The spectacular demonstration held in Madrid this March 8 has many readings, but there is a very fast one: how many votes are those? Proof of this is the race to see who is more purple in these pre-election days. The left may assume that they are all theirs; the right, that some will touch you. Does anyone think that a feminist party could capitalize on that river of protest power? That is, in the same way that environmentalists gather their votes in green parties. The feminist movement has unique characteristics, to which the recent Spanish history adds a few others, which allows it to influence the outcome of the game without contributing its own chips to the board. It is a movement so plural and transversal that it can hardly be locked in a political party, neither its own nor foreign.
To tell the truth, in Spain there is already a Feminist Party, founded in 1979 and directed by Lidia Falcón, but perhaps the new voters do not even know him. His electoral career is erratic, the last time he attended an election was in the 1999 European elections and he did not achieve representation. Of similar cut are or have been other feminist formations in the United States, Canada, Iceland and other European countries. They are founded and disappear, sometimes without leaving much mark, and in some cases they do not present candidacy, they limit themselves to giving visibility to the urgency of a feminist agenda.
Lidia Falcón blames the scant success of a formation like his "to the Spanish backwardness inherited from the dictatorship" and to the "hypocrisy of many feminists who postulate themselves as pure, without political contamination", he is outraged. "Nonsense, if everything we do is politics, and many of them belong to political parties. But that being involved in other games we have already done, the famous double militancy, and that is the result, "says Falcón. "The Gender Violence Law? A failure, neither protects nor punishes. The Equality? Anyway".
Without sharing their analysis, many feminists admire the energy of Lidia Falcón at 83, they value her trajectory for equality and mention it immediately when asked about a possible feminist party. But there are many buts.
Lidia Falcón: "Nonsense, if everything we do is politics, and many belong to political parties"
The history of feminism is that of a coexistence of several theories and thoughts, not to mention certain ups and downs between social classes. A polyhedral and diverse phenomenon. There has always been an institutional part, heir to suffragism, which defends the need to integrate into the system and work from within. And another that advocates maintaining the autonomy of the movement because in it, they say, lies its strength. Or what is the same: double militancy (feminist and political), or single militancy (feminist). "This dilemma gave rise to the third way, which advocated combining both. The radical line made the analysis that women were a class [al estilo marxista] and that led to a feminist party. Others think that presence in traditional political parties is the engine of change, "he explains. Gloria Nielfa, historian at the Complutense University and feminist.
Mention the attempt of Clara Campoamor in the Second Republic to bring together women from all the republican parties, not with the intention of replacing them, but so that they could all press from their place for demands that were common to them. So he founded the Feminine Republican Union, which, somehow, exceeded the barriers of the parties, "adds Nielfa. It also recalls the Women's Liberation Front, of 1976, which defended that third way: inside and outside the parties. The historian believes that in the Transition many energies were lost debating about this.
But the Transition was a special moment for Spain. The political parties were taking positions and Women, logically, wondered where to place their strength. Yolanda Besteiro, who was president of Progressive Women and is now a councilor for the PSOE in the City of Alcalá de Henares defends both options, but believes that "the work of women within the parties has made great progress in equality, sexual health and reproductive, gender violence. Current threats are very powerful [todas citan a Vox y sus postulados antifeministas] and the traditional parties are those that touch power, from where we can promote changes, "he says.
The Spanish electoral system does not invite to mount small parties, that of not reaching in each circumscription a sufficient number of votes are thrown all to lose. Thousands of ballots issued throughout Spain would be left without representation. But some are taking their heads, even if first measuring their strength in Europe, where there is no limit to distribute the votes. The PACMA animalist party seems feminist, 80% integrated by women that are also in its dome. It was founded 16 years ago and its evolution of voters is not negligible. "The electoral system is a stick in the wheels, they force us to collect signatures, our videos are not broadcast because we have no representation and, despite everything, we grow. Our relationship between the euro and the vote is the best. We have 300,000 votes almost in Spain. In the European this time we will reach representation, "confides the president, Silvia Barquero.
The Spanish electoral system does not invite to mount small parties
In recent times in which the left has suffered from a certain orphanhood, it is possible that these small parties have channeled that vote of discontent, as perhaps a feminist party could do. "It may be, but we do not know because we do not even have the capacity to conduct surveys, but it is perhaps more likely that it will be annoyance due to the lack of ethics. The PACMA is not a catch-all, it can capture a certain vote of punishment, but, in any case, those voters will always be in tune with our postulates. "
In spite of everything, Yolanda Besteiro relies more on "the alliances of the women in the different parties than presenting one of their own. It is difficult to get strength, parliamentary representation, to condition the action of government, "he says.
The political scientist Silvia Clavería is similar: "What you have to have is a stronger position within the generalist formations, it is more strategic to go there than to a monothematic party," he says. Margarita León, Professor of Political Sciences at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, points out this way: "Feminism must influence political parties, not constitute them. Strong formations are needed "and another microparty, he thinks, would perhaps weaken the left, from where, traditionally, this thought has been conveyed. León explains that the women's movement has reached such a transversality that it should not be capitalized by any particular party, nor even give rise to one of its own. "What would a feminist party be like: transversal, left? To create an own party we would have to have a scenario where the feminist demand had no place in any place, but it is that until the right it has already included it in its agenda, from the inclusive language to the defense of the homosexual collective or the fight against the gender violence. And the left is fighting to see who is more feminist. I think the risk is precisely that the left claim as the only feminist parties, "he says. That same thing has repeated these days the leader of Ciudadanos Inés Arrimadas. "The left has the history, but not the monopoly [del feminismo]", Says León.
The perception of feminism as a traveling companion of the progressive parties is unequivocal and the recent history of Spain has allowed it to be seen with flying colors. When the left parties do not show it, the right-wing parties do, making women uncomfortable with certain involutionary proposals (abortion, gender violence). In Spain it was the PSOE, the party that institutionalized the movement to a great extent, with the creation of the Women's Institutes in 1983. The message was set: equality was fought from within the party and the system. But decades later, the thing has another look. "In fact, in those years there were femocrats, feminists integrated into the bureaucratic, political system, but the current expansion no longer has such strong ties. There are other new feminists who perhaps do not have those links with the parties, nor the need for a double militancy, "says Clavería. It comes to define many young people who are comfortable in feminism without more. And then they choose who to vote for. Despite the efforts of the current parties to channel the feminist vote, it seems rather that it turns towards the single militancy, that of the purple circle and cross.
Margarita León: "The left has history, but not monopoly [del feminismo]"
But even knowing that the majority of feminists at present is leftist, as Rosa Cobo maintains, "the fact is that there is more than one left. Which of them should a feminist party register ?, he asks. "The debate on the use of power has been and continues to be central to feminism, especially since the 1970s, when the movement reflected more intensely on the need to equip itself with a theory of power through a political party or integrated into the traditional ones, "says Cobo, professor of Gender Sociology at the University of A Coruña. However, she believes that the difficulties of fitting feminism into a party of its own are not few "and the experiences in the XX and XXI century have not translated into electoral successes, for various reasons". He mentions "the inter-class character of the women's movement: there are women from all social classes, with different cultural, racial, sexual orientation ascriptions. All are subject to inequality and violence in patriarchal societies, but not all suffer in the same intensity. Can a feminist party represent half of society despite the differences and inequalities that exist between women, "he asks.
In 1981, the Argentine Judith Astelarra published in this newspaper a tribune entitled The feminist movement is not a party. There he said: "The feminist movement is not a political party, nor a trade union, nor a professional organization, nor any form of political or social organization that has a stable structure. The movement is made up of a large number of groups to which it unites its common interest in the rejection of the patriarchal society and the alienation of women that is produced in it, and which have many differences, both in the very conception of what feminism should be, as with other political, cultural or social issues. "
Asked today, he says that contexts qualify convictions. And now I would not be uncomfortable with the existence of a feminist party that won seats in Congress and placed women's interest in equality in power. But she also says that it is difficult to combine the diversity of feminism with the creation of a party. "The awareness of inequality has already the whole world, is on the agenda" and that, he believes, is what gives strength to the numerous manifestations purple. Now, he continues, "we need women on all sides. The right has also changed, there we also need them, each one arriving where he can or wants to arrive. We need that when the right governs, what has been achieved is not taken down. There are many types of feminisms, with more and more surnames, "he rejoices. Perhaps the last one is "liberal feminism," as Citizens has called it which includes the regulation of prostitution and rent bellies, two thorny issues that many feminists reject outright.
But, despite being on the political agenda and the success of the demonstrations, or perhaps as a reaction to it, the movement continues to face high levels of criminalization. When the figures place the equality between the two sexes still in a distant horizon and thousands of women die every day around the world for a macho conception of society, feminazi it is an extended concept, with which women are accused of radicalizing their cause to devour the rights of men. "This has taken hold in certain sectors of the public opinion and that would probably contribute to hinder the electoral success of a feminist party," says Cobo. Silvia Clavería abounds in this, insuring that, despite the push she enjoys now, "the feminist movement has not enjoyed much sympathy in recent times." He thinks that from the 15-M, has returned to have boom and among younger women who have nothing to do with what before ". We can, that channeled much of that movement of indignant and could be another example of the route that, at present, can have a newly founded party, does not go through its best, you can almost say that it dilutes like a sugar before even to touch the water.
"Strong leadership is needed to constitute parties and I believe that the new generations do not like being institutionalized and are more critical of the parties. They are organized in a more informal way, without the ties or the classical discipline of the traditional formations "says Asunción Bernárdez Rodal, director of the University Master's Degree in Feminist Studies of the Complutense. "But beware, warn, forgetfulness kills feminism. Believe that everything is to be invented, that before us there was nothing ... That discourse of breaking with previous generations that is being used in politics does not serve for feminism. It is not enough to name something in English and believe that it is new. "