Edited by J. Palameda
Today is March 8, 2019 and today we celebrate International Working Women’s’ Day.
Our enemies derisively ask why this day should be marked, as it seems like on the surface women in the modern United States enjoy the same freedoms as men.
Surely the working conditions in the United States are better now than in the past, they say. But they often do not say why these changes occurred over time. The capitalist class has only allowed progress when faced with the danger of their own demise, in moments of radical struggle by women’s rights activists for centuries across the world. There was a time not so long ago that women did not even have the right to vote, and lacked basic legal recourse outside of the control of their husband, from opening a bank account to owning their own property. What won them these rights? The organization of the masses of oppressed women. This is why we celebrate International Working Women’s Day—to celebrate the past, and continue the fight for gender equality today in this era of heightening institutional sexism and bigotry.
Outside of the well established gap in wages between men and women doing the same work, women also suffer under various arbitrary forms of male authority. Even though women have freed themselves from their barbarous mistreatment in eras past as outlined above in a legal sense, women everywhere still feel the effects of these social practices—every single day, in every aspect of their life. In their personal lives, women are still pressured into marriage, still relegated to domesticity, moral purity, and many other Victorian notions. A married woman is also still relegated only a secondary role in the home, and domestic labor equality is a distant dream in most capitalist societies. Most of the time, in addition to her daunting job, she also has to do housekeeping and child rearing chores, as if a man cannot do it himself, as if women also don’t have more important things to do than clean bathrooms and taking their kids to doctor. But this is a paradox. We, women, are considered to be “reproductive machines,” because we are in the central role of nurturing and taking care of children. And working children are the future laborers, they are the ones who will be producing wealth for their bosses in the future.
In their political lives, women face misogynistic law enforcement when seeking justice in sexual assault and domestic abuse cases. One in five American women are raped in their life time, with only one percent of rape cases leading to a felony conviction. Immigrant mothers have their babies ripped from their arms and put into unsafe and inhumane holding facilities. Trans women are denied basic human rights from healthcare to simply being acknowledged by state entities to being written out of school curricula. Even some sectors of the left, which has been and should be the leading edge of the fight against sexism, have protected abusers, delayed in dealing justice, and minimized working women’s voices.
The idea that there is no such thing as patriarchal hegemony and persistent, daunting inequality both in the workplace and on a social level is one of the biggest lies which misogynists seek to normalize. It is normal, even for women themselves sometimes, to think that they are not exploited (as if we don’t have statistics and experience to prove otherwise). Well, that’s only the surface which is usually propagated by reactionaries who try to dismiss any kind of fighting for one’s rights as infantile, irrational outbursts by “liberal” cry babies. Even in their attack on our movement for civil rights, they resort to sexist stereotypes from the 19th century. Women nowadays continue the long and difficult but nevertheless fruitful fight for decent wages, healthcare for themselves and their children, and against discrimination and sexist bigotry. They organize in their workplaces and communities like never before, create beautiful meaningful art for the masses, they attend protests to have their voices heard by the public, and continue to fight for legal equality and justice for abusers, rapists, and gaslighters. The American Party of Labor calls for women to be even more militant in their demands as we move into an era of a more open misogyny from above.
Today it is important to remember that we stand together in solidarity with working women around the world of every race and identity. Let us remember not to be mired in the rhetoric of liberal mudslingers who would divide us. Working women of the world, we have a power greater than we know!