After intense debates, the territorial unions of Catalonia’s General Confederation of Labor (CGT) have called for a 24-hour strike on International Working Women’s Day: March 8. The CGT is an anarcho-syndicalist union federation with 100,000 members across the Spanish state. In Catalonia, it represents workers at the Seat car factory or the Barcelona Metro, among others.
In their statement, the union announced,
In coordination with the feminist movement, the 17,200 people of the third-largest union in Catalonia have debated with the 54 territorial assemblies whether to call a general strike on the day of the working woman this year.
International Working Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8, celebrates a textile workers strike in New York City. Prompted by the actions of the women’s worker movements in the United States and elsewhere, German Socialist Clara Zetkin proposed to designate March 8th as International Women’s Day during the International Socialist Women’s Congress of 1910. In the past few years, the day has taken on new life with massive mobilizations around the world.
In Catalonia, it is the third year that the CGT calls fora strike on International Working Women’s Day. The union said:
The elected delegates have agreed that, for the third consecutive year, the CGT should call a general strike in Catalonia to demand different demands against the double oppression that capitalism and patriarchy exert on working-class women.
And although March 8 this year is a Sunday, for the CGT Catalonia,
it is not a holiday for all the people who work in shifts, in the hotel and catering and commerce sectors, in call centers, in hospitals, in transport, many of these jobs are strongly feminized and in general situations of precarious work.
For this reason, they call a strike supporting the demands of the feminist assemblies. The feminist movement put out a statement saying
We call for the LABOUR STRIKE. For all the women to go on a CARE STRIKE, to attend with determination and firmness the neighborhood picket lines that will be called. For all people to go on CONSUMER STRIKE against the capitalist system, do not buy, do not consume. [We call] For everyone to take to the streets to express our rejection of patriarchal violence against women, of discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation, against racism and labor exploitation. Because our liberation as women and class will only be possible by ourselves. LONG LIVE THE GENERAL STRIKE!
This comes after massive mobilizations in Catalonia throughout 2019. These took place against the long prison sentences of independence fighters, as well as more broadly for Catalan independence. Hundreds of thousands of people took the streets of Catalonia, facing police repression for weeks on end. Thus, it is no wonder that Catalonia is the place where a union is taking up the strike on International Working Women’s Day.
It also comes after International Women’s Day becoming a worldwide phenomenon in 2017, with massive protests around the world. This included strikes across the Spanish State in 2018, with six million participants. This year, however, with the “leftists” PSOE and Podemos are in power, the call for a strike has weakened, since there is an impression that the government will support the demands of the feminist movement.
Other countries around the world are also organizing marches and rallies. In Mexico City, thousands of women are planning to walk off the job, and there are large assemblies to plan marches on International Women’s Day around the world. This March 8 will show once again that there is a global feminist movement that is willing to take the streets and fight for our rights.
Translated and adapted by Tatiana Cozzarelli from reporting on IzquierdaDiario.es.