Would you date a feminist and why
Feminism and New Internationalism
First, can you explain to us your analysis of neoliberalism in Latin America and today's debates about it?
We need to think about the sense in which neoliberalism in our region has persisted and changed at the same time. I think this is the only way we can understand how it is returning (if we want to use this overly linear word) and in what sense neoliberalism needs a fascist micropolitics today in order to establish itself. I think that gives us a different political realism when talking about neoliberalism and setting the horizon in what we can call post-neoliberal and / or anti-neoliberal.
In particular, I am concerned with the problematization of the mechanisms that are called social inclusion. The inclusion in consumption dynamics through massive and generalized debt harbors a number of problems that we cannot escape, especially in view of the question of how the capillary effect of debt and financial dispositions structures households and everyday life today. Today finances are responsible for indebting this desire for inclusion, privatizing it, adjusting it and submitting it to very high interest rates. Here, I think, a different perspective is unfolding on what we call neoliberalism, but also on the dynamics of the region and on what this level of neoliberal development means in our region today.
In your analysis of the popular economy in Argentina, which elements would you highlight for the construction of alternatives?
The social movements questioned what was called work, what kind of dignity work gives you when work is precarious, when it sucks, and so on. They think about what it means to set up self-managed forms of work without a boss, without having a perfect anti-capitalist alternative model, about what this means under the conditions of expropriation, crisis, fragility in all areas, and at the same time they try out these forms of work and negotiate resources for this with the state, from the perspective of autonomy, which complicates this term.
It is a process that emerged from the piquetero movement, which also saw a high level of participation by women. The impetus for these movements to break the lockdown in the home came from the women who set up all the canteens and after-school facilities, who started all the various activities in the neighborhood. It was this social infrastructure that later made the roadblock possible as a political mechanism with great public influence. I think that today many of the comrades in the popular economy are daughters of the piqueteras in terms of generational history as well as the accumulation of experience.
According to my hypothesis, this genealogy can be drawn in the same way as vectors of radicality show up in popular economies, which have to do with the elements of anti-sexist, anti-classical and anti-racist insubordination, which cannot simply be turned off. There cannot be a perfect alternative model with a textbook anti-capitalist program, but there is a field where, for example, they discuss what is paid work and what work has historically been made invisible and unpaid, and where the struggle is against that Poverty is moralized by those who advance the economies of obedience, which is happening today heavily under the influence of the churches.
Besides the piquetero movement, what other processes have this explosion of the marea verde in Argentina and also on a Latin American and international level?
There are three very important lines in Argentina. In addition to the already mentioned piquetero movement, there is the story of the national women's meeting, which is something very special and has been taking place for over three decades. Experience is gained in it, and for generations it has been a space of popular feminist pedagogy that not only asserts itself as a ritual, but is at the same time very porous and very permeable to the various economic cycles.
The third line is the mothers and grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo: this is the genealogy that makes it possible that, unlike in many other places in the world, human rights in Argentina are not reduced to a liberal calculation. It is a historical struggle led by women who now see themselves as feminist in the rereading - today mothers say: "We recognize that we were feminists". For me, in this recognition, the movement with which the struggles in every epoch induce the previous struggles to rethink, redefine and inscribe themselves in a more comprehensive genealogy is especially unbelievable to me.
I would add that this connection of mothers and grandmothers is very important because all the time they have been opening the discussion about what it means to establish justice, and this has led them to seek alliances with other struggles every moment. There is a very important contact zone with the feminist movement that also re-opens the idea of justice - both in terms of the discussion with the patriarchal justice system and the challenge of thinking about what other types of justice are possible, desirable and conceivable when it comes to abuse, sexual harassment and macho violence. How is reparation to be imagined that is not purely institutional? What is the connection between injustice and social condemnation? The point is to start again what the Escraches raised in their time against the unpunished genocides: The slogan "If there is no justice, there is Escrache" was part of a collective device of building social, popular, neighborly condemnation .
At the Latin American level, all the dynamics of the struggle against neo-extractivist corporations are very important. This opens up the whole discussion that the comrades from Central America call the dimension of body territory, as an extension of the body, which is no longer understood individually, in relation to the limits of the individual, the barriers of individual law, but as an extension of the Body expanding into a territory. I think that there is another dynamic at the regional level that today strengthens, weaves, and produces different images and a different vocabulary for feminism.
How was plurality built or sought within the feminist movement?
The ability to develop transversality today has to do with creating closeness between very different struggles: between the struggles of the migrants, the workers, the comrades in the unions, universities and schools or in the villages who tell you: "Here feminism does not have to arrive first, we make feminism in the village ". Feminism has ceased to be an outward phenomenon here, relating to "the other"; in all these areas it has become the key to reading the conflict in the territory.
An important aspect of feminism is that nobody is outside the territory, nobody lacks territory, we are all situated, and the body is body-territory at the same time. This aspect problematizes a certain idea of solidarity, which always implies a degree of externality in which you can show solidarity with a person whose conflict does not connect with you.
How do you see the next March 8th, how do you see the new global wave sometimes referred to as this, what challenges does it present?
The dimension of internationalism and the global has always been very important for feminism, and with it what we understand by internationalism is being redefined in an opening out of practice. It seems to me that the previous models of internationalism had a structure that homogenized the experiences of different places, and now the question could be asked in this way: How does internationalism feel today in every struggle as a concrete force?
The discussion starts here with the question of abortion, and suddenly in some countries this gives an unexpected force to stimulate the debate. And the question of abortion goes not only beyond individual law, but also about who dies for abortions, who pays for it, who doesn't pay, who makes laws over us, in what sense they want to uphold this legislation over our bodies which institutions are leading the counter-offensive, etc. This expansion of the problems, discourses and practices related to abortion is inextricably linked to the political fabric of the international strikes and to the internationalist impulse they have initiated.
I am very impressed that the strikes, as they were taken up and reinvented by the feminist movement, open up the possibility of concrete transnational research. It is when the union calls you to strike and you already know what to do, what it means and how the result is measured, and who the strike is aimed at. It is completely different when the feminist movement calls for a strike and says: "We are all workers". Then each group, each comrade, has to name in what sense they work, how they work, how much, and who recognizes this work as such. This opens up a very practical experience of thinking about what we call work, what is recognized and what is not, how we create value today, what the economy of care looks like. That is, many very important discussions arise under practical conditions, from daily experience.
How can we articulate this idea of a new internationalism?
I think there are two levels that can generate a resonance that is not only spontaneous but also has a kind of retroactive effect, namely in the exchange of images, texts and slogans, in recognition in another fight that speaks to you . It's kind of a connection through affect, I would say. And the other level concerns the question of how we structure this new internationalism, with networks, in constant contact, taking into account an accumulation of knowledge and our power that is not the kind of classical political accumulation. I would say that this is a kind of connection that allows us to recharge our forces and also to take care of them.
I think we have to see that the counter-offensive directed against us is threefold: it is military, financial and religious. She responds directly to the destabilizing power of feminism. This connection is also pointed out, but only in the style of assigning guilt. In Brazil, for example, this is very clear. There they said: "# EleNão ended in Bolsonaro's triumph" and blamed the # EleNão demonstrations and also those following the murder of Marielle Franco, which were the largest Brazilian demonstrations in recent times. The attempt to assign blame seems very powerful to me, and then there is criminalization.
How can we think of forms that consolidate this internationalism, which enables us to recharge our forces on a global level and at the same time protect them against this equally global counter-offensive? We also need to think about self-defense mechanisms because the attacks are getting more brutal and I think that is a question for internationalism of this new type.
8M - The great feminist strike. Constellations of March 8th
Verónica Gago, Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar, Susana Draper, Mariana Menéndez Díaz, Marina Montanelli, Marie Bardet / Suely Rolnik
Translated from the Spanish by Michael Grieder and Gerald Raunig
With a foreword by Isabell Lorey
transversal texts, November 2018
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