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Why “Feminism Without Borders”1 Matters?

Transcending national boundaries, the Feminist Dialogues (FD) <http://feministdialogues.isiswomen.org/> organised within the World Social Forum since 2003, is a project towards strengthening the feminist movements’ strategies to organise and resist, or even reverse the blows of globalisation.

For 2007, the objective of the Feminist Dialogues was to develop a deep and profound critique of democracy that will enable its transformation and radicalisation, in collaboration and partnership with other social movements. The meeting articulated a plural and radical conception of democracy that recovers the diversity of experiences and conceptions of democracy which are located outside the neo-liberal hegemonic model2.

Implicit in these conceptions and proposals is the democratisation of feminist and social movements themselves.

Even if the understanding of movements is more fluid, and is full of diversities and contradictions, the FD project is a critical juncture of re-thinking, re-invigorating, alliance building and solidarity building. This self-reflexive space has provided us, feminists, an opportunity to work on a transnational movements level and creatively and radically address the backlash and challenges to feminisms that have also grown exponentially with the rise and dominance of neo-liberal capitalism and the consolidation of ethnic nationalist, and of religious fundamentalist movements and nation-states.

In this issue of WIA, we bring you the feminist proposals on radicalising democracy that were presented at the FD 2007 meeting. Further, the articles and the photo essay demonstrate why and how transnational movement building or “feminism without borders” matter in the struggles of economic and social justice in the 21st century.

I’ll leave you with Chandra Talpade Mohanty’s framework on “feminism without borders,” where she calls for feminists to:

  • acknowledge the faultlines, conflicts, differences, fears, and containment that borders represents;
  • acknowledge that there is no one sense of a border, that the line between and through nations, races, classes, sexualities, religions and disabilities are real and that a feminism without borders must envision change and social justice work across these lines of demarcation and division;
  • speak of feminism without silences and exclusions in order to draw attention to the tension between simultaneous plurality and narrowness of borders and the emancipatory potential of crossing through with and over and over these borders in everyday lives; and
  • outline a notion of feminist solidarity as opposed to vague assumptions of sisterhood.

In sisterhood!

Raijeli Nicole

1  Mohanty, C. (2004). Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

2  Feminist Dialogues 2007 Concept Note: Feminist Perspectives on Radical Democracy


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