This week is the beginning of the celebrations of International Womens Week so I have highlighted some of the very few events going on that actually reflect the origins of IWD. It was two German socialist women, Luise Zietz and Clara Zetkin, who created International Women’s Day to offer hope to working class women that they could collectively get together with other women (and men) to improve their lives. It was first celebrated on 19 March 1911.
In 2015 IWD has become a series of events that mainly concentrate on addressing the issues of middleclass women, most of the events, and that includes one about Sylvia Pankhurst (great socialist feminist) do not address the reality of lives for most women today including benefit sanctions, foodbanks, zero hour contracts, debt….etc.
Most of the events would have happened anyway, there is no event organised by trade unions or the left, our celebration of the life of Mary Quaile is sponsored by trade unions and is the only one that reflects the true spirit of internationalism and socialism. Here are some other events worth attending……….
Os Fenomenos a Spanish film about a single mother who is also a construction worker, as she is abandoned by the father of her child, she returns to Galicia, her hometown. The film reflects the bigger issues in Spain of the economic crisis and the destruction of the construction industry. You can discuss these issues with the director after the screening. see a trailer (in Spanish) at
North Country Bred. A Working Class Family Chronicle by C. Stella Davies. She was born in 1896, the fourteenth child of a warehouse labourer who went onto to become a commercial traveller. She left school at 12, worked as a telephone operator in Manchester and was active in the Labour Party. She was involved with the General Strike and progressive organisations such as the Clarion and the WEA. Eventually she obtained a PHD and wrote several books. This is not an autobiography it is a story told from the inside about working class peoples’ lives and the effect of massive change such as the Industrial revolution and the conflict arising from working class peoples’ determination to shape their own future. Sadly the book is now out of print but you can try
the fashion industry and what not to wear. Tansy Hoskins new book “Stitched Up-the Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion” reveals the exploitative nature of the industry from the overpaid and dodgy designers to the poorly paid and exploited female and male workers abroad. It is not just about reading about how bad everything is but it challenges you to do something. Local ballad singer Jennifer Reid will be performing songs from the archive of the wcml. More details see
an interesting blog by Lorna, a member of the RMT and railway worker. She is an activist, at work, and in LGBT, and is standing for the Green Party in the election. It is wonderful to see the spirit of Bob Crow expressed through his members, particularly the younger end of the age profile. Follow Lorna at
“With Banners Held High” is an event to commemorate the end of the Miners Strike in March 1985. There are speakers, exhibitions, music, drama and films to remember and inspire people to get involved in present day campaigns. Its all happening in Wakefield on 7 March further details see
…Still We Rise an exhibition about women seeking sanctuary in the UK. Through photographs, dance, song, and drama they tell their story of injustice but also one of determination and resistance to their harsh experiences at the notorious Yarl’s Wood detention centre. There is also a performance by the women on the 14 March see