March 8 as International Women’s Day has deep roots in the socialist movement, with Clara Zetkin calling for a special women’s day at the 1910 Conference of Working Women held in Copenhagen. Though initially no specific day was proposed, International Working Women’s Day, as it was then known, was commemorated by people across Europe and Russia with demonstrations and protests demanding labor rights and suffrage for women.
Celebrating IWD 2021 requires a certain kind of veneration for ALL women across the world who have ensured the survival of their families and communities. We have seen that women work, women fight and they’ve done so day after day within restrictions and limited resources. As transnational feminists, AF3IRM women declare our support for our sisters in the global south who have tirelessly fought not just in the past year, but for most of their lives, inheriting critical struggles from their mothers and grandmothers.
We support our sisters in India who are at the frontlines of the waves of protests demanding rights for farmers, demanding a repeal against laws that threaten their livelihoods. They have pushed through, amid harassment and bullying from state forces, to rage against a government that prioritizes corporations.
We stand in staunch solidarity with our sisters in Mexico, who are knocking on the doors of the presidential palace to demand an end to femicide and violence against women. Feminists are rising up against Felix Salgado Macedonio, an accused rapist who is a member of the government and is set to run for governor of the state of Guerrero. The current president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has expressed his support for Macedonio and is feeling the wrath of feminists. A barricade has been put up around the presidential palace ahead of the women’s march, a testament to the State’s fear of women’s organizing.
We extend our utmost respect and admiration to our sisters in Myanmar who are now entering the one-month mark of their resistance against the military junta. Women as young as 17 have led protests; teachers and healthcare workers have organized a nationwide Civil Disobedience Movement. They’ve lost sisters in the fight– teenaged protesters shot in the head by the police. We are in awe of their endurance, their use of wit and creativity to fight against and abolish a brutal regime that has marginalized, tortured, raped, and murdered– uninterrupted– for decades.
We salute our sisters in the Philippines who courageously took to the streets on March 8, demanding workers’ rights, better and humane pandemic measures, exposing the government’s misogynistic tactics and its “anti-terrorism” campaign that has resulted in state-sanctioned arrests and killings of activists and journalists. Though they have been subjected to the strictest pandemic lockdown in the world, Filipinas continually toil and fight against a strongman whose legacy includes the extrajudicial killings of his people and a botched pandemic response, with the Philippines being the last Southeast Asian country to receive a Covid-19 vaccine supply.
In the US, healthcare workers are still battling this relentless disease, with Filipino healthcare workers, mostly women, bearing the brunt of it all. A year later, this community is still counting its dead. AF3IRM’s transnational committee launched an online memorial, Kanlungan.net, to honor these lives and their families.
Yes, a year later with 525K deaths in the US alone, we are still waiting for justice and accountability. We couldn’t even properly mourn the dead. Today, March 8, is also for remembering that 2.3 million women have left the labor force since February 2020. Throngs of women have had to quit their jobs to take the reins at home and ensure the survival of their families. The pandemic has exacerbated the already disproportionate division of domestic labor between men and women.
We take into account the plight of women under the pandemic to express grave concern about
movements– launched in cities like New York, Boston, and Washington DC– to expand the highly exploitative sex trade, and remove punishments specific to predators. We take seriously the glaring mistake present in these movements to not center BIWOC and children who will be further marginalized by this proposal. We said it last year, and we will say it again: This is not sisterhood. This is not solidarity. This is a concerted effort funded by a white capitalist agenda that will further marginalize women of color, the feminized, and children from low-income communities.
On International Women’s Day, we join our transnational sisterhood in declaring ever so loudly:
Enough to exploiting and commodifying our bodies!
Enough to desecrating our lands!
Enough to killing our children!
Enough to marginalizing our communities!
Enough to disenfranchising our elders!
Enough to silencing our voices!
Following is our list of chapter events for March 2021. Please refer to our chapter’s social media pages for further details.
Scheduled Actions for Chapters and Organizing Committees:
SF/Bay Area: International Women’s Day Podcast
New York: March 6 Webinar Mourning in a Pandemic
Los Angeles: March 8 Social media series saluting Women Who Sustained the World During the Pandemic
Twin Cities & LA: March 25 Panel with Christine Stark (collab with T. Cities) on the intersection of sex trade + MMIWG
Hawaii: March 8 Banner drops highlighting the essential work of mothers and caregivers
Seattle: March 16 Transnational Feminism: Why Intersectionality Matters Seattle Against Slavery and March 8 Statement and SOCMED series
Las Vegas: March 8 Collection of social media graphics to highlight foremothers’ work + statement release
San Diego: IG series highlighting WOC small businesses