Solidarity with Polish wom*n and their fight for self-determination

We read out this statement at the protest demonstration called by CoLiberation at Hermannplatz on February 13, 2021

We stand in firm solidarity with the women and people in Poland in their fight for self-determination, bodily-autonomy, and in co-creating a future where abortion is legal; and sexual and reproductive health care is available and accessible.

The systemic power wielded by patriarchal, neoliberal, fascist, racist and casteist states in Poland and India have unleashed deliberate havoc on women’s bodies, health and their right to a life free from violence.

As we speak, India is alight with the fire of resistance as farmers from across the country have been organising for over three months against the regressive farm laws in India. Striking along with their comrades are women farmers and labourers, as they occupy the borders to Delhi and demand their right to shape their own futures. Braving poor sanitation facilities while protesting in the cold and facing the wrath of the police, they continue to make their voice heard. The Indian government is clamping down on them through placing industrial scale physical barricades, raining down tear gas, and shutting off the internet.

Last month, Nodeep Kaur, a Dalit woman and trade union activist who was protesting at one of these border sites was arrested. Since then she’s been tortured and sexually assaulted while in police custody. Nodeep Kaur has faced (and continues to face) violence for resisting and being vocal in ways that have managed to shake the fragile foundations of the casteist and patriarchal Indian state. We will not rest till she is freed.

But our fight is longer. The Polish anti-abortion law, in denying women their autonomy, is similar to the systems of control exercised by Indian brahminical patriarchy. In seeking to control women’s bodies, they seek to control not only their autonomy and choice, but it is part of a broader quest for holding on to caste power by forcing caste endogamy so that wealth and capital remain in the hands of upper castes. By controlling these most intimate aspects of women’s lives, including love and where they seek to find community –  they also seek to dismantle equality.

These systems of control are aided and abetted by global capital. One only needs to remember, how last month, when Jayasre Kathiravel, a 20-year-old Dalit worker at an H&M apparel factory in Tamil Nadu, a state in Southern India, was found dead after reportedly being raped and murdered by her supervisor at the factory, after facing months of harassment at his hands.

It is more urgent than ever to resist common forces of oppression and create communities of care. We join you today in an endeavour to create such a community that can thrive.  We stand together with queer-feminist, socialist, LGBQTI, and progressive alliances to do the work of solidarity, to strengthen one another, and amplify our demands.  Your struggle, organising, and mobilisation has energised and inspired us. We will continue to fight till Polish, and all women can determine their own self-hood and live with dignity.

Our solidarity with the women* of Poland

We read out this statement at the protest demonstration on January 30 called by Constellation of Liberation after Poland’s constitutional tribunal published the justification of the ruling which declared abortion arising from severe, incurable, and fatal foetal defects to be unconstitutional.

We stand with our Polish sisters and comrades in their fight – solidarity is our weapon! #strajkkobiet

Protest demonstration on January 9 – Noon at Rathhaus, Neukölln

On 9 January 2021, we will be demonstrating in solidarity with the protesting peasants in India.


On 26 November 2020, an alliance of ten trade union organisations and over 250 peasant collectives called for a nationwide general strike in India, in which hundreds of thousands of workers, students, unemployed, peasants and farmers participated.

On 8 January 2020, the Common Platform of Central Unions (CTU) had organised a general strike against three new labour laws that, among other things, severely restrict the right to strike. Now, three new agricultural laws aimed at deregulating the agricultural sector are driving farmers onto the streets, with another general strike on 8 December.

At the centre of the recent protests are three new agricultural laws aimed at “reforming” the agricultural sector. Doubling farm incomes was one of the biggest promises of the Narendra Modi government after it took office in 2014, but incomes have rather declined. The new laws – which also break with the principle that laws on agriculture actually lie with state governments – are being sold by the central government as a way to increase incomes. They envisage a greater role for the market and the private sector in agricultural value addition by deregulating contract farming, lifting restrictions on food transport and storage, and allowing trade in agricultural products outside the mandis (the regulated markets for agricultural produce). In almost all states, farmers receive licences and pay commissions to sell their produce on registered mandis.

However, 85 per cent of Indian farmers own less than two hectares of land. Most of them do not have access to mandis. They lack storage capacity and other infrastructure, and are already forced to sell their produce immediately at the prices offered. The vast majority of farmers from India’s marginalised communities fall into this category.
(For more info, see here.

We therefore want to express our solidarity with the affected farmers together with comrades from different social movements worldwide.
We thank the following collectives for their support:
– El Bloque Latinoamericano
– La Via Campesina
– Dziewuchy
– Die Linke Internationals
Farmers Protest DE
The Independent Farmers’ Voice

Against neoliberalism and fascism everywhere!

Feel free to bring comrades, friends and companions. See you next Saturday at 12pm at the Rathaus Neukölln.

Solidarity with the General Strike in India (1800 on Thursday, November 26 at the Weltzeituhr in Alexanderplatz)

Earlier this year, even as the pandemic raged outside, India’s Parliament passed three legal codes on labour that have mainstreamed hire-and-fire-provisions and criminalised most trade union activity. The regulation of agriculture markets was also amended, threatening to leave small and marginal farmers at the mercy of agricultural corporations and large-scale institutional buyers.

These are part of the BJP-led Indian government’s direct attacks on the working class. Since 2014, India has been ruled by this party, which believes that India belongs to the Hindus and that minorities, including Muslims, indigenous people, women, and the so-called “lower castes” among the Hindus, are a secondary class of citizens.

Narendra Modi’s rise to national power in 2014 and his re-election in 2019 have emboldened “cow protection” vigilantes, lynchings of Muslim men, online armies of hate-spewing trolls, and fake news farms. With a massive majority in India’s parliament, Modi has also taken a more direct control over institutions like the judiciary, the election commissions, the central bank, universities, and the information commissions. The party and the government have tried to make journalists, editors, and public intellectuals toe their line. Except for a few small publications now, the Indian media offers largely uncritical coverage of the government. The annexation of Kashmir in 2019 and the pogroms against Muslims in Delhi in 2020 are two examples from a long list of human rights violations and anti-democratic actions. The “largest democracy in the world” is on the way to becoming a religiously founded dictatorship.

To stand firm against the historic attack on the democratic, social, and trade union rights of workers, farmers and workers’ organisations of India have called for a general strike in India on November 26. The struggle to defend democratic and social rights must cross borders.

We invite you to stand by our Indian brothers and sisters and express your solidarity with the general strike at a protest demonstration at 1800 on Thursday, November 26 at the Weltzeituhr in Alexanderplatz.

LIVE EVENT: Shackled trade unions, weak labour standards – Resisting in India and Germany – November 17th, 16:30 CET / 21:00 IST

 

 

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s Parliament passed three legal codes on labour. Statements from ministers of the BJP-led Union government make it clear that these new codes, which replaced 44 federal laws dealing with the subject, were aimed at improving India’s ranking in the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” index.

Workers and trade unions have called these reforms “anti-working class”, with some suggesting that even under British rule, labour laws were more favourable for Indian workers. Ten central trade unions of India have called a nationwide general strike on November 26 to protest against these laws.

For instance, the Code on Wages has even rejected the moderate recommendations of the Supreme Court of India and India’s premier tripartite labour policy body. The Code on Industrial Relations increases the already high burden on representative unions and enables hire-and-fire practices. The Code on Social Security does not increase welfare benefits. Instead, the burden on businesses of complying with labour standards has been reduced.
By attempting to shackle trade unions and weaken labour standards, these new laws further the neo-liberal conception of the state’s role as a mere facilitator of private enterprise, further exacerbating the exploitation of the working classes.
Around the world, labour laws have been similarly under attack. We invite you for an internationalist panel and discussion on how to organise the fight back.

#BerlinforIndia and Gruppe ArbeiterInnenmacht present an important conversation to build a bridge between labour organisations in India and Germany.

Panelists:

AR Sindhu is a Secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions

Matthias Fritz is active with the Arbeitskreis Internationalismus Berlin of IG Metall

Gautam Mody is the General Secretary of the New Trade Union Initiative

Michael FĂĽtterer works with the Transnationals Information Exchange (TIE)

Maitreyi Krishnan is a labour law expert who works with the All India Central Council of Trade Unions

Moderator:

Martin Suchanek, Gruppe ArbiterInnen Macht

<!–Please use the comments below to ask questions to the panel.–>

In Solidarity with Dziewuchy Berlin

We attended the Second Bloody Week in Berlin in solidarity with the Polish women protesting the pseudo-constitutional judgment banning abortion in Poland. We read out the following statement:

Wir stehen in Solidarität mit den Frauen und Menschen in Polen, die fĂĽr ihre Selbstbestimmung streiken – Selbstbestimmung ĂĽber ihre Körper, ihre Gesundheit, und ihre ZukĂĽnfte. Der Kampf gegen das Abtreibungsgesetz ist, wie Marta Kempart vom “polnischen Frauenstreik” es neulich ausgedrĂĽckt hat, “ein Kampf gegen eine patriarchale Kultur, gegen den patriarchalen Staat, gegen den fundamentalistischen religiösen Staat, gegen den frauenfeindlichen Staat”.

Sowohl in Indien, als auch in Südasien steigen die Gräueltaten gegen Frauen und nicht-cis-Minderheiten, besonders unter den Faschist:innen und Hindunationalist:innen, die seit 2014 das Land regieren. Insbesondere sind Dalit, muslimische, Adivasi oder indigene, Kaschmiris, und andere unterdrückte Menschen davon betroffen, wie wir neulich in Hathras gesehen haben, und seit Jahrzenten in Kaschmir, Manipur und anderen militarisierten Regionen mitbekommen. Zusammen mit den strukturellen Ebenen, erfahren Frauen auch auf zwischenmenschliche Ebene in Familien, von Männern in Partnerschaften, Freundschaften, Bekanntenkreisen, und von fremden Gewalt. Die Rolle der Männer auf allen Ebenen ist wichtig zu betonen, und dementsprechend auch die notwendige Arbeit, die Männer für diesen Kampf leisten müssen.

In Polen hat die Bewegung anscheinend schon einen kleinen Erfolg, aber der Kampf gegen das Patriarchat ist lang, und endet sicherlich nicht mit diesem widerlichen und menschenfeindlichen Gesetz.

Die sogenannte “Recht und Gerechtigkeitspartei” in Polen kollaboriert aktiv mit der indischen Regierung der BJP oder “indischen Volkspartei”, und zeigt, dass sowohl religiöse Fundamentalist:innen, als auch rechte Parteien und Kapital- und patriarchale Interessengruppen sich international vernetzen. Die beiden Regierungen sind sich in ihrer Islamfeindlichkeit, Migrationspolitik, Ausbeutungspolitik, ihrem ethnischen und fundamentalistischen Nationalismus und ihrer patriarchalen Politik einig, und stärken sich gegenseitig.

Deshalb stehen wir zusammen in Solidarität mit euch, mit den unterschiedlichen queer-feministischen, sozialistischen, und LGBTQI Bündnissen, um uns in der Diaspora, sowie in den jeweiligen Regionen, in denen wir aktiv sind, besser zu vernetzen, uns gegenseitig zu stärken, in Bündnissen, auf den Straßen, und in dem gemeinsamen Kampf. Solidarität ist unsere Waffe!

Laal salaam

Oct 10: Annihilate Casteist Sexual Violence, Nettelbeckplatz

We gathered at Nettelbeckplatz in Wedding in the wake of the brutal gangrape in Hathras and the institutional coverup that followed. The following statement was delivered in the presence of institutional solidarity from some of Berlin’s intersectional feminist groups.

Statement:

We write this in the wake of the brutal gangrape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman by men of the upper caste Thakur community in Hathras, in Uttar Pradesh, a province in northern India. The violent crime took place on September 14, 2020, and the victim lost her life in Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi two weeks later.

Members of the victim’s family have said that the local police had refused to arrest any of the accused even 10 days after the crime. The Uttar Pradesh police burnt the victim’s body in the middle of the night without the permission of the family who were locked inside their house. This, it is widely believed, was an attempt to destroy evidence and stall justice.

Since then, the police administration of Uttar Pradesh has repeatedly advanced the theory that no rape took place. The District Magistrate of Hathras (who has since been suspended) called the allegation of gangrape “fake news” and a video emerged showing him coercing the family to change their statement.

The administration has even attempted to accuse the family of fomenting inter-caste violence when all they have done is point out the truth that upper caste Thakur men sit on a history of rape and violence against Dalit women and other lower caste people of Uttar Pradesh. A former MLA from the ruling party, the BJP, has also sought a police investigation against the victim’s family. The Special Investigation Team have taken this victim-blaming to a completely inhuman level by asking for a narco test on the victim’s family, a torturous process without any scientific basis.

 Uttar Pradesh is a state under the rule of Ajay Singh Bisht aka Yogi Adityanath, a member of the BJP, the party ruling India’s central government. It is an openly Hindu supremacist fascist organisation. Ajay Singh Bisht is deeply involved in the BJP’s program of remodelling India’s constitutional democracy in the form of a Hindu Rashtra. Among the core tenets of its fascist program is the complete domestication of women and upholding a structure of violence against women, religious minorities, lower caste and Dalits, and the poor. This is amply clear from the aggressive mobilization of state resources such as the police, the bureaucracy and the media towards rape denial, victim-blaming, gaslighting, and forceful weaponisation of upper caste fragility and defensiveness around any conversation around upper caste violence and murder of Dalits.

We call for prosecution of the dominant caste men and police who committed the heinous crimes in Hathras and in all other recent cases, and demand that the attacks on activists and journalists and the repression of dissent in India stop immediately. Justice for Dalits can only become possible with the annihilation of caste.

Intersectional feminist organisations and activists working in Europe are important for amplifying such incidents of gross right-wing upper caste misogynist abuse of power and violence, state denialism, and the dehumanisation of rape victims and abusers in the form of extremely problematic media and public discourse around sexual violence and its identitarian intersections. This is an international issue. Caste hegemony works as a sort of open secret that international academics and “expats” and “diaspora” are involved in upholding because of their own privilege, there is very little recognition or interest in the historical violence against Dalits, Scheduled Caste and other marginalised people of India. There is also very little knowledge within international activist communities regarding this. 

These organisations must extend solidarity towards this issue of casteist sexual violence, centering victims and survivors, and ensuring international intersectional feminist solidarity.