International Women’s Day was once a socialist event and called International Working Women’s Day. The first event is said to have been organized by German socialist Clara Zetkin in 1910. Zetkin was a a vigorous supporter of and campaigner for universal women’s suffrage and also helped organize the 1915 International Women’s Peace Conference.
It was in 1975 when the UN sponsored International Women’s Year, that the UN is said to have sanctioned International Women’s Day and began sponsoring it. It is now celebrated on 8 March.
Noting the day’s radical origins, its link to democratic reform and its current attention to women fighting against oppression, PPT takes this opportunity to remember that Darunee Charnchoensilpakul (Da Torpedo) is languishing in a Thai jail, convicted under the country’s draconian and highly politicized lese majete law. Her trials have been demonstrably unfair and she has been refused bail numerous times following her arrest, while awaiting trial, during her trial and, now, as she appeals. In reality, she has been treated in a manner that tramples on all manner of international conventions and on her rights under the Thai constitution.
Darunee campaigned against an elite she saw as maintaining undemocratic politics in Thailand and she remains determined in her political opposition to repression and lese majetse.
Of course, Darunee is not the only woman who has been targeted under repressive laws. Boonyuen Prasertying was convicted, jailed and pardoned after serving jail time. Chiranuch Premchaiporn is currently awaiting a court decision on her case.
These women deserve our support on International Women’s Day.
Update: The Daily Beast in the U.S. has listed Chiranuch as one of the “150 women who shake the world.”