Towards a Feminism for the 99%: Working Women of the World, Unite!

Today women from across the ideological spectrum proudly claim the mantle of feminism. The Sheryl Sandbergs of the world tell us to “lean in,” while Ivanka Trump proudly self-styles as a working woman committed to female empowerment. In a world where everyone from Fortune 500 execs to lifestyle internet hucksters are claiming female empowerment as their own, and McDonald’s inverts the trademark golden arches logo on social media to “honor” International Women’s Day, today is the perfect opportunity to offer millions of enthusiastic citizens an alternative vision of feminism that acknowledges how unchecked capitalism impedes the fight for a feminist future. By endorsing the second International Women’s strike, the Democratic Socialists of America join a global movement committed to ending gender violence in its countless manifestations.

The Democratic Socialists of America voted to endorse the second annual International Women’s Strike to stand in solidarity with all working women across the country and around the world. The Strike calls on  women to withdraw their labor, both paid and unpaid, to draw attention to the ways that without women, our society would come to a screeching halt.

The Socialist Feminist Education Group of DSA Los Angeles stands in solidarity with all working women who strike today and all working women in Los Angeles- from fast food and retail workers who demand a living wage and a union, to the women in Hollywood who have risked their jobs detailing the gender violence they endure at the hands of their employers- who labor tirelessly everyday with little recognition.  

The feminist movement is now at a critical crossroads, and  we must decide whose lives and whose voices are prioritized in our movement.

The fact that the majority of women across the world still lack meaningful control over the direction of their own lives must be our focus. As socialists and feminists, we understand that the workplace is an important site of contestation. It is where our bosses can deny us access to critical reproductive health care or impose patriarchal harm with little to no consequence, precisely because they have the power to dictate the terms of our livelihood. For most women, our bosses, be they male or not, control the terms of our day-to-day lives. It is  our bosses who demand that we work longer hours for less pay, and who demand that we do so with a smile.

Even after we leave our workplaces, however, we’re expected to do the lion’s share of unpaid domestic labor- from taking care of our children, to preparing meals for the workweek, to providing the emotional support necessary to make it through yet another grueling day of work.

These are problems that plague all working women across the United States, low-wage women and women of color in particular. Not to mention the disproportionate risk of violence and work-insecurity trans women face based on their gender-identity.  While our working lives have become more precarious, the social safety net which used to provide collective solutions to these problems has been stripped away.

As socialist feminists, we work to build a world where all women have the power to live on their own terms. We work toward a socialist feminist future which prioritizes the needs of the many, not the wealth of a few. We believe in a world that prioritizes:

  • Universal Health Care, which includes free access to abortion on demand, without apology
  • Universal child care
  • Universal, free college for all  
  • Democratic control of the workplace, so workers-not bosses- control the terms of their labor
  • Decommodification of the housing and rental market, because housing is a human right
  • An end to the prison system, which locks up primarily women of color and working class women
  • A welfare system that provides the material support to live a life on our own terms
  • Environmental justice for all by putting an end to a system which puts profits before people and the health of our planet
  • Gender-justice for all, which means valuing all forms of gender identity and expression

Solidarity forever,

DSA-Los Angeles Socialist Feminist Education Group