From Whom the Future Originates

“The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.
– Adrienne Rich

On International Women’s Day (IWD) 2024, AF³IRM calls on all women and people of conscience to do more than #InspireInclusion. The appropriate response in this pivotal moment in history is unprecedented action and an unwavering commitment to transnational feminism. Stand together for liberation. 

This year, IWD is especially solemn as the world’s eyes are on the culminating acts of genocide in Palestine. For over 150 days, the worst of nightmares and experiences have stormed their way into our conscience. Over 30,000 Palestinians have been martyred. We grieve for the tens of thousands more injured, those lost under the rubble of their communities, and those who have yet to be accounted for. 

Our anger and pain rages on at the unrelenting catastrophic violence being waged on besieged lands, against people resisting occupation and apartheid. We are doubly outraged that the settler colonial entity “Israel” hijacks the language of feminism in its attempt to shield its moral turpitude with dubious claims of sexual violence allegedly inflicted on October 7th. We know for a fact that its alleged “feminists” have ignored the physical and sexual violence committed in Israeli prisons against Palestinians. Colonial feminism is a privileged perversion of feminism, the latter being ipso facto against mass murders.

Israel claims that it is at war, yet Palestinian women and children comprise 70% of the death toll in Gaza. This disproportionately high rate is neither accidental nor arbitrary. While it does not conform to conventional “rules” of war, it is consistent with the logic of genocide.

We call out the mass murder of Palestinian women, along with their children and elders–at the hands of Israel, aided and abetted by its fiercest ally, the United States–as willful and intentional. As transnational feminists, we know that women are critical to the functioning and furthering of society. Women live longer. We are the keepers of memory, the holders of culture, and the teachers of life. Most critically, we are the givers of existence. The future of society originates inside our bodies. It is for precisely these reasons that women are prime targets in Israel’s genocide of Palestinians. 

What could be more mission-critical to the colonizer than to eliminate the possibility of a future for people who have protected and defended their homelands against imperial forces for over a century?

While Israel would have us see women being murdered as collateral damage, it is also evident that Israel sees Palestinian women’s bodies as an arena of war, inflicting intentional violence to disrupt their ability to be the locus of resistance by keeping culture, identity, and hope for the future extant.

The mass murder of Palestinian women and children is as much a strategy for conquest as the total destruction of Gaza itself.

Israel targets women in its genocide because WOMEN ARE MIGHTIER THAN THEIR MILITARIES. Women create, sustain, and hone life. We are the connectors of the past, present, and future. 

Women in Palestine transfer the history of their civilization, and a compass to liberation, in their bloodlines. In their role as the critical link, Palestinian women present the greatest threat to the occupying force’s conquest. 

Many of the 55,000 pregnant Palestinian women since October 7, 2023, have either been killed or lost their babies in this genocide. That women must endure surgeries without proper anesthesia or medical care is not an unintended consequence but an imperative for complete erasure. The deprivation of nourishment, clean water, and materials for healthy maternity are purposeful and violent tactics intended for women.

From the time of the Nakba, the entity Israel has premised its existence on the eradication of Palestine and its native population. Make no apologies for the genocidal growth of Israel’s presence in the SWANA region and its function as a bulwark of US and European imperialism. Reject with all the fiber of our being Israel’s 76-year fertilization of colonialism with the bodies of women and children.

The murder of Palestinian women and children takes place in a world where reactionary patriarchal forces are mounting extreme pressure to erase women’s personhood, from their right to a home and land to reproductive rights. In the US, abortion–a form of health care and often an act of self-preservation–is now criminalized. Capital’s push for a resurgence of feudal forms of control over women continues. All women must defy such patriarchal pressures, not only for ourselves but for future generations. This is an act of radical solidarity with all women oppressed by imperialism, with women’s past struggles, and with the future generations of women.

In Argentina, women who ignited multiple feminist movements across Latin America, for their right to exist and to access abortion care, now mobilize to defend their rights. Dismayingly, the rate of femicide in Argentina reached a record high in 2023. And abortion care hangs in the balance, as extremist conservatives attempt to overturn historic abortion rights won by Argentina’s Marea Verde (Green Wave) women’s movement. But just as they showed the world in 2020, the fierce women of Argentina continue to organize, unite, and mobilize to make it clear to all that they are only willing to struggle to advance their liberation.

Men in power and the patriarchal institutions they control disseminate the reductionist view of women limited to our reproductive capacity in an attempt to minimize our vast capabilities. But we know and have experienced women’s potential to shape the future, build mass movements, and determine the fate of nations. This fear of women’s capabilities underlies the constant attempt to marginalize and eradicate us as a political class. Our power is a threat to their power.  Our power is a threat to their power as they know full well that class society has relied on the stolen labor and suppressed capabilities of women for millennia.

International Women’s Day 2024 should be a rededication to the women’s global struggle for liberation from gender, class, race, and ethnic oppression. Let us be as resolute in pursuing our liberation as women of every generation since the first commemoration of March 8th in 1909 were resolute in their inaugural cry of defiance.

Women’s Liberation is a Revolution!