England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

Reclaim the radical roots of International Women’s Day this 8 March

Despite being turned into a corporate day festival in recent decades, International Women’s Day (IWD) started off as a day of struggle.

By Wren, Socialist Alternative London

In March 1908, following the death of 140 young workers in a factory fire, 30,000 striking workers took to streets of New York City to demand safer working conditions, a pay rise, and the right to vote. The continuation of this wave of strikes and protests, despite police brutality, attracted a lot of attention and support from suffragettes, students, and socialists nationally.

This led the Socialist Party of America to declare 8 March 1909 the first “National Women’s Day” in recognition of their struggle. In the second ever International Socialist Women’s Conference (August 1910), Clara Zetkin proposed an annual celebration of striking women workers in March. The significance of the day was further cemented in 1917, when women workers of a textile factory took it to the streets of now St Petersburg chanting “bread, peace, freedom” and planting the seeds of the Russian Revolution.

Today, women and gender-variant people continue to be the forefront of the anti-capitalist struggle as the ruling class attempts to stay in power through the divide and rule tactics of the culture wars, and further alienation of the already marginalised. 2023 saw a historically high number of anti-trans attacks in Britain, the US, and other parts of the world. And while in many instances these attacks are done in the name of ‘protecting women’s rights’, bodily autonomy and abortion rights are being targeted by the same reactionary forces and domestic abuse and sexual assault have continued being overlooked by the crisis-ridden capitalist class.

This IWD, it is more important than ever to focus on reclaiming the radical roots of this day, strengthening the socialist feminist movement and continuing to oppose right-wing gains both internationally and locally. So join Socialist Alternative this 8 March in organising against misogyny and transphobia across England, Wales and Scotland.

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