The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

International Women’s Day, March 8

Feb 26, 2024

In August 1910, Clara Zetkin, a communist militant and advocate for women’s rights, proposed the establishment of an annual “Women’s Day” as a strategy to promote equal rights for women, including suffrage—through socialism.

Zetkin said, “… Working women are absolutely convinced that the question of the emancipation of women is not an isolated question which exists in itself, but part of the great social question. They realize perfectly clear that this question can never be solved in contemporary society, but only after a complete social transformation.”

The actual birthplace of International Women’s Day was the beginning of the Russian Revolution in 1917 when women textile workers began a demonstration that eventually engulfed the whole city of Petrograd, demanding “Bread and Peace”, an end to WWI, to food shortages and to the end of the brutal Tsarist regime. This “Women’s Day” started the revolution.

After women gained suffrage during the Russian Revolution in 1917, International Women’s Day was made a national holiday on March 8th. And while in some parts of the world today, the celebrations marking this day still somewhat reflect its radical political origins, in some countries, you could say, this day has been hijacked and history has been rewritten. In the U.S., for example, it has come to be associated with the women’s movement of the 1960s, with its demands for “equal pay for equal work” and for women’s reproductive rights—all within the framework of this present system of capitalism. Many organizations, all the way up to big corporations, have “adopted” this day, and hold events that can include women politicians and women executives as speakers.

But, in the face of all the attacks today on women’s rights, in particular, on working-class women, this very system indicts itself as incapable of recognizing and fulfilling women’s rights.

The original International Women’s Day was called for by women who were working-class revolutionaries, and it was birthed by the women who started the first and only workers revolution against capitalism in history. And its true legacy is recalled and reinforced by the militant, determined struggles of working-class women—all over the world, to this day.