Women in Black against the war - Madrid
Commemorating Wold Day of Social Justice
World Day of Social Justice has been commemorated on 20 February ever since it was proclaimed by the United Nations in 2007 with the intention of eradicating poverty and promoting full employment and decent work. Social Justice must create the conditions to produce gender equity and access to well-being and social justice for all. That is to say, dignity, stability and opportunities for everyone without restrictions because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or handicap.
The Social Justice protected by the UN has a marked economic focus and is oriented towards compensating inequalities through the distribution of income, employment, social protection and rights of workers and labor unions.
This declaration doesn’t come out of the blue, rather from the persevering revindication of thousands of civil organizations all over the world that work for the eradication of poverty and the end of exclusion. Grass-roots civil organizations opt for sustainable and equitable social well-being, contrary to accumulating wealth and outside of consumer society which causes this exclusion. The very people who are affected, in many cases criminalized or made invisible, denounce that the rights and assistance established are not sufficient to achieve individual autonomy but merely pursue social control.
Women in Black against War want to point out how governments and states are headed in a direction contrary to Social Justice. And we want to do it from the viewpoint of continuing military expenditures, which is little questioned in the midst of so much debate on the crisis.
In the first place, the greatest (budgetary) reductions are going to take place in the areas of Sanitation, Education and Dependency, through which they will only manage to expand the circle of social exclusion in our country. These measures, which include many areas (widowhood, chronic and long-term illness, surgery, medications, schooling, scholarships, transport, health, policies for equality, aid to dependents, minimum salary, etc. etc.) will affect the most vulnerable sectors of the population: the elderly, immigrants, infants and women, the unemployed (or those without paid work). This is not exactly an economic budget of which we can be proud.
But perhaps we can be proud of being the sixth world power in exporting weapons, especially to countries that violate Human Rights. We can boast about a “Defense” budget of 26,000 million euros.
We can argue that the reduction for the Ministry of Defense is 340 million euros, but only so long as items for military expenses are not hidden in other Ministries.
From our feminist and antimilitarist vision, we do not claim that the reduction of these expenditures will avoid a crisis born from the roots of the very system that feeds the social inequalities, although without doubt it would help to alleviate its effects in other areas that are more essential.
We simply appeal to ethics and dignity to abandon a “Defense” that does not defend us and that we set out on a path to real Social Justice to protect ourselves from poverty and social exclusion, a path that will bring us increased security.
Translation: Trisha Novak, USA