As we are approaching the 8th March, a day of celebration and of fights, we would like to talk about things which have happened in the past months all around the globe, brought by a wide and heterogenous alliance of subjectivities, a variety of oppressed genders.
We are a group of migrant women*, we are precarious workers, we are unemployed, we are women* with children, we are perceived as more white than some women* and more black than other women*. But we want to talk about the possibilities of uniting our forces to fight against gender violence of all kinds.
We have a structural understanding of violence: violence is violence against the woman*´s body and her mind; but violence is also the austerity measures that are cutting on welfare, health care, education, and social policies; violence is reforming the labour market towards more and more casualization; violence is doctors in Italy and elsewhere that are still permitted to raise a moral exception against abortion; violence has many forms, and we have to recognize them all to fight against them.
This is why we would like first to recap what has been happening in the past months, the gourgeous wave of women lesbians trans and intersex people*, the marches full of strenght and power and the fights for a world and a life free of gender violence. We are now seeing a rising that embodies the oldest and most radical conflict in the existing social structures. This gender clevage is often regarded as marginal in respect to the class conflict, but is actually the core of the work organization and of society under the capitalistic system. This subjectivity is not only directly embedded in a material relationship, but, by expressing its radical conflict, is able to damage the functioning of capitalism at its core. The gender strike, brought by women* in Poland, Argentina, Bolivia, Italy, and in many other places across the globe, has redefined the political meaning of strike itself into a fully social one, bypassing the specificity of the productive relationship, involving life, desires and the human body.
“If my life has no value, then produce without me”
The first point that we would like to underline, thus, is the successful strike of the Polish women against the law proposal that aimed to ban abortion, last October. Thousands of women* decided to stand up against this and to stop production, filling the streets of Polish cities with the colour of black. The Polish women strike showed how women’s body is the first battlefield of the productive and reproductive needs of capital. Women right to abortion is prevented, as the capitalist imperative is to reproduce. At the same time women are also asked to produce, to do their part for the production of surplus for the pocket of the few. They are exposed at least to a double oppression, the one at work and the other at home. Then, migrant women*, refugee women* also have to bear discriminating practices and exclusion.
Therefore, we want to underline that the answer of women to this multiple violence can be a block of production, which redefines the meaning of strike as a form of opposition not only to class oppression, but to every kind of oppression in a world which is based on flows and movement of capital. Feminism finally fills the missing understanding about capitalism. The intrinsic and functional link between the capital and the patriarchate is clear, leaving behind the illusion that entering the labour market and getting the same formal rights as men might stop gender oppression. We want much more than this. And we can achieve it by showing the fragility of the system and blocking the flows of capital, which we otherwise are sustaining every day in order to reproduce ourselves.
Ni una menos, non una di meno, not one less!
The Polish Black Monday had an immediate international echo, with parallel solidarity demonstrations in different European cities. Some days later a gender strike took place on the other side of the world, in Argentina, after the rape and brutal killing of a 16-years old girl. Women strikes against gender violence spread to other countries in South America like Mexico, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Uruguay. Argentinian women took the streets calling “Ni una menos!”, not one less! Stating that we as women are not going to miss any other of us, without taking the streets and fighting against all forms of gender violence!
Some weeks after, on 26th November, 200.000 women demonstrated against gender violence in Italy. The call to the demonstration was bottom-up, without any help by institutional groups. The mobilizations on the 26th November led to a process of subjectivation which has led to almost 2.000 women* to meet two months after in Bologna, in order to develop the claims which will be rolled out on the streets on 8th of March, day in which, in accordance to a global trend, a Women Strike has been called, with the following claims:
- the answer to violence is the autonomy and self-determination of women*
- we need rights to have justice and freedom
- on our body, on our health and our pleasure: we decide
- if our life have no value: we strike. For a basic income of self-determination, for a European minimum wage, for a welfare for all that does not exclude anyone
- we want to be free to move and to stay. Against borders, for asylum rights, citizenship and ius soli
- we want to destroy the rape culture through education and training
- we want to have space for feminisms (plural)
- we refuse sexist and misogynistic language
“My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.”
Many other fights and protests shall be mentioned here, but the list would take pages and pages. Nonetheless, we also want to mention the Women´s March which took place last 20th January in Washington. Millions of women took the streets in the US to protest against the racist, misoginist, sexist and fascist blacklash brought by Trump and its disgusting entourage.
The March has been able to embody many different waves of protests which have spread in the country in the past months: from the fights for rights of illegalized migrants, to the protests of BlackLivesmatter targeting police and state violence against black bodies and people, to the fights of LGBTQ*s against alt-right gender conservatism, to the protests against homo-nationalism and pink washing.
„We believe Gender Justice is Racial Justice is Economic Justice” the document of the Women´s March states.
“We must create a society in which women, in particular women ― in particular Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, Muslim women, and queer and trans women ― are free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.” This is our political program too, since realizing that in all the world would mean end of exploitation, war and capitalism.
Towards the Women´s Strike: A transnational HowTo
As a last point, we want to collect some suggestions from the women* movements across the globe about possible forms of protest and resistance on the 8th of March and beyond.
As the Swedish movement Altatalla said: „We have to strike against the system. We have to collectively refuse to offer the competing owners our services, our life energy. We have to strike and show our power. Those of us who work with the production of commodities. Those of us who work with the circulation of commodities. Those of us who work with the reproduction and care of each other: let´s strike!“
Gender strike can take multiple forms, still it is practical and shall have material consequences.
Here some tips about how to strike by the Women´s Strike in the US:
– Women take the day off work — whether you are paid or unpaid.
- Refrain from shopping for the day
And here a list of possibilities by the International Women´s Strike:
– Organize or participate in local marches, demonstrations and walkouts.
– Organize or participate in picket lines and direct actions of civil disobedience. This can also be organized in support of already existing campaigns or labor negotiations or controversies, especially if involving working women.
– Organize a strike in your workplace. If you have a union, get your union on board; if you don’t, discuss with your co-workers what risks you are able to take and organize accordingly.
– Organize a boycott of companies using sexism in their advertisements or approach to workers.
– Organize a boycott of chosen local misogynists.
– If you can, leave care and housework for the day and join your local demonstrations.
– Strike from gender roles!
So what is feminism to us?
Feminism is for us the constant search for understanding and fighting against the multiple ways how our bodies, our minds, our images and our intellects are firstly gendered and then repressed, oppressed and exploited. We know that none of us will be able to understand through empirical experience all the existing forms of violence, as patriarchate has historically found endless ways to oppress and divide us. But we are in solidarity with all subjects oppressed. Our feminism is intersectional, as we see a plurality of forms of violence, we also see a plurality of responses to them, a plurality of understandings, of claims and of fights.
Let us make our difference become a strenght and not an obligation to linearity of thought and rigidity of action. Let us build bounds and use them to smash patriarchate and capitalism!
Let’s talk about STRIKE starting from the 8th of March …
Therefore on the 8th of March we will take the streets of Berlin and take part in the International women* demonstration. We will be in the Making Feminism a Threat Again radical block. Come and find out how a Gender Strike can look like!
Feminist Migrant Strikers