Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network actively supports and endorses the International Women’s Strike being organized on March 8, International Women’s Day, and the #WomenStrikeUS taking place on that day. The program for the strike highlights the centrality of anti-imperialist, anti-racist and anti-colonialist principles in the struggle for women’s liberation. As the platform states, “movements such as Black Lives Matter, the struggle against police brutality and mass incarceration, the demand for open borders and for immigrant rights and for the decolonization of Palestine are for us the beating heart of this new feminist movement. We want to dismantle all walls, from prison walls to border walls, from Mexico to Palestine.”
One of the original authors of the article urging an international women’s strike on March 8 is Rasmea Yousef Odeh, former Palestinian political prisoner, survivor of torture and current struggler against repression and persecution in the United States. Every day, Palestinian women inside and outside Palestine are on the front lines of struggle for the liberation of Palestinian women, Palestinian people and Palestinian land. Palestinian women prisoners have long been leaders in the prisoners’ movement, and today continue to play a leading role in the struggle for Palestinian freedom.
As Khalida Jarrar said in 2016 from HaSharon prison on International Women’s Day, “On this day, we affirm that we are Palestinian prisoners of struggle, and part of the Palestinian women’s movement, and that the national and social struggle goes on constantly and continuously until we win our freedom from occupation, and our freedom as women from all forms of injustice, oppression, violence and discrimination against women….We stand as part of a global struggle with all the world’s women freedom fighters: against injustice, exploitation and oppression.”
We encourage all supporters of Palestine and the Palestinian liberation struggle to get involved with the Women’s Strike. The platform is below:
The International Women’s Strike on March 8th, 2017 is an international day of action, planned and organized by women in more than 30 different countries.
In the spirit of solidarity and internationalism, in the United States March 8th will be a day of action organized by and for women who have been marginalized and silenced by decades of neoliberalism directed towards working women, women of color, Native women, disabled women, immigrant women, Muslim women, lesbian, queer and trans women.
March 8th will be the beginning of a new international feminist movement that organizes resistance not just against Trump and his misogynist policies, but also against the conditions that produced Trump, namely the decades long economic inequality, racial and sexual violence, and imperial wars abroad.
We celebrate the diversity of the many social groups that have come together for the International Women’s Strike. We come from many political traditions but are united around the following common principles.
An End to Gender Violence.
All women deserve a life free of violence, both domestic and institutional. Working women, trans women, and women of color face the worst aspects of direct institutionalized violence, be it in the form of police brutality, immigration raids, or day-to-day violence in the form of state policies that create and consolidate poverty in our communities. Against all such state and personal violence, we demand that our lives and labor be treated with dignity for they form the basis of this society.
Reproductive Justice for All
We stand for full reproductive justice for all women, cis and trans. We want complete autonomy over our bodies and full reproductive freedom. We demand free abortion without conditions and affordable healthcare for all, irrespective of income, race or citizenship status. The history of sterilization of women of color in this country goes hand in hand with the attack on abortion rights. Reproductive justice for us means the freedom to choose both whether to have children and when to have them.
Labor rights are women’s rights because women’s paid labor in the workplace and unpaid labor at home is the basis of wealth in our society. All over the world millions of women are forced to work for slave wages in dangerous sweatshops and other ‘hell factories’ that kill thousands every year. In the United States 46% of union members are women and a majority of them are women of color. All women, irrespective of citizenship status, sexuality or race, must have equal pay for equal work, $15 minimum wage, including for caregivers, free universal child care, paid maternity leave, sick leave, paid family leave and the freedom to organize a fighting union in the workplace. As working women who hold up half the sky we refuse to be divided over the kind of labor we perform, whether skilled or unskilled, formal or informal, sex work and domestic work.
Full Social Provisioning
Decades of neoliberal policies have seen the violent dismantling of social provisioning that has affected all women. While our working lives have been made increasingly precarious, social services that might have provided a safety net against such harsh exploitation of labor, have either been attacked or removed completely. Against these attacks, we demand an expansive restructuring of the American welfare system to serve the needs of the majority, such as universal healthcare, robust unemployment and social security benefits, and free education for all. We demand that the welfare system work to support our lives rather than shame us when we access such rights.
For an Antiracist and Anti-imperialist Feminism
Against the open white supremacists in the current government and the far right and anti-Semites they have given confidence to, we stand for an uncompromising anti-racist and anti-colonial feminism. This means that movements such as Black Lives Matter, the struggle against police brutality and mass incarceration, the demand for open borders and for immigrant rights and for the decolonization of Palestine are for us the beating heart of this new feminist movement. We want to dismantle all walls, from prison walls to border walls, from Mexico to Palestine.
Environmental Justice for All
We believe that both social inequality and environmental degradation are due to an economic system that puts profit before people. We demand instead that the earth’s natural resources be preserved and sustained to enrich our lives and those of our children. The struggle of Water Protectors against the Dakota Access Pipe Line inspires us. The emancipation of women and the emancipation of the planet must go hand in hand.