The following speech was written and delivered by Christine U-N at the 2019 Cincinnati Women’s March hosted by SA, DSA, and ISO on 1/19/19:
This weekend, millions around the world are standing and marching in solidarity. Two years removed from the first Women’s March, a sexual predator is still the president and another sexual predator is newly seated on the supreme court, but the MeToo movement has emerged, and is growing stronger.
Women, workers, all those oppressed must stand up and say that the feminism we’re fighting for, the emancipation we’re fighting for, the world we’re fighting for is not one where we seek to simply “lean in” and win individual duels against rampant workplace prejudices that affect us all, not one where we bow to the patriarchal myth of meritocracy, not one where we content ourselves with news that CEO’s of four of the nation’s five largest defense contractors are now women. No! We’re here to talk about the fact that the unpaid labor of women is an essential, structurally reinforcing component of our capitalist system. We are here to fight against the patriarchy propping up this system. Socialist Feminism is the future.
We march today in the streets of Cincinnati, a city where, in the midst of rapidly rising rents and soulless development projects, it is now criminal to be without a home. Western and Southern cruelly fighting against the Anna Louise Inn is still fresh in this city’s collective memory. We know because we’ve witnessed first hand that when it comes down to it, the bottom line is the only thing that matters, and the corporations that rule Cincinnati will throw women and families onto the street or in jail if they decide that a piece of property would be a good investment.
Why did the organizers of this event feel that something needed to be planned in Cincinnati, despite the last minute cancellation of the original march? Because in Indiana, Home of reactionary vice-president Mike Pence, ninety five percent of counties are without a clinic that provides abortions, and millions of dollars have been siphoned out of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to combat reproductive health through the establishment of fake “crisis pregnancy centers” who shame pregnant people and lie to them about their options. In Kentucky, three abortion related cases are being fought over in court, which could ultimately lead to a US supreme court decision potentially overturning Roe v Wade. It’s a similar situation in Ohio, where despite vetoing several of the most comic book evil and draconian bills related to reproductive health recently, John Kasich spent his eight years in office signing off on anti-choice legislation dozens of times. Mike Dewine promises to be even worse. As residents of the tri-state, we find ourselves in the middle of all of this. So why are we here today? Because we have to be. A movement is building, and the fight will only be won by standing in solidarity, insisting that a better world is possible, and knowing that we will win!
We, in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, aren’t fighting for a feminism that is purely rooted in consumption habits, or individual market choices. We believe that the systems of oppression that keep women paid at a rate significantly below that of their male counterparts, that allows twelve-year-old black boys to be murdered by the police, that sees such an astonishingly high suicide rate among the trans community that tells people that they don’t deserve a place to sleep at night if they were suddenly laid off and can’t get the rent together in time are all connected. These systems of oppression reinforce each other and we refuse to accept it any longer.
After this march is over today, our work is not done. We have to build a women's movement for the 99%. If you're wondering how we can do this, you should join DSA, SA, and ISO at our Socialist Feminist Town Hall this Wednesday at 7pm at the Covington Public Library. Childcare will be provided. We're going to need as many voices as possible to win this fight, so we need you there with us. What are you planning to do for the movement after this march?
We recently saw the one hundredth anniversary of the murder of the socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg. She saw a great defeat of working people in Germany and knew that she was likely about to die for her cause. But hours before her assassination, she wrote about the hope that lives on after defeat. We, the masses, will continue to fight and future victories of our struggle will rise out of these defeats. We have suffered many defeats this past year, with the attacks on our reproductive rights, and the the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, but we will not let that discourage us. Far right reactionaries and the one percent think that they have us cornered, and that the status quo will remain. But Rosa had some words for them that I will leave you with today:
"You foolish lackeys! Your “order” is built on sand. Tomorrow the revolution will “rise up again, clashing its weapons,” and to your horror it will proclaim with trumpets blazing:
I was, I am, I shall be!”