Home > IV Online magazine > 2023 > IV582 - July 2023 > A new purple tide of anger sweeps Switzerland


A new purple tide of anger sweeps Switzerland

Sunday 2 July 2023, by Aude Spang, Françoise Nyffeler

Save this article in PDF Version imprimable de cet article Version imprimable

The new feminist strike, which took place throughout Switzerland on 14 June 2023, has once again demonstrated the unequalled power of this movement and its capacity to mobilise. Already in 2019, the scale of the purple wave that swept through this right-wing country, unaccustomed to massive social struggles, took us by surprise.

Once again this year, hundreds of thousands of people in all the major cities shouted out their demands for a world of solidarity, for the abolition of patriarchy, capitalism and rape culture.

Collective framework and trade union support

This national feminist strike was prepared in mixed groups chosen from the cantons and working horizontally. We organised ourselves from the bottom up, giving room to anyone who respected collective decisions, while seeking to empower each other. We work and think together. The feminist strike collectives are training grounds that have helped us all evolve in our practices and our demands for democratic functioning. All the major decisions and demands were discussed at local level, then at regional level, and finalised by votes at national meetings. So 14 June is the culmination of a process that seeks to avoid domination and is based on democratic, inclusive and collective operations.

We worked with the unions who called the strike and, together with the workers, drew up dozens of lists of grievances and demands addressed to the employers. On 14 June, walkouts took place mainly in female-dominated occupations in the public sector, but also in the private sector, such as watchmaking and home economics.

Making public spaces feminist

The 14th was punctuated by numerous actions in workplaces and public spaces, at symbolic times defined according to statistics on inequalities in income and wages. Programmes were organised with those who left their workplaces, and solidarity actions were also organised for those for whom this was impossible. Commandos went into department stores, for example, where shop assistants proudly wore badges bearing the feminist strike logo. One of the strengths of this movement is that it is rooted not only in the big cities but also in the smaller towns and neighbourhoods, which mobilised with their own programmes before inviting people to join the big demonstration in the evening. Everywhere we went, we made the public space feminist, combative and festive! The whole day was about struggle and togetherness, solidarity and the joy of feeling the strength of being many and together.

Throughout the day, everyone converged on the starting point for the demonstration. The gamble paid off: every major city in Switzerland was blocked off by a gigantic purple tide - strong, proud, feminist and angry!

We’ve been changing Switzerland for five years now, and this colossal work will continue to bear fruit in families, associations, neighbourhoods, trade unions, workplaces, politics and institutions. We’re not there yet, and we know that the state will use violence as soon as it feels threatened. But we dare to imagine a world where women, gender minorities and the exploited occupy the space they deserve.

30 June 2023

Translated by International Viewpoint from l’Anticapitaliste.


If you like this article or have found it useful, please consider donating towards the work of International Viewpoint. Simply follow this link: Donate then enter an amount of your choice. One-off donations are very welcome. But regular donations by standing order are also vital to our continuing functioning. See the last paragraph of this article for our bank account details and take out a standing order. Thanks.