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Calling All Women and Men for the Global Women's Strike

The Global Women's Strike was born in 1999, when women in Ireland decided to welcome the new millennium with a national general strike. They asked the International Wages for Housework Campaign to support their call, and called on women all over the world to make the Strike global on March 8, 2000.

The Strike came out of a long grassroots history, starting in 1952 with a little pamphlet called A Womans Place and continuing with Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community, now a classic, in 1972, and Sex, Race and Class in 1973. All three pamphlets made the case that the work women do for wages is a second job, and that the work women do in the home and in the community without wages were invisible but central.

Since 2000, the Strike has been a great success. It has brought together women in over 60 countries, including grassroots organizations with impressive track records, who also demand a world that values all womens work.

We are often told that in order to win we must unite, but we don't hear much about how to do that (except from political parties that want to lead us). We use the Strike as a framework for unity -- among sectors of women, between women and men, within and among countries -- because it is based on each sector accepting and enriching the independent struggle of every other. The Strike is not party political, nor is it separatist. It is ambitious for the movement for change but it stands against personal ambition that undermines mutual accountability.

Meet at the townclock (Pacific and Water) in Santa Cruz on Monday, March 8 at 5:30 PM.

International Women's Day at UCSC from 8:00 - 10:00 PM

Audio and Text: What Half the World Wants, by Mumia Abu-Jamal

[ 5th Global Women's Strike I International Women's Day I International Women's Day Background and Resources I All Women Count I Refusing to Kill ]
"Invest in Caring, not Killing"

Calling all women and Calling all men to join with women for 5th GLOBAL WOMENS STRIKES TO STOP THE WORLD AND CHANGE IT! INVEST IN CARING NOT KILLING!

Santa Cruz, townclock, March 8th, 5:30 and 6 pm march down Pacific Ave.

Strike demands

* Payment for all caring work ? in wages, pensions, land & other resources. What is more valuable than raising children & caring for others? Invest in life & welfare, not military budgets & prisons.

* Pay equity for all, women & men, in the global market.

* Food security for all, starting with breastfeeding mothers. Paid maternity leave, breastfeeding breaks & other benefits stop penalising us for being women.

* Dont pay Third World debt. We owe nothing, they owe us.

* Accessible clean water, healthcare, housing, transport, literacy.

* Non-polluting energy & technology which shortens the hours we work. We all need cookers, fridges, washing machines, computers, & time off!

* Protection & asylum from all violence & persecution, including by family members & people in positions of authority.

* Freedom of movement. Capital travels freely, why not people

A long grassroots history

The GLOBAL WOMEN'S STRIKE was born in 1999, when women in Ireland decided to welcome the new millennium with a national general strike. They asked the International Wages for Housework Campaign to support their call, and we called on women all over the world to make the Strike global on 8 March 2000.

The Strike came out of a long grassroots history, starting in 1952 with a little pamphlet called A Womans Place and continuing with Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community, now a classic, in 1972, and Sex, Race and Class in 1973.* All three made the case that the work women do for wages is a second job, that the work we do in the home and in the community without wages, producing all the workers of the world, and our struggle to change the world, were invisible but central.

Since then, we have been campaigning to get RECOGNITION and WAGES for all the unwaged work women do, as well as for PAY EQUITY-- these are JOINT LEVERS against women's poverty, exploitation and discrimination of every kind. According to the UN, women do 2/3 of the worlds work: from breastfeeding and raising children to caring for those who are sick, older or disabled, to growing, preparing and cooking the food that feeds families, communities and continents (80% of food consumed in Africa is grown by women), to volunteer work and to work in the informal economy as cleaners, seamstresses, street sellers, sex workers, as well as work in the formal economy. Here again womens work is often caring for people, in hospitals and schools, as domestic workers, childminders, personal assistants . . . or in sweatshops - jobs where men who do comparable work also get low pay. But women get the lowest, and often face sexual and racial harassment.

Although in every country all this work is basic to the welfare and even survival of humanity, it is devalued and ignored by the Market, and women get only 5% of the worlds assets in return.

In Beijing in 1995, the International Women Count Network which we co-ordinate, supported by more than 1,500 organisations, won a major UN decision. National accounts were to include how much of their lifetime women spend doing unwaged work and how much value this work creates. Trinidad & Tobago and Spain have put this into law; other countries are carrying out time-use surveys and increasingly consider unwaged work in court decisions and government policies.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Women in over 60 countries

Since 2000 the Strike has been a great success. It has brought together women in over 60 COUNTRIES, including grassroots organisations with impressive track records, who also demand a world that values all womens work and every life, and who have achieved much. They are now part of an international network of Strike co-ordinators.

In Venezuela, we are working with the women who are building a caring economy and won Article 88 of the Constitution, which recognises housework as an economic activity that creates added value and produces social welfare and wealth, entitling housewives to social security. The Strike has been spreading news of such momentous victories, supporting the revolutionary process there in which women from the grassroots are the most active participants.

The Strike is part of the movement against war and occupation not only in Iraq but in Palestine, Chechnya, Colombia, Congo, Kashmir . . . Our priority has been to highlight the struggle that women make and the direction this gives, from which the whole movement benefits but which is often as ignored as the unwaged survival work we do. With the theme INVEST IN CARING NOT KILLING, we demand that the $900+ billion now spent on military budgets is used instead for basic survival needs -- clean accessible water, food security, healthcare, housing, education, safety from rape and other violence, protection of our planet -- and therefore for women who are the first carers and the first fighters for the survival of loved ones. We claim for a start the US military budget -- over half the worlds military spending -- with which Corporate America imposes its economic and political interests on the whole world (including on people in the US).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The contribution of those sectors most discriminated against

Those sectors of women who are most discriminated against ? all women of colour, including women of Indigenous, African and Asian descent, single mothers, women with disabilities, immigrant women, sex workers, lesbian women . . . use the Strike to spell out their contribution to every economy, society and struggle. The Strike insists that more powerful sectors acknowledge this contribution.

We also demand recognition for the contribution of men who actively support our struggle because they agree that INVEST IN CARING NOT KILLING is the priority of all workers and all humanity. Not only do men owe women their daily survival -- from breastfeeding to cooked meals, clean clothes and emotional support -- but they also depend on women prioritising survival to oppose the values of the Market, values which now threaten the survival of the world. The web page of Payday, a network of men, www.refusingtokill.net, is an important contribution to the movement against war, and to the recognition of all those who risk their own life and liberty in defence of everyones life and liberty.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A framework for unity

We are often told that in order to win we must unite, but we dont hear much about how to do that (except from political parties that want to lead us). We use the Strike as a framework for unity -- among sectors of women, between women and men, within and among countries -- because it is based on each sector accepting and enriching the independent struggle of every other. The Strike is not party political, nor is it separatist. It is ambitious for the movement for change but it stands against personal ambition that undermines mutual accountability.

The Global Womens Strike has extended from taking joint action every 8 March. It is now a global network that strengthens the ongoing daily struggle of grassroots women (and men). We attach what Strike coordinators in some countries say about what they have achieved with it.

The Strike establishes that as carers, waged or unwaged, we are always WORKERS, and that we have the power to bring the whole economy to a halt. Thats what women did in Iceland on 24 October 1975. They said: WHEN WOMEN STOP, EVERYTHING STOPS.

We add: STOP THE WORLD AND CHANGE IT.

Selma James and Nina Lpez, 17 January 2004

womenstrike8m (at) server101.com
www.globalwomenstrike.net


*Until then, it was assumed that only those who did waged work, mainly men in industrial countries, were real workers, and that only they could change the world. The
Wages for Housework Campaign broke with this sexism and racism, establishing autonomy as a new basis for organising and unifying.
 
 


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Comments

Re: Calling All Women and Calling All Men

1_bread.mp3
bread.mp3 (3270 k)
weforget.mp3
weforget.mp3 (3269 k)
here are two songs.

play them on your local radio station (march-8th)

The song is called "Bread & Roses"...

I recorded it in victoria BC.

your local radio-station can play it.

------ Also see ------

www.victoria.indymedia.org/news/2004/02/22000.php

And, for more info & audio-files:

sf.indymedia.org/news/2003/12/1664788_comment.php
 

Re: Calling All Women and Men for the Global Women's Strike

Listen live to the actions

Victoria BC.

Our local radio station have people in the streets phonning reports.

cfuv.uvic.ca

>>>>> click the "Live" icon <<<<<
 

Re: Calling All Women and Men for the Global Women's Strike

> * Food security for all, starting with breastfeeding mothers. Paid maternity leave,
> breastfeeding breaks & other benefits stop penalising us for being women.

And who pays for this? That's the question that these communist demands never answer - who pays?

TANSTAAFL - There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

Try being an EMPLOYER sometime, someone who CREATES the jobs to which you feel so entitled. Why should an employer give you money for 9 months while you give him nothing in return?

Sure, you can *ask* for it - politely! That's part of negotiation.

But will you stop there? Or will you resort to armed violence to get your way, by sending police to enforce some new ill-begotten socialist "mandatory paid maternity leave" law?

I see no injustice here - just people who forget that their rights as employees end where my rights as an employer begin.

You want my money? Then WORK for it, or offer me something else in exchange. Something other than laws and threats.

Greed masquerading as injustice; how sick is that.
 

Re: Calling All Women and Men for the Global Women's Strike

>>TANSTAAFL - There Aint No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

Oh yes there is. It's made by your mother or your wife. The world has run on the backs of 'free' womens' labor since the beginning of time. Without this free labor the economy would collapse.
 

Re: Calling All Women and Men for the Global Women's Strike

Alright, then what about the unpaid labor of men? Every time your father or husband takes out the garbage, or fixes a faucet or door knob or the garbage disposal or dish washer or changes the oil on the family car..

What about the unpaid labor OF MEN, without whom the world would come to an end equally as fast?

Oh that's right, men are inferior. We dont make equal contributions.

A housewife is paid for her labor, in the money her husband provides for her survival and comfort (rent, food, gas, clothes, education, entertainment).

If you expect us to believe that the women of the world are all out there full-time in the workplace and then still coming home to their men and doing a full June Cleaver shift while their men sit on the comfy chair and wait for dinner, you're living in some fantasy world to feed your own sense of righteous indignation.

Besides, I dont even have a wife, and the "free lunches" my mother made for me will be passed on to my children some day.

Your gender discrimination against men is obvious.
You hate us so much, you cant even see our equal contributions.
 

Re: Calling All Women and Men for the Global Women's Strike

Am I the only one to notice that, amidst all the calls for wage/equity parity for women, there is also a demand that third-world debt not be forgiven? Isn't exploitation of the third world by greedy western financiers a progressive issue? Don't progressives feel that forgiveness of that debt is a critical part of their program?

Can the progressives truly embrace the Global Women's Strike, when one of its stated purposes repudiates a cherished progressive notion? Or is this more of a marriage of convenience?

Speaking of marriage, isn't California a community property state, and aren't the wife and husband entitled to half of each others' product during the marriage? What maid or handyman gets half of his or her employer's estate BY LAW? Isn't the division of labor in the family up to the spouses to decide, and isn't it likely to be different in every case?

If the idea is for men and women to get equal respect and equal pay for equal work, who could disagree with that? If the idea is to make clear that women's work in the home and the community is real, essential work, again, who says otherwise, at least here in California?

For an important reason to denigrate homemaking, need we look any further than fact that 30-50% of the GDP is appropriated via government taxes and fees, and that, in most two-income households, the entire gross income of the minority earner goes to satisfy the cravings of the tax man, while the entire gross income of the majority earner supports the household? That being the case, who benefits from forcing both the male and female spouse into the paid workforce, and demanding that housework and "caring work" be compensated? Could it be government, who collects the taxes that reduces the family income to the point where one spouse can no longer remain in the home full-time? Or might it be the education and childcare industries -- both either operated by or heavily subsidized or regulated by the government?

Yet, without the tax revenue, what would become of progressive social programs?

Do you get the sense that things are pretty tangled up, and that perhaps some untangling is long overdue? Would such untangling further or hinder progressive goals? Will you spend a moment to really think about it, and what is important to YOU?
 

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