The international women’s strike of March 8 is being put together with the unpaid labor of mostly women-led and grassroots organizations. No sponsorship from businesses, big or small, underwrites our organizing. As organizers of March 8 we believe that while Trump epitomizes our problems, the problems of devastating inequality, rampant racism and sexism, and violent imperialism did not begin with Trump. They are rooted in the history of US settler colonialism and were exacerbated in the decades of neoliberalism that preceded Trump.
The solution to dangerous Trumpism, hence, is not the “progressive” neoliberalism of Hillary Clinton. This position of “Neither Clinton Nor Trump” has, predictably, ruffled some feathers within the mainstream feminist establishment. Meghan Daum, writing in the Los Angeles Times, characterizes March 8 as only for “privileged women,” because working-class women, according to Daum, could not afford to “skip work, shuffle childcare and household duties to someone else.” Using the same logic, Maureen Shaw, writing for Quartz, argues that March 8 may be good idea “[b]ut it’s likely that mostly privileged women will be the ones participating.”
The issue of whether working-class women, immigrant women, and women of color can participate in March 8 is a very important question and worth paying attention to. Kate D. Griffiths and Magally A. Miranda Alcazar, two organizers of the women’s strike, have addressed this concern in great detail in response to a piece by Sady Doyle raising an analogous concern. In their article, they concretely show the numerous political actions that women of color and working class women have taken, over the last few years, at considerable risk to themselves and their families. Women, including many queer women, have been the leading force in the Black Lives Matter movement. Native women’s mass actions to protect our land and the environment against the Dakota Access Pipe Line have unleashed brutal state violence. In 2006 women participated in one of the largest mass mobilizations for immigrant rights in recent history.
More traditional strikes also have been led recently by women. Women at New York’s Babeland walked out on the job and through their militancy won a union contract. The most successful union battles of recent years have been led by unions whose membership have been majority women. The Chicago Teacher’s strike of 2013, the Minnesota Nurses strike of 2016, the Seattle Teachers strike of 2015, even Fight for 15 have been spearheaded by unions where women and especially women of color have played leading roles as both rank-and-file activists and in the leadership.