How does the feminist movement gather strength? One week away from the launch of the first massive assembly in Buenos Aires, in the generous facilities of the Mutual Sentimiento, the international strike is organised once again in each place and from there emerges the regional, global, multinational net.
This internationalist dimension qualifies each individual situation: it makes it richer and more complex without taking away its roots; it makes it more cosmopolitan, without paying the price of abstraction. It expands our political imagination at the same time that it creates a practical ubiquity: that feeling that you get when screaming “we’re everywhere!”. This is how the organising of the strike unfolds a politics of place: the movement is amplified by a connection of conflicts and experiences, making the strike an excuse for unity in each place. This is an internationalism from the territories in struggle.
Because of this, the domestic territories (historically enclosed by four walls) are today spaces of practical internationalism, where we discuss the global chains of care, the modes of invisibilisation of reproductive work and the lack of public infrastructures. Because of this, the indigenous territories (historically expropriated) are today spaces of alliances without borders, of community embodiment, where we denounce exctraction megaprojects and the new owners of the land in charge of the farming industry. Because of this, the territories of precarity (historically considered “not organised”) are today the forms of experimentation of new trade union dynamics, of camp outs and occupations in workhouses and factories and in virtual platforms, of creative reclaiming and denouncing which make explicit things like sexual abuse, discrimination of migrants and exploitation, which always go hand in hand.
This way of broadening demands, to make languages grow and entangle geographies demands that each space is made increasingly broader in how we name problems, reports, conflicts and also strategies, alliances and ways to, once again, accumulate common strength.
To know ourselves to be enmeshed, to share leads and hypothesis, to plot resistances and interventions here and there makes this “aquatic geography” of the strike (as Rosa Luxemburg called it) a composition of rhythms, flows, speeds and streams.
Comrades in all of Spain have put together a route plan they started last Friday to narrate the “thousand” reasons to strike, to continue with assemblies and events and even an “operation spider” on the Madrid underground, inspired by the one we did here in the middle of the Green wave.
Meanwhile, the NiUnaMenos demonstrations continue in Mexico. Thousands of women, lesbians and trans condemn the femicide as a state crime and the situation of constant threat under the abduction attempts on the underground and where the only solution offered was more police. But in Mexico we also see a great sequence of protests and strikes by the workers in the maquilas of Tamaulipas. In the southeast, the Zapatista women have just launched a letter explaining why this 8M they will not have an event in their territory, exposing the military threat behind the advance of touristic and neoextractivist megaprojects of the new government. In this triple scene we see condensed this scene put into motion by the international strike: to connect struggles and from that connection affirm how the struggles against precarity and employment abuse can’t be separated from the femicides and harassments and also from the forms of exploitation of territory in the hands of the trasnational companies.
Meanwhile, in Italy, comrades from NonUnaDiMeno have launched a “regressive count” for the international feminist strike with a series of posters which also narrate the scenes which justify the strike. Against the lack maintenance payments from ex-husbands, because of the abuse from bosses, but also against the use of state welfare as a way to deal with poverty instead of the possibility of self-determination.
This is the key point which is being discussed today in many organisations: the management of public funds as a way to subsidise or as a social salary as a tool which the feminist movement is questioning from a particular logic. This is to make clear how women, lesbians and trans are taking on the territories of a state of emergency due to sexist violence and austerity. It is being deployed by gender organisations in territories and also in care and autonomous networks, by attending health clinics and soup kitchens, creating self-defence courses and accompanying “unprofessionally” but consistently those who suffer from violence, giving information and escorting those who need an abortion even clandestinely. As we write in the call out for this 8M from the collective NiUnaMenos: there is no opposition between the urgency of hunger brought by the crisis and feminist politics. By the contrary, it is the movement in all its diversity that has politicized this crisis, the one which day by day puts in the embodiment and the one which is condition to fight for economic recognition without patriarchal mediations to guarantee its autonomy and strengthening.
Meanwhile, the 8M coordination in Chile won’t stop growing, after the massive mobilisations in May for a non-sexist education and against sexual abuse in academia and the massive international meeting of women in struggle in December. They scream “the feminist strike is on!”, to point out how to build from below and continue walking like that. Meanwhile, in Brazil comrades from the northeast say that fascism will not pass and black feminism is getting ready to march for justice for Marielle Franco and everyone who sustains popular and favela economies against the criminalisation of their lives. Meanwhile, in Bolivia they are preparing for the #Bloqueo8M denouncing femicides starting this year but also by the side of the resistance of women on the Tariquía reserve, in Tarija, which are blocking the works of PETROBRAS. Meanwhile, the assemblies in Uruguay have already started, with a coordination of feminisms nurtured by growing networks. Meanwhile, in Ecuador they debate strikes and uprisings as tools in the multiple histories of struggles. Meanwhile, in Colombia and Peru meetings are held weekly with the 8M horizon, this talisman-date which unites us because before anything we start to see and recognise each other.
Verónica Gago. Member of Colectivo Ni Una Menos
Translated by a member of the Women’s Strike Assembly London.
Spanish original published here