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One of the highlights of the Peoples Summit that took place from June 15-23 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in parallel to the UN conference on sustainable development (Rio+20) was the massive mobilization organized by feminist organizations which was carried out on June 18th.
Thousands of people marched that day to denounce that capitalism represses women, exploits their work and ignores them while favoring the commodification of their bodies. The women demanded respect and equality.
The World March of Women (WMW), a network of feminist organizations of different countries was one of the organizers and at the end of the march they carried out a protest outside the offices of the state National Bank of Economic and Social Development (BNDES).
The activists said the bank, one of the main financers of megaprojects in Brazil with serious environmental and social impacts on the territories, was “financing the sexual exploitation of women”.
Real World Radio was present at the mobilization on June 18th and at the WMW protest. Before the beginning of the demonstration, we interviewed Sarah Luisa de Souza, of WMW and Lucia Ortiz of Friends of the Earth Brazil.
“We are against green capitalism, green economy, which is being discussed in Rio+20 and it is deceiving people telling hem that the UN and the governments are worried about environmental issues”, said de Souza. The leader said that this is not true. In reality, what we see are "palliative actions that are only trying to greenwash capitalism", which she referred to as an aid for the “destruction of environment” and the “construction of social inequality”.
The WMW leader explained the reasons behind the feminist demonstration. "We are mobilizing to show the population that it is possible to have a different economy, based on the sustainability of human life where we live in harmony with nature and also with people, and that women need to be valued in this new society", she said.
According to de Souza, agroecology, food sovereignty and security and feminist economy are real alternatives to capitalism. And she added that the aim of the mobilization in Rio was to encourage women to organize themselves at local level to build a new economy.
Meanwhile, Ortiz said that Friends of the Earth International participated in the march in solidarity with the struggle of women and against green capitalism. In this way, she said: “The advance of green economy, financialization not only of nature but of all the Commons, such as communication and culture, even the financialization of the bodies of women make us lose sovereignty over our decisions, our territories, including the territories of our bodies.”
After the demonstration and at the end of the WMW action outside the BNDES, thousands of representatives of indigenous people from different regions of Brazil suddenly appeared and entered the Bank’s premises. There, they denounced the support by the BNDES to megaprojects that displace indigenous communities. The feminist activists joined the protest. Several indigenous people tried to enter the Bank to express their complaints and demands to the authorities.
After the strong direct action and a negotiation with security guards and a spokesperson of BNDES, a group of 12 indigenous people entered the Bank and were met by a representative of the state institution.
Photo: Radio Mundo Real.
“No queremos ser mártires, no queremos que hayan más mártires en este país, pero también hay una responsabilidad histórica de hacer valer la palabra y demostrar que tenemos derecho a la construcción de un mundo mejor. Y no podemos huir a esa responsabilidad”, dijo a Radio Mundo Real la dirigente garífuna Miriam Miranda, coordinadora de la Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH).
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