In 2022, the Capire portal has gained strength as a communication tool for the international grassroots feminism. We have published 124 materials, including texts, videos, and galleries, showing how women are organized, their leading role in social struggles and in sustaining common life. This has been a year of resistance against neoliberal attacks, conservatism, dispossession, as well as a year of denouncement of the capitalist strategy that assumed a central role: militarism and imposition of wars and armed conflicts.
Feminist and Anti-Capitalist Peace
This year, the outbreak of the war between Russia and Ukraine echoed the imperialist and patriarchal character of wars around the world and how these conflicts affect especially women. Grounded in the international grassroots organizations, we positioned the strength and the orientation of feminism towards the struggle for peace and denounced NATO’s role and the US hegemony in the military occupation of global South countries. In the United States, leaderships denounced the inversion of values according to which “you can’t have free health care, but they can fund a war” and showed the relevance of movements throughout the country to pressure the government and denounce the industry of war. We questioned dominant communication means and the production of narratives to justify war and at the same time silence those who disagree. We challenged these narratives and emphasized women’s commitment to peace and life by publishing a gallery full of feminist posters created by artists and activists from around the world.
“In Mali and other countries in the region, the issue of war and armed conflicts is a daily issue”, said militant Nana Aïcha during one of our webinars. In Palestine, a territory that has been illegally occupied by Israel for years, women denounced the criminalization of movements and the encroachment of common goods, such as lands, forests, and waters. Despite all such violence, Palestinian women keep up being a model of resistance and struggle for their lands and rights. In Northern Africa, Western Sahara, Sahrawi women lead the peaceful struggle for freedom and independence. Also defending themselves against a war inflicted on their people, Kurdish women break through barriers to defend their language and identity.
We learned from women activists to denounce how narratives that defend women’s rights have been used to justify wars and the imperialist occupation, the effects of which extend to the long-term future, as Teeba Saad wrote in her article about Iraq. In Afghanistan, women who resist the Taliban’s regime keep facing repression, violence, and arrests. Fighting against fundamentalism and imperialism at the same time is a strategic challenge of grassroots movements. Religious fundamentalism advances into other territories, criminalizing and killing women in South Asia. We recalled the memory of struggles against fundamentalism in Northern Africa, and learned about the transformation challenges and horizons of the current mobilization of women in Iran.
And, for as long as repression and violation of human rights is used as a weapon by authoritarian governments, the answer will involve grassroots struggles and solidarity, as we have seen this year in countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, and Honduras, among so many others. As the World March of Women international coordinator, Yildiz Temürtürkan, said in an interview, “today with the rise of market authoritarianism everywhere we have a challenge of strengthening international solidarity with women all over the world, not just with women from certain territories”.
One of the results of these wars is migration to global North countries. This journey, often forced, and the attempts to establish a new life far from those conflicts, represent so many other challenges and forms of violence of which women, as the main responsible for their families, are also the main victims. In such regard, women have united across Europe in feminist campaigns claiming for asylum for women and LGBT+ people and against the rise of border militarization and surveillance. The World March of Women organizes in that region an agenda of permanent struggles against transnational companies’ corporate power and their role in the rise of border militarization.
Our Struggles, Our Causes
Over the year, we have witnessed the strengthening of feminism as a thoroughly transforming force. And we have reflected on how this feminism is neither abstract nor individual, as it is taken forward by a collective, diverse, and organized political actor: women in movement struggling against capitalism, racism, colonialism, and LGBTphobia. This was made visible by international mobilization days, such as March 8, the International Day of Women’s Struggles, and April 24, the World March of Women’s day of feminist solidarity action and denunciation of corporate power. But feminism has also gained strength in the everyday life, in territorial or regional experiences, in caravans, brigades, protests, conversation circles, joint efforts, bike rides, trainings, among many other forms of organization.
We celebrated in March the first anniversary of the Berta Cáceres International Feminist Organizing School and witnessed the developments of this training process in the Balkans and in the Americas. In addition to these regional editions, there was also the International School of Facilitators, which allowed us to reflect on the role of the feminist methodology in grassroots education.
We are always reflecting on the role of communication to articulate and expand feminism and women’s struggles around the world. In 2022, we have published texts and audio contents about inspiring grassroots and feminist communication experiences, such as participation of peasant women in community radio in Nepal, the community-based communication strategies in Cuba, the experiences of Pan African TV and Real World Radio, in addition to the articulation around the Citizen Internet initiative. We covered for the first time in person the third Continental Assembly of ALBA Movements, where we participated in the communication convergence.
We presented stories of women communicators and journalists who have been persecuted, arrested, and killed for carrying out their work. In solidarity with and in defense of Indian journalist and militant Teesta Setalvad’s freedom, we shared an excerpt from her memoirs about news coverage committed to human rights. We also reflected on the political role of translation to internationalize the feminist struggle by practicing and being guided by linguistic justice.
Making local experiences and reflections visible, we emphasized the central role of care and sustainability of life, and asserted the political strength of feminist economy. We denounced debts as the result of poverty and neoliberalism. We learned from the struggle of domestic workers, from the organization of Argentinian women workers on May 1, among so many others. With feminists from Angola, Greece, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Peru, Uruguay, and Paraguay, for instance, we could see the key role of women in the grassroots resistance in their countries, in the struggles for democracy and sovereignty, defending life, communities, and nature.
The anti-capitalist feminism is anti-racist. We published a report on the organizing experience of Quilombola women who lead the defense of nature, territories, and ways of life of traditional peoples and communities. “There is a genocide against us, the peoples who defend nature”, Miriam Miranda exposed.
To celebrate the 30-year-history of La Via Campesina, we recollected the women’s organizing experiences to build the movement and their central role in the struggle for food sovereignty and environmental justice. We published a gallery of posters produced by 22 artists committed to the struggle of La Via Campesina. Peasant women are key in seed protection and agroecological production of food, as well as in denouncing free trade and hunger, and in grassroots mobilization, such as happened in India. As from experiences of grassroots education in agroecology, we learned about how food sovereignty is connected to the protection of ancestral knowledge.
Women stated that nutrition should not follow a patriarchal logics, that nature is not a commodity, that energy must be a common good, and that energy is “clean” only if there is a shift in the energy model. They denounced the strategies of financialization of nature and green economy as false solutions to the climate crisis, which is one of the many dimensions of the crisis caused by capitalism. Nature, nutrition, and territory are the main targets of the offensive of capital against life. The digital transformation of food systems is an example of this strategy, whether through agriculture 4.0 or through so many other strategies applied by big techs to exploit nature and increased precarity of work. Women propose relevant questionings to create anti-capitalist alternatives oriented by grassroots sovereignty. We could understand the need for regional integration and reflected on feminist connections between food sovereignty and technological and energy sovereignty.
Struggling for the peoples to be sovereign and women to be free, we declared our will to build a world free from violence, a world where diversity and love integrate the revolutionary struggle, as recently expressed by the people of Cuba. And we showed, also with a poster gallery published on the website and displayed in an exhibition at the headquarters of The People’s Forum in New York, how the achievement of women’s autonomy comprised the right to safe and free abortion, already enacted by law in some countries around the world and still a claim in many others.
Memory, Art, and Culture
The history of women’s struggle is long, and recollecting it requires active work. Over the year, we have celebrated the lives and struggles of women who inspired us through their examples of irreverence. Within the framework of Red Books Day, we shared an excerpt from book “The Workers’ Union”, by Flora Tristán. We learned about Ana Betancourt, a relevant agent in the struggle for the independence of Cuba. Keeping alive the memory of feminist militant Berta Cáceres, we published fragments of chapter “Resistance” [La Resistencia] from the book Las revoluciones de Berta, by author Claudia Korol. On Rosa Luxemburgo’s birthday, we published an encouragement letter she wrote to her friend Sophie Liebknetch while in prison.
To remind socialist women’s role in the Russian Revolution, we published the text “Religion and the Woman”, written in 1927 by the Russian revolutionary Nadezhda Krupskaya. We also recalled the anti-racist disobedience of US activist Rosa Parks in the testimony she wrote in her autobiographical book about the day when she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. We published the story of Lumina Sophie, feminist leader of resistance during the uprising of 1870 and the Southern Insurrection in Martinique. We shared an excerpt of the speech of Margarida Maria Alves, peasant union leader whose struggles inspire mobilization amongst rural women in Latin America. We got to know the story of Xica Manicongo, the first travesti targeted by the Inquisition in Brazil.
We honored Argentinian Hebe de Bonafini, founder and president of the Association of Mothers of May Square [Asociación Madres de la Plaza de Mayo], who passed away on November 21; Quebecois Lorraine Guay, one of the founders of the World March of Women, and Mozambican feminist militant Maria Adosinda, who dedicated her life to confront violence and exploitation. In Brazil, we recalled Marielle Franco and her struggle against violence and militarization.
We celebrated cultural expressions of poets and painters from all over the world. Hanaa Malalah’s stylized maps criticize the destruction caused by wars in Iraq. Salka Embarek, in her poem “I Am Sahara”, tells us of the anticolonial resistance of the Sahrawi people. Chilean Mafalda Galdames, in her poem “Women”, talks of struggle, time, and hopes of women. Ruth Vanita, Indian poet, addresses loving relationships between women in “Speech”. On the International Day of Indigenous Peoples, we shared paintings and graphics by Kaya Agari, of the Kurâ-Bakairi Indigenous people, from Brazil. Poem “Let My People Go”, published in memory of Mozambican poet Noémia de Souza’s birthday, addresses Black resistance and kinship. Lia Ukleba creates feminist paintings that challenge patriarchal powers and practices in Georgia. And Yara Osman’s photos denounce the war in Syria and destruction of life in her homeland. These women, by using their art, talk of the struggles of their people and express their identity, their desires, their rebellion.
Integrating these feelings and all wisdom published in Capire in 2022, we hope to start the new year with even more feminist strength and more certainty of the changes we are capable of achieving when we act together and organized.