E.A.S.T. (Essential Autonomous Struggles Transnational)
The feminist strike breaks the borders! Yesterday the feminist strike swept across the world showing the force of a movement that knows no border and cannot be stopped. The rage against patriarchal violence in all its forms made once again the strike a powerful practice to subvert production and social reproduction, uniting women, LGBTQI people, migrants, workers and all those who are refusing to a social order based on exploitation, racism, oppression, war and climate crisis. For the 7th year after it started in Poland and Argentina, the strike has demonstrated the capacity to reinvent itself in front of patriarchal, racist and neoliberal attacks on our lives and working conditions, on our freedom of movement and sexual freedom.
The feminist strike had to face the low tide: the pandemic reinforcing isolation, the war in Ukraine that kills and worsens living conditions inside and outside the borders of the affected territories, the risk of becoming a ritual. But still, on March 8th the strike broke out with a powerful collective movement that defies hierarchies and divisions and becomes one voice: Jin, Jiyan, Azadi! Woman, life, freedom! This chant echoed across the borders to unite with women in Iran and Kurdistan who are sending a clear message to all: uprising against authoritarian regimes, such as Erdogan’s and Raisi’s, that want a social order based on subordination and domination, gives the possibility to all to imagine and practise insubordination and revolt. In many cities, from Sofia to Paris, from London to Berlin, Kurdish, Iranian and Afghan comrades opened the marches.
This year women have used the strike as a tool to connect with current struggles of essential and hospital workers damaged by the demand of more intense shifts and sacrifices because of the war and economic crisis; with the climate activists to fight a green regime of accumulation that intensifies exploitation and destroys the environment, and to claim a future free from the threat of male violence and climate catastrophe; with migrants still striking the borders and defying the border regime with the force of an unexpected wave crushing plans and agreements to regulate mobility; with the struggle against pension reform proposed by Macron’s government in France, where the general and continuous strike started already on the 7th of March bringing together feminists, unions, workers, teachers, students and migrants; with the protest for freedom of abortion; with the fight for peace, from Ukraine to Russia, where women are at the forefront of anti-war resistance and refuse to comply with the nationalistic logics of war and the enrolment of motherhood for patriotic duties.
In Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Brazil the shout against femicides – dozens of women are killed every single day by their partners, relatives, police forces – coincided with the struggle against economic violence and debt used as a blackmail imposing free reproductive labor on women. The protests in Latin America and Poland resonated with the ones in the USA that demanded freedom of abortion now that the prescription of abortion pills risks being banned in 21 states. In more than 70 cities in Greece, the biggest demonstrations in many years united the feminist struggle against violence and inequality with the anger against neoliberal cuts backed by the government and the EU addressed as the main responsible of the train massacre in Tempe and the ongoing degradation of life and work. In Turkey the ban on protests has not stopped thousands people-strong night’s marches in all major cities against Erdogan’s responsibilities in the disaster originated by the earthquake, his attacks on Kurdish people and refugees, his legitimation of violence against women and criminalization of LGBTQI people. In Italy thousands of people in 38 cities shouted ‘strike the war’ to show a refusal of letting the war compress the space of our political initiative. Women, migrants, workers, LGBTQI people started the day with strikes in public and private sectors linking the protest against exploitation and harassment in the workplaces with the one against a government responsible for migrants’ deaths in the sea and exploitation in the workplaces under the coercion of the residence permit, that wants to increase reproductive work on women by reforming pension and social provisions, that is making the green transition a mere opportunity of profits for companies. In Belgrade, ‘dignity, wage and life’ was the banner for the women’s march against assaults in the workplaces, discrimination and sexist division of labour. In Brussels, from the morning a ‘strike-bus’ connected the disputes of essential workers, care workers, sex workers, migrants in a powerful feminist strike map of rage and rebellion against the violence of the war, men and states. In Germany the protests supported the strike of childcare and social workers, as well as of the workers on the emergency hotline for women facing patriarchal violence. Moreover, the demonstrations were linked to the ongoing struggles of hospital workers and midwives for better working conditions and wages and against cutbacks of medical services. In Spain, massive demonstrations flooded into dozens of cities for equality and against violence.
From East to West, from South to North, the feminist strike is here: we are freedom on the move!