Women, men, girls and boys with their parents, working women and men with their unions, young people and their students’ centers, political organizations, homemade banners: the crowd takes over the streets, shouting loud their slogans: #NiUnaMenos (Not one less), #Vivasnosqueremos (We want us alive), #PorTodasElas (For all of them).

By María Magdalena y Bettina Valmonti.

 

When and where did this happen? Maybe on a Thursday, June 3rd of 2015, or a Friday, June 3rd of 2016, in Argentina or Uruguay; or on a Sunday, April 24th of 2016 in Mexico, or another Sunday, May 29th of 2016, in Brazil.

The brutal adjustment implemented by governments of all kinds to make workers and the people pay for the businessmen and bankers’ crisis is causing a great, strong reaction around our continent. This has very concrete expressions in the working families’ lives, mainly for women.

In Argentina, in more than 80 cities, for the second time we were part of the shock of demonstrating for such a close, immediate, political demand we embrace and shout out loud, explaining it to others, defending it, and denouncing the responsible ones. It is an exciting complicity among women who are victims or potential victims of all forms of male-chauvinist violence. It is the feeling that we are not alone, that the same thing happens to many of us, and also that important sectors of the population support and defend our anger, including many men.

On June 3rd, Uruguay also vibrated with thousands defending its own #NiUnaMenos. Some days before, Mexico was overwhelmed by demonstrators raising the slogan “Vivas nos queremos”, demanding concrete measures to struggle against male-chauvinism in our society. And a few days ago, in Brazil, a massive mobilization took the streets in several states denouncing sexual violence and male-chauvinism.

The publicly known case of 16 year-old girl who was raped by 33 men and then published on social networks angered the Brazilian population, that came out to demand the end of all kind of violence against women #PorTodasElas (For all of them).

These struggles confront all adjusting governments equally. This violence is not something new. It did not begin with Macri in Argentina or Dilma’s impeachment in Brazil.

In Latin America, the rates of early pregnancy, closely related to sexual violence and the perpetuation of extreme poverty, are very high, and have worsened during the last years. Venezuela keeps the highest rate in South America, followed by Ecuador. Across the continent, as a general rule, abortion is illegal (to penalize only poor women), with the few exceptions of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Federal District (Mexico) and Uruguay. There is also the lack of basic rights for the LGBT community.

 

In Argentina, the current adjustment implemented by Macri, governors and mayors, is a constant punishment, with very high prices and rates, the closure of the few existing services for victims of violence, and a balance of thousands of new unemployed women in sector that count mainly female workers, such as State jobs.

However, the first mobilization for #NiUnaMenos was an outcry to Cristina Kirchner’s government. A year passed, and we continue to have almost one femicide per day; the last three were 12 year-old girls, murdered after suffering sexual violence: Micaela in Bahia Blanca, Milagros in Tucuman and Guadalupe in Rosario. The hate crimes against lesbians and transvestites also continue to grow.

We are struggling for the freedom and exoneration of Belén, a girl sentenced to 8 years in prison in the Kirchnerist province of Tucuman, just for being poor and unable to pay for an abortion, needing assistance in a public hospital to take care of a spontaneous abortion.

With Macri, the budget to combat violence against women is miserable, and so it was with Cristina; the job insecurity continues, agencies’ jobs are lost for being pregnant or because of staff reduction; slave work still exists, and also sexual harassment from employers and managers; they do not categorize women according to their jobs, and there is an almost complete lack of public, free kindergartens.

According to a study made by FLACSO [Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences], Brazil is the fifth country with more femicides in the world. They increased 21% between 2003 and 2013, during Lula and Dilma’s governments. In addition, according to the Brazilian Forum on Public Security, every 11 minutes a woman is raped in the country. The Maria da Penha Act[1], implemented in 2006, could not stop the violence: it never had the necessary budget or resources to do it.

Female workers, teachers, students, housewives, are rising up together with their life-partners to reject the governments that adjust them, violate them and make them die; that empty their pans and leave their children helpless. They are breaking with their governments, even though they considered these governments as “their own”, once; so to punish them they sometimes vote by classic neoliberal options.

Unable to acknowledge the failure of their model of “growth with social inclusion”, which did not touch a penny from neither multinationals or imperialism, Kirchsnerism, the PT and Chavism – unfortunately, supported by sectors that claim to be Trotskyists- speak about the reactionary political offensive against “progressive” governments in the continent.

There will be no female liberation without any substantive changes

On the contrary, the PSTU and the IWL-FI bet on the step forward the working class and popular sectors of the continent are taking, with women as the frontline.

It is necessary to converge the different expressions of #NiUnaMenos in a single continental voice, to join these claims to strikes, demonstrations and other expressions of struggle of the working class as a whole.

We must achieve the greatest possible unity of action to defeat the adjusters, as Macri in Argentina, Temer in Brazil, or Peña Nieto in Mexico, as of all the ones who call themselves “progressive governments”, as Maduro [Venezuela], Correa [Ecuador] or Evo Morales [Bolivia].

Such struggles must aim to conquer a second and definitive Independence, towards a revolution that breaks the imperialist chains, that stops paying the foreign debts, that eradicates the causes of discrimination and exploitation, and put the working class in power.

This is the goal proposed by the socialist program we fight for, in which we trust as the only guarantee to achieve female liberation. We know it is necessary to organize, as otherwise we cannot make it. That is why we build the PSTU and the IWL-FI. We invite you to build it together with us.

***

Notes:

[1] Act against domestic violence sanctioned in Brazil in 2005, in honor of Maria da Penha, biopharmacist and women’s rights activist who suffered murdered attempt twice by his husband, Marco Antonio Heredia Viveros.

 

Translation: Misty M.