GABRIELA National Alliance of Filipino Women joins millions of women around the world in a Women’s Strike on March 8, International Working Women’s Day.

On this day, Filipino women will rise and strike against imperialism, fascism and patriarchy. We will strike to demand for land, work, decent and living wage, safe working conditions, social justice and the emancipation of women from oppression and exploitation. We will take to the streets to demand and call on the Philippine government to continue the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines for a just and lasting peace in the country.

We will rise, along with our sisters from the US and other countries, in a historic global women’s strike against the repression of migrant rights, racism, interventionist wars, for women’s health, for our right to food security, against trafficking in women and children, against the rising tide of police abuse and state repression and fascism.

We will strike with millions of women all over the world to demand an end to exploitation and oppression of peoples and poor nations, and against all forms of violence against women.

More than a hundred years after Socialist women declared a day to celebrate women’s contribution to society, women all over the world find themselves in a most degraded situation, their fundamental rights to decent life and social and political freedoms threatened and attacked. Neoliberalism, imperialism’s current face, has given capitalists and imperialists free rein to exploit the world’s working peoples, half of whom are women. 

The fire that killed thousands of mostly women workers in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York in 1911 was caused by unsafe working conditions. Unsafe conditions continue to snuff out workers’ lives to this day, such as the fire in a packaging factory in Bangladesh which killed at least 30 people, to the recent inferno that erupted this year at the House Technology Industries, maker of tsunami-safe houses for Japan, where around 1300 workers were reported still missing weeks after the fire happened.

Indeed, women under the neoliberal regime have been turned into modern-day slaves.

Wages, even in capitalism’s home front, are at their lowest. Contractualization and other forms of labor flexibilization has swelled the ranks of low-paid and dispensable labor deprived of their fundamental right to unionize. Young women, along with their male counterparts, now suffer even more under the two-tiered wage flexibilization system that all the more strips them of their most fundamental labor right – the right to a minimum wage.

Large-scale mining, mono-cropping and corporate logging have concentrated productive lands and vital natural resources away from communities and nations and into the hands of corporations engaged in the wanton destruction of natural resources in the name of super profit, rendering communities vulnerable to climate disasters, destroying local, sustainable economies, and displacing entire communities.

The deployment of military troops to protect and defend corporate, especially mining and agribusiness, interests has resulted in the persecution, murder and rape of women activists and leaders, and numerous other forms of human rights violations particularly in rural communities.

Meanwhile, the re-emergence and waves of neo-fascism and white nationalism that swept through Europe have now possessed the political system of the U.S. under the Trump presidency. Targeting Muslims, immigrants, refugees, and people of color who comprise a big chunk of the working class in the US, Trump panders to the frustration of white workers disenfranchised as a result of the imperialist crisis besetting their own land.

Xenophobia and racism are enforced through police power and relentless hate propaganda in the corporate media, thus further dividing the working class along racial and religious lines and obliterating class solidarity over the failure of the capitalist system and neoliberalism that continue to worsen the social and economic crisis within the US. This, as the US and its imperialist clique continue to unleash wars of aggression against sovereign countries while propping up puppet and oppressive governments in semi-colonies that remain subservient to imperialist interests.

But with imperialism wreaking havoc in the world and on women’s daily lives, women remain hopeful for just and lasting peace. We know, however, that while we must always remain optimistic, we have to work hard and fight for the change we want. We want peace that is not just the absence of war but peace anchored on social justice and where the majority are not exploited for the benefit of the few. We want a society where women’s contribution to society is equally valued and our economic, political, social and cultural rights recognized and guaranteed.

Women in Africa, Middle East and Arab countries are aware that peace will never be achieved as long as bombs continue to destroy their communities in the name of fighting so-called terrorist groups that imperialist countries themselves funded, armed and trained to foment war, justify their war spending and aggression.

Women in many Asian countries are aware that peace will be unattainable as long as their economies are under the control of rich countries and ruled by puppet governments.

Women are aware that peace is not achievable as long as society ignores the rights of women as human beings, as workers, as peasants, and indigenous people. Women will never see peace as long as governments deny the people of their right to health and education. Women will never find peace as long as sexual violence and commodification continues.

In all our optimism, women will no longer be deceived by tokenism. Laws are important but they do not guarantee changes. It is only through a strong and massive women’s movement, where the most oppressed working women have a powerful voice, can women gleam hopes for smashing neo-liberalism and for building a just world, without oppression, without exploitation.

Filipino women reach out and extend our solidarity with the women who are taking the streets, women who are getting out of their work in factories and offices, women who are leaving housework and their everyday lives behind to make the world feel our presence and our force. We salute and give the highest respect to the women all over the world who decided to take up arms and take back power from those who terrorize them, from those who militarize their communities, and from those who bomb their countries.

We salute and honor Berta Caceres and the thousands of peasant and indigenous women who put their lives in danger because they have chosen  to defend their lands against development aggression. We learn and draw strength from the struggles of the Native Americans, the First Nation women of Canada, the aboriginals of Australia, the indigenous women of Latin America, of India, and our very own Lumad, Igorot, Aeta and Tumanduk women in the Philippines as they fight to keep their ancestral lands against corporate take-over.

We march and raise our fists in solidarity with the working class women, as we strengthen our own women workers’ movement and intensify the working class struggle in the Philippines.

Filipino women have endured and continue to battle imperialist domination over our country and our people. We stand with women in different parts of the world who were raped, abducted, tortured, harassed, prostituted, murdered and incarcerated by puppet regimes and their imperialist-trained armies because they are defending their communities and asserting their nation’s sovereignty against foreign attacks, or just because they are women.

And because we are women, workers, peasants, indigenous peoples, national minorities, Muslims, women of color, women human rights defenders and activists, we are women persisting in fighting for a world that shall be a better place for women and oppressed peoples. We are women daring to struggle, we are women daring to win! 

Women of the world, rise against imperialism!
Resist state repression and other forms of fascism!
Strike for our rights! Strike for jobs and just wages! Take back our lands!
Makibaka! Huwag matakot!
Long live international solidarity!

Rise In Solidarity