October 14, 2010 -
As participants from the U.S. at the 25th National Gathering of Women (XXV Encuentro Nacional de Mujeres) in Paraná, Argentina we denounce the attacks by rightwing Catholics on feminists at the workshops on
"Women, Contraception and Abortion" which resulted in a number of injuries and the hospitalization of one activist.
This gathering is an historic victory by Argentine women and is a crucial place for the sharing of experiences as well as for strategizing on how to advance the fundamental rights of women as full human beings. The
infiltration of the huge meeting by religious fanatics, a provocative and dangerous assault on freedom of speech, was an outrageous violation of women's right to engage in much-needed discussions on how to win the
basic right to control their own bodies.
Over the last four decades, Latin American women have won great
advances in access to contraceptives and abortion. The ultra-right
Catholics apparently consider it their mission to turn back the clock and
reverse women's hard-won victories.
Rightwing religious fundamentalism increased internationally in the 1970s
in reaction to the worldwide revolutionary upsurge. Today, it is spurred on
by the global economic crisis and the reliance of capitalism on women's
free labor in the home and cheap labor in the marketplace for super profits.
The seemingly ever-growing number of religious reactionaries often has
the full collusion of bourgeois governments, including that of Argentine
President Cristina Kirchner. Through women's sweat and sacrifices in the
home, where they produce and care for the next generation of workers,
and due to their drastically under-paid status in the workforce, untold
wealth and global profits flow freely to keep capitalism and its crony
We stand with women all across Latin America who refuse to back down
in the face of rightwing repression. At the enormous assembly in Paraná,
feminists said "No more!" to the provocation of church-backed infiltrators
and physically ousted them from the building where the workshops on
"Contraception and Abortion" were being held. That same night, thousands
of women mounted a march that stretched over 10 blocks singing chants
against the dictatorship of the church and for women's right to make
decisions about their own bodies, including the right to abortion. The
massive presence of police and military forces, posted in front of churches
to "guard" them from protesters, was a display of government support for
the anti-abortion fanatics.
As socialist feminists from the U.S., we are inspired by the militancy and
tenacity shown by Argentine women this past weekend. We are engaged
in a similar fight against the ultra-Catholics and evangelical Protestants on
our own soil and are defending abortion clinics from attacks nationwide.
For forty years Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party have
organized united fronts with other groups and individuals against similar
campaigns by the right wing that target women, lesbians and gays,
Blacks, Jews, and radical activists. We have learned that feminists,
leftists, unionists and racial and ethnic minorities, representing wide-
ranging political perspectives, can and must work together to defeat our
We support the call of Argentine feminists for legal, safe and free
abortion and for the separation of church and state.
No more rightwing assaults on the Gathering of Women!
Long live global feminism!
Emily Woo Yamasaki
Radical Women, U.S. Section
625 Larkin St. #202
San Francisco, CA 94109
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