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(en) France, Rebellion #32 - International Women’s Day on March 8

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 9 Mar 2005 09:24:43 +0100 (CET)

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International Women’s Day on March 8 hearkens back to a US women textile
workers’ strike for better working and living conditions. According to
some sources, March 8 recalls the fate of 146 women workers who died in
the Triangle Shirtwaist fire because they were locked in by the bosses.
In 1909 North American socialists organized the first national day
honouring the women’s struggle. In 1911 the first international day took
place in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and the USA. A tradition was
begun to claim and extend legal rights for women, even in the most
backward and reactionary parts of the world.

In Switzerland as well, March 8 was traditionally a day of national
demonstrations by women. Whatever happened to that day of struggle and
March 8 has been reduced more and more to a simple day of remembrance of
past battles. Some discussions on women’s issues are held, or some
parties put on by women for women, but struggle is no longer the order
of the day. The hopes raised during the June 14,1994, women’s strike
have long since come crashing down.

However, the women’s struggle is still more necessary than ever. Just
because the last Swiss township has finally been forced to allow women
the right to vote does not mean that things have changed for women in a
society still dominated by men. During this neo-liberal offensive, in
which the economy dictates political priorities and social
infrastructures are under such pressure, women are the first and the
hardest hit. Job discrimination ensures that women earn less than their
male co-workers and that the majority of their unpaid/under-paid labour
will continue (housework, education, nursing, etc.).

Neo-liberalism and conservative attacks call into question how much we
really have won in the women’s movement. Conservative values are
resurgent, and the freedoms already attained by women are still not
secure. On the job market, women are still the last hired and first
fired, and conservative values would send them back to the do the cooking.

Furthermore, entire areas of work are “feminized,” so that women are the
vast majority of wage-earners there, lowering wages and eroding working
conditions. In today’s society, women are doubly discriminated against—
as women and as workers. The fact that some women attain positions of
power (management or political positions) changes nothing in the
situation of women as a whole. To the contrary, these “successful“ ones
are used as alibis to give provide phoney and pious “equal opportunity.”
The struggle of women is more necessary than ever. Social equality is
impossible without equality between women and men. An emancipated
society can only be based upon the liberation of women. From this point
of view, women’s liberation is in the best interests of men.

The struggle of women is not only limited to March 8 and June 14. It
keeps rolling everyday, in many different struggles, political
organizations and autonomous projects. Politically, there cannot be some
thematic choice between the women’s struggle and other struggles. The
women’s struggle affects all our struggles and must be woven together
with them all in order for real social change to be possible. The
struggle for women’s liberation is a struggle for the liberation of all!
No one can be free as long as oppression anywhere exists.

Text from Rebellion # 32,
journal of the Libertarian Socialist Organization

Original: Journée de lutte des femmes
Translated from French by SonofTomJoad, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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