On Saturday February 22, 2020, a total of 27 delegates representing all sectors of our work gathered in downtown Los Angeles to host a National Conference on the topic of La Mujer in order to advance our organizational practice and vision around three primary themes:
- Combatting all forms of sexism, misogyny, and capitalist imperialist white supremacist patriarchy within our community and our movement.
- Recruiting, retaining, and supporting revolutionary Mujeres for UdB and community leadership.
- Reactivation of our mass-based Mujer organizing project, the Comité de Mujeres Patricia Marín.
This National Conference represented the culmination of months of internal dialogue and political debate in order to gather and develop our collective understanding of the challenges we face when dealing with the gendered consequences of colonialism and imperialism, and to establish a collective understanding of what we believe it will take to overturn these contradictions in our barrios and in our society more broadly.
In honor of International Working Women’s Day, Unión del Barrio Shares the Opening Statement given at the Conference by Unión del Barrio’s Women’s Commission.
On behalf of the Central Committee and the Women’s Commission, welcome to the 2020 National Conference on La Mujer.
We want to begin by sharing our deepest gratitude for the Comité Local Patricia Marín for all of their support in bringing this space together. Thank you for ensuring that we have a space and the resources to have a productive day, and walk away with the strong proposals and recommendations.
We would also like to honor and recognize the courageous mujeres militantes of Unión del Barrio who express deep love for raza and all oppressed communities through their revolutionary commitment to building self-determination for all. Mujeres currently make up more than half of the membership of Unión del Barrio, as well as more than half of the leadership. As the mujeres of Unión del Barrio, we are working to build a worker’s party that reflects our values of social justice, self-determination, and liberation.
It has been over 10 years since we have hosted a National Conference on the topic of La Mujer. We share that to be critical but also realistic and intentional with our time here today. This conversation and more importantly the plan of action we hope to develop today is a top priority. Our movement and our communities demand leadership to challenge the patriarchy and violence towards women, but specifically Raza indigenous women.
In Mexico, 10 women are killed everyday. The murders have no age limit and are not confined to random acts of violence. The recent murder of Ingrid Escamilla and 7 year-old Fatima highlight that women and girls are not safe in public or in private spaces. What is the public response? Instead of highlighting the outrage and organizing efforts of communities to combat violence, media outlets sensationalize the murders and dehumanize victims by publishing photos of mutilated bodies on social media and newspaper covers. Our communities are becoming desensitized to the violence and often shrug off the acts as “just the way it is”.
Women across the globe have been experiencing the most terrible repression imaginable. Rape and other forms of gendered violence are deployed as weapons, to gain physical control of land and resources, and to impose psychological control of community members through terror, fear, and collective trauma. On an unprecedented global scale, women workers in hospitality, janitorial, agricultural, and manufacturing industries experience high levels of sexual harassment, assault, and labor exploitation. Within the United States this form of gendered repression is readily seen in how undocumented women are terrorized into silence after employers threaten reporting them to ICE for deportation.
The subjugation of raza women serves a major part of the overall oppression of our people and has become a fundamental pillar sustaining capitalism and imperialism throughout Nuestra América and the world. True liberation cannot take place until all sectors of La Raza are free, and this is especially true for mujeres that make up a large percentage of every sector. Therefore, we recognize that sexism and male chauvinism are bourgeois, counter-revolutionary traits that must be completely rejected and overturned for any of us to win freedom. Without the full participation and leadership of women in revolutionary organizations, there will be no victory in revolutionary struggle.
We recognize that patriarchy is a pillar of capitalist imperialism and is imposed on our communities through a process of colonization and subjugation. We will not rest until every mujer has the rights and resources to self-determine their lives and the lives of their families and communities. We will not rest until every mujer has the rights and dignity to decide if, when, and how she wants to parent. We recognize the harmful role social structures like patriarchy and misogyny play in the lives of women around the world, but we know our fight is not against our male comrades. We recognize how toxic masculinity and machismo also harms our fathers, sons, and brothers.
We do not want to idealize our movement because we also recognize the work that must be done within all of us to dismantle a colonized mindset and the way the system benefits from each other’s subjugation. We must tirelessly organize and struggle internally and externally to overturn this reality. We must combat internal oppressions such as transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, and anti-blackness because true liberation cannot occur until all sectors of our communities are free.
It is our duty as militantes to dismantle systems of oppression and create a world where mujeres thrive and no longer have to fight to survive. We must challenge ourselves to imagine what our liberation looks like as raza communities and bring that vision to life, today’s conference is the continuation of our organization’s commitment to the liberation of women and all freedom loving people.
¡Sin las Mujeres no hay Revolución!
Unión del Barrio invites our community to a discussion on International Working Women’s Day.
As working-class mujeres we are determined to ensure our families are not systematically torn apart by the white nationalist policies put into place by both political parties (Democrats and Republicans). We are clear that only through building a movement for self-determination can we truly free ourselves from settler colonial laws that relegate our working class people as cheap disposable labor. We invite all honest forces and community members to join us as we advance a strategy of community-level self-defense and protect the integrity of our family units from migra terror!