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9M, historical day for the feminist movement in Mexico

Socialist Alternative Mexico

On March 9, 2020, Mexico experienced the largest national strike in history, which aimed to make the role of women in Mexican society visible and to denounce gender violence. In the midst of a serious femicide crisis in the country - it is calculated that 10 women are murdered every day for gender reasons - there is a lack of government capacity to deal with it and indifference in part of society.

The days before this strike were marked by controversy. From the beginning, sectors such as the opposition party and “civil” groups were assembled, who instead of showing genuine interest in solving this problem, saw the opportunity to get a political advantage and hit Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO - President of Mexico). Although these groups were quickly isolated and denounced by the strikers.

However, for the propagandists of the AMLO regime, this was seen as an opposition conspiracy that went against the president. This led to a series of erroneous statements by some public officials and communicators, which brought the discussion to a point totally removed from the real situation. To this were added the statements, with little thought by AMLO, who seemed more concerned about the symbolic raffle of the presidential plane than about the issue of femicides and gender violence, which inflamed the spirits of the feminist collectives.

On the other hand, the employers and some institutions indifferent to sexist violence, such as the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) or the National Polytechnic Institute university, decided to participate in the strike -as contradictory as this sounds- granted permission to their women employees to miss work, which seemed to detract from the message that was intended. However, this was not the case in the end, since the impact of the strike was quite forceful economically, socially and politically.

This action by different companies and institutions was ironic in many cases and was widely criticised. For example, institutions such as universities - whether they were public or private - although they “joined” the strike, within their facilities they allow violence against women to continue, since the authorities ignore the complaints that are made. Or in the case of some companies, in whose facilities there have been femicides and repeated cases of violence against women, managers have even tried to cover them up.

Despite the controversy in the previous days, on March 9 the women decided to attend the call for "A day without us" and remain in their homes to demonstrate the importance of their role in society and the numbers that are being murdered. The result was an economic impact of 34 billion pesos, according to BBVA estimates, the interruption of activities in different workplaces -especially those whose staff is made up almost entirely of women- and an undeniable absence on the streets.

Despite criticism, the strike met its main objectives. It managed to put the feminist struggle as the main topic in political discussion, at the same time showing that no matter how much it has been relegated to the background, women have a fundamental role in the proper functioning of our society. "Women hold up half the sky," Thomas Sankara aptly said in 1983.

There is a necessary debate about the effectiveness of this type of strike. There are those who point out that far from secluding themselves in the private space, the mobilisations should take place by occupying the public space. This raises the need to rethink the actions in order to give a political meaning to the struggle, which would prevent attempts to mobilise certain sectors that have nothing to do with the movement.

However, beyond the debates of the movement, which are natural and necessary, it should be noted that the feminist movement in Mexico has gained strength as an important agent in recent years. There are more and more women who recognise themselves as feminists and they understand the need to fight against a system of inequality, patriarchy. Despite the fact that, as some feminist activists mention, there is a lack of political education within the movement, it is important that the women of this country decide to take the first step and build a movement that fights for their rights.

From Socialist Alternative we say: In the face of macho violence, socialist feminism! In our opinion, the fight against the patriarchal system goes hand in hand with the fight against capitalism. For as long as class structures exist, there will be men and women stripped of their dignity and condemned to misery. We do not want feminist capitalism, but to end an unsustainable, unjust and inhuman system to make way for a society where men and women recognise ourselves as equals and build a better future.

At the same time we recognise that women are victims of double exploitation, as workers and in the home. Which leads us to proclaim that there is no real revolution without the liberation of women. We sense the roar of this storm and see the fury of this rebellion, therefore we extend our hand and an invitation to join this fight against patriarchy and capitalism. Because the future is revolutionary and belongs to those who fight.

For a Socialist Alternative to sexist violence and capitalism!

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