draft text for Socialist Party / Socialist Students Caerdydd / Cardiff International Women’s Day 2013

For more than a century, 8 March has been the day to commemorate and celebrate the fight of working class and revolutionary women for a better deal and a socialist society. Throughout the world today, this spirit of socialist struggle and resistance is shared by increasing numbers of protesters as can be witnessed in the mass movements across the world in Greece, Spain, Italy Tunisia, India, Portugal, Bulgaria and Egypt.
These are the true socialist traditions of the fight for women’s rights: Women experience a ‘dual oppression’ as both women and workers so both now and historically represent some of the most determined and resolute fighters for both women and the working class as a whole.
The origins of March 8th are in the struggles for equal pay and decent conditions amongst women garment workers in the USA in the 19th century. A conference in 1910 of socialist women adopted a proposal to establish an International Women’s Day.
In 1917 this was the day the working women of Petrograd literally started a revolution in protest at rising prices and food shortages calling on all fellow workers to join them.
Cardiff’s Reclaim the Night protest March and rally today, organised by NUS Wales Women’s Campaign and Wales Women’s Aid, is an excellent contribution to this proud heritage and we welcome the organisers’ efforts. We need to send a strong united message to this city:
Stop all violence against women / Rape is a crime / Women are not sex objects / Safe public spaces for women now
Sexual harassment, including name calling, wolf whistling and unwanted and unsought sexual advances are burning issues for women in their workplaces, schools, colleges and communities. Public transport is not always safe for women or transport workers whilst we have the right to walk down the street without sexist men making a runnning commentary on our appearance including the way we dress, talk, behave and act.
We decide what to wear, not the police, judges or the fashion industry. Women are not sex objects – we are mens’ equals – this is 2013, not 1913!
The Cardiff Council 22 million cuts budget passed last week is a big set back for women, the working class, students, young people and above all, the most vulnerable in society, such as the disabled, the elderly, children and the many many women who do the primary caring, cleaning and cooking responsibilities, struggling to feed their families and make ends meet.
All community groups, including Women’s Aid, face a minimum 10% cut to their council grant funding. Leisure services, adult and social services have been cut whilst in less than a month, vicious cuts to benefits, including housing, tax credits (used to subsidise poverty paying employers) and now the Bedroom tax, will led directly to working class women suffering, increased poverty and hardship and above all increased homelessness.
It is the duty of all feminists and women rights’ campaigners to oppose these cuts and to link the struggle for women’s liberation to the struggle against cuts, austerity and capitalism – an economic system which in inherently unequal and based on profits for the rich elite, banks and multinationals whilst living standards for the rest of us collapse.
It is the structural inequality at the heart of diseased capitalism which is responsible not only for mass working class suffering, it is responsible for women’s second class status and for perpetuating ‘rape culture’ through it’s use of sexism as a divide and rule tool and it’s willingness to profit from women’s bodies as commodities.
Rape and violence against women is a male abuse of power. In so called ‘advanced’ Britain, two women a week are murdered by either their partners or ex partners whilst rape and sexual assault affect one in four women during their lifetimes. This is epidemic levels and we need to see better training of police, increased specialist services for rape victims, mass community, workplace and school/ college / university political education to tackle these issues. The safety of women is a labour movement issue: an injury to one is an injury to all.
Meanwhile, our limited right to abortion in this country is directly under threat at the hands of right wing politicians, judges, sections of media (e.g. Daily Mail) and religion organisations such as ‘40 days to life’ which has been holding daily protest vigils outside the independent abortion provider BPAS in Cardiff.
Socialists defend the right of women to choose – to choose when and if to have children and yes, the right to abortion on demand – a right we do not have. There can be NO return to the coat hanger, to the spectre of dangerous back street abortions, whilst it is our internationalist duty to support the legalisation of abortion in Ireland, following the appalling and unnecessary death of Savita last November in Galway hospital.
Join us in the protest to counter the NF in Swansea this Saturday March 9th- these far right racist fascists must be kicked off our streets, whilst it is also important to recognise that the NF scum also threaten women’s rights, as well as their threat to ethnic minorities, trade unionists and socialists.

One thought on “draft text for Socialist Party / Socialist Students Caerdydd / Cardiff International Women’s Day 2013

  1. just edited a few factual inaccuracies r.e. Reclaim the Night is organised by NUS Wales Women’s Campaign and Wales Women’s Aid and the anti NF counter protest is not tomorrow (Friday) but Sat 9th March

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