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1 The Unhappy Marriage of the Spanish 15-M Movement and Feminism Capitolina Díaz Martínez Lydia González Orta University of Oviedo.

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Presentation on theme: "1 The Unhappy Marriage of the Spanish 15-M Movement and Feminism Capitolina Díaz Martínez Lydia González Orta University of Oviedo."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 The Unhappy Marriage of the Spanish 15-M Movement and Feminism Capitolina Díaz Martínez Lydia González Orta University of Oviedo

2 2 Introduction to the “Spanish Revolution” The socio-political context: –Burst of the real estate bubble –Subprime mortgage crisis –Alarming eviction rates –Sovereign debt crisis –Unemployment rates (5000000 people) –Youth unemployment rates –Deregulation of the labor market –Welfare cutbacks –Hegemonic two-party system The 15-M Movement as the expression of a social crisis and a political-institutional crisis due to the effects of the world economic recession in Spain

3 3 Characteristics of the Spanish 15-M Movement: –Spontaneous and pacific social protest –Camps in Sol (Madrid) and in almost every city –Web- and mobile-based technologies –Anonymous and self-organized movement –Horizontal and inclusive logic –Multiple political ideologies –New socio-political identity “outraged” –Local decentralization Factors of the success experienced by the 15-M Movement and of its ability to gather thousands of people

4 4 Feminisms within the 15-M Movement: –Absence of gender analyses –Women, LGTTBQ people and migrants demands were invisible –Patriarchal dynamics in assemblies –Sexist aggressions –Feminist initiatives included: Writing of placards Manifestos Proposals Feminist debates Pedagogical workshops Emergence of feminist groups and commissions that practiced the double militancy Two main contributions: 1)Bring feminism back to the streets 2)Introduce a gender perspective and feminist demands

5 5

6 6 Feminist discourse in the 15-M Movement Methodology of policy frame analysis Dominant frames Underlying ideologies Feminist discourse -Mainstreaming a gender perspective -Patriarchal capitalism as the system of oppression -Blurred public/private division -Diversity of gender identities and sexualities -Anti-capitalist and transfeminist trend 15-M discourse -Gender “at the end” - Capitalism as the system of oppression -Mainly public discourse on the lack of democracy -Androcentric slogans and writings -Reformist / Anti-capitalist wings

7 Feminist discourse 7 Source:

8 15-M discourse 8 Source:

9 15-M key issues State & economy Welfare State/ Public services Bank system Social cutbacks Mortgage/Eviction Lack of democracy Two-party system Corruption Consumerism People as the center of the economy Environmental damage Work Unemployment Working conditions Migrant’s rights Retirement Women’s unoaid work Redistribution of wealth Violence Wars Military financing Prisons Capitalist powers Capitalism International Financial Institutions Mass media Catholic church Gender perspective Sexualities Mainstreaming Violence against women Feminist key issues State & economy Welfare State Public services Social cutbacks Neo-con ideologies Health People as the center of the economy Gender identities / sexualities Sexualities Sexual education Patologization of transsexuality Diversity of families Gender stereotypes Work Migrant women’s rights Regularization of prostitution Women’s unpaid work Working conditions Co-responsibility Sexual division of labour Redistribution of wealth Violence Violence against women Wars Traffic in women Patriarchal powers Catholic church Capitalism Patriarchy Mass media International Financial Institutions Gender perspective Abortion rights Gender policies/services Sexist language Effects of economic crisis on working women Feminist alliances Mainstreaming Women’s rights cutbacks

10 10 Feminism, social movements, unhappy marriages Women’s history and feminist theory useful to situate theoretically and historically the experiences of feminist groups at the 15-M Movement. Socialist feminism in the 70s Double system theories: The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism: Towards a More Progressive Union (1979) by Heidi Hartmann. –Marxism subsumed the woman’s question into the “broader” social question –Sex-blind categories –Power relations between women and men concealed Double system of oppression: patriarchal capitalism Double militancy in socialist and feminist organizations

11 11 Back to socialist feminist analysis and practices in feminist groups at the 15-M Movement: –Patriarchal capitalism as the system of oppression –Double militancy –Intersectional approach: gender + class + race + … –Recurrent topics: effects of the economic crisis on working class women, women’s unpaid work, migrant women’s care work, LGTTBQ people discrimination in the labour market, etc. Resurgence of a Spanish left feminism, the critique of capitalism again at the center of feminist debates Ideological parallelism: –Class / Class + gender as the classical ideological conflict between feminism and the left –Subordination of gender at the theoretical level and women’s subordination at the organizational level.

12 12 Reflections on the “Arab Spring” The socio-political context: –High unemployment –Deteriorating living conditions –Political corruption –Authoritarian regimes –Different cleavages Similar strategies, common demands –Pacific and anonymous protest –Occupy the squares –Web- and mobile-based techonologies –Multiple political ideologies The Arab Revolutions as the expression of an economic crisis and political-institutional crisis -Personal dignity -Responsive governments - Change of economic models

13 Western amazement about: –Popular Arab movements, due to Western assumptions on Arab people as politically immature communities and non- democratic political cultures –Massive women’s participation, due to Western representation of Arab women as victims, traditionalist and politically passive women. Women’s roles in the “Arab Spring” –Bloggers, supportive roles –Leaders in demonstrations –Advocates for women’s rights –Occupying public spaces –Re-appropriation of the political discourse 13 However… Women revolutionaries were objects of State violence, sexual harassment and patriarchal dynamics.

14 14 Source:

15 The future of Arab women’s rights –Male-dominated political representation –Absence of women’s voices in new constitutions –Patriarchal use of Islam Can we talk about an “Arab Spring” for women’s rights? Parallelism: Gender patterns and a specific violence against women operating in contemporary contestation movements emerged as a result of the 2009 world economic recession. 15

16 16 Conclusions Contributions of feminisms in the 15-M Movement: –Bring feminism(s) back to the streets –Enlarge the limits of the 15-M discourse –New feminist alliances and networks –Prominence of transfeminism and anti-capitalist feminism Women’s participation in the Arab Revolutions: –Sexual violence against women revolutionaries –Patriarchal politics after the Revolutions In short, the recognition of “ gender” as a source of oppression in equal terms of “capitalism” (15-M Movement) or “authoritarian regimes” (Arab Revolutions) has not occurred, reproducing the problems of “The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism.” But… Feminist discourse has been secondary in the broad 15-M discourse

17 17 List of analyzed documents #Acampadasol (2011). “Manifiesto Acampada Sol.” Available at: — Manifiesto “¡Cambio de modelo ya!” Available at: Acampada Barcelona (2011). “Declaració AcampadaBCN.” Available at: — “Primeras Medidas para una Vida Digna.” In Rodolfo Ruíz Ligero (2011). El Viejo Topo, 284, 11-19. Asamblea de Transmaricabollo, Madrid (2011). “Manifiesto Transmaricabollo.” Available at: transmaricabollo-del-movimiento-15m-en-madrid/ transmaricabollo-del-movimiento-15m-en-madrid/ — “Manifiesto Toma el Orgullo 2012.” Available at: Assemblea Feministes Indignades, Barcelona (2011). “La revolución será feminista o no será.” Available at: feminista-o-no-ser-manifiesto-fi-25052011/ feminista-o-no-ser-manifiesto-fi-25052011/ Colectivos Feministas, Granada (2011). “Una marea violeta contra la ofensiva patriarcal de los gobiernos conservadores.” Available at:

18 18 Comando Rosa, Zaragoza (2011). “Democracia anal ya.” Available at: Comisión Feminismos Sol, Madrid (2011). “Dossier de la Comisión de Feminismos.” Available at: feminista/ feminista/ — (2012) “Una marea violeta contra los recortes y el sistema.” Available at: 012-1.pdf 012-1.pdf Democracia Real Ya (2011). “Manifiesto 15-M.” Available at: — (2011) “Propuestas.” Available at: — (2012) “Manifiesto contra el rescate a los bancos.” Available at: — (2012) “Declaración Ciudadana ante la Estafa de la Deuda Pública.” Available at: Hetaira, Madrid (2011). “Comunicado del Colectivo Hetaira en Acampada Sol.” Available at: http://prostitucion- Octubre Trans, Barcelona (2011). “Manifiesto Octubre Trans Bcn 2011.” Available at:

19 19 References Abu-Lughod, Lila (2002). Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and its Others. American Anthropologist, 104(3), 783- 790. Amorós, Celia (2009). Debates ideológicos en el movimiento feminista durante la transición española [Ideological debates within the feminist movement during the Spanish political transition]. In Martín Tel, Carmen, Purificación Gutiérrez and Pilar González (Eds), El movimiento feminista en España en los años 70 [The Spanish feminist movement during the seventies] (pp. 189-202). Madrid: Cátedra. Anderson, Lisa (2011). Demystifying the Arab Spring. Parsing the Differences Between Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Foreign Affairs, 3(90), 1-7. Arnedo, Elena (2009). Mujer y Socialismo [Woman and Socialism]. In Martín Tel, Carmen, Purificación Gutiérrez and Pilar González (Eds), El movimiento feminista en España en los años 70 [The Spanish feminist movement during the seventies] (pp. 219- 246). Madrid: Cátedra. AAVV (2012). R-evolucionando. Feminismos en el 15-M [R-evolutioning. Feminisms in the 15-M movement] Barcelona: Icaria. Bustelo, María and Emanuela Lombardo (2007). La metodología de análisis de marcos [The methodology of frames analysis]. In María Bustelo and Emanuela Lombardo (Ed.), Políticas de igualdad en España y en Europa. Afinando la mirada [Equality policies in Spain and Europe. Refining the gaze] (pp. 21-35) Madrid: Cátedra.

20 20 Caryl, Christian (2012). The Women of Tahrir Square Fight Back. Available at: t_back?page=full t_back?page=full Ebadi, Shirin (2012). A Warning for Women of the Arab Spring. The Wall Street Journal. Errejón Galván, Íñigo (2011). El 15-M como discurso contrahegemónico [The 15-M Movement as a Counter-hegemonic discourse]. Encrucijadas: Revista Crítica de Ciencias Sociales, 2, 120-145. Ezquerra, Sandra (2012). Discursos y prácticas feministas en el movimiento 15-M: avances y asignaturas pendientes [Feminist practice and discourse at the 15-M movement: progress and pending subjects]. Available at: feministas-en-el-15m feministas-en-el-15m Hartmann, Heidi (1997 [1979]). The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism: Towards a More Progressive Union. In Linda Nicholson (Ed), The Second Wave. A Reader in Feminist Theory (pp. 97-122). New York: Routledge. Hawkesworth, Mary (2006). Intersectionality. In Feminist Inquiry (pp. 207-248). New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. Heideman, Kendra and Mona Youssef (Eds) (2012). Reflections on Women In the Arab Spring. Available at:'s%20Day%20 2012_1.pdf's%20Day%20 2012_1.pdf

21 21 Hill Collins, Patricia (1998). It’s All in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race and Nation. Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, 3(13), 63-82. Osman Ibnouf, Fatma (2012). To Arab Women: Golden opportunity to stand-up for your rights. Global Advanced Research Journals, 5(1), 113-117. Sampedro, Víctor and J.M. Sánchez (2011). La Red era la Plaza [The Network was the Square]. Available at: Santamaría, Antonio (2011). La rebelión de los indignados: reflexiones a pie de acampada [The rebellion of the outraged: reflections at the foot of the camp]. El Viejo Topo, 282-3, 21-25. Shabi, Rachel and Laura Collins (2012). Women of the Arab Spring give voice to their hopes and aspirations. Available at: hopes-and-aspirations hopes-and-aspirations Taibo, Carlos (2012). Almas, corrimientos, apoyo mutuo [Souls, landslides, mutual support]. Availlable at: Viñas, Verónica E. (2009). Catástrofes y cambio de políticas públicas: “Prestige” seis años después. Un análisis de marcos interpretativos [Disasters and change of public policies: “Prestige” six years after. An analysis of interpretative frames]. Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas, 127, 121-153. Vocesfutura, JBS (2011). 15M - Spanish Revolution. Available at:

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