This 8th March, we, women of the World March of Women, continue on the march, to resist, and to construct a world for us, for others, for our peoples, for all living things and the environment. These actions continue to confront the onslaught of the lethal capitalist paradigm with its false solutions to the crises and its fundamentalist, conservative ideology.
We are bearing the brunt of a crisis of the capitalist, racist and patriarchal system that, in order to sustain itself, imposes brutal “austerity measures” that force us and our peoples to pay for a crisis that we didn’t provoke: social service budget cuts, salary and pension reductions, the promotion of war and the increased commodification of all spheres of life. We women pay the highest price: we are the first to be made redundant and, as well as our regular domestic tasks, we have to take on responsibilities that were previously covered by social services. These measures carry the weight of patriarchal, capitalist, racist ideology, and thus support policies that encourage women to return to the home, and that stimulate the advance of prostitution, the sale of women, and the increase of violence against women, trafficking and migration.
We denounce the continued imposition of free trade agreements that attempt to transform common goods such as health, education and water in merchandise, and create markets for the exploitation of cheap labour in countries of the global south. We reject the consumer culture that impoverishes communities, creating dependency and exterminating local production.
We stand in solidarity with the women struggling in Europe – especially in Greece, but also in Portugal, Galicia, the Spanish State, Italy and Macedonia – who are organising themselves to resist the neoliberal, reactionary offensive promoted by financial and political institutions, and by their own governments, in the service of transnational corporations and their interests. We also stand in solidarity with the women of the global south who confront famine, impoverishment, slavery and violence, but who continue to construct their resistance.
We denounce the advance of militarisation around the world as a strategy to control our bodies, lives, movements and territories, to strengthen neo-colonialism, and to guarantee a new round of looting and appropriation of natural resources, as well as the continued enrichment of the arms industry as a reaction to the crisis. We are fearful in our affirmation of the threat of the return of societal values such as militarisation and authoritarianism in diverse countries around the world, such as: the Middle East, for example Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, where women and people continue to struggle against all forms of fundamentalist dictatorship and for real democracy; in Palestine where women struggle against colonialism and Zionism; in various African countries – such as in Senegal where the government uses the army’s strength to support electoral interests, or in Mali where armed groups are terrorising the civil population in their struggle for control of the northern region; in Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia where re-militarisation processes are underway; and in diverse countries in Asia-Oceania where the presence of US military troops is being strengthened.
We stand in solidarity with women and peoples in resistance and in struggle in all territories at war, under military control or the threat of it, or who are experiencing the negative impacts of foreign military presence. Despite these extreme situations, we women continue to defend our territory, our bodies and land from the exploitation by official and non-official, state and private, armies.
We denounce the globalised mass media’s collective strategy that seeks to revitalise conservative dogmas and values and to put at risk the achievements and advances of women around the world. Spaces for participation are closed off, protest is criminalised, and the right to make decisions about our own bodies is undermined. Our reproductive self-determination is threatened in those places where we have already achieved it, such as in diverse North American and European (Portugal, Spain, etc) countries, where abortion is legal, but where this right is undermined in practice by cuts in public budgets for hospitals and pregnancy interruption services. In many other countries in Latin America and Asia-Oceania, such as in Brazil, Japan and Vanuatu, women who abort continue to be criminalised. In Mexico, abortion has been legalised in the Federal District (the capital) and is criminalised in the rest of the country, while in Honduras, the day-after contraceptive pill has been forbidden. In Nicaragua, abortion has been made a crime through Constitutional Reform, even when the mother’s life is at risk or in rape cases. Following this example, in Russia the president’s wife is at the forefront of campaigns to prohibit abortion without exception. Self-entitled “pro-life” groups – that in reality defend the death of women – offend us and health professionals in North America, pressure parliament to change the law in South Africa, and prevent any kind of debate in Pakistan.
We stand in solidarity with all women who continue to struggle and confront the police, public services and the unjust justice system, as well as those who struggle against violence and its perpetrators.
In the face of such situations, we are present in the streets, we create our alternatives, and we put them into practice. Once again, we demonstrate our resistance and our self-defence through our bodies and our territories. We strengthen our struggle for structural changes in our lives and we will continue on the march until we are all free!
We call for the networking between our movements and the strengthening of alliances with other movements, for it is in this way that we will construct a free world.
Around the World, 8th March 2012