Misplaced Chains

Why is it not surprising that International Women’s Day –March 8th– gets short shrift and the silent treatment in the United States?  It isn’t even noted on most printed calendars, the greeting card industry ignores a lucrative marketing opportunity, and the American news media studiously avoids the temptation to make the merest passing mention of a day directly relevant to 51% of the population.  Oh, and this year, Daylight Savings Time (spring forward) commences on March 8th — so International Women’s Day in the United States is only 23 hours long.  Unequal pay compounded by unequal time.

It seems likely that there’s a political motivation in addition to the reflexive patriarchal urge to diminish the social stature of women:

The earliest Women’s Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New York; it was organized by the Socialist Party of America in remembrance of the 1908 strike of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union.  Women demanded that women be given the right to vote and to hold public office. They also protested against sex discrimination in employment. In 1914 International Women’s Day was held on March 8, possibly because that day was a Sunday, and now it is always held on March 8 in all countries.


A few years later, things got out of hand (from a patriarchal capitalist point of view):

In 1917, demonstrations marking International Women’s Day in Saint Petersburg on the last Sunday in February (which fell on March 8 on the Gregorian calendar) initiated the [Russian] February Revolution.  Women in Saint Petersburg went on strike that day for “Bread and Peace” –demanding the end of World War I, an end to Russian food shortages, and the end of czarism.  Workers in several nearby factories walked off the job in solidarity, marched on the Winter Palace, and the rest is [proletarian] history.

Here, then, is the inexorable slippery slope that terrifies the Koch brothers: women –> labor unions –> voting rights –> socialism –> international Communism –> expropriation of property.  Maybe we can get started on this tomorrow … when there will be 24 hours in the day.



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