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Let's Talk About Some Awesome Ladies Of The Labor Movement!
There is no economic justice without social justice, and vice versa.
When we talk about the history of feminism, we tend to think about the causes and struggles of middle class white women. When we talk about labor history, we tend to think about the causes and struggles of white working class men.
And that is some absolute bullshit.
Working class women, very often women of color and immigrant women, were, are and always have been the backbone of the labor movement. They were working and organizing well before Second Wave Feminism "made it possible" for women to enter the workforce. They're the ones who first fought for equal pay, and they're the ones who were doing the bulk of feminist work and activism during the years in between getting the right to vote and The Feminine Mystique. They are still fighting today.
The women on this list, along with the many others who also fought for labor rights in this country and others, didn't only fight a fight for workers. They fought a feminist fight, they fought for civil rights, they fought for human rights -- they understood the interconnectedness of it all, they understood that without economic justice there is no social justice and without social justice there is no economic justice. They understood the way that the labor movement could be used as a catalyst for making social change possible at a time when they didn't have any political support or power -- and that's a thing we could all do well to remember in our own current and incredibly shitty political climate.
This post was initially published on May 1st, 2019.
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