To celebrate International Women's Day in 2023, Kristen Ghodsee reads an abridged version of Clara Zetkin's article on the official establishment of March 8 as International Communist Women's Day. The article is from International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 18, published on 8 March 1922.
Clara Zetkin was the leader of the women's section of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany, and a close friend and mentor to Alexandra Kollontai when the latter was in exile in Western Europe. Both Kollontai and Zetkin were in attendance in 1910 at the 2nd International Conference of Socialist Women where the assembled delegates voted to establish an international women's day once a year. The date of 8 March, however, was only firmly established internationally after the 1922 congress in Moscow, in honor of the women's demonstration that kicked off the February revolution in Russia (which occurred on 8 March by the Western calendar). Zetkin's passionate article clearly shows that IWD was meant to do more than merely celebrate women. It was supposed to be a mass recruitment event to bring new men and women into the struggle against the continued ravages of capitalism.
Mentioned in this episode is the starred review in Publishers Weekly of Ghodsee's forthcoming book, Everyday Utopia.
From the archives: my pre-pandemic ode to International Women's Day in the New York Times (paywall)
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