Today across America, media outlets, businesses, government officials, and schools are celebrating a Communist holiday. While International Women’s Day seems innocuous enough, and some use it to highlight the very real rights violations that women still suffer in some parts of the world, this collectivist festival has its roots in a protest that ended up kicking off the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
The idea of an international women’s day was first conceived at a socialist women’s conference, which was held in conjunction with the general Socialist Second International in 1910. Over the next seven years, sporadic March protests were led by socialist and Communist women’s groups — as well as suffrage groups — all over Europe.
By 1917, these intermittent women’s protests had settled on a date, March 8th, and female textile workers began a demonstration on that day in Petrograd that many recognize as the beginning of the Russian Revolution.
Leon Trotsky, of icepick fame, wrote afterwards:
“We did not imagine that this ‘Women’s Day’ would inaugurate the revolution. Revolutionary actions were foreseen but without date. But in morning, despite the orders to the contrary, textile workers left their work in several factories and sent delegates to ask for support of the strike … which led to mass strike … all went out into the streets.”
That revolution, which caused Russia to exit WWI and brought Vladimir Lenin to power, started the chain of events that eventually lead to the slaughter of as many as 100 million people under the banner of Communism.
Obviously, few people celebrating International Women’s Day in 2018 intend to glorify Communism’s dark history. But the day still retains the essence of its Marxist roots by encouraging women to think of themselves as a homogenous class with discrete common interests, in opposition to men’s.
There are almost 3.8 billion women on this planet, and not only do they face vastly varied challenges, they hold different political views, hope for different solutions, and dream different dreams. Women, in other words, are people. The feminist left uses this fact as a slogan, but ignores its deeper significance: Men and women aren’t two uniform interest groups, locked in the kind of Marxist have versus have-not struggle that Communists wanted to recognize with the celebration of International Women’s Day.
Instead of cheering a holiday meant to encourage identity group grievance, we should all, women and men, safeguard and hold dear those natural rights that precede governments. Our ability to exercise those rights — and to pursue happiness — depends on each other.