A Call for Women to Pledge to Strike

Below is a news release from National Women’s Liberation calling for a women’s strike against “all work, both paid and unpaid,” during the presidential inauguration weekend in January. They are setting a target of 20,000 strike pledges before making the strike call official and are thus encouraging women (and men) to sign up here and to add their testimony as to why they are joining the strike. 

Previous articles in Meeting Ground about women’s strikes have included the Vaga de Totes strike in Catalonia/Spain, and those in Poland, Iceland and the U.S.A.(1970). 

— The Editors

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FROM: National Women’s Liberation

For Immediate Release, December 19, 2016

Contact: nwl@womensliberation.org


Women Pledge to Strike During Inauguration

Target All Work, Paid and Unpaid

A huge women’s march is planned in Washington, D.C. the day after Donald Trump is inaugurated, but one feminist group is taking their resistance a step further. National Women’s Liberation is calling on women all over the country to strike from all work, paid and unpaid, [Friday and Saturday] January 20-21.

“The incoming administration is promising to cut, undermine, privatize, or eliminate every social contract from public schools to Medicare to Social Security. They expect the family (that is, women) to fill in the gaps and pick up the pieces. No we won’t. This strike is a warning. Our work can no longer be taken for granted” the group stated.

Since they launched a website (http://womenstrike.org) last week, women from all over the country have been writing in, pledging to strike.

“My work is valuable, but not fairly compensated. I strike against an agenda that strives to make my healthcare even more expensive and puts me in physical danger. I’ll be striking from work and housework,” wrote J.D. from Colorado.

“As a woman and a worker, I am overburdened by the demands on me by my job and making up for the inadequacies under this broken system that leaves my family without basic supports… I demand RESPECT for women’s labor that makes the world go round and will take a two day strike to join with my sisters in demanding MUCH better from this society!” wrote Candi Churchill from Gainesville, Florida.

“I’m striking because my boss is a Trump supporter who feels the need to talk to me like trash,” wrote A.P. from North Carolina.

Besides walking off their jobs, women can opt to strike from “fake smiles,” “emotional labor,” laundry, cooking, or childcare.

“I’m sick of protesting the same things my elders have protested. America has abandoned me as a woman of color. I’ll be striking from: Paid job, sexism, emotional labor,” wrote K.L. from Illinois.

Many announced they would be striking from “all of the above.”  “Tired of doing more work for less pay and constantly dealing with a different set of standards than men do.  I’ll be striking from ALL OF IT!!” wrote D.M. from Louisiana.

The strike has a tall list of demands, including a national health care system (“everybody in, nobody out”), a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave (“at least six months, like they have in 50 other countries”), free childcare and “reproductive freedom, full access, no coercion.”

“Now is not the time to be defensive about what we need for our lives and happiness,” said Jenny Brown, an organizer for the group. “The Democrats didn’t generate any excitement by saying we won’t go back, because what we have now is terrible, it isn’t good enough.”

Hundreds of women attended a meeting in New York on Tuesday, with many declaring their intentions to leave jobs and housework behind, and join the Women’s March on Washington on January 21.

“I am not going to be at work, I will not be answering any emails, I’ll be striking from wearing makeup, from smiling… and I will not let anyone pat me on the back and tell me it’s going to be OK,” said a woman who identified herself as Allie.

“I live in a youth shelter and I get sexually harassed and assaulted on a pretty regular basis, so I guess for my strike I am going to give up being nice and start being a bitch,” said a young woman who didn’t identify herself.

The group also invites men to sign the strike pledge, but they are urged to “take on additional work at home so women can fully participate in the demonstrations.”

They aim to get 20,000 pledges before making the strike official. “We don’t want this to be some small fringe event. We want it to be a show of force, to let everyone know that we’re not going to take it,” said Paulina Davis, vice-chair of the New York chapter. 

Additional materials:

National Women’s Liberation (nwl@womensliberation.org) can provide names and phone numbers of women to interview about striking.

Further testimonies: http://womenstrike.org/testimonies

Images: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_eXN8wqn-HgdDBVcDdqX1YtZjg

Strike website FAQ: http://womenstrike.org/faq

Video of New York meeting December 13 (strike portion starts at minute 19:40): https://livestream.com/ArmineKalan/NWLNov15/videos/144371855


More on National Women’s Liberation

We are National Women’s Liberation, the women who won the fight to get the Morning After Pill over the counter and who reintroduced “This Oppresses Women” stickers to fight sexist advertisers. National Women’s Liberation is a feminist group for women who want to fight back against male supremacy and win more freedom for women. We believe that change comes about from the actions of everyday people—not politicians, the courts, lobbyists, or the media. The freedoms we have now were won by movements of women, organizing and fighting for change. We are funded by the dues of women, not corporations or their foundations. The leadership and participation of women of color is critical to the success of the women’s liberation movement; National Women’s Liberation addresses struggles particular to women of color and racism within the feminist movement through our Women of Color Caucus.

The Women of Color Caucus is an organizing think tank composed of women of color associated with National Women’s Liberation. As active leaders and organizers within the Women’s Liberation Movement, we recognize that a strong and viable movement must work for the interests and utilize the talents and experiences of women of color. Women of color must meet separately from white women to better understand how white supremacy intersects with other forms of oppression, i.e. male supremacy, capitalism, imperialism, religious fundamentalism, and discrimination of women based on their sexual orientation. In this way, women of color will develop theory on how best to address racism within NWL, the women’s liberation movement in general, and our larger society. It is vital that women of color study and analyze our diverse experiences to better understand racism, sexism and the insidious combination of both. In this way, women of color will develop theory to strengthen the larger Women’s Liberation Movement.

More on National Women’s Liberation and the Women of Color Caucus can be found at: http://womensliberation.org

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