114 years in the footsteps of Rosa Luxemburg: The struggle has become global, we continue on our way

  • women
  • 18:34 26 February 2024
  • |
ANKARA - Alex Wischnewski, Coordinator of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, stated that women protect the legacy left by Rosa Luxemburg and said: “As women, we will not step back one centimetre from the struggle."
March 8 is International Women's Day, the day when demands for equality and freedom rise simultaneously from all over the world, the message that the rights won through struggle will not be given up, and the simultaneous shout that the resistance will continue. In areas, gender inequalities are emphasized and protests are organized.
The flames that rose in a textile factory in New York, USA, on March 8, 1857, turned into a torch of women's resistance that has not been extinguished for 167 years. Approximately 40 thousand woman workers went on strike for better working conditions. The death of 120 of the women locked in the factory by the police in the fire was a turning point for the whole world.
Years after the massacre, on 26-27 August 1910, at the International Socialist Women's Conference affiliated with the 2nd International in Copenhagen, Denmark, Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxemburg, leaders of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, presented a communique. The communique to declare March 8 as International Women's Day in memory of the women who lost their lives in the massacre in 1857 was unanimously accepted at this meeting. At first, the commemorations were held in the spring because the date was not determined, but then they spread all over the world in waves with the awareness of March 8. At the 3rd International Women's Conference held in Moscow in 1921, the date of March 8 was determined and its name was determined as "International Working Women's Day". The United Nations General Assembly agreed to commemorate March 8 as "International Women's Day" on December 16, 1977. 
The legacy of the architects of the day, Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxemburg, is kept alive today by the globalized common struggle of women. The foundation, opened in Germany under her name, carries out its work with the aim of realizing Rosa Luxemburg's defence of democratic socialism. The foundation, one of the six major political foundations in the German Parliament and close to the Left Party (Die Linke), has been committed to Luxemburg's legacy since its establishment in 1990 and provides political training at home and abroad.
Alex Wischnewski, who runs the Global Feminism Dialogue Program of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and also works on transnational feminist movements, talked about the foundation's work to the Mezopotamya Agency (MA) on March 8 and evaluated the globalizing women's struggle.
Stating that the Left Party defends the idea of democratic socialism and that Luxemburg is an important name in the struggle for democratic socialism and internationalism, Wischnewski said: " It is very correct to say that the spiritual legacy of Rosa Luxemburg very important part of our foundation." Stating that the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation is the only foundation among the six foundations in the country named after a woman, Wischnewski said: “We took up the name because she was an internationalist. And she was reflecting on the hierarchy that exists in the world.”
Stating that the main purpose of the foundation is political education, Wischnewski said the following about its work and aims: “In Germany we do workshops, publication that reflect critically about the current state of capitalism and also how to transform it into a Democratic socialist society. So, we do this kind of workshops, publications and events and talks. And then we have all the work on scholarships for people studying in Germany as well. We have the whole part that is done by our offices all around the world. We have 25 offices all around the world. We don't have one in Turkey but we have colleagues working with people in Turkey, and they're the work of the Foundation that a little bit different because we are working closely with organizations on the ground. So, we are supporting the work that different organizations do. We work also, obviously with left parties all around the world. We are working with feminist groups and organizations that we are working closely with, like the criminalist strike movement for example. So, it's really depending on the regional context.”
Adding that they have some global programs that they want to strengthen, Wischnewski said: “For example, climate program that is working with organizations all around the world on the topic of climate on the international level, and we have also the program I'm conducting that's the global feminist program. My work is all like is to connect all the feminist groups and organizations and movements that different offices, in their respective countries are working with. And my work is to connect them on an international level. So, our foundation is not only including women. Feminist politics is only one aspect of all the work we are doing. But it's starting to understand feminism as an integral part of the idea of a democratic socialism that we have. What I'm always say, you can't think socialism without feminism, and you shouldn't think feminism without socialism.”
Stating that she is Head of the Global Feminism Dialogue Program from Argentina to work all over the world, Wischnewski said that she also worked on German feminist policies. Referring to the difficulties experienced by women in Germany, Wischnewski said: “Like in many other countries, the most stressing problem of women is the actual distribution of care work. And with all the effects that has on the developing of their life. So, if women all still have nothing it got very clear during the pandemic once again and we're forcing integration we already saw before. Women have to carry out so much extra and unpaid work on childcare, on elderly care, on caring about their families and friends. They are not able have the time for developing themselves or having an independent live. They are not able to really get into the job market and have also a career. That means not only being some businesswoman but that has an impact. Many of the older women in Germany are very poor because they couldn't get all the benefits during their life. Because they were unpaid work. So, I think that has a lot of impact on the quality of life of women. And I think that also shows about the idea of the foundation work in this file, we work in a lot of on care work as well. We think you need to have the basic social rights for everyone. And for women you have to take into account that means they can really have a social security to make them able to live a full life."
Stating that it is important for feminist activists and women in general to establish a connection with Rosa Luxemburg, Wischnewski said: “In Argentina Rosa Luxemburg is a big reference for feminist movements. But she didn't consider herself a feminist and I think that's important to know. She was talking about socialism, and I think our reference and our biggest legacy she gave us; You can't forget about the social basis if you want to talk about feminism.”
Stating that women have claimed the legacy left by Luxemburg, Wishcnewski said, "Now more than ever it's possible to talk about globalized the struggle with all the differences.” Recalling that the first call for an international feminist strike was made in 2017, Wischnewski said: “They said, ‘We have the same date, we have the same instrument to fight and we are demanding social rights and criticizing global capitalist world. But at the same time in every place everyone is also vocalizing their own demand. So, it was a strong instrument to at the same time, have a global perspective and have local demand. That was a big step forward. And I think we carry on with this.”
Stating that they are aware of the problems in Turkey and Kurdistan and the struggle against them, Wischnewski said, “The news reaches us, the women are very powerful in taking the led, in the protests without any fear. I think most of us we are seeing from far away, they're very fearless and like they have nothing to lose. Once again taking the lead in a very important struggle. And about the Kurdish woman we always cherish and what is very impressing, at least in Argentina, is the self-organization on the basis. That is really some kind of community organization this going beyond the national state. And I think it's a very important reference for many women all around the world.” 
Wischnewski expressed the following regarding the importance of March 8: “It is very important to have a common date we all around the world going on the streets on the same date. Because it is important to see and experience that we are all in the same struggle. Public space is often a problematic space for women who experience violence, and that's why I think it's important to take it back. There is a slogan 'Take back the streets', public spaces are ours. The benefit of this is to use our strength and show our strength to others. Today is a very important day to see each other, to be fearless and to be visible. We organize all over the world. Keep fighting, keep going. Because, I’m based in Argentina and we are currently facing a very difficult situation with a new government. Argentinian women were able to legalize abortion three or four years ago and we had access to abortion, but now the new government wants to ban it once again. That's why we must keep fighting. As women, we will not step back one centimetre from the struggle.”
TOMORROW: Kurdish women's struggle for existence: Organization is changing 
MA / Zemo Ağgöz - Hivda Çelebi