Twin Cities celebrates International Women’s Day 2014
Movement leaders demand: Drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh
Minneapolis, MN – Trade unionists, students, anti war and low income activists came together here, March 8, for a spirited celebration of International Women’ s Day. The event, “Women's Liberation from the U.S. to Palestine,” was organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO).
Held annually in the Twin Cities, this year’s International Women’s Day celebration emphasized the case of Chicago Palestinian leader Rasmea Odeh, who is facing prison and deportation on trumped-up immigration charges.
Jess Sundin’s speech
Jess Sundin, of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, gave the opening speech on the oppression of women and the need for liberation, the fight against political repression and the need for revolution and socialism.
Sundin began by telling the crowd about the history of International Women’s Day, stating, “This day came from the struggle of working women right here in the U.S. In 1908, women garment workers in New York City came together to demand a strong union for themselves and the right to vote for all women. They went on strike for 13 cold winter weeks and in the end they won. Inspired by them, German revolutionary Clara Zetkin proposed that March 8 be celebrated around the world as International Women's Day.”
Sundin concluded by saying socialism “engages people in transforming society to meet all of our needs. The riches of a socialist society are used for the benefit of all. Socialism is based on internationalism, rather than criminalizing freedom fighters and international solidarity. Under socialism, our government would be dedicated to ensuring equality, rather than allowing some to profit, while others go hungry. These are values that would make it possible for women to throw off the chains of oppression, to win our own liberation. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, let us rededicate ourselves to a life of struggle. Let us commit to build movements where women lead. And let us march together towards revolution.”
From U.S. to Palestine
Hatem Abudayyeh, a leader in Chicago’s Palestinian community, spoke via Skype on the case of Rasmea Odeh. Abudayyeh told of the many contributions that Odeh had made to the fight to free Palestine and to end the oppression of women. Stating that Odeh’s case is linked to the repression directed against Palestine and international solidarity activists, he expressed confidence that everyone at the Twin Cities event would be part of the struggle to get the charges against Rasmea Odeh dropped.
Misty Rowan, of the Twin Cites-based Anti-War Committee, spoke about the role that strong women leaders play in the anti-war movement and the push back against FBI repression. The Anti-War Committee and Freedom Road Socialist Organization were the targets of FBI raids in September 2010.
Steff Yorek read a message from Cherrene Horazuk, the president of AFSCME Local 3800, noting the fight of women workers past and present.
The event concluded with a speech by Angel Buechner of the Welfare Rights Committee, who demanded that state government raise the welfare grants.