occurred the day after the 31st National Women’s Meeting in Rosario (Argentina), in which 70,000 women participated and, in a closing march, occupied forty street blocks. The meeting only appeared in the press because it was repressed at the end. At the beginning of that same month, women in Poland convoked a national strike rejecting the changes that were being imposed in local legislation to further restrict access to legal abortion.
Following the October 19 Women’s Strike and the formation of alliances of women from different parts of the world, the call emerged for an International Women’s Strike on March 8.