Women’s Rights Day commemorates the date that women in the United States finally won the right to vote on August 26, 1920. However, it took the Civil Rights movement for Black women to get access to the ballot box in 1965. These were important battles led by brave, audacious and radical grassroots organizers. But these pivotal victories have been undermined — most recently by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to gut the Voting Rights Act. Since the ruling, five states have passed laws limiting the ability of immigrants and people of color to vote. Voting is one of many progressive gains currently under siege.
One thing that mainstream politicians and pundits agree on is that working people and the poor will carry the burden of the ongoing economic meltdown and budget crisis. While the U.S. Congress won’t pass legislation to pay women on a scale equal with men, they did pass the bi-partisan scam called sequestration to cut $85 billion in federal spending. Republicans and Democrats alike consented to eliminate funding for 57,000 low-income kids in Head Start and Early Head Start, chop health care programs, reduce unemployment benefits and slash services for seniors. Neither of these parties of Corporate America care about the 99%, nor do the bosses and bankers that fund them.
But working class women and men are standing up, and women have been integral to the struggles. This summer, the most exploited workers – grocery store employees, fast food workers and migrant farm laborers – have gone out on strike, with or without a union, to push back against starvation wages. People around the nation poured into the streets to protest the racist not-guilty verdict for the murderer of Trayvon Martin and the 20-year sentence of domestic violence survivor Marissa Alexander. Feminists in Texas staged a sit-in at their state capitol to protest the passage of anti-abortion legislation. And the resistance is global—in Egypt women are battling harassment and abuse and stand shoulder to shoulder with male counterparts in an ongoing bid for a democratic state.
Radical Women’s right there in the fight. We’re working on the campaigns to free Marissa Alexander, radical attorney Lynne Stewart and military whistleblower Private Chelsea Manning. We’re mobilizing to save City College of San Francisco, keep abortion legal in the U.S. and make it legal in Australia and are organizing for publicly funded child care, supporting strikers, and speaking out against immigration reform that harms families and migrant workers, militarizes the border and has a “path to citizenship” full of torturous obstacles.
As feminists and socialists we denounce the for-profit system that protects billionaires, bankers, and good old boys. It’s time to create a world that protects the environment, whistleblowers, radicals, abused women, youth of color, queers, students, retirees, and working people. It’s up to us to organize ourselves into a movement that fights to redistribute the wealth. After all, it was ours to begin with – it’s time to take it back.
Are you interested in getting involved, or are already organizing a campaign and want to collaborate? Contact Radical Women at RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com. We’d love to work with you.
National Executive Committee