Sunday, March 08, 2009

The following, from the Anarkismo site, is the statement of the Chilean Frente de Estudiantes Libertarios Santiago on the occasion of International Women's Day. The following has been slightly edited for English grammar.
Statement on the International Women's Day:

On this important day, our organisation declares:
That today, 8th of March, we celebrate internationally the struggle of women to end the oppression that has been systematically exercised on us by the patriarchal society.
However, we witness the way in which the establishment and the political and economic powers behind the dominant class try to eclipse and manipulate the very origins of this day, which lay with working class women, with those women who are part of the students and of the urban poor, women that suffer from a double oppression and exploitation due to their class origin and their condition as woman .
That there is an official International Women’s Day is because there has been a long tradition of struggle carried by working class women since late in the XIXth Century, women who saw that the final abolition of exploitation could not be complete without the end of another oppression, the first and fundamental form of oppression: that of men against women. With the roots in the first expressions of the socialist movement and in the midst of the industrial boom that led women to the factories, it was there that was born the organisation of those revolting for their right to vote and also against the abuse at work imposed by Capital and the domestic exploitation of men that turned them into slaves.
On the day itself, it is important to note that there were many women’s days until it was decided, arbitrarily, to pick the 8th of March, a date chosen by German socialist women in 1914. In the Russian calendar, women’s day is February 23rd, the day in which the first stage of the Russian Revolution started in 1917 with the strike of the garment industry working women from Petrograd, who ,without obeying the Party instructions to wait for action, voted to struggle for their right to bread and peace.
These events have been largely forgotten, and the liberal bourgeois movements that turned Women’s Day into an institution, reduced the importance of its class origins to turn it into the mere attempt to make women equal to men when it comes to their right to be exploited by capitalism. This is to deny and misrepresent a struggle that had as its main objective to end all forms of oppression, which aimed at creating a free and equal society, without classes nor bourgeois institutions based on coercion.
Women, in the heat of the struggle, have historically been at the forefront, destroying at revolutionary times existing norms, a role still played today, being a fundamental actor in the rise of our people’s struggles.
We cannot let ourselves be deceived because some women are in high posts in government and in private companies, from where they bark a supposed equal condition given by bourgeois society. In reality, all women are oppressed because of their gender, we know of it from our experience when looking for a job, when we receive our wage and in the way we are treated daily by this capitalist and patriarchal society.
We do not conform with an official day in our calendar, while the true origin of our struggle is concealed, and every day -we make it our day. We hold as our duty, as left-wing revolutionaries, not to tolerate discrimination or exclusion against our females comrades in our circles, attitudes which derive from the authoritarian relation of this traditionalist and bourgeois society in which we live. And we hold, as well, as something of paramount importance, to smash the illusion of “equality” when oppression keeps alive and well and we can’t turn a blind eye to it.
Against Patriarchy and Class Society!
Against Imperialism and for Libertarian Socialism!
Up the Women in Struggle!
FEL Santiago
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