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'A Day Without Women': Calls Grow for General Women's Strike

Women's March organizers tease general strike, while coalition of feminist activists and academics demand 'a feminism for the 99 percent'

A sign at the Women's March on Washington in January. (Photo: Liz Lemon/flickr/cc)

The next phase of the resistance as embodied by last month's Women's March may come in the form of a general women's strike—a day inspired by feminist movements in other countries, during which women don't work (in the office or at home) or go to school.

The official Women's March social media accounts posted Monday morning:

Meanwhile, a coalition of feminist academics and activists is separately calling for "an international strike against male violence and in defense of reproductive rights" to take place Wednesday, March 8. They reference President Donald Trump in their call, but their vision goes far beyond one man or one administration. 

In an op-ed published Monday at the Guardian, they write:

While Trump's blatant misogyny was the immediate trigger for the huge response on 21 January, the attack on women (and all working people) long predates his administration. Women's conditions of life, especially those of women of color and of working, unemployed and migrant women, have steadily deteriorated over the last 30 years, thanks to financialization and corporate globalization.

Lean-in feminism and other variants of corporate feminism have failed the overwhelming majority of us, who do not have access to individual self-promotion and advancement and whose conditions of life can be improved only through policies that defend social reproduction, secure reproductive justice and guarantee labor rights.

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"As we see it, the new wave of women's mobilization must address all these concerns in a frontal way," the authors declare. "It must be a feminism for the 99 percent."

And so, they continue:

The idea is to mobilize women, including trans women, and all who support them in an international day of struggle—a day of striking, marching, blocking roads, bridges, and squares, abstaining from domestic, care, and sex work, boycotting, calling out misogynistic politicians and companies, striking in educational institutions. These actions are aimed at making visible the needs and aspirations of those whom lean-in feminism ignored: women in the formal labor market, women working in the sphere of social reproduction and care, and unemployed and precarious working women.

In embracing a feminism for the 99 percent, we take inspiration from the Argentinian coalition Ni Una Menos. Violence against women, as they define it, has many facets: it is domestic violence, but also the violence of the market, of debt, of capitalist property relations, and of the state; the violence of discriminatory policies against lesbian, trans and queer women; the violence of state criminalization of migratory movements; the violence of mass incarceration; and the institutional violence against women's bodies through abortion bans and lack of access to free healthcare and free abortion.

The authors include Hunter College philosophy professor Linda Martín Alcoff; Princeton University assistant professor and author Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor; Arab American Action Network associate director Rasmea Yousef Odeh; and author and activist Angela Davis, who is a distinguished professor emerita at the University of California Santa Cruz and whose impassioned speech at the Women's March presaged the call for the strike.

"This is a women's march and this women's march represents the promise of feminism as against the pernicious powers of state violence," Davis said at the time. "An inclusive and intersectional feminism that calls upon all of us to join the resistance to racism, to Islamophobia, to antisemitism, to misogyny, to capitalist exploitation."

Theirs is not the only call for an anti-Trump strike to emerge in recent days. The F17 strike has been announced for Friday, February 17.

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