|Women in European and Arab revolutions|
|Written by FOS – Argentina /LITCI|
|Wednesday, 16 March 2011 02:49
|The global crisis divides the lanes: on one side those who use brutal adjustments to save the capitalist system, banks, insurance companies and corporations; on the other side those who rebel against it.
Workers in Europe rise in face of the social and cultural earthquake in their lives. Many families accustomed to see each of its generation climb a step in the social and economical arena, all of a sudden distrust their future or are directly left with nothing at all.
On one side the “socialist” Zapatero with his layoffs plan and labor reform to meet business interests. On the other side workers are mobilized. The women role was and is decisive: they took to the streets in the impressive late strike of September 29 with slogans such as “29s: I go, the more so because I’m a woman,” expressing clearly their courage and their status as the most vulnerable sector of the class.
In France, Sarkozy and his “amazing” wife Carla Bruni became violent with their social and pension cuts, with their attacks on health and education, with their xenophobia. Facing them, at the fighting forefront were the workers, the retirees and the students, side by side with the men. Among “vuvuzelas” and railway speakers elderly women and also very young women united against increasing the retirement age: some sought for a dignified old age, others, their first job.
As in France, it happened in Greece with the “socialist” Papandreou, besieged by several general strikes and marches of protest where the public employees, the teachers and students played a leading role. The scenario was the same in Portugal, England or Italy.
In Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya, the strength of the revolution is breaking down centuries of oppression. The “submissive women of the burqa” leave their homes, gather and share the limelight on the streets and in the organization and dissemination of the protest marches.
“I am a woman, I’m going out on January 25 and I do not fear the police”, said Asmaa Mahfouz, a 26 year old woman, days before the outbreak in Egypt. She is one of the millions of unemployed, informal workers in tourism and in the cotton farming who are in the frontline of the revolution. Although the society has relegated them, they head the protests in Tahrir Square and elsewhere.
She is one of the millions of hungry women, because of the food prices liberalization. Parts of those millions are also mothers of political prisoners, tortured and disappeared, and many are mothers of those who fell and refused to receive condolences or have ceremonies before putting an end to the Mubarak regime.
In the midst of this mighty revolution that envelops the Arab world, pulling down genocidal dictators and kings, servants of imperialism, women are breaking their old ties. They become aware of their strengths and that to free them it is necessary to banish completely the old regime. As stated by an activist in Cairo, “that is why we see women, Islamist or not, veiled or not, joining at, and positioning in front of whatever happens on the street. That is the true equality and we will never return to the starting point.
Source: Lucha Socialista nº 217, March 2011
Translation: Wilma Olmo Correa