24 Hours of Feminist Action and Solidarity Around the World

Five years have now passed since more than 1,000 women died and many others were injured in the collapse of the Rana Plaza buildings in Bangladesh, where they worked in dehumanising conditions in exchange for a meagre salary. The news shocked people around the world. Numerous actions were organised to condemn the tragedy and demand reparation for the damage caused. We, the World March of Women, join the urgent call from social groups and movements all over the world to put an end to the impunity of transnational corporations, not only in Bangladesh, but also globally.

In 2015, in the context of our 4th International Action, we decreed 24th April as a Day of Global Solidarity and Action to remember these everyday martyrs and to reflect on the place of women’s work in international economic dynamics. Our reflections and political analysis in the various places in which we mobilise and construct our campaigns has led us to the conclusion that phenomena such as the Rana Plaza disaster are everywhere, and manifest themselves in very different ways.

Once again, the mobilisations for 8th March this year represent a call to action by women’s movements around the world with regard to the work of women and their contribution to the global economy. The call for a general strike to demonstrate the importance of women’s work and to denounce the various forms of exploitation and inequality they suffer received support from numerous women’s groups and movements, as well as trade union alliances.

As 24th April comes around again, we, the women of the World March of Women, reaffirm our struggle, condemning the patriarchal capitalist system which preserves and perpetuates inequality due to the sexual division of labour, subjecting women to reproductive work while simultaneously rendering this work invisible and discrediting it within a broad economic sphere. Reproductive and care work is what generates, reproduces and sustains the life which maintains all other social and human dynamics. And yet, the capitalist, patriarchal system appropriates the labour power of women, and, in many circumstances, manipulates and commodifies this work for its own financial benefit.

The capitalist system was responsible for causing the economic crisis and recession. In this context, we see a weakening of the State and the loss of its role as a guardian of public policy and guarantor of access to health, education, transport, sanitation and social security services

for citizens, particularly women. Instead, we are witnessing an increase in the power of companies which take control of institutions and services by means of privatisation. These companies reduce services to a minimum and charge a fortune for providing them. The majority of the population, especially women, are deprived of the ability to exercise their basic rights.

We live in an era in which imperialist capitalism is making great strides, imposing modern forms of colonisation on peoples and their lands: free trade agreements and megaprojects for investment promote territorial invasion, and the exploitation and commodification of nature and land, water and forest systems. They destroy the way of life, culture and traditional wisdom of local people. For capitalism, everything has a price and everything can be replaced. But we know that is not the case!

These instruments create discord, whip up conflict and make local life impossible. The North has developed on the basis of imperialist colonialism, and continues to use the same strategies today to save itself from this crisis of its own making. People are forced to migrate from rural areas to cities, or from cities to other countries, in search of safety and better living conditions. Often, women fall victim to extortion and are trapped in criminal networks where they are trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour or slave labour, with no apparent escape route. What appear to be low production costs in Asia, Africa and Latin America represent a high cost in terms of the destruction of women’s lives, the environment and humankind.

This patriarchal, capitalist and colonialist system is not only designed to weaken the State, but also to destroy all forms of democratic organisation which defend the common good.

For this reason, we, the World March of Women, will mobilise on 24th April 2018 to reaffirm our fight to defend the systems which sustain life and to call for our work to be valued as a central part of the economy and of all systems ensuring the sustainability of life. We champion the values of coexistence and solidarity among women, between men and women, and between human beings and nature.

We call on all militants belonging to the World March of Women, as well as on allied groups, organisations and movements, to organise a political action to defend decent work and a fair economy in which women’s rights are respected on 24th April, from 12:00 to 13:00. In this way, we will be united for 24 hours all around the world!

We will continue to march until we are all free!