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(en) Italy, FDCA, Cantier #24: Self-government and resistance: the House of Women Lucha y Siesta (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Sun, 7 Apr 2024 07:48:37 +0300


The Lucha y Siesta Women's House is a space for feminist and transfeminist relationships in which intersectional gender and commoning policies are developed, experimented and practiced. It has been active since 8 March 2008 in the VII Municipality of Rome, in the south-eastern outskirts of the city, as an anti-violence centre, a shelter for women on the path to escape from violence, a cultural hub, a place for discussion and collective growth. ---- A welcoming house ---- Since its inception, the Lucha y Siesta Women's House has become a point of reference for combating gender violence. This same objective is the reason why the community was formed which restored a building abandoned for decades in the working-class neighborhood of Quadraro: the women who crossed the gate in via Lucio Sestio 10 that day came from the housing movement, from feminism, from the fight against violence and they understood that the autonomy of women and their choices was being broken precisely at the intersection of these instances. When it came time to leave home to escape the violent situation, the alternatives - homes, places to live - were woefully insufficient.

Lucha y Siesta was born for this, this is why it exists 16 years later, and this is why it is an indispensable place: gender violence is transversal, systemic, structural and stratified, the reception places are still terribly insufficient as are the places, material and symbolic, to practice possible and necessary alternatives.

Our project is one of the few in this city to promote feminist and transfeminist culture and to make up for, albeit minimally, the lack of beds in shelter homes for people escaping violence, which in Rome should be at least 350.

Gender violence is a complex phenomenon that requires transversal strategies; sexual and gender stereotypes produce a rigid and distorted perception of reality, based on prejudices that force people into narrow categories of what is acceptable and what is not. The iceberg of violence shows the existence of a causal relationship between stereotypes, microsexism, sexist language, humiliation, abuse up to feminicide which constitutes the emerging tip of a much larger and mostly hidden phenomenon. Starting from this awareness, the Casa delle Donne Lucha y Siesta plans and implements awareness, education, training and self-training activities from the bottom up to sexual affectivity, in particular aimed at younger people, also with projects within schools, to trigger reflections on the gender issue.

Lucha is...

The management assembly, based on horizontal criteria, functions as a link between the many projects that run through the House. Lucha y Siesta is: anti-violence help desk, autonomy and social inclusion projects for women victims of violence, training for operators and cultural mediators specialized in welcoming migrant women seeking asylum and refuge, raising awareness and combating gender stereotypes through the languages of cinema and theatre, toy library open to children and young people from the neighborhood and to the group of minors welcomed in the Home, accompaniment and support for parenting, singing, theatre, sewing, yoga, Italian and foreign language courses, library and study room, hub of circular economy outside the capitalist logic, tailoring workshop to create work and self-income, exchange space for those who want to take or bring something, garden and space open to the territory, moments of meeting and political space for care, design of self-produced games, games in the open air, vegetable garden...

All of this is inspired by a feeling and a practice through which we construct the intersectional "we" of transfeminism; an us that includes women, trans people, non-binary, intersex, queer, lesbian, bisexual, gay, polyamorous, asexual, aromantic people and anyone who, even if they do not recognize themselves in these words, escapes the imposed binary and heterosexual norm.

Self-government, dialogue and radicalism

Our Declaration of Self-Governance is the result of collective and cooperative work; during the participatory planning workshops, held between September 2020 and April 2022, a large community developed and wrote it following two directions: recognizing the experience accumulated over the years of Lucha y Siesta's life and relaunching our political practice, imagining new trajectories and connections.

This declaration is located in our here and now and at the same time takes meaning from our broader horizon, open to different times and places, always oriented towards the transformation of what exists. Lucha transfeminist common good is a process in itself, its community is defined around continuously evolving practices and knowledge. Based on community, dynamic life, prefigurative politics and everyday utopia, Lucha y Siesta is therefore situated in the changing context of the present without ceasing to imagine and generate horizons.

In this sense, our political action is also expressed through interlocution and confrontation, even conflictual, with the institutions, keeping together the levels of dialogue and radicalism.

During the 16 years of new life for the property, there have been several attacks by the institutions. To cite the most recent facts, in 2019 the second complaint for occupation and the request for eviction arrived from ATAC, a municipal transport company, therefore 51% owned by the Municipality, and owner of the building. ATAC's objective was in fact to put all the properties it owned up for auction to cover its serious budget deficits, without making a difference between those actually still unused and those freed from abandonment. There was no support from the Municipality, then led by Raggi, who in the name of legality disregarded the value of the Lucha y siesta experience.

At that point, the Resolution on Common Goods having recently been passed by the Regional Council, a citizen campaign was launched, "Lucha to the city", which aimed at the recognition of the Lucha y Siesta Women's House as a Common Good, and which involved the Region in public auction. After several unsuccessful auctions, on August 5, 2021, the property was purchased by the Region and during the following year an agreement was written, passed in September 2022, which grants the building to the association, recognizing its social and cultural value.

While to date the employment trial is over and our association has been acquitted, the Region, a few months after the change of government from Zingaretti to Rocca, has now decided to withdraw the agreement and put out a tender (therefore vacate) the stable, once again putting the House's experience at risk.

We believe these political choices are in contradiction with the declarations of the institutions against feminicides, which in this way justify gender violence on a narrative and cultural level. Our request is that public ownership be maintained and that the social and political function of the House be recognized and enhanced.

Intersecting struggles

It is necessary to speak out and respond in a militant manner to the ideological offensive of the pro-life movement and the current government. In 2016 we were among the founders of Non Una Di Meno with the Rome Node. The feminist and transfeminist movement, together with the ecological and anti-racist movement, are the bearers of the three global demands of this century, which are declaring that this system does not work. Through dialogue and mutual recognition it is possible for these movements to intersect with the class movement on the level of anti-capitalism, in an intersectional perspective that could unite all struggles against oppression.

The grassroots unions have already called, as in the last 8 years, the strike on March 8th. The CGIL, especially after the large participation in the demonstration against gender violence called by Non Una Di Meno on November 25th, is discussing whether to join or not. It's time for a change to be triggered, recognizing that the strike is also a tool to affirm the gender issue.

We thank our comrades Viola and Simona, activists of the Casa delle Donne Lucha y Siesta.

To learn about Lucha activities: https://luchaysiesta.org .

http://alternativalibertaria.fdca.it/
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