Thurs, March 26, 9-10pm: Terry O’Neill on the Republican budget & women–Kathie Sarachild on studying Women’s Liberation history to move forward

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Part 1: The Republican-controlled Congress is on a tear to tear up what little there is of the American safety net and their budget proposal directly attacks many of the programs on which women depend.

Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women will join us to talk about the Republican Budget and Women.

Part 2: Women’s History itself is the subject of the 2nd part of our last show during Women’s History Month: An interview with legendary feminist pioneer Kathie Sarachild. From her 1975 landmark essay The Power of History (Feminist Revolution), which focused on the erasure from history of the pioneers of the early-second-wave Women’s Liberation Movement and their replacement by liberal media-chosen ‘stars’–to current examples of how the knowledge of authentic women’s history and the strategies developed by early radical feminist groups are helping today’s young activists of National Women’s Liberation achieve important victories. A “DON’T MISS!” interview!

How International Women’s Day was created, lost–and found again!

Prequel to the story: On November 23, 1909, there was a labor uprising in New York City in which more than 20,000 Yiddish-speaking immigrants, mostly young women in their teens and early twenties, launched an 11-week general strike in New York’s shirtwaist industry, dubbed the “Uprising of the 20,000.” It was sparked by the impassioned call to strike by a young woman garment worker, Clara Lemlich and sparked five years of revolt that transformed the garment industry into one of the best-organized trades in the United States.

Beginning of  International Working Women’s Day…

In 1910–at the Socialist International–an international Socialist meeting in Copenhagen– German Socialist Clara Zetkin proposes there be an annual celebration of International Working Women’s Day to commemorate the 1909 labor uprising in New York–the motion is seconded by Lenin himself.

1911International Working Women’s Day is celebrated for the first time. On March 8, 1917 (this is where March 8 comes in), a women’s uprising in Saint Petersburg, Russia “for bread and land and peace” is the spark that ignites the Russian Revolution, with a Strike that topples the Czar within four days of the women’s protest. So thereafter, around the world, IWWD is celebrated on March 8.

After World War 2, In the U.S. the “cold war” with the Soviet Union puts IWWD “under suspicion,” as in that period, people who are seen as participating in groups or events that are associated with Socialism or Communism are investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee and are often “blacklisted” and lose their jobs and professions. Because of this, 1947 is the last year, for a long time, in which there is any record of IWWD being celebrated in the U.S.

UNTIL–1968–when The Women’s Liberation Movement–the beginning of the “Second Wave of Feminism” takes it “out of mothballs”,  claims it as a feminist holiday and starts to celebrate it.

In 1969–A Berkeley Women’s Liberation Group–one of the organizers is Laura X–organizes the first street action to celebrate IWWD in the U.S. since 1947. There’s a parade in which women dress as female historical figures–and Liberation News Service picks up the story that IWWD is once again being publicly celebrated in the streets of the U.S. and spreads the news to international news services. Many around the world are inspired.

The next year, 1970, International Women’s Day Celebrations are held in 30 countries!

Women’s History Month…

In 1981–pressure on Congress from women’s groups, such as the National Women’s History Project causes Congress to officially institute Women’s History Week.

1987After five more years of pressure by feminists, Congress expands Women’s History Week to Women’s History Month. The campaign has been influenced by the parallel struggle for official recognition of Black History Week and Black History Month.

IWWD continues to be celebrated around the world on March 8th. Women today define IWWD for themselves as needed in each year and in every country where it is celebrated.

Postscript: There is much of women’s history that most people–including most women–do not know about–because this history has been buried. Joy of Resistance considers it a joy to discover and communicate as much of this history as we can. We believe that know our history and the struggle that has gone into winning the improvements in our lives that we have won through organizing, is to understand how powerful we have been and can be and are–when we organize–and to be inspired to keep up the struggle until we win our full liberation

Happy International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month!

On Wednesday, March 5, @ 8-10 PM, Joy of Resistance is proud to present: “Feminist Stories from Women’s Liberation” a film by Jennifer Lee, with clips from the film and a discussion with the Director

WBAI can be heard at 99.5 FM in the tri state area. It streams at WBAI.org

 
As part of the WBAI Winter Fund Drive and to kick off Women’s History Month, Joy of Resistance 70) that we have yet come across: Jennifer Lee’s marvelous new film “Feminist Stories from Women’s Liberation.” Just out, and having already garnered two awards–the “Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival: Best of Festival Documentary” and “Official Selection of the Cincinnati Film Festival”, this film has not yet been shown in theaters and, at present, is only available to the general public through WBAI.
 
In her introduction to the film, Lee shares with us that she was motivated to go on the quest that became the film, because she couldn’t figure out why the word “feminist,” when it came up among members of her generation, was whispered as if it were scary and somehow shameful. This led her to question why she didn’t know more stories from the feminist movement so that she could pass them on to those of later generations for whom this history was a blank. She decided to fly around the country and interview as many of the movement’s originators as she could find (“they are all around us”) and reclaim feminist history for her generation, by listening to “their stories”.    
 
Lee interviewed, among others, Betty Friedan (Friedan’s last video interview before she passed), Aileen Hernandez, the first head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Kathie Sarachild, a founder of Redstockings and a worker in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); Frances Beal, founder of the SNCC Black Women’s Liberation Committee; and author of Triple Jeopardy; Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton–and many others.
 
Punctuated by an astonishing amount of period footage and an energetic sound-track, as well as wit and humor, the film begins with a glimpse of what life was like for women in the U.S. before the feminist movement (starting with women having been ousted from well paying factory/munitions jobs after WWll); the “happy housewife” propaganda of the 1950’s and Betty Friedan’s groundbreaking book: The Feminine Mystique; John F. Kennedy’s 1963 President’s Council on the Status of Women; the influence of SNCC and the Civil Rights Movement; the fight  to get women included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964–and how it led to the founding of theNational Organization for Women (NOW); the Miss America Beauty Pageant Protest; the Ladies’ Home Journal sit-in and the Women’s Strike for Equality that included placing a banner saying WOMEN OF THE WORLD UNITE! on the Statue of Liberty. Many of the feminist goals raised in the film are still being fought for today, some 50 years later–such as full access to reproductive rights and universal childcare–and the film provides a useful underpinning for understanding our movements today.
 
A DVD of Feminist Stories from Women’s Liberation will be sent as a thank you gift to those who contribute $50. to WBAI.
 
WBAI IS A 54 YEAR OLD ALTERNATIVE, NON-COMMERCIAL RADIO STATION, PART OF THE PACIFICA NETWORK. We are in the midst of a critical fund drive and need your support to continue to bring you programs that are not dependent on–and therefore limited by–the dictates of corporate funding. SO PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY by going to give2wbai.org or calling (212) 209-2950.
 
If you call and contribute (any amount is welcome) during our fund drive show on March 5, your contribution will also count as a vote for the continuation and expansion of Joy of Resistance: Multicultural Feminist Radio @ WBAI. Thank you!