Today, March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day

Published on March, 8, by ll Grido del Popolo©️

Today, March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day. The earliest version reported was a “Women’s Day” organized by the Socialist Party of America in New York City on February 28, 1909. In essence, it was originally organized by the Socialist Party of America at the suggestion of activist Theresa Malkiel. In August 1910, an International Socialist Women’s Conference was organized ahead of the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen, Denmark. Inspired in part by the American socialists, German delegates Clara Zetkin, Käte Duncker, Paula Thiede, and others proposed the establishment of an annual “Women’s Day”, although no date was specified. This inspired German delegates at the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference to propose “a special Women’s Day” be organized annually, albeit with no set date; the following year saw the first demonstrations and commemorations of International Women’s Day across Europe.

On March 8, 1917, in Petrograd (February 23, 1917, on the Julian calendar), women textile workers began a demonstration that eventually engulfed the whole city, demanding “Bread and Peace”—an end to World War I, to food shortages, and to Tsarism. This marked the beginning of the February Revolution, which alongside the October Revolution, made up the Russian Revolution. After the Russian Revolution, Bolsheviks Alexandra Kollontai and Vladimir Lenin made IWD an official holiday. After the Russian Revolution in 1917, IWD was made a national holiday on March 8; it was subsequently celebrated on that date by the socialist movement and communist countries. On May 8, 1965, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet decreed International Women’s Day a non-working day in the USSR, “in commemoration of the outstanding merits of Soviet women in communistic construction, in the defense of their Fatherland during the Great Patriotic War, in their heroism and selflessness at the front and in the rear.

There have been claims that the day was commemorating a protest by women garment workers in New York on March 8, 1857, but researchers have described this as a myth intended to detach International Women’s Day from its socialist origin. The holiday was associated with far-left movements and governments until its adoption by the global feminist movement in the late 1960s. IWD became a mainstream global holiday following its promotion by the United Nations in 1977. While socialist countries have glorified and elevated it to the level of labor and social struggle, and women’s suffrage, capitalist countries have vulgarized it in the truest sense of the word, with IWD completely commercialized, where it is sponsored by large corporations and used to promote general and vague notions of equality, instead of radical social reforms.