Call: March 8th – Feminist strike talks

And yet another year with a frantic beginning. In the streets, there are mass protests happening and many workers are on strike. The reasons are many: Capitalism’s conveyer belts produce wars and crises one after another and who pays are, as always, those who have been given the worst cards on their hands, anyway. The poor, the voiceless, those deprived of the right to move freely, women and queers, who are spat on, who are harassed, who are paid badly or not at all. What a bullshit situation.

The economic system we live in dehumanises us every day anew: my comrade works in the care sector, sees people suffering on a daily basis and knows possible solutions. But nobody pays attention to their ideas or they just won’t fit into a labour routine solely orientated on efficiency. I’m addressing a doctor with acute symptoms and get an appointment four months later. My flatmate stays with a job, which destroys them by performance pressure and lack of breaks, just because Bürgergeld is nothing more than a bad joke and will put them into poverty. All of us know thousands of stories like this.

The problem is capitalism, but not only. ‘Cause patriarchy has it’s share in finishing us off on top of that – on an economic level, but also on the level of our relationships. Only if I manage to support my flatmate after a hard working day by providing food and an open ear, the next day will pass in a nice, productive and efficient way. Only because our mothers took over the whole care for their families day in day out, unpaid, postponing their own dreams and opportunities, could our fathers bolster their own pensions and engage in politics on their own behalf. And so it turns out, that my friend’s mother, who raised 5 children, is afraid of ending up in old-age poverty and thus, stays with her husband whom she cannot stand anymore. It’s a shame!

And the icing on the cake is that all that pressure, that dehumanization, the permanent substantial insecurity do not only influence us at our workplaces or in appointments with social welfare officers but also affect all our interpersonal contacts and relationships. The fact that my neighbour is experiencing domestic violence, is not only a tragedy but a logical consequence. Sexual violence – no matter if it happens in the streets or at home – under patriarchy is directed at women and queers, so we constantly have to worry about their well-being. This is another thing that drives us crazy!

We don’t want to be “of use”, the real use lies within ourselves. We want to get rid of this powerlessness and decide ourselves how to live and work. We want a society, in which we are always and primarily human beings – not machines, which have to shoulder this or that crisis, ’cause the system has to keep on running.

I want my flatmate to be able to take breaks whenever they need them and that they just stay at home while being sick. I want them not to get sick in the first place because of being constantly pressed for the need to perform. I want my comrade in the care sector to be able to help their clients in the way they need it – not being pressed for time. Everybody can contribute according to their abilities and know what it is all for.

We want a society, in which we do not have to be afraid. Fear limits us, separates us from each other, keeps us down and feasts on our energy. We want a society, in which we stand up for ourselves and others, in which we share our work, our problems and our joy with each other. We want a society, in which we are able to take care of each other, when we are old or demented or lovesick.

In this society, for which we are fighting …
… nobody gives a fuck about gender – what, say again? – or about origin, skin colour or religion.
… nobody is experiencing violence because this is such an out-dated concept and we can stop worrying about the well-being of our queer friends.
… there are loads of different ways to live and to love and nobody comments or judges that. It’s not dangerous to be different. It is just as it is.
… we have big networks of relationships, which give us security, because we have the time to care for them.
… we are able to work (or not work) according to our abilities, without the fulfilment of our true needs being dependent on that.
… we do not harm other human beings or our planet by our sheer way of living.

Already today, it’s possible to make steps towards this utopia – by long-term organising in unions, in protests and strike movements. Though, not all strikes and protests are aimed against state, patriarchy and capital, we are sure

that we, the people from all over the world, who must sell their labour to be able to survive, have to get organized horizontally and equally and find out, what it is that we actually need, which work has to be done and how we can distribute this work fairly.
… that a real improvement of our living conditions can only be achieved on a feminist basis. Whenever we fight for the things we need, we don’t do this as a single-topic feminist movement, but we introduce a feminist stance into all struggles we need and we will carry out.

For us, to build up a feminist strike movement means

… to support strikes and strikers in our cities and beyond – by visiting them, talking to and about them, raising money and bringing biscuits.
… to apply the insights of their struggles to our own and get united.
… to introduce feminist demands into every sphere of life, be it the workplace, our families, our relationships or our dreams.
… to care for our needs, such as eating, financial security, emotional support while striking and protesting.
… to reorganise unpaid care work in a way, which gives us the time and the strength to change our society.
… to continually interfere with the given conditions, by striking, blocking traffic, squatting or other forms of defiance.
… to become aware of the strength we can have together, to let it grow and use it wisely.

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