On the 8th March, Pluto Press will be heading to streets with the demand ‘We Want to Live’.
We have also created a discounted reading list with books by Françoise Vergès and Lola Olufemi which will provide excellent background reading to the protests on International Women’s Day and beyond. Click here to see the books.
Our comrades in the Women’s Strike Assembly and Sisters Uncut have been working tirelessly to make this International Women’s Day another powerful moment in the rich history of protest against patriarchal and state violence. Below we publish their demands, a call for a life free of war, borders, police and gendered violence.
On 8th March, International Women’s Day, feminists in London, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Plymouth will take to the streets. This mobilisation comes as part of a historic and powerful movement, the international women’s strike, but it also marks something new. This year, a coalition of feminists take to the streets with one core demand: we want to live.
To demand to live is fundamental, but in these times of crisis, it is also an urgent intervention. For we are not “living through unprecedented times” any longer: we now live our lives amidst unending crisis, and death. With each new “unprecedented” crisis comes yet more violence against women, more pressure on us to provide, to work to the bone and to then to give care on top of that.
For many years, on 8th March, women have gone on strike and refused to work. We have walked out of our kitchens, universities, brothels, schools, bedrooms, factories, hospitals and offices. We have gone on strike from all the work we do, whether it is paid or unpaid. Over the years, the strike has been a powerful tool against patriarchal violence: demanding reproductive justice and the right to abortion in Poland and Ireland, fighting for an end to femicide across the Ni Una Menos movement, connecting struggles all over the globe in a web of feminist rage.
Our movement recognises that the category of ‘woman’ has never been stable or free from violence, that there is no universalised womanhood — we do not all share a gendered experience. What we do share is our defiance to patriarchal, gendered violence, in all its forms. This makes it all the more important to stand together in resistance, to hold our multiplicity as strength and to mobilise for autonomy and freedom — for life, because this crisis is killing us.
This is what we mean when we say we want to live. This is our echo of the Ni Una Menos chant: ¡vivas nos queremos!
We want to live, and live free.
We want to live free of police, free of borders!
It’s barely a year since Sarah Everard was murdered by a serving policeman, since policemen mocked the deaths of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, and they were found to share a culture of misogyny, racism and sexual harassment — and the state has responded by increasing police powers — as if it were not a serving policeman who killed her. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is about to pass into law, using the language of “protecting women” while explicitly targeting those of us most at risk: migrants, trans women, sex workers, women of colour and GRT communities. The hostile, racist immigration system is being amplified like never before, and the violence of the border lays bare the priorities of those who would rather drown people in the channel than work to fund community resources or housing. To resist these laws, to become ungovernable, we need a coherent, strong and united movement that understands that an injury to one is an injury to all.
We want to live free of war, and to build a world that can sustain us all!
The powers of Empire discuss Ukraine as a new front in an old war while people across the continent march in defiance and resistance. They flaunt nuclear apocalypse as violence unfurls yet again over states, borders and bodies: the playbook of capitalist patriarchy. We refuse to bay for yet another war: instead, we turn to fight the very system that war springs from. The violence of war, of ecological collapse, the terrifying rise in the cost of living and the mismanagement of the pandemic and collapse of the health system — these are not happening by chance. They are all connected, and they are the backbone of a system which prioritises profit and endless growth and expansion, sees workers as disposable and divides us from each other. We fight for a life worth living.
We want to live free of violence, free of femicide, free of fear!
At least 177 women died in the England and Wales between April 2020 and March 2021. The number of people killed in the home has increased, reminding us of what we already knew: that women in this country are dying every day from domestic violence, while support services continue to be cut. We don’t even know the exact numbers of women killed by gendered violence because the deaths of trans women are still erased by both police records and in the collation of statistics. No one is free from patriarchal violence until the most marginalised are. Until those of us who do not fit into the strict patriarchial boundaries of acceptable womanhood — whether because we are gender non-conforming, trans, sex workers, people of colour or poor — until we are able to resist and escape entirely, not one woman is free.
We mobilise on International Women’s Day to demand that no more women are murdered: in our homes, on the streets, or in our jobs. Our demand is simple: we want to live.
Women’s Strike Mobilisations happening across the country