International Working Women´s Day 2021



It is becoming ever more pressing to recover March 8 as a day of class fight and recognition.

There are things in this country that are on the rise -apart from COVID-19 infections-: unemployment, queues for charity food, evictions, denials of the living income benefits, the privatization of health services, the precariousness of jobs, the attack on pensions, sexist violence in all its forms, police repression, television manipulation and the profits of the capitalist class.

Working women - employed or not - are, along with young people, the majority in the statistics of unemployment and precariousness. We are the majority of those who queue for food distribution, or at health centres for ourselves and our families, and those who apply to social services for help. We are the majority among cleaners, hotel chambermaids, home help aides, domestic assistants, caregivers for children and the elderly, seasonal workers in agriculture, those who receive the lowest pensions, those who bear the double burden of caring of our families and making a living in part-time jobs, with or without a contract.

We are the first ones in all this and, nevertheless, the last ones to be taken into account by the governments and, of course, also by those who exploit us.

While banks and companies are rescued with public money; while the Women's Institute organizes "discussions" to talk about "the systemic resistance to feminist advancement", the "redistribution of jobs, time and resources" or "weaving resistances in common", it turns out that we are still waiting for the government to repeal the harmful labour law reform, the immigration law -which especially harms undocumented workers-, to incorporate domestic workers into the general social security regime, for the health centres to be reopened, to effectively prohibit evictions or that the living income benefits ceases to be a hoax.

Is this inaction the meaning of the “feminist policies” that both the Equality and the Labour Ministers point out as necessary to "end with the gender pay gap and achieve equality in the field of care"? Is this how they want to "redistribute"? What “resistances in common” are we talking about? Those exercised by women in positions of power who are reluctant to put measures that would at least alleviate the desperate situation of many workers and their families? How are they going to guarantee the rights of transgender people - the only ones Mrs. Montero seems to be to interest in - when we the entire working class, the majority of the population, are being robbed of all rights in actual fact?

The Spanish government, flagship of that liberal feminism of the progressive bourgeois, is busier increasing the number of women in the ranks of the business world, than they are fighting, for example, against the most abject pornographic industry, which transforms us women in objects of violence, and is responsible for the increasing sexual assaults and machismo among young people. Instead, they try to convince us that prostitution is just another “job” or how good it would be for us to gestate and give birth for others. These are the two new "employment niches" that capitalism has in store for the poorest among us; this is what the so-called leftist parties sell us as "empowering."

"No one is going to be left behind." So they said. The reality is that we are going backwards not only in social and labour rights, but also in democratic rights, owing to a law enacted by the previous Government that restricts our freedom of speech, which the current one also promised to repeal but instead remains in force allowing to fine, beat and imprison us every time we take to the street to claim our rights.

Moreover, with the excuse of sanitary measures, the Central Government Delegation in the Community of Madrid has prohibited the March 8 demonstration for this year, while just a few days ago, in Madrid city, a demonstration was allowed to commemorate on the Blue Division whose participants wore no masks and did not keep the safe distance either. Demonstrations by Covid-19 deniers as well as those by restaurants, bars and hotels owners have also been authorized. We, however, are prevented from taking to the streets because, although March 8 is being hijacked by bourgeois feminism and the majority - even some who claim to be communists - have forgotten its origins, the ruling class knows that there lies a throbbing workers' struggle, and looks for loopholes to prevent any class bias in public demonstrations.

Over the years, references to Working Women's Day have been replaced by a simple Woman's Day[1], trying to deactivate the class component that scares them so much. Now the "progressive" Spanish government has turned it into the plural "Women's Day", and by the same token the Woman's Institute has been renamed as the Women's Institute, supposedly to “include” trans women, when the latter have never been excluded from participating in March 8. Moreover, we Marxists have no problem with the participation of men, regardless their sexual orientation or identity, in this commemoration, since we understand that the fight for the emancipation of women involves every person who believes and acts firmly in pursuit of this objective.

We must not allow March 8 to continue to be co-opted by that liberal feminism that speaks of “putting life at the centre” when what it puts at the centre are the interests of the capitalists. If March 8 is a worldwide celebration, it is because, in 1910, during the II International Conference of Socialist Women, associated with the II International, two communist women, Clara Zetkin and Käte Duncker, proposed to declare a fixed day each year to commemorate the struggle of the working women who, in those years, waged a relentless struggle for the improvement of their living and working conditions. We can not allow our history to be erased.

Because we know that capitalism reproduces our oppression while exploiting our workforce -in or outside the labour market-, only by overcoming the framework of capitalist relations we can free ourselves. As Lenin himself said in 1920, "The proletariat cannot achieve complete freedom, unless it achieves complete freedom for women." We will only achieve this with our own, unitary and international organization, independent of the bourgeois parties.

This March 8, more than ever, we must claim it as the International Working Women´s Day, not of that of the businesswomen, the banker women, and the many female stooge professionals that underpin the current system. Of course, we would condemn their being subjected to violence just for the very fact of being women, because we know that sex has historically been the basis of the social inequality suffered by half of humanity. But that does not prevent us from considering those women who collaborate in our oppression and exploitation as class enemies.

For a class and combative March 8. Against capitalist exploitation, against sexist oppression, let's defend our rights as women and workers.

 

EEC Feminism area, March 2021

 

Notes:

[1] In Spanish, the singular “Woman” (Mujer) is used as a generic. That is why the Spanish formula for “International Women’s Day” has hitherto been “International Woman’s Day” (Día Internacional de la Mujer). The change to the plural las Mujeres is meant to allegedly include trans women.

[Original text in Spanish]


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