The Great Assembly, article by Flora Partenio

 
By Flora Partenio, Executive Committe of DAWN. 
 
What do we eat? How do we cure ourselves? How do we work? How do we produce? and what do we consume? These dimensions, which are central to our lives, are settled in the agendas of corporate power and free trade and investment agreements. The government of Mauricio Macri has two great opportunities to deepen these agendas: one of them is the XI° Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which will take place in the City of Buenos Aires between the 10th and 13th December. The other great opportunity is to assume the presidency of the G-20 during the summit that will take place in Argentina next year.
 
Since its inception in 1995, the WTO has only deepened its agenda of neoliberalism, focusing on treaties that harm local production, regulatory frameworks and peasant agriculture. The arrival of the WTO in December to Argentina articulates with the generation of a floor of reforms that guarantee better conditions of labor flexibility and precarization of our lives. This floor is synthesized in the recent reforms that are promoted in our country: labor, tax and social security. It is clear that these floors not only guarantee a downward trend in labor and environmental regulations but also the so-called "legal architecture of impunity" for transnational corporations. Among the package of negotiations we find the classic topics and others very innovative: among them, subsidies to agriculture and fisheries, but also the opening of the game with patents and intellectual property, government purchases, services and the "Trojan horse" framed under electronic commerce. Under the clothes of the benefits of "e-commerce" or "buy what you want on the Internet" are hidden the progressive effects of the installation of a digital economy and the control of large databases on everything we do, we eat or everywhere we move in this world. And if not, what does it mean to take an Uber?
 
Now, what are the lessons of feminist resistance against the free trade agenda? In Latin America we have gone through twenty years of free trade and investment agreements with the harmful effects of deregulation and the advancement of corporate privileges over our peoples and our territories. From the Zapatista uprisings against NAFTA, through the demonstrations in Seattle and Quebec, to the People's Summit in Mar del Plata where we shouted "No to the FTAA". In all these struggles feminists denounced the negative impacts of the privatization of services, the deregulation and liberalization of the economy. In these latitudes, several postcards come to mind when we think of those interventions: from the strength of Norita Cortiñas and Diana Sacayán in Mar del Plata in 2005 against police hurdles to the massive handing out flyers of boycotting the big supermarket chains in the City of Buenos Aires with the companions of Pañuelos en Rebeldía, the Gender Space of the Popular Front Darío Santillán and different territorial organizations and piqueteros (self-managged workers). Some of these resistances are recovered in the genealogy of our struggles and have been reflected in the recent book by the feminist economist Amaia Pérez Orozco, Lessons from Latin American Feminist Resistance to Trade and Investment Treaties. From the no to the FTAA to the questioning of patriarchal capitalism.
 
A feminist summit
 
Now it is necessary  to redouble efforts to feed this new cycle of struggle that will continue next year, since the agreements of December 2017 will be deepened at the G-20 Summit in Argentina in November 2018, under the presidency of Macri. The fight against the WTO is global and is an opportunity to reconstruct the history of mobilizations and articulations of social, workers, human rights, women's, LGBTI, territorial, indigenous, student, political, peasant, cooperative and anti-extractivists organizations and networks. From the convergence space #FueraOMC (Out WTO) there has been a call to build a new Peoples Summit that will take place during the same week of the WTO ministerial meeting. The Summit starts accompanying the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in the March of Resistance, then continues with a cultural festival in the Congress and then with thematic forums in the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), in the neighborhood of Constitution.
In this context, we think that feminisms can give answers in the face of a scenario of retrogression of rights, precarization and militarization of our lives. The fight against the WTO must not only be global but also feminist, because in the debate on the popular alternatives, the contributions of ecofeminism, Community feminism, feminist economics and good living are central to advance projects that build between peoples new forms of solidarity relations which are anti-patriarchal and anti-racist. Together with different networks, groups and organizations we are building the "Feminist Forum against Free Trade" for next Monday, December 11, also in the Faculty of Social Sciences.
 
The forum will aim to gather and exchange experiences in various activities, workshops and panels that allow us to characterize the macroeconomic context of commodification and financialization of nature, common goods, life and accumulation by dispossession in which we live. The idea is to open instances of training and debate among women, trans, transvestites, lesbians, migrants, displaced, refugees, afrodescendants, indigenous, peasants, workers of the popular economy and self-managed, not binaries and dissidents, artists, to think among all strategies to face the free trade agenda. Among the confirmed participants in workshops and panels are Indian feminist economists such as Ranja Sengupta, Graciela Rodríguez (Brazil), Corina Rodríguez Enríquez, Norma Sanchís, Alma Espino (Uruguay), Women's Network of Villa la Angostura, La Revuelta, Nora Cortiñas, Claudia Korol, Juneia Battista (Brazil), Alba Rueda (Argentina), Kurdish Women's Movement, Marlene Wayar (Argentina), Articulation of Brazilian Women, Virginia Bolten Free Cathedra, Permanent Forum of Mulheres de Manaus - Amazonas, Brazil, compañeras Migrants from AMUMRA, Daniela Silva (XINGU Vivo para sempre - Bello Monte, Pará -Brazil), National Campaign Against Violence Against Women, Verónica Gago (Ni Una Menos, Argentina), Mabel Belluci and Emmanuel Theumer, #Vivasnosqueremos!, ARGENTINA: Graphic, collective and feminist resistance, and the Feminist Economics Space of the SEC.
 
The forum will close with a "Great Feminist Assembly " at 6pm on the door of the Faculty of Social Sciences (UBA). In December, we - the ones who move the world - have our great opportunity: to come together in a space that allows us to think about an internationalist and feminist plan to face this neoliberal agenda. Now, in December we make the Grand Assembly. Next March 8, we stop the world.
 
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