On Friday morning I was sitting alone gumming a bowl of oatmeal in the breakfast area of a Hampton Inn in Pontiac, Illinois, when I was assaulted by an absurdity on the widescreen TV. There I was, calmly minding my own business, keeping my big mouth shut for a change, opening it only for the next scoop of tastelessness. Just then, a group of maniacs from the Today show ruined my tranquility by babbling obliviously and ecstatically about International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day? Seriously? Had I slipped back in time a hundred years ago to, er, Leningrad, March 8, 1919? Judging from the giggling guy and gals on the screen, I had not. I checked my phone. It was March 8, 2019. And I was in America.
Some Today show dingbat gushed feigned excitement about the great holiday. Sitting to his left were two or three fashionable ladies likewise sharing his jubilation. The male host turned over the segment to a lady reporter outside the building, who was flanked by two young women prattling on about the liberation of the “music industry” from some sinister male dominance that obviously has deprived the likes of Madonna and Barbra Streisand of millions of dollars in riches. Behind them all was a gaggle of girls cheering about something else that had something to do with International Women’s Day.
It was confusing. All of these women and yet — and yet — no Comrade Clara.
That’s right. No Comrade Clara. Where was Clara Zetkin?
It was then that I realized that, no, I hadn’t slipped into a time-warp overnight somewhere along Rt. 55 on my way from Eureka College to the Union League Club in Chicago later that day — both places where, ironically, I would deliver lectures celebrating America’s defeat of international communism in the last century.
I guess the celebration is premature.
Recall, dear leaders, that we Americans won the Cold War and defeated the likes of Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, and Clara Zetkin.
Because of the laws of nature, Clara wasn’t at Today’s studios on Friday. Never hopping an elliptical a day in her life, never doing a Pilates workout, and surely never prancing around in yoga pants, Clara died 86 years ago. She died in Moscow, of course. She was there in the rollicking 1930s, the cusp of Stalin’s wondrous five-year plans, and just missed his Great Purge and mass famine imposed upon the Ukraine.
But Clara was there in New York on Friday in spirit. And it seems unfair that the folks at Today offered no acknowledgment of this matron of International Women’s Day. Not even a photo!
Of course, let’s be honest, and sadly serious for a moment. Most of these modern products of our universities have no idea who Comrade Clara was, or would give a rip, and would surely hurl cries of “McCarthyism” at me for raising the specter of the old German socialist-Marxist. Clara will not be condemned. Communism will not be condemned. I will be condemned. As usual, anti-communism will be condemned.
Swimming along with the cultural tide, infused by the Zeitgeist, choked by what R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. calls the Kultursmog, they only know what they’ve been taught. More so, they are victims of their progressive professors’ many sins of omission — chief among them the utter failure to teach the lessons, the damage, and the outright horrors of communism.
They’ve been duped.
Hence, as a public service, I’d like to here pause to enlighten them on the origins of the communist holiday they commemorated last week.
Clara Zetkin was a big-time German pinko. A Marxist theorist and proud feminist-socialist, she also claimed the banner hoisted today by the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her charming congressional colleague from Dearborn, Michigan, Ms. Tlaib — that is to say, Clara was a “democratic socialist.”
And International Women’s Day was Clara’s thing. If you doubt me, take a glance at the piece (including the accompanying photo of the women carrying the banner, “WOMEN OF THE WORLD UNITE”) on “The Origins of International Women’s Day” in People’s World, longtime flagship publication of American communism and successor to the Daily Worker. Right from the horse’s mouth:
Within the last twenty years, many thousands of women worldwide have begun to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD). However, the way in which the day is marked often bears little resemblance to the original IWD purpose and origins. This is a great misfortune.
How so? What was the motivation for “IWD?” The People’s World writer provides an accurate answer:
IWD was founded at the beginning of the last century to both highlight and celebrate the struggle of working women against their oppression and double exploitation.
Today, this fight has not been won — their struggle is still our struggle. Thus, it is timely to remind women and men in the labor movement and elsewhere of the inspirational socialist origins of IWD in the hope that it will ignite again a progressive socialist feminist women’s movement rooted in an understanding of the class basis of women’s inequality. We can learn from our history, but first we must rediscover it.
Assisting in that rediscovery, People’s World notes (correctly) that the first historic demonstration launching IWD took place on March 8, 1908, by “women workers” on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. From there, Clara and the European worker-masses rose up:
Meanwhile, news of the heroic fight of U.S. women workers reached Europe — in particular, it inspired European socialist women who had established, on the initiative of the German socialist feminist Clara Zetkin (1857-1933), the International Socialist Women’s Conference.
This latter body met for the first time in 1907 in Stuttgart alongside one of the periodic conferences of the Second [Communist] International (1889-1914).
Three years later in 1910, Zetkin proposed the following motion at the Copenhagen Conference of the Second International: “The Socialist women of all countries will hold each year a Women’s Day, whose foremost purpose it must be to aid the attainment of women’s suffrage. This demand must be handled in conjunction with the entire women’s question according to Socialist precepts.”
The motion was carried. March 8 was favored.
From there, notes People’s World, the Bolsheviks got into the full swing and adopted International Women’s Day as a national holiday that would last throughout the entirety of the USSR:
In 1917 in Russia, International Women’s Day acquired great significance — it was the flashpoint for the Russian Revolution. On March 8, (Western calendar) female workers in Petrograd held a mass strike and demonstration demanding peace and bread. The strike movement spread from factory to factory and effectively became an insurrection.
The Bolshevik paper Pravda reported that the action of women led to revolution, resulting in the downfall of the tsar, a precursor to the Bolshevik revolution. “The first day of the revolution was Women’s Day… the women… decided the destiny of the troops; they went to the barracks, spoke to the soldiers, and the latter joined the revolution… Women, we salute you.”
In 1922, in honor of the women’s role on IWD in 1917, Lenin declared that March 8 should be designated officially as Women’s Day. Much later, it was a national holiday in the Soviet Union and most of the former socialist countries.
There you go. That says it all, doesn’t it? It was a national holiday in Lenin’s and Stalin’s USSR.
Well, it looks like our intrepid “progressives” in the United States have picked up the torch. They are poised to make IWD a national holiday in the United States, too.
International Women’s Day marchers, unite! Today show producers and hosts and reporters, unite! To borrow from Trotsky’s and Stalin’s Pravda, “We salute you!”
Where is Clara today, as the women of Today honor her legacy? Clara Zetkin is buried in the wall of the Kremlin, where she was placed nearest the rotting bosom of Vladimir Lenin. There for the red funeral with tears in their eyes were Lenin’s widow and Stalin himself.
That was the genesis of International Women’s Day.
Ladies, if you bite from the fruit of International Women’s Day, you are eating the fruit of a poisoned tree. You are a sucker.
Paul Kengor is professor of at Grove City College in Grove City, Pa., and senior academic fellow at the Center for Vision & Values. Dr. Kengor is a frequent speaker at Young America’s Foundation student conferences and is author of over a dozen books, including A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism, and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.