Latin American Feminists in Struggle

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30th National Women’s Meeting in Argentina

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

We are here in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in a historic moment, made of many other times when us women took life in our own hands to write new stories, and invent revolutions in which we will never be made invisible again, because our presence has become undeniable and our force, unstoppable.

30 National Women’s Meetings and we are still here. We are becoming more women, with more diversity, and more achievements in our history, with more spaces conquered in our organizations and in society.

30 National Women’s Meetings, self-managed, with different venues all over the country, that guarantee its federal nature, with more and more workshops in which we share and debate our experiences, our thoughts and our beliefs.

30 National Women’s Meetings defeating the gross maneuvers of patriarchy, its policies, its churches, its mass media that wants to divide and confront us in order to disciplinate us.

We pay tribute to the pioneers who paved the way. They are many, we recall the memory of Dora Coledesky, Safina Newbery, Laura Bonaparte, Adriana Calvo, and each one of the essential women that left their marks on us, contributing to a collective movement of rebellion, memory and commitment.

It is impossible to list everything achieved since the First National Woman’s Meeting; we started shortly after democracy was restored, in May 1986, in Buenos Aires. Back then, we were fighting for joint custody, divorce law, the right to abortion, maternal care centers at works, among other basic demands.

After years of absolute invisibility, it was only in 2003, when we all meet in Rosario, that our mobilizations were shown on some of the cover pages of newspapers, our green scarves were seen and, within the framework of the Assembly on the abortion rights, the Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion took shape; and these days it turns ten.

Enceuntro-de-Mujeres
“Pretty is the woman that fights”

Today, as part of the campaign, we have new initiatives to support the right to decide over our bodies, such as Socorristas en Red (a group of feminist activists who help and advise women who decide to abort), who assist women who abort with pills, the teachers for the right to decide, who are active in classrooms in favour of the Law on Sexual Education, the professionals’ and health workers’ networks, that give strength and sustenance to this battle. However, we have not yet achieved the approval of the Abortion Law, presented five times by our Campaign, ignored by the government party and conservative deputies of the Parliament, under the pressure exercised by the Vatican policies. In this 30th National Women’s Meeting we shout our demand that a law on Legal, Safe and Free Abortion is approved.

Sexual Education to decide, Contraceptives not to abort, and Legal Abortion not to die.

 

10 years against FTAA

A decade ago in Mar del Plata City, women participated actively in the demonstrations that said No to the FTAA and that led to the defeat of this instrument created by US policy to articulate a Free Trade Area of the Americas that subordinated the lives of our people in consonance to their interests.

The US government, along with other imperialist powers, sought to turn the continent into a territory for looting and destruction. Popular movements and women’s movements said  FUCK FTAA! and we struck a blow to the policy of the empire. In this context we also created the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America), and we launched the ALBA’s Continental Coordination of Social Movements, a coordination of grassroots organizations that promotes a new kind of internationalism and unity in our the continent.

However, the Empire reformulated the strategies throughout different projects such as the Free Trade Agreements, IIRSA, Plan Colombia, the Pacific Alliance and other modalities which together continue to promote these policies that intend to attack and subject our people. New forms of transnational capitalism develop a real war on women and deepen the colonial and patriarchal model of domination, destroying family agriculture, biodiversity and native seeds, contaminating water sources, pushing native communities out of their historical and cultural spaces, precarious work, aggravating the sexual division of labor, intensifying oppression of women —who must also bear the impacts resulting in loss of social benefits for public health, education, housing, access to the earth.

Ten years after the defeat of the FTAA, our popular, communitary, Latin American and anti-imperialist feminism requires governments not to sign free trade agreements, to nullify the already signed and to establish comptrollers on foreign debts that lead to their annulment, because those are instruments of imperialist blackmail on our sovereignty, and an instrument of systematic looting of our peoples.

 

Feminists of the ABYA YALA

Twinned in the struggles of our continent, under the National Women’s Meeting that was held in 2008 in Neuquen, Argentina, we invited the former Colombian Senator, Piedad Cordoba, to share our discussions, to raise awareness of the women’s struggle for peace and justice. Today we celebrate the steps taken with the signing of peace agreements in Havana. We know that the road has just begun, that recognition is needed, and we must make all insurgent forces, and the popular, social and political movements a part of this same movement.

We look at the growing criminalization and prosecution of popular fighters with concern. We demand Santo’s Government to free the 9,000 people who are held as political prisoners and we demand the de-judicialization of the persecuted popular movements.

We again express our solidarity with our companion Piedad Cordoba, who they tried to silence by denying her political privileges, along with partner Paola Salgado Piedrahita, feminist activist who just got out of prison, but who continues processed and threatened in a case mounted as a “false Judicial positive”, and we stand by all the comrades who are victims of the repressive policies of displacement and of criminal assault, in the midst of a double discourse of the Colombian government about the pacification the country.

At the meeting of 2009 in Parana, we returned to generate an exchange that was, since then, called Latin American Feminists in Resistance, following the example of the Feminists in Resistance in Honduras, who since 28 June of that year took to the streets as part of their own people. Alongside them we shouted: “Neither coups to the State nor blows to the women!” (Spanish: ni golpes de Estado, ni golpes a las mujeres).

We had to come back to that slogan in solidarity with the sisters of Paraguay in 2012, when we held our XXVI National Women’s Meeting in Posadas and the institutional coup shook Paraguay.

Solidarity has been part of our meetings as Latin American Feminists in Resistance, because we have the conviction that the struggle to decolonize our bodies and territories are the alike throughout the continent. So we embrace the Venezuelan women, main protagonists of the Bolivarian revolution, who face domestic oligarchy and imperialist blackmail, creating socialist and feminist communities trying to dismantle the capitalist and patriarchal relations of power ‘from below’. We also embrace women that in the worst adversity, advocate socialism and the Cuban revolution, showing the dignity that the people are capable of having, when people are sovereign, and showing the place of women in the first line of defense and the creation of socialism. We embrace Bolivian women, who from their communities and with their people, promote decolonization and the end of patriarchy in society.

In the National Women’s Meeting held in 2013 in San Juan, with the presence of Peruvian feminists, we shouted against mega-mining and the impacts of that kind of destruction in our lives, and we demonstrated to denounce the policies of transnational extractivism, such as Barrick Gold. We denounce the consequences of colonial extractive model, accusing economic policies like mining, models of oil drilling, fracking, agribusiness, agrochemicals, and transnationals like Monsanto, and their role in the constant attack on the health and lives of our people. Along with women of Malvinas, and the Mothers of Ituzaingó, we said yesterday and today: “NO TO MONSANTO”.

Today, when people of San Juan are suffering the consequences of the cyanide spill into their rivers, we again say that we are unwilling to support new ways of conquest and recolonization of the continent. We denounce that the routes of megaprojects are at the same time routes for the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation, and along with them the networks of drug trafficking and illegal arms trafficking. The criminalization of drug trafficking does not tend to dismantle the networks or arrest those responsible, but to hit one of the weakest links: women. Autonomy and the feminization of international migration in search of work, has become a long-term structural feature of many countries of the Continent. Migrant women are direct victims of these networks, and of the labor super-exploitation that arises from the sexual division of labor, interacting with current forms of colonialism, racism and xenophobia.

We stand in solidarity with women and people who confront the criminalization of their struggle daily, with the defenders of rivers, land, and water. We sympathize with the comrade Jenny Luján, of the Citizens’ Assembly for Life of Chilecito, who is processed for fighting  against mining policies, since more than seven years ago. We sympathize with Máxima Chaupe, peasant of Cajamarca, Peru, who defends her lands against the Yanacocha mining company. We express our solidarity with feminists and indigenous peoples of Ecuador, in the harshly repressed demonstrations of these years.

This October 12th, from the Feminist Action Square (ex Mitre Square), we call everyone to mobilize against these forms of continued genocide on native people. We stand in solidarity with women, especially those of the Qom, Pilagá, Wichí and Nivaclé peoples, who are camping in Buenos Aires and trying to become visible by denouncing the subjugation of their territories and their lives.

In 2014, in Salta, Argentina, along with fellow Mexican comrades, we the Latin American Feminists in Resistance denounced the crimes in Ayotzinapa, framed in a context with a high rate of femicide, as a result of the imposition of a narco-State, responsible for the death and the disappearance of thousands of Mexicans and Central American migrants. The figures show that the Ayotzinapa massacre is not an isolated case: more than 22,000 people went missing in the past nine years, 150,000 dead, one million displaced. We demand the immediate release of Nestora Salgado, female Commander of the Community police of Olinalá, political prisoner since 2013. We remember the women who head, since 2011, the resistance of the autonomous town of Cheran. We condemn the Mexican narco-state, for the thousands of women killed, disappeared, criminalized and judicialized. If they touch one of us, they touch all of us!

We believe it is more necessary than ever to merged the liberation struggles of women, with different forms of struggle for peace, against the militarization of social relations, against all modes of patriarchal violence against coups, the military interventions. We strongly reject the occupation of Haiti by MINUSTAH troops and sexual violence committed by the military against  women in that context. We demand the withdrawal of MINUSTAH from Haiti!

 

Not one woman less! (Ni una menos!)

On June 3 this year, thousands of women filled the streets of the country, claiming against the deaths of women as a result of patriarchal violence. The “Not one woman less” was the outcry of women, in response to the massification of these crimes. The different forms of patriarchal violence are expressed in multiple and daily murders of women, especially lesbians, transvestites and transgenders, and also gays, as brutal way of disciplining and controlling our bodies and lives.

It is not only about murders produced in the context of domestic violence. It is also to denounce the many ways in which they are killing us: the deaths of women from unsafe abortions, the death of lesbians such as Pepa Gaitan, assassinated in 2010 in Cordoba, who since then we recall and name in order to make visible the violent forms that lesbophobia assumes. We talk about the killing of transvestites and transgenders like Laura Moyano, brutally murdered in Córdoba. We talked about the many deaths of women in prostitution, and the disappearance of young girls, victims of trafficking networks and prostitution. We talked about the girls of our poor neighborhoods, who are presented with only one possible future: illegal networks. Despite the progress made by our tireless struggle in recent years regarding lawmaking, especially the Law Against Violence Against Women, the Equal Marriage Act, the Gender Identity Law and others, and the meaning they have, there are many gaps in our legislation, and many ways to not implement these laws, perpetuating misogynistic, patriarchal and racist actions of the courts of injustice. We reject the attempts to legalize sexual prostitution

In recent years, transvestites and transgender friends have been formally incorporated into the debates of the National Women’s meeting. We welcome this integration, and the presence of trans people in our Latin American feminist spaces.

We feminists are accompanying cis women, transvestite and transgender victims of violence, relatives of missing young women, and women who are denied from raising their children by patriarchal courts, youth who suffer sexual abuse or other types of violence, women in prison or criminalized by the racist and patriarchal system. In this context, from the Campaign against Violence against Women, we say Freedom to Reina Maraz, Bolivian woman and migrant, sentenced to life in Argentina for a crime she did not commit, and who was denied the right to know what she being judged for, because the instruction was conducted in Spanish, omitting the fact that her native language is Quechua. We also say that we are not alone, we learned to join, to make networks. We are organized, creating strategies so that the place we live in is a space to collectively defeat the pain, from female friendships, solidarity, support networks and our necessary hugs.

We are sharing spaces of struggle, training, and solidarity networks. Learning together, also within our organizations. We rethink the world. We create our own agenda.

We Latin American Feminists in Resistance say that our rebellion could not be quelled with the patriarchal and colonial violence. So we march, dance, celebrate, sing, and make of good life more than just a slogan, but the way in which we live in this land, with our free bodies, fighting to free our sexuality, our desires, our territories and our dreams .

Latin American Feminists in Resistance

Mar del Plata, October, 2015.

Coordination of feminist formation of the School of Law of the Peoples of Abya Yala:

  • Frente Popular Dario Santillan
  • Confluencia Movimiento Tupaj Katari – Movimiento Popular La Dignidad
  • MTD Lucha y Libertad, en la FOB. Federación de Organizaciones de Base
  • Coordinadora de Organizaciones de Base – La Brecha
  • Frente Popular Darío Santillán Corriente Nacional
  • Izquierda Revolucionaria
  • Equipo de Educación Pañuelos en Rebeldia
  • Asamblea de Mujeres FOB- Federación de Organizaciones de Base
  • Asamblea de Mexicanas y Mexicanos en Argentina
  • Congreso de los Pueblos de Colombia – Capítulo Argentino
  • Campaña contra las Violencias hacia las Mujeres

Also signed by:

  • Socorristas en Red
  • Colectiva Feministas Rabiosa
  • Colectiva Feministas Las Azucenas
  • La Revuelta Colectiva Feminista
  • Mujeres al pie del cañon
  • Enredadera. Grupo de Mujeres y Feministas
  • Asociación de Lucha por la Identidad Travesti y Transexual – ALITT
  • Cooperativa Nadia Echazu
  • Colectiva Feminista Minervas – Uruguay
  • Colectiva Feminista Las Lorenzas – Ecuador
  • Escuela de Feminismo Popular, identidades y sexualidades revolucionarias – Venezuela
  • Marcha Patriótica – Capítulo Argentino
  • Movimiento de Pobladores en Lucha – Chile
  • Equipo editorial de Marcha
  • Equipo del programa radial Espejos Todavía
  • Equipo del programa radial Aprendiendo a Volar
  • Equipo del programa radial Sonidos Agitadóricos
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