8th of March is the day women remember why they struggle against patriarchy, oppression, inequality and violence, and the roots of them all: capitalism and class society. It’s a day they remember that none is free until all are free. Women’s struggles are not about reproducing patriarchy, but about smashing it. It’s about understanding how capitalism enslaves them and in that understanding finding the solutions to put an end to it. Women don’t fight for chocolate and flowers. They fight for liberation. It’s a joy that two transgender women were featured in google doodle, but it’s not enough. The shocking statistics explain just in part why this struggle is still crucial.
SPAIN: ”We are the nieces of the witches you could not burn”, chanted thousands of women – and men – as they took it to the streets of Barcelona at midnight on March 8th to reclaim the night (#lanitesnostra). The point of departure was the solidarity protest with the women caged in prisons. From their cells, state prisoners responded to the chants of women on the other side of the fences, and in uniting their voices, through the prison’s walls, they reasserted that none is free until all are free.
Their rally continued on the streets of Barcelona to protest against the government’s intention to nationalize their bodies again and force them to give birth. In Pamplona and Madrid, too, thousands protested against banning abortion. Read here more about state oppression against women and resistance to capitalism in Spain.
TURKEY: Wearing witches hats, the symbol of state terrorism against women to destroy their autonomy and submit them to capitalism, in Istanbul women stoop up to cops who tried to stop their march.
Turkey is a country where politicians’ verbal violence against women openly encourages rape culture and violence against them. Sick idiots from the ruling party blamed unemployment – created by capitalism – on women, and they constantly make statements like this: ”A Rapist is more innocent than a woman who has an abortion”, or that a woman who gets pregnant when raped should die instead of getting an abortion. You can read them all here. Warning: they are disturbing.
According to a report published by Eskişehir Bar Association, women’s murders have increased by 1400% within the first seven years of AKP government coming to power. Several government departments tasked with protecting women and promoting gender equality have either been either disbanded or restructured to promote traditional values instead, including women’s shelters and “The Ministry of Women and Family” which has now become “The Ministry of Family and Social Policies”.
Just three days ago, a 19-year old woman was shot dead by her ex-boyfriend on a public bus in Istanbul, becoming the 33rd woman murdered by a close one since the beginning of this year.
In Istanbul women battled the cops and they sprayed the women liberation sign on their shields, one of the most clear message they could send the state.
Women marched to take back the nights – a rally against sexual violence – in Ankara and Izmir, and were joined by the activists ”Pink Caretta” from the Akdeniz University who stood up for LGBT rights. There were also ralies and protests in Yalova, Kırklareli, Bursa, Amed, Diyarbakır. Video of women’s protests in Ankara, subtitles in English:
LEBANON: In Lebanon, thousands of women took to the streets of Beirut to demand protection against domestic violence, which is rampant: at least one woman is killed each month. It was a non-partisan display “rarely seen in Lebanon’s highly politicised climate”. Women demonstrated against religious opposition and political gridlock who delay adoption for the first time of a law against domestic violence.
PHILIPPINES: “The lives of women, especially those from the marginalized sectors, have worsened rather than improved belying the Aquino government’s claim of inclusive growth.” In Manilla, some 10,000 women marched from Liwasang Bonifacio in Lawton to Chino Roces Bridge (former Mendiola Bridge) to hold President Benigno S. Aquino III accountable for neglecting and being a burden to the people.
The women’s group Gabriela symbolically smashed through the walls of the state.
Various women’s groups stormed the bustling central business district of Makati City to protest the government’s policy to promote mining. They oppose corporate mining in Philippines for it it violates women’s rights and destroys the resources of life.
GREECE: Greek feminists and cleaning women who have been suspended on reduced pay pending transfer to other public sector jobs or dismissal demonstrated in Athens.
RUSSIA: In St. Petersburg, women activists marched on the streets, holding a banner which read: “Don’t slim, don’t cook, don’t submit“.
GERMANY: In Germany, women took it to the streets to show solidarity to women oppressed all over the world, and proclaimed the the fight is far from over. ”Feminism or barbarism” read one of the most impressive banners from their protest.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: This video by a group of London creatives is going viral on the internet. A woman’s day through her eyes. Trigger Warning: domestic violence.
CAMBODIA: In Cambodia, A show of force by authorities today at Cambodia’s Freedom Park suppressed the International Women’s Day March and a planned public forum on garment industry issues, causing union leaders to cancel the event, read a full report here. Read a disturbing report here on child rape which is endemic and accepted in Cambodia: over two-thirds (214) of 312 reported rape cases were attacks on children.
Women make the most slave workers in garment industry in Asia, and hundreds are killed as a result of capitalist exploitation. Never forget the capitalist crimes in Bangladesh.
EGYPT: In Egypt, state terrorism is most brutally employed when it comes to women. You can read here how they are exposed to brutality, torture, and rape under the military tyranny. More images, here.
“Marking the International Women’s Day, over a thousand people marched from Tala’at Harb Square to the High Court. The protesters, mainly women, demanded rights for women in Egypt. The march also had a political tone, with calls for the downfall of the regime, President Mohamed Morsi, and the Muslim Brotherhood.” Source
IRAQ: In Iraq, torture of female prisoners is widespread, just as in the time of Saddam. “Iraq’s judicial system continues to rely mainly on confessions to determine the guilt of prisoners. Last year there were 1,200 men and women on Iraq’s death row, and most of them had confessed to their crimes after undergoing torture. It does not matter what you are accused of, once in prison the Iraqi government will make sure that you confess, one way or another. If you yourself are able to withstand the torture, then your family will be threatened.” Source
In Qalandiya, 400 women marched to the Israeli checkpoint holding signs and shouting slogans against the occupation of Israel. The Israeli army dispersed the protest using tear gas and stun grenades.
In honor of International Women’s Day, Activestills remembered the activist women who work for justice and a better future for all in Israel/Palestine.
AUSTRALIA: In Sydney, thousands of women and men demonstrated to “Stop Zoe’s Law!” and for “Equal pay now!” “We are facing the biggest attack on our reproductive rights that this country has seen in recent history with the introduction of a foetal personhood law (titled “Zoe’s Law”) in NSW Parliament. The bill has already passed the NSW Lower House and will come before the Upper House sometime after it resumes in March.”
UNITED STATES: In San Antonio, Texas, women fought back against the closure of abortion clinics, separation from their families due to deportations, and repression against organizing in the workplace. Immigration needs to be a feminist issue.
Demonstrations took place to free Marissa Alexander. In dozens of cities women protested violence, inequality, against the attacks on their autonomy and remembered all that immigration is a feminist issue. One activist spoke at a rally in New York, organized by WORD, about the dire conditions migrant workers from the Philippines face. In Washington state 750 immigrants at a state detention centre have a hunger strike.
INDIA: In India, women demonstrated against the state and society deep embedded patriarchy and rape culture, and in a symbolic manifestation they reclaimed the buses, where last year a student was brutally raped, beaten and killed. Almost 100 police officers are still allowed to keep their jobs, though they raped women.
PERU: In Lima, women activists, dressed in red, protested in front of the Ministry of Women, representing a human “red carpet” to symbolize women’s rights being trampled by the government.
JORDAN: Women and children demonstrated for the right of women to be able to pass their nationality to their children.
IRELAND: Thousands of women protested against inequality, domestic violence and lack of abortion rights.
MEXICO: “We rebellious Zapatistas, along with our mother earth, are threatened with destruction in our Mexican homeland. Both above and below the earth’s surface, the bad governments and bad rich people, all neoliberal capitalists, want to commodify everything they see. They want to own everything. They are destructive, they are murderers, criminals, rapists. They are cruel and inhuman, they torture and disappear people, and they are corrupt. They are every bad thing you can imagine, they do not care about humanity. They are, in fact, inhuman.” Read more, here.
UNITED KINGDOM: Women took it to the streets of London to protest the austerity inflicted on society by the conservative government, which hits women and children the hardest.
”Feminism is for all women and girls, not a privileged few or one ethnicity, religion, age, sexual preference, ability, region or hemisphere. Women born and raised on this fragile planet have more uniting us than dividing us – and it’s the job of feminists to help us realise that. Those are my standards. Otherwise, bring on dissent!” Source
“So, we move from the particular to more general solutions. Destroy capitalism. End patriarchy. Smash heterosexism. All are obviously essential tasks in the building of a new and truly human world. Marxists, other socialists, social anarchists, feminists – all would agree. But what the socialist, and even some feminists, leave out is this: We must smash all forms of domination. That’s not just a slogan, and it is the hardest task of all. It means that we have to see through the spectacle, destroy the stage sets, know that there are other ways of doing things. It means that we have to do more than react in programmed rebellions – we must act. And our actions will be collectively taken, while each person acts autonomously. Does that seem contradictory? It isn’t – but it will be very difficult to do. The individual cannot change anything very much; for that reason, we have to work together. But that work must be without leaders as we know them, and without delegating any control aver what we do and what we want to build.” Carol Ehrlich’s important essay, here.
More about women’ struggles for liberation:
Incidents in the life of a slave girl – Harriet Jacobs
Sex, Race and Class: How capitalism and the Left have mystified the real relationships between these categories, here.
Free women of Spain – Martha A. Ackelsberg
Photos show women jailed chanting from their prison cells together with the women gathered outside the prison walls, Spain, 8th March 2014:
Decolonizing women’s history: Max Dashu on recovering women’s history, MEGHAN MURPHY
“No one ever asks what a man’s role in the revolution is”: Gender and sexual politics in the Black Panther Party 1966-1971 – Trace Matthews
No God, no boss, no husband: The world’s first anarcha-feminist group. An account of the first anarchist-feminist group in Argentina during the 1890s, here.
Union maids, here
One dimensional woman – Nina Power
Wages against housework – Silvia Federici
Witches, midwives, and nurses: A history of women healers – Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English