Yes, it is bread we fight for – but we fight for roses, too!
“The rising cost of living, intensified by profiteering and high taxes tear the piece of dry bread from her mouth. Her earnings or those of the husband are decreasing and no skilfulness, no ability protects her from unemployment. The working day is growing longer, the burden, the torture and the danger of work is increasing. The employers, insolent and challenging under the protection of the state, are destroying the poor beginnings of legal protection for the wage-earning proletarian woman, for the children, the half-fledged sons and daughters of the producing class. The exploiting capitalist wants to hold his own on the market, and demands bigger profits.”
These were the words of Clara Zetkins in 1922, stating that the effects of capitalism were dictating the slogans of Women’s Day.
Exactly 100 years on, they still do.
There have been so many advances in the struggle for equality but there remains a lot to achieve and consolidate. Wage theft, exploitation, casualisation of work, structural violence still are the daily experiences of too many women, trans, and non-binary people, particularly BAME, migrant and precarious workers mostly surviving in retail, service, sex work, healthcare and textile industries.
The cost of living is rising exponentially and there’s still a pandemic (despite the wishes of the governments) to survive. Reproductive rights and access to safe, free and local abortions are still denied. There is money for weapons of war but none for essential services that continue to be scrapped or privatised.
All these anti-women and anti-working-class attacks can only be fought back if we stand unionised and in solidarity against capitalism and the patriarchal system. We can see this mighty power in the ongoing work-in occupation by staff of the Regina Coeli House in Belfast, the only women’s hostel in the north of Ireland, after threats of closure were issued. This fight sets a courageous and positive example in how to take matters into our own hands to fight back against cuts and the closure of services that impact on the lives of the most vulnerable in society. An injury to one is an injury to all!
Written by IWW Ireland