This year’s 8th March comes to remind us of the importance of massive, radical women’s-and not only -class struggles. It reminds us that the world is not won by praying and that the only prospect for us to live in a society of equality and freedom is the organization in unions and fight for the social revolution.
The 8th of March was established in 1910 to pay respect to the hardworking women’s movements. There are several perspectives about the beginnings of this day. Some of them appear to be either the strike of clothing workers in 1857 or a demonstration of strikers in 1908 in New York. The dynamic strike and «the riot of 20,000» in the winter of 1910, the fire of the TriangleWaist with the locked workers inside, the textile manufacturers strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912 with women playing a leading role – all show that this is an era in which America was stigmatised by dynamic strikes and mobilizations of the most exploited parts in factories and handcrafts, which the majority of them were women workers and immigrants.
The establishment of this day as a day of celebration for women attempts to remove the real meaning of every combative claim, every historical legacy and collective memory that can inspire and promote the struggle for woman emancipation. A struggle which they constantly attempt to put forward as «a demand for equality in the management of power.» The attempt to integrate the various movements and to alter their class and radical characteristics is the usual practice of the ruling class to assimilate any attempt at resistance. For us, the 8th of March is a day of resistance and struggle and not a «celebration» which in fact confirm and reproduce the imposed gendered roles.
Pandemic and gender based impacts
For a year now, in the midst of a pandemic and state bans, the attack on women as part of the exploited and oppressed people has intensified while the state and capitalist system of organization of society, which already condemns millions of people to death from hunger, diseases and war, seeks to preserve and perpetuate its privileges and power in conditions of acute social, health and economic crisis. The response of the state and capital to the spread of the corona virus is the invocation to individual responsibility and the mandatory confinement of people in their homes, in addition to fulfilling their basic «obligations» such as working for which crowding is allowed. It is clear that the goal is not to eradicate the pandemic, since no meaningful health measures have been taken all these months, but to discipline and control the traffic completely. It is the state itself, which has completely degraded public health for years, today talks to us about our own individual responsibility in the spread of the virus.
But the «stay home» slogan, as imposed by the state, is not possible for everyone. It is not possible for homeless people, refugees, migrants and prisoners. It cannot be possible for all those women who work day and night in supermarkets, call centres, hospitals etc. under exhausting working conditions and with minimal – to none – protective measures. In addition, domestic violence has increased significantly during the period of compulsory confinement, as shown by the rapid increase in phone calls to the corresponding helplines as well as the admissions in hospitals regarding similar incidents, as things are even worse for women, children and LGBTQI+ people who are forced to experience gender based violence in their own home.
At the same time, in a suffocating situation for women who experience domestic, sexual and physical abuse in their own homes, the state tries to pass the draft law on compulsory shared parenting, which forces thousands of women and children to be forcibly trapped in an abusive living condition, which will examine whether there is indeed violence in order to remove the obligation of childcare. Thousands of divorces are the result of a woman’s great effort to get out of a house-prison, an effort that today forces her not to have this way out either, forcing the child to live just like both parents with all that entails. Even if the mother invokes violence, this violence must be proven. To be proved by whom? From the civil court, the main pillar of a system that breeds violence, that reproduces violence and especially patriarchal? And psychological violence? How does this violence turn out?
It should be noted that the current legal framework does not prohibit joint parental care in case of divorce, but presupposes the agreement between the two parents. So, we are talking about a law that comes to impose and perpetuate patriarchal, domestic violence, to punish and imprison women once again. A law, which comes to «correct» the positive attitude of the system towards the woman-mother from the beginning.
The gender violence of repression
In this situation, the state finds the ground to impose additional measures of repression and subjugation, at the same time that it passed the law to curb protests, aiming the disappearance of anyone who tries to resist and claim what he is entitled to and deprived of his life and survival. The repression takes special management for women who dare to resist, with further sexist verbal and physical attacks. It is clear that the sexist attacks and harassment of the cops against women fighters, aim, in addition to disciplining and suppressing the resistance, to punish and humiliate them, because as women chose to revolt and fight against the state, the capital and the repression. The blows and insults from the repressive forces at the demonstration of December 6, 2019 in Patras are fresh on our bodies and souls.
Molestation accusations and the hypocrisy of the system
During this treaty, a public debate has opened with heaps of statements of sexual and non-sexual abuses occasioned by the complaint of Sofia Bekatorou. Dozens of women, one after another, speak out about the abuses they have received in the field of sports, firstly, and then in the field of theatre. A reality that women in all workplaces live daily. And if, today, these abuses are heard, are multiplied, and seem to be embraced, this is because they are carried out by recognized women and always with the media willing to emphasize that under no circumstances they condemn an “innocent flirt” and keep equidistance between the victim and the perpetrator.
While so many women are hosted in the news to report their abusers in their workplace, thousands of immigrant women are raped confined in concentration camps and in police detention facilities (see reports of rape in Petrou Ralli), thousands of women experience domestic violence, thousands of working women endure abusive behaviors in order not to lose their job on which they depend to make a living.
The media, the institutions that today gaslight the abusers (as individuals and not as products of an authoritarian treaty that is cultivated and reproduced, of course) are the same ones that shape the communication context of female abuse, harassment and rape, anti-social bullying and authoritarian imposition by the power. It is impossible to forget that those who today appear to be alleged supporters of the abused are the same ones who pilloried HIV-positive women as risk to public health, giving voice to misanthropists like the Member of Parliament Loverdos, are the same ones that desecrate the memory of the murdered Zak/Zachie-oh, are the same ones who in other cases of abuse cultivate rape culture with doubts about consent, about clothes, by attacking the sexuality of females-victims etc.
Indeed, it is important that women find the strength to talk about what has happened to them, that they encourage one another with their voices, that this can put a stop to further attacks. But it is even more important, that everything that is happening today should not be integrated, should not be assimilated by an -otherwise- patriarchal and authoritarian structure.
To stop all this, for our true emancipation, this must be turned into an organization. Organization and collectivization of women! To be spread in all workplaces, in all social centers where such incidents are expressed. To be transformed into a real struggle. Struggle against an entire system that breeds abusers. These are the results of a world that diffuses patriarchy and sexism and reproduces gender discrimination and power relations itself to continue to exist and function. And these do not exist only in the entertainment world.
We, from our side, as anarchists, send a message of solidarity to all women of our class, who find the strength and the way to speak out and denounce their abuse and we hope to meet in the streets of the struggle, the struggle for women’s emancipation that will come when we get rid of this world that breeds violence and exploitation.
International struggles for women’s emancipation and freedom
Against the patriarchy and any form of oppression imposed by the system, we respond by proposing self-organized and anti-institutional action. We keep alive the flame of the struggles of the past and we continue collectively and from below for the liberation struggles of the future.
We welcome the forthcoming trip of the Zapatistas to Europe. We have been talking many years about our comrades in the mountains of Mexico, for years we have been learning about them and we get inspired from their struggles and their communities. Now, therefore, is the time we meet and together we will meet the moments of the struggle that we carry on our backs.
We draw strength from the thousands of women and men who took to the streets of Poland to put an end to modern totalitarianism, when the ban of abortions (except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger) was announced and finally entered into force, which once again seeks to deprive women of even the right to self-determination.
We draw strength from working-class women who have been massively resisting and fighting in Mexico for a long time in a society where the only future for them is extinction, misery, rape, and death.
We draw strength from our comrades on the other side of the Aegean who resist the fascist-patriarchal state of Turkey and from all the women who resist modern totalitarianism throughout the length and breadth of our planet.
ALL OVER THE WORLD STATE MURDERS WOMEN, KILLS THEM FROM BELOW
ALL OVER THE WORLD TO RESIST THE EFFECT OF MODERN TOTALITARIANISM
AGAINST STATE AND PATRIARCHY FOR EMANCIPATION AND ANARCHY
NO STEP BACK-NO SUBMISSION, ON THE STREETS TO CRUSH THE SUPPRESSION
Women’s initiative against patriarchy | Patras, Greece