Curtain Raiser

What Makes Women Strong, Colltalers

The Jan. 21 Women’s March in DC, echoed by its many sister rallies countrywide and around the world, was a breakthrough event that not just upstaged the previous day inauguration, in numbers and significance, but also reinserted the word ‘resistance’ into public conversation.
So why now, with a strike planned for Wednesday, International Women’s Day, there’s a reported schism over the very idea of feminism, and questions about the movement’s leadership and direction? Some fear that A Day Without Women may miss something else too.
In the past two centuries, at least, any time women gathered and organized around a cause, the whole society wound up pushed closer to ideals of equality, civil rights, and freedom of expression. The same spirit seemed to have been behind the march in Washington.
It immediate ignited Americans, and effectively put on notice the Trump administration. Whether it hit the spot, history will tell. After all, the president, his male-dominated cabinet, and Republican enablers, did proceed undisturbed with their utterly discriminatory agenda.
But it’s safe to say that a crucial segment is paying attention: women who support Trump. Their influence on the White House cannot be measured by the so far negligent attendances to their own rallies. They’re on the forefront of a feminism backlash and likely to be called to the trenches of what’s much more than a cultural war. March 8 may be a day to show just how important is unity for the women’s movement.
All popular uprisings have their splits, specially ideologically, or race or gender-driven ones. But political success is defined by how much change may be achieved, and the required pragmatism of choosing well the battles to be fought. Progressive women organizations need to wise up because this round may be lost, despite

all the noise they’ll hopefully produce; in other words, doubt has infected the core.
It’s hard to make a case against the International Strike day platform, with its call to ‘working women, women of color,’ disabled, immigrant, Muslim, ‘lesbian, queer and trans women.’ That is, even considered the myriad of other issues affecting them and in consequence, society.
By picking charged words, from a context of labor and equal-pay rights, anti-racism and inclusion, fair paths to citizenship, religious and sexual freedom rights, and others implied by the platform, the organizers show a shrewd pursuit of a practical agenda, relatable to anyone.
For ultimately, the goal is to challenge the administration’s authoritarianism, and unduly use of a police state to enforce its whims. Even such a progressive platform, though, may be a non starter, if the reasons why some women don’t think it speaks to them are not addressed.
Many card-carrying liberals have dismissed this group, ignoring that if they hadn’t voted for Trump, a woman would be now the president, or exactly because of that. But that may be a fatal mistake; refusing to acknowledge dissent is a page from the other side’s playbook.
Not surprisingly, social networks and the regime’s right wing media mouthpieces, have already seized the opportunity to undermine the women’s march. There’s now a slew of sites with female Trump supporters expressing feelings of being ‘disenfranchised’ by the movement.
Naturally, is hard to see what some see in a man who bragged about being a sexual predator; went on record to boast about having sex with his current wife, while still married to his second; who claimed to entering unannounced the dressing room of teen beauty contenders; who alluded to a female reporter’s period in an offensive remark, the list is long. Some do, and instead of banned, they should be asked why.
The organizations behind the march – a group well known for years of activism and fight for reproductive rights, women’s health and family care, as well as minimum wage, clean water, and alternative sources of energy – must find ways of framing their struggle on social and progressive pathways, not petty battles for control. Their biggest role is finding common issues, not reinforcing natural ideological differences.
At the end of the day, all Americans need what the platform of the women’s movement is pursuing. Or the ideals Black Lives Matter fights for, the core of it being, of course, to erase racism and promote opportunity to all. And all efforts to assure law-abiding immigrants to have a fair chance of becoming citizens, which was always one of America’s best aspects, and with which, it lecture endlessly the world.
For even beyond a coordinated agenda among the various women’s factions, we will need a coordinated agenda of all of these and other groups, if we’re to build a national front, with muscle to defend a free Internet, for instance, and teeth to shred the re-emergent Fascism.
Above all, we can’t be adjusting our opposition, and fine-tune our rallies, every time another deranged step is taken by the administration to beat us into submission. We already have our own action book of priorities; let’s execute it meticulously. We’ll do it with or without media support and/or liberal politicians. But never without women. We’ll do it for the sake of human decency. Have a great week ahead. WC

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