Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools


You are here: Home / 2021 / Today we participated in the March 8 demonstration in Lyon

Today we participated in the March 8 demonstration in Lyon

The comrades of UC (Communist Unity) France report


This demonstration was a success because, despite the health context, a large number of people gathered. More than 10,000 people, mostly women, took to the streets to demand their rights and denounce injustice. There seems to be a big gap between this demonstration and that of the previous March 8.


Between March 8, 2020 and March 8, 2021, the world has changed. The pandemic has passed here, with its share of sorrow, its share of suffering, its share of difficulties.



These difficulties are not evenly distributed. For a relatively privileged segment of the population, captivity may have been pleasant, even a simple inconvenience. For others, however, it was a trial of strength.


This is broadly the case for women.


Since the beginning of the pandemic, women have been on the front lines.

On the front lines of professional activities, especially in the medical field. In fact, the most exposed positions (nurses, nursing assistants, etc.) are mostly held by women.


On the front lines in daily life. Domestic tasks have often fallen to them, as well as managing children, shopping, cleaning, etc.


On the front lines in the face of violence: stress, despair, fear.... Have manifested themselves in a variety of ways. Including a dramatic increase in physical, moral and sexual violence, the main victims of which were women.


When the confinement was lifted, they returned to street harassment and daily aggression, exacerbated by the apocalyptic atmosphere of that year.


As for the future, it is anything but rosy: economic prospects are poor. And women are statistically more at risk than men. This triple penalty makes 2020 a difficult, anxiety-ridden year.


Moreover, the government is far from setting a perfect example.

The appointment of someone like Gerald Darmanin as Interior Minister was a deeply negative signal from the government to all women. As for the capitulation of Marlène Schiappa, who claimed that she "would not shake hands with anyone accused of rape," this fully illustrates the lack of principles of these politicians. Moreover, wealthy sex offenders, secular rapists, by and large have it easy in France.


In other countries, including Poland, the anti-women offensive is growing. Women's rights are constantly under attack from reactionaries. Nothing can be taken for granted!


Despite its weaknesses, however, we can only acknowledge that the introduction of a minimum age of consent is a form of progress. It no longer burdens the youngest victims with the ordeal of having to prove non-consent. It is a small step forward.


Despite the complexities of the situation, there are signs of victory:


In general, the wave of #metoo (and its #metoogay counterpart) continues to free speech. Today, abusers know that the truth can come out at any time. In other countries around the world, victories are emerging under the growing influence of progressive thinking. The women's movement is gradually winning victories in Asian, Latin American and African countries. In the beginnings of people's democracies, as in Rojava or in some parts of India, feminist self-defense groups are putting an end to sexist violence and imposing a new society.


It is undeniable that attitudes are changing. However, this progress is met with fierce resistance from fanatical reactionaries who tremble at the collapse of their world. This progress in mentality shows the practices of another time. This makes them all the more intolerable.


Activism is not a world apart!



A feminist groundswell is sweeping through all of society. Including the often very male activist world.


We are an organization that, despite some progress, is still predominantly male. This situation is indicative of the fact that we are not yet able to develop an effective lineage, nor are we able to overcome many of our shortcomings, either in our personal or activist lives. We still have a lot of work to do to eliminate our own shortcomings. We cannot absolve ourselves of blame. But we are broadly aware of them, which allows us to act on them.


We believe that it cannot be said that there is a pure, anti-sexist, activist world, free of controversy and aggression. This is an undeniable fact. Unlike other issues where the difference between a principled position and practice is not obvious, these excuses do not work on the issue of sexism. The question of feminism is one that concerns the relationship of one half of society to the other (in gross simplification, things are not so binary), so it is impossible to escape it. Our practice has concrete implications.


Sometimes feminist demands are downplayed, omitted. The same is true for other demands that require changes in attitude, corrections, real self-criticism. They are perceived as harmful to unity, as "dirty laundry" washed in front of everyone, or as intended to create an illusory safe space.


The argument easily backfires.


What is the truly harmful safe space? Is it not, first and foremost, that of everyday machismo, of latent racism, of the rotting remnants of the old world that we do not want to fight? We remind again: it is not the feminist demands that break the unity of the people, it is on the contrary the sexism that pushes "half of the sky" away from the militant organizations.


Sometimes in the struggle for popular unity, against sexist practices and mentalities, there are contradictions.


Last year we commented on certain contradictions that can exist in feminist struggles. We would like to return to these.


Like all struggles that affect a whole section of society - in this case, about half - women's struggles have a duality of their own. There is no monolith called "woman," but a complex, contradictory reality. Proletarian women, reactionary women, bourgeois women....


These contradictions run through the entire feminist movement. They can also be seen in the struggles.


A complex movement.


They are at the same time struggles against their situation of legal, social, material, political inequality ... They are struggles to emancipate themselves from patriarchy, to be masters of their flesh, of their destiny. They are struggles to emancipate themselves from patriarchy, to be masters of their own flesh, their own destiny, to no longer be considered as wombs, as prey, as machines for domestic work ... All women, in all objectivity, have a common interest in achieving these goals.


But, these struggles are also crossed by other democratic struggles (anti-racist, anti-fascist ...) as well as by the class struggle. Feminist struggles are included in the great movement for general emancipation and for the realization of a new society. It is this constant duality that also explains why there is such a diversity of movements and positions.


The mutual influences between the two forms create conflicts and contradictions that are sometimes blurred by leftist phraseology. Sometimes it even becomes a confusing sectarianism while carrying a liberal, right-wing, petit-bourgeois content. High-sounding slogans sometimes conceal the perpetuation of the sale of flesh, of voluntary servitude.


Now, if all women are objectively interested in feminism and equality, they are not all in favor of a society without state and class. Some even have an interest in a capitalist, imperialist society. But as long as domination and exploitation exist, their status is constantly threatened.


Can liberalism be anti-sexist?



Can liberalism be anti-sexist?

Liberalism can ultimately do without sexism and patriarchy. But it cannot do without domination and domestic overreach, and ultimately tends to constantly reproduce domination. This tendency exists even within homosexual couples; it exists in all family units in all their forms.


The fact is that relations of domination can also mutate, evolve, take new forms. But the need to extort free labor continues. And it will continue to exist as long as there is general exploitation.


We are part of a tradition that is not humanitarian. We want to finally dismantle patriarchy and the sexism that results from it. This does not mean waiting for the revolution to ask these questions. Nor does it mean that regime change mechanically implies the collapse of patriarchy. Experience has shown that this is a long, slow and complex process. Experience has also shown that these issues are never handled better than by women themselves, and that substituting their word, their experience, is often the best way to settle nothing.


We do not see the women's struggle movement as a separate component of the great class struggle, of the great general emancipation movement. On the contrary, it is a pillar. For us, the March 8 demonstration is a way to support these struggles.


In memory of all those who fought. For the honor of all those who fight. For those who have fallen. Long live the 8th of March! Long live the struggles of women!

(Translated with deepL)


Document Actions