Eighth of March: A United March in Caracas to Commemorate Fighting Women’s Day

This Sunday, the Eighth of March, Assemble at Plaza O’Leary at 9 AM in Silence, to March toward Plaza Los Museos, the Location of the Cultural Festival

We Are Marching to Open New Paths.  Big Marches Work Their Magic Because We Make the Path by Marching, Which Is the Legacy of the Collective Memory of Our Peoples.

Contraception and Sexual and Reproductive Education So Women Won’t Have to Have Abortion, and Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion So Women Won’t Have to Die!

When Women Advance, No Man Backslides, and the Organization Grows.

Women and Men Are Fighting Equally to Build Popular Power.

May Our Powerful Steps Be Heard, the Heartbeat of the Pachamama Giving Birth to a New Life.

“I did not earn the rank of Colonel in the bed with Bolívar — I earned it in the battlefield of Ayacucho.” — Manuelita Sáenz

Compañeras, campesinas, women workers, indigenous women, mothers, women students, women artists, girls, and popular organizations:

Venezuela, decorated in national colors, is making progress in the building of a socialist Matria, a just, free, and sovereign motherland, a dream partially realized through our revolutionary process.  Our land calls upon us, thousands of women and men, to dare to build socialism with gender equity, to soar, to bring together our color, labor, and hope.

The eighth of March is a day to commemorate the struggle and remember all those women who, with their own steps, charted the path that we are traveling today: Clara Zetkin and other German socialist women who proposed to unite feminism and socialism; the Russian women who spearheaded the Soviet revolution; 146 North American women who fought for better working conditions and were killed in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York in 1911.  But the eighth of March is also a day to celebrate the lives of women, a fiesta in which we joyfully proclaim: another world without gender oppression is possible.

In the past and present of our continent, marches and mobilizations have sought to sow the seeds of hope, with women in the front (not only as cooks, wives, or nurses) ready to fight and engage in politics in the struggle for land and liberation: la Minga (cayapa in the indigenous tradition of Venezuela, the process of members of a community working in cooperation) in Colombia, the Zapatista struggle in Mexico, the defense of natural resources in Bolivia, the Landless Workers’ Movement in Brazil, and the call for socialist revolution in Venezuela, among many others in Our America.

This history didn’t happen by chance — it’s connected with a tradition of courageous women fighting against the patriarchal-capitalist system.  With their blood they wove a network, and with our blood we are doing so today — we are the weavers, picking up this authentic thread, which was nearly buried by the imposing records of official history.

Today we are taking a firm step to reclaim our rights, which remain incomplete.  Let us finish the unfinished revolution, bequeathed to us by the commitment of our fighting grandmothers, our fighting mothers, fighting women who taught us a lesson in solidarity, women of wisdom who protected life, making it possible to dream a different world.

Let us unite in this great “movement” of women that is rising in every corner of our beautiful earth, in Africa, in America, in Asia, in Europe, and in Oceania.

Today, we, women of Venezuela, women of Latin America, are marching:

In the realm of politics

  • To celebrate our achievements as women and our active participation in the revolutionary process.
  • To deepen and consolidate popular power in Communal Councils, communes, and socialist communal cities.
  • For our more active and visible participation in decision-making within the spaces for the building of popular power: Communal Councils, communes, municipalities, the PSUV, and social movements.
  • For the revolutionary ethics, because the personal is political
  • For the right to undiminished love without discrimination and with respect for sexual diversity.
  • For our President Chávez who consistently stands up for the causes of women’s struggles, proving himself to be a man who is in touch with his feminine side.

In the realm of education

  • For the transformation of the education system, to create new men and women.
  • For the expansion and improvement of the Simoncito (preschool) program.

In the realm of law:

  • For the compliance with Articles 88, 76, 21, and 14 of our constitution and Article 14 of the Land Act which stipulates subsidies for pre- and post-partum campesinas.  Let’s put our legal rights into practice.
  • More time for breastfeeding as the first act of food sovereignty.
  • For the implementation of daycare centers as nurseries to educate, not just to stay in compliance of the Organic Labor Act.
  • For the legalization of the termination of unwanted pregnancy.

In the realm of land struggles:

  • For the real intensification of the “war on latifundia.”  For land for women who work the land, and for the good environment and housing for all women and men.
  • For an urgent government action for the transformation of the production model.  Let’s leave destructive, productivist agriculture behind and make progress toward agricultural ecology and sustainable family farming.
  • For the defense of the culture of our people, which is our people’s heritage and a source of resistance to imposed “cultures.”

We condemn:

  • The reduction of women to sexual objects and commodities by the media of mass deformation (e.g., through reguetón lyrics).
  • The situation of over 200 widowed campesinas and their orphaned children, whose fallen compañeros were killed in the struggle against latifundia, at the murderous hands of hired assassins and paramilitaries allied with landowners.
  • The expulsion of Yukpa, Barí, and Wayuú women, men, and children form their territory in the Perijá mountain range (among other indigenous communities in this country) by landowners and by a developmentalist conception of the occupation of space.
  • The failure to comply with the Commission on Land Demarcation, favoring the interests of multinational mining corporations and ignoring the indigenous peoples’ self-demarcation of territories.
  • Indiscriminate evictions in our cities, which violently take the right to homes and shelters away from women — even pregnant women — and their families.
  • The institutions of higher education and their alliance with transnational corporations which produce professionals complicit in the deaths and diseases due the development of monocultures with pesticides that poison the mother earth and her children — us.
  • The dismissal of women from their jobs by Antonio Ledezma, the opposition mayor of Metropolitan Calacas.
  • Domestic violence, the suffering hidden by the demagogy of the conservative bourgeois society.
  • The Catholic Church for its support of the rapist Nixon Moreno.
  • The presence of patriarchy in our daily lives, which manifests itself among our compañeros and even women who copy the machista model.
  • The men who are unable to express affection, solidarity, consideration, cooperation, and respect among others.
  • Corruption and the bureaucratic red tape that prevent the transformation of the bourgeois state into a socialist state.
  • The violence of the empire in all corners of the world, in Palestine and in our continent, and its plots implemented by its lackeys, manipulating students, even those from our barrios and villages.

Convenors: FNCEZ, La Via Campesina, CTU, M.P.R Fogata, Pachamama Collective, the Committee for the Popular University, SURCO-DP Collective, National Coordination of Undergraduate Education in the Department of Political Science and Government at the Bolivarian University of Venezuela, Marea Socialista (Socialist Tide), Voces Latentes (Latent Voices), Argimiro Gabaldón Socialist Commune, “Sin Techo” (Homeless) Movement, the Committee in Support of the Eighth of March, and many others.

This call was published on the Web site of the Asociación Nacional de Medios Comunitarios, Libres y Alternativos, among other Web sites, on 7 March 2009.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at] gmail.com).