On this day in 1911 Clara Zetkin started up the first ever International Women’s Day and launched it in Copenhagen. Although she set no official date for it, the date she started it has since become the date it is celebrated upon following the 1977 UN decision to mark UN Day for Women’s Rights and Peace. It was celebrated behind the “Iron Curtain” before then, but has only been a thing in the west for 34 years.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the day and we’ve come a long way since then. Many people think we’ve come far enough and don’t need a women’s day and why isn’t there a men’s day and anyway get your tits out love and shut your mouth, where’s my tea you slack bint, gertcha!
Don’t worry, darlings, I’m not going to write a long feminist treatise, mostly because if I started I don’t think Id be able to stop myself. However, to those who truly hold the opinion that we’ve come far enough, I do have three words to say: do fuck off.
Instead of making your eyes bleed and your hearts weep with how far we have to go, I’ll concentrate instead on what a great bunch of lasses, Clara Zetkin was. She had intended to become a teacher, but early in her life she became involved in leftist politics and the women’s movement and from then on devoted her life to politics. This meant many periods in exile as socialists weren’t exactly welcome in Bismarck’s Germany. While in exile she did a lot of work to set up the Socialist International and became great friends with Rosa Luxemburg.
They were both members of the SPD but, along with many more far left elements in the party, they split with them over the issue of the war. The SPD supported it and they did not. Along with Karl Liebknecht they formed the Spartacist League (named after Spartacus and his wife) and produced illegal anti-war pamphlets throughout the war. Clara was arrested several times, but she fared better than Rosa and Karl who were both murdered in the uprising that took place after the war. Clara became a member of the KPD which grew out of the Spartacist league and remained prominent in the party, with a strong interest in women’s issues until 1933, when we all know who came along, fucked the communists and either killed or imprisoned them. Clara went into exile for the last time. She ended up in Moscow and upon her death later that year she was buried by the wall of the Kremlin.
To many she may seem a troublesome leftie bitch and some of those might even see this as a bad thing. A pox on you if you do. Clara Zetkin was a good woman on the side of those who most needed a voice. She spoke up for the poor and oppressed and she spoke for women everywhere. So if you’re doing anything to celebrate International Women’s Day today, remember Clara Zetkin and if possible raise a glass to that fine German firebrand.
Today is the birthday of Carol Bayer-Sager, songwriter, lyricist, singer and artist.
When Carol graduated from New York University, she had already written her first hit single, A Groovy Kind of Love. Over her career she as collaborated with, among others, Marvin Hamlisch, Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka and Michael Jackson, as well as her ex-husband Burt Bacharach. She’s won an Oscar, two Golden Globes and a Grammy for That’s What Friends are For which was originally written
for the movie Night Shift, but was later released by a group of singers and Elton John to raise money for AIDS.
Her career has been long and her success pretty constant. She didn’t record as a singer herself until 1977 and hasn’t released any albums of her own since 1981. She’s basically a talented woman and seems to be an all round good egg. I wanted today’s entries to be all about women what with it being IWD an’ all, but Carol aside, most of the candidates I found were either porn stars, so-so actresses or beauty queens. I mean really, c’mon! I don’t know much about Carol and I don’t have any strong feelings about her either way. Although, I do hate That’s What Friends are For with a small passion; it’s so bloody schmaltzy! But I like a lot of her stuff with Burt’s Bees and I admire her for being an incredibly successful person in an industry which was far from woman friendly when she made her name.
So, la! This lacks teeth or sweetness, but it’s honest. Probably. Happy birthday to you Ms Bayer-Sager. It will not interest you to know that I always hear your name in the faux American voice of Eric Idle in drag in The Meaning of Life, but I’m telling you because I’m trying to pad your birthday greeting out. I love your songs, but please no more of that awful schmaltz and no more Elton John. Oh and anyone in LA, Ms Bayer-Sager has an art exhibition opening this month, er, somewhere in LA.