Shomi Yoon gave this talk as part of Marxism 2014 in Melbourne. Marxism 2015 will take place from April 2 – 5.
“What sort of woman are you? Demonstrating when you should be at home looking after your children?” This was the question Sadayo Nakasone faced by the arresting officer for participating in the first contingent of women to march on the second May Day held in Japan in 1921.
Nakasone, fired back, “What sort of man are you! A proletarian who works for the capitalists! Take a look at yourself!”
Nakasone, along with 20 other socialists, made history on this day as the first contingent of women to mark May Day in Japan. They were all arrested after marching under the banner of Sekirankai or Red Wave – an organisation that was established with the specific aim or participating in May Day but with the wider aim of overthrowing capitalism for genuine women’s liberation.
Women have always been involved in the communist and socialist movements from the earliest of days. The second May Day in 1921 is a continuation of this history but also symptomatic of the wider social and political struggles that were happening domestically and internationally that pushed these women into mobilizing onto the streets. The class was on the move, revolutionary ferment was in the air, and Red Wave women wanted to be part of this historical shift. [Read more...]