Towards a specific feminism. Elements for the debate on the feminist militancy of organized anarchism
[note published in Agitación magazine nº 1]
The feminist struggle has managed in recent years to impose itself within the popular field as necessary and indispensable. Although we are far from the objectives we set for ourselves – and even in this stage of resistance – important progress has been made. One of them is precisely the one that occurred within the popular and political organizations.
In this sense, not only have claims such as to enjoy a life free of sexist violence, or access to sexual and reproductive rights, or the democratization and socialization of unpaid domestic tasks have gained relevance. But there have also been reviews of internal practices and the feminist perspective has been incorporated in other fields of organic and daily life. In short, feminist praxis has been able to legitimize itself – although not without resistance – in those sectors that seek to transform society.
As anarchists we recognize a tradition in this regard, since from the end of the 19th century the militants managed to establish debates around sexist violence, free love, sexuality, abortion and the double oppression that they suffered from being working class women. . Many of these proposals were reflected in the paradigmatic newspaper “La voz de la mujer”.
Of course, the rise of feminism also brings new issues within the movement. We have made reference to some of them in other articles, such as the growing institutionalization, bureaucratization, the rise of academicism and the flourishing of currents that bet on the personal and not the collective, among others. By way of example, the recent creation of the Ministry of Women – another National Council for Women – has contributed even more to the institutionalization of the movement through the co-option of many organizations that end up prosecuting their militancy there, to the detriment of militancy. in popular organizations.
Now, in the search for our own feminism according to our current of organized anarchism and its comprehensive strategy, we always have the obligation to reflectively address which tools and practices -and which are not- are the most effective and pertinent in this context to contribute to the construction of popular power from a feminist perspective.
In this framework, we see trends that arise from the women’s and feminist movement that permeate our militancy and we believe can hinder the development of the methodology that we propose from organized anarchism. In particular, we find two processes that from experience we see that we must review, the specialization of feminist militancy (and / or militants) and academicism, which usually go hand in hand.
It should be clarified that we are not necessarily referring to the debate of mainstreaming versus specificity. From the FAR we believe that it is necessary to seek a balance between mainstreaming and specificity, in such a way that the feminist gaze crosses the rest of the problems as well as the organizational practices, but without this meaning a blur or fading of the claims to be addressed in a particular way.
When we talk about the risks of the specialization of militancy, we refer to a modality of doing politics where interest and participation only occurs with respect to patriarchal oppression (even in the name of mainstreaming). How many colleagues we see who are only interested in participating in the gender committees of the political organization, the union or the student center.
At the political level, we believe that it is a mistake inasmuch as it produces effects and contributes to, for example: segmenting our participation to “gender issues”, analyzing reality only from one perspective, generating a kind of “feminist court”. All of this entails political practices where women and dissidents appear as the only voices empowered to give debates on gender issues. As specific anarchists we must seek to participate in all organizational issues, including and especially those that are usually masculinized. Likewise, as we think that the gender perspective must cross all our analyzes, we also believe that feminism and anti-patriarchy cannot be the center of all readings
We make a call for attention to this type of practices since they often result in the condemnatory signaling of colleagues, without proposals or training or any deconstruction processes. Thus, we have seen spaces where feminist politics is built from – and is restricted to – denunciation, inadvertently promoting isolation and blocking grassroots militancy. It should be clarified that we do not disdain reporting as a tool in situations of violence, but we do not consider reporting (promoted by the overuse of social networks) as a far-reaching transformative practice.
Specialized militancy also has effects on social insertion such as exteriority regarding the life of social organizations (since it only intervenes for these issues), which often implies ignorance about aspects of organizational dynamics that should be taken into account . This exteriority most of the time is crossed by a certain academicism, from which we can infer that there is an underlying Enlightenment logic far removed from our profile as an anarchist militant. Today there are groups that are dedicated to holding workshops, talks, training in other organizations, that as paratroopers come and go just to teach us and show us how we are being oppressed. Without detracting from the work they do,
We emphasize this aspect because there are a variety of organizations in the women’s movement, and the sectors that today seek to hegemonize it are those with greater material and symbolic resources. This means that many times, in the name of the women’s struggle, a programmatic agenda is carried out that ignores the reality of the social sectors where we are organized. This vindictive agenda, frequently without a class character and without a clear intention of generating popular participation -which sometimes on the contrary, appeals to individual and spontaneous participation- ends up promoting actions far removed from the daily reality of social organizations and only reaches a militancy sector.
A separate paragraph deserves to review the instances and tools that feminism gives ourselves and that from specialization can also create obstacles or deformations of their original intention. In this sense, we believe that each tool and space (such as women’s committees, protocols) should be thought according to the sphere –political or social-, the level of appropriation of feminism and the participation of the partners. They cannot be used as neutral formulas. If we do not contextualize them and believe that they can be used independently of the rest of the ideological and material components of the organization, we would be feeding an idea of homogeneous feminism and related to those with whom we are clearly in dispute.
The same happens for us with the theory, its use has to be according to our ideological framework. We affirm, as expressed by fAu in his document Huerta Grande “The theory aims at the elaboration of conceptual instruments to think rigorously and to know deeply the concrete reality” (1972). We recognize that the feminist camp has made great efforts to reveal the mechanisms of oppression against women and dissidents, and to be able to name issues that were invisible. Now, this does not mean that the concepts and categories, and therefore the theoretical frameworks, are all equally valid. As specific anarchists we owe ourselves the task of taking from those theoretical productions, the concepts and categories that are in accordance with our ideology.
On the other hand, we consider that the theoretical development must always occur alongside our militancy, we do not need compendiums of “patriarchy, feminism and gender” – or the infinite search for new terms that a month become out of date from the new theoretical production-, if later we cannot speak with a colleague in our union, neighborhood or place of study. That is why we say that theory must go hand in hand with the development of the political organization and its insertion fronts.
Furthermore, we consider that the knowledge that emerged from the reflection on the experiences and struggles of those below constitutes an invaluable contribution. It is repeated ad nauseam that it is necessary to “lower” feminism to the neighborhoods, to the unions. Neither oppressions nor their resistances are created in a laboratory or in a cloister, therefore we do not want the references of the anti-patriarchal struggle to be public figures, journalists, etc. We insist that there is no such thing as a neutral feminism in relation to the system of domination as a whole; we bet on the one below.
We affirm that we have to root anarchism in social struggles and that is our task. We make these observations about the feminist movement because we are part of it, but we want to warn about the directions that it can take and that are detrimental to our strategy of social construction. This does not mean that we should abandon it, but on the contrary we should be there influencing with our construction of a feminism from below.
UP THOSE WHO FIGHT !!