From the Editors: Women at the Forefront of Leading the Struggles
March 8th is recognized the world over as International Women’s Day. So too, it is commemorated as International Working Women’s Day. That history cannot and must not be lost. International Working Women’s day serves as a commemoration and reminder of the pivotal role working class women have played in shaping the historic struggles of our class. Today, as we shift into new battles based on rapidly changing conditions, women continue to lead, shaping and fighting out the struggles of our time. Today is upon us and tomorrow is on the horizon. We must always look forward even while reflecting back.
The great economic, social and political upheavals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries shook the world and rocked the foundations of old dying orders. From Ireland to China, Mexico to Russia, throughout the streets of Chicago and New York City, across the globe, placards were raised, social mores were challenged, and tyrants and aristocracies of various stripes, waving their varied banners, were challenged by new forces. Much of these new and arising ideas and organizations demanded nothing short of their full and total emancipation from the bondage of class rule. It was in the context of those times that in 1900 The International Ladies Garment Workers Union was formed. Nine years later in New York City, the first Women’s Day was celebrated in commemoration of their great strike of 1908 just one-year prior. In 1911 news of the Triangle Factory fire claiming the lives of 146 garment workers, mostly young women and teenage girls between the ages of 16 and 23, galvanized the fight for safer working conditions. At the head of this struggle was of course The International Ladies Garment Workers Union.
From the real life Rosie the Riveter, to very real organizers like Fannie Lou Hamer, from the Soldaderas of the Mexican Revolution to the Russian women of the Russian Revolution women were at the forefront of every historically significant struggle of the twentieth century. As society once again finds itself immersed in economic, social and political turmoil, women as members of a new class of workers, those either thrown out of, or thrown to the margins of the economy, are rising up to the historical challenges of our day.
Today, as electronic production destroys the old industrial economy and society, women are once again in the forefront of the fight for a new society. Women disproportionately represented in the lowest paid sections of the working class, are in direct conflict with the State to gain access to the necessaries of daily life. The problems of our time cannot be solved in the old way. The myriad of interlocking crises of our day can only be resolved by the winning of a cooperative society.
From Ferguson to Tahrir Square, from the Wisconsin State Capitol Rotunda to the Moral Monday struggles, from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter, from the Dream Defenders, to the Dreamers everywhere, there is struggle and women are leading from behind the scenes and on the front lines of the struggle for a new society. March 8th is a day to celebrate and commemorate the contributions of women to the struggle for our collective emancipation. Let us celebrate it, while always remembering the struggle continues.
March/April 2015 Vol25.Ed2
This article originated in Rally, Comrades!
P.O. Box 477113 Chicago, IL 60647 email@example.com
Free to reproduce unless otherwise marked.
Please include this message with any reproduction.
The age-old vision of a world without scarcity, without exploitation, class domination, organized violence, and stultifying labor has been the dream of millenia. The new completely socialized labor-eliminating means of production ... sets the basis for its realization. Now human history can begin, the light of the individual shining in the full brightness of liberated life, that can only be realized within true equality and cooperation: communism, a cooperative society.'Without Vision, the People Perish'
Rally, Comrades ! May/June 2011