(The speech is posted below)
Message of Solidarity from the Women’s Commission of the Socialist Party USA:
We bring you greetings and solidarity from the Socialist Party USA. NOW is the time for us all to come together, leaving the past but not its lessons behind us. Those lessons were hard earned and are in danger of being lost amid the memes and tropes that pass for information in this time of anti-feminism, bigotry and outright misogyny. The shame of ignoring, discounting and undermining over half of the human race must not be allowed to continue. It is time for each of us to stand and be counted as advocates, allies and comrades of the women of the world. The cries of our sisters who suffer under the yoke of capitalism and burdens imposed by sexism, from Africa to the United States, ring out for equality and justice. We can wait no longer. Sisters and brothers, we are not the first, second or even third wave of feminism, we have become the sea which beats against the shore of inequity and inequality. Together, in unity and solidarity, we will overcome the bastions of privilege and patriarchy. For the sake of all, we MUST win! For the sake of all, we WILL win! Solidarity and Feminism FOREVER!
Chicago Socialist Party’s Speech:
Over one hundred years ago, in 1909 the Socialist Party held the first women’s day in reverent honor of the international ladies’ garment workers strike of 1908, which inspired the creation of International Working Women’s Day during the second communist international the following year. As time has moved on, the radical political message of this day has become commoditized and consumerized to fit the Madison avenue political correctness of capitalist society today. By changing International Working Womens Day into International Womens Day the elites have erased from view the political and socioeconomic struggles that all working women face on a daily basis, and have attempted to erase the rich history of blood sweat and tears that this great day represents, yet they cannot because there are men and women like you from all walks of life that are willing to stand against this offense to the working class!
The word feminism has been thrown around so much and used in so many contexts that it is understandable that people can be confused as to what it is. It is the simple idea that women should be considered equals to men and have the ability to freely determine the fate and quality of their own lives. That’s it. It is not about domination of the female gender and sex, yet it is treated as so by our society who remains brainwashed by bigotry and corporate media as a means to foster divides between us. Here in the belly of capitalism we understand how our differences are used against us, however there still remains privilege and prejudice within the feminist movement, as we are all products of the capitalist system and still maintain a degree of cultural brainwashing and baggage. We all know that there can be no socialism without feminism, however there can be no feminism without intersectionality. The struggles that women face are diverse and many, these struggles are unique; there is no one way to define feminism for feminism is shaped by the many cultures, races, ethnicities, religions, classes, genders and experiences of women around the world. Intersectionality is present in all situations and experiences and must remain an unshakable tenet of International Working Women’s Day!
As for our brothers: we must understand that the struggle of women is a necessary struggle, and that women must be the ones to liberate themselves, we must be mindful and respectful of this endeavor. However men also have an important role in this movement, as their struggle is our struggle as well, their pain is our pain and their fight is also our fight! As socialists our goal is to create a better world for all of humanity, however in order for us to create a better society, a more just and fair society, we must put class struggle back into international working womens day, for without class struggle all men and women will have is the unequal opportunity to become wage slaves!
For over a hundred years society has believed in the lie of capitalist prosperity, only to have our prosperity grow out of the misery, the suffering, and stark naked exploitation of primarily our poor and our foreign sisters. This is outright ignored by the republicans, and spun around by the democrats in order obfuscate the issues, however, we all know there is something very, very wrong with this country. We claim to be the freest nation in the world, the most just nation in the world, the most humane country in the world when our actions speak volumes otherwise.
How can we call ourselves a humane society, if women, the LGBT community and children are still beaten, raped, murdered, harassed, chastised, degraded, sold as slaves, and exploited here and around the world? When we create the economic and political instability in Latin America which forces tens of thousands of women and young girls to risk murder, torture and rape just to come to this nation to then risk being sold into prostitution as slaves or being used as cheap expendable labor? How can we call ourselves a just society, when any attempt to shine light upon these injustices is either ignored or openly combatted by institutional racism and sexism? And how can we call ourselves a free society, when half of the human population, remains subjugated by the other half? Brothers and sisters we live in a divided society, rather, a society that promotes division and competition over unity and cooperation in an effort to keep us all subjugated and complacent, to keep us all in chains for the profit of the rich. We cannot wait on politicians for action, we cannot beg or plead for mercy, nor can we afford to keep faith in a system that was constructed to keep us oppressed to begin with! Know this, that it is we who must break our chains and liberate ourselves from oppression! That it is we, the people, who have the power to change the world and our lives! That it is we, the people, who run the factories and offices, who make this city work. Know that it is we who make the billionaires their profits and it is we who have the sole power to bring them to their knees! Men and women must work together if we are to achieve true liberation, for women hold up the other half of the sky! Together we must combat capitalism and every institution and social construct created by, and that supports the proliferation of the most cancerous system of humankind! For I tell you that only through the dissolution of these institutions of oppression can we even BEGIN to lay the FOUNDATIONS of our emancipation!!! We can, we must, we will continue to fight, to attain the seemingly unattainable freedoms and rights that all human beings deserve under a radical new system that promotes the best qualities of humanity! The long and arduous struggle for womens emancipation is a necessary component in the liberation of humankind and to my valiant sisters engaged in this daily struggle we at the Socialist Party USA are proud to be at your side in these turbulent times, for we all were born and raised from the labor of a woman, and as fruits of their labor we must strive to struggle for them to receive the full fruits of their labor and to dissolve the institutions that oppress us all!