Occupy Patriarchy! Participate!

2nd Big Mobilisation of Platform 20000 Women in Vienna

Under this motto and with more than 60 tents the Vienna Ring Boulevard was on 12 May occupied by women for 10 hours. “With this action in public space we refer to the social movements worldwide which are fighting for a democratic and just world and are not prepared to simply accept the consequences of the current economic, financial and political crisis”, it said in the call to the ‘tent-city’.
This was already the second big mobilisation of the Platform 20000 Women / Plattform 20000 Frauen which had two years ago come together as a broad movement of civil society and has meanwhile established itself as a factor of women’s politics, one not only making visible in public space the deficiencies of women’s politics with small interventions throughout the entire year but also promoting substantial debates by organising symposia in cooperation with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs – because recognizing common interests must not cover up the differences also existing.   
As members of a rich industrialised nation we are privileged and thus can in our struggles for our share of the cake not ignore that this cake is baked under conditions of exploiting the resources of other countries and their populations. Our struggle for adequate employment and salaries must keep in mind that this is often achieved by shifting the burdens of reproductive work to the shoulders of migrant women. These facts are taken into account in the visionary text of the platform which can be understood as expressing the interests of all women involved. This text has been translated into 7 languages and can be downloaded from: http://zwanzigtausendfrauen.at/2011/01/english/ The differences among us can be identified where there are demands, strategies for change or also the objective possibilities to carry them into the public or the respective institutions and to trigger discussions and shifts in discourse. Underlying all that, there is, of course, the basic difference in the assessments of the current political situation between the poles of a critique immanent to the system and one transgressing it. 
Already the demonstration on 19 March 2011 had shown that this very heterogeneous alliance had been able to reach entirely new groups of women, among them not a few who had for the very first time in their lives taken to the streets for their concerns and had been able to experience that they were not alone. Thus the platform is a space for women and their debates to link up and refer to each other. 
Knowing that if there is no sufficient pressure from the Left, the centre will find itself caught in a maelstrom to the right, I think that by the cooperation of very heterogeneous groups Platform 20000 Women has succeeded in boosting feminist and – thanks to the radicalism of feminist theory – also left issues. The mixed-gender Left of the country could well take that as an example and learn from these current feminist practices.