We share the manifesto of the comrades of Abya Yala (name of the continent that after its colonization was known as America) on the occasion of May Day:
We, the feminists from Abya Yala, live as part of our rebel collective memory, every First of May.
Because we are working class.
Because we are the people.
As workers, we continue to claim the necessity to end with the slave, alienating and precarious ways of that labour they call productive, those who think that the only thing that is “productive” is the creation of merchandise. For us, work is all the effort we dedicate everyday to sustain and defend life, to create “a world where many worlds fit”, where all of us live with dignity. In our horizon we dream and create a world where someday there will not be merchandise nor capitalist market nor alienation. A world where living with dignity becomes a habit, where community is the umbilical cord of society, where our territories, our bodies, our lands are autonomous and free.
As workers, we continue to demand the recognition of our invisible work, in exhausting workdays taking care of families, communities, earth and life. This recognition materializes in a set of rights that we, as carers, are missing, and also the possibility of reconsidering how the patriarchy of the wage is built today, and the reach and distribution of care tasks.
The feminists of Abya Yala were and are part of every First of May, bringing to this celebration the historic memory of the anti-colonial, anti-racist, anti-capitalist and anti-patriarchy struggles. Every struggle is part of both long memory and recent memory of our people, that we women pass on generation by generation. Our ancestors opened the way, and we keep on walking. That’s why we say that we are part of a powerful shout: No more dictatorships, no more coups d’etat, no more invasions nor imperialistic wars.
We denounce the Coup d’Etat and the dictatorship in Bolivia. We demand trial and punishment for those responsible of the patriarchal and colonial violence against the “women in pollera”, the massacres against the communities and the crimes against humanity. We demand freedom for all the political prisoners, all over the continent and the world. No more impunity.
We denounce the terrorist narco-government of Honduras. We demand justice for Berta Cáceres and for all the murdered by the regimes benefited by the coup d’etat, that today still remains, thanks to fraud, theft and violence.
We denounce the bad governments of Abya Yala. We demand the cease of the persecution of the defenders of earth and life. We demand the guarantee of the safe return of the displaced to their communities and lands. The guarantee of the safe return of Lolita Chávez to Guatemala, and of hundreds of comrades expelled by the death policies.
We embrace all the rebellions, in every corner of the planet. We embrace all the women, lesbian, travesti and trans protagonists together with the youth, in the first line of the chilean rebellion, we embrace the rise of the mapuche people and of the original peoples of Ecuador, and in all Abya Yala, we embrace the Women’s Revolution in Kurdistan, we embrace the women who defend and build the socialist horizon of the Cuban Revolution and the Bolivarian Revolution. We are plurinational, with no borders, insurrectionary, from Abya Yala to Kurdistan!
Because of the emergency of the pandemic of Coronavirus, this First of May will be different. Most of us are living the measures of physical isolation, but we cannot access the possibilities to solve situations regarding feeding, health or life in overcrowded conditions. This situation gets worse in the villas, favelas or poblas, in the impoverished territories where the population has been severely made vulnerable, even before the pandemic. We demand the governments to stop looking the other way. In this context, we want to address the importance of the popular canteens, that in some cases have doubled the amount of people that arrive looking for a meal, the importance of those who, with organization and quotidian struggle, are covering the biggest needs of the most humble of our people. We, as women, lesbian, travesti and trans, are the ones using our bodies to create networks of food delivery to every house, to check on the elderly and their needs. We, as women, are the ones stepping up, in first line of the struggle for life, sewing face masks, manufacturing and distributing all sort of hygiene and sanitary products.
The quarantine is trying to build our routines around private space. But for most of us, our home is not a resting place but a workplace. We live the burden of the physical, emotional and economic care. For many women and girls, their house continues to be the most dangerous place, because that’s where they coexist with their aggressors. The isolation measures expose us to suffer sexual offenses, femicides, patriarchal violence all of those violence that operate through silence and impunity. There’s also an increment of hate crimes on travesti and trans people. No more femicides. No more travesticides. We demand measures of exception to protect those who have reported gender-based violence.
This First of May, we’ll shout powerfully to demand the governments to fulfill their responsibility of granting a dignified life for all the people.
In the field of health, as in every working field, we can see the sexual division of work. This implies that the drastic measures will specially affect women, who are the majority among the health workers and particularly in those disciplines that hold a closer contact with the population, where the feminization rate is higher. In addition, the health systems are redirecting the resources of the sexual and reproductive health services, so the access of women and pregnant people to legal termination of pregnancy, antenatal care attendance and other essential services are negatively affected. We want to express our solidarity wit hall the health workers, that are on the front line, taking care of all of those fighting to overcome Covid-19. We stand in solidarity with their demands of wage increase and improvement of the basic conditions of hospitals and health centers, and for the increase of the state investment in public health and the universal access to healthcare.
One of the most problematic situations is the one lived by the women in prisons, as well as all the people deprived of freedom. There are several resistances happening in prisons all over the world. Our impoverished sisters are there, victims of the violence of the penitentiary system and the abandonment of the governments. We ask for the immediate cessation of repression in prisons and the release of those prisoners who meet conditions such us low penalties, having people on their charge, being close to the end of their time in prison, no sentence… We demand the decompression of the prison population and the guarantee of the proper conditions for the health of those who remain imprisoned. We shall not allow this places to become extermination camps. We sustain the need to expel those who have committed crimes and sexual violence against women, children, travesti and trans, from this measures of transitory freedom and domiciliary imprisonment.
Many women, lesbian, travesti and trans live thanks to survival activities in the streets. The impossibility of continuing with them, places us in the very limits of desperation. This affects specially the women, travesti and migrant population. We demand special measures to attend all the needs and emergencies.
The women of the original communities claim that they continue without access to water and food. How can they ask us to clean our hands constantly if we don’t have the conditions to do it? We want to denounce also the genocide by the State against the indigenous people in Colombia.
Despite the pandemic, business keep closing doors and leaving their workers in the street, who are being repressed if they try to speak out. The historical alliance between capital and governments is leaving thousands of families to desperation. We demand all fired people to be reintegrated, and the suspension of any business closure.
We don’t have borders. We are not afraid. This First of May, we’ll be making lot of noise, from all over the world, to join the feminist, plurinational, cross-border, global strike.
We are women, lesbian, travesti, trans, we are bodies on the run from the heteropatriarchy. We fight, we shout, we denounce, we have memory, we weave nets, we live with joy despite the pain, we sow hope, we know how to love.
Abya Yala, First of May, 2020