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March 1st, 2024

From Feminism to Feminismo Comunitario

Every March 8 (8M) human rights defenders, feminist, LGBTQ/cuir groups and others communities take to the streets. They use International Women’s Day as a time to denounce sexist violence and make demands of the people in power. Throughout March (Women’s History month in the US), Mijente will share resources, informational graphics and videos on feminismo comunitario. We’ll host interviews to learn from international activists who use feminismo comunitario to respond to the needs of their communities. They intervene through indigenous healing practices and creating networks against colonial violence, which at it’s core is sexist, racist, capitalist, ableist and individualist.

Continuing to expand our understanding of feminism is pro-mujer and rooted to our values. We are exploring the different paths feminismo comunitario can generate, in the lead up to 8M and beyond. So, what is feminismo comunitario all about?

Feminismo Comunitario: Definition and Examples

Feminismo comunitario, or communitarian feminism, is a movement that emerged from Bolivian indigenous communities and the group Mujeres Creando Comunidad. It later spread throughout Latin American and the Caribbean. As defined by Dr. Silvana Martínez, it is a type of Latin American feminism characterized by radicalism and originality. As a political movement it demands a radical change in the patriarchal-capitalist-racist-colonial order. These systems have historically subjugated not only women but also men and nature, reproducing a society of discrimination, oppression and violence built on women’s bodies.

Feminismo comunitario exposes the need to politically create a new society based on equality and reciprocity between people of all genders and with nature. It attempts to construct a new social theory that interprets the history, memory, values and non-capitalist communal way of life.

How is this different from feminism in general? In feminismo comunitario, community building is the unifying element and it is used to embrace people in all their expressions and combat the social problems that arise from the current oppressive systems.

Dressed as brides, activists of the group Mujeres Creando Comunidad (Women Creating Community) protested at the gates of the Vice-Presidency demanding effective action against gender violence in the country.

Origins of Mujeres Creando Comunidad (Women Creating Community)

Julieta Paredes Carvajal is believed to have coined the term feminismo comunitario. She founded the collective Mujeres Creando in 1992 alongside María Galindo and Mónica Mendoza. Carvajal recognized the importance of community building to feminist practice and the group was renamed Mujeres Creando Comunidad. The artistic and social collective speaks out against abuses of power and sexist violence and engages in graffiti and protest performance art.

Julieta Paredes Carvajal is the author of the book Hilando Fino desde el Feminismo Comunitario (2008). In it she delves into topics like:

  • equality between women and men in the context of indigenous culture,
  • her position with respect to Western feminism, colonialism and neoliberalism, and
  • the role of the body and sexuality in women’s liberation.

The communitarian feminism of the Mujeres Creando Comunidad community and the Assemblies of Community Feminism is a space to make our utopias a reality here and now. Scalded of the promises of the promised land, we no longer believe in proposals that do not begin to become a reality in the present, we no longer believe in proposals from people who do not put their bodies into what they think and dream in their daily lives.

Julieta Paredes Carvajal in Dissidence and Communitarian Feminism

March Interviews

This month we’ve had some amazing, soul-inspiring chats about feminismo comunitario. Born in the heart of Bolivia and raised by its indigenous people, this movement is all about living a life that’s bigger than what capitalism and the patriarchy sell us.

English interpretation program, start at 1:00 mark

Ashanti Torres brought to light the remarkable work of Colectiva Contingencia Feminista, that is not only advocating for change but also putting their words into action in Colombia. They’re challenging the status quo, uplifting the resilient women in their community, and actively dismantling oppressive power structures. They dream of a future where gender equality, autonomy, and healing are not just ideals but realities.

English interpretation program, start at 1:20 mark

Adriana Guzmán’s shared insights from Feminismo Comunitario Antipatriarcal in Bolivia. She emphasized that their approach to feminism is deeply rooted in ancestral knowledge and political activism, extending beyond what exists in books. Adriana acknowledged the value of solidarity with allies engaged in state-level activism, recognizing the necessity for a comprehensive approach to dismantle the current system.

Paid for in part by Mijente PAC, 734 W Polk St., Phoenix, AZ 85007, not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.