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Seattle rallies to celebrate International Women’s Day

By staff

International Women's Day rally in Seattle, WA.

Seattle, WA – On Wednesday, March 8, 40 people rallied in front of the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in downtown Seattle to celebrate International Women’s Day and to defend women’s and reproductive rights. The event was called by Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) Seattle.

Despite near freezing temperatures, people came to hear speeches from women leaders in the labor movement, anti-imperialist organizers with the International Women’s Alliance, and reproductive rights organizers. Attendees united under the rallying call to “Defend women’s and reproductive rights!”

Opening and emceeing the event, FRSO organizer Clio Jensen spoke about the history of International Women’s Day, which was first called for by German Socialist Clara Zetkin in 1910. Zetkin was inspired by immigrant women garment workers in New York City, who embarked on a historic struggle for better working conditions.

In this spirit, opening speeches called for women to become active in their labor unions and to fight for women’s and LGBTQ rights at the workplace.

“We will build a labor movement strong enough to smash this system and break the chains of oppression, including women’s oppression,” said FRSO member and Teamster Rose Guigler. She ended her speech by calling on listeners to stand in solidarity with Teamsters at UPS as they enter their fight for a new contract with the company this summer.

“This contract is going to be a big fight between the company and the union. A lot of eyes are on the whole of UPS right now, as this could determine the trajectory of the class struggle movement,” Guigler declared.

Lucía Yvette Moliné-Gonzolez, a postal worker and labor leader at USPS, said, “I’m glad to celebrate working women’s day because I believe that women should lead the labor movement. It is so nice to see other women fighting for change at their workplaces.”

Organizers with Seattle Greenwave and the University of Washington Progressive Students Union gave moving speeches condemning the attack on abortion rights in the U.S. It has been almost a year since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, criminalizing abortion in many parts of the country. Sophia van Beek, an organizer with the Progressive Students Union, also spoke about the group’s campaign to force the 3W medical center on UW Seattle’s campus to be transparent about the fact that it does not provide abortion services.

Attendees chanted, “Sexism has got to die! Women hold up half the sky!” and “When abortion rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!”

To finish off the night, several organizers with the International Women’s Alliance and Gabriela Seattle spoke out against U.S. imperialism, militarism and exploitation. Speakers had just returned from the IWA and Gabriela national conference in Washington DC, where they marched to the White House and led the call to place women over profit.

“Women must be part of the overall struggle for their liberation, confronting directly our oppressors and working together with all concerned people to create meaningful change. The International Women’s Alliance calls on all our members to unite for national and social liberation of all women, and recognizes the revolutionary role that the working class plays in those struggles,” said Selena Goodwin, an organizer with the International Women’s Alliance.

FRSO Seattle plans to continue fighting for women’s and reproductive rights, and to uphold the revolutionary legacy of International Women’s Day.

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