8 March: The Challenge of a Global Feminist Strike

 

On March 8, in different parts of the world, women will mobilize for the First Global Strike. The Argentinian activists of NiUnaMenos are discussing how to organize their struggle tactics and practices starting from blocking production and reproduction. In Poland, where a conservative and authoritarian government is considerably reducing spaces of freedom, women are reaffirming the power and urgency of the strike. Just a few days ago, the day after Trump’s Inauguration in the U.S., millions of women have taken the streets to march against the racist and patriarchal side of American neo-liberism. An unprecedented wave of feminist struggles seems to thread its way into the world.

In Italy, on the extraordinary day of the 26th of November and during the thematic workshops on the 27th – when the Feminist Plan against male violence started to take form – an exceptional feminist wave has invaded the streets of Rome and restated that male violence against women is articulated in many forms, always intertwined with labor exploitation and social reproduction.

This is why we believe that a strike, carried out in different and innovative ways, is the most powerful tool that will allow us to withdraw from productive and reproductive labor. A general strike, of 24 hours, inside and outside of the workplace; for precarious workers, working women, unemployed women, and retired women; for women who haven’t a salary and for those who receive an income support; for women with or without an Italian passport; for the freelancers and the students; in the houses, on the streets, in the schools, in the markets and in the neighborhoods.

However, it seems that some of the labor unions have not fully grasped the political challenge of this new feminist strike, and, even though they have called for a general strike on 8 March, they deemed necessary to call for another date of protest for the education system only, on March 17th. We want to be very clear: the reasons behind the March 17th strike are very shareable, as they are connected to the enabling acts for Law 107. The women movement has from the very beginning embraced the opposition to the “Buona Scuola” (Law 107), recognizing the neo-liberal twist in the education system as one of the crucial elements in the fight against gender-based violence.

Therefore, from our point of view, this division of dates forces women working inside the education system to choose between the two, and falsely separates the demands of women movement – reducing them to a mere ‘cultural’ or ‘emancipatory battle’ – from those of the labor, which in turn they consider the ‘true workers’ fight’, which would be organized somewhere else. This division, for us, weakens and disempowers both of them, whereas our potential strength comes from the connection between the struggles for work, welfare, and anti-violence struggles.

The innovative political action that labor unions should undertake, then, would be to move their action in the education system – where 80% of the workforce is composed of women – in the general strike of March 8. This is the only way in which both the fight against the reform of education and the feminist fight against violence would be mutually reinforced. Therefore, we invite those labor unions that have called for a strike on March 17th to rethink their choices and make the two dates converge.

Finally, we invite the labor unions to answer to the appeal of Non Una di Meno to call for a general strike on March 8, and we speak primarily to those unions that, in different forms, have participated and endorsed the 26th feminist wave, the workshops on the 27th and that will participate with us to the third national assembly convened in Bologna on the 4th and 5th of February, where the discussion will focus on the tools and forms of struggle to adopt for winning the challenge of a global feminist strike against violence.

The challenge is open: if our lives have no value, then we strike!

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