International Women's Day 2014

Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!

March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


On March 8, International Women's Day, women and men around the world stepped out into the streets, spoke out in determined voices, and acted in various ways to fight for the liberation of women, half of humanity. As the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, said in its statement on International Women's Day 2014, "There is nothing more brutal and backward, nothing more outrageous, nothing which more concentrates the howling and unbearable gap between the world that is possible and the world that actually IS... than the way billions of women are treated every day."

A statement from the 8 March Women's Organisation (Iran-Afghanistan) declared, "...we will continue our struggle to achieve the dream of emancipation. We are seeing the struggle of our sisters to join together with the countless hands of the oppressed women all over the world to break the thousand-years-old chains of oppression that bind us."

Palestinian women, joined by men and people from other countries, marched in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank against their oppression as women, and against the brutal, deeply unjust occupation of their land by Israel. An international delegation that tried to join the Gaza march was prevented from entering the occupied area by the combined moves of Israel, Egypt, and the U.S.

In Istanbul, Turkey, several thousand protesters, mainly women, marched to demand an end to violence against women. There were fierce clashes with the riot police who tried to block them from going to Taksim Square, the center of anti-government protests that rocked Turkey last year.

In the U.S., people in different cities across the country answered the call from StopPatriarchy to take to the streets on International Women's Day to express their outrage, expose and oppose the whole war on women, and bring alive a culture of defiance and liberation. The following are accounts of some of these actions, drawn from reports from our readers,, and

New York

From a young woman revolutionary:

On IWD, we wanted to stand and rise up with women all over the world in opposing the horrific conditions women face all over the globe, including the war on women which has concentrated particularly around abortion rights, the sexual degradation of women in pornography, and the various forms of violence that bears down on women around the world. We wanted to create a scene of breaking the chains and unleashing the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution!

Sunsara Taylor's Message for International Women's Day

We gathered at St. Patrick's Cathedral because the Catholic Church has led the charge in shaming women for having abortions, using birth control, and for exploring their sexuality. We sought to challenge the Catholic Church's whole agenda that women should be subservient to men and that women's value is to be breeders. While we were out on the front steps of St. Patrick's, several women spoke passionately and vividly about re-seizing the moral high ground and why abortion is not murder, fetuses are not babies, and women are not incubators. One young woman defiantly conducted a science lesson on why a fetus is not a baby from the centerfold of Revolution newspaper. Many people walking by stopped to take in this scene, including people coming out of St. Patrick's as well as passersby who were able to begin learning about the science behind abortion at this public fetus teach-in. Some people who were walking by were very moved and joined us on the spot, while others did double takes, asked what we were doing and why we are out in the streets, and said, "I'm with you!" At one point, the police put up a barricade between us and St. Patrick's and some people did some very sharp and powerful agitation exposing how the police are no friends of women.

We then began our march in the streets chanting and flyering along the way, creating a visibly exciting scene with posters saying, "STOP the War on Women!" and "Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!" People crowded to the sides of sidewalks as we moved down the streets echoing chants such as, "Being polite and being patient is no solution! Unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution!"

March 8, 2014 Fox News

March 8, 2014, New York City, at Times Square.

Our first stop on the march was Fox News. Fox News is the mouthpiece for the anti-abortion movement, routinely shaming women for having abortions and using birth control and for purporting that women's highest role in life is to be wives and mothers. Fox News was at the helm of creating the climate in which Dr. Tiller, an abortion provider who heroically and courageously provided abortion for 36 years, was murdered in 2009 in Wichita, Kansas.

We then headed to the military recruiting station on 42nd Street. There was critical exposure emphasizing the role of the military in the war on women and how the epidemic of sexual violence against women in the military concentrates the horrors women face in society at large and is woven into the very institutions of power in the U.S. This was a very striking scene as we were standing adjacent to a large display of the U.S. flag, a symbol that stands for U.S. empire and the ways in which women have been oppressed at the boot of U.S. empire. A young man in the movement for revolution made an inspiring call about why men have a critical role to play in fighting to end women's oppression and why women's liberation is not something that can just be relegated to the margins. He boldly stated that he is going to be out in the streets fighting against women's degradation, in every form it takes, until this is completely done away with, because when women are not free, no one is free.

We then continued our march on to Times Square, a very crowded area that has billboards visually concentrating the commodification of women's bodies to sell products. Several people stopped and noticed our banners and signs as we read the statement from the 8 March Women's Organisation (Iran-Afghanistan). There were young women who are women's studies majors who united with us and we made the point to them of why they need to be out with us in the streets and why we have to rely on ourselves in changing the whole trajectory of the war on women that is increasingly intensifying. Throughout the day, we encountered people who said, "I'm with you!" but were not ready to join us on the spot in the streets. We sought to speak to what's driving this war on women, why this is intolerable and cannot be accepted as the "new normal," and why we cannot rely on the Democratic Party and voting to liberate women.

We defiantly marched on to the porn shops on 8th Avenue, stopping at a so-called "gentleman's club" along the way, which had an image encased by its front doors titled "Body Sushi," displaying a woman who was naked with sushi placed on top of her torso. This emphasized how women are represented as sex objects and how women are commodified in pornography. Once we got to 8th Avenue, we stopped in front of a porn shop and put up yellow caution tape with the words "Crimes Against Women!" on it. Several women did sharp agitation on what social relations porn concentrates, with the increasing rise of more violent forms of pornography, including rape pornography, and how this depicts women. Also, what kind of world pornography concentrates for women, but also how men are trained to view women due to pornography.

The whole ethos that permeated throughout the day was one of boldness and defiantly standing up against these crimes against women. There was a palpable energy of inspiration in being out in the streets with others offensively taking this on that many people seized upon throughout the march in speaking out. For many of the women who joined us, being out on IWD made them feel like they were doing something pivotal to change the terms in society around women and that there were others who were determined to put an end to women's oppression in the context of emancipating all of humanity. Among those who took to the streets on March 8, it felt like the demoralization that women face in this society got lifted. A spirit of defiance surrounded the conversation on that day of what it's going to take to end women's oppression, why revolution is the solution to ending patriarchy, and the leadership we have in Bob Avakian in fighting for a total revolution that places women's liberation as central. The dynamism of being out in the streets and declaring to the world that we will not idly stand by when abortion rights are under attack, and when women are sexually degraded and treated as sex objects.

The following day there was an IWD celebration and potluck dinner sponsored by Revolution Books, which was teeming with excitement and stories from the previous day. There was a palpable energy in the room with several people sharing their experiences while eating food from cultures all over the world. The program began with watching the section titled "Resisting the Brainwash—A Radical Revolt Against a Revolting Culture" in the film BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! Sunsara Taylor provided a summation of what happened on the streets in NYC on IWD and spoke on building over the next four weeks for the Emergency Actions to Stop the War On Women happening on April 11 and 12. Mary Lou Greenberg, a longtime revolutionary who has been on the front lines in fighting for women's liberation over several decades, made a powerful presentation using her slides of photos she took from when she visited revolutionary China during the Cultural Revolution.

San Antonio

From Revolution readers:

A Revolution—Nothing Less! contingent from Houston went to San Antonio to join the several hundreds who turned out for the 24th Annual San Antonio International Women's Day March and Rally. San Antonio is one of the few—if not the only—city in the U.S. that celebrates IWD every year by marching in the street.

San Antonio, International Womens' Day 2014

In 2007, shaken by the powerful 2006 immigrant outpourings, the city passed an ordinance demanding exorbitant (and blatantly unconstitutional) fees for street parade permits. This year the IWD committee publicly announced that they would defy this repression, and march with or without a permit, declaring, "We will not be silenced."

Also, IWD this year followed closely on the heels of intensifying nationwide attacks on abortion and access to birth control, which have hit Texas particularly hard. This march took place within a few hours' drive of two more women's clinics that have shuttered—this time in the Rio Grande valley—which is disastrous for the impoverished, especially undocumented, women along the border. And come September 2014, there are expected to be no more than six abortion providers remaining in the entire state of Texas.

Sporting "Revolution—Nothing Less" t-shirts, we entered the scene holding high a beautiful banner saying "Break the Chains—Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!" We went through the gathering crowd, made up of diverse elements from Democratic Party politicians to a progressive Christian all-male group wearing "Respect Women" t-shirts to labor unions, youth groups and more. We spread our message: "Revolution—Nothing Less," got out Revolution newspaper and cards with the BAsics quote 3:22: "You cannot break all the chains, except one..." to just about everyone there.

We had asked the organizing committee if we could speak, and they decided that, based on our participation in past years, a good spot for us would be right before the march was to take off, as they felt that we could arouse the spirit of the crowd with our revolutionary message. Our speaker followed a heartfelt piece from an undocumented woman who had broken out of years of torture by her husband. Our brief statement denounced such conditions worldwide, and celebrated the struggle everywhere for the liberation of women, and for communist revolution, stating that that's what it would take—and nothing less. The speaker recited BAsics 3:22 and talked about how the very conditions of the oppression of women and the resistance it generates, provides a basis for revolution. She put out a bold call for all those who want to emancipate women and all humanity to join in this movement for revolution.

Picking up on our slogan, "Break the Chains—Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!" (in English and Spanish) one of the committee organizers began to chant "Break the Chains! Break the Chains!" As she gathered the crowd, they started chanting as well. She explained to everyone that there was no permit and put it to the people: "Sidewalk or street?" Without hesitation, people took to the streets. Chant leaders and the marchers took up our pro-abortion chants in addition to their own various ones. We stayed in the street the entire length of the permit-less march.

When we reached the end rally site, more speakers addressed the crowd with many different stories, poetry, songs, and political statements and political programs of various kinds. We got around to more people, and got out more papers and cards.

Overall, the impact of our "Revolution—Nothing Less" message, with the paper, the cards, the Party's IWD statement, the speaker, and the contingent, was undeniable. Many were challenged to rethink what it would actually take to end the oppression of women. We put out a revolutionary pole, which raised the political and ideological level of the day and the spirit of the event, we built community, including importantly, with some women on the IWD committee, and we had a lot of fun.

Los Angeles


On Friday, March 7, the Revolution Club headed out to the corner of an intersection in a predominantly Black neighborhood with banners that said "A Fetus Is NOT a Baby!" and "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!" A woman walking by asked how we felt about murdering a baby. A volunteer responded, "A fetus is not a baby, abortion is not murder, and women are not incubators!"

A young teen walked by and took a flyer that announced plans to come out, stand up, speak out, and protest on International Women's Day in front of strip joints and shops that sold items and clothing that reduced women to sexual objects for men's titillation. She disclosed that she was also a victim. We asked if she would like to write something in chalk on the sidewalk. She wrote, "Due to rape I am standing strong 4 others."

On Saturday, March 8, Stop Patriarchy and the Revolution Club headed out to the HER clinic, an abortion provider. We passed out stickers that read "Abortion On Demand and Without Apology," "Create a World Without Rape!" and "Abortion Providers Are Heroes!" Across from our banners and bullhorns was a huge church. We yelled out "Not the church, not the state, WOMEN must decide their fate!" A couple of white men from the church came by our group to wave their rosaries, so we yelled back "Get your rosaries off my [her] ovaries!" We did not know what the two men hoped to do by waving their crosses at our faces, because we did not disappear nor did we back down.

On the way to Hollywood, volunteers from the Revolution Club boarded on the Metro and passed out palm cards that read "If you can't imagine sex without porn, you're fucked!" and "Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!" After each stop, volunteers headed out and boarded the next train to pass out more cards and announce what International Women's Day was all about. In Hollywood, we chanted "It's BULLSHIT! Get off it! Women are not for profit!" This chant broke open the atmosphere as onlookers stopped to watch activists unroll yellow tape that read "DANGER! CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN!" pulled across businesses like Playmates and Bizzy B, which sells sexy lingerie for women, and strip bars, which featured nude women for men's pleasure. As we began rolling the crime tape back up, we realized that block after block, shop after shop, the Hollywood strip was lined with businesses that sold clothing for women to be men's play-things and toys. We screamed, "NO MORE!"

On Sunday, March 9, Revolution Books hosted an International Women's Day fundraising dinner for Stop Patriarchy. The store was filled with those who wished for a better world free of degradation and exploitation of women. Food was donated by an Iranian restaurant whose owner was enthusiastic about our event to bring in a radically different world. The program featured quotes by Bob Avakian, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a March 8 letter by women from the Middle East about International Women's Day, a presentation by someone who visited China during the Cultural Revolution (when women's feet were unbound, women could divorce from their husbands, and women were free to walk the streets without fear of rape), a report-back about the events that unfolded during the weekend by a volunteer from Stop Patriarchy, and a video clip by Sunsara Taylor on plans for emergency actions to stop the war on women.


From Revolution readers:

We started the day protesting at a FAKE women's clinic, a "crisis pregnancy center" that is located just a couple blocks from a major high school. There are more fake clinics around the country than REAL clinics that actually care for women! These "crisis pregnancy centers" CPCs provide neither abortions NOR birth control NOR correct medical information. They are run by right-wing religious organizations made specifically to lure in women so that they don't get access to abortion! We protested to say NO! to women getting tricked and lied to about abortion, forced or scared into motherhood. We had huge signs, including Stop Patriarchy's "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!" along with enlargements of photos from Revolution newspaper on the liberation of women. There was a lot of cars driving by and many people gave us honks in support.

Later, we went to Revolution Books for a celebration of International Women's Day. With decorations, pizza, and good music and conversation, we watched Sunsara Taylor's new video on IWD and the announcement of the big plans for the Abortion Rights Emergency Actions April 11 & 12. People were pretty blown away by this! We then took turns reading aloud the statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party for International Women's Day.

We then went back out into the cold to go to Imperial Avenue, where 11 Black women had been raped, murdered, and buried on the property. Despite calls from family members to the police about their missing loved ones, the cops had insulted them and shrugged them off saying things like, "your daughter is a crack whore!" We placed a monument to the women—a mounted copy of the centerfold of Revolution newspaper with the call to "Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!" In the evening, a local gallery sponsored a reception for International Women's Day. A bunch of our crew went and engaged with a diverse group of people.


From Revolution readers:

A group of some 20 people came together at noon to kick off the day's protest by targeting the main Catholic cathedral in the city. The provocative yellow crime scene tape extended across a church building, proclaiming "DANGER: CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN." The whole corner was decked out with eye-catching posters, stickers, and tee-shirts demanding "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology," "Fight for the Liberation of Women all over the World," "Catholic Church Attacks Abortion and Birth Control," "Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement" and "Revolution, Nothing Less" as we challenged all the people passing by.

From a variety of different experiences and political points of view, all agreed to take to the streets this International Women's Day to stop this war on women. Revolutionary communists were joined by a younger people as well as older people who'd been part of the women's movement and other progressive struggles in the 1960s. Half were women and half were men. A person active in LGBT issues joined in the loud street agitation which exposed the wider war on women, including the Church's role in abortion attacks—he, in particular, blasted the Church for its sexual abuse of children, which had happened to him and countless others.

A major local television outlet came out for a photo opportunity and a radio station conducted an interview with a spokesperson, with the protest as a backdrop. Outside the cathedral, a reporter from a campus radio show interviewed people walking by to find out their reaction to this public scene, which he shared with us. Every woman who stopped to speak to this reporter poured forth personal experience of the oppression of women that had been meted out to her. For example, one young woman movingly described, "A man in my life hits me. And then he tells me that it's okay that he hits me because women have equality now and I find it VERY REPULSIVE!" Another women recounted how ever since high school, women's rights and human rights have been important to her and how she speaks up every time against sexist jokes. "I am just not okay with all the bullshit!"

The protest then took off on a march for a couple of miles through some busy shopping areas of downtown Chicago, including stopping along the way to indict a fake abortion clinic. Along the march route, our chants rang out loud and clear and very unapologetically. All 500 leaflets, and many palmcards with the BAsics quote 3:22, went out, as we challenged everyone along the way. Many people connected with this, a good percentage in support and others wanting to know more, while the overall response was quite polarized. "Is it against sex trafficking?!" someone responded. A marcher who was signing people up on the clipboard to get connected with the movement to stop patriarchy said some people exclaimed, "I am so glad someone is doing something about this!" Others debated us, demanding to know, "So, people can get pregnant and just kill the babies?!" But his friends said, "I'm with you!" Some students lined up at the clipboard, eager to stay in touch.

A marcher noted that among many of the people that he spoke to who expressed real agreement that attacks on abortion must be opposed, they either did not grasp the urgency that abortion rights are in an utter emergency or else they recoiled from street protests, too stuck in "politics as usual." We worked to draw the lines sharply with people who shouted out to us "I'm with you," but then walked on by—"If you support abortion rights but are not out here acting in concert with others, these rights will be taken away from women!" One person handing out flyers reported that Black women seemed to be the most receptive, while some of the better off white woman seemed to think they were "above it all," dismissing it because "I already know all that!" In fact, many did not actually know about the situation with more Texas abortion clinics closing down this very week.

Someone handing out the palmcards noticed that, compared to past IWDs in this area of town, he was now encountering more outright opposition to abortion as morally undesirable. And some people did tell us outright that "you ought to be ashamed of yourselves," calling us "whores" and "baby killers" creating a "holocaust," even as our chants made clear— "Fetuses are not babies! Abortion is not Murder! Women are not Incubators!"

In taking to the streets on International Women's Day in Chicago, we had beginning impact and also learned how much a leap is urgently needed, where thousands and then millions of people step into this movement of resistance and bring forward a whole culture of defiance and liberation that sets society-wide terms and stops this war on women.



Seattle, International Womens' Day 2014.

A committed group of people could not be stopped by the pouring rain and joined together to speak out with Stop Patriarchy on International Women's Day. We started by reading The Call to Action to End Pornography & Patriarchy mic-check style. This seemed to help new people find their voices. Activists and revolutionaries with Stop Patriarchy gave sharp agitation about the abortion rights emergency, pornography and prostitution, and why it will take a revolution to uproot patriarchy and liberate humanity. A young woman born in Somalia talked about the common practice of female genital cutting and mutilation, and said it needed to end now. When she was trying to decide whether to speak, she said she thought her nieces in Somalia would want her to. A Black woman riffed off of the Call to Action and cried out that she was tired of being degraded by men for being a woman, and by the police through police brutality. Another Black woman made the point that she supports Black men but is not willing to be exploited by them or treated like an object. A woman active in the environmental movement brought her two children and recited her favorite poem by Adrienne Rich, "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers." One of the most energetic speeches of the day was given by a male college student who got louder and angrier as he spoke out, ending with: "Women are not objects! Women are human beings! Women hold up half the sky!"

When a bunch of us went to a diner afterwards to get out of the rain and talk and eat, we talked about personal stories that some hadn't been ready to share on the mic. Thinking back on the speak-out, what stood out most was the outrage and determination to stand up against the situation women face all over the planet, and to fight for the understanding that it cannot be justified and does NOT have to continue this way. We also observed that though we were small, the people who came out for the first time all had this in common: They had had some heavy, painful experiences that they were fed up about and they felt compelled to join up with others who were fighting back. We made plans to see each other again soon, the next day at the Revolution Books' International Women's Day Celebration and to build for the April 11 and 12 emergency actions for abortion rights called by Stop Patriarchy.

San Francisco


San Francisco, International Womens' Day 2014

International Women's Day march in San Francisco—from the anti-abortion, anti-gay halls of Saint Mary's Cathedral, to the Archdiocese and the Vatican, to the Republican senators emboldened to call pregnant women "hosts" and say women who are pregnant from rape are lying... From the "religious freedom" that demands the "right" to discriminate against gay people in Arizona to the "religious freedom" criminalizing birth control and hunting gay people down in Uganda... From the religious fundamentalism that justifies murdering doctors to the religious fundamentalism that justifies veiling and acid attacks... From the sex trafficking flesh trade that ruins women's lives and destroys their bodies, to a $12 billion industry of pornography that celebrates and feeds into rape culture, to the epidemic of rape and the overall commodification, dehumanization, violence and enslavement...

Honolulu, Hawai`i


The sidewalks, clubs and art galleries in Chinatown are usually crowded on 1st Friday so World Can't Wait-Hawai`i put out a call for a march through the district to demand an end to the war on women. But this 1st Friday it rained! When organizers got to the spot where the march was to begin the sidewalks and galleries were largely deserted. Leafleters huddled beneath a gallery awning and began passing out the palm cards and leaflets from Stop Patriarchy, loudly announced that International Women's Day was the following day, and invited people to join a march beginning at 8. At the beginning it seemed the evening was doomed to failure but things quickly turned around once people began reading the signs and palm cards.

Almost the first person who took a palm card was a woman from Mongolia who enthusiastically said: "International Women's Day is really big in my country!" Another said: "I saw that International Women's Day was tomorrow on Google!" A woman from Tagikistan related how it was celebrated in her country. A tourist couple from Melbourne, Australia held signs. A Russian woman was eager to talk about events in the Ukraine.

A man rushed up to the World Can't Wait-Hawai`i spokesperson saying "you would have loved the show on Olelo on "One Billion Rising." Then he looked at her and realized she'd narrated the show! ["Voices of Resistance"—an hour-long show on community television is produced by World Can't Wait-Hawai`i']. He went on to tell her that he had been moved to tears by the show, had watched it several times, and urged his friends who were with him to watch it as well.

A well-dressed older woman shared that she "can't believe we're still fighting for abortion rights" and then went on to share her outrage that the women's movement had largely backed off of "being radical."

Coming out in the rain had gotten a whole lot better. Most people took palm cards and thanked us. One couple initially by saying "I don't want one" and then quickly walked back to ask for one saying "I'm going to give this to my granddaughter."

At 8 pm things were definitely looking up and an organizer turned on her bullhorn and called on people to pick up signs and begin marching. More than a dozen people headed through the district chanting and holding up signs for people in restaurants, galleries and clubs to see: A few people along the short route took signs and joined up. As the march went past popular clubs, young people standing outside snapped pictures. A few raised fists.

While the march wasn't as big as we had hoped, and we didn't reach as many people as we had hoped, when the march ended spirits were high. Pictures of signs and banners were taken to send to an International Women's Day march in Gaza. Marchers seemed reluctant to leave and instead took cover and continued conversations, It was hard to believe that only a short time before organizers had considered cancelling the march.

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