Women at the Forefront of Emancipation: Resisting Structural Violence and Exploitation!

Statement by the International Women’s Day Organizing Committee 2013 (Vancouver, Canada)

On March 8th International Women’s Day we raise our fists in solidarity with women struggling for emancipation and we stand united in defense of women’s rights, for genuine liberation for all women.

Women resist colonial occupation!

Today we rally on unceded Coast Salish territory; the traditional territories of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.  Indigenous women bear a great burden of colonial occupation and yet across the globe it is Indigenous women who keep the fires of resistance burning in the face of displacement, ethnic cleansing, and genocidal attacks on Indigenous culture, history and traditions.

Women RisingIndigenous women have never been idle!  Palestinian women assert their right to return to the lands from which they were expelled by the Israeli colonial settler state.  In India, Adivasi women struggle to protect their ancestral territories despite extreme state violence.

Women resist imperialist plunder of the land and natural resources!
Women lead pivotal struggles for environmental and economic justice in opposition to mining and extractive industries, tar sands, fracking fields, oil and gas pipelines, mono-crop agribusiness, and imperialist military aggression which leads to the destruction and poisoning of the earth.

Former Filipina political prisoner Angie Ipong spent 6 years in prison for joining peasant and Indigenous communities in their land struggles.  Freda Huson and women of the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en are defying pipelines and development aggression on their territories.  Wahu Kaara and millions of women across Africa are fighting displacement, development aggression and colonial debt exploitation.  These brave women inspire us to protect the Earth and our future generations!

Women resist capitalist exploitation!

Women’s reproductive labour continues to form the basis of capitalist profit as women provide privatized labour in the home and are segregated into ‘women’s work’ such as teaching, nursing, food service, and household management.  Women’s work is devalued, and despite decades of struggle, women in Canada continue to be paid only 70% or less of what men earn.  In Canada women comprise the vast majority of migrant workers from Asia, forced to migrate by neoliberal economic policies, providing deskilled and cheap labour, privatized health care, and modern-day domestic slavery to the Canadian middle and upper classes.

Migrant women in Canada face a triple-burden of racism, exploitation, and patriarchal violence, and yet women are on the frontlines of struggles against austerity and in defense of public services such as healthcare, daycare and public education. Migrant, immigrant and undocumented women workers, often excluded from the mainstream union movement, defend and assert their rights through community organizations against great odds.

Women resist patriarchal violence!

There are over 600 missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.  For decades women’s organizations have known that the police are integrated in a patriarchal justice system which fails to address violence against women, and in fact, forms a part of the problem.  Prostitution, trafficking, and the sexual commodification of women is exploitation and violence against women for the purposes of capitalist accumulation, colonial control, and patriarchal power.  It is time to decriminalize women in the sex trade and demand an end to the buying and selling of women!  Male violence in the family, including in social justice movements, reinforces patriarchy and gives men individual power over women.  It is time to hold men accountable for their sexist attacks against women.

We fight for all women to be free from male violence and sexual exploitation.  We stand in solidarity with women who resist religious institutions, ideologies, and practices that suppress and govern women’s lives in all aspects: political, economic, and social limitations placed on women by reactionary theocratic regimes.  Hands off women’s bodies and lives!

In India tens of thousands took to the streets in militant protests following the rape of women on a public bus, women political prisoners in Iran recently went on hunger strike to resist torture and degrading and inhumane conditions imposed by the Islamic regime, and in Canada Indigenous women lead the struggle for justice for their murdered and missing sisters, daughters, mothers and aunties.

Women Rising for Emancipation and Justice!

Women around the world are at the forefront of struggles for emancipation that ultimately seek to end capitalism, patriarchy, exploitation, and greed.  We struggle to build a society based on collaboration, cooperation, self-determination, the fulfillment of human potential, and the survival of our planet.

We stand in solidarity with all women who struggle for emancipation!
 
Hands off women’s bodies and women’s lives!
 
Justice for all missing and murdered women!
 
Resist the plunder of our lands!
 
Long Live International Solidarity!

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iwd poster Vancouver March 8 2013

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