by E.A.S.T. (Essential Autonomous Struggle Transnational)
The pandemic is not over and once again women are those who are paying the highest toll. In Central and Eastern Europe, essential workers, mostly migrants and women, are still holding the (health)care system and the remnants of welfare from complete collapse. For maintaining welfare in the West as well, essential workers’ rewards are institutional racism and exploitation. The number of new contagions is skyrocketing and living conditions for women, LGBTQ+ people and migrants are worsening. This is all happening while neo-liberal governments are continuously dismantling the social state and protecting the global flows of capitalist extraction and exploitation. This is what recovery means for them.
Throughout Europe and outside its borders the so-called recovery has translated into an increase in domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and femicide as an addition to the increase in the workload, both waged and unwaged, productive and reproductive, that women are called to perform. On the Polish-Belarussian border, in the Mediterranean, in detention centres and refugee camps in Greece and Libya, on the dangerous Balkan route and in Turkey, racist violence is exploding under the complicit eye of the European Union, which is putting at risk the lives of thousands of migrants. The end of the USA occupation of Afghanistan marked the beginning of an authoritarian and patriarchal regime of sharia that would have women oppressed, exploited, forcibly married, raped, obliged to have children, and killed. LGBTQ+ people and the Hazara minority are under life threat for the mere fact of existing. In Poland, one more woman died because the doctors refused to do an abortion – a direct consequence of the ban issued last January. In Turkey, the withdrawal from the Istanbul convention is legitimizing an upsurge of cases of patriarchal violence against women and defunding shelter homes, including those for refugee women. In many Central and Eastern European countries, evictions – often under the banner of energetic rehabilitation – are putting at stake the livelihood of thousands of women, migrants, poor and Roma people. All over Eastern Europe the institutional attacks on LGBTQ+ people are having more and more violent effects on their lives, while in Italy the parliament has refused to pass a bill to prevent anti-LGBTQ+ violence.
Governments and state institutions are not our allies and we have no illusion that a law will solve this violence, but to have it or not makes a difference, as we are witnessing in Turkey. Governments such as Erdogan’s are using legislative means to push their agenda as the decision to pull out from the Istanbul Convention demonstrated. This path is used more and more to legitimize attacks on women and LGBTQ+ communities Because of these, and because we refuse any exclusion between women’s liberation and LGBTQI+ people’s liberation, an essential step toward the 25th of November is the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th. We recognize the overlap between the patriarchal attack on women and on LGBTQ+ people as a crucial battlefield in the process of connection and organization of struggles in Central, Eastern and Western Europe in the network Essential Autonomous Struggles Transnational (EAST).
Although for women, LGBTQ+ people, migrants and essential workers, the recovery is an outright recrudescence of violence, we are refusing to be silent. The urgency to overturn violence in all its forms is everywhere: in the massive demonstrations of Polish women against the ban on freedom of abortion; in women’s protests against their expulsion from the workplaces; in the strikes for better working and wage conditions in the essential sectors; in the border-crossing of refugees who are fleeing from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and challenging the Polish borders; in migrant domestic and care workers fighting the patriarchal conditions in their countries of origin and arrival and organizing against the absolute power of their bosses upheld by institutional racism and the blackmail of the documents; in the everyday struggle that so many women are fighting against a violent partner, relative or friend. These powerful moments of insubordination should be connected transnationally to build and revitalize the process of the global feminist strike against patriarchal violence. As patriarchal domination reinforces racist and exploitative violence and feeds itself on division, isolation and fragmentation, we need a common voice for all those struggles that, from East to West, at the borders of Europe and beyond, are questioning the orderly social reproduction based on violence and oppression.
The global feminist movement has shown that only a transnational struggle can effectively overturn this violent society based on a global imperative of subordination and exploitation. Let’s make visible our connections, let’s build the conditions for a global feminist upheaval. We call all those who want to take back the 25th of November as a day of struggle against patriarchal violence to join us in the streets and share our common slogans: Stop patriarchal violence now! Let’s impose our feminist terms for the recovery!