Spanish women won international attention with an unprecedented feminist strike on March 8 that culminated with hundreds of thousands of people flooding the streets in 120 cities. Half a thousand representatives of feminist collectives from different parts of Spain have discussed this weekend in Gijón the keys of that event that went around the world and what to do next 8-M, International Women's Day. They agree to call a new feminist strike, although for now without unanimity. The representatives of the Feminist Assembly of Madrid, the promoters of this year's strike, are asking for more time to decide if they join. Nor have they closed if on this occasion men will be invited to participate.
The feminist collectives meeting in Gijón plan to repeat the particularities of the protest. There will be work stoppage, as in a general strike to use, to make work centers without women visible. But also other specific ones. It is requested to park for one day the care of children, elderly or sick, unpaid tasks that they assume overwhelmingly as they claimed the past 8-M to the cry of "We want employment, we have more work." Repeat with a student strike and a consumer strike.
Agreeing a new feminist strike took up much of the Saturday morning session. The debate was extended for three hours in the assembly hall of the Pumarín municipal center that hosts the conference. The majority of the participants who took the floor advocated convening already to be able to organize in advance the details of the protest. There were beeps and shouts. The moderators appealed to a previously agreed regulation and the assembly stopped 15 minutes so that the representatives of each community (in some cases of cities) would close a common position and communicate it.
After the break, all the areas except those in Madrid gave their vote to a new 24-hour feminist strike. Members of the Madrid feminist assembly explain that they have a meeting in their community on Monday and that they are still debating whether the strike is "the best tool" to achieve specific goals. They consider that, after the success of 8-M in 2018, the feminist movement has suffered setbacks with sentences such as La Manada – with the five men accused of abuse for nine years, not for rape – and the one condemning Juana Rivas to five years in prison and six years without their children for child abduction. And they ask for time to reflect. The strike of 2018 was approved last January, just two months before the 8-M, in a meeting in Zaragoza.
In Gijón, they supported the strike spokespersons of Catalonia, Aragon, Extremadura, Asturias, Castilla y León and Andalusia, among others. The Asturian meeting, with participants of different ages, is a sample of a very heterogeneous feminist movement and articulated by zones. In the Basque Country they had already decided in September that they would repeat the strike. Asturias also called the men in 2018 and proposes to do it in a generalized way in 2019. The representatives of Comunidad Valenciana want eight days "of revolt", compatible with the strike, to "make more powerful" the next protest.
Some defend a direct appeal with specific demands to the socialist government of Pedro Sanchez, self-proclaimed feminist and the one that has more women in the history of Spain, to get more commitments for example against sexist violence, after the blackest September since there are statistics. 2018 38 dead at the hands of their partners or ex-partners plus one more case in Girona this Saturday. There are 962 since the official accounting began in 2003. Others claim not to focus on political parties.
Julia Fernandez and Carmen Cuenco, Asturians of 22 and 19 years, put the focus on women doubly discriminated against, "which are also oppressed by women", such as lesbians or transsexuals, who "lack referents in education" when they are girls or young people "The bar of 2018 was very high but we did not touch the ceiling, there were many sectors that we did not reach, such as the trans world, immigrants or the rural environment," says Pilar Muñiz, a 49-year-old feminist from Avilés and one of the organizers. of the meeting in Gijón.
"The 8-M has understood that we are not all," says Jennifer Burbano, a 35-year-old Colombian who has lived in Oviedo for three years. It demands attention against the racist attitudes and the specific labor exploitation of the immigrants, who "maintain the care and cleanliness of European societies in inhuman conditions, with great shifts and shit wages".
The role of the syndicates
In January, in another meeting whose location is to be decided, they must agree on whether to call a strike in which men also participate or in what way to involve unions. CC OO and UGT called for two-hour partial strikes last March, a point criticized by feminist organizations, which obtained legal coverage for the 24-hour labor strike of CGT and CNT.
The participants also analyzed failures after a first call that exceeded expectations. They want to improve the visibility of the care strike or a greater commitment to consumption. "I'm a bit afraid of the comparison with last year, but I'm sure the mobilizations will be massive," says Teresa Meana, 66, a retired teacher from Gijón who lives in Valencia.
Meana emphasizes the advance that women have experienced since she began to demonstrate in the 70s of the last century to demand that the crime of adultery be eliminated in Spain, which only punished them. Review how the feminist movement "threw the minister [Alberto Ruiz] Gallardón ", who resigned as head of Justice in 2014 after proposing a reform of the abortion law that returned Spain to a system of assumptions, stricter than the existing one, which aroused angry protests. And he is optimistic: "This is unstoppable."