On November 25, the International Women’s Alliance views with alarm the rise of neo-fascist and right-wing regimes and the spread of reactionary ideology, from the US and its European allies to the regimes it supports in Brazil, India, the Philippines and elsewhere. Women’s hard-won rights are being rolled back or questioned as heads of state like Trump, Modi, Bolsonaro, and Duterte openly promote misogyny and violence against women.
At the same time, we are inspired daily by the women playing a leading role in the uprisings around the world against US-led imperialism in Venezuela, Bolivia, Haiti, and beyond. Women are rising against war and militarization in the midst of rubble and destruction. We are inspired by the courage of the women in Kurdistan fighting not only ISIS, but the NATO ally Turkey that tries to stamp out the Kurdish people and their identity with ethnic cleansing. We stand with our sisters in Palestine against the brutal apartheid regime of Israel and its US-backers. We are one with our sisters in the Philippines, who are resisting the crackdowns, raids, imprisonments and disappearances perpetrated by the US-Duterte regime against its opponents.
Each year we mark the International day for the elimination of violence against women, as decreed by the UN in 1999. The emphasis has been the gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence, which continues to take epidemic proportions around the world.
While many IWA member organizations on the ground work with women victims of gender violence, to provide shelter, refuge and support, we also recognize that reactionary, patriarchal ideology is grounded in a material base – an economic system where women are kept economically dependent, have no access to land, bear the burden of family responsibilities from children to the elderly, in societies where resources are concentrated in profits for the few, and social services are constantly whittled away if they exist at all.
We believe it is by changing the ruling systems that we can affect change in women’s lives. On November 25, we think it is important to recall the origins of this day, which commemorates the role played by the three Mirabal sisters in Dominican Republic to oppose the decades-long dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo.
In the 1950’s anyone who challenged Trujillo could be imprisoned, tortured, or brutally killed. The Mirabal sisters were part of the resistance movement to his totalitarian rule. They quickly became known as ¨las Mariposas¨ (the Butterflies), the inspirational leaders of the resistance. On November 25, 1960, the three sisters were ambushed in their jeep, strangled and clubbed to death. The government tried to cover it up as an accident, but public opinion rose against it.
The murder of Las Mariposas was a turning point in the downfall of the dictator. Today, in virtually every Dominican town there is some commemorative marker, school, or main street bearing names of the Mirabel sisters.
Despots and tyrants and right-wing leaders still use violence against women to stem women’s resistance, to whip up divisions in the opposition while playing on reactionary patriarchal ideas to achieve their reactionary aims.
It is the politics of resistance inherent in the women’s struggle and in particular the struggle for systemic change that will defeat the politics of misogyny.
The International Women’s Alliance calls on all women to rise up this November 25, to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of violence Against Women in the context of the rise of neo-fascism, the worsening crisis, imperialist intervention and war, and threat of repealing our difficultly-acquired rights — and to fight for a world free of oppression and exploitation, of environmental destruction, of forced migration and wars of aggression.
While we fight for a world where it would be unthinkable to subjugate any human being on pretext of gender, race, religion, we realize that the system that allows and feeds on this is what needs to be tackled, the system that gives multinational corporations the freedom to plunder and control natural resources of the globe, that maintains poverty, hunger, insecurity and devastation for the majority of the planet. We recognize that U.S. imperialism and its arsenal leads the way in maintaining and imposing this system.
We have no choice but to strengthen our politics of resistance.
Women in struggle unite!
Fight the Politics of Misogyny with the Politics of Resistance!
End Violence Against Women!