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InternationalWomen’s Day is on Friday 8th March (ie really soon!). This meeting is being called to look at how we can make this as big and powerful as possible. There will probably be lots of events being planned by different political and community-based groupings, so one aim is to be able to collaborate as far as possible to organise in a way which avoids major clashes and builds capacity rather than fragmenting and weakening. It seems important to have an initial exploratory meeting as soon as possible as IWD will figure in the planning and organising of a variety of groups and campaigns.
Many of us would also see IWD less in terms of one-off annual events, but as part of the ongoing work of building solidarity in the struggle against a system which relies on the often unacknowledged, unwaged or hyper-exploited labour of (mostly) women, still seen as “natural” or “private” yet held in place by myriad forms of violence, coercion and control – whether domestic and sexual violence, racism, Islamophobia and the rise of misogynist fascism, violence against trans and gender-nonconforming people, the state violence of borders and deportations, denial of reproductive rights, or the economic violence of hyper-exploitative working conditions, benefit cuts and the decimation of services that places ever increasing burdens on the shoulders of women…….
There has been a trend for International Women’s day to become a “safe”, “celebratory” event rather than the radical, challenging and militant mobilisation which it needs to be. With the spread of the Global Women’s Strike movement in town and cities across the world, this may well be changing. To get an idea of this, see this statement from Women’s Strike Assembly last year https://womenstrike.org.uk/about/
How we organise, network and prioritise in Leeds is up to us, and will also depend on the existing groups and campaigns, and how IWD work can help build that capacity. The proposal here is that Sunday’s meeting will be for women and non-binary people with a strong interest in taking this forward, but to be followed up quite quickly with an open meeting for women and non-binary people to share experiences, concerns and priorities and start building for the day (and beyond).
Please invite any women and n/b people who may want to be involved. Also, of course, there is an expectation that men will step up to show solidarity by offering childcare both for meetings and on the day, and doing the support tasks around whatever plans are made – so by all means begin this conversation with trusted male comrades.
Note from Organiser: The venue is off Swinegate, not far from the Cosmopolitan Hotel as you walk towards the railway station. Anyone arriving late can get in by buzzing the small meeting room or call me (Ellen) on 08930966205.