Invest in Life, not War!

Invest in Life, not War!

24 April 2024, International Day of Feminist Solidarity against Transnational Corporations 

24 April marks the International Day of Feminist Solidarity with the women who resist Transnational Corporations. Since the collapse of Rana Plaza, killing more than 1,000 women working in utterly inhumane, hazardous conditions in Bangladesh, the World March of Women has repeatedly condemned the exploitation and destruction of our lives and natural environment by the capitalist system through the (in)visible actions of transnational corporations.

This year, as we remember the crime of Rana Plaza, we are witnessing a growing wave of militarization and war around the globe, which is threatening people’s lives everywhere and is inherently linked to the transnational corporations that fuel and benefit from war in a variety of ways. 

Our planet has a long history of armed conflict, genocide, and repression. The language of violence, which underpins capitalism and patriarchy and is supported by transnational companies, mercenaries, and paramilitary forces, leads to war and is driven by the colonialist, patriarchal, racist, authoritarian logic of capitalism, fed by the interests of transnational corporations. 

Many transnational corporations are involved in the production and sale of weapons and military equipment. These companies profit from supplying arms to governments involved in conflicts, perpetuating violence, and prolonging wars. It is no coincidence that we are now witnessing the growth and expansion of military and security companies that provide equipment for border guards, surveillance technology to monitor borders, and IT infrastructure to track population movements. Nor is it surprising that Israel and its corporations are among the top ten biggest arms exporters worldwide. 

Transnational corporations are also profiting from the exploitation of natural resources in conflict zones, triggering resource-driven conflicts. Control over valuable resources like oil, minerals, and timber can be a major driver of armed conflict. Governments and their transnational corporations invade nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America in the name of direct investment and development cooperation. They manipulate national governments, whose elections are funded through aid mechanisms and as part of free-trade agreements (FTAs) and neoliberal policies. They manufacture weapons and sell them to countries where they have strong economic interests. They plunge countries into debt by supplying weapons to national governments. They grab land, displace families and whole communities from their territories, dispossess them of their livelihoods and the natural resources that are essential for life, and strip them of their right to a decent life. Today, these dynamics are all too visible in the military conflict in Sudan, DR Congo, in the destruction of Yemen’s land and culture, in Western Sahara, in Islamist and military control over Mali, in the continued economic sanctions applied to Cuba and Venezuela, in the war in Ukraine, and in the ongoing genocide in Palestine. We know that they are all interconnected and that their impact and consequences are all the same.

From south to north, from east to west, women suffer the consequences of a capitalist system that puts profit before life. In the twenty-first century, all the systems that sustain life are under attack as profit and capital accumulation by the few take priority over the reproduction of life for the many. The capitalist system is now at war with our very lives.

For decades, the feminist movement has condemned the impact of war on women’s lives and its strong ties to patriarchy, capitalism, and racism. Women suffer far more dramatically from this violence. In today’s globalized world, it is vital that we expose who is really responsible for these horrors. 

This is why we, as the World March of Women, will continue to condemn the role of transnational corporations in the perpetuation of conflict and militarization and the manipulation of government policies for this purpose. We will continue to point the finger at governments and transnational corporations that profit economically from conflict on their own territory or in other regions by taking control of natural resources such as oil, water, and minerals.

This year, we will take to the streets and social media once again to say “no” to war and the war industry. As the World March of Women, we will denounce wars, sanctions, and occupations wherever they occur, be it in Yemen, Afghanistan, Mali, Western Sahara, or, more recently, in Palestine. 

We will continue to say no to militarization and the war industry, no to borders and walls, and no to the exploitation of natural resources, workers, women, and people, and we will never cease to call for our right to defend our lands, bodies, labor, and waters to be respected, in Palestine and all over the world.

Our internationalist feminist solidarity will keep us moving, resisting to live, marching to transform!

World March of Women, 2024