Friday, September 30, 2011

AF3IRM and A.R.P., among many others, stand with the Black Women's Blueprint statement about "Slutwalk"

image of poster is from here

This was sent to me by email. I stand in solidarity with AF3IRM and Black Women's Blueprint as radically critical of the use of the term "Slutwalk" to represent any movement of women against men's violence and other degradations of women. I believe it is racist, classist, heterosexist, and anti-Indigenous, among other things. I have blogged about this twice before and will speak out again on whites' racism and misogyny against Asian, Black, Brown, and Indignous women, as such racist misogyny is grossly demonstrated by whites (far too often, with little to no accountability to women of color regionally or globally).

Please see the bottom of this post for actions you can take in your area to support Black Women's Blueprint and the on-going effort of women of all colors to end sexist and racist violence against women.

Please see *here* for more, at

AF3IRM Endorses Critique of Slut Walk

by Ninotchka Rosca on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 2:11pm

September 23, 2011
An Open Letter from Black Women to the SlutWalk
by Black Women's Blueprint

We the undersigned women of African descent and anti-violence
advocates, activists, scholars, organizational and spiritual leaders
wish to address the SlutWalk. First, we commend the organizers on
their bold and vast mobilization to end the shaming and blaming of
sexual assault victims for violence committed against them by other
members of society. We are proud to be living in this moment in time
where girls and boys have the opportunity to witness the acts of
extraordinary women resisting oppression and challenging the myths
that feed rape culture everywhere.

The police officer’s comments in Toronto that ignited the organizing
of the first SlutWalk and served to trivialize, omit and dismiss
women’s continuous experiences of sexual exploitation, assault, and
oppression are an attack upon our collective spirits.  Whether the
dismissal of rape and other violations of a woman’s body be driven by
her mode of dress, line of work, level of intoxication, her class, and
in cases of Black and brown bodies—her race, we are in full agreement
that no one deserves to be raped.

The Issue At Hand

We are deeply concerned. As Black women and girls we find no space in
SlutWalk, no space for participation and to unequivocally denounce
rape and sexual assault as we have experienced it.  We are perplexed
by the use of the term “slut” and by any implication that this word,
much like the word “Ho” or the “N” word should be re-appropriated. The
way in which we are perceived and what happens to us before, during
and after sexual assault crosses the boundaries of our mode of dress.
Much of this is tied to our particular history.  In the United States,
where slavery constructed Black female sexualities, Jim Crow
kidnappings, rape and lynchings, gender misrepresentations, and more
recently, where the Black female immigrant struggle combine, “slut”
has different associations for Black women.  We do not recognize
ourselves nor do we see our lived experiences reflected within
SlutWalk and especially not in its brand and its label.

As Black women, we do not have the privilege or the space to call
ourselves “slut” without validating the already historically
entrenched ideology and recurring messages about what and who the
Black woman is.  We don’t have the privilege to play on destructive
representations burned in our collective minds, on our bodies and
souls for generations.  Although we understand the valid impetus
behind the use of the word “slut” as language to frame and brand an
anti-rape movement, we are gravely concerned.  For us the
trivialization of rape and the absence of justice are viciously
intertwined with narratives of sexual surveillance, legal access and
availability to our personhood.  It is tied to institutionalized
ideology about our bodies as sexualized objects of property, as
spectacles of sexuality and deviant sexual desire. It is tied to
notions about our clothed or unclothed bodies as unable to be raped
whether on the auction block, in the fields or on living room
television screens. The perception and wholesale acceptance of
speculations about what the Black woman wants, what she needs and what
she deserves has truly, long crossed the boundaries of her mode of

We know the SlutWalk is a call to action and we have heard you.  Yet
we struggle with the decision to answer this call by joining with or
supporting something that even in name exemplifies the ways in which
mainstream women’s movements have repeatedly excluded Black women even
in spaces where our participation is most critical. We are still
struggling with the how, why and when and ask at what impasse should
the SlutWalk have included substantial representation of Black women
in the building and branding of this U.S. based movement to challenge
rape culture?

Black women in the U.S. have worked tirelessly since the 19th century
colored women’s clubs to rid society of the sexist/racist vernacular
of slut, jezebel, hottentot, mammy, mule, sapphire; to build our sense
of selves and redefine what women who look like us represent. Although
we vehemently support a woman’s right to wear whatever she wants
anytime, anywhere, within the context of a “SlutWalk” we don’t have
the privilege to walk through the streets of New York City, Detroit,
D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, L.A. etc., either half-naked or fully
clothed self-identifying as “sluts” and think that this will make
women safer in our communities an hour later, a month later, or a year
later.  Moreover, we are careful not to set a precedent for our young
girls by giving them the message that we can self-identify as “sluts”
when we’re still working to annihilate the word “ho”, which deriving
from the word “hooker” or “whore”, as in “Jezebel whore” was meant to
dehumanize.  Lastly, we do not want to encourage our young men, our
Black fathers, sons and brothers to reinforce Black women’s identities
as “sluts” by normalizing the term on t-shirts, buttons, flyers and

The personal is political. For us, the problem of trivialized rape and
the absence of justice are intertwined with race, gender, sexuality,
poverty, immigration and community.  As Black women in America, we are
careful not to forget this or we may compromise more than we are able
to recover.  Even if only in name, we cannot afford to label
ourselves, to claim identity, to chant dehumanizing rhetoric against
ourselves in any movement.  We can learn from successful movements
like the Civil Rights movement, from Women’s Suffrage, the Black
Nationalist and Black Feminist movements that we can make change
without resorting to the taking-back of words that were never ours to
begin with, but in fact heaved upon us in a process of dehumanization
and devaluation.

What We Ask

Sisters from Toronto, rape and sexual assault is a radical weapon of
oppression and we are in full agreement that it requires radical
people and radical strategies to counter it.  In that spirit, and
because there is so much work to be done and great potential to do it
together, we ask that the SlutWalk be even more radical and break from
what has historically been the erasure of Black women and their
particular needs, their struggles as well as their potential and
contributions to feminist movements and all other movements.

Women in the United States are racially and ethnically diverse.  Every
tactic to gain civil and human rights must not only consult and
consider women of color, but it must equally center all our
experiences and our communities in the construction, launching,
delivery and sustainment of that movement.

We ask that SlutWalk take critical steps to become cognizant of the
histories of people of color and engage women of color in ways that
respect culture, language and context.

We ask that SlutWalk consider engaging in a re-branding and
re-labeling process and believe that given the current popularity of
the Walk, its thousands of followers will not abandon the movement
simply because it has changed its label.

We ask that the organizers participating in the SlutWalk take further
action to end the trivialization of rape at every level of society.
Take action to end the use of the word “rape” as if it were a metaphor
and also take action to end the use of language invented to perpetuate
racist/sexist structures and intended to dehumanize and devalue.

In the spirit of building a revolutionary movement to end sexual
assault, end rape myths and end rape culture, we ask that SlutWalk
move forward in true authenticity and solidarity to organize beyond
the marches and demonstrations as SlutWalk. Develop a more critical, a
more strategic and sustainable plan for bringing women together to
demand countries, communities, families and individuals uphold each
others human right to bodily integrity and collectively speak a
resounding NO to violence against women.

We would welcome a meeting with the organizers of SlutWalk to discuss
the intrinsic potential in its global reach and the sheer number of
followers it has energized. We’d welcome the opportunity to engage in
critical conversation with the organizers of SlutWalk about strategies
for remaining accountable to the thousands of women and men, marchers
it left behind in Brazil, in New Delhi, South Korea and
elsewhere—marchers who continue to need safety and resources, marchers
who went back home to their communities and their lives. We would
welcome a conversation about the work ahead and how this can be done
together with groups across various boundaries, to end sexual assault
beyond the marches.

As women of color standing at the intersection of race, gender,
sexuality, class and more, we will continue to be relentless in the
struggle to dismantle the unacceptable systems of oppression that
designedly besiege our everyday lives.  We will continue to fight for
the development of policies and initiatives that prioritize the
primary prevention of sexual assault, respect women and individual
rights, agency and freedoms and holds offenders accountable.  We will
consistently demand justice whether under governmental law, at
community levels, or via community strategies for those who have been
assaulted; and organize to end sexual assaults of persons from all
walks of life, all genders, all sexualities, all races, all ethnicity,
all histories.

Signed by: The Board of Directors and Board of Advisors, Black Women’s Blueprint | Farah Tanis, Co-Founder, Executive Director, Black Women’s Blueprint | Endorsed by: Toni M. Bond Leonard, President/CEO of Black Women for Reproductive Justice (BWRJ), Chicago, Illinois | Kelli Dorsey, Executive Director, Different Avenues, Washington, D.C. | S. Mandisa Moore | The Women's Health and Justice Initiative, New Orleans, Louisiana | Black and Proud, Baton Rouge, Louisiana | Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program at Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts | Population and Development Program, Amherst, Massachusetts | Zeinab Eyega, New York, New York | Black Women’s Network, Los Angeles, California | League of Black Women, Chicago, Illinois | African American Institute on Domestic Violence, Minneapolis, Minnesota | Brooklyn Young Mother’s Collective, Brooklyn, New York | Women’s HIV Collaborative, New York, New York | National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault (SCESA), Connecticut | Girls for Gender Equity, Brooklyn, New York | My Sister’s Keeper, Brooklyn, New York | The Mothers Agenda New York (the M.A.N.Y.), Brooklyn, New York | Sojourners Group For Women, Salt Lake City, Utah | Dr. Andreana Clay, Queer Black Feminist Blog, Oakland, California | Dr. Ida E. Jones, Historian, Author, The Heart of the Race Problem: The Life of Kelly Miller | Willi Coleman, Professor of Women's History, member of the Association of Black Women Historians, Laura Rahman, Director, Broken Social Contracts, Atlanta, Georgia | Marlene McCurtis, Director, Wednesdays in Mississippi Film Project | Issa Rae, Producer, Director, Writer, Awkward Black Girl, Los Angeles, California | The Prison Birth Project| Ebony Noelle Golden, Creative Director, Betty's Daughter Arts Collaborative & The RingShout for Reproductive Justice | Yvonne Moore, Southern California, Sexual Assault Survivor | Kola Boo, Novelist, Poet, Womanist | Jessicah A. Murrell, Spelman College C'11, Candidate for M.A. Women's Studies | Shanika Thomas | Cathy Gillespie | Kristin Simpson, Brooklyn, New York | Mkali-Hashiki, Certified Sexological Bodyworker, Certified Sound, Voice, & Music Healing Practitioner, Owner & Operator of Body Enstasy, Erotic Wellness Facilitation | Linda Mizell, Ed.D., Assistant Professor School of Education, University of Colorado at Boulder| Sherley Accime, President, C.E.O. ANEW, NY, SeaElle Integrated Therapies | Diedre F. Houchen, M.A. Ed., Alumni Doctoral Fellow, Black Education, University of Florida | Hanalei Ramos, Co-founder, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, NYC | Minh-Ha T. Pham, Cornell University Professor | Cynthia Nibbelink Worley (W.A.R., Women Against Rape) | Wendi Dragonfire, | Sydney Kopp-Richardson Urban Policy Analysis M.A. Candidate, Milano the New School for Management and Public Policy Research Assistant, Social Justice Initiatives | Radha McAlpine | Desi K. Robinson, Executive Producer, Women in the Making: Tomorrow's History Today | Laura E. Polk, Anthropologist, Washington, D.C. | Sfirah Madrone, Olympia, WA | AF3IRM | Rev. Raedorah C. Stewart, MA aka RevSisRaedorah, Queer Womanist Scholar Poet Mother | Jacqueline A. Gross, Oakland, CA | Devorah Hill, Media Educator, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, New York City | Elizabeth Lipton, Member, Pitzer College Feminist Coalition | Robin Morgan | Charlene Sayo, Member National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada | Elizabeth C. Yeampierre, Esq, Executive Director, UPROSE | Mandy Van Deven, Writer, Speaker, Changemaker | Wendy Ruiz |

To endorse this letter, email us with Subject: “Add My Name” to:

To be part of the broader conversation, learn more and to participate in our “Live Free” campaign to end sexual violence, email: Farah Tanis, Executive Director, Black Women’s Blueprint,

Add Your Voice!
Take Our Survey - Answer Anonymously - 10 Questions About Rape/Sexual Assault.

Join Our Workshop: Silent No More: Supporting the Survivors and Creating Response to Rape/Sexual Assault in African American Communities. Friday, October 28, 1:30-4:30 PM – RSVP for more information and location to

Give What You Can! Support the
Work at The Intersections

Join the Cast or Sign Up For Updates On Mother Tongue: Monologues In Sexual Revolution! For Black Girls & Stolen Women Taking Back Our Bodies, Our Selves, Our Lives – The National Black Theater of Harlem, February 24

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Andrea Dworkin: celebrating her 65th birthday

photograph of Andrea Dworkin is from *here* at TriviaVoices

On what would have been here 65th birthday (she was born on 26 Sept. 1946 ECD), I am celebrating her life and work. As I have discussed in many other posts over the years, Andrea Dworkin was tremendously important to me in many ways. I honor, respect, and love her.

Here is auto/biographical info about her:

Bibliography and Book-Ordering Information

Here are links to three interviews with her, from the official Andrea Dworkin website:

Michael Moorcock Interview With Andrea Dworkin
Congressman John Lewis and Andrea Dworkin
Dallas Radio Interview With Andrea Dworkin

Here is a link to some of her writings:

Please, if you haven't yet, carefully read and study her writings for their radical political insights and challenges to the status quo.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Immediate removal of all troops from Afghanistan: Malalai Joya on the Occupation by the US and NATO

Imagine, if you will, that humane leaders within a country, such as Malalai Joya, get to decide who enters their country and assists in governance, military struggle, or humanitarian aid. Now consider that anything else is terrorism, brutality, and domination of one nation-state by another.

Everything below is from Green Left, *here*. You may also click on the title below to link back to the original source website. Thank you for your work in reporting on this, Annette Maguire.

Malalai Joya. Marrickville Town Hall, September 9. Photo: Annette Maguire

Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Afghan parliament, addressed a packed Marrickville Town Hall on September 9. More than 500 people braved the cold to hear Joya speak defiantly about the war waged on her country by US/NATO forces for the past decade.
On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, which became the pretext for the invasion of Afghanistan less than a month later, Joya advocated for immediate removal of all occupying troops.
“I agree with my people that democracy never comes by bombing wedding parties, by committing war crimes,” she said.
Joya exposed Obama’s much-publicised “troop draw-down” as a mere exercise in “image-management”. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has agreed to permanent US control of military bases in the nation.
She said “they don’t want to leave Afghanistan because it’s in the middle of Asia, so it’s a base for US control in the whole region”.
Refuting Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s claim that removing the troops will leave Afghanistan in the hands of the terrorists, Joya said: “Someone should tell Gillard that Afghanistan is already in the hands of terrorists.”
Joya was famously expelled from her parliamentary position after denouncing the warlords and war criminals holding seats in the Afghan parliament.

She identified three forces embattling her people’s lives: the warlords, the Taliban, and occupying troops.
While the Taliban posed right-wing resistance to the occupation, it is “the resistance of ordinary Afghani people that gives hope for the future”.
Joya openly acknowledged that Afghanistan would still face problems even after the removal of troops, and appealed for humanitarian support.
“Nobody says when occupying troops leave, it will be heaven,” she said. “There’s no question we need a helping hand, but that never means we want occupation.
“We don’t want troops, but we want your solidarity — we need educational support, teachers, health clinics … When war-makers and fundamentalists can unite, so can we.”
The Stop the War Coalition Sydney, which organised the public meeting, announced a protest to mark the 10th anniversary of the invasion, on October 8 at noon, Sydney Town Hall.
[The September 9 event was supported by the Marrickville Community Peace Group, the Sydney Peace Foundation and the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney. Malalai Joya's trip to Australia was organised by Stop the War Coalition Sydney and Melbourne Writers Festival. For more information about Stop the War Coalition Sydney visit its website.]

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dr. Vandana Shiva presents "Making Peace With The Earth", in Calgary, Sept. 24, 2011

photo of Vandana Shiva with the Earth, is from here

All that follows is from *here*:
Dr. Vandana Shiva presents "Making Peace with the Earth", Calgary
Saturday, September 24, 2011 - 10:00am - 11:00am 
Red & White Club, McMahon Stadium, 1833 Crowchild Trail NW
Contact Name:
Danielle Paydli
Contact Phone:
(306) 242-4097
Contact Email:
Dr. Vandana Shiva receives 2011 Calgary Peace Prize & presents "Making Peace with the Earth" on Sept 24. Register today
Please join on us Saturday, September 24 at the Red & White Club as Alderman Gian-Carlo Carra & Chancellor Emeritus Joanne Cuthbertson present the 2011 Calgary Peace Prize to Dr. Vandana Shiva, philosopher, environmental activist, eco feminist and author of several books. Her acceptance speech is titled "Making Peace with the Earth".  During this event, organizations and businesses that are involved in peace, social justice, environment, development, women's issues, food policy advocacy and natural health will be presenting and selling their products. Vandana Shiva books will be on sale at this event. Tickets are $12. For tickets, visit the Univeristy of Calgary: 
Consortium for Peace Studies would like to thank the following organizations and people for supporting/ sponsoring the Calgary Peace Prize 2011: 
Oxfam Canada, Calgary Food Policy, Alberta Food Policy, Slow Food Calgary, Calgary Seedy Saturday, Hugo Bonjean – Author, Community Natural Foods, Planet Organic, Ten Thousand Villages, The Zeitgeist Society of Calgary, The Arusha Centre, River Café, Project Ploughshares, Initiatives of Change, Bullfrog Energy, Sheldon Chumir Foundation, David Swann (Liberal Party), Vogel and Company (lawyers), EPCOR Centre, Green Calgary, Indian Canada Association of Calgary, Shastri Indo Canada Institute, Judy MacLauchlan of UC Senate, Faculty of Social Work at UC, Faculty of Environmental Design at UC, Faculty of Nursing at UC,  Social Work Student Association at UC,  Political Science Students at UC, Eco Club at UC, U of C Student Union

Friday, September 16, 2011

Individual vs. Collective Opportunity: which do we have in the US? (Answer: neither, really)

image of hurricane Katrina is from here
President Obama responded, in my mind cynically, to a criticism by Professor Cornel West and performer Tavis Smiley (see *here* for more). They charge, quite accurately, that he has ignored and been entirely unconcerned and uncaring, in policy and practice, to the plight of the poor in the US, and in particular to the struggles of African American males.

In the US currently, the reported (as opposed to actual) poverty rate among whites is much less than among African Americans. This is a consequence primarily of white supremacy fused to corporate capitalism. No other possibility exists in opportunity or in present life, than Black people in the US remaining significantly and substantively poorer than whites, collectively. Never mind Oprah Winfrey or Barack Obama: it is not simply “opportunity” that got them where they worked very hard to be. It is also a white dominated society's wish to appease anti-racism critics who use individual successes as “proof” that the system can work for any one of us. It most certainly cannot.

The collective and systemic truth of the truly perilous and dire situation for African Americans, among other groups of color, is one that President Obama, for all his intelligence, seems unable to comprehend or at least publicly declare: his “solution” is to attempt to increase opportunities for individuals, never for the collective. (And however inadequate those proposals are [link to his speech] they will not be supported by Conservative elected politicians—every one of 'em voted into office with the great help of corrupt media and corrupt wealth, neither of which is available to poor US Americans as a group.

Unaddressed by any of them is what Black, Brown, and Indigenous women (especially lesbians) in the US face: the devastating combination of capitalism's cruelties heaped onto the other cruelties of white, male, and het supremacy. To hear most prominent Black men in the US speak, you'd think Black (het) men always have it worse than Black (het) women. But to believe that you'd have to pretend that patriarchy, male supremacy, misogyny, and heterosexism don't exist at all, both within Black communities and in the larger white-dominated society. Every manifestation of male power over and against women impacts the lives of Black women—not just white men's misogyny, for example.

But returning to the concerns of West and Smiley, how is it that a very smart US president—of any color—could not get it that the US is well-organised to ensure that some groups of people are held down and spit on while the same US leaders promote the power and interests of a few—and not a few “individuals” either? How is it that Bill Clinton or Barack Obama don't get it that corporate capitalism exists, deregulated or not, to crush the life out of the poor while exploiting their labor and other human resources?

Far more cynical and cruel than President Obama are the white, male, and het supremacist activists who comprise the leadership of the ultra-ConservativeTea Party movement, an extremist activist political organisation looking out only for the interests and power-protection of the wealthiest, whitest, and most heterosexistly male members of society? Among them is the current early leader in the bid for president, governor of Texas, (P)Rick Perry.

The Tea Party, including Perry, advocates a particular vision of the US in which Social Security and Medicare, as federal programs, no longer exist as humane mechanisms to support the lives of the most dispossessed (read: structurally, systematically oppressed) members of society. Dispossessed by intention and design, not effect and bad luck. Nothing is accidental about who is poor in this country, if we look at groups of people, not individuals only.

What the Tea Party, GWBush and Co., Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama all have in common is the downright evil practice of extolling the alleged virtues of a “free” market economy tied to rampant militarism which imprisons most US Americans in debt and despair while horrifically destroying people abroad: particularly the people of Central Asia who happen to live in a region that has oil resources under what remains of its topsoil. The policies of these and other activist leaders are genocide, gynocide, and ecocide wrapped up in liberal platitudes.

Chief among the platitudes is this idea that our economic and social-political systems exist to offer meaningful opportunity to all US citizens. Contemporary forms of capitalism allowed to exist by the wealthy offer nothing of the kind; neither do contemporary forms of white, male, and het supremacy. All these well-organised and well-protected systems of power ensure that varied forms of gross violence and exploitation will be visited upon people who are not wealthy, white, male, or het.

Consider images brought to you by a weather reporter of a hurricane forming in the Atlantic Ocean as it makes its way toward the Caribbean, Gulf coast, and East Coast of the US. Consider how the weather is described as “a system”, sometimes a ferocious one merciless in its power to destroy what humans have constructed.

Consider how such a system, if well-organised, infused with enough energy, structured to swirl at great enough speeds with enough force, will do great harm. How much harm we cannot predict, as evidenced when Hurricane Irene swept up the Mid-Atlantic coast to the Northeast, cutting inland into New England. Consider how Hurricane Katrina, several years ago, in collaboration with ridiculous urban planning and construction along the Gulf coast, in collaboration with a woefully negligent US government, resulted in horror and pain that was thought to be impossible in the US, even in largely Black areas of the country.

The weather system called “a hurricane” in the US, has a structure—the visible structure is part of what constitutes such a system from other weather phenomena.

Corporate capitalism has a structure and it is hierarchical with a concentration of wealth among an elite few and a base of poverty shared among the many. Using the “right” to ownership of property as a means of control with State power backing it, the wealthy can and do exact great force against the poor and working people, exploiting them while telling them they have “opportunity” to also become as ruthless as they are.

In the US, this economic system with its earlier incarnations has resulted in an on-going genocide and has required on-going forms of slavery to be able to exist at all. Part of its structure is raced with white supremacy as one ruling ideology-in-practice. Male supremacy is another: rape and social subordination are two methods of its production: mass terrorism and submission are its objectives. Between the two is the spirit- and sex-shaming ideology-in-practice known as heterosexism. Braided, enforced, and enacted together, they strangle the power, will, and hope out of many of us, leaving us damaged, degraded, and depressed—if not dead. But—always more than the ruling oppressive forces would like—some of us keep fighting those virulently inhumane systems of domination and destruction with a vision of a world of unmilitarised peace, cooperative living, and mutual respect.

What is often missing in humane resistance movements is sustained, collective, group-based radical activism. Currently, struggles to make the US more humane are more like an occasional gust of wind than a well-formed lasting hurricane.

Using the ocean as a metaphor, single waves of activism can perhaps bring attention to horrible conditions and may shift the shape of a beach-front temporarily. But I look forward to the power of the oppressed forming into great unrelenting waves of revolutionary social, economic, and political transformation until the CRAP-infested shore is entirely washed away, allowing Indigenist ways of living to thrive again on this Earth.