Resolution presented by Sozialistische Jugend Österreich
and Verband Sozialistischer Studierender Österreich
approved as modified by the amendments by the IUSY World Council 2017, on March, 25th.
In the beginning of 2017 the world saw one of the most powerful protests in American History: Millions of women*, not only in the U.S., marched for their rights. They marched to oppose a president who openly talked about abusing women, who was proud of it. And probably still is. Last year women in Poland opposed the tentative of the conservative government to restrict reproductive rights by striking.
We can observe, that there is a backlash going on. As times get more uncertain, and people fear for their future, conservative governments use those fears and create an image of instability: instead of tackling unemployment, they blame immigrants, independent women who are being said to destabilize family structures, people, that don’t live according to the gender they were given by others etc. Their solution? Going back to the 50’s, where “you knew what you could count on” – for instance concerning gender roles. Their answers are sexist, homo- and transphobic and in most of the cases racist. Our analysis shows us, that there are different classes, whereas our main goal is to organize workers from all over the world and to fight the system. But we also know that it’s a harder fight as a woman, or as a black woman. We therefore always need to fight side by side for women*s rights, the LGBTIQ+ Movement and especially with people who face racism every day! Every 3rd woman has experienced sexual harassment. Due to the different ways society sees and educates both women* and men*, there is a structural deficit for women. It is clear, that it is a men’s world. An old, white Men’s world.Whereas it seems clear to us that we have to fight for our rights within the society we are living in, it is also necessary to reflect and change the structures of our own movement. It
Whereas it seems clear to us that we have to fight for our rights within the society we are living in, it is also necessary to reflect and change the structures of our own movement. It is, therefore, our duty, to turn every IUSY Event into a safer space, especially for women*. A place where you are free of harassment, you can share political expertise and personal experiences and find strategies to put an end to inequality. But it is also important for men to reflect their role in society, how society also restricts the way men grow up and how they can support Women* in their fight for equality.
Therefore, IUSY Council concludes:
- Feminism is interdisciplinary: IUSY Trainers should explicitly be told, to focus also on feminist topics. If you’re training a group on economics, it is important to see how our system affects women economically. If you’re training a group on Climate Change, it is important to see how Climate Change affects women. And so on
- “No means No” trainings at the beginning of IUSY World Festival
We all have different approaches on Feminism and Anti-Sexism in our organizations and often IUSY World Festivals are the first time, where activists from our member Organizations join a Socialist or Social Democratic Event. Therefore it is important to set collective rules and make sure, that everyone is at the same level. For this aim to be achieved there should be a short Workshop (maximum of 1 hour) on how we want to behave at the Festival so that everyone feels respected and has a good time. Every Participant should attend this Workshop BEFORE registration.
- Safer space
There need to be safer spaces at every festival where women* can seek exchange. Safer spaces are an important requirement. Everyone sharing it is thankful for the solidarity and support given to it and at the same time sick of the disrespect that occurs at every festival, people not taking seriously the comprehensible demand of having a safer space. We would like to express the fact that there are needs and demands of women* and if so, they need to be respected, even if they might not always be understood or shared by everyone at the camp. Safer spaces must furthermore be trans-inclusive. IUSY will organise a seminar to discuss trans issues and feminism. How exactly the collaboration shall work will be discussed within the groups every festival. IUSY has to make sure that every festival is facilitated with a safer space.
- Women*s meetings as a part of the program
At every festival there are Women*s meetings. They often are organized very spontaneously by female* participants with the effect that you have to abdicate to visit other Workshops if you want to attend the Women*s meeting. Therefore there should be organized Women*s meetings as part of the programme. At the same time, there should be a possibility for men and everyone who doesn’t want to attend women’s meetings to reflect their roles in society. These reflection meetings should be moderated by at least one man* and one woman* and are open for both men* and women*. No other Workshop should be at the same time as those two. They should take place at the beginning and at least every second day of the festival.
- A quota in workshops and panels For our future events we want to see a women’s quota so that there is no exclusive men panels or the large-part being male-dominated. Feminism is not a single-issue topic and through a quota, we can make sure that women are not made invisible. For a first start, the quota will be considered on all panels/workshop-events together so the average quota is given. It will be starting on panels/workshops of three in which at least one person needs to then be female. We want to set the goal of having 50 % female speakers at the festival – because as we know, more than half of the world’s population are women. The fulfillment of the quota is in the responsibility of those organizing the political program – usually the presidium, especially the political leadership of President and Secretary General and/or the person organizing the overall political program, with the support of the Feminist Working Group Coordinator.
- Cooperation with hosting organizations on our feminist principles
Our kind hosting organizations cannot always know the needs of organizing a feminist IUSY Festival, because most likely, it will be their first time organizing such a huge event or maybe they work very differently. We want a strong mandate of the political leadership and/or feminist coordinator of IUSY to have the chance to check all publications as brochures or videos and see if they are in line with our convictions as a feminist organization. Sexism cannot be reproduced in any IUSY material. Also questions on trans-inclusivity – as having appropriate facilitations, will be checked by the political leadership.
- Feminist Workshops at the IUSY World Festival
It is crucial that feminist topics find their way into the political programme of the Festival. We can see the struggles that we are facing, so we must make it to our strength to bring both women and men together to fight against the anti-feminist backlash. We have a very special and broad movement, that can change so much in the world. Let’s use it also for the fight of women, even when it sometimes is a fight against our own mother parties.
- Trust Teams
For our next IUSY Festival we want to have a Trust Team that is in charge the whole time. The Trust Team is a group of at least 10 people from different organizations, who are experienced in dealing with harassment and are known to identify with feminist ideas. The Trust Team members share a telephone that can be called any time to report a case of harassment and similar incidents. The members should look after the people concerned and propose solutions for the situation to the organizational team. Every night one member of the Trust Team must be sober and in charge of the telephone in case someone wants to report a case of harassment. Pictures and names of the Trust Team members, and the number of the telephone must be visibly hung up all around the camp area.
- Feminism must be visible
To ensure that everyone knows where and when the women*’s meetings are taking place, it must be made sure that there are enough signs all over the camping area and the safer space as well as the trust team is in the programme booklet. The concept of safer spaces, “No means No” and the different meetings should be included in the booklet that is handed out upon arrival. We want everybody to know that “No means No” and only “Yes means Yes”. There should be also be enough signs to explain the principle of consent. Feminism must be visible and noticeable at all times at IUSY Festival.
This resolution is proposed to raise awareness. It is by far not a concluded list of things that are needed to share our festivals in a feminist way. But a next step to engage all of you in the feminist cause. It is proposed to make a common political feminist stand and show a strong political sign that we will all together do our best to get rid of the constant attacks on feminism at festivals, but instead to engage in the struggle and support them. We can’t speak about solidarity all the time if it is not also a feminist notion of it. We are sick of having to struggle within society all the time and then sometimes, not even getting the support within our own movement. Let’s change this all together. Let’s show that we don’t only speak about feminism, but make it practical. That we don’t only put male privilege in the focus, but stand in line together, for a world of equality in between everyone, and all genders.