For this year’s feminist day of struggle on March 8, we participated in the noon rally and demonstration in Göttingen. You can read our speech here:
“First of all: solidarity with the strikers! [Note: On 08.03. the employees of the social & educational service went on strike] We wish you much strength in your struggle!
Forgive my directness, but we have to be honest: Enough is enough!
For so long we have had to live with the exploitation and oppression that this system imposes on us every day. For so long we have had to fight against this system, just like our predecessors. So many had to give their freedom and their lives for this struggle. We say: Enough!
Every day we are reduced to our gender and our appearance. Every day we are treated as objects – whether for the satisfaction of male lust, uninformed curiosity or capitalist profit maximization. Every day we are turned from people into things. We say, enough is enough!
For so long we have been supposed to take care of children and household. For so long we have been supposed to be friendly and helpful. For so long we have been told to take care of everyone and not to run away. We say: That’s enough! We should always be nice and quiet. Always keep our mouths shut. Don’t question or criticize anything. We say: Enough!
For centuries capitalism and patriarchy have been running hand in hand – on our backs. We are supposed to work unpaid or for little money, so that those who already have so much accumulate even more wealth. We are supposed to be just the good cog in the big machine. And because we many small cogs might notice that together we could simply stop this whole wretched machine, we are divided up and rushed on each other.
They tell our brothers – sometimes more openly, sometimes more subtly – “You have nothing and have to slave all day. But at least you can feel like a king at home.” And we are then supposed to restore our own labor and that of all the cis men in our lives in addition to all the wage labor. Are supposed to make what little free time they have as comfortable as possible – as if we weren’t human too! This way we are played off against each other and the perspective of a real liberation is taken away from all of us, also from our brothers.
And here in Germany we are even the luckier ones. Because in the Global South our brothers and sisters are not ‘only’ exploited, but also wars are started, whole areas are devastated, children are enslaved, the water is poisoned with industrial waste, and so much more terrible things to secure the profits of big companies. In short, the country and many of our brothers and sisters are being raped, tortured and murdered.
But we don’t even have to look to the global south, to the cruelest excesses of capitalism. Also here, in the oh so beautiful, western, free, democratic Germany, more than 100 women are murdered every year by their partner or ex-partner. Here, too, more than one fifth of all children live in poverty, that is almost 3 million. Here, too, women, especially trans women, have to prostitute themselves in order to survive. Here, too, people live on the streets without shelter. Here, too, the police only look on when people of color are murdered – if they are not themselves the perpetrators. Here, too, trans people are denied access to medical care. Here, too, people with disabilities are virtually legally obligated to live in poverty. Here, too, people live with hunger, without access to medicine, in poverty and with all the other forms of violence.
Because we have to say this again so clearly: every person who suffers hunger is subjected to violence. Every person who doesn’t have access to medication, violence is done to them. Every person who doesn’t have their own shelter, violence is done to them. Any person who cannot leave a relationship because they are financially dependent on their partner is subjected to violence. Any person who has to hide their gender or sexuality for fear of their life or limb is being subjected to violence. And any person who is non-white, non-German, non-cis, non-straight, and non-male is subjected to violence in this society for this reason.
To make a long story short: Any person who has to sell their labor or their body in order to survive – and that’s almost all of us – is subjected to violence. The difference is only in the nature and extent of the violence. And far too many of us, pay the bill of the rich with our lives every year.
But what now? That all sounds rather depressing – to put it nicely. But what can we do? Well, we can – and we must! – overthrow this sexist, racist, exploitative and murderous system!
This may sound totally unrealistic and radical. But let’s be honest: For centuries our ancestors have been fighting for a better society and a better life. Against this system that murders countless people every year and imprisons even more of us in bondage and exploitation. And we have asked for change. We asked nicely. We wrote petitions. We have voted. We have demonstrated. Have made speeches and written books. We have discussed and philosophized. But nothing has changed in the property relations.
Time is up! We can no longer watch the planet being ground up and all of us with it.
But what can we do? Of course, we don’t have a perfect answer, but we are sure of one thing. What we need is organization. We need to become more, to become many. We need to become aware of our own power and use it for the liberation of all of us. Only organized can we do the actions we need – whether political strikes, blockades, social self-sufficiency, or whatever. Therefore: organize yourselves and organize others!
We are happy if you come to us – the Free Workers Union – and fight with us at the workplace and beyond against exploitation and oppression. But if you don’t like trade unions – or at least ours – then organize somewhere else! This isn’t a team sport, it’s our historic responsibility!
Look at where you are in life; look at what moves you; and join with others! Only if we all fight to the best of our abilities do we have a chance. But if we fight, we have so much to gain.
With that in mind, for a militant Feminist Fight Day! For a militant feminist year! For a militant feminist world!
For freedom! For feminism! Up the international solidarity!”