From the November-December 2014 issue of News & Letters
In Guatemala, the Mayan Women’s Movement (MWM), a part of the Council of K’itche People, works with trade unions and farmers to stop mining, hydroelectric dams, monoculture crops, mega-tourism, and infrastructure-building by corporations that destroy natural resources and push them further into starvation. Their massive demonstrations stopped some projects, including a proposed “Monsanto Law” that would have criminalized farmers using non-GMO seeds. Corporations are using the government and the Guatemalan and U.S. militaries to kill, intimidate and relocate native peasants who resist them. MWM’s spokeswoman Lolita Chavez has been charged with 21 offenses for speaking out, but is enthusiastic that the movement is finding ways to live that are not “racist, colonizing, exclusionary, capitalist, and patriarchal.”
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GamerGate, a U.S. internet hate group, has been harassing women designers of online games and those who criticize games dehumanizing women. Three women have been driven from their homes by death and rape threats after their addresses were posted online. Two received bomb threats when one was to receive an award and the other was scheduled to speak. GamerGate members threatened actress Emma Watson for giving a speech at the UN encouraging men to support feminism. GamerGate’s claim that it only cares about ethics in gaming journalism has been widely debunked.
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No major English-speaking news source reported on the massive feminist strike on Oct. 22, when thousands of mostly young women and their allies of all ages and genders shut down traffic and subways in Barcelona. Activists occupied government and business offices and put up graffiti and banners reading “Death to Patriarchy,” and “Caregivers Strike.” Their manifesto explains that Spain’s recent labor strikes ignored women’s concerns such as reproductive rights and unpaid caregiving. Spanish women denounce “this circle of the powerful in perpetuating a devastating market system which undermines both social justice and gender equality.” The over 600 feminist and community groups that planned the Vaga de Totes (Everything Strike) are planning an even bigger one for spring 2015.