The Congress of American Women (CAW) was established in 1946, considered the US branch of Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF). By 1949, it had 250,000 members, with branches in New York City, Cleveland, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Detroit, Milwaukee and Seattle. In 1948 the full fury of the Red Scare by the government, media and right wing fell upon the CAW which received substantial support from the USSR. In 1948 the House of Un-American Activities Committee started an investigation citing the organization as subversive. The inJustice Department ordered its board to register as “foreign agents” in 1950, the board disbanded the organization.
Women for Racial and Economic Equality was established in 1974 as a successor to the CAW and as an affiliate of WIDF, doing much of what progressive women’s organizations did in the 1960’s and 1970’s in helping women gain greater equality. From the program of their 3rd National Convention in May of 1984:
We are Black, white, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Asian and Native American women. We are workers, trade unionists, unemployed, housewives, welfare recipients, professionals, students and senior citizens.
We are women witnessing a daily deterioration of our living standards as the economic crisis in our country grows deeper.
We are women who see banks and giant corporations grow richer and increasingly in direct control of city, state and national government, as our children and families suffer greater hardships.
We are women who see corporate monopoly reap huge profits from women workers by fostering divisions between men and women.
We are women demanding a say in the future of our country and an end to all forms of male supremacy.
We are women whose experiences have shown that racism is the major obstacle to bettering our living conditions in any real or meaningful way. Our organization strives for unity of all women based on a principled program of struggle to end racism in all its forms.
We are women who are united with our sisters throughout the world under the banner of world peace and equality for women.
In 1995, under the pressure of the fall of the USSR and the increasing conservatism of the Reagan and Clinton administrations, so many organizations including WREE were disbanded.
WREE was reconstituted on March 7, 2018 by a group of Women. We have contacted some members in the previous generation of WREE, as well as with leaders of its international affiliate, WIDF. Our WREE USA inc Facebook is very popular. We are growing, and looking for new members to join us in our struggle for Racial and Economic Equality.
Peace Is a Women’s Issue
The nurturing approach to life and to sustaining economic equality is the only solution in response to the class society that requires militarization, violence, and the exploitation of women and nature.
Everything is connected: toxic waste, patriarchal dominance, destruction and pollution of the earth, nuclear weapons, and wars. All represent the destruction of our Mother Earth. The larger manifestation of violence against women: loss of male partners through wars, leaving women and children, creates a population of physically and mentally disabled whom women must care for, not the powers who created this condition.
Women’s rights affect not only women but men and children. Women in the US, unlike in most other countries, are not covered for maternity leave, childcare, eldercare, and sick days to take care of children or family members. This lack of recognition and compensation for women’s work has contributed to a breakdown of society.
The high cost of living has created a situation where all working people, especially women, work a full-time low-paid job outside the home and the other job, unpaid housework. Burnt out, they are incapable of becoming fully realized human beings with free time to devote to themselves, their children and partners, their extended families and friends.
In the last 60 years, the rate of unionization and the standard of living for working people has been lowered. Corporations paid taxes at the rate of 58% in 1954. This has been reduced drastically, shifting this burden onto working families today: Corporations broke up the unions and transferred manufacturing jobs to countries with cheaper labor, pitting workers against each other in order to have groups fight for the lowest wages. As we have moved from a robust industrial manufacturing economy to a service economy, the devaluation of service-centered and domestic work by women in the home has had a disastrous effect on society. Women have replaced men in the workforce because they are seen by corporations as easier to exploit.
Reactionary legislation makes birth control and abortion more difficult to access. Women comprise two out of three minimum-wage workers and earn an average of 77 cents for every $1 a man earns. Minorities and women of color suffer even more from income inequality. Corporations like Walmart have used the devaluation of women’s work to shift the burden of a fair wage to taxpayers who are subsidizing Walmart by providing SNAP and Medicaid benefits.