As we commemorate International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we note the many expressions of spontaneous eruptions around the world, of regular people occupying spaces and demanding economic and social justice, demanding equity and equality, exercising civil and political rights and democratic principles, and in their show of protest calling for an end to greed and inequality.
Today also marks one month since thousands gathered in lower Manhattan to protest the bank bailouts rather than the bailouts for the people. Those that spent the night in a park they renamed Liberty Square sparked a global and online protest of corporate greed, the division of the haves and the haves not, the 1% richest and the rest, the 99% of regular folks struggling in an atmosphere of economic insecurity, loss of jobs, loss of healthcare, loss of dignity. Since that inauspicious gathering one month ago as reported here on Sept. 25th, the nascent movement has grown to 1500 protests in 82 countries!
We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay and no rights, if we’re working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1 percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.
While we herald the voices and expressions of the 99 percent and align ourselves in that call, let us also remember that within that 99% there is a “lesser percentage” of poor and impoverished around the world struggling on a dollar a day. And of this “lesser percentage“ of poor and impoverished, there is a 70 percent of whom are women living a life of daily economic crisis.
Theirs is a grimmer reality. They cannot post their grievances, tweets their protest, Facebook their home-made sign, youtube their personal message—they are computer-less, wifi-less, Facebook-less, tweet-less, phone-less, homeless, food-less, land-less and sometimes power-less. They may not even be able to travel outside their communities, their villages or towns to the capital of their country, state or region to protest. Many of these 70 percent cannot read or write, and some may not even be able to venture outside their home by themselves without being accompanied by a male relative.
This is where the strength of the women’s tribunals comes into play. The women’s tribunals are a form of occupying space, time, attention! This in itself may be an act of protest, a revolutionary act on the part of women in a male-dominated society. In many ways, the women’s tribunals are our form of occupying our space, our communities, our Mother Earth.
Rosa / Feminist Task Force
“Gender Equality to End Poverty”- Oct. 17th International Day for the Eradication of Poverty