The most successful political activists in Derry of recent times will be honoured at Sandino’s tonight.
The Femme Fatale MIC Night, centrepiece of this year’s International Women’s Day Celebration, will recognise the nine women members of the Derry Anti-War Coalition (DAWC) whose occupation of the Raytheon arms plant at Springtown in January 2009 led directly to the departure from Derry of - as Joe Brolly put it in court - “these Merchants of Death”.
Correspondence between the ‘Merchants of Death’ and Invest Northern Ireland subsequently obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that it was the success of the women in winning acquittal at Belfast Crown Court in March last year which convinced Raytheon to get out of Derry. The women had argued that disrupting Raytheon production wasn’t a crime because the company had been in the process of committing a greater crime - aiding and abetting Israel in crimes against humanity in Gaza.
All nine of the women who drove the arms snakes out will be on hand as a galaxy of stars lights up the night – the Henry Girls, the Poetry Chicks, the Bluebelles, the Shambelles, Diane Greer, Jeanette Hutton, Eileen Webster, Myra Dryden, Anne Crilly and many, many more. Tina McLaughlin will be magical mistress of the ensuing mayhem.
Ms. Webster is chair as well as official chanter of the DAWC.
Doors at eight, admission a fiver, all proceeds to Women Activists for Social Change.
The event will be an apt celebration of the day that’s in it. While International Women’s Day has caught on in recent years among women of all classes and is now seen by some interests as ripe for commercial exploitation, the event was instituted a hundred years ago by the International Women’s Socialist Organisation (IWSO).
The German revolutionary Clara Zetkin proposed the first International Women’s Day at the IWSO conference in Copenhagen in 1910, to be held on March 8th, the anniversary of a mass demonstration by women in New York in 1908 demanding equal rights at work and universal suffrage. That was the beginning of the journey yet to be completed which brings us to Sandino’s tonight.
Read more from Eamonn McCann in the Journal every Tuesday