“Feminist emergency plan in the face of the Coronavirus crisis” released in Chile

The “Feminist emergency plan in the face of the Coronavirus crisis” was released yesterday by the Coordinadora Feminista 8M in Chile. The Coordinadora has been a central force over the last five months of popular uprisings in Chile and convened millions of women to mobilize around the country on March 8 (8M). What follows is our translation of their plan.

Faced with the emergency the Coronavirus presents to our lives, a feminist emergency plan is –necessarily– one the prioritizes health, life and care above corporate profits, and which also makes visible the conditions in which those who carry care work are situated. We are facing a crisis that will intensify precarity, patriarchal and racist violence, as well as a global ecological crisis and crisis of care.

In this context and faced with this series of events, we write this plan as a call to care for ourselves and to initiate actions that demand and lift up alternatives from the people from an anti-capitalist and feminist lens.

General strike to care for ourselves. Coordinadora feminista 8M, Chile.

1) Territorial care strategies/organizing self-care from a feminist perspective

Today it is necessary that we maintain social distancing. This is not an impediment to sustaining the solidarity and mutual aid that we have been deepening over these months of revolt. We have mobilized against the precarity of life, and now we must deepen our community networks, looking after ourselves and not leaving anyone behind. We will never go back to individualism and we will come out of this emergency through organizing. 

In all of the neighbourhoods and territories that we live in, we will:

  • Create registries of the at-risk population and/or those without support networks, to collectively organize for the care and community support that they may require, taking all necessary precautions in order to prevent infection.
  • Communally organize care teams for children, especially when their parents have to work (for example, those who work in the health care sector), with the aim of mutually supporting each other and avoiding that these tasks be carried out by at-risk populations including older people.
  • Create a registries of people who look after other people and their needs.
  • Create a registries of health technicians and professionals who can help with the self-education of the community and the management of illness.

2) Feminists against patriarchal violence/Strategies to make visible and to deal with the risks to women, sexual and gender divergent people, babies and youth in quarantine.

The situation of being in quarantine means that women and children are exposed to situations of risk and forced co-habitation with their aggressors. This, which is often invisible, should be directly addressed in the feminist emergency plan, which must make visible daily violences which are accentuated in contexts of health crises.

In all of the neighbourhoods and territories in which we live, we will:

  • Create registries of what tools are available to create a community emergency network to respond of cases of gender violence.
  • Define a brief and simple protocol, that lays out what steps to be taken collectively in response to gender violence. For example: an emergency number which can be called or a group which can be notified, accompanied by a concrete community response. For example, the activation of a community response network led by neighbours who attend to the home in question.
  • Elaborate a security and protection plan for every women who requires it. Determine where they can stay and who they can go to to seek help. Practice an emergency escape plan so that women and their children and other dependents can leave their home and be safe. Prepare an emergency fund and refuge in a secure place. Create a number with emergency telephone numbers and applications for assistance. Teach children how to call and what to say. When a violent incident occurs, seek the least risky part of the house (exit to outside, access to a telephone, and avoiding the kitchen or anywhere where there could be knives or other weapons). Determine which neighbors can be contacted in the case of a violence alert. 

In terms of legal measures in these cases:

  • We demand the creation of an online mechanism to denounce domestic violence. 

The implementation of a mechanism to solicit and be granted restraining orders online, including orders to stay a certain distance away, the exit of the aggressor from the home, and others.

  • We demand the creation of an online mechanism to denounce crimes like rape, sexual abuse and statutory rape, which threaten the integrity of women, sexual and gender divergent people, children and youth.

The implementation of a mechanism to solicit and be granted measures of protection in these cases.

As concerns the budget

  • The creation of a budget line that is exclusively for the prevention of gender violence in all of the territories and communities, that allow for funding to civil society organizations and community organizations who work on the prevention of gender violence, so as to ensure the dissemination of this information in local networks, radio stations, social media, among other educational actions, as well as investing budget resources in attending to gender violence remotely and by telephone. 
  • Increase the budget for the protection of women in shelters, with special attention to protocols of attention and health in quarantine. If necessary, should extreme violence increase, the opening of new shelters.
  • Allocating budget resources to pay for medical leave for women workers who are victims of domestic violence in the context of the emergency.
  • Access to funds in order to assign special resources to the victims of attempted femicides, and to family members who are direct victims of femicides who are currently without state assistance.

3) Strike for life/Organizing ourselves based on our right to stay inside our homes

In order to prevent the spread of the virus and to protect especially the highest risk population, we call for a strike of all productive labor that is not directly connected to sustaining the health care system, of care work and or of ensuring supplies; which should be stopped or carried out remotely until the emergency is over. We consider it important that this be applied to all kinds of work, especially work made invisible in these circumstances, such as that carried out by domestic workers in private homes. 

Faced with the inefficient management of the government and their failure to take prevention and care measures to protect the population, we call for guilds and unions to pressure their employees to suspend in-person work, which presents a serious risk to the health and lives of workers. Should the measures proposed not be implemented, we call for a GENERAL PRODUCTION STRIKE to care for ourselves and we demand the fulfillment of these measures and our demands.

With respect to formal workers, independent of their contractural relationship, and whatever their nationality and migratory situation, there should be an immediate stop to their obligation to carry out services in person, and they should continue to be paid. For workers with a variable pay schedule, their salary should be calculated on the last three full payments received. 

With respect to informal workers, whatever their nationality and migratory situation, it is necessary that a public finance fund be implemented immediately so as to guarantee wages to this segment of the population during the period in which they are unable to carry out economic activity.

For workers whose labor can be carried out from a distance, but who must care for children, that care should be considered labor so that they not be required to work a double shift.

Minimum conditions for health, supply and transport jobs:

  • Transport should function at its most minimal capacity. For workers who carry out in-person labor which cannot be held back because of the emergency, employers should guarantee and pay for secure transport. 
  • We call for extreme precautionary measures to prevent contagion in health care centres, ensuring that all workers have the supplies necessary to work safely and attending to the specific demands brought forward by health worker unions and organizations.
  • For health workers, cautionary measures that can be considered include: reducing the length of hospital residencies, postponing elective surgeries, and reducing patient visits, among others. 

4) Emergency measures/our care is worth more than their profits

The ongoing emergency is a chance to put health, not profits, in the centre. Our lives do not have a price.

We demand:

  • Paid medical leave for those who are caring for people who are infected, be they formal or informal workers, regardless of nationality or migration situation.
  • Informed and free access to medical help, examinations, and hospitalizations in public and private health centres, without cost to the Chilean people or to migrants. Someone’s migration status is not a barrier to accessing health care, and all of the relevant information must be translated into all languages of all peoples who live in Chile. Private clinics who refuse to attend patience without charge must be expropriated by the state and made to work in the service of the emergency.
  • With respect to people who are imprisoned and sentenced: house arrest for the at-risk population, which considers the elderly and those who suffer pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, excluding those who are imprisoned for serious crimes, human rights violations and crimes against humanity, gender violence and sex crimes: domestic violence, femicides, pedophilia and sexual exploitation.
  • Immediate house arrest for those who are in pre-trial detention, be they at high risk of infection or not, excluding those who are charged with serious crimes, human rights violations and crimes against humanity, gender violence and sex crimes: domestic violence, femicides, pedophilia and sexual exploitation.
  • A ban on firing workers in the current context.
  • An immediate freeze on prices of first aid items which allow for the avoidance of the virus (alcohol, anti-bacterial gel, among others). Large corporations that speculate with the prices of the products required to sustain peoples health and lives will be sanctioned. Companies that take part in these practices should be expropriated, because they present a public danger to the population.
  • Restriction on the number of retail units of first aid products that prevent the virus that can be purchased.
  • Suspension of all debts for six months.
  • Suspension of the payment of dividends for six months. 
  • The prohibition of the denial of basic services related to defaulting. Municipal management, together with the state, for free access to drinking water in sectors that do not yet have it.

Translated by Toward Freedom, read the original here.