Demo “For Our Sisters” Berlin 2022
After the March 2022 rally, many feminists asked us when the next one would be, because many could not travel to Berlin and they would have loved to have been there, and because we know that political actions are fought on the streets, where women’s lives are happening. Activism on the internet helps, but on the street you can see the magnitude of what is happening to women, the new patriarchal backlash eroding our rights everywhere is palpable.
This is how the idea of making a demo was born after the German Summer, which we had to move forward a month due to the violent advance of misogynist and lesbophobic policies, mainly driven by Sven Lehmann as the man in charge of the “Queer” policies. Every lesbian who reads the word “Queer” will know that this is an insult, we are lesbians, we are not “queer”. This ” small” detail shows the real background of these policies: pushing lesbians into heterosexuality by forcing us by law to accept men who “determine themselves as women” through the legal fiction of self-identification laws, allowing men access to the spaces of women and children, lowering the age of “consent” and allowing by law that children can have access to “decide” without the need of adults, which is comparable to the advancement of the paedophile agenda of the 1970s, also promoted at the time by “the Greens”. It is conservative to say that lesbians are “weird” / “queer”, “weird” for whom? Surely we are “queer” to a conservative world that needs women as a source of free labour in an oppressive heterosexual system, that has made motherhood something else for which we are oppressed through care work and, once again, lesbians are being pushed, but this time “by law” by changing the German constitution, to heterosexuality with men who call themselves women, so that nothing changes and that we women maintain our subordinate position to men, so that we are functional to the capitalist system and serve as the “raw material” that maintains the patriarchal institutions and thus the system in general.
We women say NO in Germany as well. Feminists are more and more every day, here too, we are not willing to accept the legal erasure of our category: women. That’s why our group, Radfem Berlin, started in May to work on the next Demo, which took place on 24 September 2022, under the motto “For our sisters”. Due to the danger that sex-based women’s rights in Germany are in, we knew that the action had to be representative, that many women had to be encouraged to participate. That’s why we decided to call the event “International Feminist Resistance”.
We had the support of many feminists and groups from various countries, which helped us to spread the word about what is happening and to inform more women. We had the support of Sheila Jeffreys from the very beginning, which we kept secret for months. Kara Dansky also supported us by making a video calling all women from North America living in Germany to come and participate in this Demo, as did Maria Binetti with the Latinas in Germany, and several other feminists to whom we are very grateful for their support.
This time we started to promote the Demo in mid-July, only for women as usual, by means of clips in different languages with German subtitles in order to reach more women.
We know that to speak “trans” is to accept the sexist subordination to men, where by imitating the opposite sex, we are allowed to think that something like “trans” exists, when it is nothing more than an “escape” with which the system reinforces conservatism and homophobia, lesbophobia and lesbomisogyny mainly. To speak of a “trans” world is sexist, it is to support that “women” are make-up and high heels (gender) and men are strong and with short hair. Gender is a hierarchy to oppress women.
This time we kept the date secret until about 10 days before, at the very moment it was published on the Berlin police website, the transactivists, and in particular the German pimping and prostitution lobby announced their counter-march, exactly a few hours before our official announcement. This time, compared to the counter-march in March, they were much more organised: various transactivist groups, pro-prostitution, transactivist influencers like “der_hase_im_pfeffer” who was the main organiser for the second time of a counter-march against Radfem Berlin. Also among the transactivists was Jorinde Wiese, the group that supports prostitution in Germany Swactiongroup_Berlin, the influencer of prostitution “6arbeiterin”… This time they all got organised, and besides to this, they had the support of the German press, like these two publications that encouraged the counter-march to be so big that they would not let us speak until we cancelled it ((https://radar.squat.net/en/node/416352 , https://www.siegessaeule.de/magazin/widerstand-gegen-transfeindliche-demo-in-berlin/- there was another announcement in “Queer.de” but this has been deleted) . They tried, with all this, to generate terror in the women who would come to the march, with some it worked, but many others decided to go ahead. The slogan of the counter-march was precisely not to allow the normal course of our protest, which is illegal in Germany. Faced with the threat of not being allowed to demonstrate, we publicly announced that we were prepared to sue for the lack of freedom to protest: this is against the German constitution. Perhaps this may have helped to get fewer transactivists to come, although the group “Swactiongroup_Berlin” encouraged in stories to “be dangerous together”, which clearly sounded like a threat. Although this time the transactivists were more than in March, about 100 or 120, they were not more than us, even though they had the full support of the media system and the press. They had to pay those who came to Berlin to give their speeches for men’s rights.
The women started arriving at around 12.30, almost all of them were arriving in groups by recommendation and to be safer. This time the police were asking different questions all the time during the whole Rally. Several times we were asked the same questions, which seemed to us to be a kind of tactic to distract the organisers and to create some extra stress. However, the Berlin police did a very good job in keeping us safe and at a great distance from the counter-rally.
As we started our demo, we saw from afar that the counter demo didn’t seem to have gone very well as they had promised at least 500 transactivists and there were barely 100+, mostly men.
Due to the counter march organised by “Hasi” for men to have access to the bodies of mainly foreign women in Germany in exchange for money, we decided to emphasize in the introduction of the Demo, to ask to stop raping women and especially foreign women in German brothels (95% of prostituted women are foreigners in Germany) – Source “Sisters” e.V). Thank you, Dr. Ingeborg Kraus , for being there and your endless work and compromise with women for our liberation! (https://www.trauma-and-prostitution.eu/2022/10/03/stoppt-den-anti-feminismus-der-gruenen-frauen/)
Rona went on to read the introduction in German along with the demands.
Following this, Sheila Jeffreys began her speech. Fourteen speeches followed her speech until it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon and the police did not let us stay any longer. Two women couldn’t speak.
This time, for security reasons and to be able to estimate the length of the demonstration, we asked those who wanted to speak to register with a topic and a title, so that we could be sure to get different angles on the problem of the transactivist advance and self-identification laws for women.
As the speeches were read out, there was applause, tears, all kinds of emotions, some of the speeches were about cases of abuse of these men in “identities”. While all this was going on, the police kept interrupting the organisers, which created extra stress. When we asked if we could please extend for 15 minutes, we were told that this would be impossible because of the marathon, they insisted saying that we could only stay there until 4pm sharp. This was the case, and we had to suspend the last two speeches, among them Susanne’s and Ana Julia Di Lisio’s .
At the end and as a “farewell”, Liane from “Get the L Out” suggested that all the women (approximately 140 who stayed until the end), we made a round holding hands, connected, looking at each other. The circle that formed was huge, the connection between women is powerful and is the most dangerous thing that can happen to the patriarchy and each and every one of the institutions that hold it in place. In the round we trusted each other as we saw how big the space we can occupy if we do it together.
At the end, a large group of about 60 women went to a Beer Garten to share what was left of the afternoon, to talk, eat and have a drink together.
What happened was very significant, despite the threats, we women have lost our fear, we have shortly escaped the patriarchal gaslighting of fear that they tried to generate in the days before the demo: we no longer hide in secret chats, with false names in rooms with four walls of “false security”, being women, being lesbians. We are out to the streets to take from men, from the patriarchy, what is ours. We don’t want equality, because men are not the measure of things.
We are here in Germany too, we are the feminists, we are the German fourth wave.