Saturday, August 27, 2011

On Whether "Patriarchy" is the Root of All Other Oppressions. Q: Who benefits from this perspective? A: Rich folks and whites

This post exists to support, in an unsolicited way, of a series of posts by Lb over to The Vagina Conspiracy, a radical feminist blog by a Black woman. (See *here* and also below for that series.)

White radical feminists, historically and presently, often promote an idea and it is this: "patriarchy" (seemingly unraced or beyond race or inclusive of all races) is the root problem, the root oppression, and, from a radical/root perspective, activism focused on eradication patriarchy is sufficient to liberate women from the systemic oppressive realities that confine, subjugate, dominate, and destroy them. I'll address my problems with this perspective in a moment. Lb addresses her problems with it here:

The Root from Lb'rashon Breed on Vimeo.

The Root 2 from Lb'rashon Breed on Vimeo.

The Root - Clarification from Lb'rashon Breed on Vimeo.

Before I go on, I'll note that many white radical feminists arrived at this perspective in part because of their long-standing frustrations and dead-ends with radical activist and Leftist men across race conveniently "forgetting" to address patriarchy, misogyny, sexism, and male supremacy in their own ranks, among their own groups, in their own agendas, in theory and in practice. I have argued with more white anti-Capitalist men than I can count--some of whom are marxists--about the glaring omission of "patriarchy" in their understanding of what needs to be radically challenged socially. Across the last several decades and to this very day it is beyond rare to find any man (across race, region, sexuality, class, and age) who takes patriarchy seriously as an oppressive social-political-economic form (often termed by men: "civilisation" or "society" or "capitalism" but never managing to appropriately identify how and where men are in charge). Patriarchy exists to place women beneath men in every way patriarchs can.

Also, Liberalism as a political frame that historically comes from white Europe and has specific form in North America, the UK, Australia, and in other places globally, ignores patriarchy as a system of atrocity and oppression when it comes to presenting plans of so-called progressive personal-political action. Liberalism tends towards obfuscating systems of oppression. It does this in several ways and detailing those ways is beyond the focus of this post. But basically, Liberals contend with systems of harm--when they do so--by pretending that unorganised individual action is sufficient to bring about adequate social change. Liberals also pretend that ideas or thoughts alone carry as much weight as economic, social, and political acts of force, aggression, hostility, colonisation, and dominance.

Practitioners of White and Western forms of Liberalism (including its more restrictive and repressive cousins, White and Western forms of Conservatism) don't publicly acknowledge they are operating out of a Liberal framework. They also don't usually address most forms of violating and lethal oppressive force, actually, but the fact that it doesn't deal with patriarchy and has no plan of action to eradicate it from social-political-economic worlds, doesn't excuse it from taking this matter on, seriously and systematically, with organised revolutionary vision.

Part of how systems of oppression achieve success is by rendering the oppressed only capable of attempting to survive the harms promulgated by the inhumane systems. If one is dealing with depression, poverty, PTSD, and hateful aggression directed against oneself and one's people daily, it may be difficult to find time, will, and energy to fight the larger systems in organised ways with larger groups of people. That said, most radical and revolutionary activists are not privileged by wealth, lack of warfare, or by race, class, and gender. But most people are not race- and class-privileged, after all.

In countries that value corporate or State-funded academic learning as a site of "primary knowledge", we find that class- and education-privileged people are often assumed to possess the best qualifications to lead the rest of us out of trouble and into a better world. I probably used to believe this was the case to some degree at least: that only the "best and brightest" as determined by CRAP, could know what we need to do to end all forms of oppression. I not only don't believe that any more, but I also believe that the generally Liberal Academy has its own agenda and accomplishing anti-patriarchal, anti-racist, economically humane revolution for all women it is not.

Jessica Yee has edited a book that deals with this in much more detail. I hope in the coming months to discuss that book titled Feminism FOR REAL: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism. You may link to it *here*.

Across the last several decades, radical and feminist women of color have challenged many assumptions that are white supremacist and that are seemingly intransigently enthenched in white radical feminism and white liberal feminism. The white supremacy is entrenched, in part, by "radical feminists" who don't own or behave responsibly (meaning here: accountably to women of color) with the race-privilege, race-entitlement, and race-power loaded into their perspectives and courses of proposed or practiced action.

After publishing a recent post on this subject (see *here* for that), someone posted a comment which will not be published at this blog as it violates my Comments Policy: it's grossly racist, for one thing. It was submitted by someone who calls themself "Unknown". In it, there was an assumption that me challenging or naming the racism in white radical feminism was a divisive maneuver, was highly manipulative, and is an anti-feminist thing to do. What is often forgotten by whites is exactly how divisive and anti-feminist racism is in white radical feminism (and in white anti-radical, anti-feminist circles too). Typically, whites see the naming of our power and privileges as whites as "divisive" and the divisions they unintentionally highlight are those among white people.Whites don't relish having our collective power diminished, among all of us or among various constituencies of white people, including among conservatives, liberals, radicals.

The critique in the unpublished comment I suppose was sent in order to shame or silence me and others who name white power as such. That I am male (and white) is supposed to be cause for me to never name racism in any group other than white men. To clarify: that's not my politic (and is obviously not my practice), any more than it is my politic to not name sexism in any group other than white men. This blog exists to call out, name, challenge, analyse, and support activism fighting all forms of heterosexism, racism, and misogyny: including the racist misogyny that is so unchecked and unchallenged generally by white women, by white men, and by men of color--all across barriers of class, region, and sexuality.

So if you're not comfortable with me doing that, don't read the posts at this blog. My powers are incredibly limited due to not being part of any major industry, any academic institution, or any political office. I also don't own or control any media franchises, religious institutions, or tech software. But if you come here, please expect to see any expressions of classism, xenophobia, genocide, racism, heterosexism, and misogyny that I encounter socially called out for what it is and for what it does.

We can recall that anyone across race and gender who calls out white power as the destructive racist-misogynist force that it is, will be told to shut up by someone who is uncomfortable having a light shone on it. And so whether it is by a woman of color, a man of color, a white woman, or a white man (or male), I expect to see silencing tactics--rather than respectful tactics of mutual engagement--be employed. "Unknown" did a fine job of illustrating the knee-jerk reactive defence of white power, cloaked as being anti-feminist in this instance, that anyone challenging it is likely to experience. Sad but true. But beyond sad it is dangerous.

The danger is the important thing to not forget. For ideas, thoughts, and ideologies that are liberal, white supremacist, male supremacist, and heterosexist, all are powerful to the extent that they are practiced systematically, are structured into social systems, and are politically protected as speech and action both.

I support radical and feminist women of color challenging male and white supremacy in every environment they are in, endure, and fight against. I support anyone doing so in ways that are not, in and of themselves, misogynistic and racist.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Feminist Action Alert: Please Read this Report and Sign a Petition to Support Women's Rights Activists In Iraq

image is from here

What follows is from *here* and is cross-posted at this blog for the purposes of garnering more support and securing more safety and freedom for Yanar Mohammed and other revolutionary feminist activists in Iraq. With great thanks to Yanar Mohammed, to AWID, to, and to Amanda Shaw.

Warning: the news below is both grim and graphic.

Realistic hope for change comes with sustained (and reported) organising and other actions of resistance and revolution. Prayers and power for all women in Iraq and to the women in any country where US and NATO military forces are occupying, committing gynocidal atrocities that are not reported at all in Western Patriarchal Corporate media. Please take a moment to sign the petition linked to at the end of the body of this report.

You may also link back by clicking on the title below. 

The Word on Women - The Other Tahrir Square: Attacks Continue On Women Human Rights Defenders In Iraq

By AWID Friday Files | 6 hour(s) ago | Comments ( 0 )
By Amanda Shaw
Women have been at the forefront of demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the recent popular uprisings, which have received much media and international attention. In contrast, coverage of attacks on women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in Iraq’s Tahrir Square demonstrations has been limited, AWID asks why.
On the frontlines of demonstrations or behind the scenes as tech-savvy organizers, women have played pivotal roles in the recent democratic revolutions and uprisings in the MENA region. Women’s activism and organizing in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya has garnered substantial international attention. Yet in spite of several attacks, including sexual assaults, on Iraqi women activists and their organizations since February, women’s roles in Iraq’s Tahrir Square demonstrations have generated less media coverage. And the violence against them has intensified since June, one of the deadliest months so far in 2011 for Iraqis.
The Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) is one of the leaders of Iraq’s Tahrir Square demonstrations, helping to organize youth activists and advocating for women’s rights. AWID takes a look at OWFI’s work, the situation of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in Iraq and asks why the other Tahrir Square is receiving so little international attention.
Women’s Rights and Women Human Rights Defenders in Iraq
Since the U.S. Invasion in 2003, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the conflict, nearly 4.8 million have been forcefully displaced and almost 750,000 women widowed. Even before the invasion, and as a result of years of economic sanctions and war, Iraqis experienced high rates of violence, displacement, exile, widowhood, unemployment and illiteracy. Today, Iraqi women face violence from all sides: from armies and security forces, sectarian and tribal leaders as well as from private security contractors unaccountable to international law.[1]
Different political factions including opposition and resistance movements have also tended to target women and gender relations in their political projects, whether through physical violence or legislation.[2] According to OWFI’s 2010 Annual Report, women in Iraq experience gender-specific forms of violence that include so-called ‘honour’-based violence, trafficking, violence toward women accused of prostitution, being unveiled, and wearing makeup.[3]
It is within this context of militarization, religious, sectarian and political fragmentation, widespread violence (including various forms of violence against women) and increasingly conservative visions of gender relations that Iraqi WHRDs organize. They face the same denial of civil and political rights as all citizens – including those of peaceful assembly, association, expression and the right to life and security – but with gender-specific consequences.[4] Some Iraqi WHRDs take part in mixed human rights groups or social movements, while others denounce the disappearance of family members  or work directly on women’s rights agendas.
The context of the invasion and occupation of Iraq by foreign troops has led to a particularly problematic dynamic for those working on women’s rights who may be labelled “western” or “traitorous” for their work, which may also be seen by some Islamists as associated with the supposedly secular agenda of the Saddam Hussein regime.[5] Given this difficult context, Iraqi WHRDs may be forced to abandon their political activities, go into exile or focus instead on surviving and caring for family members.
But in spite of these enormous challenges, Iraqi WHRDs continue their work in addressing violence, resisting militarism and organizing for democratic change. Some of the major achievements of the Iraqi women’s movements include campaigns against a discriminatory law governing marriage, divorce and child custody and limiting the constitutional role of Islam, lobbying for gender quotas in political representation as well as working to ensure legislation complies with international conventions such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).[6]
The Other Tahrir Square
Since 2010’s inconclusive elections, the Iraqi coalition government has been plagued by infighting and financial scandals, while many Iraqis still lack basic services and employment opportunities are few.[7] Inspired in part by events elsewhere in the region, Iraqi citizens have gathered every Friday since February in Baghdad’s own Tahrir Square to protest corruption, poor government and basic services, high unemployment and lack of freedom of expression.
Authorities have responded harshly, banning street demonstrations and attempting to confine large gatherings to football stadiums.[8] As a result, there have been a number of clashes between pro-democracy demonstrators on the one hand and security forces and pro-government demonstrators on the other, resulting in the deaths of at least 125 people, hundreds wounded and the arrest and detention of dozens of activists.[9] Among the activists who have been attacked are several associated with OWFI, which has played a key role and helped to increase women’s visibility in the square demonstrations.
OWFI’s current president, Yanar Mohammed, co-founded the organization during the 2003 U.S. invasion by putting up a sign reading “Women’s Freedom in Iraq” in a burned out bank in Baghdad. OWFI advocates for change in the structures that allow violence against women to be perpetrated with impunity, implementing programs that strengthen women’s political participation and promote freedom from violence. They have established an underground network of safe houses for women escaping violence, advocate for women in prison, organize against sexual trafficking and run a newspaper and radio station. Since its original three members, the size of the organization has grown or shrunk depending on the country’s security situation; OWFI currently has almost 60 activists, hundreds of supporters in person and online and is active in four cities in central, western and southern Iraq.
Targeting OWFI and other Iraqi Activists
Since the Friday Tahrir Square demonstrations began in February of this year, OWFI activists have experienced violent and sexualized attacks, intimidation and harassment preventing them from carrying out their work. There have also been reprisals against their youth allies, including detentions and kidnappings. In an interview posted on the organization’s website, OWFI President, Yanar Mohammed, cites their work in organizing the youth at Tahrir Square as being one of the main reasons why OWFI activists have been targeted.
On Friday June 10th, after the expiration of a one-hundred-day deadline, set by Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki for improving basic services, demonstrators gathered because there were no noticeable changes in the provision of electricity, water, jobs, or in ending corruption. At this demonstration, four women from OWFI’s 25-member delegation were attacked, sexually assaulted and beaten by pro-government demonstrators who destroyed their banners, beat them with wooden sticks, and groped their bodies. The attack was seen by OWFI as an attempt to shame the activists in public space.
OWFI activists met in the first week of July to discuss a strategy in the face of this violence, and on July 8th, a bus full of female activists and some youth supporters returned to Tahrir Square with banners reading “Beating of Tahrir Women Increased Our Determination for Change,” and “Instead of fulfilling the promise of the hundred days, they released their thugs on us”.[10] Activists Jannat Basim, Aya Al Lami, and Yanar Mohammed were interviewed by the media and used a megaphone to announce their determination to continue challenging the authorities in spite of repression. But as the delegation left the square, pro-government supporters intimidated and physically attacked youth activists that were accompanying the OWFI delegation, surrounded their bus and attacked the activists through the doors and windows. One youth supporter was kidnapped and later released. Only when foreign journalists were called to the scene did the pro-government supporters abate.
U.S.-based women’s rights organization MADRE has described repression against OWFI as “an attempt to terrorize women who have been the catalysts for demonstrations that call for a new Iraq.” As Yanar Mohammed describes in a MADRE Interview “when the humiliation is sexual, in a society like Iraq, they know it will break the women.”
The Role of International Solidarity
The mainstream media has largely ignored these events and the recent upsurge in violence in Iraq, some citing readers’ “Iraq fatigue” to justify their lack of coverage.[11] According to Yanar Mohammed, media coverage plays an essential role in helping to protect women human rights defenders, “if you are an outspoken feminist in Iraq these days and you are demonstrating in Tahrir Square, you have actually no protection. So media [coverage] is the best protection.” Moreover, international solidarity efforts – campaigns and other forms of calling attention to the work of WHRDs – are made all the more challenging by the complex terrain of an Iraq overwhelmed by foreign intervention. At the same time, Mohammed marks an important distinction:
“Even if the U.S. intervention that happened before – the military intervention – has destroyed our lives, we need a civilian intervention now. We need the American people to support and empower us again so we can take matters into our own hands and hold free elections." [12]
Indeed, broad-based international (and not just U.S.) solidarity with Iraqi WHRDs remains important in helping them continue their work. As female activists occupy center stage elsewhere in the region’s democratic revolutions and uprisings, the activists in Iraq’s Tahrir Square should also be counted among them.
Sign the MADRE petition condemning the attacks on OWFI and other activists here.
2. Al-Ali, N. and Pratt, N. (2008) “Women’s organizing and the conflict in Iraq since 2003” Feminist Review 88, pg. 74-85. Pg. 75.
3. OWFI Annual Report, 2010.
4. Ibid.
5. Al-Ali, N. and Pratt, N. pg. 81.
6. Al-Ali, N. and Pratt, N. Pg. 76.
10. Personal Communication, Yanar Mohammed, 20 July 2011.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

They're at it again over to Yahoo Answers: balking about White Radical Feminism (as if Patriarchs and Masculinists were timid little innocents doing nothing at all except being abused)

image is from here
There's some strange discussion at that place. It doesn't get too much stranger than what men say about feminists, radical feminism, and women generally. But despite what some dood says, the real question is:

Why do men hate women so much, despise femininity, and put down anyone who, in their view, displays anything "feminine" at all? And why do men so systematically express contempt for anyone who is a woman, feminine or not?

But, if we're going to pretend the social world isn't misogynistic, and instead is only about threatening men, we end up with stupidity like this from "Athlete". Please click on the question below to link back to the source site.

Athlete Athlete

Resolved Question

Why do feminists dislike masculinity, and men in general ?

It seems that feminists have a strong disliking for all men (except for the few cowardly ones that succumb to feminism and become "male feminists") - there have been multiple quotes by the famous feminists that have shaped feminism, such as from Andrea Dworkin (and many other feminists) who has stated that even consensual sex is an act of violence and is simply rape. She has also stated things such as marriage being derived from rape

" Marriage as an institution developed from rape as a practice. Rape, originally defined as abduction, became marriage by capture. Marriage meant the taking was to extend in time, to be not only use of but possession of, or ownership. " - Andrea Dworkin

"Intercourse as an act often expresses the power men have over women." - Andrea Dworkin

"All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman." - Catherine MacKinnon

"All men are rapists and that's all they are" - Marilyn French

Now, my question is, WHY do these feminists dislike men so much ? To condemn such an intimate act of love between a man and a woman (sexual intercourse) as "rape" is unfathomable to me. Have they been hurt, at one point in their lives, by a man so much that they developed a hatred for them all ? If this is true, then perhaps misogynists have had the same thing happen to them, only in their case, they have been hurt by a woman.

Additional Details

@Sam - The fact that you agree that marriage is the same as kidnapping and raping someone shows that a feminist's mind is blurred and clouded by hate.
4 days ago
@Sammy - Since I'm 16, and not technically a man, you love me don't you ? <3
4 days ago
@Sam - Marriage was never about "abduction" - if you do research you will find that it's purpose has always been pure (to create a bond between two loving men and women), however, the misuse of marriage sometimes led to people marrying to gain land. Marrying to obtain land is NOT EQUAL to abduction. Feminists such as you and Andrea Dworkin simply feel the need to be victimized (when in fact there is nothing making you a victim) and so you create these ideas of something as pure as marriage being "derived from abduction." Open your eyes.
4 days ago
@Sam - Ah but that's the thing right there, it's not a fact you're stating, it's not even an opinion. It's a delusional lie created to fullfill your need to be victimized, and whatever action you try to take against the situation you make up in your "fact" is your attempt at satisfying your inferiority complex.
4 days ago
@Sam - Indeed they are creating the lies for you, but not just for you, they are creating them to instill the idea in ALL people's minds that Women = Helpless Victims, and Men = Brutal Savage Predators.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Considering The Unbearable Whiteness of Being a Radical Feminist Who Isn't White

photograph of Sojourner Truth is from here
Almost two years ago I posted *this* from displayed the above image. Approximately one and a half years ago I posted *this*. In the time prior to then, and since then, I've seen almost no examples of white radical feminists taking responsibility for their whiteness or organising a white radical feminist movement that places the eradication of racist misogyny (including all the effects of globalised white male supremacy) at its center.

I have criticism here of whiteness--usually white men's. But as an ally to radical feminist women of color, I include in my critiques the often unacknowledged, unowned, and irresponsible display (via invisibilisation and denial) of whiteness in what is termed "radical feminism". Such critique, like my critique of sexism and misogyny, is seen as hatred of the oppressor group, or unfair, or mean, or, especially, insulting. How is naming something that harms people "insulting" to the people in charge of the perpetuation of the harm?

There are so many examples of this unacknowledged and irresponsible use of whiteness in "radical feminism" that many women of color I know won't use the term to define or describe themselves.

But if radical (and feminist) means "getting to the root" and "pro-activist" and "revolutionary", then surely what many women around the world are doing, in the realm of theory-building, community-building, and pro-revolutionary activism, is radical feminist. Asian women, Black women, Latina women, Indigenous women are most women. White women are not most women. Yet many white radical feminist perspectives, shaped by white experience and white privilege and power, are considered central to what radical feminism is and does.

I support and advocate perspectives which come out of white radical feminism of the last forty years. My own work has been deeply shaped and directed by the work of white radical feminists such as Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin, Catharine A. MacKinnon, and Sheila Jeffreys. But their work is not the center and foundation of radical feminism to me. It is complimentary; it is an addition to the core radical feminist work which is usually not termed such by whites and which may not be included in anthologies about the history of radical feminism, edited and published by white women and white presses. And when men term a woman "radical" or "feminist" often enough all they mean to do is stigmatise and insult the women.

White women's radical feminism, which will likely be termed here "white radical feminism" or "white racist radical feminism" or "white supremacist radical feminism" is critically important to me while it is also glaringly problematic--and harmful, and misogynistic--in its unbearable whiteness of being.

Radical feminism (by radical feminists of color) is the core, foundational work, to me. In North America that is often the work of Indigenous and Black women. Globally it is also the work of Latina and Asian women.

In my view but not mine alone, African American radical feminists, in the last forty years, such as Flo Kennedy, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde (who is also Caribbean-American), bell hooks, Patricia Hill Collins, have presented a far more comprehensive analysis of society from radical feminist perspectives and they don't leave out critiquing whiteness as most white racist radical feminists do.

A member of a (pro-)radical feminist collective I am part of has been in contact with a prominent white racist radical feminist who won't answer the question about whether or not she is racist. This is added to all the other experiences of white racist radical feminists who, in addition to not owning or acknowledging their own racism, will deny it quite defensively. I have seen this happen over and over and over again to the point that I consider the denial of whites' racism to be a key part of how whites keep white supremacy oppressively in tact and in control.

I can see the racism of white radical feminism and it's not difficult to spot if one is willing to call it what it should be called: one expression and manifestation of white supremacy.

No whites will use the term "white supremacist" to define themselves nor will they use "white supremacy" to define the ideology fused to practice that is their own practice. Not white men, not white trans people, not white women. Wherever whiteness exists, you can bet it will only be people of color who are willing (and, it appears, able) to name it accurately and appropriately.

The prominent white racist radical feminist argued to one member of the collective that there is a difference between racism or white supremacy and "race-blindness". Putting aside the problematic able-ism of that term for a moment, how is race-unconsciousness NOT racism-in-action? How is making that distinction NOT the practice of liberalism applied to race politics?

I know of no radical feminist women--of any color--who argue that men ought to be able to define and control terms and their meanings. Especially terms that refer to what men do that is oppressive to women. So "gender-blind" or "gender-unconscious" doesn't get to exist as a term, generally, among anyone I know who is anti-sexist and anti-misogyny. Why, then, should the term "race-blind" get to?

If a white person doesn't see race (which clearly the problematic term "race-blind" implies), doesn't that mean they operate in a multi-racial/racist world as a racist? How can they not? How does not seeing one's own whiteness result in one being anything other than racist and white supremacist in practice, interpersonally and institutionally, structurally and socially?

No white person I know, including myself, can explain how that might be possible. There's nothing radical (or pro-feminist) about protecting and defending whiteness, white supremacy, white privileges, white power, or white unconsciousness about race and racism. Because, especially in the last seven years, I have seen how much white women's racism negatively impacts (hurts, harms, demeans, subjugates, and oppresses) women of color, I look forward to the days when "radical feminists" popularly (and in practice) means "women who are organised to radically critique and challenge all forms of oppression that harm women--in the name of liberating women from all forms of oppression" and is no longer used synonymously to mean "white radical feminists". Most radical feminist women I know are not white and are not "color-blind" either.

And, contrary to the assumptions of many white radical feminists, the radical feminist women of color I know are clear about the need to end pornography, prostitution, trafficking, sexual slavery, and are far more conscious of the need to eradicate all of those forms of gross harm, each of which is founded on the existence and protection of racist misogyny, than are white radical feminists I know.

There is a white radical feminist conceit that only white women can really "get it" about things like pornography and prostitution and that being of color in North America means one is necessarily "Third Wave" or Liberal. Lost in such condescendingly white myopic analysis is the fact that neither pornography or prostitution are the "primary emergency" issues in the lives of many women of color. Also lost is the profoundly liberal politics of whites ignoring racist misogyny as a central form and expression of woman-hating.

If you are a radical feminist of color and are interested in co-organising a radical feminist women of color blog with other radical/feminist women of color, please contact me at

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mourning the Loss of Christina Santiago and Praying for her partner Alisha Marie Brennan

Christina Santiago (left) and her partner, Alisha Marie Brennon
Photo via: The L Stop

With deep condolences to all the loved ones of Christina Santiago, and best wishes and prayers for the emotional and physical healing of her partner, Alisha Marie Brennan.

What follows is from *here* at

Community activist Christina Santiago and her partner, Alisha Marie Brennon, drove from their Chicago home to see Sugarland perform at the Indiana State Fair, a trip a year in the planning.

Santiago, 29, died Saturday night when strong winds toppled the stage at the fairgrounds. Brennon remains in critical condition at Wishard Memorial Hospital.

The trip was rare time away from work for Santiago, a manager at the Community Care Project at Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago.

"The sudden and devastating loss of Christina has left the entire community, including her Howard Brown Health Center family, heartbroken," said Jamal M. Edwards, president and chief executive of the center. "Christina was an amazing woman -- one of our very brightest stars -- who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of women, particularly lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer women ."
Santiago and Brennon had been partners for more than two years.

Friends from the health center drove to Wishard Sunday to visit Brennon. Back in Chicago, there were plans for a joint prayer vigil with the health center and Amigas Latinas, an association that provides resources to Latina lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning women. Santiago served on its board of directors.

Santiago's work to expand the center's women's health services division earned her recognition. In 2010, co-workers honored her with a Spirit Award, equivalent to employee of the year.

She also was named to the Windy City Times' 30 Under 30 list in 2007 for her work with the health center.

Edwards said Santiago was a big Sugarland fan. She passed on opportunities to speak and participate in Northalsted Market Days, a two-day annual street fair in Chicago that attracts about 100,000 people and promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender culture.

Please see The L Stop, *here*, for more currently and in upcoming days.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What Andrea Dworkin DIDN'T say: "All sex is rape", "All men are rapists", "All heterosexual sex is rape", and similar shit

Please click on the title below to link back to the source page:

Movie Review: The Spiritually Ugly 30 Minutes or Less

Movie Review: The Spiritually Ugly 30 Minutes or Less
Photo: Sony Pictures
The R-rated comedy 30 Minutes or Less has the careless, amoral vibe of a seventies drive-in chase movie awash in drugs, nudity, and shooting, and without any pesky, PG-13, momentum-killing anxiety about “social consequences.” The makers don’t go as far as they might have — kids, for example, aren’t killed (only traumatized for life). But in spirit, this movie couldn’t be much more ugly. I enjoyed it. It suits the national mood.
The director, Ruben Fleischer, was behind the mysteriously successful Zombieland and is now, having wrung cheap laughs out of the end of civilization, essentially self-lobotomized. This film is better. It has a clever, mean, relentlessly vulgar script by Michael Dilberti. The central relationships are bracingly grotesque, the laughs, such as they are, are proportional to the degree of the characters’ avarice, murderousness, stupidity, and indifference to devastation. Early on, best buddies Jesse Eisenberg, a pizza deliveryman, and Aziz Ansari, an elementary-school teacher, beat each other up and vow never to speak again. Eisenberg turns out to have deflowered Ansari’s sister (Dilshad Vadsaria) while Ansari admits he divulged a secret that ended Eisenberg’s parents’ marriage. Adding to the unpleasantness is that Ansari, an amusing comedian, has no idea how to modulate his performance and shouts all his lines, while Eisenberg, finally freed by last year’s The Social Network from his stammering-sweetie persona, makes a point of staying brusque and irritable.
Danny McBride is the film’s strongest presence, as he often is in comedies that up the macho creepiness quotient to the point where you wonder whether Andrea Dworkin weren’t right about all men being rapists. He plays the unemployed, druggie, relentlessly emasculated son of a retired military officer (Fred Ward) living off lottery winnings. On the advice of a stripper he thinks likes him, McBride decides to kill his father — or, rather, to pay someone to kill his father and force someone else to rob a bank to come up with the $100,000 hit man fee. If that sounds moronically convoluted, it should be said that McBride is the thinker in his social circle. His pal, played by Nick Swardson, is chiefly good at blowing things up and burning things down. Swardson does, however, create the bomb vest that locks onto the delivery guy who has the bad luck to answer the pair’s call for a pizza. And so Eisenberg is forced into robbing a bank to keep from being vaporized.
30 Minutes or Less is paced like a thriller, and it’s impressive how much suspense Fleischer and Dilberti are able to generate given that no one onscreen has any brains.
(Ansari suggests that Eisenberg remove the bomb vest by sawing off his arms, putting them in ice, and having them reattached at the hospital.) Halfway through, Michael Pena shows up as a weirdly effeminate hit man who makes you think better of McBride. But then McBride comes onscreen and you start hoping for Pena to waste him. Then Eisenberg and Ansari blunder into a bank and you think maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if they both got blown up. I think those debt-ceiling negotiations have really done a number on us.

Just a note on truth-in-movie-reviewing:

Re: "Danny McBride is the film’s strongest presence, as he often is in comedies that up the macho creepiness quotient to the point where you wonder whether Andrea Dworkin weren’t right about all men being rapists."

Neither Andrea Dworkin nor Catharine MacKinnon ever said, wrote, or otherwise indicated that they believed "all men are rapists" (or that "all sex is rape") and proof of the allegation being erroneous is both in their published work and is also discussed here (it's a lie that began in Playboy magazine to discredit feminist activists):

It's just one of many lies about radical feminists that gets passed around so anti-feminists can think "those women were CRAZY!" I'd surely appreciate it if you didn't climb onto that old band-wagon. It's already quite crowded with men who hate feminists and I don't assume that's the company you keep.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thoughts today about how white het male supremacy works and how to unemploy it
image is from here

In the all-too-real world, what possibly can be done to stop male supremacist power, het supremacist power, and white supremacist power from being exercised in the world against most humans on Earth and against the rest of Life on Earth?

Activism is happening across the globe and has been for hundreds of years and it is to those activists we must look for guidance and wisdom.

Indigenous activists have been resisting and combating the racist invasions and attempts at complete colonisation and genocide for as long as European men have been waging war against Indigenous people.

Women across region and race have been resisting and combatting male supremacist oppression and violence for as long as men have organised power into patriarchal force.

In the last decades, at least, non-het people have organised for rights, dignity, and survival in a world of rampant heterosexuality and virulent heterosexism.

I believe that all of us who are privileged by race, class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality must look to the activist work done by Indigenous women, and radical feminists across race and region, including radical feminist Lesbian activists. This blog has attempted to highlight some of the herstory and practice of resistance and challenge to oppressive power organised into identities and institutions made to seem completely natural and not at all organised.

Most people do not face one form of oppression only. Indigenous women and most non-Indigenous women of color, for example, even if not involved with daily struggles to combat white people's dominance directly and intimately, are unlikely to be free of it institutionally: economically, culturally, and politically. From white het male military invasion to impoverishment ensured by corporate globalisation to social organisation designed to shut out, shut up, or kill women of color, we live in a world where lethal and atrocious violence is commonplace and is assumed by dominants to be inevitable. The assumption is what we might call "wishful thinking" on the part of those with no heart or soul.

Lesbian womyn necessarily face misogyny and heterosexism aimed at them as "despised others".There is no support beyond Lesbian organisations and networks for Lesbian support, empowerment, and liberation. Even queer communities that I witness or know about are largely anti-Lesbian. Consider the implications of that for on-going Lesbian existence. 

I live a life largely removed from the struggles of poor women of color and of lesbians who don't speak English. To know anything meaningfully and deeply, to the bone, I have to be available to and in alliance with people who are not necessarily in my offline life. Most struggles will not be bone-deep real to me because I simply don't know what is going on and am not on the receiving end of the force.

One is led to believe the role of media is to inform us of the important struggles, if not also offer wisdom. In the information era, there is virtually no wisdom coming out of the mouths and corporate boardrooms of rich white het men. And the information spewing forth is utterly and ubiquitously self-serving.

As I type this, Somali women refugees are fighting for survival for themselves and loved ones. The media will report in Western countries what all the good things are that Western countries are attempting to do to participate in relief efforts and how they'd succeed were it not for bad people of color getting the way. The media will make it seem like the (white) US and other (white) Western countries are "good" and that it is lucky for poor women of color globally that the US and other Western countries exist. Lost in the self-congratulatory media blitz is the fact that if the US got out of North America, and if whites all went back to their countries of origin, over time women of color would fare far better than they do now.

Charity efforts don't empower whole groups of people even while they may well save lives. And saving lives of people unjustly targeted for destruction is good to do. But what is not effectively communicated by media is how it will be women, lesbian and not, from the countries where whites dominate and invade, who are most capable of knowing what is wrong and how to correct it. What we see is women across Asia, Africa, and the Americas working to make life more humane and free. Not white men. White men work to destroy life. And white men succeed.

However it is possible in your area, please support the work of women of color globally who are challenging white, het, and male supremacist abuses of power, and other forces seeking destruction, whether interpersonally acted out or done so institutionally and through international systems of harm.

Please don't forget that whites, hets, and men are positioned to be dominant oppressors as whites, as het people, and as men. While each group argues precisely the opposite, they are not structurally positioned to be effective or wise leaders of liberation struggles to end white supremacy, het supremacy, and male supremacy.

At the very least, we can share knowledge, if not also wisdom, and organise our efforts with one another to achieve freedom from WHM supremacist force and the values and practices it calls great.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK, are Conservative White Het Male Supremacists
photo of Boris Johnson and David Cameron is from here
Violence erupting among young poor Black men in London is a necessary response to all the violence against the Black community in England, committed by the capitalists, media, politicians, economic theorists, and military.

Anyone who argues otherwise is perpetuating lethal anti-Black activism in the form of well-organised systems of racist oppression and human destruction.

When will the racist thugs among the white het male-dominated police forces, white het male-dominated political leaders, WHM supremacist media (including that owned and operated by Rupert Murdoch), be held to account for the violence against Black people that they routinely and commonly commit?

Globalised Western corporate capitalism has produced unprecedented horrific poverty among people of color, grotesquely unjust and unearned wealth among whites, and the disparity between the two groups necessitates violence against the WHM supremacist State. Nothing short of violent retaliation will get anyone's attention. Nothing short of violent retaliation will get the media's attention. That violence by the poor will always be seen as more dangerous than the on-going violence of the white rich against the poor is something that is a fact of life in a white supremacist nation-state.

We see the same thing in the US and in every other country where male supremacy, white supremacy, and corporate capitalism are ideologically and institutionally fused to one another in the behavior and values of white wealthy mass murderers of the poor. We must keep in mind that multiracial regions globally, regionally, and in so many places locally where people of color live with (or near) whites, “the poor” are always disproportionately children and women of color. The poor may also be men of color, white women, and white men and children. But the poverty of whites is a by-product of racist/misogynist corporate capitalism: it is very specifically and deliberately designed to commit genocide and gynocide without media and elected politicians ever bothering to notice. 

Queer, Male, Transsexual, and Het-Enforced Gynocide: The Liberal Destruction of Radical Lesbian Communities of Resistance

image is from here

For this discussion and often on this blog, “Womyn” and “Lesbians” means the following: human beings raised in patriarchal environments to be girls and women; women who, from birth onward, were identified, labeled, and mis/treated as female human beings are meant to be mis/treated according to patriarchal will and ways; women who were mis/treated as girls throughout their childhoods; intersex people who were raised to be girls and women and who were mis/treated as girls and women by men in their communities and the larger societies in which they have lived and died.

As a gay male, I see the destruction of Womyn's and Lesbian community as a key strategy to keep heterosexism strong and powerful. In the last 25 years it is Radical Lesbian community and activism that has been one of very few on-going oases of revolutionary political activity against the male flood of patriarchal hostilities and oppression, including hostilities and oppression organised and maintained by gay men.

Currently, in my experience, elite/privileged het and trans activists control or try and control discussions about what oppression is, what privilege is, and what bigotry is. Nowhere in those discussions do I see any regard or respect for Radical Lesbian or Womyn's community and it's value (the necessity of it) to revolutionary action to end CRAP. I know a few region-, race-, and class-privileged trans and queer people have spoken out about the need to respect Womyn's and Lesbian spaces. But that doesn't go far enough, in my opinion.

One of the most pernicious lies about Radical Lesbian and Womyn-centered community is that it only exists in the US and that it is only or all white. Neither is the case but it may well also be the case that for many reasons having to do with survival, we will not be hearing from most Radical Lesbians. For one thing, most Lesbians do not speak English as a first or only language. For another, Radical Lesbian politics and practice has been so intensely put down and marginalised out of any Western Queer Theory and Practice that it appears to me to be the case that contemporary White and Western Queer Theory and Practice is virulently anti-Lesbian and anti-Radical. Meanwhile, it is positioned or promoted as being anti-human, meaning, anti-male and anti-trans. Why it is that pro-male supremacist and pro-trans activists don't challenge one another's anti-Lesbianism and anti-Womyn practices is a matter of revolutionary significance, in my view.

Anti-Lesbian homophobia, or lesbophobia, and racism, classism, misogyny, and heterosexism are woven into or embedded in contemporary public Queer discussion (academics call this “Discourse”). Het society has never regarded Radical Lesbian Politics as anything other than man-hating and “too extreme”. To write off a key site of political organisation and resistance is one way to ensure that revolutionary political movement won't take root. 

How could it be that less and less Radical Revolutionary Lesbian Politics is “good” for us? If the us is Lesbian and Gay, how does it serve our interests to understand our contributions to Queer discussion and action as “only transphobic”, “too extreme”, and “man-hating”? We already know that the man-hating charge is perhaps the most successful het- and male-privileging and het- and male supremacy protecting political accusation leveled at Womyn and Lesbians.

The charge of “transphobia” in some marginalised groups, has social capital in ways that the charge of being anti-Lesbian and anti-Womyn does not. Why is that? Ought we know why that is? Ought we openly discuss it in Queer groups? 

Hostility to Radical Feminism is as old as Radical Feminism. Hostility to Radical Lesbian Feminism is at least as intense. Het men across race, sexuality, and region, demonstrate an abiding hatred of Lesbians, Womyn, and anyone regarded as a girl or a women, whether or not they are (such as, for example, so-called 'feminine' men and gay men. Het men also demonstrate a virulent hatred of het and 'feminine' and butch women, Lesbian or not.

Where is the organised opposition to this profoundly entrenched misogyny? I can tell you one place it isn't: within and among gay male communities and activists. Needless to say, organised opposition to anti-Lesbian and anti-Womyn misogyny doesn't exist in het-dominated communities either.

I have had the unfortunate and on-going occasion to witness how some grown male family members mis/treat their young male children. A portion of a day does not go by without rigid and oppressive policing of the male children's presentation of their maleness as identified and understood by the older men around them. The boys are publicly and privately ostracised by male family members if the boys do not “man up” properly—according to the standards and practices of homophobic and misogynistic men. So if a boy doesn't firmly and strongly shake a grown male's hand, or flaps his hands by his side as he walks or runs, he is scorned and ridiculed in a systematic effort to get him to be a “proper male” which means, necessarily, being anti-gay and anti-woman (as well as anti-Lesbian and anti-Womyn).

Anti-gay and anti-lesbian practice is like CRAP-affected air: it is all around me and it is a potent pollutant I endure and do my best to ignore. Metaphorically speaking, when I open my eyes and lungs to this toxin, my eyes sting and my chest burns and constricts. It is difficult to convey in words exactly how overwhelming and hateful this heterosexism is. It is difficult but not impossible for me to imagine how hateful the combo of heterosexism and misogyny is. It is difficult but not impossible for me to imagine how hateful the combo of heterosexism, misogyny, anti-Lesbianism, and anti-Womyn attitudes and behaviors are. Add to that racism. Add to that classism. Add to that the oppression by white Westerners of those who are not “First World”, or who are immigrants of color, or who are speakers of ESL. Or elderly. Or disabled.

Nowhere in my dysfunctionally heterosexist family is there any regard or respect for Womyn, for Lesbians, or for anti-patriarchal, anti-het or Womyn- and Lesbian-affirming attitudes and behaviors. Nowhere. Not in any minute of any day. While some lip-service is paid to liberal feminism—rarely—no such respectful acknowledgment of Radical or Revolutionary Lesbian and Womyn-centered community and resistance to woman-hating is noticed. This is only partly because it is not allowed in any dominant media, so my family has no idea it exists. They do know transsexual people exist and while they will demonstrate little else other than misunderstanding and fear, they do not believe transsexual people ought to not exist. They do believe this about Butch women, Lesbians, and Womyn-centered womyn—who they understand to be not much more or less than heretics and pariahs. 

My family is Christian and white. Also poor and working class. Their level of protection and privileging of hetness is so intense, so unrelenting that no one in my family who has considered gay or lesbian existence for themselves has been able to talk about it with anyone other than me—or so they say to me in private. (A publicly het male cousin, for three years, summoned me to have sex with him in motel rooms. I complied and obliged. It's not something that was “not pleasurable”. It's also something that I do my very best to avoid engaging in ever again because it was so invisibilising of me.)
So while I know that within the last three generations there have been non-het and non-feminine women, and non-het and non-masculine men, it is not discussed or tolerated or—whitemaleskygod's heaven forbid—celebrated and actively supported.

The lack of celebration, respect, regard, and support for Lesbianism, for Womyn-centered existence, for Revolutionary anti-patriarchal practice, cannot be overstated. 

My concluding questions for now are these: Why does a similar level of disdain and disregard for Lesbians and Womyn who are politically engaged in the project of protecting and supporting Lesbian and Womyn's space, community, theory, and activism, exist so strongly in contemporary elite/privileged Queer spaces, communities, theories, and activism? Why is there no systematic and on-going elite/privileged Queer opposition to the theoretical positioning, the liberal political practice—of naming Lesbians and Womyn as primarily or only oppressors to Queer and Transsexual people?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kanye West has a new Defence for his Racist-Misogyny

photo of Kayne West is from here

If someone's mother has passed on, does that excuse their blatant misogyny, distributed for profit? I surely hope not.

But first, anything the AP puts out is in no way designed to challenge either white or male supremacy. Or anything else that might upset the status quo. So let's be clear about that. CRAP-loaded countries like the US are only about perpetuating warfare against poor people and people of color, against women across race and class, and about the dirty little businesses of genocide and ecocide, which are always intimately and atrociously linked. Watching the evening news is an experience of witnessing commercials--between commercial breaks--for racist militarism, corporate capitalism, misogynist and anti-Lesbian heterosexism, and so on.

Second, Kanye West is a sexist, misogynist public figure who is unapologetic in his male privilege and power to oppress and dehumanise women. And in his video Monster, which I've posted about before, he's demonstrating some racist-misogyny too.

I seriously doubt anyone who looks at him the wrong way is implying he's Hitler, but I'm not him and don't know what he's experiencing. And given how white supremacist the US is currently, does he mean to be implying that people are cheering him and encouraging him? Because US foreign and domestic policy is about as racist and genocidal as it gets without publicly declaring a war against specific ethnic groups who are not white. It's racist and genocidal in that the policies-in-practice are committing genocide globally against Asian, Brown, Black, and Indigenous people. Many people in the US do look at images of Hitler adoringly.

Third, Kanye West is a white het male supremacist without the white privileges and power that white het men enjoy and exploit. What really will it take for Mr. West to own up to the fucked up CRAP he's producing, selling, and mass-marketing? Can he really not see the misogyny in his video?

Kayne, please. Be honest with yourself and with us. And stop the misogyny-as-entertainment for the masses.

All that follows is from *here*. Or click on the title just below.

Posted Mon Aug 8, 2011 8:57am PDT by Associated Press in Stop The Presses!

The 34-year-old rapper known for his outbursts was the headline act at the Big Chill music festival Saturday night, where he ranted in the middle of his set about being misunderstood and underappreciated. "I walk through the hotel and I walk down the street, and people look at me like I'm (expletive) insane, like I'm Hitler," he said. "One day the light will shine through and one day people will understand everything I ever did."

West received light boos from the crowd as a result.

The performer also defended the music video for his song "Monster," which features cannibalism and girls hanging from their necks.

"Who saw the video before it got banned, before they took it down and before women's groups starting saying that a person that lost the most important woman in his life is now against women in some way?" asked West, referring to the 2007 death of his mother Donda West.

West, who started his set roughly 30-minutes late, apologized to the crowd for his tardiness, saying he needed to make sure his performance was great.

"Michael Jordan changed so much in basketball, he took his power to make a difference. It's so much (expletive) going on in music right now and somebody has to make a (expletive) difference," he said.
The multiplatinum-seller is known for his outspokenness, most notably his diss toward Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, where he grabbed the microphone from her as she accepted the award for best female video and said Beyonce should have won it. In 2005 he said "George Bush doesn't care about black people" during a Hurricane Katrina telethon.

At the music festival, West talked about some of his awards show drama, saying some of his sponsorships were canceled as a result.

But West closed his show on a positive note by paying tribute to Amy Winehouse.

West, who said he met the late singer a few years ago during Paris fashion week, played snippets of Winehouse's "Tears Dry On Their Own" and "Back to Black." He said it was "beautiful" to meet the performer and that she was "amazing."

Then, in Kanye fashion, he began to rant.

"Thank you for protecting your artists that are still here," he said to the crowd. "This is for McQueen, for Amy, for Michael and for all the media, can you lighten up on all your artists that are still here?" he asked, receiving a roaring cheer from the crowd and leaving the stage with his 3-man band and 20-something backup dancers.
Photo credit: AP

Racist Radical Feminism Lives On (and on and on and on)

Radical Feminism from Lb'rashon Breed on Vimeo.

Thanks to Lb for this!!! It's being cross-posted from her blog, The Vagina Conspiracy, *here*.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Warren Jeffs and the US Military: same values--all of 'em WHM Supremacist

photo of serial rapist Warren Jeffs is from here

How it is that het men aren't stigmatised as child-rapists is beyond me. How it is that the US military can be seen as anything resembling "good" is also beyond me.

I am hearing about how the US military is suffering no economic downturn, doesn't know from recession, and will be profiting mightily--in every way--due to a very corrupt white male-led system of lack of checks and no balances.

The system was created by white het men and for white het men, well before white het manhood had cogealed into a globalised system of atrociously abusive power.

One white het man is allegedly "Christian". His name is Warren Jeffs. He represents some old-school white and male supremacist ideas about what girls and women are for. His view is that of  contemporary and past slave-holders: they exist for the Master, and he surely believes he's the master and, due only to his WHM supremacist location and privileges, is believed by man. Were he Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, Muslim, Jewish, gay, or a woman, he wouldn't have the positional/structural power he has had to rape and procure girls and women, including, especially, relatives of people he's already raped and procured.

Warren Jeffs is a slave-master. He controls minds and uses forms of force we're not likely to know too much about because when it comes to keeping control of other people, white het men do not like to brag about all the ways they do it, unless they can make it appear that girls and women are begging for such mistreatment and abuse.

I await his sentencing for committing crimes of sexual abuse, rape, and predation.

What Warren has against him is the fact that he's a single person, not a whole system of terrorism and corruption like the US military industrial complex. Because if he were a whole massive system, he'd be untouchable.

People will go hungry, people will die, people will become homeless, people will be raped, people and other sentient beings will be poisoned. This will be accomplished for great unstoppable profit by the US military. Its greediness for unchecked power, imbalanced control, Empire-bolstering domination, and various other manifestations of gynocidal, genocidal, and ecocidal destruction apparently knows no bounds and doesn't seek to encounter them.

US corporations and its military are the current slave-masters in a globalised economic world where might makes right and the weak are most of us.

President Eisenhower's caution to the future US, to curb the power of the military industrical complex, are unheeded. And he was no angel.

We've got the devil in charge and he isn't a US president: he's a force far beyond the power and control of presidency. We've been witnessing that during the weeks of ridiculous discussion about things like the debt ceiling. There's one way to bring the US into what many people might term "economic stability" (which would remain ecocidal, genocidal, and gynocidal), and that is to end our wars.

Ending het men's wars against girls and women ought to rise up as a central issue for human concern and social justice. Hopefully with Warren Jeffs behind bars, at least one predator/perpetrator will not be able to get his rapist hands on another female human being.

"Corporate destruction of Mother Earth most censored issue in Indian country", by Brenda Norrell

Most Censored in Indian Country: The Corporate Polluters

Corporate destruction of Mother Earth most censored issue in Indian country

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photo: Marisa Joseph, Yankton Sioux, stands with Gerald Danforth, Oneida Wisconsin, before the solar panels and wind generator providing power to the Earthcycles. Photo Brenda Norrell.

NEW TOWN, North Dakota -- The 16th Annual Protecting Mother Earth Gathering revealed the most censored issues in Indian country, including the corporate polluters who are protected and promoted, under the guise of economic development. From Peabody Coal in Arizona, to BP on the Gulf Coast, and tar sands profiteers in Alberta, Canada, corporations destroy the land, air and water.

The Gathering of the Indigenous Environmental Network attracted Native Americans from throughout the United States, First Nations in Canada, Wixirika from Mexico and Maya from Guatemala, July 28-31.
For the rest of this post, please click *here*, at Censored News. Thank you, Brenda, for uncensoring the news.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Few Thoughts About Speech and Freedom
image is from here
There have been many conversations that were begun here but not finished. The most glaringly recent example is what appeared to be a good discussion with MRA James Huff, on politics and reality. But he decided to not show up for the rest of it after an initial engagement here.

He didn't send any email explaining why he was leaving the conversation: James, if you read this, please let me know why you decided to duck out in such an irresponsible way. For all the free speech rights you enjoy, you've become shockingly silent. Why is that? (I hope it's not due to family illness; but if it were, you'd surely have been able to let me know that.)

This is typical, in my experience, of men who fight for men to have more not less rights, more not less power, more not less social advantages and entitlements. Men speak up when it suits their own interests but get quiet in the face of sustained challenge to the patriarchal power they have and enjoy exploiting.

In my country, rich white publicly heterosexual men are fighting tooth and nail to make sure none of 'em are taxed one bit more than they already are--including taxed just the way that poor and working class people are taxed; that is, without loopholes, without corporate welfare, without access to the meaningful and fair use of laws, lawyers, and all manner of economic systemic help that benefits the rich while punishing (and never privileging) the poor. There are actually ads on television from Big Oil stating that taxing Big Oil and other mega-industrial energy companies would be a bad thing for "us". Why? Why is it bad for us if they pay what they owe, just like every poor US American? How does reducing national debt work against the interests of poor and working people? (It might mean that the interest rates on the debts poor and working class people carry would be lowered, after all.) Are energy conglomerates' wealthy stockholders and CEOs more important human beings? Are the rich entitled to better, less economically terrifying lives than poor people? (I know that the wealthy believe this, but is it right, just, or true?)

In my country, those who state that a man or men have raped them are immediately accused of lying and are made to prove they were raped. Men who lie about never having raped anyone ever don't get scrutinised by media and the public; they are not ever made to prove they didn't commit rape, once or many times. To speak out about rape is to be immediately accused by white male-owned, white male-dominated media of committing the "crime" of speaking out against rapists.

In my country, white, het, and male supremacy are so intimately and intricately embedded in values, practices, and social structures that even to state opposition to those values and practices, whether interpersonal, institutional, or both, is not, in and of itself, a meaningful form of activism.

As I've discussed here in the past, me stating views about things, as I often do, does not necessarily constitute radical activism in my opinion; it functions, perhaps, as a place for such activism to be brought into recognition and regard. (I've written about this before.) Actively and meaningfully supporting the struggles of oppressed people (with accountability to the oppressed) to gain power, liberation, and freedom from those people and systems that harm them is meaningful activism to me.

I hope in the coming months to link to far more activist efforts globally--to the organised struggles of Indigenous people, radical women of color, Feminist Lesbians, and white women. Their speech-through-action needs a larger public stage.

This blog centers on the struggles of women globally to support their work and to publicly analyse and challenge the powers that harm women unrelentingly. But it is the work of women on the ground, not in cyberspace, who are the front line in feminist struggles. More power to them.

When you hear or read pro-oppression speech, note how it frames up discussions; note how it uses ideas like "objectivity" and "rationality" and "science" to bolster its truth-claims. Note which of many forms of masculinist Eurocentric supremacy are embedded in such terms. (See Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment, and Marimba Ani, Yurugu:An African-Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior, for much more on this.)

When you read books about "the history of [something]" note whether it assumes that only those who write and get published constitute the tellers of the history being described. Note how many poor women of color are the tellers of both history and truth. And please remember that poor women of color across sexuality and region are the majority of the world's population; they are not what white men call them: a minority. White het men are a minority within a minority of white men: they just get to speak so much, so often, with such overwhelming authority, that we think there are more of them than there actually are.

When we encounter efforts to attain freedom, what are we wanting freedom from and what are we wanting freedom to do? And, most especially, who is the "we"? Is our sexual orientation assumed to be normal and natural, or is it generally socially despised, exploited, or ignored? What color and gender are we? Where do we live? What sorts of privileges do we have?

Beware of the "we" that won't own or name their own structural and social privilege. They likely don't speak for the majority: poor women of color globally who are not without privileges and power but usually without institutional support, without leadership roles within nation-states, and without published books written in their own voices, detailing their own regional and personal-political struggles.