International Women's Day 2001: Fighting for global justice
By Sophie Fischer & Lauren Carroll Harris
Women activists played a vital role in the S11 blockade of the World Economic Forum in Melbourne. Many were part of the organising collectives, were speakers, marshals, spokespersons, performing artists, medics and paper-sellers. Women could be seen at every blockade on megaphones or linking arms. But the huge involvement of women in S11 is not surprising when you look at the history of women's involvement in progressive movements.
Socialist women activists initiated the first International Women's Day marches early in the 20th century and socialist women activists in Resistance and the Democratic Socialist Party have played a vital role in ensuring that every year IWD marches and rallies happen across Australia campaigning for women's rights.
The modern International Women's Day (IWD) evolved out of the March 8 International Working Women's Day.
The idea for an annual international day of action in support of working women's rights every March 8 was born at the 1910 International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen, Denmark. This was intended to be an "international solidarity between the exploited workers of the world".
In Russia on March 8, 1917, IWD sparked further demonstrations and strikes that led to the fall of the tsar's autocratic regime and the beginning of the Russian workers' struggles against corporate tyranny, a struggle which culminated in the coming to power of the world's first working-class government through the October 1917 Revolution.
This year IWD will serve as an important link between S11 and M1 in the growing campaign against global corporate tyranny.
Several IWD organising collectives around the country have already adopted themes relating to campaigning for global justice against corporate globalisation. IWD will see women from all around Australia coming out onto the street demanding an end to the feminisation of poverty — for Third World debt to be cancelled; in support of women workers' rights here and overseas; for reproductive freedom; rights for refugees and indigenous rights — for global justice.
Resistance activists have played an important role in initiating many of the IWD 2001 organising collectives. We are committed to organising, building, and ensuring the success of International Women's Day and the women's liberation movement. This is because Resistance believes, as the Nicaraguan revolutionaries declared in the early 1980s, "There will be no socialism without women's liberation, and no women's liberation without socialism".
[Sophie Fischer and Lauren Carroll Harris are Resistance members active in the Sydney IWD collective.]