Project Description

This is the introductory text to “Del campo a los cuidados. El sindicalismo feminista y antirracista que viene”, published by the La Laboratoria, with support of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Madrid and Foundation for Arts Initiatives. It was translated into English for Common Ecologies and the MovE research project, by Maggie Schmitt from Zenobia translations. Illustrations by Cynthia Veneno.

Deregulation, new and old

The old unionist machinery is worn out. The realities that gave rise to it have faded: there is no such thing now as a job for life, a factory in which to gather, a single boss to confront together. For many, the boss is now a digital platform or an application. Work is organized by campaign or by season, and next year you don’t work in the same place or with the same people. Many can’t distinguish where work ends and life begins, because the time dedicated to work is perpetual and we must be available around the clock to respond to an email, a call, or a sick person requesting a glass of water in the middle of the night.

Finding sufficient solidarity among working people who suffer the same abuses becomes very difficult when there is no one working right next to you. When all of life is channeled into production, it becomes impossible to make demands limited to ‘labor conditions’.

The increasing deregulation of labor happens at a time when union machinery is worn out, with rusty gears and a bad name. And yet solidarity between people suffering the same abuses is more vital than ever to shape a counter-deregulation: not just an opposition to deregulation but a counter-power that might situate labor relations on a different plane.

When we talk about labor deregulation we are referring to a weakening of the mechanisms designed to protect workers against business owners. The present legal structure acknowledges that there is a power imbalance between workers and owners: the workers have their capacity to work, their vital energy, which they sell in exchange for a wage that allows them to acquire goods necessary to sustain their lives. The owners, on the other hand, possess the means to produce goods and services. Labor law attempts to balance these positions and limit the disadvantage of the workers relative to the owners. For example, it recognizes workers’ rights to receive severance when fired and there are provisions for those facing illness, maternity, or unemployment. This is not a gift from the state but rather the result of years of workers fighting to balance the scales.

The present economic rules of play aim to reduce the guarantees that were established to balance the relationship between workers and companies. The owners of capital want more vital energy — the work force — in exchange for less: less money, less benefits, less rights. The neoliberal project proposes the deregulation of workers’ rights, expressed in broad cuts to benefits, pensions and severance pay. To this end, it departs from a false premise: that workers and companies are on equal footing, and that neither party requires special protections or guarantees. In this false narrative there are neither workers nor companies, only equal subjects that interact to produce wealth, some selling their life energy to survive, and others buying it to accumulate wealth.

This is exactly the problem the riders and Uber drivers face: they are not recognized as workers but rather treated as subjects on equal footing with the multinationals that employ them. We are all familiar with the problem of false “self-employment”. For these persons, there are no benefits if they fall ill or loose their jobs, no guarantees that balance their relationship to the company. The delivery-workers and Uber drivers are icons of a model of labor relations that is rapidly being extended: deregulation and remote work are the neoliberal recipe to confront this crisis.

Deregulation turns us into “entrepreneurs” or the “self-employed”: it not only strips us of labor rights, it also denies us the identity of “workers”, the subjective sense of belonging to a social class, and to physical spaces of encounter and exchange with companions with whom we might share conditions and build relations. It even denies us a specific “employer”, a clearly identifiable counterpart to which we might direct our claims.

How do we begin to build worker solidarity that might stop this assault and the cutting of rights? How do we come together to take care of each other and defend ourselves? Where is the line between friends and enemies when everyone appears to be wrapped up in their own little world?

The good news is that there are people who have already been inventing the needed syndicalism for some time: forms of solidarity, mutual support and common struggle within the context of deregulated labor and life. There are sectors that have always been deregulated, and their struggle has had to adapt to a framework without protections, marked by isolation and opaque power relations. The hardest jobs, most necessary for sustaining life, have always been deregulated because despite being the very foundation of production — its condition of possibility — they have never been recognized as labor activities with full rights.

The two focal points of this text

Historically, most of the work of care has been excluded from recognition as a form of labor. It has been relegated to the private sphere —the family and the home— and has fallen principally to women. Care work, historically, has been free and not paid, and yet it sustains the economy and the world. It has not been done in exchange for a wage but rather has been conducted out of “love” for the family, or in exchange for housing, food and protection. In those cases in which it has been externalized outside of this family context and has been conducted in exchange for money or some other form of payment, it has still remained outside the statutes of labor law, both legally and symbolically. Domestic work continues to bear the marks of past relationships of servitude and slavery from which it emerges. In fact, even today it lacks the social recognition and rights enjoyed by any other form of work, and in Spain continues to be regulated by a special regime within the Social Security system, with lower salaries than other sectors.

The law that regulates care work in Spain provides a justification for this expulsion from the framework of rights and guarantees that applies to other forms of labor. First, care work is carried out inside homes, linked to personal and family intimacy, and therefore completely alien to the common denominator of labor relations that take place in spaces of productive activity in which the principles of the market economy obtain. Second, the personal bond based on a special relationship of trust has always governed the labor relations between the head of the family home and the workers in that home, which may not be present in other forms of labor. All of this is impregnated with the image of the servant or housemaid who is not recognized as a worker but is situated in a hybrid position, “like part of the family” but not. What underlies this “like part of the family” is an assertion of ownership of the labor and the body of the servant, who comes to form part of the material assets of the master in a clearly servile relationship.

On the other hand, the agricultural sector, agricultural work, is another economic activity just as essential for sustaining life as care work. The farm work of day laborers to grow food has also never been recognized as work in the full sense of the word, and therefore has not been afforded recognition and salaries on equal footing with other activities.

Historically, farm employment has taken place in conditions of semi-slavery or servility, in which employees — as well as the land itself— have formed part of the master’s property. This history of forced labor weighs upon the sector, making it, in the collective imaginary, a form of work to be avoided. The under-valuing of farm work, together with its physical difficulty and seasonal variability, translate into great precariousness for workers. When we add the fact that farm work continues to have a special regulation which recognizes fewer rights than those to which other sectors are entitled, it is not surprising that workers in rural areas prefer to shift into other sectors, like retail or hospitality, rather than working in the fields. This is one of the reasons for which farm work is one of the occupations considered ‘difficult to cover’, and offered to foreign workers. These jobs are left to those who have the least choice: the most vulnerable of workers.

Union experiences in contexts of permanent deregulation

In the present socioeconomic order, the distribution of work and of income is unequal, and the criteria that determine this distribution are the body and the territory inhabited by each worker. The farther a person falls from the ideal of the Western white male body, the cheaper that person’s work and therefore life.  Thus the people farthest from the Western-white-male model end up shunted into the jobs with the least recognition, both socially and in terms of wages. It is therefore not surprising that both farm work and care work are highly racialized and feminized sectors. The union struggles that have been articulated from these feminized and racialized spaces, contexts that have been historically deregulated, have much to teach new union initiatives that are trying to confront coming waves of deregulation. These are syndicalist battles that are necessarily shaped by feminist and antiracist demands. It could not be otherwise: in these essential sectors of farm work and care the gendering and racialization of bodies serve as key elements in labor exploitation.

This text seeks to contribute to the building of an antiracist and feminist form of syndicalism[1]. It seeks to shed light on the construction of a grassroots “war machine” that is already under way, based on the best intuitions at work in the field. If the socioeconomic order combines realities of class, race, origin, and gender in order to procure bodies that are more exploitable, then the responses to this over-exploitation must invariably arise from the articulation of class, race, and gender in the bodies that bear the capacity to work. If those who work more for less are women and migrant and racialized persons, then the responses they devise to this labor exploitation must arise out of feminism and antiracism.

The hypotheses, data, analyses and proposals upon which this work is based form part of my experience as a labor lawyer, union member and antiracist and feminist activist. Specifically they arise from my work with the cooperative of lawyers of which I form part as legal counsel for Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha (Organized Women Farm Workers of Huelva, or JHL) and for the Association of Women Domestic Workers of Seville (Asociación de Trabaja-doras del Hogar de Sevilla, or ATHS).

Women lawyers, care-givers, and farm laborers

How does an office of feminist lawyers cross paths with a collective of women farm laborers and an association of domestic workers?  And more importantly, what does this crossroads tell us about the coming future of antiracist and feminist syndicalism?

The Andalusian Cooperative Society of Women Lawyers (Abogadas Sociedad Cooperative Andaluza) is a legal project created by women in the city of Seville. A group of women lawyers with personal trajectories involving activism, politics and unions, and committed to the defense of fundamental rights, come together to put their work —and the law— to the service of their ideals of social justice. A lot of nerve. We know that the law is a tool that serves the hegemonic order. The courts relentlessly order evictions in favor of the banks, validate mass firings in favor of the company owners, and dictate the expulsion of undocumented migrants. But we also believe that it can be a powerful tool for social justice, if paired with an emancipatory political practice. The law can serve to report hate crimes, to attain severance pay and to halt evictions.  It is a matter of appropriating this tool from within social movements, as we have done with the Internet and social networks, even though of course we know that their ultimate purpose is to preserve the unjust present order. What we know how to do as lawyers, and what we love to do, is defend the rights of workers, migrants and consumers against the abuses of the banks, defend the rights of women in different situations of violence, and of all those whose political rights are being repressed.

We established ourselves as a cooperative because we really feel that cooperating is better than competing. Our commitment to the social economy and to the territory is born of our conviction that other more equal ways of producing and distributing wealth are possible. We practice law just as we are, in accord with our thoughts and feelings. We practice law as we would like it to be in the better world we dream of, even though we are well aware of the cost that entails.

While this narrative is drawn from my own political and professional reflections, many of these would not have been possible without the experiences shared by my partners in the cooperative of women lawyers.

First came the women farm workers

Seville is less than 100 kilometers from the strawberry-growing region of Huelva, but when people talk about human rights violations it always sounds as if they’re talking about something thousands of kilometers away. The collective imaginary tries to distance itself from one of the greatest sites of fundamental rights violations in Europe.

Life and work stories of farm workers, both migrant and local, bearers of the invisible hands that allow over 300,000 tons of strawberries to be picked every spring, generating exports valued at over 920 million euros. According to data provided by the business lobby Interfresa,[2] the Huelva berry-growing sector generated 91,291 inscriptions in the Social Security roster in 2018. Around 42,000 of these employees (47%) were Spanish workers, some 22,000 (24%) were persons from other EU countries like Romania and Bulgaria (that do not share the common currency), and the rest, some 26,400 (29%) were workers from Morocco and other African countries.

During the spring strawberry season, some 80,000 to 100,000 farm laborers are employed. The majority of those hired are Huelva locals or migrants resident in the region. However every year there is also a contingent of workers hired in Morocco, generally around 15,000 women. To this we should add the migrant population that arrives in Huelva for the harvest season, calculated to be around 2000 persons, most of them sub-Saharan African men who reside in the shantytowns that proliferate throughout the region.

The procedure of hiring at the place of origin has been underway since 2000, and curiously coincides with the increase of farm worker union activity by migrants already settled in Spain. Hiring workers directly in the place of origin for a period of employment including return travel was conceived as a way to halt union activity in agriculture. The workers that make up these contingents arrive, work, and go away when the season is over. Until 2006 these workers came from Eastern Europe, but from that year on they were hired in the Kingdom of Morocco. They were always women, whether from one area or the other. First Slavic women, later Muslim ones: the companies always sought to hire women with personal profiles that would make them docile and inclined to accept the hard living and working conditions. Scandals of labor exploitation and abuse arose year after year. The smaller unions and associations in defense of fundamental rights have been denouncing these situations for years. But none of this managed to garner the public visibility the situation deserves. Social connivance with the strawberry-growing sector, “red gold”, always served to contain any outcry.

My experience with this world began in 2005, in collaboration with the Office of Social Rights in Seville and the Andalusian Union of Workers (SAT), and we had the same experience as others before us: as soon as we tried to address the issue of the women workers brought every spring from Morocco, we ran into the same wall.

So when we established the Cooperative of Women Lawyers we knew that one of our objectives was to shorten the distance those mere 100 kilometers between Seville and Huelva represented. We had to find a way to get some of the cases of the Moroccan field workers in Huelva into the courts. Every year we heard stories, through the associations and unions active in the region, and we knew that these stories were just the tip of the iceberg.  We also knew how difficult it is to take legal action in an area where silence is the norm.

But the massive wave of feminism in 2018 changed everything. Some German journalists[3] did an investigative report on the strawberry-growing region of Huelva, where they documented and made public some of the sexual abuses suffered by Moroccan field workers during the harvest season. Suddenly, those of us that had been denouncing this situation became “famous”. Two elements were key in this leap to public visibility of the story of the “Moroccan strawberry pickers”: on the one hand, the story was published in the heart of Europe, in Germany. On the other, Spanish feminists were on the warpath against sexual violence. It all came together. All eyes turned to the periphery of Andalusia, and there they found shantytowns, isolated farms, Moroccan women walking for kilometers along the roadsides just to get to a supermarket or a doctor. And it turns out that the story of strawberries was even more bitter than anyone knew. Those of us that had been aware of the situation for years were suddenly invited all over the place to tell about it. The SAT uncovered a second case of collective sexual abuses against Moroccan field workers, and the media lights flashed and keyboards hummed.  Everyone wanted to know about it. In my then-new Twitter account, I opened this thread:

        • I’ll tell you the story of the Moroccan strawberry workers in Huelva. Many of you are asking me and this may be useful. New thread:

        • In Huelva there are 7,000 hectares devoted to intensive agriculture, mostly of berries. These are the famous strawberry greenhouses of Huelva. An intensive and ecologically unsustainable form of agriculture that produces 95% of Spanish strawberry production.

        • Since the 1990s, the principle work force has been migrant, as the local population rejects farm work. First the workers were Moroccan, but the situation gave rise to “conflicts” with the locals, and it changed.

        • In 2000 they began hiring “in origin”. This is collective hiring from the countries of origin, only for the duration of the harvest season. These hires must be women, at the request of the companies and with the approval of the administration.

        • They say women are more “delicate” in harvesting the berries, and that they are less problematic and more submissive. They required that the women be married, widows or divorced, and that they have children under 14 in their country, which ensures they will go back.

        • All of these requisites are legal, they are demanded by the strawberry companies and negotiated by our government with the country of origin. Many of us believe they are unconstitutional.

        • First the women came from Eastern Europe, but they caused problems, they went out a lot. Since 2006 the contingents have been principally women from Morocco. They don’t drink and they don’t go out much, they are much more docile, according to the companies.

        • After 2008, with the crisis, the contingents have been reduced: only those positions not covered by local hires can be hired ‘in origin’. But migration continues to increase and they live in shanty settlements near the farms.

        • In the settlements lives the army of reserve labor. They are mostly sub-Saharan African men, some documented and others not. Some are minors. There are a lot of them, some living there year-round.

        • The Moroccan women you have seen in the media are some of those that were brought over in this year’s contingent to harvest strawberries. These women live in a situation of semi-captivity on the farms of the companies they work for. No labor inspections go to these farms.

        • For years some women have denounced abuses: coercion, threats, humiliation and sexual aggressions. Many of these reports are not followed up, the women disappear, they return (or are returned) to their country.

        • We cannot know where workers rights are being upheld and where they are not. The Integration Office says that last year at least 30% of housing units did not fulfill minimum requirements for habitability. Eight to ten women live in each unit.

        • There is much impunity. Unionists take big risks to go talk to them and inform them of their rights. Some of my companions from the SAT have suffered aggressions or received threats for going to the fields with union information.

        • Now it is a media affair. The public defender is investigating abuses and the police intervened on Friday to stop the kidnapping of 300 women. But the Huelva strawberries are the jewel of the crown, and there are a lot of economic interests that take priority.

        • One group of women dared to denounce abuses on Friday in the company Doñana 1998.  The next day they loaded them into a bus to return them to their country so the charges could not be confirmed. The police stopped this irregular deportation. There is a lot of fear, but they are fighting.

        • If many women suffer abuses in their workplaces, imagine a situation of impunity like this, on a remote and inaccessible farm, with limited ability to move, afraid of losing your job, and being a migrant. I believe them.

        • To learn more, here is a link to download the 2017 report from the Integration Office about the Huelva settlements and again I recommend the books by @AtrapaEditorial La fresa amarga and ¡Qué hace esta fresa en tu mesa!

        • They are women, they are poor, they are immigrants. They are triply revolutionary.

This Twitter thread remains at the top of my profile three years later, and will stay there until these abuses end.

That month of June 2018, thousands of people demonstrated in the capital of Huelva against the sexual and labor abuses in the strawberry industry. This had never happened before; buses came from all over Andalusia, the fear dissipated. The Moroccan women that had reported the abuses walked at the head of the demonstration. Behind them, hundreds of women of all kinds, without flags or organizational banners: women bearing their own bodies against sexist violence. And behind them walked the unions and political collectives, men and women with their flags and banners. The image spoke of an alliance of women, migrants and locals, with the union movement supporting from the rearguard. Thanks to this series of events and their political repercussions, material and symbolic support has increased in recent years. In the 2019 season, the Andalusian Union of Workers (SAT) got special funding that allowed it to hire a local farm worker and a Moroccan translator to do mediation and union activism in the fields. Those two women and the union’s pamphlets planted the seed for what would be Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha.

(1. Demonstration in Huelva on June 16th, 2018. Photo by: Javier García Fernández)
(2. The 8th of March demonstration in Huelva, 2020. Photo by: Ana Pinto Lepe)

Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha

As soon as women start to get organized they no longer need tutors. In late 2019, the field workers that had begun distributing pamphlets and informing others of their rights decided to press on without a union structure and begin to build a struggle adapted to their own needs and realities. They formally established the association Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha. When I say ‘formally’ I mean that they formalized their commitment to each other and to their cause, because the legal statutes took nearly another year to arrive: bureaucracy moves more slowly than reality does. The principle activity of the collective has since been to denounce publically the situation of workers in the fields and warehouses of the berry sector in Huelva.

In the 2020 harvest season, we continued harvesting the fruit of our advocacy labors. From radio, press and television interviews to books and social network profiles, we kept on telling the story of the Moroccan farm workers. Also the stories of sub-Saharan African seasonal workers who live in shantytowns without electricity or running water, and who do grueling work in the fields for a pittance. We wove alliances, we were handed some amplifiers, and a lot of people believed us.

The Cooperative of Women Lawyers got some private funding so we could make a living from what we were already doing: taking the labor and sexual abuses of strawberry workers in Huelva to the courts. No public administration would have supported taking strategic litigation to the court system in order to shine a light on the modus operandi in which these violations of workers’ rights take place in Huelva. Private philanthropy served here as an ally.

This is how we made our paths converge: as lawyers we were filing cases and reporting abuses in the courts and before the Labor Inspection authorities. Meanwhile, Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha provided the eyes, hands and feet on the ground. Together we deployed a strategy of information-gathering and union activism that promoted both social organizing and litigation, at the same time.

The pandemic changed everything for everyone, but we carried on with the strategy, informing and organizing, even though during half the spring this was only online and by telephone until we were able to return to the fields with pamphlets in hand.  We presented the litigation and collected innumerable testimonies of rights violations that we used to broaden public outcry, refine our demands, and —as this text aims to do— find ways to orient union activism from a feminist and antiracist perspective.

Necessity is the mother of invention: the pandemic forced us to distribute not only pamphlets but also food. No one can fight with an empty stomach, and the crisis hit those who had the least hardest. Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha collected food from the nearby towns, received private donations, organized the distribution of food baskets together with other organizations and contacted with many women about whom little was known.

The farms where the Moroccan women who arrive with the contingent live and work are closed off; one cannot enter. But in the shantytowns one can. We were able to reach these areas in order to distribute food during the pandemic. The shantytowns are principally inhabited by sub-Saharan African men, although there are also some women. We didn’t know much about these women, and listening to their testimonies helped us understand how to orient our action. Most of them do not work in the fields; their work is to sustain the men who do work in the fields. We hope that in the near future these women will join the Jornaleras, although there are still bonds that must be established for this dream to become real.

The ones who did join the organization were the Moroccan women that live in these settlements. They are women who came a few years ago with the contingents and stayed. They did not go back after the harvest season was over, and they share the shantytowns with the sub-Saharan population. Our visits to distribute food baskets provided the occasion to have tea, talk, and lend mutual support. This is how the farm workers from Huelva and the ones from Morocco who do not go back ended up meeting each other and sharing a common cause. Today, Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha are from here and from there, a feminist and antiracist union alliance that has inspired the following pages.

One of the greatest challenges the Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha have faced has been the rise in racist discourse that blames the precarious work situation of the local population upon the presence of migrant workers.  This discourse presents the greatest victims of labor exploitation as the victimizers. The mixed nature of Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha, including migrants and locals, is itself a call to union and solidarity between workers, irrespective of national or ethnic origins.

And then came the domestic workers

When a lawyers’ office declares itself to be ‘feminist’, it means it has a special commitment to the struggle against the unequal distribution of work and wealth that women experience merely for the fact of being women. Therefore, in our daily practice we talk a lot about wage gaps and work-life balance, among other things. That is, we talk about the special forms of precariousness that many women find themselves obliged to accept in order to be able to juggle reproductive work in the private sphere and public work in the labor market. But it also obliges us to talk about the reproductive work outside the private sphere, conducted in exchange for a wage: that of the domestic workers.

I got my Law degree at 23 and one year later I was the lawyer of the Roma people and the immigrants, and especially the domestic workers in the Office of Social Rights (ODS) in Seville. I felt I owed it to them, to all of them. Nearly all the women in my extended family have cleaned houses and offices in exchange for a wage, including myself. Then I became a lawyer, but many others continued cleaning. They were always the same ones: those who had the fewest options, the least choice, the ones from the peripheral neighborhoods, the ones from the villages that came to the city to ‘serve’, and —starting around 2000— the immigrants.

In 2005 the group I was active in (the Office of Social Rights, or ODS, of Seville) accompanied the creation of the Seville Association of Domestic Workers (ATHS). ODSs are autonomous self-managed spaces that address individual situations of precariousness in life and labor, and try to promote collective and political responses to those situations. The founding of ATHS was a process that arose in alliance with similar processes in other territories, with meetings, reflections, rallies and demonstrations in Madrid. Old and new associations of domestic workers came together and, in 2011, managed to force a change in the regulation of domestic work. One law was exchanged for another, and while we had influenced the new one a bit, it was still far from fulfilling our demands: full equality of rights with the law that regulates other forms of work. The struggle continues, and the Seville Association of Domestic Workers continues in good health.

As I mentioned above, the pandemic changed everything for everyone, but we made the most of necessity. Organized altruism got to work and asked the domestic workers what they needed, and they said they needed lawyers.  During the pandemic there were firings, changes of working hours, wage reductions and denial of assistance, and this could not go unanswered. So starting in the spring of 2020, the Cooperative of Women Lawyers worked for the ATHS providing legal counsel and undertaking legal action in the courts against the violations of rights that these women —in their huge majority migrants— were suffering.

The principle activity of the ATHS is conducting political advocacy to demand that domestic workers be entitled to all the rights enshrined in labor law for the ‘general’ sector. The members of the association define it as an open space of encounter, accompaniment and solidarity between women: a space of empowerment and visibilization of care work, so essential to social reproduction and the daily wellbeing of persons. This work is still the nearly exclusive responsibility of women, despite its vital importance to all of society. This is how they describe themselves in their social networks:

We fight all the forms of discrimination that we suffer as women, migrants and domestic workers, and we work to achieve adequate conditions in which to care and be cared for. We demand full and equal labor rights for all domestic workers in Spain.

Together the Cooperative of Women Lawyers and the ATHS have broadened the social reach of the association, because free legal counsel in such a highly precarious labor sector is news that travels fast between workers. Thus each weekly legal clinic has more participants than the last. This collaboration has also allowed us access to testimonies and conflicts in the context of the health crisis, situations that take place in the invisibility of private households, as well as the collective responses being developed. These experiences have provided the clues that this text hopes to develop, pointing to the kind of antiracist and feminist union activity we need.

The other revolving doors

The two experiences of women’s self-organization around labor rights that I have described in this introduction have no contact with each other beyond the collaboration of both collectives with the Cooperative of Women Lawyers. The two experiences of self-organization are in different territories, nearly 100 kilometers apart. However, between these two labor sectors, farm work and care work, there is a revolving door.  Farm work is seasonal, and as we will see, the unemployment benefits for agricultural work are insufficient, so during the winter many of the farm workers are also care-takers and domestic workers. In fact, in Huelva the farm workers and Las Kellys (an organized group of cleaning staff in hotels and office-buildings) tend to join forces. This takes place not only for organizational reasons nor solely because of political strategy; the work in both sectors is interchangeable and many of the women that pick strawberries in the spring then work cleaning rooms on the coast in the summer.

In the March 8th demonstration in 2020, the city of Huelva gave us a glimpse of rising forms of antiracist and feminist syndicalism. The Kellys, the Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha, and the Collective of African Workers, who live in the shantytowns, walked together in a single block at the demonstration.
























[1] The Spanish word ‘sindicalismo’ can translate both as ‘unionism’ and ‘syndicalism’ in English. The former carries certain associations with big unions, the latter with anarchist self-organization. This text refers to grassroots unions, more akin to syndicalism – which does not mean such grassroots unions have to remain tiny of course, or totally disconnected from traditional labour unions. So we opted for using ‘syndicalism’ in English, however keeping the word ‘union’ in many places, in order to signal a possible fluidity between these two traditions. (Note from Common Ecologies)

[2] Website of the Asociación Interprofesional de la Fresa Andaluza (INTERFRESA),

[3] Müller, Pascale and Stefania Prandi (2018), “Rape in the fields” in, April 30th