People's Voice Editorial

The third annual Women's Marches across North America take place on January 19, and millions are expected to take part. Attacks against trade unions, Indigenous peoples, racialized communities, women, and immigrants have sharpened under Donald Trump's regime, and similar trends are growing in other parts of the world. In nearly every case, misogynist hatred of women is a key element of the so-called "populist" assault.

To some extent, this trend has been under-estimated by mainstream media and politicians. The tendency is to focus on the revolting sexist comments and actions of powerful men, rather than the underlying patriarchal ideology driving much of the fascist agenda. The Women's March protests can play a vital role in building popular resistance, but a focus on one-day annual protests against sexism is inadequate, to say the least. The top-down character of much of the organizing and planning of the Marches limits the scope of the emerging grassroots resistance against the entire right-wing agenda.

Here in Canada, there was (not surprisingly) a tendency after 2015 to heave a sigh of relief after the blatantly anti-equality Harper Conservatives were defeated, by a Liberal PM who calls himself a feminist. But as a federal election looms next October, very little has changed for the better for women. Despite Justin Trudeau's rhetoric, the gender wage gap has barely budged, the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls has disappointed expectations, and progress on an affordable national child care program is painfully slow.

The fight for gender equality is not a side issue, it is crucial to the entire strategy of mobilizing for social justice. In this situation, an annual day of marches is no substitute for a broad, inclusive and powerful coalition of women's equality-seeking groups. The sooner such a coalition becomes a priority, the better.

 (The above article is from the January 1-31, 2019, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading socialist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1.)