Photo via Esfera Radio

Women’s rights movement Ni Una Menos are “taking to the streets” once more, on June 3, exactly 2 years on from their first ever march across Argentina. Today, the first assemblies will be held to start the planning for next month’s march, and a statement about the meeting was released yesterday, entitled “In opposition to the gears of institutional and machista violence, we will return to the Plaza [de Mayo] on June 3. We want them alive and free!”

It may feel easy to get caught up in the triumphant spirit of togetherness during one of the marches, and in turn fool ourselves that the battle ahead won’t be so tough. In reality, fighting back couldn’t be more urgent; since 2008 the rate of femicide has increased from one every 40 hours, to one every 18. Last month there was one femicide for every calendar day.

But it is not only an end to femicide that the organization are asking for; here is the statement in full:

“On the streets, ideas always flow, forces are gathered and ties are strengthened. On 10 May, joyful and determined, in the plaza de las Madres [in reference to the capital’s Plaza de Mayo being taken over by the mothers of those who disappeared during Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 70s] 500,000 of us lay down a resounding ‘no to the impunity of crimes of state terrorism, and gave another ‘no’ to those who wanted to impose this impunity on us. [This was a reference to the march against the Supreme Court ruling to apply the controversial two-for-one law to cases related to criminals against humanity.]

‘No’ to misogynistic judicial branch power that is openly complicit with political power and the Church. The sequence of events is not coincidental: the abhorrent failing on the part of the Supreme Court came after the official statement in favor of the ”reconciliation” of la Episcopalian Conference, while an ongoing discussion took place regarding harshening of sentences and detainment conditions of people sentenced for violent crimes which indiscriminately include contraband (the main cause for women being held as prisoners); while the government is threatening to treat the legal right to protest as sedition [deliberate provocation, designed to undermine the state], (something they always threaten to apply to picketers and demonstrators endorsing social needs, and which leads to the criminalization of social protesting, a punishment for all of us, but which manifests itself in the personhood [and experience of] Milagro Sala, held as political prisoner since the start of the Cambiemos Coalition government).

While this complicity goes on, oppressive forces stage their attack against women: they cover up femicides, or take hold of the weapons that the state offers to use against us; they repress us in the streets; they arbitrarily arrest us as we protest, and they refuse to listen to us when we give our reports in police stations or ask for help. Two months after the International Women’s Strike, 26 of us are under investigation, as retaliation for our protesting. And the plea for the release of Higui, the lesbian imprisoned for defending herself against a “corrective” rape, has not been listened to.

Powered by those who were called the lunatics of the plaza, the feminist surge gained strength. We embrace the older women who are our grandmothers and mothers, whose political actions as feminists find themselves in the new public squares for women today. Driven by the surge of the white handkerchiefs [again, a reference to the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo] against impunity, this June 3rd we will go out into the streets, against the actions executed by the repressive forces and machista violence which implodes every day, in our neighborhoods and our houses. Machismo is the fascism that takes place inside our homes.

On the same day that the Supreme Courts 2×1 ruling, applied to those guilty of genocide, became public knowledge, three soldiers and a Corporal Garrison of the Campo de Mayo, (where the largest detention and extermination camp in the country used to operate), tried to rape a student of the National General Sarmiento University, who was an active member of Las Rojas activist (a leftist and feminist activist movement). This convergence expresses the pact between men to forcibly preserve their privilege and to retain their control within society. They agree, even without realising they are doing so, to discipline women’s bodies, to punish every free and autonomous act.

They threaten us with the idea of being imprisoned for seeking abortions, of being raped for going out, of being suspect when we don’t conform to their idea of the pure, innocent victim. They want us locked up and obedient. Submissive to the domestic orders and alert to the dangers of the streets. The institutions supposedly concerned with safety and justice, as well as the media discourse, always associate care with restriction. They set out traps for us; they offer more prison cells, or greater punishments, or their favourite catchphrase: declaring an emergency in security, which affords them more restrain rights, and allows them to be more coercive.

Photo via Los Andes
Photo via Los Andes

In April, there was at least one woman fewer each day; on some days one or two names appeared among the dead and missing. The machista cruelty shows us no mercy. They try to submit us to the constant shock of mourning, in order to discipline us. But we committed to each and every one of those names and we regained our strength in among the pain.

Ni Una Menos is a collective cry and united embrace, which shakes every part of our lives and which overflows on the streets. We may be weak, but being together and being there for one another makes us powerful.

We will come together in feminist assemblies and on June 3 we will meet again on the streets.

Ni Una Menos

We want us to be alive and free!”