With the COVID-19 pandemic, effecting the whole world since 2020, we once again face the reality that capitalism does not offer any future for humanity. The pandemic further deepened the existing inequalities. In fact, while the capitalist class increased their profits, the labor class had to struggle against unemployment and poverty.
During this period of increased exploitation, the pandemic became an excuse to attack the acquired rights of the labor class. The pandemic that increased the severity of the economic crisis, contrary to the “strong economy” statements of the government, caused millions of workers to choose between getting infected and hunger. Unpaid leave and short-time working payment caused an enormous growth of unemployment while flexible, informal and precarious employment became the mode of employment.
Those who are most affected by this course have again been women, who are considered as cheap labor by capitalism. Employment rate for women, that was already low prior to the pandemic in our country, diminished further, while the informal and precarious employment conditions increased exponentially for the working women. Suspension in education, distance learning, child care, sick and elderly care, challenges in accessing healthcare services as well as the need for more hygiene and healthier nutrition increased the domestic burden of women.
Furthermore, millions of women who are considered as housewives and are not included in the workforce figures, dependent on the income of other family members for survival, currently face poverty. “Strong economy” statements as well as “ending the poverty” propaganda of the government are nothing but valor. While huge funds are transferred to the capital through measures and incentive packages during the pandemic, the minimum wage determined for the labor class is just a starvation threshold. In fact, majority of the women are forced to work for even less than the minimum wage.
Along with the increasing exploitation in our country, reactionist policies oppress the entire labor class, mainly women. The authorities keep preaching about perseverance, acceptance, and fate against poverty. The government, on all occasions, declares that equality between women and men is against nature, while defining the women solely with domestic roles, and reveals the efforts in building the society on religious references. The reactionary transformation at every stage of education, opening debates on coeducation and women;s universities projects as well as the implementations of separating the social life for women and men are the clues of the “new society” they aim to build. In this “New Turkey” of the government, where secularism is de facto liquidated, religious communities and sects are located in all state levels and the Directorate of Religious Affairs that acts like the ministry of ideologies and preaches on all matters, women are subordinated, subjected to violence, and murder.
Where violence against women and femicide is at rise, disposing the Istanbul Convention as a tool for election negotiations is a revelation of the reactionary nature of both the government and the so-called opposition that we are subject to. Furthermore, the government aiming to enshrine “New Turkey” by disposing the “New Constitution” agenda, intends to destroy even the crumbs of the 1923 Republic, mainly the secularism principle, which in fact remains only on paper.
This system that does not allow right to life for women, where workers are marketed to international capital as cheap labor, where exploitation, poverty, and unemployment are considered as fate, where secularism is liquidated and religious reactionism has become the main ideology, where each day women and children increasingly face violence and abuse must change. The equal, free and enlightened society of the future will be built only through the struggle of the labor class, women, and youth.
The legacy of the socialists and the labor class that fought against capitalism to change the system manifests the strong and real will that March 8 th is built on. This historical fact should be emphasized today more fiercely than ever by socialist women.
Our historical knowledge reveals the fact that the condition of liberation of women is a social liberation for all where a socialist program aiming a new social system that is to change the relations of production and distribution is realized.
The International Working Women;s Day which is currently "celebrated” out of context, vulnerable to liberal and reactionary ideological manipulations of the bourgeoisie, in fact belongs to the labor class and must be reclaimed!
March 8 th, International Working Women;s Day is a moment of significance for us, the working women as well as the labor class struggle. This history is a significant legacy of the struggle of working women for over a century that must be carried out further. Based on this legacy, it is essential for us to foster the struggle against exploitation, reactionism, and gender discrimination, for an egalitarian, free, and secular social system, a new republic.
On March 8 th , we call all progressive, revolutionary, leftist, and socialist forces and women organizations to get together to foster solidarity and struggle for an egalitarian social system, a new republic and to confront the new constitution debates by revealing the constitution of the labor class, to fight together against the crisis, exploitation, and unemployment that became further visible and brutal with the pandemic, to raise our common voice against the reactionary policies that extort women;s rights.
An egalitarian social system, a humane life is possible.
PROGRESSIVE WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION (IKD), TURKEY