8th of March manifesto
The political context in Azerbaijan
In recent years, people in Azerbaijan are exploited, women and queers are being oppressed and violence against them is going unnoticed by the undemocratic, patriarchal, capitalist-exploitative, racist and intolerant political regime, which raged the war serving its own interests in Karabakh in 2020 and which is not able to tolerate the human freedom and creativity and suffocates any alternative thoughts.
As a result of this growing political anomaly, today Azerbaijani society has become an ideologically closed and totalitarian environment that does not stand for alternative views and normalizes violence.
Against the background of these events, real feminist initiatives and feminist content are emerging in Azerbaijan, local feminists are realizing themselves, benefiting from transnational movements, and local resistance is beginning to take shape. The Feminist Peace Collective also starts emerging at this time as part of the socio-political events taking place in our society.
Despite such a repressive environment, radical voices seeking peace (feminist and in broader meaning), freedom and equality are sprouting and organizing to promote alternative ideas.
Where we stand
This day on March 8, 1917, at the end of the First World War, has been engraved to the history with the demands of "bread and peace" of courageous worker women who brought us the February Revolution in Russia. More than a century later, it reproduces and makes us stand up with more deepening problems. Today, thousands of feminists in Russia who carry the spirit of their revolutionary grandmothers are facing the threat of being arrested for saying "no to war" and being subjected to police violence. Our feminist fellows in Ukraine are resisting the imperial ambitions, facing death.
Isn't it time for a new revolution? But our revolution will be not made as believed by Ursula K.Le Guinn and it will be the revolution where we can dance as dreamed by Emma Goldman.
Addressing proletarian women in 1914, Rosa Luxemburg called on the poorest and the most powerless women to oppose capitalist rule. Referring to the last words of Rosa Luxembourg, today we come together with hope, resistance and rebellion and say: "We were, we are and we will be!"
As the anthem of the American pacifist movement protesting against the accession of the US to World War I in 1915, we say: "We did not raise our children to be soldiers!"
As Chong Ch’ilsong, a writer in Korea's first socialist women's organization in 1924, called on us not to be content with just waiting to be saved, we call: "Let's create our own destiny."
In the words of the French-Cuban writer Anais Nin in 1937, we say: “We feel our power. The power to seduce, to work, to love and to be loved! ”
We recite a poem by Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad in 1955 addressed to Iranian women: “We will never submit to tyranny. We will rage with the stream of anger, hatred and pain! ”
We are the voices of four Mirabal sisters, known as the "Butterflies" who protested against the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic in 1960 and were killed: "If they kill us, we will get our hands out of the grave and become stronger!".
In the famous words of Fannie Lou Hamer, one of the main critics of the Vietnam War, who fought for the rights of black women in the US in 1965, we say: “We are sick and tired of being sick and tired!”
As the motto of the queer dancers who demonstrated "gay power" during the 1969 Stonewall riots in the US, we say: “We are the Stonewall girls, we wear our hair in curls, we have no underwear, we show our pubic hairs!”
We remind the slogan of the radical left organization, the Women's Front, founded by students at Punjab University in 1970: "Women and politics are one."
We call for the demands of the 1970 American revolutionary transsexual and transvestite activists: “We share the oppression faced by both gays and women. Every trans * individual must have full and equal rights, and be fully provided with the voice to fight for all oppressed people".
We remember the solidarity march by Third World black, brown, Asian and native women living in North America against the US imperialism and Vietnam war in 1971: "All power to the people of the Third World!"
We are the slogan of the women of the Indian village of Reni and their Chipko movement, who protested against deforestation in the Himalayas in 1974: “This forest is our home. We protect it with all our power. "
We say in the voice of the “Ni Una Menos” movement protesting against femicide in Argentine in 2017 and calling all women in the world to global strike on March 8: "No more murder of another woman, no more murder of another Queer."
We also recall the anthem of the 2019 Chilean feminist movement Lastesis: “Rapist was you, rapist is you! The rapist is the police, the judges, the state, the president. "
With this manifesto, we express our demands and position as feminist voices from Azerbaijan and the Caucasus in 2022.
We are against capitalist-patriarchal exploiters who feed on our productive and reproductive labor, nevertheless ignoring it!
We are against those who try to silence us with the traditional values, masculinity and male chauvinism they created around the war!
We are against those who normalize violence against women and LGBTQI + and strengthen patriarchal violence!
We are against the corporations which are not satisfied by exploiting nature to the end, but also kill animals with their oil revenues!
We demand a high salary for everyone, opposing racist, exploitative and precarious work!
Tired of femicide, we declare once again that the killings of women are political!
We call to demonstrate solidarity, zero tolerance to violence and oppression, feminist, anti-militarist, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-racist stance for an environment, where
Peace is not achieved with 2783+4088 human lives which are treated as mere numbers,
Justice and equality are not an abstraction,
Exploitation and poverty are left in the past!
On March 8, we call on all those who share the same values with us, to show resistance and solidarity for all who are oppressed, beaten, killed and exposed to all forms of violence daily, whose labor is exploited, whose rights are violated, who are silenced and deprived of the freedom to live and create!
Together we stand, divided we fall!
List of inspirations
Jessie Kindig (2020). The Verso Book of Feminism Revolutionary Words from Four Millennia of Rebellion
Nurlana Jalil (2022). The Formation of the F-99 Movement and the Transformation of Feminism in Azerbaijan. Published on the website of Baku Research Institute. Accessed on 08 Mar 2022, https://bakuresearchinstitute.org/en/the-formation-of-the-f-99-movement-and-the-transformation-of-feminism-in-azerbaijan/