#MeToo, #NiUnaMenos, and Human Rights

Much of the discussion about #MeToo presents it as more or less isolated situations where powerful men commit sexual violence against less powerful women. But it’s also a prism through which to view a good part of human existence, at least in terms of Marc Bloch’s metaphor: “Just as the progress of a disease shows a doctor the secret life of the body, the progress of a great calamity yields valuable information about the nature of a society”. The word “disease” is appropriate because #MeToo reveals and partly represents a sick post-capitalist world in which humans commit violence not only against other species but also against their own and are well on the way to destroying their habitat, the whole planet. Just when the revolutionary character of universal human rights needs to be reclaimed more vehemently than ever before, western feminism, like most left-wing movements, is shying away from it: it’s too inclusive. In short, a bunch of privileged feminists doesn’t give a rat’s arse about others who are fighting for their lives, around the world and especially in Latin America where the inclusive name of the struggle #NiUnaMenos shows how distant it is from the individualistic #MeToo.

While #MeToo protests about narrow issues with media, forensic, and legal backing #NiUnaMenos is a movement of women who aren’t well off and who can’t pay lawyers, responding to extreme, generalised violence with more official obstructiveness than support. #NiUnaMenos has little echo outside Latin America. This isn’t so much a problem of language as indifference towards “other” women. And, no doubt, it’s far too radical for most #MeToo feminists for whom the aim’s a bigger slice of the system’s pie. For #NiUnaMenos, the pie is unfit for human consumption.

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