In recent days, the world has been getting ready to celebrate the 8thof March, International Women’s Day, a date that is commemorated all over the world by unions, organisations, women’s groups, and more, many of whom are unaware of the day’s socialist origins that pay tribute to the women who died trapped in a factory fire where they were working in the United States.
We, at the World March of Women, honour the struggles of women and the feminist movement around the world. We celebrate the strength of all those women striving to free themselves from the patriarchy, neo-colonialism, capitalism and racism which are among the root causes of the oppressive system in which we live.
We are now seeing how the ideas of “Security” and “Peace” are being completely misinterpreted and used by hegemonic powers to justify militarisation and so-called “armed peace” while totally dismissing the human and women’s rights perspective.
During our 4thInternational Action in 2015, we confirmed the quickly rising tide of armed conflicts and unconventional warfare throughout every region, sowing fear, violence, illness, hatred and poverty and reaping fundamentalism in return. Whether this violence is exerted by armies, militias, private “security” companies, mafia and organised crime, staff from international peacekeeping missions or by the States themselves, it always ends up benefiting the patriarchy and the capitalist system in which women are victims.
In Asia, it is becoming clearer everyday that the existence of military bases belonging to foreign powers is having a massive effect in terms of increasing violations of women’s human rights, prostitution, cases of violence against women and girls, cases of human trafficking, and the list goes on.
In Africa, so-called “liberators” have become oppressors of the people and, by the means of authoritarian power, have drastically limited the population’s freedom and democratic rights. In this environment, religious, ethnic and cultural fundamentalist groups (self-appointed “people’s advocates”) quickly spread through the territories, becoming more and more powerful everyday while imposing inhumane living conditions and violating women’s human rights.
In the Arab countries, the instability and armed conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen are being nurtured by the economic powers involved in the arms trade, who care nothing for the resulting suffering experienced by the civilian population. Thousands of people are fleeing the region in pursuit of safety and peace. Women and girls are the most vulnerable, becoming the objects of sexual abuse and violence and being forced to offer sexual favours in exchange for the chance to get to safety and receive basic services in supposedly safer countries.
In Palestine, the Israeli Government keeps using violence to maintain a system of apartheid and Zionist colonialism: the blockade of the Gaza Strip, executions and arbitrary detentions of civilians, the policy of settlements and demolition of Palestinian housing. In the Sahara, the Moroccan Government reinforces its policy of occupation on a daily basis, plundering and repressing through armed interventions while ignoring its past international commitments.
In the Americas, Nature is being savaged by mining companies and multinationals that are supported by the police, the army and other private security companies, allowing them to usurp resources and displace communities for their own benefit. Water, air, earth and wood are being privatised and commodified, leaving communities without enough resources to provide for their subsistence or their autonomy.
In Europe, governments are misusing the current international context to justify the criminalisation of social movements. There is a worrying reduction of people’s freedoms through ever more oppressive laws. We have observed the weakness of our democratic systems in the face of the rise in far right political groups that are contributing to the aggravation of xenophobic politics and attitudes, such as closing national borders and denying asylum to refugees.
In this discouraging international context, we, the activists of the World March of Women, are keeping to the path of nurturing our feminist alternatives. We continue to weave alliances with other movements that share a common vision. And we provide our ongoing support to our sisters’ local struggles for a sustainable life.
We know that together we are stronger and that we are an unstoppable global movement able to make change happen, which is why we will be sharing our experiences, fights and struggles at our next International Meeting, digging deeper in our discussions and evaluating the 4thInternational Action. We will also plan our future as a movement and re-energize in order to continue with our struggles and our resistance.
We will resist attacks by the patriarchy, capitalism, racism and colonialism at the grassroots level.
We will resist as our sister Berta Cáceres did, an indigenous leader from Honduras and a tireless campaigner for native communities’ rights and territories, who was brutally murdered in her home just a few days ago.
We will resist as Pakize Nayir, Fatma Uyar and Sêve Demir did, Kurdish sisters who were imprisoned and murdered by the Turkish State’s security forces because of their political activism.
We will resist as Máxima Acuña and Dina Mendoza are doing, still standing up in Peru against the brutality of a mining company threatening their communities’ water and land.
We will resist as many anonymous women around the world are doing everyday, from their homes and their communities, standing up for their rights and to protect other women.
We will always keep resisting.
No weapons or oppressive patriarchal power will ever keep us silent.