Today marks International Women’s Day, a day which began after a key strike of women textile workers in New York. The lead up to the strike that would build the ILGWU into a fighting force was a tenants strike led by socialist women. Revolutionary unionism likewise has its own history of struggles of women workers, a history which took the emancipation of women deeper in its time and today as well. During the same time period, the Buenos Aires Tenant’s Strike of 1907 was led by some of the women’s Resistance Societies and women leadership within the FORA.
A mural image showing (left) A member of the IWW or “Wobblies” trying to organize the Maine woodsmen and The Textile Workers and a mural image depicting (right) Young women were often sent to the mills by their families, who could not, or would not support them. REUTERS/Judy Taylor/Handout
March was International Women’s Day and the IWW celebrated it with a special issue of the Industrial Worker. It’s worth reading the whole thing via the Industrial Worker here and you can get a subscription via this link if you want to support it and see more writings like that. Much of the time discussions around organizing center on what keeps us from winning or building the union up to those fights. There’s less discussion around things that prevent workers from becoming their own radical agents, particularly in gendered terms. The article we’re running today comes from Miami, Florida and was published in the Industrial Worker. It’s a personal account of one organizer’s journey to becoming a committed IWW, and how she has seen race and gender play a role in her life. Though only one snapshot of these big issues, contributions like this give us a window into deep forces at play in our work and neighborhood lives, and are things we hope IWWs can continue thinking around and fighting for an alternative.
from Luz Sierra
This past year I became politically active. I went from being completely unaware of the existence of radical politics to doing organizing work in Miami with an anarchist perspective. It has been both a rewarding and difficult journey, yet gender seems to haunt me wherever I go. I am probably not the first woman to experience this, but I believe that I should demonstrate how this is a real issue and provide my personal insight for other women to have a reference point for their own struggles.