Women have fought long and hard to protect their families, communities and peoples. In various periods in world history there have been women who led their people in fighting despotic rulers and invaders. Some examples are the heroic struggles of the Vietnamese Trung sisters in 39 AD, the Philippines'Gabriela Silang in 1763 and the women in the Paris Commune and Petrograd uprising.
We commemorate today the historic ties between the women's movement and the proletarian movement for the very concept of a day celebrating women and women's militant inter-nationalism originated from the working class movement.
Women, such as Clara Zetkin, Alexandra Kollontai and Rosa Luxembourg, have inspired others to the indispensable and imperative role of women in the struggle against imperialism, feudalism and patriarchy.
Especially at this time when the US imperialists have perverted the noble cause of women's emancipation against feudal patriarchy and so-called Muslim fundamentalism to justify invasion, occupation and wars of aggression, women need to reaffirm the militant and revolutionary traditions of their movement.
Reducing women's liberation to simply a matter of individual rights or a trivialized gender war against the opposite sex, US-led imperialism seeks to hide the fact that its definition of equality is no more than the right to be as exploited and oppressed as the next propertyless person or being as mere sex object of male chauvinism and prurience.
US-led imperialism pretends to be an advocate of women's rights while transforming them into chattel for multinational corporations and commodity for the labor and sex markets. US-led imperialism proposes to bring "democratic rights" to women even as it maintains by brute force, in alliance with local reactionaries, economies that create an endless supply of impoverished women to exploit in their own homes or in sweatshops .
Under global capitalism, women comprise 75% of 1.3 billion who subsist on less than $1 per day. Majority of the 800 million impoverished and hungry are women and children even though women produce 60% of the world's food supply. In the developed countries, women's benefits - from health care to overtime pay - are under assault by corporate management.
Governments are also cutting social benefits, reducing pregnancy leaves and welfare support. Even within the United States itself, hard-won women's rights and welfare are eroded and eradicated to satisfy the lust for power and profits of monopoly and capitalists and the ruling classes.
Western nations, while reaping profits off underpaid migrant labor, enact xenophobic laws. To stifle protests against such unjust laws, the same governments pass legislation restrictive of rights and freedoms such as the Patriot Act that enable them to repress immigrants.
Roughly 50% of the world's migrants are women. Hence, the irony that these same governments that stoke anti-immigrant sentiments tolerate disguised forms of trafficking - i.e., official programs for importing workers, the mail-order bride system, to mention but two.
This is the world that women's number one enemy, imperialism, has created for womankind: a world of oppression and exploitation of entire nations, the working people and women, a world of intolerable suffering and relentless violence unleashed by the imperialists and their minions.
But imperialism, feudalism and patriarchalism are facing the growing strength and active resistance of a determined women's liberation movement. All over the world, women are involved in different forms of struggle as they carry their fight in the picket lines and trade unions, street demonstrations, parliaments and urban centers and they are engaged in people's war for liberation.
To the women who must try to survive in this world of darkness, the revolutionary traditions of March 8th are both illuminating and enlightening. Let women assert their rights to those traditions and act in concert with their revolutionary brothers to change the world. Let them forge a strong women's anti-imperialist front and solidarity the world over.
The International League of Peoples' Struggle is more than ever resolved to promote the crucially important role and initiative of the women and women's organizations within and outside the League in advancing and realizing their own distinct demands as women, cooperating with the menfolk as equal partners and contributing to the general movement for national liberation, democracy and socialism against imperialism and all reaction.
Long live the women of the world!
Persevere in the struggle against imperialism and reaction!
Raise high the banner of the women's liberation movement!
Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International Coordinating Committee
International League of People's Struggle (ILPS)
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)
Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF)