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Happy! - Mar 8 (Women's Day / Fariña)

Abby Sale 08 Mar 06 - 08:13 AM
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Subject: Happy! - Mar 8 (Women's Day / Fariña)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 08 Mar 06 - 08:13 AM

Happy Birthday!

Happy International (Working) Women's Day

An official holiday of the UN & a public holiday in China, Cuba, Mauritania, Mongolia, (& erstwhile USSR)
but only a "Proclaimed" Day in the US.

It is said to commemorate a New York City women garment workers march of March 8, 1857. Perhaps because of the ensuing economic & political turmoil of the era, however, it seems totally ignored in song and also by Americans in general.

From Chase's Annual Events: Believed to have been first proclaimed for this date at an international conference of women held in Helsinki, Finland in 1910. The 50th anniversary observance, at Peking in March 1960, cited Clara Zetkin (Member of German Communist Party from its foundation in 1919... fiery orator, teacher, editor of Gleichkeit, the organ of the Social Democratic Party for women.) as initiator of Women's Day. She proposed at the 1910, 2nd International Congress of Socialist women in Copenhagen that "that henceforth March 8 should be declared International Women's Day." Little, if any, evidence exists there actually was an 1857 strike and it may be noted Klara Zetkin was born June 5, 1857, Germany (d1933). It may be the Day only celebrates her birthday. There was considerable activity, however, among women's garment factory workers from the "Great Strike" of 1908 onwards into 1910. [Where there is a choice between believing Chase or your handy History book, bet on Chase.]

There are sadly few labor songs about women's lot. The unions were often as selfprotectionist as egalitarian – that is, they often fought for their own but discriminated against "others." Still, Irwin Silber mentions some:

        I am a Union woman
        As brave as I can be,
        I do not like the bosses
        And the bosses don't like me.
        When my husband asked the boss for a job,
        This is the words he said:-
        "Bill Jackson, I can't work you, sir,
        Your wife's a Rooshian Red."

                "I am A Union Woman" by Aunt Molly Jackson in Hard-Hitting Songs for Hard-Hit
(Oak) and compiled by Alan Lomax, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.

Richard Fariña was born 3/8/1937 (died in motorcycle crash: 4/30/1966)

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
What are Happy's all about? See Clicky

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