Sangre Fucsia and Territorio Doméstico. Political Alliances for a more Equal and Fuchsia Society
by Valentina Longo, Sangre Fucsia
This article is part of a two-post series on collaboration, community media and activism in Spain. Read part one here.
When Territorio Doméstico Met Sangre Fucsia
We want a fuchsia world and we are building it with Territorio Doméstico. The organization, established in 2006, is formed by mostly migrant and some women of Spanish origin, the majority employed in the care and domestic sector. Under the slogan “The World Doesn’t Move without Us”, their action is an intersection between feminism, labor and anti-racist demands and the questioning of the social organization of care. They fight for the urgent need to reorganize care work in social terms, i.e. how to redistribute it in a more just way, between both men and women. The social organization of care refers to the way in which the family, the State, the market and community organizations produce and distribute care in an interrelated manner. There are no watertight divisions, but rather a continuity of activities, work and responsibility that are, at the same time, unevenly distributed.
Sangre Fucsia (our feminist podcast) and Territorio Doméstico share a common space. The physical space of Eskalera Karakola, a transfeminist, community-based social center, and an activist space of horizontal, DIY-DIWO (do it yourself, do it with others) organizeations. We also share an attitude, the symbolic fuchsia hue, namely a festive appearance entwined with the most radical and fierce political criticism. As Emma Goldman never said, “if I can’t dance, it´s not my revolution”. Our bond cannot be concealed. Territorio Doméstico is the collective that most participated in our radio show. They participated in our episode on “Domestic blood: reproductive work” in 2016, we talked to them and about them in “362 days and an 8th of March” on the feminist strike of in 2019, and they took part in April 2022 in “Biosindicalism”. We do not usually re-invite guests, but care and domestic work is a core issue for us and for the feminism we inhabit and the type of media we want to be.
How Talking about Domestic Work Shaped Our Work
The Eskalera Karakola (a former squatter by and for women) has been a cornerstone for the last three decades. We produce our podcast there and many other collectives find a space for their activities, like self-defense feminist groups, reading or fair-food groups. The history of Territorio Doméstico is rooted in this space, where they were born sixteen years ago. Over time, our personal and political bonds have been strengthened and Territorio Doméstico’s claims became our claims, and many other groups put this issue on their political agenda.
Care and domestic work, either paid or unpaid, has been central to the political assemblies and the streets of Madrid in the last years. Territorio Doméstico has greatly contributed to the visibility of the issue and to building the type of feminism that is behind political mobilizations in our city. Our feminism is not about reaching improvements for some, but rights for all; one that recognizes that care work sustains lives and the entire system and it has to be shared equally. Our feminism is being and wanting to be increasingly diverse, and not the opposite. With clear common horizons, like the fact that migration has to be a right for anyone, and not a privilege for a few.
Sangre Fucsia is not a podcast in which we give voice to invisible processes and groups, it’s a mirror of the relations and bonds we build in the political autonomous sphere we inhabit. Interviewing Territorio Doméstico is like building our own narrative, having a real conversation about the social organization of care, the working conditions of domestic workers and the short-term goals we are fighting for. By doing this on air, we reach new audiences and, hopefully, gain awareness about the urge to include these demands on every feminist discourse.
In the case of care and domestic work the groups inhabiting the Eskalera Karakola have been collectively creating a common political frame in which, we want to bring to light the mechanics of the social organization of care starting from the material working conditions and social perception of domestic employment. In this process, Territorio Doméstico has been able to get the other groups passionate about the issue and take responsibility for it, transforming a specific topic into something that all of us care about. Their capacity of implication is based on their theoretical background and on their methodology, where political organization and mutual support are two sides of the same coin.
How we Learned to Organize from Our Guests, Turned Allies
In 2021 Territorio Doméstico published “Biosyndicalism from the domestic territories. Our claims and methodology” (text in Spanish). The text is the result of more than a year of work by different collectives and women that share claims on labor but, at the same time, enlarge their political scope to other aspects of life and name their political and vital practice as biosyndicalism. In the text you can find a collective narrative of the demands, but also organizational methodologies and tools of the Territorio Doméstico collective. Their ways of conceiving and doing politics has inspired a great part of the feminist scene in Madrid and Spain.
Biosyndicalism overflows the traditional demands on employment conditions and focuses on the organizational experiences of women’s collectives in interaction with feminism, approaching their struggles from the perspective of bodies and alliances. This means to put the daily life of each woman in the center in a very specific and down-to-earth way. For example, their assemblies take place on Sundays, since it is the only day off for most of domestic workers, and they always share some snacks along with political issues and personal affairs. More often than not, they end the meeting with some singing and dancing. As a member of Territorio Doméstico says: “You can go to an organization that fights for rights, but in Territorio you are welcomed; it is an apprenticeship in tenderness, when we have been taught to be tough.”
Material working and living conditions deeply influence their organizational process. Some of the members Territorio Doméstico are employed as live-in workers and only get one day a week or even one day a month off; others have long working days, others don’t have enough money to pay for the ticket to go to the meetings. The high turnover in the sector and the precariousness of their lives means that sometimes meetings are very crowded and other times just few people can attend. «We have to make the most of the little time we have to meet, and sometimes we find ourselves calling each other at ungodly hours to resolve something or make decisions. The instability of our lives and the life of the collective has forced us to go very slowly, taking great care of the process» (Biosyndicalism from the domestic territories. Our claims and methodology, p. 29).
Nevertheless, they have been able to develop their own methodology which is based, among other practices, in the acuerpamiento. The concept come from the Latin American communitarian feminism and it refers to the personal and collective action that confront the injustices experienced through the body. At the same time the process of acuerpamiento builds shared political energy to resist and act against multiple patriarchal, colonialist, racist and capitalist forms of oppression. In the words of Territorio Doméstico, acuerpamiento «has several meanings or dimensions; one of them has to do with the support and welcome we give each other, with celebrating each other. Hugging each other, but also other affinity groups, is essential to our struggle: putting the body in the bond, approaching the women and groups from what unites us, recognizing ourselves in each other and building trust» (Biosyndicalism from the domestic territories. Our claims and methodology, p. 49).
Another key is their capacity to connect and build alliances. They call it “friends of friends” and it is their network of trust, affection, and political affinity. When, for example, there is a trial for not having paid social security to an employee and the members of the collective can’t accompany the woman due to work schedules, they call a friend to go with her. Or when they carry out actions in the street, like their fashion show on domestic employment models that denounce living and working conditions of the employees in the sector, there are always many friends of friends that support them. At the same time such alliances offer references for newcomers on other forms of relationships between migrants and locals, between diverse women. The documentary “Territorio doméstico: Politizando las ollas, las calles y los delantales”, directed by Mayo Pimentel, describes the origin of the collective, their way of organizing, their learning process and the different — and original — methods they have been using since then to claim their rights as workers.
A Fucsia World is Possible
In our podcast, we adopted the fuchsia color because purple is associated with feminism, red-black with anarcho-syndicalism, red with communism, pink with the LGTB movement. Fuchsia relates us to all these struggles but in our own way, which is always with self-criticism, humor and the construction of common narratives through the radio. During these nine years, and more than two hundred episodes produced, we have grown, learnt and celebrated. We have met new friends and political alliances, such as Territorio Doméstico. And we have endorsed new causes, making it our own. It is not a technical change in our way of producing our podcast, but it is an expansion of our gaze that feeds our podcast.
The 9th of June 2022 the Spanish Parliament ratified the ILO Convention number 189 on decent work for domestic workers. This is an historic victory for the organized workers of the sector and for the feminist movement. But we want more, since talking about domestic work is thinking about how care is organised, about migration, about the public policies necessary to care for everybody, and especially for those who are in a situation of dependency. It is about how to conceive and ensure livable lives for all and not only for the privileged.