Beth Turner

Our Task on International Women’s Day

How Women Can Organise Against Capitalism

Source: Workers’ Weekly, January 23, 1925
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2009). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Eight years ago, on March 8, 1917, the workers of the world were fighting each other at their masters’ command. Hunger, misery, disease, and death was the daily lot of those at home, when there rallied in Petrograd a few thousand women to protest against these horrors and the tyranny that subjected them to these conditions.

These women were clubbed and beaten and yet their demonstration was a sign of the beginning of the great revolution that overthrew Tsardom, the revolution that culminated in that great day of October when the workers took the reins of Government into their own hands to change the system of slavery and build up their own Communist Society.

In memory of this starting point, this day, the 8th of March, has been chosen by the Communist International to rally the working women of all lands to a realisation of their conditions.

On this day from all our platforms must go the message of national and international class solidarity. The working woman of Britain must be shown the tie that binds her to the working women of all the world.

She must be taught to realise that oppression of colonial peoples, exploitation of Indian women and children, has a direct effect on the wages and conditions of the British textile worker. She must be shown how the German working women have struggled valiantly against high prices, low wages, and long hours, and how they have had to submit to these things because they were in the grip of ruthless conquerors, because French and British soldiers were at hand to quell their strikes and thrust the hungry ones in jail if they came out on to the streets in mass demonstrations and demanded that they should be fed.

As a consequence of this British employers send their orders to Germany where cheap labour produces cheap goods, British workshops are closed down, and the British working woman is face to face with the dread spectre of unemployment and want.

Fight against the White Terror. Organise help for its victims. Collect funds for the relief of prisoners and their dependants. The famine in Ireland, the imprisonment of class war fighters, all show the ruthlessness and cruelty of capitalism.

Against conditions at home, housing, unemployment, high prices, against conditions abroad of murder and repression, against all these things can the women be roused to fight.

It is the task of the Party to see that this is done.

The history of the Russian Revolution proves that the mass character of a revolutionary movement is shown by the extent to which women take part in that movement.

A message from Zinoviev says:—

“Let us express the hope that this year the Women’s Day be not observed only by fine phrases and agitation. Let us hope that it will become the turning point in all our parties with respect to the organisation—real organisation—and not only lip service to it—of working men not only in the towns but also in the country.

“Let all the Communist Parties bear in mind that henceforth the Communist International will judge of their Bolshevisation also by the success they have achieved with relation to mass organisation of women.”