Streets of Lavapiés. End of December and the very first day of the year. But it could be any other month. Anarchofeminist slogans sprayed in freehand on the walls of the centric district of Madrid, the global city:
If writings on the wall may be read as gifts, what would be the gifts bestowed by the Mujeres Libres (Free Women) activists upon the inhabitants of the global city in the midst of the social and cultural crisis unleashed by neoliberal policies in the Spanish state? On the one hand, an exercise in historical memory: the name itself, Mujeres Libres, refers to the anarchofeminist organization that articulated from Madrid in the late 1930s a double struggle: against the capitalist state and system, and against patriarchy. An unfinished business.
On the other hand, the writing on the wall by Mujeres Libres and other unsigned writings shown in this post also make present the philosphy and practice of anarchism, its common core despite its many variants: the subversion of the authority of one being over another, and the search for the emancipation of all beings. Partly, what makes contemporary anarchofeminism attractive–in its struggle against systemic patriarchy at the root of the authority of the capitalist state, class divisions, and culture–is that it constitutes (adapting Saul Newman’s vision of anarchism) an ethical critique of authority and domination in all its forms (in Leonard Williams, 2011: 630). In that sense, it may be understood as a philosophy and practice of an “infinite responsibility” of citizens as political subjects to end injustice (Simon Critchley 2007 in Williams, 630); the responsibility to create networks of harmonic coexistence among all live beings on the planet and forms of organization built on dialogue. Hence the urgent demand to leave behind heteronormative patriarchy. These might be the gifts on the walls.