It is a more atypical day than ever, but the 8M of this 2021 has started showing that the feminist movement is present and has muscle. In the framework of the restrictions due to COVID-19 and after the prohibition of concentrations in Madrid, endorsed by the Constitutional Court this morning, feminists are looking for alternative ways of occupying public space: from this morning you can see balconies decorated with posters, sheets or purple balloons; small symbolic actions in the street, the classic purple garments worn by some women and presence on social networks. In many neighborhoods of the community, there have also been called “feminist walks” in groups of six and a protest at 8:00 pm that calls for making “noise” with applause or saucepans from balconies, windows or doorways.
8M 2021 comes between the restrictions of the pandemic, tensions in feminism and a crisis of care that threatens equality
“Today we are not going to go out to the squares of Madrid, but we are going to be in each of the squares of the Spanish State. We are going to be on the balconies, in the companions who have to go to work and are dressed in purple, with their feminist discourse “, the spokespersons of the 8M Commission pointed out at a press conference.
The feminist movement wants to send the message today that, despite the lack of the great mobilizations of the previous years, “we are a global cry and we have come to change everything.” And because “they cannot prohibit us and they cannot call off the feminist struggle,” the Government Delegation in Madrid says in relation to the decision, they call to “fill the towns and neighborhoods with purple.”
“If we stop, the world stops”, can be read in one of the posters hanging in the form of a clothesline in the Arturo Barea square in Madrid on the morning of this Monday. In the middle, several Moroccan women who receive Spanish classes at the Paideia association, a few meters away, dance and explain that the cardboard “is all the things we do at home and that people don’t usually see,” says Sanae Elmachichti. All 8M do some symbolic action and this year there are fewer due to the restrictions of the pandemic, but these types of events are gaining more importance than ever.
A collection of protest posters also occupies the Plaza del Ayuntamiento de Aranjuez, feminists from the Madrid neighborhood of Prosperidad are leaving their “feminist mark” in different corners and the Villablanca health center, in Vicálvaro, has dawned decorated with feminist slogans. Ana Useros, spokesperson for the Madrid 8M Commission, believes that these actions are “common” and are not due to “the fact that feminism is reinventing itself today” because “feminism is there every day and on a daily basis”, but it does coincide where “more are coming to light.”
Despite the prohibitions, at the Puerta del Sol the Student Union has gathered at 12 in the morning fifty women who have made a tour around the entire square guarded by agents of the State Security Forces and Bodies . One of these protesters is Claudia, 18, whom the Government Delegation’s prohibitions prompted her to attend the rally. “It is angry. It is just one more example of the pressure that is exerted on women. Neo-Nazis, deniers, and soccer fans have gathered.” Along with her was her friend Sara, also 18 years old, who highlighted respect “for all security measures, with masks and distances.”
Not only have students demonstrated; They have been joined by women of all ages, such as María José, 62, who has come on her own because she believes it is necessary to “remember that sexist violence continues to kill women, that they continue to relegate us to care and violence. inequality is still present in all areas of our life. ”
At the end of the concentration of the student union, two women addressed the protesters who remained in the square singing the Face to the Sun, which has caused a confrontation that has resulted in the attack on one of the protesters. Riot police officers have had to intervene to break up the fighting.
In other cities of Spain the key calls will take place this afternoon, with limited mobilizations that in this case have been authorized respecting security measures, but in several there have already been acts during the morning: in Valencia The feminist movement has concentrated at the gates of the Government Delegation for the rights of migrant women, while in Navarre or Bilbao there has been various concentrations to denounce “structural violence, machismo and patriarchy suffered by women for the mere fact of being so.” And in the Sevillian neighborhood of Triana A community of weavers has crocheted a purple and white bow in a plaza.
Also this morning the Government has held an institutional act in which the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, and the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, have participated, who has recognized that this March 8 is “different”, although nothing can prevent the strength of women when they come together “side by side to defend life”, for which she has called for “more feminism than ever”. Sánchez, for his part, has assured that it is time to “protect what has been achieved and move forward” and has defended the action of the Executive which, he assures, “has continued to fulfill its agenda by applying the gender perspective.”
An 8M “more necessary than ever”
The outrage in the feminist movement for the prohibition of concentrations in Madrid this Monday is practically unanimous. They consider that it is an “act of invisibility of women and of contempt for their work” and draw attention to the fact that “what they have prohibited has not been mass mobilizations”, but decentralized concentrations and varied in number: some, such as Those of the community towns did not exceed 100 attendees, while the four summoned in the center of the capital had a maximum of 500. Others, such as the protests called by the UGT and CCOO, did not exceed 50 attendees. so the unions decided to appeal to the Constitutional Court, which has upheld the ban.
In this sense, the Madrid 8M Commission has announced that it will also request protection from the Constitutional Court, because it considers that the prohibition has been general, “disproportionate” and “poorly founded”, said spokeswoman Marta Carramiñana, who has mentioned other authorized protests in the capital in recent months or the concentration yesterday around the Wanda Metropolitano stadium against the Atlético de Madrid-Real Madrid derby.
The Pan y Rosas collective appeals to the same, which has sent a small representation to the Puerta del Sol rally because they consider that 8M is this year “more necessary than ever: the pandemic has highlighted inequality”: “We had rallies scheduled with maximum security measures and limited capacity in the same city where we see crowds at football matches, in the subway or in precarious jobs … We thought we had to attend because the greatest risk was to stay at home and lose our rights, “he said. regretted its spokesperson, Josefina Martínez.
Feminists have also denounced the vandalization of the feminist mural of Ciudad Lineal, which has dawned this 8M crossed out with black paint. An attack to which the residents of the district have responded, who have concentrated and sent messages of support. The day before, the painting of Alcalá de Henares that replicated that of Ciudad Lineal, yellow paint spit also appeared, erasing the faces of the 15 pioneer women that creation honors.
In the background, the story created after 8M last year and propelled by the right for months: the setting of the date as a key transmission focus in the expansion of the pandemic, together with the ‘irresponsibility’ of the feminist movement and the Government, represented a lucky again conspiracy theory which even brought the government delegate to court. The case ended up being shelved and the scientific evidence also denied this type of claim, but the right and its related sectors have once again stirred the ghost of 8M as the date approached again.