International Women’s Day (IWD), originally International Working Women’s Day, has a history from below. The first march took place in New York on February 28, 1909, and was organised by the Socialist Party of America to commemorate the 1908 strike taken by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. Following this, the idea gained traction in European socialist circles, with the first modern IWD held on March 8, 1914. On the same date in 1917, textile workers in Petrograd walked off the job, took to the streets, and sparked a mass strike that would become what is now called the Russian Revolution.
While are exclusions and erasures in these White, Western histories that feminists must continually work to redress, the radical (as in actually radical, not radfem), working class roots of IWD are something worth remembering and honouring. This is particularly so at a time when capitalists use the date to hold exclusive brunches for wealthy women, when IWD marchers don “pussy hats” fully aware of their racist and transphobic connotations, and when “radical” “feminists” use this day to exclude, stigmatise, and abuse trans women and sex workers, as happened at the Melbourne march last year.
Actual Sex Workers call actual bullshit on the idea that capitalism, neoliberalism, racism, classism, transphobia, whorephobia, and any other pathology now popular amongst rich, white cis women can call itself “feminist”. In the lead up to IWD, we are going to post reminders of feminism’s histories from below by profiling trans women and sex workers to whom feminist activism owes an immense debt — whose voices should be centred and celebrated at IWD. We will use the hashtag #feministdebt to honour these figures, and we encourage followers to make their own posts that we can repost with your permission and credit.
Information from: abc.net.au/news/2017-03-07/the-militant-history-of-international-womens-day/8328246
The image used is from a German advertisement for IWD in 1914
#IWD #iwwd #IWD2018 #feminism #intersectionality #feministdebt #sexworkersoftheworldunite #womenshistory #sexwork #actualsexworkers