In January 2009, the Feminist Collective started to discuss the local elections to be held on March 29, 2009. At first, to nominate a candidate for the position of mayor was just an idea. In the forums organized with the participation of women’s organizations or independent feminists, the discussions focused first on whether or not to nominate someone and then on how to handle the process if someone is nominated. The conclusion was, in summary, the following: there should have been a feminist candidate. Because it was about time to appear as feminists without trying to integrate feminist politics into other political organizations. It was a way to speak out the feminist voices, feminist desires, and the kind of city that is imagined by feminists without making any concessions. Feminists, as political subjects, coexist with other political actors in the political sphere. Feminism is not just a rebellion, an objection, an opposition. Feminism has its own politics and vision of the future. Women do not only have demands that will be added to the other campaigns in local elections, but they have a chance to speak out for themselves under the holistic politics of feminism. That’s why there should have been an independent feminist candidate.

A campaign under the name of “Feminist Collective for Local Elections” was launched with the participation of all women who wanted to support.

Feminist Collective for Local Elections announced at a press conference on 7 February 2009 that it nominated Saime Ülfet Taylı Taş, an independent candidate for Beyoğlu Mayor, in order to stand against sexist policies in local elections and to make women’s demands visible. Speaking at the meeting, feminist candidate Ülfet Taylı said, “women want to speak for themselves in local elections. This time, they are not in the position of making demands, but they put themselves in for the position.” Feminist Collective for Election announced at the press conference that it also supports Belgin Çelik, who is the mukhtar candidate of Beyoğlu Katip Mustafa Çelebi neighborhood.

Following the 29 March 2009 elections, Feminist Collective for Local Elections published a statement commenting on the elections results:

“We have nothing to do with ballot boxes or election results, we won this election!

During the election campaign, we carried out works that are different than those of the election campaigns of mainstream politics. We were the feminist collective for local elections, we did not run our campaign on a single name; we were and we tried to be on the streets, in marketplaces, and at other places where there are women; we collectively prepared our manifestos, campaign speeches, banners; we handed them out, hung them on the walls together; we once again remembered that nothing can be replaced with the unity and women’s solidarity that took place in action; once again we felt our power, the power of feminism…

In this process, we collected many women’s stories, we stood in solidarity with Desa workers in resistance, we came together with women from Sinter, we went to the ATV building and visited our friends who were on strike… We listened to the stories of battering as well as stories of resistance. But we were in places and situations where the intimate shattered because the knowledge of feminism was already there.

We learned how to make this city and this district livable for ourselves and how feminist local government would be, by explaining, living, and bringing our experiences together…

We tried to collectively build the way for a society where we can share with men the care of children, the elderly, and the sick and where we can love whomever we want…

We have nothing to do with ballot boxes or election results, we won this election! Now nights, streets, squares, neighborhoods, strikes are ours…

Long Live Women’s Solidarity

Long Live Feminism…”

Translator: İpek Tabur

Proof-reader: Müge Karahan

For the original in Turkish / Yazının Türkçesi için


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