Today, March 8, is International Working Women's Day. To celebrate this important day we are publishing an article on women and the Russian Revolution. It shows how that single event did more for women than any other struggle that had come before it and indeed after as well. First published (July 18, 2002) in issue Number 5 of 'In difesa del marxismo', the theoretical magazine of the Italian Marxist journal FalceMartello.

Marxism has always been at the forefront of the cause of women's emancipation. The 8th of March (International Women's Day) is a red letter day for us as it symbolises the struggle of working class women against capitalism, oppression and discrimination throughout the world. We are publishing an updated version of the document we published last year on March 8, where we outline the first steps given by Marxism to fight for women's rights, what the first successful revolution meant for the emancipation of women, conditions of women under capitalism both in advanced and Third World countries and pose the question of how to eliminate inequality between men and women for good.

Tomorrow, March 8, is International Working Women’s Day, and to mark this important event we are publishing this article. It was first printed in issue Number 5 of ‘In difesa del marxismo’, the theoretical magazine of the Italian Marxist journal FalceMartello. Although originally written for an Italian audience we believe it is of interest to labour movement activists and youth around the world.

Mainstream feminism has attempted to reduce March 8th to a vague and depoliticised celebration of the female sex as a homogenous group, but to socialists and working class women the world over, it is a day for mobilizing, a day of class struggle. It was in fact first launched by Clara Zetkin at the second International Conference of Women Socialists, held in Copenhagen in 1910, with the aim of mobilizing women for the struggle against bourgeois domination.

International Working Women’s day was celebrated in Lahore. It was organized by the Pakistan Trade Union Defense Campaign (PTUDC), Youth For International Socialism (YFIS) and the People’s Youth Organization (PYO). The seminar was on International Working Women’s Day and the inauguration of the book specially published for this occasion ‘Natasha—A Bolshevik Woman Organizer”.

The key role played by women in the 1984-1985 miners' strike has been an inspiration to working class women everywhere. Many other issues affecting women have yet to be fought. Cuts in education, housing, transport and health just to name a few. Originally published in 1986.

Sadaf Zahra looks at the terrible situation in Pakistan where rapes and killings are done in the name of family honour, and are rarely investigated by the police. In areas where tribal customs still prevail, it is not uncommon for public punishment to be inflicted on women as a form of retaliation against their families. Such a case occurred recently in the village of Meerwala where a woman was subjected to gang-rape under the decision of a tribal council.

The capitalist class have always had the policy of "divide and rule", on grounds of race or sex, in order to more successfully exploit the working class as a whole. Barbara Humphries gives a brief outline of the position of women at work over the past 200 years.

We are publishing a short work of Clara Zetkin which she wrote on the basis of her conversations with Lenin on the women's question. It was first published in 1925. Zetkin explains that Comrade Lenin frequently spoke to her about the women's question. Social equality for women was, of course, a principle needing no discussion for communists. It was in Lenin's large study in the Kremlin in the autumn of 1920 that she had her first long conversation with Lenin on the subject.

This month in our Women's section we are publishing an article on the history of the struggle of women to win the right to vote. Barbara Humphries looks at this history and how it relates to the development of the class struggle.

The life of Sylvia Pankhurst is rich in experience for all activists in the labour movement. The names of the Pankhurst family are synonymous with the struggle to win the vote for women, but what distinguished Sylvia Pankhurst's approach from that of her mother Emmeline and her sister Christabel were class issues. It resulted in the 1920s, after nearly twenty years of struggle, with Emmeline standing as Tory Parliamentary candidate and Sylvia becoming a founder member of the British Communist Party. The seeds of such a divide were there from the early days of the suffragette organisation.

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