by Kara Bell

We saw the tremendous wave of women’s empowerment messages flooding news headlines, social media and even Google’s landing page to recognize International Women’s Day (IWD), but behind the curtain of celebration lurks the memory of an old, deadly red monster.

IWD’s Origin

In 1909, the Socialist Party of America established Women’s Day to advocate for women’s suffrage, better working conditions and the end to capitalism. The Party’s influence was well-received by German Socialist Luise Zietz and communist leader Clara Zetkin who campaigned the divisive socialist promises across Eastern Europe.

Rumors of IWD and its socialist propaganda trickled into Russian factories where its poorest women labored, provoking a rebellion on March 8th later recognized as the Russian Revolution. Political unrest opened the doors for authoritarian leader Vladimir Lenin whose tyrannical political repression, genocide, and ethnic cleansing constructed one of the most oppressive governments in world history.

As victims struggled to survive within the confines of the Soviet Union, the Socialist Party of America and groups alike turned a blind eye to the immediate and long-term consequences of socialist policies – a trend we’re currently seeing between socialist “progressives” like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders and the failing socialist states of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

60s Feminists Adopted IWD

IWD grew in popularity in communist countries and was later recognized by the larger communist movement. In 1967, second-wave feminists in the United States attempted to rebirth March 8th as a day of women’s liberation. Influenced by the work of Karl Marx, leaders like Angela Davis used IWD to campaign for the radical restructuring of our capitalist economy into the communist dream, guarding the original goal of the Socialist Party of America.

IWD didn’t start rolling in the United States until eight years later when the UN adopted its resolution to “recognize that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms requires the active participation, equality and development of women.” In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8th as National Women’s History week – a side step from observing the socialist day.

Today’s Airbrushing of History

Now, March is established each year as Women’s History Month to celebrate the women who have fought for “equality, broken the bonds of discrimination, partiality and injustice for the next generations.” IWD’s history of socialist propaganda is overlooked within the United States, and ironically, now recognizes the achievements women have accomplished within a democratic capitalist economy. But as socialism becomes more popular amongst millennials, we need to remember the memory of the old, deadly red monster that started IWD, and the truth: capitalism has done more for women than socialism ever will.