The following editorial comes from the Nightshade Collective in Pittsburgh about International Women’s Day.
Today, March 8, 2018, marks International Women’s Day, and across the globe millions of women and gender non-conforming people are showing up in solidarity with one another—many folks taking part in an international strike, rejecting capitalism as a means of liberation from the patriarchy. Actions ranging from strikes and protests to rallies and meetings have been reported in Spain, Kenya, Afghanistan, the Philippines, South Korea, and countless other locations around the United States and world. Nightshade is keeping an active eye on these various movements, and stands in solidarity and excitement with them as those involved continue to fight for their demands, big and small.
Particularly, it is important to remember the roots of International Women’s Day, which originated in 1909 as International Working Women’s Day, and its direct relationship with labor movements. While massive attention was drawn to the Women’s Day march last year in DC, marked by a sea of stunningly-gendered pink pussy hats, along with it came critiques of white-feminism and other organizing strategies which neglected to honor the voices of women of color and trans-women, and neglected to address the position of incarcerated women, poor women, and other women marginalized on multiple axes, in relation to capitalism and white supremacy. This year, however, Women’s Day falls right amidst the Teacher’s Strike in West Virginia, where, like in many states, 75% of teachers are women. According to Tithi Bhattacharya, an organizer involved with the International Women’s Strike,
“the core strength of [the teacher’s strike] lies in the fact that it is vast majority women, and because women play a very significant role bridging the gap between the workplace, the home and the community, when the teachers went on strike, a vast portion of the community was immediately galvanized in support of the teachers. So churches came out, community members came out, because women are not just teachers, they’re mothers, they’re church members, they’re breadwinners in their family. So they sort of form this astonishing bridge between the workplace and the home, making visible both kinds of labor.”
— CNT oficial (@cnt1910) March 8, 2018
Compensation for unpaid or underpaid labor, whether in community organizing, emotional/care work, teaching, or elsewhere, is demanded on this day by women worldwide. The failure of current structures, whether on an institutional scale or in the household, to provide due credit, compensation, and support to women and gnc folks is a direct result of the interplay between capitalism and the heteronormative patriarchy. As demonstrated by a recent crackdown on sex-work and strip clubs in New Orleans, neoliberal privatization and gentrification, also known as “(re)development,” goes hand-in-hand with violence against women and trans- people, particularly those already in close proximity to gendered and sexual violence.
It is true, and has been shown by all of the recent strikes and acts of feminist resistance, that capitalism cannot function without the exploitation of women and gnc folks. And until that exploitation ends, we will not be free. Beyond this, Nightshade also stands in solidarity with those demanding an end to all violence against women and gnc people–the physical and sexual assault, the policing and gendering of our bodies, the repression of our minds and spirits. Every year when this day comes around, we are as sick and tired of being oppressed as any other day. We recognize that our fight against capitalism is a feminist fight, it is an intersectional fight, it is a queer fight. And we also understand that the worlds we build together, here and now, are crucial to the then and there of our imaginations, to our liberated futures which connect us to so many feminists past, present, and to come. We realize that the end to violence does not come without ceaseless practice of healing, defense, accountability, and learning new ways to be with one another. This requires ongoing work, where we hold each other with care and bravery, and move towards a world beyond patriarchy and all other forms of dominance.
As March 8th comes to a close, we encourage you to show love to the women and gnc folks in your life, not just today but every day. We mourn those who have been stolen from us so far this year by acts of gendered violence, and will continue to fight like hell for the living. Remember that this fight does not end when the spotlight disappears: this month Nightshade is holding a queer dance fundraiser where all proceeds will go to Survived and Punished, a collective which supports survivors of domestic violence criminalized for defending themselves, and we hope to see you there!
With queer love and rage, today and every day,