Workers World EDITORIAL
International Women’s Day
Published Mar 2, 2006 12:27 AM

International Women’s Day, March 8, was born out of the struggles of working women, many of them immigrants, in New York City in the early 1900s. The day was officially proclaimed in 1910 at an Inter national Women’s Socialist Confer ence in Copenhagen after being proposed by Ger man socialist Clara Zetkin. It became a day of solidarity with women’s struggles against oppression, poverty and war worldwide.

Women garment workers in Russia began three days of strikes and demonstr ations on that date in 1917. They were so militant and forceful that they sparked the revolutionary struggle that overthrew the czar.

Since then, International Women’s Day has been commemorated by women’s organi zations, revolutionary groupings, national liberation movements and socialist countries. From sit-ins opposing globalization, to prison breaks to free political prisoners, to protests against U.S. militarism, this day has been marked with militancy and creativity.

What has happened to women in the U.S. since that historic demonstration nearly a century ago? Women have fought for and won many political and social gains, but there is no equality and their achievements are threatened. More than ever, a small grouping of billionaires holds the rest of society hostage to their insatiable greed for profits and dreams of world conquest. Income inequality is growing as capitalist owners and their executives grab more of society’s wealth and resources. Through control of the government, they are hammering away at vital programs, such as health care for poor women and children, while pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into the war budget.

This gang of robber barons is attacking the economic, political and social gains made by women, people of color, and all poor and working people. They never stop trying to divide the working class with reactionary ideologies of racism, sexism and anti-gay bigotry. A favorite target is women’s reproductive rights, including contraception, sex education and access to abortion. Women with children are their target, too.

What will it take to counter the right-wing attacks coming especially from the Repub lican Right? Can women expect the Demo cratic Party to help? A look at how they caved in when faced with the nomination of anti-woman Supreme Court nominee Sam uel Alito tells the true story. And Hillary Rodham Clinton, who wants to be the first woman president, is for sending more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan—which would be paid for by further cuts in the social programs that women of all ages rely on. There must be women at every level of the government, but bourgeois tokenism isn’t the answer to women’s oppression.

Women have an especially large stake in fighting for a society where the ownership of the wealth and resources is taken out of the hands of the few and shared by all.

In this struggle, working-class women will be leaders of the multi-national force—African American, Latino, Asian and Native—that can break politically with the capitalist parties and fight for a total overhaul of society.

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