Liberation photo.

Liberation photo.

On International Women’s Day in 1917, Russian women organized a march that sparked the Russian revolution.

In that spirit, women in Albuquerque organized a march for International Women’s Day that was explicitly and loudly anti-war. A militant, multinational crowd gathered outside Kirtland Air Force Base, which is situated in the heart of one of Albuquerque’s poorest neighborhoods, and demanded an end to all U.S. wars and sanctions abroad.

The neighborhood surrounding Kirtland, sometimes referred to as the ‘war zone,” is mired in poverty, overrun by police, and suffers from underdevelopment and lack of resources. It stands in stark contrast to the base itself, which exists artificially on the largesse of the capitalist state which spares no expense when it comes to war and weapons.

To the poor in Albuquerque, Kirtland feels like a heavily armed, government funded country club. It is where you will find the best medical care available in the state, state of the art recreational facilities and accommodations, while much of the general population goes on living without access to any form of basic medical care and the homeless can be seen asking for donations at the very gates to the base.

It is widely known among Albuquerque residents that Kirtland is responsible for and continue to ignore the largest contamination of an aquifer in U.S. history. Because of Kirtland, Albuquerque’s underground aquifer, the source of its drinking water, has several feet of toxic chemical compounds floating on top of it, compounds including benzene, toluene and various aliphatic hydrocarbons, and the most serious threat to both human health: ethylene dibromide or EDB.

The majority-woman protest marched confidently straight up to the gates of the base, triggering a dramatic-looking lockdown. Military vehicles swarmed with sirens wailing, entrance gates were hurriedly slammed, and uniformed men with assault rifles deployed.

From the gates of the base the speak out continued, with rifle-toting soldiers watching uncomfortably from the other side of the fence, never letting their grip on their weapons loosen. The crowd spoke loudly of the contradictions and the terror of this capitalist imperialist system, and of the U.S. ruling class’s criminal mistreatment and disposal of its own war veterans.

The billionaires and war-makers often wage their wars for profit in the name of “women’s rights.” But here in Albuquerque it is women that are leading the charge against this machine of death.