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.