Greetings to the Global Women’s Strike—2005!
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
The call of the Global Women’s Strike this year, for an “End to Poverty and War”; for “Investments in Caring Not Killing!”; for “A Living Wage for All Our Work!”, could not come at a better time.
For we live in the midst of war, a war that threatens to become a generational, endless war; and at a time when investments of trillions of tax dollars, are going to the Business of Death, and to further scuttle social gains of the last century, like Social Security.
Global Women’s Strike rightly recognizes that the largest numbers of casualties in war, wear no uniforms, and serve no governments. In the massive terror-bombings now done by states, as well as non-state groups, it is women and children who are the often uncounted and uncared for victims of state and non-state terrorism.
We have seen public and private outcries over the heart-rending losses of the recent tsunami in Asia and Africa. That, however, was an act of nature.
What is hidden, and what is daily ignored, is the unnatural tsunamis that occur daily, especially in the so-called Third World, where, over 20 years ago, according to UNICEF data: 40,000 children died daily; where 100 million went to bed hungry; and where some 200 million children, between the ages of 6 and 11, went unschooled. Surely those numbers have worsened since 1981!
We live in a world where everything is for sale, and that which is most precious, the lives of people, is most worthless. For, in the Age of Globalism, capital calls the tune, and the rest of us are but bit players. Groups like Global Women’s Strike raise the obvious solution in one of their demands: “Freedom of movement—capital travels freely, why not people?”
In the prison context, we see the exploitation of globalism, in microcosm. Imprisoned workers work, quite literally, for pennies a day. In some states (like Texas) they work for nothing at all. They are super-exploited by excessive phone rates, which is but another hidden tax on the poor. This economic exploitation of prison labor is but a mirror of the political exploitation of prisoners, where they are counted in rural census populations, bringing federal monies to rural, conservative districts, where they, like many of their slave ancestors, were counted (albeit 3/5ths) but had utterly no representation. Moreover, their home districts are further impoverished by their population losses and lost federal dollars, for housing, education and income maintenance.
Global Women’s Strike calls for complete Pay Equity for All of Our Work; Pay Equity in the Global Market! Thats a revolutionary idea for it affects all of us, across national borders, across race, region, gender and language. It also strikes a powerful blow against the neo-liberalist weapon of Globalism, for it recognizes all who labor, mothers, caregivers, activists, migrant and family farmers, people with disabilities, immigrants, students—you name it.
This Empire is the richest since Rome; it is awash in wealth, yet workers are essentially paid rates equivalent to the 1970s. An end to poverty is within our reach, if we fight for it! The Global Women’s Strike is doing just that, with participating groups in 65 countries so far, and growing.
There can be no struggle without the grassroots involvement of half of the world’s population—women. When women move, the world moves!
I thank you for your kind invitation! Ona Move! Long Live John Africa! Invest in Caring Not Killing!
—Copyright Mumia Abu-Jamal, February 20, 2005