By Nélida Tello
Last Friday, nongovernmental organization (NGO) Ni una Menos (Not One Woman Less) Mexico occupied the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) in Mexico City, demanding justice for the women victims of sexual abuse, disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. This occupation, and the women’s protests before it, have failed to teach women how to fight against their biggest class enemies, namely US imperialism. Instead, women’s collectives and NGOs continue to emphasize the contradiction between women and men, blurring the root of women’s oppression: private property.
The CNDH was originally protested by two women from San Luis Potosi who, on Wednesday September 2, chained themselves to chairs inside of the CNDH after futile meetings with representatives. By Friday, both women had ended their protest and were accompanied by CNDH representatives to their home states.
On Friday, various women’s collectives joined the protest and Ni una Menos Mexico led the occupation of the CNDH. The protesters renamed the building, ‘Casa de Refugio Ni Una Menos (House of Refuge Not One Woman Less) Mexico’.
Ni una Menos is an NGO that originated in Argentina in 2015, and has since spread throughout Latin America. Ni una Menos works closely with the United Nations, the international body in service of US and European imperialism that polices and utilizes humanitarian aid as a tool for intervention in oppressed nations. Ni una Menos carries out performative actions of imperialist interest through the UN, such as “painting Mexico orange,” or hosting a 16 day campaign to raise awareness of violence against women.
Leaders of Ni una Menos Mexico, Yesenia Zamudio and Erika Martinez, have stated that the CNDH building will not be handed over unless their demands are met in full, with calls to occupy other buildings and offices throughout the country. Zamudio and Martinez met with Mexican secretary of state Olga Sánchez Cordero on Wednesday to deliver their demands, the two parties will reconvene on September 17 to further negotiate.
As of Thursday September 10, women in Morelia wheat pasted desecrated portraits of president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) and former president Francisco I. Madero outside of the CNDH office, resembling the propaganda carried out in Mexico City. In Ecatepec, women have occupied the General Investigative Commission of Human Rights of Mexico (Codhem), demanding the resignation of various staff members.
The occupied CNDH in Mexico City serves as a shelter for women and children, with the aim of housing women from across the country, with about 30 women and children currently residing in the building.
Funds are being raised to help the women through the selling of purple and green bandanas, which have been the associated with the nascent ‘color revolutions’ guided by U.S. imperialism. In two weeks, desecrated portraits of former presidents Francisco I. Madero and Benito Juarez, and revolutionaries Miguel Hidalgo and José María Morelos are expected to be auctioned. Madero’s portrait will begin at 70 thousand pesos ($3,200 US dollars).
The desecration of anticolonial and revolutionary symbols is an especially abhorrent act, as it furthers the bourgeois thesis that claims that women’s oppression is based on machismo instead of private property, while negating the revolutionary and progressive characteristics of these men. Both Miguel Hidalgo and José María Morelos fought against Spanish colonialism during the Mexican War of Independence to the benefit of all Mexican women. Benito Juarez was Mexico’s first indigenous president, and fought against the French invasion of Mexico. Francisco I. Madero was a leading figure in the Mexican revolution and in overthrowing the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz.
Occupying the CNDH can only serve the few women involved in the action. It cannot end women’s oppression, as it obscures the role of national oppression in carrying out the second class status of Mexican women by preserving semi-feudalism and semi-colonialism.
The increase of women’s protests in Mexico in the last year have served US imperialist attempts at regime change against social-democrat AMLO and follow similar patterns of US-backed interventions across the world in so-called color revolutions, which have taken place in former soviet-aligned countries in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.
In August 2019, women in Mexico militantly protested the rape of a 17-year-old girl who was raped by four police officers. During these demonstrations, women protesters clashed with men who joined the protests in solidarity. In October of the same year, women associated with the ‘Green Tide’ demanded legal, safe, and free abortions. In November, a ‘Purple Tide’ was seen in Mexico City, demanding an end to violence against women. In January, women protested the murder of activist Isabel Cabanillas de la Torre, who worked with The Observatory, an NGO sponsored by Red Mesa de Mujeres, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development. International Working Women’s Day, incorrectly dubbed M8 by NGO’s throughout Latin America, has been liquidated of its communist history, and replaced with a purple tide that demands women’s liberation without class struggle. In the last few weeks, women have also protested violence against women in Guanajuato, León and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua; protesters in both cities faced strong state repression.
US imperialism has strategically utilized the disorganized and ideologically eclectic women’s protests to its benefit. It uses the uprisings as training grounds to oust AMLO. It relies on its NGOs to push the contradiction between women and men, and to carry out performative campaigns against women’s oppression that don’t actually threaten US imperialism. The occupation of the CDNH, ultimately serves US imperialism because it negates class struggle.
What is in the interests of US imperialism is not in the interests of the workers and peasants of Mexico, and therefore cannot be in the interests of the majority of Mexican women. Without Marxism being used to develop and command the workers movement, mass uprisings led by the petty bourgeoisie, anarchists, and postmodernists will always serve as the useful foot soldiers of US imperialism.