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Spanish state: Over one million students strike against sexism and for inclusive sex education
Sindicato de Estudiantes (Student Union)
The general student strike called by the Sindicato de Estudiantes (SE) and Libres y Combativas (free and combative, socialist feminist platform of SE and Izquierda Revolucionaria - CWI in the Spanish state) has been a powerful success.
More than 1.5 million students emptied the classroom with 90% support for the strike in secondary schools. And more than 100,000 people participated in over 60 morning street demonstrations all over the Spanish state!
The determination we have shown against sexism in classrooms, sexist violence and patriarchal 'justice' is also a powerful warning to the social-democratic Sanchez government. We are not satisfied with gestures and promises.
We have had enough of this government looking the other way, and doing nothing to end the power of the Catholic Church in education, tolerating its homophobic and sexist propaganda, accepting scandalous court sentences from the Francoist justice system which allows rapists impunity, and maintaining cuts and privatisation in education.
From the early hours of the morning it was clear that the strike would be massive and the demonstrations very strong. In secondary schools it was solid: 90% in Galicia, Asturias, the Basque Country, Catalonia, Valencia, Andalucia, Madrid and elsewhere, and over 90% in Extremadura, the Canary Islands, Murcia and so on. There was also major participation in universities around the country.
The demonstrations also had impressive turnouts: 15,000 in Madrid, 12,000 in Barcelona, 5,000 in Bilbao and thousands more in other Basque cities. Over 15,000 in Andalucía, 5,000 in Galicia, 5,000 in Valencia, 2,000 in Gijon and tens of thousands more around the country.
The atmosphere was combative and full of enthusiasm on all demonstrations. We shouted slogans including: "My skirt provokes nothing!", "With or without clothes, don't touch me!", "No means no and the rest is rape!", "Yes to sex education, no to religion classes", "Whoever is in government we will defend our rights", "The struggle will be feminist or not at all!", and many other chants.
We were also delighted with the presence of hundreds of pensioners, veteran class fighters who protested by our side - called out by the coordinating body of the mass pensions movement. Their presence was an inspiration as reflected in their slogan - "Whoever is in government we will defend our rights" - which we adopted.
We also had the support of dozens of feminist organisations, LGB and trans rights campaigns and movements of women in struggle, such as the Kellys (cleaning workers), anti-violence against women activists, and movement for the abolition of prostitution, who made a lively speech at our Madrid rally.
Many Libres y Combativas and SE activists in schools and universities also spoke at rallies in all the major cities, making it clear that we would not take one step back in our struggle, that we defend revolutionary anti-capitalist feminism, and will not tolerate any attacks on our rights.
We explained how the movement of working-class women is completely linked to the struggle against the social injustices and oppression of the capitalist system.
We also want to highlight the presence of thousands of our male comrades in struggle, who joined us in a united strike, and who are together with us in the front line against attacks on our rights and those of LGBT+ youth, struggling together against sexism and sexist prejudices.
This strike was a very important step forward to build a youth and student movement against sexism in schools and universities after the great strikes of 8 March and 10 May this year, to win our demands from the government and education ministry.
We will not stop until we have forced this government (led by the social-democratic PSOE) to apply a universal sex education policy in all schools, to educate against sexism, abuse and rape culture, and against homophobia and transphobia.
We will not stop until we have eliminated all internal school rules which enforce repressive dress codes or go against LGBT+ people.
We will not stop until the government takes disciplinary measures against any teachers - a small minority - who defend sexist attitudes. And until they once and for all repeal the reactionary education bill - LOMCE - and grant free education from nursery to university.
We want respect and dignity, the freedom to be who we are, and the end of abuse and humiliation.
In The Socialist 21 November 2018:
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