International Women’s Day: News From the US

Election of Donald Trump: Its Effect on International Women’s Day 2017

This year marks the 104th anniversary of International Women’s Day started by communist Clara Zetkin. Though American women have made some gains since that time there are many more that still need to be fought for. To this day, women in the US are not entitled by Federal Law to maternity leave, sick days for themselves or for ailing children or parents, vacation time, daycare services, or welfare benefits that help women take care of their own children or their ailing parents. This shows a complete disregard for the position of women and of the family.

Under President Donald Trump women’s rights are continuing to erode. Donald Trump has threatened to appoint Supreme Court judges who would repeal Roe v Wade and to exempt Big Corporations from providing birth control to female employees.

Women represent the backbone of the family and society. They help raise the next generation of workers. Yet, women continue to live in a state of constant crisis, going from a paid job at work to an unpaid job at home without any time of their own due to low wages, high inflation, and constant cuts in social services.

Trump’s cabinet is stacked with multi-billionaires whose policies, such as housing, job creation, job safety, healthcare, environmental protections are against working people. Under the Trump Administration there will be further drastic cuts to social services, such as Foodstamps, headstart programs, and Medicaid and also privatization of social security and education. These cuts are not being made because there is a lack of money; but because the government’s priorities are for the profits of big corporations, not for the benefit of society. Over $1 trillion continues to be spent on wars that benefit military contractors; while over ½ trillion is spent on government subsidies to billionaire Big Corporations like Exxon and Wal-Mart. Yet while officially 57% of the US budget goes towards military spending, the Trump Administration is demanding cuts be made to the Foodstamp program that represents a mere 1% of the budget. A program that is literally a lifeline to 1 in 7 hungry Americans; 83% of which are: children, seniors, and the disabled.

Since Trump’s inauguration, there have been many women’s rights marches throughout the country; mainly organized by the Democratic Party whose motto is “Voting Democratic will ensure Women’s Rights”. However, Let’s not forget that it was Democrat President Jimmy Carter who voted against the Equal Rights Amendment and for the Hyde Act; Democrat Bill Clinton who destroyed Welfare; and Lastly Democrat Barack Obama who in 2011 during a high inflationary period that was combined with high unemployment slashed Foodstamps & also turned around and signed an act virtually eliminating it in 2021. Capitalism is based upon cheap labor and exploitation. The Democrats and Republicans represent the left and right wing of the same bird. Under such conditions, women with hungry children are the easiest to exploit and there is little economic incentive for either party to change the system.

Although Hillary Clinton’s Democratic Party is using these marches for its own ends, other truly progressive women’s groups like Code Pink, and smaller groups like Women Warriors, PSL, and PC USA (Party of Communists USA) have been able to come forward to refocus the spotlight on the conditions of working women under capitalism and to try to mount an offensive; not only to maintain the rights women currently have, but to demand greater rights. If perhaps nothing more, Trump’s presidency has had the affect of mobilizing women on the streets and opening up the subject of Women’s Rights in a way not seen since the 1970’s; something that would not have happened if Hillary Clinton had been elected to office.

 

Jessica Coco

Correspondent for Labor Today

Women’s Commission, Party of Communists USA (PCUSA)