Turkey: Activities and statement for the 8th of March

Featured image: March mobilizing for the International Working Women’s Day, Istanbul, 3rd of March. Source: Yeni Demokrasi

Several activities for the International Working Women’s Day have been carried out by the New Democratic Women (Yeni Demokrat Kadın – YDK) in Istanbul. YDK will be in the streets with the slogan “Liberation is not in the Male-Dominated Order, It is in Our Hands” on this years 8th of March.

The YDK have called women to join them on the 8th of March by distributing dazibaos and leaflets in poor neighborhoods. Burning problems for women have also been brought up in studies in nine different neighborhoods.

Image collage of different activities for the 8th of March carried out by the YDK. Source: Yeni Demokrasi

On the 3rd of March thousands of women gathered at the square of the Kadıköy district of Istanbul, and marched through the streets under the slogan “Struggle Against Poverty, Violence, Exploitation and War”. Several women’s organizations took part in the march, including the YDK. Slogans such as “The 8th of March is red, it will stay red” as well as slogans in honor of revolutionary prisoners were shouted.

Demands were raised for the release of recently imprisoned political prisoners, including Partizan reader Arzu Aksakal, with the slogan “Let the dungeons be destroyed, freedom for the prisoners”. The crimes of the government in regards to the 2023 earthquake were denounced frequently. Photographs of women murdered or disappeared in the earthquake as well as women murdered as a result of patriarchal violence were carried. The struggle of women in the workplace and universities were also raised, as well as solidarity with those suffering from war and occupation around the world, and support of the struggle of the Saturday Mothers who have been demanding to learn the fate of those who have disappeared in custody of the old Turkish State.

We also share an unofficial translation of a statement by the YDK:

The burden of the world on our shoulders, the weaving workers in our memory, the struggle for freedom in our consciousness…

On the 8th of March 1857, 40,000 women weavers went on strike in New York, USA, demanding “equal pay for equal work”. In the fire that broke out during this strike, 129 women workers who were locked in the factory lost their lives.

The 1850s were years when labor movements were on the rise in the USA. Industrial workers were working under extraordinarily difficult conditions. Women led the working class of the period and went on strike to demand a reduction of the 16-hour workday to 10 hours, correction of inhumane working conditions, an increase in wages, and equal rights for women workers.

After this event, at the meeting of the women of the 2nd International (International Socialist Women’s Conference) in Copenhagen, Denmark, Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxemburg, leaders of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, proposed that the 8th of March should be International Women’s Day and the proposal was accepted.

Since then, women have been fighting for the demands put forward by the murdered weavers.

Women continued to be inspired by this history of resistance and took to the streets every 8th of March, despite all the pressure, difficult conditions and bans. All over the world, women have struggled and continue to struggle for their invisible, ignored and underpaid labor. As in other countries, women in Turkey, Kurdistan and the Middle East are taking to the streets and shouting their demands on the streets.

Today, women are being condemned to more poverty, which has been exposed by the deepening economic crisis on a global scale, and are being slaughtered by the wars going on around the world. The roads of migration become the roads of death for women. If they are not on the road, they are subjected to attacks such as harassment and rape in addition to poverty where they stay, and they are killed in their homes, workplaces and streets as a result of male violence.

Today, the fascist AKP-MHP bloc, the representative of the patriarchal State, constantly attacks women’s vested rights. These attacks have become even more reckless after the annulment of the Istanbul Convention, which was signed with the rising wave of women’s struggle and rebellion. Women who struggle for their rights and gains are also subjected to all kinds of violence by the patriarchal State.

In this geography, as in Palestine and Rojava, poor peoples, mostly women and LGBTI+s, are massacred in the wars waged by the imperialist-capitalist system in search of markets.

On the other hand, the blatant massacre of workers and nature in Erzincan İliç by the patriarchal State and its representatives AKP-MHP will cause serious problems in the region in the coming years. This massacre will place a new and heavy workload on the shoulders of women. Already today, women are worried about their future in the region, wondering what they can do for a healthier future for their children.

We saw a similar situation when the 6th of February Maraş earthquake turned into a massacre of hundreds of thousands of people. Women were forced to shoulder very heavy burdens for the survival of those left behind and are still trying to survive in the earthquake zone by shouldering burdens that are getting exponentially heavier.

In the wars caused by the sovereigns, the burden of the poor peoples, the burden of the massacre of nature and all living things through ecological massacres, the burden of the massacre of people, nature and living things in the region through the earthquake, and the burden of the poverty caused by the economic crisis are also placed on the shoulders of women. Just as their labor at home is ignored, the worth of the labor they create in workplaces and factories is decreasing day by day.

Despite all the countless burdens, women stubbornly and persistently do not give up their struggle all over the world. We women, with the burden of the world on our shoulders, with the weaving workers in our memory, persistently continue the struggle for freedom that we inherited and engraved in our consciousness despite all wars, massacres and attacks. We are in every moment of life and struggle, as in the resistance of Palestinian women, as in the resistance of Rojavan women against the war waged by the imperialist-capitalists and their lackey the Turkish State using all kinds of technology, as in the resistance of women who have been shouldering the invisible but increasing burden since the 6th of February, as in the resistance of women at Agrobay, Özak, Sputnik, Burda Bebek and in countless factories who claim their labor, which is ignored and seen as cheap labor, as in the resistance of women. We are also present in the struggle for survival against the violence, harassment and rape they are subjected to at home with the argument of the patriarchal State’s “sacred family”, and in the effort to organize in universities despite all oppression and attacks. We are also the ones who put a stop to the patriarchal State that hatefully tries to make our lives dependent on cotton threads with elevator massacres. We are the women and LGBTI+”s who do not withdraw from workplaces, workplaces, streets and action areas despite all attacks and ignoring. We will be on the streets this 8th of March as we are every 8th of March. We continue our march for freedom this 8th of March as well. We call on all women to take action on the streets to enlarge this march.

Long live 8th of March, long live women’s solidarity!

Yeni Demokrat Kadın

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