Argentina: Controversies running up to the general strike on 8M. Demobilizing and dividing helps the enemy

In 2018, the feminist revolution gave birth to an unstoppable green wave. The demands include the legalisation of abortion, ILE (Legal Pregnancy Interruption), ESI (Integral Sex Education), anti-violence budget, secular State and much more. Against the ILE denied to the raped child in Jujuy and the srecent eries of femicides, there were calls across the country to mobilize. This means, keeping the streets as a political territory to denounce and demand the State and its institutions, which are responsible for these problems. Organizations of the FPV (Kirchnerist Front for Victory) and its periphery called to not mobilize or divided the calls. We must confront that policy, which benefits the enemy: the patriarchal and capitalist system.

2019 started and in a few weeks it was shown that the fight is more necessary than ever. On one hand, in Jujuy, a 12-year-old child, raped and pregnant, was forced by the anti-rights sectors to have a premature cesarean delivery against her will, when she was tryinf to exercise her right to a non-criminalizedabortion. The scandalous case proved the unfeasibility of the fetus outside the pregnant person and risked the only endangered life: the life of a child that suffered all the violences of the system. On the other side, 24 femicides and 10 travesticides in the 35 days of the year are a straight-up attack. The lack of public policies do not demonstrate an “absent State”: the State is present and it is an accomplice!

With anger and pain, these facts made the feminist movement re-evaluate who refuses to give us our rights and how to confront them. It is the State, through its healthcare and education system, and the justice system that never defines anything. And are the Catholic and evangelical churches and other anti-rights organizations that, with their blue hankerchief, exert constant pressure to impede the legalization of abortion, the ESI, the ILE and effective protection against sexist violence.

Unfortunately, in the feminist movement there are political sectors that, like some Kirchnerist groups andtheir allies, by not mobilizing or dividing the calls, end up benefiting the reactionary anti-rights sectors and the State. The same happens with our right to abortion: with different arguments, they halted the fight until the parliamentary renewal of 2019, instead of, for example, using the primary elections in August to hold a binding referendum to approve the law that the lower house f Congress already accepted.

Legal abortion vs anti-Macri front?

Already in last November, while the G20 summit was taking place (summit which she called on people to not mobilize against), Cristina Kirchner ratified what she held as State policy in an alliance with Bergogliowhen she was in office: abortion isn’t a popular problem. During her speech at the CLACSO conferenceshe affirmed: “in our space there are green hankerchiefs and blue hankerchiefs. And we must learn to accept this without dividing our forces. This is essential. It mas be difficult; you may not like what I’m saying, but it’s what I think”.

She is basically calling for the green-blue unity to unite “everything” against Macri in October. There are several Kirchnerist groups that are trying to adapt, avoiding the abortion issue or dissociating it from the fight against the government and even from the electoral campaign, because they know that their candidate does not defend that right. Somehow, some young feminists support this, like Ofelia Fernández (La Emergente-Frente Patria Grande). In her interview with Florencia Alcaraz, she argues that when neoliberalism advances, “it is necessary to organize with some discomfort”… like building with the help of Juan Grabois, the Pope’s friend. The consequence is, in fact, that the feminist mobilization has beenslowed down or weakened.

Of course, this mistaken attitude generates legitimate discontent and resistance among young activists inside these organizations, who do want to mobilize. And they are right! We know that to win the IVE(Voluntary Pregnancy Interuption Bill), an emergency budget for the anti-violence law or to stop the austerity plan of Macri and the IMF, for whatever we demand, we need to continue winning the streets and now we must build the international strike of women and diversities: an enormous active general strike on 8M.

The 1F mobilization and the 8M strike

In response to the case in Jujuy and the femicides, it was and is necessary to answer mobilized on the streets and in unity. But in Buenos Aires there were Kirchnerist sectors that demobilized or divided.

In the Coordinator of Base Students (high schoolers) and the Student Center of the Joaquín V. González institute – one of the largest terciaries in the country – the respective leaderships of La Emergente and Caravana-Patria Grande refused to mobilize because “we must build a feminism of the majorities with more and more powerful and multitudinous instances, beyond the different cases that generated and generate a spontaneous reaction of the activists, and on this opportunity, this is not the case, and the call is not broad and massive enough, in terms of what we understand it is necessary to build”.

So the unitary march of 5000 people to Plaza de Mayo, called by 60 organizations, as part of a national day of struggle with Jujuy is not “one of those cases”, it isn’t “massive enough”? Since they looked ridiculous, they ended up sending a small group of La Caravana.

Meanwhile, four other Kirchnerist or related groups, instead of marching with the main column, went to the Plaza on their own before the unitary act and only with anti-femicide slogans, omitting completely the abortion issue: the Evita, Somos (Victoria Donda), Marea and the PTP-PCR, which orbits the PJ-K space. The result is the same, it weakens the necessary unity in the mobilization.

With these groups, another substantial political debate opens up: how to strengthen the March 8 strike. Surely, in the preparatory meetings that begin this week we will hear excuses of all kinds in order to notdemand the general strike we need from the CGT and the CTA: that it is a strike only for women, that the union leadership will not accept, that the bases dom´t want it, that it should be resolved individualy ineach union, anything …

But we’re different. In Juntas y a la Izquierda, Libre Diversidad and the MST we fight for everything.

As the unified document that we read on 1st in Plaza de Mayo stated: “We demand the trade union centrals to call for an effective strike”. We are going to meet with the leaders to call for the 8M general strike. And if they refuse to do so, they will have their well-deserved pañuelazo. Because we need the general strike not only for abortion, ILE, ESI or an emergency anti-violence budget, but also against the austerity policies, utilities hikes, lay-offs and low salaries that Macri and the governors apply by orders of the IMF. If there is a social sector that gets hit the hardest by austerity, it is the women, lesbians, trans, transvestites and non-binaries! We have plenty of reasons to support the 8M strike!

Jeanette Cisneros

1. FB de la comisión directiva del centro de estudiantes del JVG.