Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tomorrow is March 8, International Working Women's Day---Strike, Protest, Resist!

Today, several labor unions and labor groups are actually involved in backing and building for March 8.

Take one example: Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools has announced it will close down March 8 because it expects large numbers of their teachers and staff not to turn up on the day. Speaking to AlterNet, Megan Moskop, a New York City teacher and an organizer with the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE), a caucus of the United Federation of Teachers, explained why MORE was officially endorsing the March 8 day of actions “because 70 percent or more of the teaching profession in New York City is women. Sexism in our profession is rampant. We only have the most basic family medical leave.… When women are standing up in the international community and saying sexism is real, we want to stand alongside them.”

Under the radical coalition, Women Workers Rising, other labor unions and grassroots labor groups are calling for a demonstration at the Department of Labor in Washington, DC, to “end workplace violence and harassment and promote pay equity, one fair living wage, paid leave and labor rights at work.” The action is being organized by One Billion Rising in coalition with at least eight union or worker organizations, including National Nurses United, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, OUR Walmart, the American Federation of Teachers, Jobs with Justice, the Domestic Workers’ Alliance, and other labor and social-justice groups.

But have March 8 organizers asked women to walk off their jobs irrespective of their work conditions and vulnerabilities? It would indeed be a privileged feminist movement if this were the case. The organizers of March 8 have insisted that participation in March 8 action is not limited to work-stoppage alone. Indeed, in several public venues we have highlighted the numerous ways to strike, as varied as the kinds of labor women performed in society.

Continuing the same message of the diversity of ways to strike, Andrea Cristina Mercado, the campaign director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, told AlterNet. “Our work, contributions, and humanity continue to be undervalued.… While some domestic workers are participating, we did not call on members to strike, because it’s hard for many who are caring for elders or children to take a day off,” Mercado continued. “But there are so many ways to show resistance, and on March 8, we will stand together, and embody radical sisterhood.”

...(W)omen from countries such as the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Haiti are going on strike on March 8, together with women from Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina. Fifty countries have joined this international day of action, meaning the large majority of women participating will be women of color and Asian women...

In the United States, too, immigrant groups, sex-worker groups, Palestinian and grassroots groups involving women of color have played a central role in the leadership and organizing of March 8 in almost every city. Our endorsers include Al Awda, Critical Resistance, the Palestine Right to Return coalition, Bay Area Sex Worker Advocacy Network, Dream Defenders, Black Lives Matter groups such as the Black Youth Project, as well as the Chicago Teachers Union, SEIU-HCII, Rutgers AAUP-AFT, UAW Local 2325, UAW Local 2865, and the SEIU lavender caucus.

The NYC rally will not feature any celebrities. It is going to be the rally of the oppressed, of the exploited, of the poor, but also the rally of small victories against capitalism, exploitation, and oppression due to the hard work, activism, and courage of women (cis and trans, of course). Immigrant, black, cis, and trans working-class women, mothers of those killed by state and police violence, and sex workers will be on the stage: the women you don’t usually see in the media and featured at big events, but who make our life on this planet possible through their work.

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