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The AWTWNS packet for the week of 18 February 2008 contains four articles

The AWTWNS packet for the week of 17 March 2008 contains two articles. They may be reproduced or used in any way, in whole or in part, as long as they are credited.


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International Women’s Day

• Report from 8 March celebration in Los Angeles

• Quetta, Pakistan: Afghan women celebrate International Women’s Day



Report from 8 March celebration in Los Angeles 


17 March 2009. A World to Win News Service.  The following was based on a report from the 8 March Women’s Organisation, Iran - Afghanistan ( and other sources. It also includes material from Revolution, voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (


A celebration of International Women’s Day in Los Angeles drew a highly diverse crowd of about 300 people. The enthusiastic march started from a busy square and went through different areas of the city, including the Westwood neighbourhood where many Iranians live. The chanting, sign-carrying multinational demonstrators included older Iranian refugees, teenage Iranian-American women, college students, feminists of various nationalities, garment workers, Aztec (Native American) dancers and immigrants from other countries.


The event was coordinated by The Committee of U.S. Women and the 8 March Women’s Organisation. The central slogan was “No to the fundamentalist anti-women Islamic regime of Iran! And no to U.S. imperialism”. Among slogans were “Women in Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq need no imperialists for their liberation” and “Long live international solidarity.”


This demonstration was in support of the International Women’s Day march in Brussels organized by Karzar (Women’s Campaign for the Abolition of all Misogynist and Gender-Based Legislation and Islamic Punitive Laws against Women in Iran).


The podium was set up on a big lorry decorated with banners and the central slogan of the march.


The first speaker was the well-known antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed fighting with the U.S. Army in Iraq. Wearing a Karzar t-shirt, she spoke of the solidarity of International Women’s Day and declared her support for the march and the struggle of Iranian women. Carol Downer, the co-founder of the Feminist Women’s Health Center, wrote a letter explaining why she supports the Iranian women in this struggle and why other feminists should too. Eve Ensler, the playwright and performer who wrote The Vagina Monologues, sent a solidarity statement to the women of Iran. Poet Suheir Hammad, a poet who appeared on “Def Poetry Jam on Broadway” and is one of the first Palestinians on Broadway, sent a poem to be read at the rally. Internationally-known poet Sonia Sanchez sent a recorded message to be played from the stage. Other speakers included a student member of the International Women’s Day Coalition in Los Angeles, Jodie Evans, who co-founded Code Pink, Dolly Veale of the Revolutionary Communist Party, UCLA law professor Frances Olsen, performance poet and KPFK radio host Jerry Quickley, and folk singer Dennis Davis.


Mary Lou Greenberg of the Revolutionary Communist Party (USA) sent a solidarity message to the Brussels demonstration taking part that same day, saying, “By spitting in the face of both oppressive alternatives, you are showing that it is possible for women – and men, – to rely on themselves and forge another way.”


This demonstration was a product of internationalist work by Iranian women of the 8 March Women’s Organisation and activists and supportive women. They distributed 85,000 leaflets on university campuses, in proletarian neighbourhoods like Watts. They spoke in secondary school classrooms, with progressive journalists and on radio broadcasts and elsewhere, sharing stories of their experience of imprisonment and resistance. Their revolutionary defiance was a breath of fresh air and a bold challenge that many people answered consciously.


A speaker with the March 8 Women’s Organization said, “Even though the forms of women’s oppression may be different in different countries, the reality of women’s oppression is the same whether it is the enforced wearing of the hijab in Islamic countries or having no reproductive rights in imperialist countries. That’s why I’m here today with you – in solidarity as Iranian and Afghani women struggling against anti-women Islamic fundamentalism and U.S. imperialism. The solidarity of Iranian and Afghani women in our struggle against the patriarchal system of Islamic fundamentalist regimes and against U.S. imperialism is strengthened by having American women standing shoulder to shoulder with us.... Today we are here to bring the voices of Iranian women to all of you to announce that we are for a world independent of reactionary regimes, including the patriarchal government of the United States. We are here to say that Iranian women believe that another world is possible. I am here today to say that we are not afraid of the power of U.S. imperialism – we believe in and need the power of the people all over the world.”

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Quetta, Pakistan: Afghan women celebrate International Women’s Day


17 March 2008. A World to Win News Service. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the 8 March Women’s Detachment of Afghanistan held a meeting in Quetta, a city in northern Pakistan near the Afghanistan border, to commemorate the founding of this day of protest a century ago and condemn the worsening violence against women in Afghanistan. The mass meeting was held with the active cooperation of another Afghan group, the Revolutionary Youth Movement. More than 800 people filled the hall and another 200 could not get in because there was no more room.


Most of the participants were women and girls, most of whom were students. Among the male participants, the majority were students as well. The young women speakers from the two organisations made presentations about the deteriorating situation for women in Afghanistan under the U.S.-led occupation.


Afghanistan has become one of the worst places in the world in terms of violence against women. In addition to suffering from the general atmosphere of insecurity, they have been raped and kidnapped by the armed forces. They are the victims or threatened victims of rape in the prisons and women’s shelters. They face death by stoning for non-Islamic behaviour. They also suffer violence in their home and from their family, such as beating and murder by their husbands and so-called honour killings at the hands of male family members. Not only has the occupation of the country by the U.S. and its allies in the name of liberating women not improved the situation; in many aspects, in particular regarding the violent oppression of women, things have gotten worse. Nothing speaks more eloquently to this reality than the fact that the number of cases of women committing suicide by burning themselves to death has skyrocketed over the last five years.


The programme also included instrumental music, songs, paintings and poems denouncing the violence against women by the occupiers, the Afghanistan armed forces and women’s families. Several teenage girls and boys put on a performance. The programme was well received by the participants.


The afternoon-long meeting, held on 9 March, received solidarity and support messages from nearly all the local schools and educational institutions on the occasion of International Women’s Day.


The 8 March Women’s Detachment has celebrated IWD by holding mass meetings in Quetta every year since 1998 under different circumstances. This year was one of the best received by the poor masses of the neighbourhoods in Quetta where tens of thousands of Afghanis live.


(The 8 March Women’s Detachment blog:

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In our article on the 8 March International Women’s Day protests in Brussels last week, we incorrectly referred to HOPI as an Iranian antiwar group. It is not. ( Also, we inadvertently omitted mention of a solidarity message from the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist).




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 The AWTWNS packet for the week of 17 March 2008 contains two articles. They may be reproduced or used in any way, in whole or in part, as long as they are credited.
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