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Minneapolis celebrates International Women’s Day 2011

Women Stand Up Against Repression
By staff |
March 13, 2011
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Sarah Martin, Jess Sundin, Luce Guillen Givins, Sarah Jane Olson, and Tracy Molm
Sarah Martin, Jess Sundin, Luce Guillen Givins, Sarah Jane Olson, and Tracy Molm at International Women's Day event. (Fight Back! News/Mick Kelly)

Minneapolis, MN - More than 50 people came together here March 8 to celebrate International Women’s Day. The event was sponsored by Freedom Road Socialist Organization and featured women who are in the forefront of the fight against repression and reaction.

Speakers included Jess Sundin, a leader of the Anti-War Committee and Freedom Road Socialist Organization and one of the anti-war and international solidarity activists targeted by the FBI and grand jury; Sarah Jane Olson, former political prisoner from involvement with revolutionary movements in the 1970s; Tracy Molm, an organizer with Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Minnesota, also one of the activists targeted by the FBI and grand jury; and Luce Guillen Givins of the RNC 8, unjustly charged with felonies for protests at the Republican National Convention, 2008.

Luce Guillen Givins told the crowd, “I operate on the premise that we cannot both fight for radical change in meaningful and effective ways and ensure that none of us will face state repression. I think that this truth gets to the very heart of why we fight, right? It's that we know we live in a system that values maintaining an oppressive social order - and threats to that order aren't taken lightly. If this weren't the kind of system where you'd be repressed for fighting for justice and liberation, it wouldn't be the kind of system worth fighting.”

Sarah Jane Olson talked about her experiences in prison and stated that she stands in solidarity with all of those who are facing FBI and Grand Jury repression.

Tracy Molm talked about attempts to represses anti-war and international solidarity activists and the ongoing pushback.

Jess Sundin, of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, stated, “But as our topic tonight suggests, the fight for liberation is sometimes answered with the heavy boot of repression.”

Here is an excerpt from Sundin’s speech:

“...the case of Clara Zetkin, the founder of International Women’s Day. She was exiled from Germany under the anti-socialist laws there in the late 1800s. But she didn't give up. Almost 50 years later, she was 75 years old and at the forefront of the fight against fascism. Now, I know some very active and healthy women in their 70s today, but in the 1930s, that was pretty long in the tooth.

“At that time, Clara was the oldest elected member of the German parliament, which gave her the role of opening their meeting in 1932. In her speech, the last speech of her life, she called for people to unite to fight against Nazi fascism. She said: ‘The order of the hour is the unified front of all workers in order to force back fascism so that the enslaved and exploited retain the force and power of their organizations, and even their physical lives... All those threatened, all those suffering, all those who thirst for liberty belong in the unified front against fascism and its representatives in government!’

“Her words ring just as true today, especially looking at my own life. Tracy Molm will speak later and talk more about our case, the 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists targeted by a Chicago grand jury. We have worked hard to build a broad front to push back against this attack, in defense of our movements, our organizations and the targeted individuals. In Clara's words, ‘all those who thirst for liberty’ should stand with us. And they do!

“And the 23 of us who are being dragged through this legal witch hunt will follow Clara's example: We will not surrender. We will not testify to the grand jury - we won't turn traitors to the movements we hail from. Most of us are women, and many of us are mothers. Sarah has us all beat, she's a great grandmother [referencing Sarah Martin, who has been subpoenaed to grand jury]. But like Clara, known as Grandmother Zetkin when she made that speech in 1932, we will not be swayed. Please join us, as we continue to stand up against repression!”