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Chicago celebrates International Women's Day

By Kobi Guillory

Chicago march for International Women's Day. | Fight Back! News/staff

Chicago, IL – 500 people marched through downtown Chicago on March 10 behind banners that read “Stand with the women of Palestine” and “End genocide! Free Palestine from the river to the sea.” The event was organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) together with the Coalition to March on the Democratic National Convention (DNC) and 14 other organizations in observance of International Women's Day two days before.

“It is especially the Palestinian women who are steadfast against this barbaric occupation. The Palestinian struggle is inherently a reproductive justice and feminist issue,” said Nazek Sankari, one of the co-chairs of the United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)

“Palestinian women have ensured that the legacy of resistance lives on generation after generation. They have always been leading the popular resistance, and their teachings and legacy have been enshrined in armed resistance as well,” Sankari continued.

“As a socialist organization we recognize that gender-based exploitation is inseparable from all other struggles against oppression and exploitation,” said Natalie Praneis, a member of FRSO. The connections between movements came through clearly in the program of speakers from the movements for reproductive rights, labor power, immigrant rights, anti-imperialism and national liberation, among others.

“We do not accept the liberal cooptation of Women's Day to support the feminism of the ruling class. We do not accept this system of greed that puts billionaire profits over human needs and tries to divide us in the process,” said a member of Chicago for Abortion Rights. “International Women's Day is not for the Zionist so-called feminists celebrating their equal right to colonize and blockade aid trucks.”

“UAW International called for a ceasefire, but I thought we should take it a step further so our local, 551, passed a resolution calling not just for a ceasefire but also to end all military aid to Israel and stand with Palestinian trade unionists,” said Marcie Pedraza, a member of Uniting All Workers for Democracy (UAWD), a rank-and-file caucus of the United Auto Workers (UAW).

“Like Assata Shakur said, it is our duty to fight for our freedom, and it is our duty to win,” said Jasmine Smith, a co-chair of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression’s Campaign to Free Incarcerated Survivors of Torture (CFIST). “All of us who are oppressed have a common enemy, which is this parasitic system, so we need to come together and fight until we win!”

“As activists we know that we need to pressure both political parties to get to a better society,” said Erin Boyle, a leading member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at the University of Illinois Chicago. “That's why this summer, SDS is joining coalitions to march on the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee in July, and the Democratic National Convention here in Chicago in August, and when we march in August, we will be first and foremost standing with the people of Palestine and Yemen, and demanding U.S. hands off the Middle East!”

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