Long Live Non Una Di Meno!

Non Una Di Meno (Not One Less), an important Italian feminist movement aiming to fight the capitalist and patriarchal system and all forms of sexism and racism, held his national conference. Read about the movement’s current discussions …

I attended the national conference of Non Una Di Meno  (NUDM) because, three years on from the movement’s launch and following the large-scale transfeminist protest in Verona, I was interested to discover its next steps.

The conference was held in Turin this summer, and was attended by over 500 people, predominantly young women. As usual, it was divided up into group and plenary sessions, and this time the main focus was on three issues – feminist strikes, how NUDM communicates and forges relationships, and its transnational dimension.

The importance of the international feminist strike was reiterated many times, as a way to make striking relevant once again and to reconnect groups with different interests, helping to overcome their fragmentation. The strike is simultaneously social, political and combative – by viewing reality through the lens of intersectionality, and therefore recognising inconsistencies between genders, classes and backgrounds, it aims to condemn the systemic nature of male violence against women, the hidden but extremely powerful link between productive labour and the reproductive (domestic and social) labour overwhelmingly performed by women, and insecurity not only in employment, but also in life in general. Another international feminist strike, with these priorities, will be held on 8 March next year.

In the current climate, an historic period in which the sexist, xenophobic and racist right is on the rise, and in which regressive policies that seek to remove our remaining social and civil rights and the welfare system are taking root, the movement is committed to taking action to tackle the scale and reach of these trends. The Feminist Plan to Fight Male Violence Against Women and Gender-Based Violence (Piano femminista contro la violenza maschile sulle donne e la violenza di genere) provides an alternative starting point, a platform for political action and struggle.

This action and struggle must take place on both a local and global scale, and therefore requires the development of a transnational approach, building relationships with other groups outside Italy. Everything about this approach has yet to be decided, in terms of the methods to apply, the definition of ‘transnational’ and the differences between a ‘transnational’ and ‘international’ perspective.

The conference in Turin also saw NUDM strongly defending its independence. I have some major concerns about this term’s meaning, or rather what it is taken to mean. If ‘independence’ means restating the movement’s desire to remain radical and focused, rejecting any attempt at exploitation or manipulation, I am fully in agreement. However, I am strongly opposed to using independence as a way to refute any possibility of building relationships or political ties with trade unions or political parties, which are sometimes seen as the root of the problem. The inadequacy, to put it mildly, of political parties and trade unions, particularly on the left, is clear to see, but this should not be used as a reason to rule out any chance of working together. If they are to grow and cement their position, the international strikes rely on a relationship, whether supportive or adversarial, with as many trade union organisations as possible. Similarly, if we want tangible results, and ultimately legislation, on the issues relating to violence and precarious living standards set out in the Piano femminista ­– systemic male violence in society, the justice system’s unfair treatment of victims of violence, the toxic narratives around femicide, the role of reproductive labour, the link between oppression based on gender and race and attacks on places where women gather and self-organise – we need institutional support (municipal and regional councils, parliaments, etc.) and therefore also political parties. I believe the strength that the NUDM feminist movement has shown, and continues to show, makes it a key player, and so gives it the opportunity to build relationships with other groups and organise joint actions and struggles. I hope the discussion of these topics within the movement continues to be as fruitful as it has been to date.

The conference in Turin therefore underlined the energy, vitality and determination of the NUDM feminist movement, which, collectively, seeks to stem the reactionary and conservative tide that is threatening many hard-won victories across the world, including the victories won by women. It aims to be the “rock that stops the regressive currents that risk flooding society”. Long may it last!

by Nicoletta Pirotta

first published at: transform! italia (full version)