On March 11th from 6–9pm, the Canadian chapter of the International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS) along with a number of its allied and member organizations will be hosting “Indigenous and Working Class Women Resist State-Sanctioned Violence”, an evening of performances, speakers, sharing, and food at the Grandview Calvary Baptist Church (1803 E 1st Ave), in honour of International Women’s Day. We acknowledge that the event is taking place on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh people.
While International Women’s Day began as a celebration of working class women’s resistance to capitalism, the ruling class has appropriated the celebration over the years in order to strengthen their interests. We seek to reclaim the roots of International Women’s Day by celebrating the resistance of indigenous women, working class women, and gender-oppressed peoples to state-sanctioned violence under imperialism, which is core to the way modern capitalism functions.
There are multiple ways in which imperialism and state-sanctioned violence affects the lives of women across the world. Women are on the frontlines of resistance against the plunder of multinational resource extraction companies in across Canada, Latin America, India, Africa, and the Philippines. In particular, we remember Honduran activist Berta Caceres for her dedication to environmental justice. Furthermore, Lumad (indigenous people in the Philippines) and Adivasi (“tribals” in India) women are often the leaders in their communities in defending their ancestral lands against exploitation. Women and gender-oppressed people are also on the frontlines of resistance against militarization in their communities. For instance, Filipino women rallied against continuing US occupation of the Philippines as Jennifer Laude was killed in cold blood by US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton. Further, women and other gender-oppressed people are used as cheap labour by the state, when for instance, the vast majority of Filipino domestic workers who work abroad under the Labor Export Policy are women. These women regularly face abuse from their employers in employment programs that deliberately keep them vulnerable through precarious jobs and status. Finally, missing and murdered indigenous women continue to be ignored by the State, not only in Canada, but also when extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances of human rights activists done by the state occur worldwide.
As we see that imperialist and state-sanctioned violence against women and gender-oppressed people take similar forms across the world, it is imperative for us to “connect the dots” so we can strengthen solidarity and resistance against these systems. As such, we invite everyone to see what is already being done by organizations such as Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, Migrante, Gabriela (Philippines solidarity organizations); Ayotzi 68 (Latin American solidarity organization); East Indian Defence Committee; and Grassroots Women (local grassroots feminist organization) in their resistance against imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, and patriarchy at this event. Long live international solidarity!