Reports of workplace and sexual abuse filed by a group of female Moroccan day labourers in Huelva in 2018 directly called into question feminist movements at a fraught time around the 8M Women’s Day demonstrations. The tepid response and inadequate support they received, in contrast to the mass protests sparked by the La Manada (Wolf Pack) rape case, highlighted how cities such as Madrid and Seville are not only separated from the fields of Huelva by kilometres.
As debates raged inside feminisms on the relationship between patriarchal violence, dispossession, exploitation and racism, a measured dialogue and framework of alliances between different feminist collectives got under way. Work conducted in the field by Abogadas Sociedad Cooperativa Andaluza (the Andalusian Cooperative of Women Lawyers) and Asociación de Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha (the Association for the Struggles of Female Day Labourers in Huelva) enabled the concerns and abstract desire for feminist solidarity to materialise into a sound commitment.
Following this trail, a group of feminist lawyers, journalists and producers formed the observer brigade Open the Gates! in May 2021, with the aim of documenting and granting visibility to the work and living situation of numerous female day labourers, both local and seasonal migrant workers. Therefore, as a starting point they travelled to Huelva to learn first-hand and analyse from different perspectives — legal, journalistic, sensitive — the different overlapping elements in today’s agricultural production: the living conditions of work in the fields, the instability of the day-labouring class, the vulnerability caused by structural racism and the alien status of migrant workers, in addition to the role of the patriarchy and the environmental consequences bound up in the intensive farming model, both in Huelva and in many other territories inside Mediterranean Europe.
6pm. Presentation of the Feminist Observer Brigade Open the Gates!
The screening of a video documentary on the Brigade and a subsequent debate with three brigade members
Participants: Begoña Lalana (lawyer), Justa Montero (feminist activist) and Olga Rodríguez (journalist).
7:30pm Europe’s Fruit and Vegetable Farms
A conversation on the conditions of the farming production model on a European level
Participants: Nazaret Castro (journalist), Pastora Filigrana (Abogadas Sociedad Cooperativa Andaluza), Mariangela Paone (Terra!) and Ana Pinto (Asociación de Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha).
Nazaret Castro is a freelance writer and journalist and co-founder of Carro de Combate and Revista Amazonas.
Pastora Filigrana works with Abogadas Sociedad Cooperativa Andaluza (the Andalusian Cooperative of Women Lawyers) and is a human rights activist.
Begoña Lalana is a criminal lawyer specialised in gender-based violence.
Justa Montero is an activist and an expert in gender and equality policies. She is part of Coordinadora Feminista (the Feminist Coordinator Group) and the 8M Committee.
Mariangela Paone is a journalist and author of the report E(U)xploitation. Gangmastering: The Southern Question. Italy, Spain and Greece, by the environmental association Terra!
Ana Pinto is part of Asociación de Jornaleras de Huelva en Lucha (the Association for the Struggles of Female Day Labourers in Huelva).
Olga Rodríguez is a freelance journalist.