The tide is high! Replace the racists with feminists!
It is time to create an open European Union where human rights, gender equality and social justice are at the top of the agenda. When our rights are under attack we need to participate where decisions are made! More feminists are needed in the halls of power. Replace the racists with feminists!
The elections to the European Parliament need to be seen in light of the mobilization of parties with racist, nazi and fascist ideologies around Europe. Several of those parties are already represented in the European Parliament and there is a significant risk that this group will continue to grow. More action is needed to counter structural discrimination. If this does not happen, racist and conservative forces will gain more ground. We need to raise the level of ambition in the struggle for democracy and human rights for all. Feminist parties are forming across Europe and our long-term goal is to work together for the establishment of a feminist political group.
Feministiskt Initiativ is contesting the EP elections as an alternative for everyone who wants to see a different political trajectory. Our political platform is built on equality, human rights and freedom from all forms of discrimination. We want to reallocate resources by investing in welfare, sustainability, accessibility and human security.
We challenge the image of Sweden and Europe as the paradise of gender equality. This is a false image that diminishes the existing problems and stands in the way of genuine change. It is an image that is used by nationalists wanting to portray women’s oppression as a foreign problem that originates in other parts of the world. Women’s rights are thus hijacked in racist rhetoric that aims to close borders. At the same time, nationalist and racist parties are the ones peddling the most misogynistic policies. Culture is in focus for these parties, described as something that is nationally homogenous, and is used to construct boundaries between people.
We want a world without borders, an open European Union where the human rights of refugees and people without legal documents are upheld. The existing migration policy creates a situation where people from the rich part of the world can travel freely, while refugees are risking their lives to enter Europe. Strict visa regulations reinforce the imbalance of power between states and allows for human exploitation. Higher barriers and closed borders lead to increased trafficking and a growing global sex industry.
Men’s violence against women is restricting women’s freedom of action in the home as well as in the public sphere. In order to eliminate violence we need a feminist analysis of all policy areas coupled with powerful measures within the EU. Women have lower salaries and are more likely to be in insecure employment. The labor market needs to be made safe and free from discrimination. Women are often expected to bear the principal responsibility for children, the sick and the elderly. All women have to be given the opportunity to combine family life with a working life. Well developed child and elderly care systems play a crucial part in reaching this goal.
The EU is a critical arena for the development of a sustainable world and for meeting environmental challenges. Climate policies must build on global solidarity as well as policies on equal and just distribution of resources between the member states. The level of ambition of EU’s climate policies has a significant impact on the international as well as the Swedish environmental and climate policies. The coming years are critical for ensuring that temperatures do not rise above levels that will have catastrophic consequences.
The European Union’s agricultural policies are financing an agricultural system that is both economically and ecologically unsustainable, with sub-standard husbandry. Resources have to be redirected to promote ethical and sustainable agriculture, forestry and fishery. The EU makes it difficult for poor countries to access the European market. These are policies that benefit richer countries at the expense of poorer ones. Instead we want to ensure poor countries access to the European market.
The democratic deficit and the male dominance in the European Union needs to be countered, and met with politics that connect democracy with human rights. A larger number of feminists and anti-racists in Brussels will change the political agenda.
Open the borders
As long as the world is characterized by injustice – such as war, state oppression, persecution, poverty, violence, sexual abuse and the absence of rights – there will be people who choose to cross borders or flee to seek refuge and a more dignified life in another country. This is true within as well as outside the union. Feministiskt Initiativ believes that every human being should have the right and opportunity to live a safe and secure life.
A peaceful Europe
Dismantle all plans of a defense alliance, a common army and military rearmament. The European countries should contribute to global peace through fair trade, diplomacy and social investments – not through military alliances and weapons program. Abolish the export of weapons and redirect the weapons industry to civilian production.
In some member countries the democratic gains are being reversed. A control mechanism is needed to ensure member states are living up to the criteria that membership in the Union implies. With membership follows responsibilities. Breaches of human rights should be ground for sanctions.
Freedom from violence and sexual exploitation
Men’s violence against women is Europe’s greatest security problem. We want to see a Europe free from trafficking and prostitution and the work against all forms of violence therefore needs to be intensified. Export the Swedish law on prohibition of the purchase of sexual services to the rest of Europe. Increase access to protection and support for people experiencing violence. Bring perpetrators to justice and increase legal security through awareness raising and preventive actions.
A Europe accessible for all
Freedom of movement within Europe needs to be a reality also for people with different abilities. Inaccessibility should be grounds for discrimination and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities needs to be implemented in order for every person, regardless of functionality, to be able to travel, work and study in the European Union, as well as participate in elections and democratic processes without hindrance.
Gender equality work in action
Establish EU commissioners for gender equality and anti-discrimination. Prioritize gender equality issues and increase their status in the EP. Thorough gender analyses of EU’s annual budgets should be made. All member states and all EU bodies should be given directives with regards to rectifying the underrepresentation of women in decision-making processes.
Sexuality, identity and reproductive health
In an increasing number of EU member states the right to abortion is being curtailed under pressure from socially conservative and nationalistic forces. Such forces are also contributing to restrictions in the enjoyment of rights among LGBT persons including the right to form a family and to live openly without risking threats and violence. In addition transgender persons are being stripped of their rights to their own bodies through, among other things, forced sterilization. It is high time that we start seeing self determination of one’s own body and the rights to live openly regardless of sexuality, sexual identity and sexual expression as inalienable human rights.
Early Childhood Care and Development services for all
The lack of Early Childhood Care and Development services is rooted in the idea of the male as the breadwinner and norm in the work life. This is a critical barrier to gender equal relations as well as to economic development. Early Childhood Care and Development needs to be expanded throughout the European Union. The rights of the child to care and participation should be guiding principles.
Feminist environmental politics
Feministiskt Initiativ holds a vision of a sustainable energy system built on renewable resources and minimal emissions of greenhouse gases. This is a system where people share resources equally and in solidarity with future generations. We need to chart a new path by questioning the idea of constant economic growth and increased consumption. The European Union needs to direct resources to investments in renewable energy, a coordinated railway system and the dismantling of nuclear power and the use of fossil fuels. Feministiskt initiativ seeks to work for sustainable agriculture where animal protection is granted and developed. There are clear links between improved husbandry and an improved climate.
A feminist economy
We are witnessing an increasing number of countries placing economic interests before human rights. The most vulnerable groups in our societies are bearing the brunt of these policies. Economic interests should never be allowed priority over human needs. More and more of the economic decision-making is taking place outside the reach of the democratic system. EU regulations need to encompass the “tax paradises” and the speculation economy needs to be abolished.