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International Women's Day
Rosa Luxemburg - still relevant today
LONDON SOCIALIST Party's international women's day meeting discussed the huge effect this recession will have on women. The rate of redundancy is higher for women and more households now depend on a single wage. A quarter of all households are led by single parents, 90% of whom are women.
Woolworths closed recently, destroying up to 30,000 jobs from a largely female workforce. Yet there was no evidence of an organised fight-back led by shopworkers' Union USDAW.
By contrast, we watched Bread and Roses - an uplifting film directed by Ken Loach telling of the battle fought by cleaners, mainly female, in America in the 1990s. They won union recognition and secured employment rights.
The meeting's central discussion was on the role of Rosa Luxemburg, a Polish revolutionary living and fighting in the early 1900s.
Her Russian contemporary Leon Trotsky said "by the force of the strength of her theoretical thought and her ability to generalise Rosa Luxemburg was a whole head above not only her opponents but also her comrades. She was a woman of genius."
Rosa lived through the period of the Russian revolution, and was an activist in the German SPD, then the largest workers' party on earth. She died in 1919, betrayed by that party's movement to the right.
Rosa Luxemburg's book Reform or Revolution, written to explain and criticise the reformist swing of the SPD is relevant today in Britain as people search for reasons for the Labour Party's failure to deliver a fair and equal society.
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