Dismantling Corporate Power Over Women’s Lives

A round patch with women drawn on it, a thread on a needle links them; it is written on it: Rana Plaza is everywhere!

On the 24th April we remember the Rana Plaza massacre in Bangladesh, when about 1.000 women, were injured or lost their lives in 2013, due to the collapse of the building where they were working, crammed, in inhuman conditions and in exchange for an immoral salary. We, militants of the World March of Women, united in solidarity, are here together to denounce capitalism greed and patriarchy that exploit and expropriate women’s bodies and productive labor that manifests in our everyday life in different ways.

Capitalism restructures itself permanently using the same violent mechanisms of accumulation of its origin: land and nature appropriation, exploitation of labour, control over women’s bodies, violence and military power. It means that this system manifests itself directly articulated with neo-colonialism and patriarchy.

Corporations relocates production to places around the world known as “tax heaven” where the labour costs less. We know that labour only costs less if the workers have no guaranteed rights. Women, particularly black, asian and/or immigrants and work more hours for less wages. That is the reality for the majority of women, of black, asian and/or immigrants including in northern countries face precarious work conditions, long journeys and the most low wages.

The land grabbing, the transition from familiar agriculture into agriculture for exportation, deforestation and/or contamination of rivers as results of the transnational corporations activities take Women to resent immediately the absence of the basic resources they need to the sustainability of their families, such as food and water. In such a situation, the community start depending on the market to have food on table when they do not have purchasing power, besides have to walk long distances looking for water. The class of urban migrant workers – most of them Men – that emerge with the presence of corporations in the communities, boost prostitution, premature marriages and/or transactional sex as an alternative to the financial difficulties faced by women and their communities.

The food industry that sells Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs) has settled in our markets. In this, the aesthetic appearance of foods has more importance than the nutritional quality of them, in such a way that we see the health and well-being severely affected. The industries of fashion and technology uses media manipulation to accelerate consumption trough the invention of superfluous needs and by selling the idea that consumption gives high status, relaxation and self-esteem to women. We contest the false idea that the feminine is based on the quantity and cost of what one buys.

This context which affects Women everyday of infinite ways is a consequence of the so-called “free-trade” which is not a new thing, and has nothing to do with freedom. The Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are instruments which lay down very strict rules trough an extremely undemocratic process and intends to make the rules irreversible to transnational companies expand their control over our lives, over States and increasing the exploitation of women workforce. With the FTAs, corporations want to appropriate even more of the knowledge historically produced by the peoples. They want to patent life, seeds and knowledge. And they want to have the monopoly on these patents for longer. As examples the The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)

We women fight against the FTAs because these agreements are more than just regulations of trade between countries, they are strategy to control people, expand capitalism and increase inequalities between countries and peoples. They endanger the sustainability of life on earth by the damage they cause to the ozone layer, the destruction of terrestrial and marine biodiversity, and the excessive greed of conquering and exploiting the Moon and other planets. Transnational companies violates humans rights, poison nature and our bodies and remains unpunished. They change their names, logos and brands and relocate production to regions where they can generate more profit.

When we fight against the free trade, we are posing the question on the development model combines machism and racism in the capitalist Market only benefits a small elite. We denounce the strategies used for the permanent capital advance over people’s lands and biodiversity in the southern countries, and the financialization of life.

We, Women of the WMW reaffirm 24th April as a date of resistance and struggle against the TNCs power and impunity and against all forms of neoliberal capitalist exploitation. We invite our militants and allies to join in this reflection/action on their specific context by incorporating their local struggles into this broader discussion. Our questioning is the foundation of the alternatives we are building based on food sovereignty, agroecology and solidarity economy where we defend work as a space for freedom of those who are producers and their consumers.

Our action strengthen us and boost the struggles and resistance in the diversity of women we are and we represent locally and internationally.

Our action strengthen us and boost the struggles and resistance in the diversity of women we are and we represent locally and internationally.

Download the declaration (PDF, 239KB)

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