Reports from Kuala Lumpur and Brussels
Malaysia: Women’s March
Struggle for women’s emancipation and socialism
Sosialis Alternatif, Malaysia
In memory of past women’s struggles in history, Sosialis Alternatif Malaysia organised an International Women’s Day march along the streets of Kuala Lumpur carrying anti-capitalist and women’s rights banners. We were joined by 40 other young people from various backgrounds and shouted slogans about women’s emancipation all the way. At the end of the march, the participants took turns to give speeches, express their aspirations and share their stories of struggle.
The event attracted different layers of youth who are feeling distressed by global events which are already having an effect on their lives. There were representatives of the LGBTQ community, of trans women, Muslim women and men, including a political refugee, who all marched together and gave rousing speeches.
Sharifah from Sosialis Alternatif gave an inspiring speech about the conditions of working women in Malaysia and the oppression faced by women in a strong patriarchal society. Others gave speeches about the growing sexism in workplaces and universities, the phenomena of the presidents Trump and Duterte (Philippines) and the discrimination faced by women under the grip of institutionalised state religion. A 15 year old high-school student stood up and urged women in Malaysia to fight for their rights.
Some of the participants are already looking into the decaying capitalist system as the root cause of oppression in society and are drawing the conclusion to resist the system. Although most of them are yet to draw a clear socialist conclusion, their participation in the march and our engagement with flyers and discussion could be a good starting point. There was a big cheer in the crowd whenever a speaker attacked the capitalist system and the capitalist government.
After the march, many of the participants joined our public discussion on the history of Women’s Day and we managed to explain our ideas and positions to them.
Although only a small number of people gathered for this march, we could see that a layer of youth are becoming conscious about the growing contradictions of the capitalist system and are willing to engage in a concrete activity to express their objections. With the growing inequality and economic and social crisis, this layer of youth will grow and the need will be brought home for a clear and disciplined revolutionary organisation in Malaysia.
Pictures at: https://www.facebook.com/SosialisAlternatif/
Belgium: Successful launch of ROSA Campaign
How to build the fight against sexism
Emily Burns, PSL/LSP (CWI Belgium)
This week marked the launch of the ROSA (Resistance against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity) Campaign in Belgium initiated by the CWI (PSL/LSP) and its student branch (EGA/ALS). Some of the time was devoted to actions and demonstrations and other times for discussions and debates, two essential elements for the construction of an effective fight against sexism and austerity. The number of participants, the dynamism and the combative atmosphere that prevailed during these days illustrate the potential for the development of a new socialist feminist movement, as we can observe in many other countries.
ROSA in action
On 8th March, actions took place in various cities in Belgium on the occasion of the International Day for Women's Rights, culminating in a demonstration against sexism in Ghent of 6OO mainly young people. They crisscrossed the streets of Ghent chanting slogans such as "What do we want? Women's rights! When do we want then? Now!". It has been a long time since we saw such a mobilisation on the 8th of March in Belgium. Other actions are already being considered.
The week ended with the official launch day of the ROSA Campaign. No less than 150 people gathered to share experiences of struggles against sexism and austerity and to think about the building of future struggles.
The morning was devoted to two international workshops. The people present had the difficult task of choosing between a discussion with Jess Spear (Socialist Alternative in Seattle) on the development of resistance against Trump and the revival of the feminist movement in the USA and another one with Tiphaine Soyer (member of Alternatywa Socjalistyczna in Krakow) about the lessons of the women's strike in Poland in defence of the right to abortion.
The afternoon was an opportunity to discuss the different facets of sexism and inequality, but above all to discuss the strategy to fight them in schools, in universities and in the trade unions. A workshop was also devoted to the achievements of the Russian Revolution for women and the LGBT community.
A woman's place is in the struggle
The closing session of the day was a reminder that the place of women is in the struggle. It was punctuated by various videos illustrating that the will to fight women’s oppression is developing throughout the world. The speakers accentuated the inseparable link between the fight for women’s rights and the need to fight against capitalism and for socialism. The speakers urged the participants to get involved in the ROSA Campaign. More than twenty people joined it on this launch day. Indeed, even if the ROSA Campaign was initiated by the PSL/LSP and EGA/ALS, it is meant to be an instrument of struggle open to all those who support its message and who wish to be involved in this struggle.
All of us returned home determined to build the ROSA Campaign during the coming mobilisations and enthusiastic to organise local ROSA meetings and actions.
Pictures on this link:
Short video of the demo: