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Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter
March 5, 2016
This issue: International Women's Day
In this issue of Other Voices, we mark International
Women's Day. An article written by Alexandra Kollontai in 1920 talks
about the early history of this event, which grew out of a proposal put
forward by Clara Zetkin at the 1910 International Conference of Working
Women. A key focus at that time was winning the vote for women, with the
slogan “The vote for women will unite our strength in the struggle for
socialism". The link between women's rights and socialism became even
clearer a few years later, in 1917, when a Women's Day march in St.
Petersburg turned into a revolutionary uprising which led to the
overthrow of the Czar and the Russian Revolution. As Kollontai says, "It
was the working women of Petersburg who began this revolution; it was
they who first decided to raise the banner of opposition to the Tsar."
The struggle continues. Kavita Krishnan writes about the campaigns
for women's rights in India in "Women’s Liberation, Everyone’s
Liberation." "Women in Arms" compares women's struggles in Chiapas,
Mexico, and in Kurdistan. Johanna Brenner takes a global view in
"Socialist Feminism in the 21st Century."
In the Organizing section of Other Voices, we look at
grassroots efforts by Salvadoran women to deal with the problems of
gangs and crime in El Salvador. In the People's History section, we look
back at the Paris Commune, the working-class uprising which took power
in Paris in March 1871.
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Socialist Feminism in the 21st Century
In the 21st century, women of the working classes -- employed in
the formal economy, the informal economy, working in the countryside or
doing unwaged labour -- have entered the global political stage in an
astonishing array of movements. Read More
Keywords: Marxism and Feminism - Socialist Feminism
Women Up in Arms
Resistance and strength manifest like weeds through cracks in
Chiapas, Mexico and transnational Kurdistan where the respective
Zapatista and Kurdish resistance movements are creating new gender
relations as a primary part of their struggle and process for building a
better world. In both places, women's participation in the armed forces
has been an entry-point for a new social construction of gender
relations based on equity. Read more
Keywords: Chiapas - Kurdistan
I Am a Woman and a Human: A Marxist-Feminist Critique of Intersectionality Theory
In the United States, during the late 20th and early 21st centuries,
a specific set of politics among the left reigns king. Today, you could
go into any university, on any number of liberal-to-left blogs or news
websites, and the words “identity” and “intersectionality” will jump out
you as the hegemonic theory. Read more
Keywords: Gender Issues - Identity Politics
Pakistan: The hell of sexual harassment in the workplace
In increasingly competitive Pakistani work situations, women continue to be targets for men with power. Read more
Keywords: Pakistan - Sexual Harassment
Website of the Week
Equal Times is a global news, opinion and campaign website
about work, politics, the economy, development and the environment.
Independent, with a strong focus on social justice, it aims to give a
voice to those whose daily experiences and viewpoints are either
under-represented or completely absent from mainstream media coverage.
Equal Times also aims to build an interactive online global community
for those who are committed to the defense of human and labour rights,
to the fight against poverty and inequality, and for environmentally and
socially sustainable development. Explore Equal Times here
Keywords: Labour Organizing - Working
Book of the Week
The Ursula Franklin Reader: Pacifism as a Map
By Ursula Franklin and Michelle Swenarchuk
Feminist, educator, Quaker, and
physicist, Ursula Franklin has long been considered one of Canada’s
foremost advocates and practitioners of pacifism. The Ursula Franklin
Reader: Pacifism as a Map is a comprehensive collection of her work, and
demonstrates subtle, yet critical, linkages across a range of subjects:
the pursuit of peace and social justice, theology, feminism,
environmental protection, education, government, and citizen activism.
This thoughtful collection, drawn from more than four decades of
research and teaching, brings readers into an intimate discussion with
Franklin, and makes a passionate case for how to build a society
centered around peace. Read more
Keywords: Ethics - Peacebuilding
Film of the Week
Rosa Luxemburg (German: Die Geduld der Rosa Luxemburg) is a 1986
West German drama film directed by Margarethe von Trotta. The film
received the 1986 German Film Award for Best Feature Film (Bester
Spielfilm), and Barbara Sukowa won the Cannes Film Festival's Best
Actress Award and the German Film Award for Best Actress for her
performance as Rosa Luxemburg. More
Keywords: Rosa Luxemburg – Revolutionary Politics
Salvadoran Women Respond to Violence with Community Service, Music, and Individual Efforts
Outside of the peace negotiations that resound in the media and
governmental organizations, one of the strongest solutions to the
scourge of gang violence in El Salvador has come from individual
initiatives and groups dedicated to women. This work with female youth
and ex-gang members, both in and outside of prison, is part of a
movement that seeks to collaborate with peace processes in which women
have rarely been taken into account. At the same time, it addresses the
social structure that intensifies violence against women. Read more
Keywords: El Salvador – Gangs
The Paris Commune
March 18, 1871: An
uprising in Paris turns into revolution. France has just been defeated
in a war with Prussia. In Paris, hundreds of thousands of citizens,
predominantly workers, are part of the National Guard militia. National
Guard units elect their own officers, and closely reflect the mood of
the population, which is increasingly demanding radical changes, summed
up in the slogan “a democratic and social republic.”
The French government, led by
Adolphe Thiers, fears the workers of Paris more than it fears the
Prussians. It sends regular troops to seize the cannons belonging to the
National Guard. The citizens resist, and instead of carrying out their
orders, the soldiers fraternize with the National Guard and the citizens
in the street. Two army generals who order their soldiers to fire on
the crowds are arrested and executed. The government flees.
The Central Committee of the
National Guard is now the only effective authority in Paris. Elections
are called for March 26 for a Communal Council, and on March 28 the
Paris Commune is proclaimed. It is the first working-class-led
revolution to hold power anywhere in the world.
In the two months of its life the Commune takes a series of radical measures, including:
- Abolition of conscription and the standing army;
- Abolition of the ‘morality
police’ which polices the morals of women;- Separation of church and
state and the abolition of all state payments for religious purposes;-
Removal of church influence from the schools;
- Confirmation of the right of foreigners to be elected to
the Commune Council because the red flag of the Commune “is the flag of
the World Republic:”
- Abolition of night work in the bakeries;- Closing down pawnshops;
- Cancelling interest on debts;
- Recognizing the right of workers to take over factories abandoned by their owners.
The Commune takes over the provision
of public services for the whole city, as well as the defense of the
city, and makes plans for a series of further reforms, including
publicly funded continuing education and technical training.
The Commune terrifies both the
French ruling class and the Prussian ruling class. They forget about
their war, and unite to crush the Commune. The Prussians release the
French troops they are holding as prisoners of war, and return them to
the command of the Thiers government to use against Paris. The Commune
resists heroically, but in May, after a week of fierce fighting, the
Paris Commune is crushed by overwhelming military force and its
defenders are massacred. An estimated 50,000 people are killed,
including many who are slaughtered in mass executions after the defeat
of the Commune.
Keywords: Paris Commune - Revolutionary Moments
International Women’s Day: A Militant Celebration
Writing in 1920, Alexandra Kollontai explains the origins of International Women’s Day. Read more
Keywords: Women’s History - Women’s Rights
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March 5 – 6, 2016
CODEPINK, along with The Nation Magazine, Institute for Policy Studies, Peace Action, and many other organizations (more here), is hosting a two-day summit examining the policies and practices of Saudi Arabia and U.S.-Saudi ties.
March 6, 2016
Octopus Book Club Celebrating Women and Literature: On every Monday this March, Octopus will introduce and discuss a book by a woman writer!
March 8, 2016
International Women's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world.
March 11, 2016
Fukushima: Global Day of Action – If
nuclear energy has taught us one thing, it is that a single spark can
start a fire that has generational effects. It's time we light a new
fire, and create the kind of future we'd be proud for our grandchildren
March 16, 2016
Winnipeg: Energy East Town Hall – TransCanada's
Energy East project would convert an existing natural gas pipeline -
parts of which are up to 40-years old - to ship 1.1 million barrels of
oil every day through the Prairies to export port in New Brunswick. Join
a discussion about why TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline is
all risk and little reward.
March 19, 2016
Jane Goodhall: Sowing the Seeds of Hope in Victoria, BC –
Jane Goodhall will also discuss the current threats facing the planet
and her reasons for hope in these complex times, encouraging everyone in
the audience to do their part to make a positive difference.
The Connexions Calendar is an
online calendar that exists to advertise events that support social
justice, democracy, human rights, ecology, and other causes. We invite
you to use it to promote your events. Adding events to the Connexions
Calendar is FREE. We'll give you a username and password which you use
to log on. Use the contact form to arrange for a username and password. Read more →
March 5, 1871
Birth of Rosa Luxemberg
Birth of Rosa Luxemburg, Polish-German Marxist revolutionary
(1871-1919). In a time when the socialist movement was evolving in
directions increasingly removed from Marx’s positions – Social
Democratic reformism on the one hand, and Leninist bureaucratic
centralism on the other – Luxemburg was the leading exponent of a
Marxism in the spirit of Marx. Luxemburg’s politics were centered on a
revolutionary perspective: she supported pressure for reforms within
capitalism, but was clear that reforms cannot bring about fundamental
change, that socialism can only come about through revolution.
March 6, 1925
Cape Breton Miners Strike
12,000 miners in Cape Breton go on strike. Their goal: to
restore their wages to where they were in 1922, before the company,
BESCO, unilaterally slashed their pay. Company police respond with a
campaign of terror in the towns in the area, riding their horses into
any group of people they spot, and beating up anyone they catch. BESCO,
which owns the utilities and the grocery stores, cuts off electricity
and water, and credit in the stores, driving people to the edge of
starvation. In August, the strike ends when the company, under pressure
from the provincial government, agrees to the miners’ demands.
March 7, 1965
Selma to Montgomery March
The Selma to Montgomery civil rights march is attacked by
police. 525 civil rights advocates start out a 54-mile march from Selma,
Alabama, to the capital of Montgomery, to campaign for voting rights
for blacks. Just after crossing a bridge on the outskirts of Selma, the
marchers are attacked by police wielding tear gas, nightsticks,
bullwhips and rubber tubing wrapped in barbed wire. The incident leads
to a massive international outpouring of support for the civil rights
March 8, 1917
Outbreak of the "February" Revolution in Russia
A Women’s Day march in St. Petersburg sparks a revolution in
Russia. 200,000 workers go on strike in St. Petersburg. Within days, the
Czar is forced to abdicate and a Provisional Government is installed.
The Provisional government shares power with the Petrograd Soviet
(council), a situation of dual power that eventually culminates in the
March 12 – April 6, 1930
A Salt Satyagraha (Salt March) led by Mohandas Gandhi protests
the British-imposed tax on salt in India. Gandhi and thousands of
others walk 388 kilometres from Ahmedabad to the sea, where Gandhi
himself makes salt from the sea in violation of the British edict.
Feeling their hold in India threatened by this mass disobedience, the
British imprison more than 60,000 people.
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Other Voices: The Connexions Newsletter, is available online here
This issue was edited by Ulli Diemer.
812A Bloor Street West, Suite 201
Toronto ON M6G 1L9 Canada
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