On the 25th September 1960, sisters Minerva, Patria and Maria Teresa Mirabal were brutally murdered in the Dominican Republic; murdered for being women and for fighting against the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Today, more than 50 years after their murder, women across the world commemorate their struggle by taking to the streets against patriarchal and capitalist violence that harrasses and kills us, the world over.
On a global scale, international studies show that at least half of all women have suffered or will suffer physical and/or sexual violence during their lifetimes. Data also indicates that 50% of all murdered women are killed by a current or former partner or by family members, meaning their murders should be considered ‘femicides’ – the murder of a woman because she is a woman. Furthermore, although there aren’t specific studies on the remaining murders of women, we know that many of these murders were committed because the victim was a woman, even where there was no previous relation between the murderer and the victim, such as the victims of sex trafficking, stonings, and sexual attacks by strangers that result in murder, among other causes. These murders should also be considered femicides.
In addition to that, there are currently more than 700 million women alive who were married as children. And 200 millions girls and women who have suffered Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in more than 30 countries across Africa and the Middle East. The trafficking of women and girls for work and sex is the third largest illegal industry only after gun and drug trafficking. It’s an industry worth 32 billion USD annually. From Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe, women are sold to the United States and the rest of Europe, and our governments are complicit.
Abortion is illegal in most countries around the world (70%), especially in poor countries, where backstreet abortions are one of the leading causes of death among women. In countries like Italy, Poland and the Spanish State the right to abortion is being denied to women due pressure from the Catholic Church, whereas, in countries like China, gender selective abortions are encouraged on account of girls being less valued in society.
70% of poor and illiterate people in the world are women; among workers, women are relegated to the most unskilled tasks and it is estimated that women earn at least 30% less than men for the same work. In the context of the global economic crisis, austerity programmes that hit workers have disproportionately affected women workers who tend to be responsible for the poorest households.
This information and much more clearly shows the terrible situation that women have to deal with all over the world. It also demonstrates that violence against women is a global phenomenon, a consequence of systemic patriarchy that oppresses women, defining them as socially inferior, and caused by a capitalist-imperialist system that takes advantage these circumstances to doubly exploit women workers. Femicides, domestic violence and other forms of violence that women suffer in every country of the world are part of a politics of discipline designed to ensure the continued domination of patriarchal capitalism.
However, as has occurred all throughout history, women have decided to take to the streets against violence. From the huge demonstrations of #NiUnaMenos (Not One Woman Less) and #VivasNosQueremos (We Want to Live) in Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Brazil and the Spanish State, to the Czarny Protest (Women’s Strike) in Poland, to the rallies in Italy for abortion rights or to the Indian women’s struggle against gang rapes, 2016 ends with women of the world saying: Enough!
That’s why we, as the International Workers’ Unity – Fourth International (IWU-FI) call on women to continue to fight in the streets and to organize demonstrations all over the world on the week of 25th November. As feminists we fight against patriarchal oppression; and as socialists and revolutionaries we fight against capitalist and imperialist exploitation, and our fight is an international one. That’s why we call on women not to put their faith in variations of capitalism intended to appease them but that continue imperialist domination. Neither Michelle Obama, nor Hillary Clinton, nor Angela Merkel will defend our rights. Even the women who became presidents of oppressed nations such as Michelle Bachelet (Chile), Cristina Fernandez (Argentina) Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia) or Pratibha Patil (India) who all gained power yet did not fight for our rights.
The only way to achieve our emancipation it by organizing independently as women workers, to win over new social bases fighting for a socialist world with liberty for workers of all genders.
This 25th November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women we claim:
Patria, Minerva and María Teresa, are present!
No more Femicides! Not One Woman Less! We Want us alive!
Against all oppression and exploitation we will continue until all of us are free
International Workers Unity – Fourth International (IWU – FI)
November 14th 2016