Letter of condolence from European Coordinators for Sharmistha Choudhury

European Coordinators
World Women’s Conference of grassroots women
Suse Bader, Halinka Augustin

Condolences for our comrade and friend Sharmistha Choudhury, General Secretary of the All India Revolutionary Women’s Organisation (AIRWO) and leading comrade of the CPI (ML) Red Star

Sharmistha died on the 13th of June 2021 in a hospital in Kolkata (Calcutta) as a result of corona disease. She was only 45 years old.

Dear friends of AIRWO, comrades of the CPI (ML) Red Star,
It is with great sadness that we learnt of the death of comrade Sharmistha.

On behalf of the militant world women’s movement, we extend our deepest condolences to her partner, her mother and to you all! Sharmistha’s death leaves a large gap in the revolutionary and international militant women’s movement.

We commemorate Sharmistha and her life’s work which has now ended so abruptly and far too soon.

Sharmistha was co-founder and leader of the All India Revolutionary Women’s Organisation (AIRWO), a mass movement with organisations in all states of India.

The liberation of women from exploitation and all forms of oppression was an important concern for her. As a revolutionary, she campaigned for liberation in a socialist society. Sharmistha also worked theoretically in this regard. The CPI (ML) Red Star writes in their obituary:

“On the question of women’s liberation, Sharmistha has written many important essays which have exposed the theoretical weakness of the communist movement from the beginning in developing a consistent political line and practice against Brahminical, Hindutua ideology and patriarchy …. and from …. all reactionary forces perpetuating the slavery of women and other genders. She has campaigned for the revolutionary emancipation of women….”.

Sharmistha was an internationalist. In this capacity, she actively contributed to the organisations and development of the World Women’s Conference of grassroots women. At the 1st and 2nd World Women’s Conferences in Caracas/Venezuela and Kathmandu/Nepal, she made valuable contributions with theoretical contributions, translation, mobilisation and organisation work. She was a safe pair of hands for the international militant women’s movement.

In December 2018, together with AIRWO and the coordinators of the World Women’s Conference, she organised the first strategy seminar of the world women’s movement in Bangalore/India. The women from Banghar (West Bengal) gave moving accounts of their 22-month struggle against energy giants and the Modi government’s privatisation plans.

Sharmistha, together with her partner Alik Chakraborty and other comrades, built the “Committee for the Defence of Land, Livelihood, Ecology and Environment”.  The villagers blockaded the area and defended it against hooligans, government troops, police and representatives of the power giants. Over 20,000 people became active in these struggles and women played a prominent role.

Sharmistha trained and educated the women, who were often illiterate, on the tasks in the struggle. These women reported on this confidently, in colourful saris.

We heard: “I felt what freedom is for the first time.” and “Now we were sitting next to the men, we were no longer relegated to the house. When the men were arrested, we women stepped into their place in the struggle.”

On several occasions, the World Women’s Movement organised protest and solidarity actions for our comrade Sharmistha. Neither prison nor kidnapping stopped Sharmistha and her comrades from continuing the struggle.

Sharmistha was proposed to strengthen the Asian coordination of the World Conference on Women. Now this is no longer possible. The Indian authorities refused to allow her to leave the country in October 2019 and she was unable to attend the conference.

We bid you farewell Sharmistha, and we pledge to continue building our international militant women’s movement! At the 3rd World Women’s Conference in Tunisia in 2022, you will be there too!


We mourn the loss of Sharmistha Choudhury

Dear friends,

we are very sad to announce that our beloved friend and comrade Sharmistha passed away on 13/06/21 in a hospital in Kolkatta.

It is terrible and sad news and we wish our comrades and friends in India and her family much strength and solidarity.

Sharmistha was a cornerstone of revolutionary and women’s work in India and internationally. She was a leading force in the struggle of peasants in West Bengal for the preservation of their environmental and living resources.

She will be sorely missed by our friends in India and by all of us in the militant women’s movement as a friend, comrade and comrade-in-arms. Sharmistha only turned 45 years old.

A few weeks ago she contracted the coronavirus and had to be hospitalized because of additional problems caused by the disease. She got sick again when she was participating in the election campaign in Bhangar and had to stay away from all activities from then on. She was hospitalized on the eve of June 13.

European coordinators Halinka Augustin and Suse Bader

Thank you for your solidarity

Hello Halinka, Suse and Zaman,

We received your solidarity message on the very day when Women Farmers’ Day (18th January) was being observed at the farmers’ protest sites. Thank you very much.
Today our women gathered in large numbers at the protest sites to raise the voice of women farmers and protesters. The programme had a special significance because, very recently, in a very regressive observation, the Supreme Court of India advised the protesting farmers to ‘keep women away’ from the protest sites! Women across the country were outraged at the Court’s suggestion that women had no agency, that they were not conscious protesters, but had actually been ‘brought in’ by men and could be ‘sent back home’ by men. Hence today Women Farmers’ Day was spiritedly and militantly observed across the country, emphasising women’s inalienable right to protest and demanding repeal of the new draconian agri-laws.
I am sharing the links of two short videos here. The first shows Comrade Urmila of AIRWO reading out the solidarity message from the European Coordinators of the World Women’s Conference at the protest site on the borders (Tikri) of Delhi.
The next link shows Comrade Nandini of an organisation called Feminists in Resistance reading out the solidarity message at the protest site in Kolkata.
Warm regards,

Declaration of the European Coordinators of the World Women’s Conference International Safe Abortion Day September 28, 2020

Abortion must be a health service and must be easily accessible, legal, safe and free of charge for the broad masses.

28 September is the International Day of Safe Abortion. It was first organised in 1990 by the Campaña 28 Septiembre as a day of action to decriminalise abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2011, 28 September has been declared International Day1. The date was chosen in accordance with the “Law on Free Birth” adopted in Brazil on 28 September 1871, which was intended to grant freedom to the children of slaves in Brazil.

Brazil 2020: Women and girls experience the rebirth of the Middle Ages under President Bolsonaro and the influence of the Catholic Church – every 15 minutes a child under the age of 13 is raped, but a legal, safe abortion is almost impossible. Therefore orphans are offered on the catwalk2!

Worldwide we see a trend towards ultra-reactionary and fascist governments, the dismantling of democratic rights and freedoms, including the right to self-determined pregnancy.

All over the world, women’s awareness in the fight against the development of the law has awakened. Their cry for self-determined pregnancy is a departure from patriarchal structures.
The control of sexuality and reproduction is part of the particular oppression of women under capitalism. It serves to uphold the system. Coupled with the patriarchal-reactionary influence of the church, stricter laws are enforced.
They pretend to “protect unborn life” and kick existing life with feet:

Poland‘s rights: “Abortion is a pandemic, much worse than the coronavirus “3
President Trump, USA is in favour of “abortion murder” paragraphs and has a hysterectomy performed on imprisoned immigrant women!4 President Erdogan, Turkey, uses his army specifically for rape as a weapon of war against Kurdish women and freedom fighters. In Germany, so-called life protectors are allowed to criminalise doctors on the basis of a paragraph from Hitler-fascism.

On the other hand, 100 years ago in 1920 the former Soviet Union passed a criminal law on sexual offences with impunity for abortion! This shows that the struggle for self-determined pregnancy must be fought as part of the struggle for the liberation of women! This also requires us to look beyond the ruling social system. Our visions reach far – how will the liberation of women become reality? We call out to you, become actors of the future, come with us to

3rd World Conference of Basic Women 2021 after Tunisia/Tunisia!

[1] Globales Netzwerk für Frauenrechte für reproduktive Rechte (WGNRR)
[2] Brigitte 27.05.2019
[3] “Stiftung Lebem und Familie”, polnische Organisation, Katja Godek, Mitinitiatorin Gesetzesentwurf
[4] Women’s March 16.09.2020

International call concerning Corona Pandemia

The international militants women’s movement’s
international call and catalogue of demands
to all governments of the world

We demand protection- We do not want a state of emergency but a liberated world!

Without us women there is no solution to any of the urgent problems of this time. We women unite in the fight for a future worth living for all mankind. We do not agree with the way we are governed. We have learned from the past. The world economic and financial crisis of 2008 brought profits to banks and monopolies while the burden of the crisis was shifted onto workers, women and families. With this international call we rise up. We are managing this everyday crisis. We make our demands to the governments and monopolies. NOW!

The Corona pandemic is spreading over our countries and continents. It has already killed more than 100,000 people worldwide. We mourn the loss of these people and feel connected to their loved ones. Why do so many people have to die? Because capitalism has created a worldwide health crisis, and health systems are collapsing. There is a lack of protective clothing for doctors, nurses and carers. There is a lack of protection for the population. Old and sick and poor people are not being treated. This is a scandal. What is already dreadful for the rich industrial nations is a catastrophe in the poor countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and for refugees. We are fighting for a health system in which people are the centre of interest.

We accuse the capitalist profit economy of putting profit before people. While on the one hand the spread of the virus is to be slowed down by means of contact bans and curfews worldwide, the workers in the industrial plants, the textile factories, have to continue working very close to each other.

We demand worldwide:

  • Extensive protection of workers in the textile industry, in the industrial plants, a ban on dismissals and lay-offs, continued payment of wages in case of plant closures, increase of salaries and reduction of working hours with full wage compensation!

  • Effective protective clothing for doctors, nurses and nursing staff!

  • Free, mass testing of all people in the neighbourhoods where we live!

  • Immediate expansion of the medical infrastructure!

  • Creation of new jobs and traineeships in the nursing sector!

  • Free distribution of protective masks and disinfectants!

  • Free care and medication for the sick!

  • The money for this must be taken from the big corporations and from the gigantic military budgets!

Although so-called “simulation games” have long been in place to prepare countries for an epidemic, no government in the world has taken appropriate precautions. All governments are misinforming, some are even belittling the pandemic with serious consequences.

We denounce those who steal protective equipment out of national selfishness, export protective equipment for pure profit while leaving their own people without protection, or poach care workers from poor countries.

We demand worldwide coordinated research and development of vaccines, medicines, for all people! No enticement of qualified personnel!

The current crisis demonstrates an overwhelming, transnational solidarity of working people. It reveals creativity, inventiveness and courage. Women are at the centre of the organisation of this day-to-day crisis life worldwide: in the care professions, in trade, in families. We are prepared to give everything for life, we support measures necessary for our health, but we are angry when our willingness to make sacrifices is exploited to reduce our rights and freedoms.

We demand broad information campaigns instead of state violence by the military and police, threats of arrest and warnings! We will not let our hard-won rights be taken away! No state of emergency exercises!

We condemn these measures!

Due to the curfew, women in Africa, Asia, Latin America can no longer sell their goods, they have no money, no food – famine is threatening people in the poverty-stricken areas of the world. Migrant women and refugees are particularly affected worldwide. Day labourers, migrant workers work in provinces that are often far away from their homes. The factory owners have thrown them onto the streets without pay, and they too are dying of hunger. The police and the military are often brutal. Farmers can no longer sell their crops.

We demand:

  • Financial security for day labourers, migrant and temporary workers and for small traders!

  • Acceptance and distribution of agricultural products by governments!

  • Free distribution of food to poor families in cities and rural areas!

  • Running, clean water for every household!

  • Comprehensive measures for the most vulnerable: refugees, poor, homeless!

  • Dissolution of the refugee camps and safe housing for them!

  • Fight against racist attempts to create division!

We condemn these measures!

For the majority of the population, curfew actually means living together in a small space, with hardly any opportunity for a break or personal retreat. No school, no kindergarten, no work. This increases domestic violence against women and children. Women take care of the mental, emotional and physical health of all family members without paying attention to their own needs.

We demand:

  • Ban all evictions and foreclosures

  • Prohibition of giving the tenant notice of termination in case of overdue rent!

  • State aid, hot meals, and emergency care for children and old people!

  • Teaching and learning materials as well as help for children in case of school closures!

  • Information in the media for victims of violence!

  • Help and provision of rooms for the accommodation of victims of violence!

  • Use networks to outlaw gender-specific violence!

Women of the world, the corona crisis is a historic challenge and we are responding to it with a historic step. Across continents we have agreed on this call and these demands. The Corona crisis reveals a systemic crisis. Capitalism is not able to provide us with a life in dignity. So we take matters into our own hands. Today we can see once again that women are “essential” to the system. And this awareness gives us strength to fight for our demands. Therefore we have to develop the international cooperation we have already started to a higher level:

  • We strengthen our solidarity with one another and coordinate our activities across ideological differences as an international movement.

  • We share forms of struggle such as “noise demonstrations”, banging with pots, and find new ones.

  • For the poorest countries, debt relief is needed.

  • The ruling monopolies must pay for the crisis – not the broad masses. This can be done through a special tax.

  • We must fight for better working conditions and higher wages.

Only if we organise ourselves we will become a force, in trade unions, in neighbourhoods, in women’s associations. Strengthen the world women’s movement of the World Women’s Conference of grassroots women. A great opportunity for this is the World Women’s Conference of grassroots women in Tunisia at the end of 2021.

Let us be like a olive tree
Rooted in the earth
Reaching for the sun and strong
Nobody and nothing can break us!

Statement of the European Coordinator of the World Women’s Conferences on the occation of the European elections in May 2019

European Coordinators
of the  World Women’s Conferences of grassroots women

Halinka Augustin / Netherlands
Susanne Bader / Germany

Statement of the European Coordinators of the World Women’s Conferences of the grassroots women on the occasion of the European elections 23-29 May 2019

To the women of Europe! A Europe – without nationalism!
Thousands of people all over Europe took to the streets at the weekend to achieve this. They stand up for peace, friendship among peoples and against nationalism. Their concern – no vote for right-wing parties in the European elections. The militant women’s movement was a critical part of it. Critical why? If you believe the election posters of the bourgeois parties, the words of government representatives, our vote on election day is enough to create a united and peaceful Europe. We should choose “the lesser of the evils” so that the right-wing fascistic parties do not enter the European Parliament. But what do the promises of the bourgeois parties and governments bring to the masses of women – we express our opinion !

Europe – borderless?!
The EU tightens asylum laws, stops the sea rescue “Sophia” and expands the border police “Frontex” from 2000 to 10,000 soldiers! The UN refugee agency UNHCR calls the crossing from Libya to the EU “the deadliest sea crossing in the world”. The Mediterranean Sea has become a mass grave.

The EU – a peace power?!
The EU stands for massive armament and additional expenditure of all national defence budgets. For the establishment of a defence fund with 13 billion euros, for “military mobility”. For this, civil development projects such as “Brot für die Welt” (Bread for the World) are to receive less money.
The EU continues to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia. Its satellite navigation system “Galileo” was developed as a competitor project to the USA GPS system and also serves military purposes.

Europe – for equality for women?!
Throughout Europe, women earn on average 16 percent less than men. In the capitalist system, women are primarily responsible for private household and family management. That is the basis why around 31% of women in Europe work part-time. The compatibility of work and family life is an illusion. Childcare places are expensive and the supply is insufficient. The daily crucial tension of women is a real one.

Europe – women-friendly?!
Women in Europe have no right to self-determined pregnancy or abortion – laws, churches and the state regulate women.
Europe – borderless, peace-loving, for the full emancipation of women – that is not possible with the bourgeois parties and their representatives. They have all long proved that they serve the good of the monopolies! In order to enforce our demands, we must organise ourselves and unite much more closely. Women’s awareness has awakened on a broad front. The militant women’s movement in Europe is visible, audible, active in the whole spectrum of life and work. Boundless – women of all ages organize actions, fights and days of struggle:

  • in France, 250,000 civil servants in 150 cities, many women, against President Macron’s “reform plans”
  • in Spain, on International Women’s Day, six million against violence against women
  • in Belgium the European campaign for the self-determined right to abortion and against the patronising of church and state took place
  • in Germany, nurses at the Celenus Clinic in Bad Langensalza (Thuringia) won a collective agreement after 220 strike days against lockouts and threats of dismissal.
  • in the Netherlands, nursing staff, nurses struggle for better working conditions
  • young women, girls and boys all over Europe are active for the environment and the future in the FridaysForFuture movement.

The militant women’s movement in Europe is part of the world women’s movement. With two world women’s conferences and a theory seminar on the liberation of women, we have created an international grassroots movement that coordinates and cooperates across national borders and continents.

We call to you:
“Let us discuss alternatives to this capitalist system, let us find and fight for them!
There can be no radical change in the situation of women without drastic and fundamental changes in the political, economic and social system. The movement for the liberation of women must unite with the struggle for fundamental social changes”…. “We are contributing to the building of a new peace movement”.

kind regards,

Halinka Augustin, Netherlands and Susanne Bader, Germany

European Coordinators of the worldwomens conferences of grassroots women




Grüße zum Frauentag 2019 aus Dhaka/Bangladesh vom Socialist Women’s Forum

Brief des SWF Bangladesh 8 March 2019 als PDF Datei

Dear Sisters & Women Activists,

Solidarity greetings to all on International Women’s Day. On 109th International Women’s Day Socialist Women’s Forum organized a rally at 11am 8th March 2019. Also six leftist women’s organizations including Socialist Women’s Forum observed International Women’s Day jointly. Our call was ‘protest rape-sexual harassment-violence and come on the struggle to establish women with human dignity and equal right’. On this occasion we demanded ‘ Equal right on inheritance’; ‘Equal-wage on equal-work’; ‘Establish uniform civil code’; ‘Economic value of household works in GDP’; ‘Stop violence against women’; ‘Stop gender-base violence at work’ etc.

Please keep us informed about your activities, analysis and keep in touch.

Comradely yours
Shampa Basu
General Secretary/Central Committee
Socialist Women’s Forum


deepl Übersetzung:

Solidarische Grüße an Alle am Internationalen Frauentag. Am 109. Internationalen Frauentag organisierte das Sozialistische Frauenforum am 8. März 2019 um 11 Uhr eine Demonstration. Auch sechs linke Frauenorganisationen, darunter das Socialist Women’s Forum, haben gemeinsam am Internationalen Frauentag teilgenommen. Unser Aufruf lautete “Protest gegen sexuelle Belästigung – Gewalt und der Kampf um die Verwirklichung von Frauen mit Menschenwürde und Gleichberechtigung”. Bei dieser Gelegenheit forderten wir ‘ Gleiches Recht auf Erbschaft’; ‘Gleiches Entgelt für gleiche Arbeit’; ‘Einheitliches Zivilgesetzbuch’; ‘Wirtschaftlicher Wert von Haushaltsarbeiten im BIP’; ‘Gewalt gegen Frauen beenden’; ‘Geschlechterbezogene Gewalt am Arbeitsplatz beenden’ usw.
Bitte informieren Sie uns über Ihre Aktivitäten, Analysen und bleiben Sie in Kontakt.