For the past year, our lives have all been drastically changed by the corona pandemic. Worldwide more than 2.2 million people have died and more than 130 million have fallen ill, some with lasting complications. Women are at the forefront of the global struggle against the shifting of the burdens of the crisis, for health protection instead of profit-oriented crisis management. Together with men, women are fighting against intensified exploitation of workers, for environmental protection and democratic rights, against racism and war.
In Argentina, Poland, Peru, Mexico, demonstrations for the right to abortion are increasing, often linked to demands for the resignation of the government. Originating among US-American women, the worldwide “Me Too” movement gained strength, and women are in the forefront of struggles against fascists. In India, militant self-confident activities took place on January 18, Peasant Women’s Day. This was another highlight after what was probably the world’s largest general strike ever in India on November 26, 2020, with 250 million people participating.
Women are at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. In the health and care sector, as in Germany, they combine the struggle for higher salaries with the demand for more staff and appreciation of their work. As educators or salespeople, they are constantly at risk of COVID- 19 infection. But their payment is far from “first rate”. In homes and families, the situation is extremely tense due to partial lockdown, homeschooling and home office, sole responsibility for caring for dependents, loss of earnings due to layoffs and short-time work, or even a complete lack of income. Violence against women is on the rise. In South Africa, a woman is murdered every three hours. Refugee families are treated worse than animals in often disastrous camps.
And all this in a world where the fortunes of the super-rich are still growing even during corona. Tesla CEO Elon Musk currently has a fortune of $188.5 billion, 169,000,000,000 euros! VW expects profits of 10 billion euros in 2020. At the same time, tens of thousands of jobs are being destroyed in the automotive and supplier industries. Young workers and especially girls are being robbed of their perspectives by the destruction of apprenticeships. But many workforces are fighting against mass layoffs, against plant closures, as at Nissan in Spain or Ford in Brazil. Determined struggles are developing against the dismissal of 14 shop stewards at VW South Africa, who had gone on strike for corona protection, or against sexual oppression and bullying of women.
The International Automotive Workers’ Coordination stands for the joint international struggle of automotive workers, for unity across national and sectoral borders. In its international program of struggle, under the slogan “For the liberation of women“, it raises demands such as “Equal wages for women and men” or “Free company kindergartens“. However, the struggle program does not stop at individual demands. “It is necessary to overcome this unjust system.” This can only be achieved with the activity of women and men based on equal rights, with tireless rank and file work to convince more and more fellow strugglers, against division and oppression, against skepticism in one’s own strength, for an optimistic, ideologically open fighting spirit, which we need especially today.
Organize workplace and trade union actions for International Women’s Day – in strict compliance with health protection!
Workers’ and women’s movement hand in hand!
Let us celebrate March 8th as an international day of struggle for the liberation of women, for the liberation of humankind from exploitation and oppression!