This pamphlet is the result of a program celebrating International Working Women's Day which was held at Emancipation Hall, Delta Books, in New Orleans, LA. on March 8, 1986. The program was dedicated to the role of working class women in the struggles against exploitation, for socialist revolution and national liberation.
Both the program and the pamphlet represent the collective efforts of a multi-national, ad-hoc committee of working women of all ages associated with the Trade Union Action League, the Liberation League, and the Revolutionary Political Organization (Marxist-Leninist). The speeches, poems, and songs in this pamphlet were all presented at the program. They are reproduced here in order to preserve and disseminate information about the courageous and revolutionary heritage of working women in the struggle for social emancipation.
The valor and dedication of the women whose lives are depicted here are an inspiration to working women everywhere who are fighting against exploitation and for revolution. We hope that this pamphlet will help to revive the revolutionary tradition of International Working Women's Day, celebrating the victories of the past, the struggles of today, and the bright future that lies ahead.
March 8, International Working Women's Day, is an occasion to celebrate, a day set aside in honor of women workers world-wide. It is a day to demonstrate against all forms of women's oppression under capitalism and to further the struggle for the complete emancipation of women.
The original women's day was initiated in the United States on March 8, 1908, when working women, from the home and the garment sweatshops, demonstrated in New York City for the right to vote and against capitalist exploitation.
In 1910 the International Socialist Conference designated March 8 as International Women's Day. Rosa Luxemburg, a revolutionary socialist leader whose life is described in this pamphlet, was one of the delegates to the conference who supported the resolution.
International Women's Day became a symbol of the world-wide struggle against capitalism and the oppression of women. In 1917 in Petrograd, Russia, 90,000 workers went on strike, joined by thousands upon thousands of women. In 1927, women throughout central Asia demonstrated against laws which enslaved women. In 1936 in Spain, 80,000 women in Madrid demonstrated against fascism.
Today, International Working Women's Day is an important part of our fight against the exploitation of women in the United States and world-wide. In the U.S. today women workers are paid about half the wages paid to men, women still bear the main responsibility of household chores and child-rearing, and the political, social and economic rights of women are still restricted. Meanwhile, women of all ages continue to be subjected to degradation, male chauvinism and physical assaults.
Women workers are oppressed because they are workers under capitalism and oppressed because they are women under capitalism: a double burden of oppression. For those women who are members of the oppressed nations (Afro-American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, etc.) the burden is tripled. The oppression of women stems from capitalism. Working women can only be freed by smashing the capitalist system and building a genuine socialist society.
This is the goal of the struggle for the complete emancipation of women. This celebration of International Working Women's Day is dedicated to the heroines and leaders in the fight for freedom and the struggles of everyday working women for their emancipation.
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