From For a Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy
No. 5 (32), March 1, 1949

Women of the World Fight for Democracy Against Warmongers

N. Popova
Vice-Chairman, World Federation of Democratic Women
Chairman, Anti-Fascist Committee of Soviet Women

This year all working women will celebrate International Women’s Day, March 8, in conditions of intense struggle for peace and against imperialist aggression. On this day, millions of women will express their firm determination to strengthen international solidarity, to unite more closely in the ranks of the democratic camp headed by the land of Socialism – the Soviet Union – and to intensify the struggle for peace and world security.

The women of the Soviet Union, active builders of Communism, are marching at the head of the powerful democratic movement of the women of the world. The Communist Party and Soviet power have given Soviet women complete political and economic equality, the opportunity of fully developing their abilities and creative forces. Educated by the Party of Lenin and Stalin, the Soviet woman has become a mighty force in building Soviet society.

In Soviet industry, thousands of women are factory managers, foremen and deputy foremen. There are 250,000 women in the vast army of technicians. Thousands of women are in charge of collective farms, and thousands more are brigade leaders. Hundreds of women have been honoured with the title of Hero of Socialist Labour for their high labour productivity.

Our women take full advantage of the right to education guaranteed them by the Stalin Constitution. This can be seen from the fact that of those technicians with a university education, 43 per cent are women. The 277 women deputies to the Supreme Soviets of the Union and Autonomous Republics are a living proof of the full political equality enjoyed by the Soviet woman and her active participation in the administration of the State.

The women of our socialist society are, together with the whole Soviet people, waging an active and consistent struggle to consolidate the democratic camp and repulse the imperialist warmongers. Fighting with them are the women of the new democracies – Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Rumania and Albania where the people’s democratic system has assured them economic, political and civil rights equal with men.

Millions of women in the capitalist and colonial countries have joined the struggle for peace and democracy. Their position is very different from that of women in the Soviet Union and the new democracies. To this day, the vaunted bourgeois “democracy” of the capitalist countries still deprives women of equality. In many countries women do not even enjoy the right to vote. Women workers in the United States and Britain do not receive equal pay for equal work; and for most of them education is extremely restricted.

The position of the woman worker and the mother in the colonial countries is far worse: of the 500 million children in the colonies 480 million do not attend school. In the countries of Latin America, from 50 to 80 per cent of school-age children do not get an elementary education. In the U.S., 5 million children do not attend school. Working women in the capitalist countries know all the horrors of capitalist slavery. They are rising up in struggle for their liberation, uniting their efforts with those of all the democratic forces.

The activity and growth of the World Federation of Democratic Women demonstrate the development of the international women’s movement. During the past three years the national organizations of 16 countries have joined the Federation which today unites the women’s organizations of 56 countries, including 26 countries in Europe, 12 in Asia, 6 in Africa and 12 in America and Australia. The Federation has more than 80 million members. The working women greet March 8 with major successes in the struggle for peace and democracy.

The aggressive plans of Anglo-American ruling circles expressing the interests of American finance and industrial magnates who are trying to hurl mankind into a new world war, have aroused the indignation and opposition of millions of women throughout the world.

Naturally, in those circumstances the World Federation of Democratic Women centres its activity around the struggle for peace, drawing into this struggle millions of women who are not yet members of the Federation. In this a big role was played by the recent Second Congress of the Federation, a major event in the life and work of the democratic camp. The Congress was a powerful demonstration of the growth and organisation of the democratic women's movement.

The mass campaign for peace and democracy and against the aggressors and warmongers, the actions in support of the Soviet proposals to the United Nations to outlaw the atom bomb and reduce armaments, the campaign against the Franco regime in Spain and the terror in Greece, have enhanced the prestige of the Federation in the eyes of the supporters of peaceful cooperation between nations.

There are many facts to indicate the growing activity of the national sections of the Federation in the struggle for peace. Last November, mass actions took place throughout France in support of the proposals made by the Soviet delegation at the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly. The Italian women’s organisation sent the U.N. a petition signed by 3 million women demanding peace. The women of Czechoslovakia collected 2,500,000 signatures in support of the Soviet proposals; the women of Bulgaria 2,110,000 signatures, the women of Germany 5,000,000 signatures. Signatures were collected also in Britain, Belgium, New Zealand and Holland.

The militant women of Greece are actively supported by Federation members who are sending regular supplies of medicine, food and clothing to Greek women and children. The Federation is vigorously exposing the crimes committed by the Anglo-American imperialists against democratic Greece and the people of China. The women’s organisations in France and Holland have held protest meetings and demonstrations against the brutal reprisals of the French and Dutch Governments against the freedom-loving peoples of Viet Nam and Indonesia.

With increasing determination women are also taking part in the working class movement for better conditions. In France where they organised assistance for the striking miners, they are now fighting together with all the working people for wage increases and lower prices. In Italy women are taking an active part in the trade union struggles.

In France, Britain, Italy, Austria and other countries, women are resolutely opposing the “Marshall Plan” which is bringing ruin and enslavement to their countries, destroying their industry, freedom and sovereignty and turning them into bases for new military ventures.

Together with the women of those countries against which Anglo-American aggression is directed, the women of the U.S. and Britain are defending the cause of peace and are against war.

At the recent congress of the Federation, delegates from various countries of Europe, Asia and America, from Republican Spain, Australia, Cuba, Korea and Iran gave facts illustrating the growing resistance of the peoples to the onslaught of the monopolies and the machinations of the warmongers.

They spoke with deep gratitude of the peace-loving policy of the Soviet Government, of the great Soviet Union which heads the progressive forces of the world, which consistently and steadily exposes the warmongers, upholds the cause of peace and is strengthening the relations between peoples and states.

Expressing the will of millions of democratic women, the representative of the Union of French Women, Jeanette Vermeerch told the Congress:

“We believe in the Soviet Union – the main force of peace – for we know that where the people are in power they do not want war. We also know from experience that if the Soviet Union is attacked, it fights like a lion until victory, inspiring all who battle for the common cause of the peoples.”

Concluding her speech Vermeerch unfurled the banner sent by the women of France to the Soviet Union, bearing the inscription: “French mothers will never give their sons for a war against the Soviet Union”.

The Congress enthusiastically greeted the words of E. Cotton, Chairman of the World Federation of Democratic Women expressing the love of millions of ordinary people for the great land of Socialism.

“The fact that the countries of Central Europe feel warmly for the Soviet Union is not the result of pressure from Moscow, as reactionaries would have the peoples of the world believe,” she said. “It is the result of deep gratitude to the country which gave the blood of millions of its people for the common victory over fascism. It is an expression of the gratitude of millions of men and women to a great people who brought about the Revolution of 1917, who initiated the struggle that would really give power to the people. Those countries which the Governments of Britain and France led to Munich, received their freedom from the Soviet Union – a country where the great dream of Socialism, living in the hearts of working men and women the world over, has become a reality.”

The Manifesto adopted by the Congress declares; “Women of all countries! We bear a great responsibility to our children, to our peoples, to mankind, to history. And if all of us – and we comprise half humanity – come forward with closed ranks against the instigators of war there will be no war!”

The Manifesto calls upon women in the capitalist countries to defend their democratic gains, for without democracy there can be no peace. It calls upon the women in the colonial and dependent countries to continue the struggle against imperialism and for the national independence of their countries.

On behalf of 56 countries, the delegates to the Second International Women’s Congress declared that the 80 million members of the Federation represented by them would “fight more resolutely and more actively for peace, democracy, for the security and independence of peoples, in defence of our children and our homes! Our forces are legion. By uniting our efforts we will win the battle for peace and democracy."

On March 8, millions of women throughout the world will express their will and determination to rally more closely in the united democratic camp to carry out the great and noble tasks inscribed on its banners.

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