Solidarity and Continued Struggle: International Women’s Strike on May Day

Jacob Lawrence, The Ironers (1943)

May Day 2017 will be a day of strug­gle against the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. A day in which work­ers, waged and unwaged, across the coun­try will strike, march, ral­ly, boy­cott, and make our voic­es heard against the sex­ism, racism, xeno­pho­bia and homo­pho­bia of this admin­is­tra­tion.

Trump has declared an open war on immi­grants, from build­ing a wall between the US and Mex­i­co to bans on Mus­lims. We stand for dis­man­tling all bor­ders and all walls. This is why the Inter­na­tion­al Women’s Strike will strike with all those orga­niz­ing for May Day.

As antiracist fem­i­nists of the 99%, many of whom are our­selves immi­grants, we stand against the vicious ICE raids that have in recent times tried to ter­ror­ize our com­mu­ni­ties and split up fam­i­lies. As cis and trans women we have been in the fore­front of orga­niz­ing against such raids, of defend­ing our fam­i­lies. We are threat­ened by the loss of our chil­dren, not only by ICE but by the bar­bar­ic new rules that pro­pose to take our chil­dren from us and sep­a­rate our fam­i­lies at the bor­der. We also face the sex­ist and racist child wel­fare sys­tem that prof­its from steal­ing our chil­dren from us and putting them in care or up for adop­tion with wealth­i­er strangers, where they all too often face abuse and trau­ma.

The vio­lence of ICE against immi­grants is part of the sys­temic police vio­lence against Black peo­ple, Lat­inx and Native Amer­i­cans, and the mass incar­cer­a­tion of peo­ple of col­or. This vio­lence and sys­temic sex­ism and racism oppress­es and humil­i­ates women of col­or, includ­ing Native women and immi­grant women, every day of our lives. To those who want to nar­row down fem­i­nism, we say fem­i­nism can­not be nar­rowed down only to demands over repro­duc­tive rights and for­mal gen­der equal­i­ty. Fem­i­nism is a strug­gle against pover­ty, racism and immi­gra­tion raids. The women who are part of or aspire to be the 1%, rely on the rest of us, espe­cial­ly immi­grant women and women of col­or, to do the care­giv­ing and ser­vice work for low pay or no pay. This is why we will strike on May Day.

To those who dis­miss the work that women and non-bina­ry peo­ple do in the for­mal and infor­mal econ­o­my, start­ing with moth­ers, we say that feed­ing, cloth­ing, hous­ing, and edu­cat­ing whole com­mu­ni­ties, pro­vid­ing more unwaged health care than all health care insti­tu­tions com­bined, clean­ing and main­tain­ing everyone’s homes, is real work and fun­da­men­tal to sus­tain­ing soci­ety despite being unrec­og­nized and invis­i­ble. Also hid­den and dis­re­spect­ed is the work of immi­grants, espe­cial­ly women. This is why we will be strik­ing on May Day.

To those who say immi­grants have no right to be here, we say that we have fled coun­tries that were bombed, occu­pied and impov­er­ished by the US mil­i­tary indus­tri­al com­plex and the bru­tal gov­ern­ments they imposed or sup­port­ed. U. S. wars are steal­ing land and resources, exploit­ing, rap­ing, impris­on­ing, and tor­tur­ing peo­ple – from Afghanistan and Iraq to Egypt and Syr­ia, from Pales­tine and South Sudan to Haiti and Hon­duras. On May Day we strike to reclaim the wealth we immi­grants helped pro­duce and to estab­lish our right to be here.

March 8th taught us the pow­er of uni­fied action. We marched, struck work, boy­cotted and ral­lied. We will do the same on May Day. 

We will do so because an injury to one is an injury to all.

We will do so because as on March 8th, and so on May Day, sol­i­dar­i­ty is our weapon. 

Author of the article

is a network of grassroots feminists from across the US who initiated the call for the March 8 women's strike in the US.