by the National Committee of the International Women’s Strike
May Day 2017 will be a day of struggle against the Trump administration. A day in which workers, waged and unwaged, across the country will strike, march, rally, boycott, and make our voices heard against the sexism, racism, xenophobia, and homophobia of this administration.
Trump has declared an open war on immigrants, from building a wall between the US and Mexico to bans on Muslims. We stand for dismantling all borders and all walls. This is why the International Women’s Strike will strike with all those organizing for May Day.
As antiracist feminists of the 99%, many of whom are ourselves immigrants, we stand against the vicious ICE raids that have in recent times tried to terrorize our communities and split up families. As cis and trans women we have been in the forefront of organizing against such raids, of defending our families. We are threatened by the loss of our children, not only by ICE but by the barbaric new rules that propose to take our children from us and separate our families at the border. We also face the sexist and racist child welfare system that profits from stealing our children from us and putting them in care or up for adoption with wealthier strangers, where they all too often face abuse and trauma.
The violence of ICE against immigrants is part of the systemic police violence against Black people, Latinx and Native Americans, and the mass incarceration of people of color. This violence and systemic sexism and racism oppresses and humiliates women of color, including Native women and immigrant women, every day of our lives. To those who want to narrow down feminism, we say feminism cannot be narrowed down only to demands over reproductive rights and formal gender equality. Feminism is a struggle against poverty, racism and immigration raids. The women who are part of or aspire to be the 1%, rely on the rest of us, especially immigrant women and women of color, to do the caregiving and service work for low pay or no pay. This is why we will strike on May Day.
To those who dismiss the work that women and non-binary people do in the formal and informal economy, starting with mothers, we say that feeding, clothing, housing, and educating whole communities, providing more unwaged health care than all health care institutions combined, cleaning and maintaining everyone’s homes, is real work and fundamental to sustaining society despite being unrecognized and invisible. Also hidden and disrespected is the work of immigrants, especially women. This is why we will be striking on May Day.
To those who say immigrants have no right to be here, we say that we have fled countries that were bombed, occupied, and impoverished by the US military industrial complex and the brutal governments they imposed or supported. U. S. wars are stealing land and resources, exploiting, raping, imprisoning, and torturing people – from Afghanistan and Iraq to Egypt and Syria, from Palestine and South Sudan to Haiti and Honduras. On May Day we strike to reclaim the wealth we immigrants helped produce and to establish our right to be here.
March 8th taught us the power of unified action. We marched, struck work, boycotted, and rallied. We will do the same on May Day.
We will do so because an injury to one is an injury to all.
We will do so because, as on March 8th, so too on May Day, solidarity is our weapon. ( [The National Committee of the International Women’s Strike (IWS) is a network of grassroots feminists from across the US who initiated the call for the March 8 women's strike in the US.]
[The IWS article above will be followed by this call issued by the IWS for a Moratorium on Campuses on May Day:]
A Call to Action for Higher Education
(To the Higher Education Community in the United States)
[The following pledge is being circulated by students, staff, faculty, and administrators across the United States. In the face of a climate of increasing bigotry and violence, we call on the university community to engage in a moratorium on business as usual and take action in solidarity with the immigrant worker strike on May Day.]
We face a moment of great uncertainty. Elements of the social safety net and basic rights provisions are being rescinded and amended more swiftly than they can be challenged through traditional legal and legislative interventions. Millions of immigrants live under daily threat of separation from their families and communities by intensified ICE raids.
Many of the attacks we face directly affect the university. The arts, humanities, and sciences face not only funding cuts but an assault on the concept of free inquiry itself. Climate change data is being removed from the public domain, university budgets are being held hostage by state governments and the threat of political retaliation by the federal government, white supremacists have been emboldened to commit hate crimes on our campuses, and basic facts have diminishing import in the national debate.
May Day 2017 will be a day of struggle against the Trump administration and the structural conditions under which it originated. A day in which workers across the country, waged and unwaged, will strike, march, rally, boycott, and make our voices heard against the sexism, racism, xenophobia, and homophobia of this administration and against the global system of production that makes it possible. This charge will be led by immigrant workers, hundreds of thousands of whom have already pledged to strike, with several hundreds of thousands more expected, in what could be one of the largest strikes in US history.
We call on the academic community to live up to the promise of higher learning by halting business as usual on May Day as an act of solidarity. While the nation’s workforce pauses to engage in a day of action, universities must pause as well; for staff, adjuncts and student workers on our campuses know well the severity of neoliberal policies and the precarization of work conditions, while students are already facing the terror of ICE raids.
We call on universities nationwide to engage in a moratorium on university operations this May Day so that students, staff, and faculty—domestic and international, documented and undocumented—can engage in a day of demonstrations and teach-ins in solidarity with A Day Without Immigrants. We call on university administrators and faculty to cancel classes, close offices, and postpone maintenance to demonstrate our solidarity with immigrant workers and our support for thoughtful strategies of resistance.
As administrators, we pledge to place a moratorium on all normal university operations to allow faculty, staff, and students to participate in this momentous day of civic engagement, with pay and without retaliation.
As faculty, we pledge to hold teach-ins or join our students participating in protests in lieu of regular coursework.
As staff, we pledge not to work and to afford our student workers the same opportunity.
As students, we pledge to attend teach-ins, demonstrations, and marches instead of classes.
And as members of the university community as a whole, we pledge to take action to defend all those who face retaliation for their participation in the moratorium and other May Day strike actions.
Linda Martín Alcoff (CUNY and International Women's Strike)
Christopher Isett (University of Minnesota)