Note from LeftEast editors: we stand with this position shared by the Essential Autonomous Struggles Transnational network, first published on the website of Transnational Social Strike.
November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. On this day women* stand together against patriarchal violence in all its different forms and shades. On Sunday November 29th we, Essential Autonomous Struggles Transnational (E.A.S.T.), invite everyone to discuss in an online public assembly how to connect transnationally struggles against patriarchal, racist, capitalist violence in the pandemic.
Today we stand against domestic violence, physical abuses and sexual harassment against women*. These have been going on long before the covid19 pandemic, but have now been intensified during the lockdown imposed in many national contexts in the course of the pandemic. Many of us are stuck at home in poor living conditions, together with abusive partners while we are being told “stay home, stay safe”. But our homes are not always a safe space and the lives of many were not saved! We stand together with those who struggle everyday against such conditions!
Today we stand against conservative and fundamentalist attacks on our freedoms and autonomy. The pandemic lockdown, isolation, and the need to stay at safe distance from each other to protect outselves and our loved ones was also used as an opportune moment by many right wing governments across the European continent to adopt anti-feminist and anti-LGBTQI legislation, knowing we are risking our lives coming out to protest against them. Such measures were the ban on abortion in Poland, the attack on transgender rights in Hungary or the ban on gender studies in Romania. These are obvious and unacceptable attempts to tame women’s, LGBTQI reproductive rights and freedoms in order to reproduce social hierarchies in societies under pandemic lockdown. We stand together with Polish women on strike and with all those who fight back against these attacks!
Today we stand against capitalist violence and exploitation of our productive and reproductive labor. Women* and migrants are those who took care for families and communities and covered many low paid and stigmatised positions of key workers during the pandemic. Women* are those who work in the “essential” sectors as nurses, care and domestic workers, teachers, cashiers, cleaners, and seasonal workers. Women* are those who need to sacrifice their safety and lives and continue working for miserable wages and in terrible working conditions imposed by the current economic system that puts profits over human lives. When out of jobs or transferred to work from home arrangements during the lockdowns, women* are those who are expected to care for kids, ill or elderly for free as care work is seen as a “female” job and thus as less valuable. We stand together with all those who fight against the identification of women as natural care takers and most expendable labour force!
Today we stand with migrants who are exposed to extreme forms of structural and racist violence across Europe and beyond. In the peak of the pandemic migrants across Europe were stuck in overcrowded rentals, dormitories and shelters and often without any financial aid, allowances, medical insurance or residence permit. Migrant workers from Eastern Europe were transported in crammed airplanes or pushed to make their own ways into the farms and meat factories of Western Europe to allow that the supply chain to the EU’s core countries was not broken. Migrant workers from other parts of the world, already facing violent border regimes and restrictions to their movement and access in hosting countries, were even further hindered in their movement and made ever more invisible, held as bearers of contagion and subjected to racist violence, while always more exploitable during national lockdowns. We stand together with migrants and all those who strike against violence, oppression, exploitation and institutional racism!
This is why on November 25th we won’t remain silent! Our lives are essential, our struggle is essential, our strike is essential!
Have a look at the videos where women from different countries talk about their experiences of violence and their essential struggles against it.
#25 from Macedonia, Spain, Germany, Italy, Romania, France, and Italy: