Feminismus für die 99%

Feminism for the 99% wants to be about total liberation for everybody and this is what the meaning of “for the 99%” is. So, in other words, it is a feminist project and it’s a working class project. So we start from a partial perspective— a particular perspective— but in order to elaborate a project of liberation for the whole of humanity. Of course, we were inspired by the new feminist wave and galvanized by the new feminist wave and it is witnessing this enormous movement that gave us the courage to actually sit down
and write a manifesto which is meant to provide a very accessible thesis, 11 theses that explain
why capitalism is very bad for women and why what we need is anticapitalist feminism. So the new feminist movement
internationally started in 2017 after the big women’s strikes
in Poland and Argentina in the fall of 2016. And in 2017, March 8th was
the first transnational women’s strike that saw the participation
of dozens and dozens of countries and of course in different ways and with different impact
according to the country. But that was the first important step towards the development
of what we are now seeing is an ever-expanding feminist wave which has chosen a strike as
not only as a way of struggle, as a means of struggle, but also as a way of politicization, as the process of politicization, in particular because the term strike emphasizes women’s labour,
women’s work both the wage labour,
so the labour that women do and that is recognized and paid, at least partially paid
—still exploited— and the unpaid, unwaged labour
that women do to reproduce life, to reproduce society and human beings, which is not recognized as labour
and of course is not paid. So it was an important step
to call for a feminist strike because this gave also the opportunity to re-link the feminist movement
to class struggle. The problem is that for decades the predominant feminism
has been liberal feminism and feminism has always had
this divide between liberal feminism and you know working-class
or class-struggle feminism throughout its history, but in the last decades
liberal feminism was the hegemonic force and presented itself
as what feminism is about. And I think this is
what caused the problem today, in the sense that clearly
that kind of feminism is not class-struggle feminism and doesn’t take into account working-class women but the response to that cannot be reductionist cannot be to say
“ah let’s speak about the worker” as if workers didn’t have a gender or a race. The real response is
to articulate a working-class feminism. Just to give an example:
sexual harassment in the workplace, it is really something
that has directly to do with class exploitation with disciplining the female labour force. Sexual harassment is used explicitly
as a way to discipline women workers. So then the experience of going to a workplace and being exploited as a worker but also being subject
to sexual harassment and so on or marginalization because of one’s gender —it is not divided. We should be aware of the fact that there have always been
at least two different tendencies within the history of socialism,
of the working-class movement. One tendency,
which is the reductionist tendency, which is that
of seeing class exploitation as not linked, intrinsically linked, to race and gender, to racialization and gender oppression, and then to create some hierarchies, so you know we have the main contradiction
which is labour against capital and then we have everything else,
but this is secondary. But then there is another tendency, throughout the history of socialism
and the working-class movement that has not taken
this kind of political approach, and that has always seen
class exploitation as intrinsically bound up with gender oppression,
colonial oppression, racial oppression and so on. So I think the danger of using
this kind of narrow understanding of what class exploitation is
and what class domination is, the danger is that of,
first of all, not speaking to the real experience that working-class people have every day. So in other words
if we take, start from the assumption that actually the large majority
of the working class worldwide is not white, is racialized, and that an increasing component
of the working class is female and also queer, then we cannot really,
when we look at the lived experience— how they experience exploitation and what it means
to belong to the working class and to have, you know,
not only exploitation in the workplace but also domination within society, clearly is not that easy
to separate in their experience what counts as gender oppression
or what counts as class exploitation. Well, the composition of the movement
clearly varies according to countries, but in countries
like Argentina or Spain or Italy or Poland it has taken really mass dimensions with an activation
of important sectors of the working class, and this is also
the idea of feminists for the 99%. Of course, we should have
a centrality of working-class women, both those who work for a wage
and those who work without a wage, but at the same time
with the ambition of mobilizing the whole of society on, you know, around the demands
and the claims and the analysis articulated by working-class women,
immigrant women, racialized women. So I think the aspiration both of the movement
but also feminists for the 99% is to, as I said before,
to in a sense being a movement
that starts from the particular— which means
a particular viewpoint— on the capitalist reality
in which we all live that mobilizes and aims at mobilizing
first of all working-class women, but then also
with the capacity of expanding or with an old term
we may call it hegemony, basically and so mobilizing,
transversally, the whole of society. The movement has already
organized three transnational strikes and the dynamic has been expansive, so the last strike
was bigger than the previous one. But of course organizing
strike after strike cannot be the only way
we move forward. So one thing that I think
we should discuss within the movement is how to strengthen
international coordination, and, for example, I know
that the Chilean feminist movement is going to organize
a continental meeting in November 2019 in Chile. And I think we should
do something similar also in Europe for example to have
a transnational meeting of the movement in Europe
and in the Mediterranean area, perhaps connected
with a moment also of mobilization, and starting from there,
seeing how we can build forms of more stable, transnational coordination
within the movement, but also how to share experiences
and how to share strategies and have a strategic discussion
that is not just at the national level anymore, but that’s already
at the transnational level. Subtitles: Utku Mogultay and Ryan Eyers
for Gegensatz Translation Collective


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