Saturday, March 7, 2009

IMA on IWD09

Mark International Women’s Day with the continuing struggle for our jobs, wages and rights against imperialist globalization

(Statement of the International Migrants Alliance
for the International Women's Day 2009)
08 March 2009

Now, more than ever, women migrant workers must stand up and fight for our jobs, wages and rights together with other oppressed and exploited women in the world.

This year’s celebration of the International Women’s Day happens amidst the economic crisis gripping the world. However, today is also commemorated with the confidence that the surging militant and anti-imperialist movement of migrant workers bound by the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) shall take up the cudgels of fighting for the rights and wellbeing of the 180 million migrant workers worldwide, half of them women.

The economic crunch takes the heaviest toll to the working people. Decades after decades, the crisis of the capitalist system worsens and despite its reinvention under the slogans of neoliberal globalization, imperialists are unable to stop the imminent collapse of the world’s economy plundered by monopolists.

Neoliberal globalization policies have forcibly opened up the economies of poorer countries and have given multinational corporations the freedom to extract the most profit while leaving the people without livelihood, a decent job and a living wage. Labor flexibilization has become a rampant and legal practice in many countries that increased the exploitation of workers tenfold.

Now that an even more serious crisis is upon the world – brought by no less than the rapacious drive for superprofit of imperialists – the people are the ones who are being made to take the toll while big businesses are bailed out of bankruptcy with funds taken from the people’s money.

Women are part of those who will carry this burden.

Surely, the commodification of women migrants shall intensify as the poor countries cling to labor export for survival. With the labor market constricting, women migrants will be thrown into slave-like working conditions.

Migrant workers are already oppressed and exploited and women migrants doubly so. Women migrants are found in jobs that pay a pittance where labor rights are easily violated such as domestic work, entertainment industry, sweatshops and the service sector. Aside from inhuman working conditions, women migrants are prone to sexual and physical abuse while those who work in households are overworked and deprived of regular days off.

Women migrants also suffer from double discrimination based on class and gender. To add to their burden, women of color are victims, not only of sexism, but extreme racism as well especially in the more developed capitalist countries. Moreover, health and other social services sorely needed by women workers are denied them.

Also, imperialism destroys the fabric of societies of the sending countries where women migrant workers come from. The social costs of migration such as the separation of mothers from their children, women uprooted from their homes, broken families, drug abuse among the youth left behind by parents forced to work as migrant workers are painful social costs brought about by imperialism and borne mainly by women migrant workers.

As the world’s crisis worsens, imperialists will resort to more and more aggression to preserve its global dominance. The war on terror led by the US has not stopped despite the people’s rightful assertion that terrorism of imperialists is the most aggressive and deadliest of all as it destroys all aspects of the people’s lives – economic, political, social and even cultural heritage.

In times of wars, women are again made to suffer. Rape and abuses to women are rampant in countries occupied by US military forces as well as those where US military bases have a stronghold or the presence of US military servicemen is widespread. Most of the perpetrators of these crimes against women go scot-free as the US ironically banners its sovereignty while conveniently trampling on the sovereignty of other nations.

Expressions of the US war on terror in many countries are also seen in the increased fascism of states and repression against progressive and revolutionary movements. Women victims of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance, illegal arrest, trumped up charges and other forms of violations of civil and political rights are on the rise.

With globalization and war at their disposal, imperialism will continue to imprison women in chains of poverty, displacement and human rights violations.

The history of March 8 is of women’s militance and perseverance for class and gender liberation. It is marked by the struggles of the working women against low wages, 12 hour daily work schedules and oppressive labor conditions in factories.

Such struggles remain relevant and, in fact, more urgent at present. This is what the IMA stands for.

The IMA strives to harness the strength of the organized movement of women workers to uphold the rights of the oppressed classes and sectors. It shall foster solidarity with local workers, women’s groups and other oppressed classes and sectors in host countries to defend their jobs, wages and rights which are continuously attacked by the leading adherents of imperialist globalization.

It is right for women to pin hope in the struggle and collective actions for liberation and social justice. It is in this way that women migrants will commemorate International Women’s Day.

Around the world, militant women’s groups lead the actions today that expose the root causes of the global recession, present the people’s demand and advance a social system that upholds freedom, democracy, justice, peace and human rights. Today, more than ever, women – including women migrants – prove that, indeed, a woman’s place is in the struggle.

In the victory of the struggle, women shall also be there.

Women Migrants, fight poverty and oppression!
Migrants Unite with all Working Peoples!
Resist Imperialist Crisis, Plunder and War!

Reference: Eni Lestari
Chairperson, International Migrants Alliance

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