North American Regional Administration of the IWW hopes to coordinate future general strike to end patriarchal oppression
CHICAGO — Today, on International Women’s Day, the Industrial Workers of the World stand in solidarity with our sister unions of the International Confederation of Labor in calling for an end to all forms of patriarchal oppression and the capitalist economic system that reinforces them. The ICL is working to help recover International Women’s Day as a day of mass struggle across the globe. Beginning last year, with the call for an International Women’s Strike coming from Argentina, revolutionary unions and feminist movements have worked together to make this strike a reality. For the second year in a row, feminist general strikes will have huge followings in Spain and Italy, and mass actions will take place in many other countries, including the US and Canada. In each country, the movements are focusing on the specific local forms of oppression, while also putting the spotlight on violence against women and making common cause with immigrants and refugees.
The IWW was the first union in North America to take seriously the struggle for women’s liberation, enshrining in its constitution that “No worker shall be excluded from the IWW because of race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, creed, disability, sexual orientation, or any other non-economic criterion . . .” Helen Keller, Margaret Sanger, Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, Lucy Parsons, Dorothy Day, and other celebrated feminists have all been proud members of our union.
Today, we find inspiration in our Fellow Workers and allies from around the world who have called for 24-hour feminist strikes. We know that some of our members and allies in North America are already abstaining from both paid and unpaid labor in solidarity, and are hopeful that this will become much more massive next year. International Working Women’s Day was born in North America after the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in 1911. It is time to revive March 8 as a day of mass struggle in North America and around the globe. It is our hope that the wave of successful worker-led strikes and direct action tactics among teachers, flight attendants, and nurses that we’ve seen over the past few years will grow into a coordinated grassroots effort, gaining momentum to launch an effective feminist general strike in North America in the years to come. This will be a major step to destroying a system which is based on gender violence and oppression, and building a free world where all of us belong.
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