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International Women’s Day: And Still We Rise

Saturday, January 21st, 2017, will go down in the history books as a truly historic moment. We saw a global revolt of women, not just against Trump but against the ideas and interests he represents; misogyny, racism and the rule of the billionaires.
These massive displays of defiance have not come out of thin air. They have come on the back of huge movements around the world challenging sexual violence, attacks on abortion rights and challenging low pay.
From Argentina where hundreds of thousands of women organised in the #NiUnaMenos (“NotOneLess”, meaning we must not lose one more woman to violence) to the 6 million women in Poland who went on strike against government attacks on abortion and the growing movement of Fight for $15 in the US – these movements are forcing change.
In Ireland the campaign demanding the repeal of the Eighth Amendment – which the Socialist Party is playing an important role in – continues to grow.
It is essential to continue the struggle for these basic rights and link up struggles internationally.
It’s clear that the overwhelming mood on these demonstrations around the world is that this is just the beginning. There is a wide spread understanding of the need to organise. And let’s face it, there’s a lot to organise about!
Women in Scotland still receive on average £182.90 a week less than men.
21% of single female pensioners live in poverty, levels of rape, sexual assaults and domestic abuse continues to rise and the essential services that women in particular depend upon are being decimated through the SNP delivering Tory cuts.
Our job is to bring together the fight against sexism, violence against women, reproductive rights, equal pay with the growing struggles to defend jobs and public services.
As Angela Davis, the black civil rights activist said on the March on Washington: “The next 1,459 days of the Trump administration will be 1,459 days of resistance: resistance
on the ground, resistance in the classrooms, resistance on the job, resistance in our art and in our music”.
This is just the beginning and in the words of the inimitable Ella Baker: “We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.”
The struggle for socialism worldwide is vital to deliver that freedom. An inspiring glimpse of what would be possible was seen in the early years of the Russian revolution.
The revolution was triggered by a demonstration of women textile workers and after the coming to power of the Bolsheviks it transformed women’s lives – freeing them up from the drudgery of endless domestic work with communal restaurants, laundrettes and accessible childcare. Abortion and divorce rights allowed women to participate fully in society.
This was only made possible by a feminist movement that unified women in struggle on a class basis, recognising the fundamental cause of their oppression as the divisive capitalist system.
Sinead Daly, Socialist Party Scotland