NATIONAL – This International Working Women’s Day and Women’s Month, AF3IRM raises the call for the Feminist Uprising! On Sunday, March 5th, we took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles with 3,000 people for our third straight International Women’s Day March and we will join the actions for the International Women’s Strike on March 8th with women in over 50 countries. We lead and participate in these militant actions and activities for this year’s Women’s Month, because as transnational women of color living in the United States today, we know that women’s resistance and leadership in the struggle must be intensified in the face of systemic violence against women and the onslaught of fascism.
We mark International Working Women’s Day (IWD) and remember our feminist roots of resistance and the new movements led by women that have carried us forward- IWD’s radical roots in the labor strikes of 1909, organized by the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union, as well as the 1912 Bread and Roses strike for a living wage and the right to live with dignity; Women’s Groups for Defense and Assistance (Gddd) who fought against fascism in Italy; the World War II comfort women from the Philippines and Korea, who still fight for recognition and are against revisionist history to this day; the women leading Idle No More and Standing Rock; the founding of #BlackLivesMatter by queer black women; #NiUnaMenos in Argentina; and the mass mobilization of the Women’s March on Washington.
The history of women’s resistance has not only taught us that we must fight for our lives, but has also shown us new possibilities. For every time women mobilize, we can taste liberation. As much as colonization, capitalism, patriarchy and white supremacy have tried to exploit, erase and silence us, we women see each other and the power others have tried to strip away, and we believe in what we can achieve together. We become architects of a new vision of freedom that we recognize in each other – not just in the massive actions, but also in the vigils, the art and music, the educational spaces created by community, the women’s circles occurring in the face of the murders and rapes of women, of countless economic and social injustices that happen when the world cannot be bothered to pay attention. We see the everyday acts of struggle, of strength, of support, of survival, and of triumph, and we take it even further – we dream, organize and consistently resist because we believe in the persistence of our hope and vision.
We in AF3IRM have fought for women’s liberation for decades, well before the current administration, and the conditions today are ripe to heighten the fight. There is a global resurgence of fascism through the far-right movement not only here in the United States but in France with Marine Le Pen, Brexit in the UK, and leadership in Greece, Germany, Poland, Netherlands, and the Philippines, and as feminists we must defeat it . Its authoritarian dictatorships have always relied on the oppression of womankind, therefore the liberation of women must be central in the struggle against it. As transnational, im/migrant women of color, we recognize that the roots of fascism are deeply entangled with a centuries-old ideology of the patriarchal right to women’s bodies. We women also face issues that go beyond governmental politics – systemic racism, sexism, class oppression, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia, and ableism are built into the very fabric of this country. Every day women face violence in many forms from street harassment to cyber bullying, to domestic violence, rape, stalking and their own criminalization as they fight the abuse inflicted upon them. Now is the time for the feminist uprising – to harness the power of women and lead a resistance centered on the dismantling of systems that oppress the most marginalized among us until our collective liberation is won.
We women must engage in the feminist uprising. To defeat fascism and to end the genocide of womankind , we must take lead in a resistance that is intersectional, deeply political, comprehensive, and critical of current systems, but also reflective of our vision. Our liberation means reproductive justice – safe and affordable access to birth control and abortions and to be able to parent without fear of violence. It means we fight for the women and children in the sex trade – that we call for the end of trafficking and push for the decriminalization of those trafficked and prostituted, but also fight against the power dynamics that exploit women’s bodies. We must stand against the terrorizing of our im/migrant communities as new Muslim and refugee bans are enacted and Islamophobia wage violence against Muslim, Arab, Southwest Asian and North Afrikan, East Afrikan, and Southeast Asian communities – and the end to US imperialist intervention. Our liberation means we defend our communities against ICE raids against im/migrants and push back against detention, deportation, family separation and the building of a wall with Mexico. It means we defend the rights of queer and trans people- especially as trans women face high rates of violence, with 7 of our sisters killed already this year, and are at high risk of suicide. We stand for the missing, murdered and trafficked indigenous women and the calls for self-determination and sovereignty from Standing Rock to Hawai’i. It means continued and improved protections – not cuts – to Violence Against Women programs and grants and asylum for im/migrant women trying to escape violence, not just from war but also domestic and interpersonal violence. Our liberation means that as survivors of sexual assault and harassment, our stories are heard and believed and that justice reflects our needs and healing.
We call on those who have started to rise up to fight beyond today because the far-right, Neo-Nazi movement will continue with or without a Trump regime. The danger is not just in these blatant attacks on our communities – but it is also in the failure of those to rise up in the fight for the liberation of all. Our collective liberation demands we all take action and that we women build and practice a feminism that is political, because our lives and those of our sisters worldwide depend on it.
Join an organization that is strategic and has a vision to win. We must put our belief, our energy, our labor into a massive movement of people, with specific demands that may involve sacrifice, such as the Women’s Strike on March 8th, because our freedom depends on it. Our oppression crosses borders and in the face of global fascism, so must our resistance. We must build strategic alliances within the U.S. and abroad that are horizontal, intersectional, and decolonized.
The time for the feminist uprising is now. As transnational women of color, our resistance is revolutionary. It is our time to build and fight for this new world. We in AF3IRM have stepped up our organizing and planning. We have developed our own plan of action that is specific to the needs and demands of these challenging times. We have actions planned throughout the year that will lead up to our National Conference in New York City in October. These events and actions include/have included: the International Women’s Day March in Los Angeles, the International Women’s Strike, our No Ban No Borders noise demo in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Our feminist uprising has already begun. You will see us. You will hear us. You will fear us and you will yield.
We women of color have come together as a force – we know we have more to lose so we have a stronger will to fight and win. Without women there is no revolution. And without women leading, liberation will never be won. Join the feminist uprising today!
AF3IRM has events planned throughout Women’s Month, including the International Women’s Day March and Rally in Los Angeles, the International Women’s Strike in the United States, a noise demonstration for all immigrants at the Contra Costa West County Detention Center in Northern California, and more. Please see our calendar (http://bit.ly/af3iwd17) for more info.