BAGUIO CITY – Women from different parts of the world have gathered in a historic gathering in Montreal, Canada on 13-16 August 2010, and formed an international alliance of women, 100 years after the declaration of March 8 as international day of toiling women. The alliance is simply called the International Women’s Alliance (IWA) which will serve to consolidate the solidarity and resistance of women against monopoly capitalism in the 21st century. IWA will resist all forms of imperialist and reactionary attacks on women’s lives, fight wars of aggression and plunder of the world’s remaining resources and advance the movement for social justice, self-determination, democracy and peace.
The establishment of IWA was participated by more than 200 women from 25 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and North America who come from women’s organizations of workers or trade unions, peasants, professionals, indigenous, youth and students, migrants, lesbians, academics and other profession, programs and non-government organizations.
Concrete conditions by which lives of women are devastated were shared and discussed, as the whole world is facing intensified economic and financial crises resulting from a crisis of overproduction, concentration and centralization of capital in the US and in other capitalist countries. Thus, bringing about contraction of incomes, constriction of the market, and the systematic plunder of the world’s resources to amass more profits for the imperialist powers and their corporations. Keynote speaker Liza Maza of GABRIELA Philippines and former member of the House of Representatives in the Philippines pointed out that the global crisis is eroding the gains of the women’s movements in the last 100 years.
Despite the global economic and financial crisis accompanied by wars of aggression, women are taking part in social movements fighting for their sovereignty and self-determination. Women are persisting their struggle for survival, decent incomes and jobs, and education and well-being of their children.
Indigenous women’s experiences were brought to the conference through the discussions of development aggression and struggles of indigenous women. In the theme of development aggression, Innabuyog highlighted on the stepped up interest of large corporate mining in the Cordillera region, the involvement of Canadian companies, and the militarization that occurs in areas targeted for mining projects. Innabuyog also presented on the struggles of indigenous women along with women of the First Nations in Canada, Mexico and Ecuador where movement- building and common struggles for self-determination on governance and control of land and natural resources, were shared.
Out of the conference presentations and discussions, organizations and movements of toiling women of the world will continue to draw inspiration and strength from their particular struggles. The women of Palestine who have prevailed over 60 years of genocide, occupation and aggression , perpetrated by the Israeli apartheid state and supported by the US and other major powers. The women of Afghanistan continue to expose the hypocrisy of a war ravaging their country under the guise of liberating them. The women of Iran who are braving the regime of the mullahs and defying its attempts to pull them back to the stone age.
The women of the Philippines who are on the front lines of the struggle for national and social liberation opposing the US-imposed policy of neo-liberal globalization and the US-backed war on terror perpetrated by their government which has taken hundreds of lives of community and human rights activists. The women of Mexico who fight for justice for the hundreds of women killed with impunity around the export-processing zones of Ciudad Juarez. The Tamil women of Sri Lanka who fight a genocidal regime while the major powers, including Canada, watch in complicity. The women of Africa who struggle to survive on land pillaged by transnational mining companies while coping with the ravage of AIDS, as pharmaceutical companies watch. The women of Haiti which continue to revolt against foreign intervention.
Indigenous women who continue to resist ethnocidal attacks through imperialist plunder of their ancestral lands and resources that viciously stamp out self-determination, identity, and sustainable and viable ways of life. Women migrant workers who are forced to leave their families and face cruel situations in other countries while their remittances sustain bankrupt economies of their countries like the Philippines.Organizers for the conference that established IWA include Canada-based organizations like the Women of Diversity Origins, the Quebec Native Women’s Association and the Federation des Femmes du Quebec, and GABRIELA Philippines.
Joining the Philippine delegation from the Cordillera region were Vernie Yocogan-Diano of Innabuyog, Maureen Loste of the Regional Ecumenical Council of the Cordillera and Association of Women in Theology, and Audrey Beltran of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance.# Innabuyog release/nordis.net