Umbrella from the We Are Woman rally, 18 August. Photo: We Are Woman

So-called “pro-life” opponents of a woman’s right to choose have led a fervent battle against the basic liberties of women across the globe this past year. In the United States, the Republicans and Democrats brought out their old bag of tricks and dug up various social issues calculated to rally potential voters behind their respective parties.

This article, which was published in the Workers' Republic in September in 1915 demonstrates Connolly's ideas around the treatment of working women in Ireland. Specifically the way that women were exploited by capitalism. 97 years later these ideas have lost none of their power and clarity.

Women in the Paris Commune.

“We have come to the supreme moment, when we must be able to die for our Nation. No more weakness! No more uncertainty! All women to arms! All women to duty! Versailles must be wiped out!” These were the words of Nathalie Lemel, participant in the Paris Commune of 1871, and member of the Union des Femmes pour la Defense de Paris et les Soins aux Blesses (The Union of Women for the Defense of Paris and Aid to the Wounded).

18th century artist's impression of Kalina hunter gatherers.

One of the great classics of Marxism is the book by Frederick Engels entitled ‘The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State’. Engels applies the method of historical materialism to this earliest period of pre-history to uncover the past. As a contribution to International Women’s Day, we are republishing an article by Mary Hansen and Rob Sewell which examines this question.

November 22, 2007, Paris. Photo: Philippe Leroyer

Russian working class women gained much from the October revolution of 1917 and the subsequent planned economy that was put in place. Later under Stalin many of the gains were destroyed, although as the economy developed the conditions of women also improved. The return of capitalism in Russia dramatically worsened the conditions of women. How does all this compare to the current situation working class women are facing in the UK?

Cairo, February 4. Photo: 3arabawy

“I really believe the revolution has changed us. People are acting differently towards each other.” These are the words of Ms Kamel, 50, one of the many women who were out on Tahrir Square, actively participating in the revolution.

The crisis of capitalism means attacks on workers at all levels, including women, who very often work in low paid jobs. The Austrian Social-Democratic Women’s Organisation prides itself at being “feminist”. However, when it comes to sacking women workers or cutting their wages the “feminism” of this organisation proves to be wafer thin, as we see in this case of the Sozial Global AG company in Vienna.

One hundred years ago today, 99 women from 17 different countries attended the Socialist Women's Conference held in Copenhagen in the House of the People. In this article, we look at the origins of Women's Day, the origin of women's oppression in class society, and how capitalism has laid the material foundations upon which the question of women's emancipation can be tackled. Experience shows that once women start to organise in the workplace and fight for their rights, this cuts across divisions, unites men and women workers and strengthens both the position of women and the working class as a whole. The emancipation of women is an integral part of the struggle of the working class for the emancipation of the whole of humanity.

Ruby Dhalla, Canadian liberal MP.

The case against Ruby Dhalla in Canada, although yet to be judged by a court, demonstrates that women do not have the same interests at heart. Women are divided by class, just like racialized minorities are divided by class, and people of different sexual orientation are divided by class.

Women demonstrating against immigration laws in France. Photo by looking4poetry on Flickr.

The present economic crisis, through its sheer scale and reach, is bringing about a wholesale change in the consciousness of working people the world over. It is the poor, the oppressed, and the workers who shoulder this weight in order to hold up the privileges of the rich. There is no portion of the working class that has so greatly and extensively borne this affliction than working women.

Rosa Luxemburg

Lis Mandl looks at how Rosa Luxemburg considered the women’s question as inseparable from the struggle of the working class as a whole. She also looks at how the struggle for women’s rights was also a struggle against the reformists within the movement who constantly tried to limit demands for full women’s emancipation.

Many in the US corporate media have hailed “progressive” the choice of Sarah Palin by John McCain as his vice presidential running mate. Women workers are being told that they “finally have someone to vote for!” But even the most cursory glance at Palin’s politics is enough to show that she stands for big business interests, and is only using the gender question as a fig leaf.

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