Featured Image: A strike against violence against women in Buenos Aires, October 2016. (Image: Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images)
The Argentinian feminist collective behind Black Wednesday back in October have called for an International Women’s Strike. Planned to coincide with the International Day to End Violence Against Women, Ni Una Menos (Not One Less) is calling for women everywhere to strike on March 8th.
Black Wednesday was the first region-wide march to protest male violence against women and girls. It rallied women in Latin America around the concept of femicide, which describes the murder of women and girls at the hands of men. Femicide targets females specifically, and is an epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in countries across the world. As such, it is the cornerstone of Latin American feminist activism.
In their manifesto, Ni Una Menos states:
“We strike because the victims of femicide are missing among us. Their voices were violently shut down by the chilling drum of one femicide per day in Argentina.”
Although Ni Una Menos is based out of Argentina, on Black Wednesday women and girls were joined in a massive display of feminist solidarity by thousands in Uruguay, Paraguay, Perú, Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, México, Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Spain. Following the success of the Polish women’s strike against abortion, Black Wednesday, and the Women’s March in Washington and sister marches, numerous countries around the world are expected to join the March 8th strike.
Ni Una Menos’ manifesto reads:
“This March 8th the earth will shake. Women around the world will unite and organize around one common goal: an International Women’s Strike. We women will strike, organize and build solidarity among ourselves. We will practice the world in which we want to live.
We strike to bring attention to:
The capital that exploits us in the informal economy. The state and market forces that exploit us when they put us in debt. The nation-states that criminalize our migration. The fact that we make less money than men and our wage discrimination is, on average, 27 per cent. We strike because of the economic violences that heighten our vulnerability to misogynist violence, whose most violent extreme is femicide. We strike to demand abortion on demand and so that no girl is forced to become a mother.
Among us are missing the lesbians and transwomen who were murdered under hate crimes. The political prisoners, the persecuted, the women murdered in our Latin American territory for defending the land and resources. Among us are missing the women who died and the ones who remain in prison due to unsafe abortions. We are missing among us the ones who were disappeared by traffickers and the victims of sexual exploitation.
We appropriate the tool of striking because our demands are urgent. The strength of our movement is in the bond we create with other women. We are braiding a new internationalism. We see the neoconservative turn that’s taking place in the region and in the world, so the feminist movement is surging as an alternative. 2017 is the time for our revolution.
When our homes become hell, we organize to defend each other and protect one another. In the face of the crimes of machismo and its pedagogy of cruelty and in the face of the media’s attempt to victimize us and terrorize us, we make of our individual grieving a collective comfort and a shared enragement. In the face of cruelty: more feminism.”
With over 30 countries set to join the strike, the rallying cry, “Solidarity is our weapon,” is fitting. Indeed, this has always been the ethos of the women’s movement. Now more than ever before, solidarity is exactly what is needed.