As in many countries with a Christian cultural background the reproductive rights of women in Ireland had been extensively curtailed. So much so, that what was tantamount to an abortion ban had been included in the country’s constitution, through the 8th Amendment, in 1983. After years of campaigning, this amendment was put to a referendum last year and the vast majority of the population (more than 66%) voted to repeal it. This is a result of changes in Irish society over the decades, but is also part of a growing trend of feminist and women’s mobilisation across the globe. Our comrades from IWW Ireland joined the campaign to arrive at this historic result. We are happy to congratulate them and all Irish women on their struggle and success.
Below is a statement from our comrades on the results of the referendum and, also, a call for this year’s mobilisation and strike, that reminds us that there’s still a lot to fight for!
Strike Against Patriarchy!
March 8th, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day of class struggle, when we stand united against prejudice, injustice and inequality. On IWD, Industrial Workers of the World salutes the struggle of women and non-binary people worldwide who, from their workplaces, organise against capitalist labour exploitation, refusing to be submissive to the coercion of a patriarchal society which imposes the non-paid ‘second shift’ of caring labour, reinforcing rampant inequalities in our societies and a feminisation of poverty.
The feminist fight against gender oppression, inequalities and for social justice doesn’t aim to catch up with the pitiful working man’s living wages and ascend to male-dominated decision-making positions, but to abolish the privileges and power structures that keep all working people enslaved in low wages, restricted welfare benefits and poor housing, reinforced with discrimination and bigotry based on gender, age, ethnic background, sexual preference, and physical appearance and ability.
IWD is an opportunity to come together and speak out for a better world in which societies are rooted in cooperation, equality and community control. We can achieve this by building real working-class solidarity from a feminist stance, standing together against capitalism, fighting racism and supporting the right of all women, trans and non-binary people to work in safety, free from the threat of social marginalisation, police brutality or deportation. We call on all women and non-binary people in our communities to join the International Women’s Strike worldwide on March 8th by means of not going to work, not carrying out caring or childcare duties, housework or consuming goods. Join in whatever way you can, even by simply sharing on social media using hashtags #thetimeisnow and #womenriseup
This is a strike against all bosses – in our workplaces and in our homes, it is a social strike that broadens the capacity of social struggle to all those that face oppression, poverty and precarity to win back our rights and freedom. During 2017/18 Industrial Workers of the World Ireland worked to support the successful campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment and will continue through 2019, and beyond if needs be, to fight for the rights of pregnant people in the north to choose. Abortion rights are workers’ rights. IWW will also continue to support sex workers’ rights to organise and keep themselves safe and the struggle against domestic violence.
“The reinvention of daily life means marching off the edge of our maps.” Lucy Parsons, IWW
IWW Ireland: Statement on the repeal of the 8th Amendment
11th June 2018
“None so fitted to break the chains as those who wear them, none so well equipped to decide what is a fetter”. James Connolly on Womens’ Rights, The Reconquest of Ireland.
The Industrial Workers of the World in Ireland welcomes and celebrates the recent democratic decision to repeal the 8th Amendment which had banned abortion in Ireland since 1983. This is a huge step forward brought about by those who shared their experiences of previous ‘Irish solutions to Irish problems’, those who campaigned including Irish members of IWW from North and South who were active at street stalls, on social media, leafletting for the successful Together for Yes campaign, and knocking on doors.
However, those who finally made this possible were the thousands who voted Yes, in particular those who did not have the answer to all their own doubts, but felt that women and anyone who can get pregnant should be the ones to choose for themselves. The Irish people showed an understanding of the statement, An Injury to One is an Injury to All.
The influence and activity of American right-wing groups on our streets was an obnoxious and illustrative feature of this campaign. If anyone doubted the ability of right-wing money to mobilise, build hatred, misinformation and fear to promote what can only be described as contempt for women, let them study the disgraceful intervention in this campaign. This will no doubt continue when steps are taken to make the will of the people a reality.
We await further attempts to preserve power from the right wing. We also await, less confidently, the marshalling of goodwill towards children expressed in some quarters, as they channel their energies into improving the lives of children in areas such as education, poverty, housing, health, social services, and leisure. We will not hold our breath.
The next stage in this story is the North. While similarities with the Repeal the 8th campaign will be instructive, the importance of mass mobilisation will be even greater here, given the rabid nature of the DUP’s response to reproductive rights among other issues, and the lack of will among other elected representatives to deal with it .
We join with those campaigning to remove this injustice in the North of Ireland and will work with others of good will with similar aims. Those parachuted into Dublin from the US may well have their tickets for Belfast, so it is vital that support be given from across the island to the continuing campaign in the North. IWW members were marching in today’s procession in Belfast under the banner Abortion Rights are Workers Rights. We call on our fellow workers across the world to support this campaign.
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