jueves, 26 de marzo de 2009

What is fundamental? The Feminists ask

by Sara Lovera
Translation by Marge Adams

For feminists democracy is more than free elections, more than right wing or left wing political parties, more than social patronage, it is the emphasis on the breakdown of authoritarianism as a way of living and governing.
Perhaps that is why it is so important that periodically, beyond the news networks, hundreds of women meet and look into each other eyes. In order to make a balance on how all types of governments - from the most advanced societies to those in decline - charge on the life and bodies of women, economic interests, capitalist crisis and laws that affect men and women in different ways.
Throughout this week, about 500,000 women from Latin America and the Caribbean have gathered in Mexico to celebrate the XI Feminists Meeting of the region, an event that began in Bogota, Colombia 28 years ago and has traveled over the region until today.
The central theme of the discussion was “fundamentalism”, above all, the economy that has generated the latest crisis of the system, which has imposed consumerism and individualism on the population and whose havoc on daily life is especially deadly for women.
And this is because the rules of the market pass through every millimeter of the feminine body, there is no other way to explain the trafficking of women, feminicide, domestic violence and the exploitation of women workers. The convenient capitalist ideology of double exploitation : of the production (work) and the reproduction of more and more men and women in behalf of the production and the market.
At the Encuentro, which allowed for the meeting of wisdom and experience, we also analyzed whether the path was correct, if feminism is valid and if there still exists the possibility of transformation.
There, a group of women with a long history have met; women who had passed from the street barricades to fight the battle within the government and political parties. The women wondered if there was any difference between a political group defined as right or one defined as left or progressive as the ideological views in our region are diverse.
Probably the hottest topics were: Balbina Herrera, who wants to be the social democratic president of Panama; how to consider Daniel Ortega, as left of center or as a dictator; where to place Tabare Roman Vazquez, another social democrat in Uruguay, who ignored the peoples request to legalize abortion. This is to grind everything trough the feminists sieve, in order to understand how the agenda of the woman is isolated in the newly appointed democracies such as Ecuador, Boliva , and Chile, as much as Venezuela, Columbia and Mexico, whose governments are clearly on the right.
“Big problem!” , the experts would say. But it seems to be that way: governments become authoritarian, as Sofia Montenegro has told me, the woman who was a former symbol of the Sandinista Front, today persecuted by Ortega. She expressed more. Governments are authoritarian when they ignore or neglect the rights of half the population, but worse when they persecute and harass it.
From the meetings, whose headquarters are in 3 former convents in Mexico City, it was pointed out that things have changed and women have deserted historic seclusion and have decide to subvert every known form of looking at the world.
The point is that progressive governments, with progressive candidates - applauded by scholars - drive forward enormous social programs but rest on family values, control of women’s bodies, no abortion rights, and they support a media that reaffirm the traditional role of women and have nothing to do with real life.Morena Herrera who participated directly in the final offensive in El Salvador, before the peace accords, today confidently told of her happiness for the triumph of Frente Farabunde Marti in the elections of last March 15th. Although, her partners, ex guerilleras who created an organization known as the Dignas, have noted that Mauricio Funes, the triumphant candidate, has not included a “transgressor” program for women.
An interesting thing is that in Mexican society there still exists a reluctance to the word feminism, without even understanding its meaning. Feminism is a plan to change from the root all social relationships between men and women.
Certainly the discussions that will finish this Friday, will give light to new ways to face new realities: extreme conservatism, the economy and the crisis. They will also raise hell and they will have to endure injustice, beyond victimization. Those woman have told me - and a lot of them told me – that the insistence on looking at the world in different way is called Feminism. Indeed.

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