The Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation sends our unconditional solidarity to feminists across Chile fighting for free and legal abortion! We want to explicitly note our support to the Coordinadora Feminista 8 de Marzo, Coordinadora Feministas en Lucha, and the dozens of feminist collectives and other organizations leading this struggle.
On July 25, 2018, 50,000 feminists and supporters of free and legal abortion on demand filled the streets of Santiago, Chile, which still remains illegal in the country. The march commemorated the 5th Anniversary since feminists took over the main Catholic Cathedral during a special mass presided by the Chilean Archbishop in honor of San Santiago with bishops, the mayor, and other government officials present. The event was the first feminist toma (occupation) and marked a turning point in the Chilean feminist movement that, since 2013, has blossomed into a mass movement impacting political spaces and debates throughout the country.
The feminist movement has been slowly gaining ground across Latin America. In Uruguay, after years of struggle, abortion before 12 weeks was legalized in 2012. Chile, until recently, along with El Salvador, had the strictest abortion laws not allowed under any circumstances; a policy put in place in 1989 by the Pinochet regime. In August 2017, the Chilean Congress approved a bill allowing abortion only under three conditions: if the woman’s life is in danger, if the fetus cannot survive, or in the case of rape for girls 14-years-old and under. In Argentina, feminists are on the verge of possibly seeing abortion legalized, pending an August 8 vote by the Argentine Senate.
In an article by Alondra Carrillo, a vocera (spokesperson) for the Coordinadora Feminista 8 de Marzo, she wrote, “For some years, a specter haunts the world and in this occasion, it is the specter of feminism.” Carrillo is right. The specter of feminism is growing and the decline of patriarchy’s hold and power is being challenged in real-time. As a system of power is being confronted, the tantrums and violence by those losing political and economic control begin to be felt.
In reaction to the growth and impact of the feminist movement, a group of fascist pro-patriarchal men called the Social Patriotic Movement describes themselves as a nationalist organization that is opposed to the legalization of abortion and the “ideology of gender.” Their spokesperson, Pedro Kuntsman, stated that the organization accepts gay men because it is not their business what people do in bed, but described feminists as hembras (referring to female animals) that should be sterilized. Several hundred male members of this fascist organization mobilized to block the feminist march, covered the street with animal blood, and physically attacked demonstrators, including stabbing three women. While we are grateful that no one lost their lives, we stand alongside feminists and supporters who march today against the fascist attack.
Following the incident, Chilean feminists filled their social media pages with images of their march stating: “We are not afraid.” They will not be frightened by the fascist attacks nor by the apathy of the police as they watched on as women were being stabbed. The feminist movement understands that while demands are being made for new laws, the struggle for feminism is on the ground, in the streets, in the workplaces, and in the neighborhoods.
There will be no turning back! The specter of feminism is here to change the world.
From the Black Rose/Rosa Negra International Relations Committee
July 26, 2018