By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
13 August 2010
We, the International Coordinating Committee and all member-organizations of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), convey our warmest greetings of solidarity to all the delegations and distinguished guests in the Montreal International Women’s Conference, currently convened from August 13 to 16, 2010.
We congratulate the hosts and organizers for their success in preparing this conference in accordance with the resolution of ILPS Commission No.7 on the cause of women’s liberation and rights against all forms of sexual discrimination, exploitation and violence.
We are glad that this conference is held in conjunction with the year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Day. In this regard, we honor all the women who have fought, sacrificed and scored victories for the cause of women’s liberation in close unbreakable connection with the struggle against imperialist domination and class exploitation.
Let us remember that the outstanding German proletarian revolutionary Clara Zetkin first proposed the annual holding of international women’s day in the international conference of working class women in Copenhagen in 1910 under the auspices of the international socialist movement in order to inspire the unity and militancy of the working class women to oppose the extreme conditions of exploitation to which they were being subjected under conditions of rapid industrialization and capital expansion.
Let us recall that in March of 1911 over a million women rallied to mark the International Women’s Day in several European countries. Since then, women in an increasing number of countries have become an ever more massive and significant force fighting for the right to vote, to hold public office and to equal pay to equal work vis-a-vis the menfolk, maternity and child benefits and other better conditions as well as for the general upliftment, emancipation and empowerment of women through active participation in struggles for national liberation, democracy and socialism.
The march of women to celebrate International Women’s Day served as the prelude to the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia. As soon as the Soviet Union was established, the Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai asked Lenin to make the day an official holiday. In every major field of social endeavor, women have scored great achievements through their participation and equal partnership with men in revolutionary struggles for national and social liberation and in the course of socialist revolution and construction.
Women have also made great strides in fighting for their rights in the imperialist and dominated countries because of the perseverance of the women in struggle and also because of the example of real emancipation and advancement of women in socialist countries and people’s democracies. In capitalist countries, the bourgeoisie have enacted laws supposedly to respect certain rights of women but these are more formal than real and women still need to fight for their realization.
In the wake of the betrayal and reversal of socialism and the consequent adverse effects on the national liberation movements, the imperialist powers and their reactionary puppets have undertaken all kinds of offensives against the working people and distinctively against women. The basic exploitativeness of the monopoly capitalist mode of production which results in recurrent crises of production has been aggravated by the rapid taking of superprofits and overvaluation of monopoly assets through the financialization of entire economies made dependent on unsustainable debts of governments, corporations and households.
The extreme worsening of the crisis of the world capitalist system, now plunged in protracted depression, has been brought about by the US-instigated policy of “neoliberal globalization”. This presupposes that the imperialist and other economies keep on growing so long as the financial oligarchy and the entire monopoly bourgeoisie can make superprofits and accumulate capital through the de-nationalization of client economies, liberalization of trade and investments, privatization of public assets and deregulation against the working class, women, children and the environment.
The policy of “neoliberal globalization” is coupled with the US-instigated policy of “global war on terror”. In the name of fighting terrorism, the imperialist powers and their puppets are emboldened to attack the fundamental freedoms and human rights, engage in state terrorism and justify foreign military intervention and wars of aggression waged by the US either unilaterally or multilaterally in collaboration with other imperialist powers.
Under the current global conditions of protracted depression and wars, the broad masses of the people suffer the rapidly rising levels of oppression and exploitation, whether or not they are in the war zones where devastation of life and resources is at its worst. Everywhere in the world today, it is the women and the children who suffer the most. And it is of crucial importance that women throughout the world rise up against imperialism and all forms of reaction that bedevil them and the rest of the people.
We are elated that in holding your conference you are determined to draw inspiration and lessons from the long history of the women’s struggle for emancipation and rights against multiple forms of oppression, to discuss the longrunning and current problems of women, to achieve consensus on the resolution of issues and to launch the International Women’s Alliance by ratifying its Basis of Unity and Constitution. We consider your conference as an undertaking of historic significance and a meaningful way of celebrating the centennial of the International Women’s Day and advancing the cause of women’s liberation and rights on a global scale.
We commend you for adhering to the purpose of the International Women’s Day, which is to address the multiple oppression and exploitation that women suffer in the hands of the imperialists, feudalists and the patriarchalists. We agree with your determination to trace the milestones of the struggle of women for liberation and upliftment, examine the current social, economic, cultural and political situation of women, confront the rising level of class exploitation, the global economic and financial crisis, the imperialist wars and violence against women and set forth the tasks for advancing a militant, global women’s movement in the 21st century.
We appreciate the comprehensive range of topics in your plenary sessions and workshops. You address the major problems besetting women in various situations and you seek to present the current and potential forms of resistance that women are waging for their liberation and rights.
It is but necessary and appropriate that you devote your attention to the plight and struggles of the most oppressed and exploited women: those who are workers and peasants, those who are forced to migrate, those who suffer racism, discrimination and genocide, indigenous women, those in areas engulfed by imperialist wars and state terrorism, those subjected to religious oppression, sexual prejudices, restrictions of reproductive rights and violence and others.
We admire your resolve to emulate and support the struggles of women in all continents and countries and to give special attention to the outstanding concrete struggles of the women of Palestine, Afghanistan, India, Iran, the Philippines, Mexico, Tamil Eelam, Africa, Haiti, Guatemala, Aotearoa and elsewhere.
We look forward to your success at resolving issues during the conference and reaching consensus on your Basis of Unity. The time has come to form the International Women’s Alliance in order to unite the women of Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East, North America and Europe and build a militant anti-imperialist and democratic women’s movement. It is imperative and urgent for women to strengthen their ranks in order to uphold, defend and promote their rights against the escalating efforts of imperialist powers and puppet states to deprive them of their rights and further oppress and exploit them.
We are glad that you have the alliance as your organizational form. It is a broad framework for bringing together the grassroots women’s organizations, sections of local trade unions that promote women’s concerns, networks, alliances of women’s organizations and all other women’s formations that subscribe to the Constitution of the Alliance and to all plans and resolutions approved by the Assembly.
We support all your aims and purposes. May you realize them in all the years to come. ###