March 7, 2012

MARCH 8: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY


While International Women's Day will be celebrated in many countries in the world, in the United States not so much and definitely not with any knowledge or acknowledgement of its history and meaning.  There may be some recognition of women's rights but no respect for its history as International Working Women's Day.  Today the first hit I got on Google said, "See how Goldman Sachs helps women around the world".

There are two important events that should always be remembered in any celebration of this day.  The first action was organized in 1908 by socialist women in the United States struggling for the right to vote and promoting the Women's Trade Union League.  On that day they filled the streets of New York City with 15,000 marchers.  The following year they hit the streets again in support of an upcoming garment workers strike.  In 1910 the Women's Conference of the Socialist International proclaimed solidarity with all women workers and initiated international celebrations on March 8 starting in 1911.

In 1917 International Working Women's Day was celebrated by a demonstration of 90,000 in Petrograd led by striking women textile workers demanding bread, an end to war, down with the Czar and the police.  When they were attacked more workers and sailors joined in the struggle which ended with a defeat for the police and in four days the overthrow of the Czar and his government.

International Working Women's Day was a day of militant activity that changed the world and the only way we can start to get it back our day is to continue to tell its history.

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