Feminist revolutionaries from Mexico, the United States and Argentina meet

Four women pose with a copy of the Radical Women's Manifesto.

Activists from PSL in Argentina and POS in Mexico pose with author Kato (center right) ahead of the women’s reunion on Sunday, December 8, 2019. PHOTO: Stephen Durham / FS

In early December 2019, I traveled to Mexico City to meet socialist feminist leaders from Latin America. I had the honor of representing Radical Women and participating in discussions with women from Partido Obrero Socialista (POS – Socialist Workers’ Party – Mexico), Mujeres por la Libertad (Women for Freedom – Argentina) and Partido Socialismo y Libertad (PSL – Party of Socialism and Freedom – Argentina). Our goals were to deepen the analysis of feminist uprisings in our own countries, discuss the need for female leadership in the workplace and the importance of empowering women’s organizations, and develop plans to expand our collaboration. .

This historic face-to-face between Radical Women (RW) and other groups is the result of the work carried out within the Committee for the International Revolutionary Group (CRIR) by our sister organization, the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP), and PSL. and POS (see article here).

Given the feminist rebellion that is unfolding across the world, it was appropriate to meet in Mexico where women are organizing against the femicide which claims the lives of ten women every day. We heard from students in the Philosophy Department of the National University of Mexico (UNAM) protesting the lack of action regarding sexual violence and the disappearance of a student. Banners proclaiming “Death to machismo” are hung in the corridors of the department.

Counter reformist leadership. Our groups shared a common critique of traditional feminists whose role is to curb the activism of the movement. In Argentina, the big demonstrations organized by reformist groups are picked up by an even greater number of young feminists who show up at the end to express more radical messages for liberation.

Mujeres por la Libertad, an independent women’s organization initiated by feminists from PSL, offers these activists a left wing in which to channel their energy. RW co-founded Seattle Silence Breakers, which transformed the MeToo hashtag into an organization that fights against sexual and racial harassment in the workplace.

The women of the POS provide resources on abortion services and are leaders of the teachers’ union in Oaxaca.

The need for an autonomous organization. Increased activism by women has prompted the left in many countries to rebrand itself as a “socialist feminist” in order to appear inclusive. However, when women rise up within their own parties and assert their leadership, the answer does not always correspond to theory.

Such experiences led one of the women present at our meeting to travel to Rojava, Syria to get a first-hand view of women as respected leaders and armed fighters. Her travels were a turning point for the women in her party. They were motivated to form a new party, PSL, which is rooted in revolutionary socialist feminism. In the process, they also studied The Manifesto of Radical Women, which allowed them to better understand the functioning of an autonomous women’s organization.

The question of whether revolutionary parties should participate in and promote independent women’s organizations has been a sticking point for the international left since the emergence of the second wave feminist movement. Many revolutionary women have been lost to the socialist movement because of a sexist opposition which has generated great distrust of the left. Until recently, the FSP was alone in its commitment to autonomous socialist women’s organizations, as embodied in its support for radical women. Now is the time to right this wrong and to build a revolutionary wing of the women’s struggle.

This first meeting set modest goals as a starting point – a jointly issued statement for International Women Workers’ Day (March 8), a possible meeting on revolutionary socialist feminism in Argentina, and a commitment to find more ways to collaborate.

Solidarity beyond borders. In addition to meeting the women, I attended a POS conference a few days earlier. I learned from female comrades about the struggles in which women outlets are engaged throughout Mexico. In Oaxaca, the organizational model is based on indigenous traditions where women, men, gays, trans people and lesbians are seen as equal and respected.

Participants were interested in RW’s analysis on #MeToo and appreciated our position that the movement must address the institutions that perpetuate gender-based violence. They wanted to know about our work with immigrant women, our demand for open borders and the protests we have organized against the ICE raids.

The various gatherings have given me a better understanding of the power of ideas and how shared political perspectives unite us, wherever we are in the world. It is heartwarming to know that there are revolutionary socialist feminists who are building the struggle on a global scale!

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National Bureaus of Radical Women – United States: 206-722-6057. [email protected] • Australia: 03-9388-0062. [email protected] • Website: radicalwomen.org

Thelma J. Longworth