International Women’s Day’s Socialist Origins


Zetkin claims that bourgeois feminists sought reforms through a struggle between the genders and against their fellow class members, but did not question capitalism’s existence. Working women sought to transcend capitalism through class struggle and a joint fight against the men in their class. In 1900, the German Social Democratic Party held biannual conferences right before the party congresses. These conferences were where all the pressing issues of the proletarian woman’s movement were addressed. The German Socialist Working Women’s Movement was transformed by its organizational and ideological strength into the backbone of the International Socialist Women’s Movement.

In 1907, the International Conference of Socialist Women met in Stuttgart, Germany. It was the first gathering. The delegates stated that the main demand for the franchise was “not with the women’s movement but in close cooperation with socialist parties.”

They were well-respected across the Atlantic. Socialist working women in the US had made February 28 “Women’s Day” the previous year. The Copenhagen conference reported that “that event has awakened our enemies’.”

Luise Zietz, the German delegate, suggested that an “International Women’s Day” proclaimed following the lead of American comrades. Zetkin, together with 100 female delegates representing seventeen countries, supported the idea.

The Women’s Day resolution was:

The delegates understood that supporting the “socialist concept” was not just about female suffrage but also labor legislation for working women and social assistance for children. They advocated equal treatment for single mothers, provision for nurseries and kindergartens, free meals, educational facilities for schools, and international solidarity.

Simply put, International Women’s Day started as a Working Women’s Day. Although its initial goal was to win universal female voting, the ultimate goals of International Women’s Day were to abolish both wage slavery and domestic slavery by socializing education and care work.

First International Women’s Day

March 8th, 1911 was not the first International Women’s Day. It was March 19. 1911. This date was chosen to honor the 1848 Revolution in Berlin. The day before, March 18, was dedicated each year to the “fallen heroes of March.”

Two and a Half Million copies of a flyer encouraging participation in Women’s Day in Germany were printed and distributed. Die Gleichheit It issued its own call for help: “Comrades!” Working Women and Girls March 19th is your day. It is your right. Social Democracy and organized labor are behind your demand. All Socialist women from all countries stand with you. March 19 should be your day to shine!

Die Gleichheit (Equality), a magazine that calls for International Women’s Day celebrations on March 19, 1911, published an issue.More than a million women marched in Germany, chanting the slogan “Forward to female equality”, mostly women from the SPD and unions. They held “popular public policy assemblies”, 42 in Berlin, where they discussed issues that affected their lives.

Working women around the globe set aside a day each year for themselves. Women workers in the United States, Switzerland, and Denmark chose March 8 to be Women’s Day in 1911. France, Holland, and Sweden were soon joined by their counterparts from Bohemia, Russia, Sweden, Bohemia, and Sweden.

In 1914, International Women’s Day was made a global practice. The occasion was marked by a famous sign that read “Women’s Day/March 8, 1914 – Forward with Female Suffrage”. It featured a woman in black waving the red flag. The poster was not allowed to hung or distributed in Germany, which was awash with panic during the build-up to World War I. The fourth International Women’s Day became a massive action against the imperialist war three months later.

What War Has Done

August 1914 saw the outbreak of war, launching a new era for the International Socialist Women’s Movement.

The entire Second International, and consequently the International Socialist Women’s Movement too, split along national lines and succumbed to chauvinism. Germany’s SPD and its affiliate, the General Commission of Trade Unions, adopted a policy of “social peace”, which prohibited demonstrations. The government and police repressed those who flouted the prohibition and celebrated International Women’s Day.

Clara Zetkin, a Socialist Woman of All Countries, issued an appeal in November 1914. She strongly opposed the war and argued for mass actions for peace. Zetkin organized the April 1915 Socialist Women’s Conference as part of his opposition to imperialism. (Lenin was accompanied by the Bolshevik delegation that included Krupskaya his wife and Lilina Zinoviev.

The conference declared the internationalist battle cry, “War on war,” as the imperialist war was waged around them. But there was little principled opposition. Zetkin was detained for illegally distributing the manifesto upon his return to Germany.

An annual reminder

After the fall of the second German Empire, and the (Rate ) of soldiers and workers all over Germany in November 1918; the bourgeoisie launched a democratic counter-revolution. They granted women the right the vote but counterpoised the parliament in Weimar and the constituting assembly that was assembled in Weimar to workers’ delegates.

Social Democratic leader Friedrich Ebert was the first president of the Weimar Republic (and the “Stalin of Social Democracy,” according to historian Carl Schorske). His hands, and those of the union bureaucracy, turned the demand for universal female equality, which was adopted by the revolutionary labor movement as a transitional request, into a barrier to socialist revolution.

The SPD leadership stopped celebrating March 8 because International Women’s Day was born in the left-wing proletarian women’s movement.

The Communist Party celebrated International Women’s Day with the slogan “All Power To the Councils!”. Clara Zetkin made it official in June 1921.

They serve as an annual reminder about the incredible potential of working women.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Chasing the Dream: A Beginner’s Guide to Playing Mega Millions top The best of download video from url The best of download video from url Top Gun flight experience