International Women’s Alliance
Proposed Basis of Unity
For the past century, women all over the world have been fighting against inequality, discrimination and multiple oppressions. Their persistent struggles for political, economic and cultural rights have won them victories such as the right of suffrage, property rights, the right to equal wage for equal work, the right to maternity leave, the right to unionize and to organize and other basic rights. These victories have led further on to greater awareness to fight all forms of discrimination against women based on color, race, culture, ethnicity and religion. The struggle has raised the consciousness of women to protect and fight for their reproductive rights, the use of contraceptives, the right to their own bodies and the right to choice. It has raised the public’s consciousness of the rights of women and girls to protection from domestic violence, sexual harassment and rape.
The collective struggle in the past 100 years of the world’s oppressed women has advanced women’s rights and interests even as monopoly capitalism devastates and plunges the world economy into the most horrible crisis in the recent past. Nevertheless, as the economic, political and social crises deepen, the gains of the women’s movement in the last hundred years are being eroded.
The people of the world are suffering from the worst economic and financial crisis the world has ever known. The so-called relief measures taken by US and other imperialist countries have sought only to salvage their own interests and profit to the further detriment of the world’s poor.
Consequently, our toiling sisters in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the vast majority of the world’s women, still labor under the yoke of feudal relations in societies ruled by landlords, warlords and oligarchies propped up by imperialism to better drain their produce and resources.
Women workers all over the world are being laid off by companies that are shutting down or relocating to wherever these exploiters (TNCs/MNCs) can take advantage of the cheapest labor at the lower end of the ladder, mostly youth and women working in sweatshops under labor flexible schemes or job insecurity.
The crisis has forced millions of women in underdeveloped countries to leave their homes and families to migrate to other countries in search of a better livelihood. The remittances of these migrants, including women have sustained the bankrupt economies in Asia, Latin America,
Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and Eastern Europe.
Women from the oppressed and exploited classes are among the worst affected by the crisis. They struggle for survival, decent incomes, jobs, education for their children, and basic human rights. In many cases, they do this in a situation of militarization and war. Living under the weight of multiple oppression, various forms of discrimination and violence, they work more for less pay, have less access to the wealth of the planet and more family responsibilities. They continue to bear the brunt of patriarchal values and backward social systems.
The US-led global War on Terror is being used to push globalization policies, the economic interest of the US and other big capitalist countries, which has resulted in providing governments with the rationale to step up militarization and state terrorism. This has led to killings, detention and harassment of women and children. Under the guise of security, repressive governments carry out extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances of women, men and children. Ethnic conflicts and civil wars are causing forced displacement of thousands of people. Women in conflict areas are subjected to rape as a tool of war, being killed and forced to service the armed forces and in extreme circumstances, to become victims of genocide.
The world’s oppressed women are organizing to resist the economic, political and military aggression of imperialism and are drawing inspiration and strength from their particular struggles as shown by
• the women of Palestine, who have prevailed over sixty years of genocide, occupation and aggression, perpetrated by the Israeli apartheid state and supported by the U.S. and other major powers;
• the women of Afghanistan who continue to expose the hypocrisy of a war ravaging their country under the guise of liberating them;
• the women of Iran who are braving the regime of the mullahs and defying its attempts to pull them back to the stone age;
• the women in the Philippines who are on the front lines of the struggle for national and social liberation, opposing the US-imposed policy of neoliberal globalization and the US-backed war on terror perpetrated by their government which has taken hundreds of lives of community and human rights activists;
• the women of Mexico who fight for justice for the hundreds of women killed with impunity around the export-processing zones of Ciudad Juarez;
• the Tamil women of Sri Lanka who have fought a genocidal regime while the major powers, including Canada, watch in complicity.
We link arms with women from different communities within Africa who struggle to survive on land pillaged by foreign mining companies, while coping with the ravages of AIDS, as pharmaceutical companies watch; the women of Haiti, cradle of the victorious anti-slave revolt and the first Republic in the world ruled by Blacks, still resisting foreign intervention; and the aboriginal women of the world from Guatemala, to Aotearoaa, to here, on Turtle Island who have resisted genocide to carry on the millennial culture and traditions that colonial states have tried viciously to stamp out.
These struggles show the oppressed women’s resistance to the pillage and plunder of imperialism. And further on show their desire and persistence to build an alternate system that is humane, equitable and just. An alternative system founded on social justice and democracy, where the world’s resources serve the needs of the people and not the profit of a few and where all peoples of all nations enjoy genuine freedom, democracy and equality among women and men.
This vision compels us to link ourselves and our struggles to fight our common enemy, to challenge imperialism, it’s economic and political policies and imperialist wars of aggression and its fascist measures against the oppressed peoples of the world.
The time has come to link women of all races and nations and form an alliance that will allow us to share efforts and support women’s struggles in our respective countries and around the world.
On this day, a hundred years since the declaration of the first International Toiling Women’s Day, we, women from all over the world gather and call:
Unite for a militant global women’s movement in the 21st century!
Resist all forms of imperialist and reactionary attacks on women’s lives!
Fight against imperialist war and plunder!
Advance the movement for social justice, democracy and peace!