Note from BW of Brazil: Being International Women’s Day yesterday, tens of thousands of women of all sizes, colors, hair color and textures took to the streets in numerous cities all across Brazil to make their voices heard on a number of important issues that specifically affect women, and in general, affect everyone. The end of femicide, violence against women, and neo-liberal politics, the right to legal and safe abortions, and equal pay are just a few of the demands that provoked brasileiras to leave their homes on a Sunday morning for political motives.
One of the most vocal calls of these women yesterday was for the end of the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, who has been in office now for about a year and two months. To me, Bolsonaro has turned out to be exactly what I expected when I first learned of his entry into the presidential race a few years ago. People knew what he was all about. They had seen the numerous fotos of the then Rio-based congressman making the gun gesture with his forefinger.
They know of his appraisal of the brutal 21 year dictatorship between 1964 and 1985. They knew of his penchant for insulting demeaning and offending people, and there were still millions of Brazilians who accepted the things he said and did, regardless, or perhaps because of his blatant extremism. My question would be, of all of the masses of women that took to the streets yesterday, how many of them actually voted for Bolsonaro back in November of 2018? The next question would be, what were they thinking?
I must also stress that I feel the necessity of covering the events from yesterday because Brazilian women clearly have legitimate issues that need to be discussed and remedied, even if I don’t necessarily agree with some facets of the women’s movement. This should come as no surprise. I also take issue with some strategies for black, LGBT, leftist and other movements.
When we discuss, debate and argue over these issues, it is necessary that we recognize that we don’t all think alike on every, single issue and there should be no problem with that. It is the debate that leads to new ideas. On the other hand, sometimes movements disguise themselves and lead us into believing they are one thing when they are in fact something completely different and often times unexpected. I’ve learned over the years that, if we are to improve at anything in life, we must be willing to challenge what we believe, listen to all arguments and consider the fact that sometimes, we err. Sometimes we are deceived.
When it comes to large scale movements, whatever the group, whatever the issue, we should always remember what Vladimir Lenin once said “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves”. It’s something that I ALWAYS keep in mind when I certain types of movements. What movements Lenin’s words apply to up to each of us to investigate and come to out own conclusions. What do you think?
Anyway, here’s what went down across Brazil yesterday.
March 8: Women defend rights and scream ‘Bolsonaro out’ across Brazil
Courtesy of Brasil 247
Protests on this International Women’s Day reinforce the defense for democracy, against violence and social and economic setbacks promoted by the current government
Thousands of women, spread out all over Brazil, took to the streets all Sunday (08) for equal rights and against violence. The acts took place in several cities in the country since early morning. The main themes were the end of violence against women, down with President Bolsonaro and equal rights. The murder of city councilwoman Marielle Franco, that completes two years on March 14th, was also recalled in several demonstrations.
In Brasília, about 5,000 women participated in the march of March 8, taking to the streets slogans against gender violence and machismo of the government of Jair Bolsonaro (who no longer has a party) and in defense of the decriminalization of abortion. With the motto “For the life of women, in defense of democracy, against racism and for rights”, the act went through the streets of the capital, stopping in front of the Palácio do Buriti, and then headed towards Praça da Torre.
Accompanied by her daughter, doctoral student Fernanda de Oliveira said that she always participates in street demonstrations when the agenda is the rights of women.
For her, in this political context, mobilization is more important than ever.
“All the public policy advances that have taken place in the last decades are being dismantled. So, we can’t stay inside the house, it’s important to demonstrate our dissatisfaction. As long as we remain silent, we will have impunity and will be losing rights. So, the more we go out to the street, the better,” she said.
The act was attended by more than 3,500 landless women, who are participating in the 1st Meeting of Landless Women in the federal capital, with guidelines on popular land reform and gender violence in the field. For Kelly Mafort, of the national direction of the MST (landless movement), the participation of the march in Brasília is an opportunity to integrate the agendas of women from the countryside and from the city.
“Today’s march takes place precisely at a time of death for women. In the countryside, women suffer the impacts of this policy, which is sexist, misogynistic, which violates and murders women. And it is mainly women who suffer at the end of these contradictions from repossession and evictions and from the strength of the latifundium. We’re here denouncing this,”said the activist.
The act in Brasilia ended at around 2 pm with political speeches from representatives of parties and social movements on the lawn of the Praça da Torre.
Act in Belém has protest against attacks on indigenous women
The concentration also started around 9 am in Belém, the capital of Pará state. More than 4,000 women gathered at Praça Waldemar Henrique, to participate in the political-cultural act organized by the Feminist Front of Pará. For Mãe de Nangetu, an Afro-religious leadership, the demonstration was necessary to point out that women are against the dismantling of the government.
“We don ‘t agree with this government that is massacring us. We dont agree with the mistreatment, with the murders of women, with the perverse education as it is, we don’t agree. That is why we’re on the street demonstrating and saying #ForaBolsonaro “, she said.
For the professor at the Federal University of Pará (UFPA), Rosa Acevedo, the moment the country is going through calls for women to mobilize and get in the struggle.
“On this March 8, 2020, Brazilian women need to be on the street. We must face up to contest all the attacks that have been launched against women, women in traditional communities, indigenous women. The government’s decisions that have attacked fundamental rights, rights to territory, the right to life, to health, to education, that have ignored the political participation of women,” she says.
Militants call for an end to the violence and the departure of Bolsonaro and Minas Gerais governor Romeu Zema. Still in the morning, the March 8 act in Curitiba, the capital of Paraná took place in the Parolin neighborhood, on the outskirts of the city, and requested peace in the favela. Maria Aparecida has lived in the area for 27 years and remembered the mothers who cry for their children due to the violence in the region.
In Belo Horizonte (MG), the International Women’s Day came out of the Ocupação Pátria Livre, coloring the streets in lilac against machismo, against violence and against the withdrawal of rights. They requested the departure of President Jair Bolsonaro and Governor Romeu Zema (of the Partido Novo).
Women from different organizations, social movements and parties also went out to fight for rights, democracy and justice for Marielle Franco, in Palmas, a city in the state of Tocantins.
In São Paulo, the act began in the early afternoon. Militants of the World March of Women (MMM) shouted “Bolsonaro out” during the movement’s 5th International Action, on Avenida Paulista, in the central region of the city. “This year we decided to express that this government is the one that directs the whole neo-liberal, anti-democratic and conservative agenda, in addition to bringing themes dear to the struggle of women, such as the fight against violence and the legalization of abortion,” said Nalu Faria, of the national MMM coordination.
In Ribeirão Preto, in the interior of São Paulo state, activities took place at Parque Tom Jobim (Tom Jobim Park). Different groups and collectives put together a program that focused on the female struggle for the occupation of leadership spaces and the end of gender violence. Activities such as yoga, self-defense classes, circular dancing, storytelling for women, poetic intervention and a poster and embroidery workshop were offered to the public.
In addition, throughout the event the collectives offered tents of legal, medical and psychological support to women. The event also featured a photographic exhibition on diversity and the campaign tent “I don’t want poison on my plate”, about the high use of pesticides in food.
With the theme “For the Life of Women against Fascism, Machismo, Racismo e LGBTfobia”, the activities of 8M in Fortaleza (CE) started around 3pm around the Dragão do Mar Center. Activities include conversation circles and workshops, followed by a procession along the coast of the capital of Ceará state.
Entities and personalities also published notes throughout the day in support of the women’s struggle. Check below, right after the videos and photos of the demonstrations published on social networks. Also follow the minute to minute of Brasil de Fato of the acts.
Rural women from the Popular Project face rain and cold in SP. “Popular sovereignty assures the people the right to fight for their interests, as well as to defend wealth and national heritage,” says a manifesto. #diadasmulheres
Machismo kills, feminism frees. 1,314 women killed for being women – one every 7 hours, on average. When someone asks what we need feminism for, show that data. #
Minas Gerais is the state with the highest number of cases of femicide in the country. There were 136 hate crimes motivated by gender on record in 2019.
Note on the Movement of People Affected by Dams
On this March 8, the women’s day of struggle, those affected by dams stand firm against gender violence and in the defense of democracy and rights.
We know that the date, loaded with historical significance for the organization of women in the world, is not a cause for celebration, but rather a moment of denouncing injustices.
Brazil, unfortunately, is still an extremely machista (sexist) country where there are many issues to be addressed, from the serious salary inequality to feminicide – our bitter country bitter in the fifth place in the ranking of those that most kill women.
In this sense, in the context of violating the rights of the affected populations, women are also affected more profoundly, with the lack of recognition in the dialogue with companies, the end of family and community ties, in addition to the increase in domestic violence and sexual exploitation.
We women want to stay alive. In defense of life, we remember our fellow fighters who have departed: Dilma Ferreira, Nicinha, Berta Cárceres, Marielle Franco and many others who were killed in a violent way in the fight for a more just world.
With the current government, women’s lives are becoming more difficult every day with rising unemployment, cuts in health and education, in addition to the clear attacks and demonstrations of hatred for the existence of women.
A clear sign of the wide setback we are experiencing is the latent need to put on the agenda a democracy which is threatened daily by the President himself.
We will not rest until we are all free. We are women, we are affected, we are resistance, we are in struggle. And may this March 8 inspire our next battles.
Women, water and energy are not a commodity!
Official Note from former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
“Today, millions of women take to the streets around the world to fight for equality flags. They are in the streets for equal rights, wages, opportunities and, above all, for the right to their own existence. Something as dear as life is denied to a woman every 7 hours in Brazil. One woman every 7 hours. This is the number of femicides in our country, where, in 2019 alone, machismo murdered 1,314 women, encouraged by a government that naturalizes violence.
On this day that calls us to reflection and to fight, I want to remember a woman who 725 days ago had her life ended precisely by embodying the struggle and the ideals of women who dream of a more equal world: Marielle Franco.
Seeking justice for Marielle and all the Marielles that bothered people by because of their strength, who bothered people because of knowing their place and insisting on occupying it, is a duty of all of us.
I join, alongside our party that has already taken a woman to the highest post in the Republic and is chaired by one, in the struggle for a world where people are not overwhelmed by their gender. In our permanent and non-negotiable quest for equality and social justice.”