“…These women struggle daily against odds which are stifling and yet they can be found in each community in this country organizing small welfare rights groups, or tenants rights groups, or black associations or police brutality watch groups. These women are tireless workers whose thirst for a better life is quenched only when they themselves are involved in the fight to make a better world. And because everyday of my life, I work with these women, I know that they are the lifeblood of our mighty resistance struggle. Because I am one of these women, I feel the agony of their pain and the frustration of their quest to be an integral part of the army which ultimately will be victorious over human rights violations here and abroad.”– Afeni Shakur, International Working Women’s Day Statement, n.d.
“In order to build a new society in which women and all people can live up to our true potential, this system must end. The end of imperialism does not ensure liberation of women, of course. It is a struggle that continues as the new society is built. It is impossible, however, for women’s liberation to be achieved unless imperialism is defeated.”– “Women’s Liberation and Puerto Rican Independence,” New Movement in Solidarity with Puerto Rico Newsletter, No. 4-5, Feb-March 1981
Happy International Working Women’s Day! Though more commonly called International Women’s Day (IWD), March 8 finds its origins in a rich history of proletarian struggle among women. From the 1908 garment strike in New York and the International Conference of Working Women in 1910 to the 1917 IWD mobilization in Russia, which shortly preceded the abdication of the Russian Tsar, the international holiday is commemorated across the globe with women coming together to rise up, strike, march, and protest against unfair working conditions. Though the holiday often engages the plight of working women, it has historically been celebratory in tone, emphasizing the resilience and great achievements of working women throughout history and around the world. Especially in countries of the global south and among vibrant National Liberation struggles, IWD is a major holiday celebrating the leadership and enormous contributions of women in leading the struggle against imperialism.
To commemorate IWD, we’re sharing a couple of statements from our collections which reflect the working class and anti-imperialist spirit of March 8th. Click the images below to access the full text.