Today’s girls. They were the stars of the big and beautiful demonstration in Rome on Saturday. And those of the Left who cannot get anyone out into the street nowadays, as well as all who are trying to organize street movements to develop a renewed connection with society, can learn some valuable lessons from the new movement against violence that has developed in the past few years.
They can learn from it how to build such a high rate of participation among the younger generation. They can see the unyielding struggle of those who are able to organize a social response at the grassroots level, involving the difficult work of women’s shelters.
They can see the great strength of a feminist political culture that crosses over and feeds into an uprising without borders, with a strong international dimension that shows its extraordinary breadth and depth.
It was ‘the people’ of and for the female gender, numbering in the tens of thousands (including many men, and baby strollers), marching in the streets of the Italian capital in the name of a great alliance in defense of life, both one’s own and that of others. They showed themselves to be smiling, friendly and open to everyone, and left the law enforcement present with nothing to do.
The movement that is showing such strength among the younger generation is focusing — and how could it not? — on the social status of women in Italy, on the disastrous state of public welfare, and on the black hole created by the lack of economic autonomy that swallows up victims of violence, because it’s more difficult to escape from a dark place if you have no means of your own.
Those are some of the reasons why, on March 8, women from 48 countries organized a worldwide strike, in the home and outside it, in both reproductive labor and paid labor, and against patriarchy and neo-capitalism, systems which support each other in order to subdue everyone and create a precarious life of all.
We are speaking out about an economic form of subjection, tied to the backwardness of our country regarding civil rights, and to the silence of the political sphere about a condition that affects the majority of the population.
Ours is a country where it is still possible to be treated like those American girls in Florence who accused the two carabinieri of rape. And where the complaints of a young actress about the abuses she suffered at the hands of an acclaimed filmmaker led to an avalanche of insults directed her way.
Nonetheless, the brutality of the violence these victims suffered (including the latest horror story: the 11-year-old girl pregnant from rape) hasn’t broken their will to denounce it and to show their wounds. And that was what the numerous guests invited by President Boldrini to the Palazzo Montecitorio did, where for a few hours the Chamber of Deputies became the stage for painful testimonies, stories told in the first person, shot through with a desire for redemption.
Banding together, on behalf of each and all of us, still remains the best antidote for fighting the poison of male violence.
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