For today’s F Word, a bit of history, drawing from the Russian Social Democrat and activist for women’s rights before we called it feminism, Alexandra Kollontai…

Why International Women’s Day? Kollontai tells us that with the rise of capitalism, more women entered the workplace…women helped create their country’s wealth, but without the vote they didn’t have the power to determine what their country did with it.

The first Women’s Day was organized by the women socialists in the US in 1909. As Kollontai wrote the vote was important because “It wasn’t enough to break up the stalls at the market or threaten the odd merchant: if you want to change the cost of living you have to change the politics of the government."

The first International Women’s Day took place in 1911. Meetings were organized everywhere – in the small towns and even in the village halls gatherings were packed so full that they had to ask male workers to give up their places or stand. Men stayed at home with their children so their wives and women working at home could go to meetings. After each Working Women’s Day, more women joined the parties — mostly socialist parties — and the trade unions grew.

98 years later, maybe we need a revival. At another stage in capitalism, money’s flowing today to a very male place — the overwhelmingly male preserve of the financial elite — but women still make plenty of the country’s wealth– and deserve a say in where it goes. Maybe it’s time for more meetings.

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders, author, and host of RadioNation on Air America Radio, has built a reputation for courageous investigative journalism coupled with compassion and a sense of humor. In writing her last book, Blue Grit, she traveled the country reporting on grassroots success stories and broadcast live to over 150 radio stations from community centers in places including Helena, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Miami, Las Vegas, and Milwaukee. In her television appearances (Lou Dobbs, Larry King Live,) on radio and in her many books (including Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species) and articles (The Nation and others,) Flanders calls for a new politics of fairness, equality and citizen action. Articulating the human dimension of American communities in trouble, her programs have become destinations for those seeking the skills and the will to make a difference. Flanders is a regular contributor to the Nation Magazine and CNN. Before joining Air America, where she was part of the original lineup, and hosted “The Laura Flanders Show” for three years, Flanders was the founding host of the award-winning “Your Call” weekday mornings on public radio, KALW in the Bay Area and CounterSpin, the radio show of the mediawatch group, FAIR.