The 25th of November – the international day to stop male violence against women – is usually no more than an empty institutional day, used by politicians to sanctify the victimization and impotence of women. This year in Italy, a country that sees the number of instances of femicide growing year after year, this day has been re-signified by a huge self-organised demonstration.
The demo was called under the slogan #NonUnaDiMeno (Not one less), to recall directly the Argentinian demonstrations #NiUnaMenos, and to stand in solidarity with all women in the world that are fighting everyday against discrimination, violence, and for their self-determination, from Poland to Turkey, from Island to Chile…
This demonstration and the following assembly were called through a fruitful encounter between different female and feminist realities, collectives, networks, and many single persons from all over Italy. Promoters of the event were: the network Io Decido (I decide), D.i.Re, and UDI.
The metropolitan network Io Decido of Rome in the last three years has mobilized against austerity measures cutting on hospital and health care, for the access to abortion and contraceptives, and for reproductive and sexual rights for all. D.i.Re – Women Network Against Violence – is the Italian network for 77 non-Institutional Anti-violence centers, managed by women’s associations.
UDI – Union Women in Italy – was born after the female experience of the anti-fascist Resistance, with many local and territorial groups it has been a main actor in the struggle for fundamental rights for women.
In a country that is being narrated as the new turning point in the rising of right-wing populism in Europe, this demonstration has been a real dislocation. No one was expecting so many people to gather in Rome, in a completely self-organised way. Not even those who launched the demo! It was demonstration launched by women and open to all subjectivities that are fighting against violence and all other forms of discriminations, especially transfeminist and lgbtqi. It was a day against all forms of violence that we live in our life, of which femicide is only the last and extreme representation. As we can read in the call of the demo: violence is the austerity measures that are cutting on welfare, health care, education, and social policies; violence is reforming the labour market towards more and more casualization, as in the Italian Job Act; violence is doctors in Italy that are still permitted to raise a moral exception against abortion; violence has many forms, and we have to recognize them all to fight against them, as the thousands of banners and signs were pointing out during the demonstration.
Although Italian media spectacularize the death of women on a regular basis (one woman is killed every three days), almost none gave any news about a demonstration of almost 200.000 women against this very violence.
This incredible force was evident also the day after in the national assembly, where more than one thousand of women gathered to write a feminist plan against violence. The workshops were: law and justice; labour and welfare; education as a tool against violence; migrant feminism; sexism in social movements; sexual and reproductive rights; narration and media; routes against violence. For hours, more than one thousand of people of different generations discussed how to give a continuation to this common process. In the overall discussion violence has been recognized as a structural problem, which is being condemned only by words, but not tackled with policies, funds, facts, and real transformations. Austerity policies, labour reforms, and the dismantling of the education system, health care and anti-violence centres, are undermining the autonomy and self-determination of women, augmenting social, cultural and sexual discriminations.
Following the Argentinian women, the Italian assembly has called for a strike on the 8th March 2017. The organization of this strike and the territorial articulation of the feminist plan against violence will be discussed in the next national assembly on the 4th and 5th of February.
The 26th and 27th November in Rome can be a starting point of a new feminist movement: We are the forces of this transformation, and we have to continue to build it together. From Argentina to Italy… and everywhere else women are struggling, and get organized for their self-determination.