In Current Wave of Strikes, Women Workers Are Leading the Way

For years, International Women’s Day on March 8 would pass by without notice in the U.S. beyond a small number of leftists. Most people who noticed on their calendar probably assumed it had something to do with women’s history, but didn’t think much more.

But the radical holiday has been revived in recent years, especially in the era of Trump.

In 2017 and 2018, the historic outpouring of the Women’s Marches was followed up with an international call to strike and protest on March 8. The highlight last year came in the Spanish state, where an incredible 5.2 million women took part in what was called a two-hour “feminist strike.”

This year, the celebration of working women is more fitting than ever right here in the U.S., the country where the left-wing holiday was born out of workers’ struggles.

The teacher strike wave that began in West Virginia last winter is now over one year old, and it shows no sign of breaking yet.

Educators, unionists and socialists were still digesting the lessons of the victorious Los Angeles teachers’ strike in January and unprecedented wins at — count ’em — three charter schools in four months. The long-awaited teachers’ strike in Oakland is over after shaking the Bay Area city with big mobilizations — though the debate over whether the union could have won more is more intense than previous battles in this strike wave.

One of prime lesson stands out everywhere: women workers have led the way, just as they did in many early battles of the U.S. labor movement.

These teachers’ strikes are about saving public education from the privatizers and reversing decades of austerity policies that have starved our schools and so much else in the neoliberal period. But they also show us that women’s demands and rights must be taken up as part and parcel of the class struggle, just as the class struggle must be connected to achieving women’s rights and…

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