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Grassroots Women International Women’s Day 2007 Statement
Strengthen Women’s Resistance: Oppose Imperialism’s Intensifying Attacks! Assert Women’s Basic Human Rights!

March 8, 2007

Rally and March: today (March 8th) 5:30 pm at Chinatown Memorial Square, NE corner of Keefer and Columbia

Grassroots Women International Women’s Day 2007 Statement

Strengthen Women’s Resistance: Oppose Imperialism’s Intensifying Attacks! Assert Women’s Basic Human Rights!

March 8th, International Women’s Day, has long been an occasion for working class women to celebrate the inspiring history and rich traditions of struggle for genuine women’s liberation. It is also an occasion to renew and strengthen our resistance in the face of imperialism’s intensifying attacks and to assert our basic human rights.

From the striking textile workers of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union in the late 1800s and early 1900s, to the wives, daughters, and mothers of soldiers and armament workers who helped to spark the Russian Revolution, to the women of the 1910 International Conference of Socialist Women, to the women of the people’s movements for social and national liberation in the Third World, the diverse roots of IWD have held in common a recognition that genuine women’s liberation can only be achieved through collective struggle in people’s movements around the world.

The urgent necessity to defend and uphold women’s rights is clear as US imperialism and its junior partner Canadian imperialsm intensify their desperate onslaughts, including the escalation of wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Haiti, and Lebanon; threats against the sovereignty of Venezuela, North Korea, and Iran; and gross violations of the rights of political prisoners.

In Canada, a patriarchal resurgence and ever-more entrenched systemic racism are intensifying the exploitation, oppression, and economic exclusion of working class, (im)migrant, refugee and Indigenous women. We are hard hit by the neo-liberal policies of the Canadian government of liberalization, deregulation and privatization which leave working class women unable to earn a decent income or to access affordable housing, health, and other services. Amidst rising corporate profiteering, government corruption, and military spending, government funding for childcare and women’s programs have been slashed. The insultingly paltry and unjustly distributed $100/month childcare benefit has been a slap in the face for women demanding a genuinely universal national childcare program. (Im)migrant and refugee women face the punitive and exploitative nature of immigration policies such as the Live-in Caregiver Program and unjust deportations. Indigenous women face the ongoing colonization of their land and resources.

On the international scale, Canada hypocritically advances a sham commitment to women’s rights and democracy as a means of justifying the intensification of Canadian military aggression in Haiti and Afghanistan. Canada also continues to lend moral and material support to the suppression of movements for national and social liberation in Mexico, the Philippines and elsewhere by aiding puppet governments who continue to violate human rights with impunity.

Locally, the approaching five-ring circus of the Olympics is exposing the desire of governments and corporations to gloss over mounting homelessness, violence against women including sexual exploitation, environmental degradation, and attacks on Indigenous sovereignty with empty slogans of inclusion, sustainability, and diversity.

Yet despite the often overwhelming scale of injustice brought about by this exploitative system, many women throughout history have recognized that imperialism could not exist without the superexploitation of the women of the oppressed and exploited classes. They have cut through the fear mongering of the ruling classes to affirm their dignity, to assert their rights, and to defend and uphold the welfare of their communities by educating, organizing, and mobilizing for their liberation.

Recently, we mourned the passing of an outspoken critic of injustice and a staunch defender of the rights of women and Indigenous people. Harriet Nahanee was unjustly imprisoned for defending the Eagleridge Bluffs against Olympic highway expansion, despite the fact that she was in her seventies and in frail health; her death, which closely followed her imprisonment, raises questions about her treatment in court and the lack of concern for her health demonstrated by authorities during her fourteen-day imprisonment.

We also draw inspiration from the struggle of Philippine Congresswoman Liza Maza of the Gabriela Women’s Party-list who is facing political persecution and harassment for being an outspoken critic of President Arroyo’s anti-woman and anti-people political and economic policies. Despite facing baseless charges of rebellion and murder, Maza continues to defend the rights of Filipino women, children and the nation against an exploitative system.

The memory of heroes such as Harriet and the living example of Liza Maza help us to deepen our commitment to struggle for liberation, motivated by the example of their bravery.

Through such examples, we see the power of women finding dignity, humanity, hope, and community in struggle—bread in the defense of our basic human rights and roses in our vision of genuine women’s liberation. By taking to the streets today, by raising our voices and our fists together, we affirm that a woman’s place is in the struggle. We march in recognition of the militant history of International Women’s Day and in solidarity with working class women worldwide, as we advance our struggle for genuine women’s liberation and against all forms of exploitation and oppression.

Strengthen women’s resistance!

Oppose imperialism’s intensifying attacks!

Assert women’s basic human rights!

Long live International Women’s Day!


Grassroots Women

1115B E. Hastings (entrance on Glen)
Vancouver, BC V6A 1S3
phone: 604-682-4451 (fax same #, please call first)

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