International Women’s Day: A salute to women’s resistance

The following statement was put out by the International Women’s Day ’08 Coalition based in New York City. FIST youth are leading members of this coalition.

To sign on to this statement, go to the www.troopsoutnow.org Web site.

* No war on women at home and worldwide

* Unite to win our liberation

On March 8, 1908, working women in the needle trade industry took to the streets of New York City demanding better working conditions, higher wages, shorter workdays and the overall improvement of women’s lives in this country.

These women marched through New York City demanding justice for women workers and immigrant workers; they were in fact working immigrant women.

The message and militancy of these women were so inspiring to women around the world that in 1910 the International Socialist Congress, meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, officially declared March 8 International Women’s Day.

This year, on the 100th anniversary of that historic march, we call on you to join us in commemoration of International Women’s Day 2008 to honor all the women who have fought for our liberation by continuing the fight for freedom today.

We are in the midst of a rise in attacks on women—including Black, Latina, Asian, Indigenous, Arab and white here in the U.S.—as well as women who originate or currently live in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East, Pacific Islands, Australia and Europe.

The attacks inside the U.S. include legal and extralegal attacks on our reproductive self-determination; an escalation of sexual assaults and rapes, like those against Megan Williams and Crystal Mangum; violence toward lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, like the persecution of the Jersey 4; and the detention and deportation of immigrant women and their families.

Artists worldwide are using their creativity to combat the anti-Black and anti-woman images we see in today’s corporate media machines. The media conglomerates peddle destructive mind-poison that hatefully twists and manipulates the images of women of all nationalities and backgrounds. These unrealistic messages promote the rape, abuse and murder of women and young girls everywhere.

Attacks on living standards and the war budget

The economic crisis is affecting women in a distinctive way. Women, young and old, are uniquely affected by the mortgage foreclosures; demolition of public housing in New Orleans, New York and elsewhere; evictions; lack of health care, childcare and job loss that this crisis—intensified by Wall Street’s greed for profits—has caused.

Women comprise the fastest-growing population of prisoners in the U.S.

Meanwhile, war on working-class youth and youth of color, including racist police brutality and militarization of schools, is demonizing and killing our children.

Cuts in funding for education and social programs are decreasing the quality of life of our youth. The illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are stealing our children, dehumanizing them and devaluing them into nothing more than property of the U.S. military, or worse, taking their lives.

The conditions for women worldwide have greatly deteriorated as a result of war, occupation and ruthless U.S. foreign policy.

The military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, costing trillions of our tax dollars, has caused a backward movement in women’s rights and freedoms in those countries, including a decrease in educational opportunities. Women in those countries are losing family members to murders and illegal detentions and are being sexually assaulted, killed and detained themselves.

The people of Palestine are under a violent and genocidal occupation by the U.S.-funded state of Israel. Women in the West Bank are seeing the demolition of their homes, the murder of their children and the imprisonment of Palestinian men and are being imprisoned and killed themselves. The women of Gaza are starving, dying of thirst and watching their children and loved ones die from lack of health care, water, food and income—all of this forced on them by the U.S. and Israeli blockade. In the most recent revolt against U.S. imperialism and Israeli apartheid, the women of Gaza played a key role in breaking through the Egyptian wall in order to obtain food, water and life necessities.

Women in Sudan and other areas of Africa are dying from U.S. sanctions; women in the Philippines are being rounded up and killed or imprisoned for resisting the U.S.-backed regime; the women of Latin America and the Caribbean are being affected by economic and political U.S. intervention, forcing them to live in poverty and leave their homes for the prospect of better opportunities.

Indigenous women are being brutally repressed for reclaiming their original lands throughout the Americas.

Worldwide sex trafficking has forced women and children into prostitution and illegal servitude. Often these women and children are kidnapped or forced into sex trafficking as a result of economic disparity rooted in imperialist plunder of their countries’ resources.

We mention all these issues because every issue is a woman’s issue.

What women are doing now to resist

The fight for women’s liberation has been a long road and will take unity and militancy to complete.

The growing numbers of new union members are largely women willing to stand up against their bosses and fight for justice at the workplace.

Mothers, wives, sisters and grandmothers are organizing challenges to racist cops who murder their sons, grandsons, husbands and partners with impunity.

Women are leading the fight against military recruiters in their children’s schools and their neighborhoods.

Women are fighting against the legal and extralegal heteronormative and homophobic assaults on the LGBT communities.

Military women are standing up and resisting the violence against their persons and the imperialist wars.

Women across the country are organizing against domestic violence, rapes and racist torture.

Women continue to band together to defend their right to control their own bodies and to fight for reproductive justice.

Women are standing up against the bulldozing of their homes and leading the struggles against displacement, gentrification, foreclosures and criminal landlords.

Women have mounted strong and united efforts against the destruction of our land, air, food, water and environmental racism.

Women organize to free their family members who are political prisoners.

Women band together in their communities to stop the lack of quality education, jobs, health care and a safety net for the disabled, seniors, poor families, the homeless and children.

Women stand up against the racist immigration policies that separate them from their children and families.

Women are struggling to recover their children from the so-called child welfare system.

Women will use their creativity to conjure what is nurturing, beautiful and strong about women in our songs, our dances, our poems, our drawings and our musical compositions.

Whether on the streets, in the schools or in our own homes, women will continue to organize their families and friends and will not stop until a more life-affirming depiction of the sustainers of our world becomes mainstream.

Our mission is to empower women worldwide as well as to bring to the attention of our sisters and brothers that we must challenge our oppressors’ divide-and-conquer tactics, such as racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia.

This call is for all of us to honor and uphold the great traditions of women warriors who continue to display courage, strength, wisdom and the will to resist against great odds. Organize, Resist and Build Our Movements for Victory!

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