This Sunday, March 8, join us for the 101st commemoration of the International Working Women’s Day. International Working Womens Day was created in the early 20th century by revolutionaries (revolutionary women in particular) such as Clara Zetkin, Aleksandra Kollontai, and Vladimir Lenin. The day was set to mark the fact that a revolution against capitalism and imperialism is incomplete if it does not address half of the population, women, who are exploited under capitalism and imperialism, national oppression, and have to suffer patriarchal oppression at home, in the street, and their work place.
Despite the explicitly anti-capitalist sentiment of International Working Women’s Day, liberal feminists still use the rhetoric of women’s equality and deprive it of class consciousness. In this type of feminism, it is conceived that laws addressing equality for men and women are adequate to ending women’s struggle as women can take advantage of these laws to overcome their oppressive conditions. However, women of the most oppressed classes and backgrounds are still shut out from genuine progress, and their concerns and issues are largely left unaddressed.
While liberal feminism does not make leaps and bounds in the women’s question, radical feminism serves as a hindrance to itself by glossing over historical materialism and instead attributing women’s oppression to patriarchal gender relations independent of class and national oppression – meaning oppress women for the simple reason they are men.
Proletarian feminism arose as a response to the failure of bourgeois/liberal feminism to address the issues and concerns of the most oppressed and exploited women. Working class women, women of oppressed nationalities, and transwomen. Unlike radical feminism, proletarian feminism is a continuously developing theory that puts a nuanced, scientific, and materialist analysis of women’s oppression and illuminates the ways in which the women’s liberation struggle is indivisible from the class struggle and the struggle of oppressed nations against imperialism. How this looks like in practice in many places around the world is the organizing of armed self-defense guards for working women as well the integrating of oppressed women into mass movements to combat white supremacy and hetero-patriarchy that are inherent in capitalism-imperialism.
As revolutionary youth and students, it is important for us to remember that only through militantly struggling against the oppressive capitalist-imperialist system we can achieve our full potential in serving the masses of the people. Part and parcel of that struggle for people’s liberation is women’s liberation.
We see women in the United States who watch their rapists walk freely as they are burdened with the aftermath, while facing reactionary restrictions from adequate healthcare. We see women who are victims of police brutality, and fall prey to a white supremacist justice system. We unite with the women of Guatemala who are forced to raise families working for foreign corporations paying them a few cents a day, so many of whom also suffer and die from mass rape and mutilation. We remember to struggle for women in Congo who are kidnapped and mass raped, and put into physical conditions they will never overcome; who are then thrown back into their communities where they are rejected by their own partners because they are now “damaged.” We roar for women of Palestine who are thrown out of their homes, whose children get snatched away by the IDF, who are alienated from their own homeland. We stand with women in the Philippines who are forced into sex work for U.S. military camps. We uphold the rights of women in Bangladesh who work in deadly garment factories and various other precarious jobs in order to help feed their families.
As proletarian feminists, we address the issues and concerns of women all over the world who carry the crushing weight of capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy, and national oppression on their backs. We invite you all to come march with us this March 8 to commemorate the sacrifices and struggle of working and oppressed women from all over the world who have nothing to lose but their chains!