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LISTEN: Colonialism and Gender Today

kpfa.org

March 27, 2018

Against the Grain

 

 

Can we understand gender relations in today’s neoliberal world without understanding colonialism? As Raka Ray points out, colonialism put in place new understandings about gender and gender relations, many of which continue to affect how people in countries like India think and interact and are governed. Colonialism and its legacies have also influenced how feminists in the Global South and their counterparts in the Global North view and treat each other.

 

 

SlutWalk Toronto & Vancouver Dyke March Announce Official Partnership with Sex Trade Lobby

Feminist Current

August 1 2017

By Meghan Murphy

 

“It is concerning that two events aimed primarily at women (that purport a connection to feminism) have partnered with lobby groups promoting prostitution as an empowered choice.”

 

Image: Facebook/Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project

 

 

Two Canadian events, supposedly feminist in nature, have announced they will be partnering with the sex trade lobby. SlutWalk Toronto, which held its first march in April 2011 after police officer Michael Sanguinetti told students that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized,” will be holding their seventh annual march on August 12th. In an email, march organizers announced that they planned to center “sex worker rights” this year and, as such, were partnering with Maggie’s: Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, a lobby group that advocates to fully decriminalize brothels and the purchase of sex.

From early on, SlutWalk has expressed a capitalist, libertarian approach to the sex trade that refused to criticize its misogynist and racist foundation, instead presenting prostitution as gender neutral, empowering for women, and “a job like any other.” But to explicitly partner with an organization that exists primarily to promote sex work as work, to the point that they endorse “youth sex work” and have argued that consent laws harm prostituted children, takes this pro-prostitution position to another level.

In their 2011 “Youth at Work” issue, Shameless magazine published an article by Phoenix Anne McKee, who was working with Maggie’s Toronto to create a guide for “youth sex workers.” She positioned child prostitution as a viable “choice” and argued that men who buy sex from exploited children should be decriminalized, writing, “age of consent laws pose a risk to the safety of youth aged 14 and 15 who decide to engage in sex work.” McKee, who was prostituted at the age of 14, also argued that the sex trade “helped [her] out in [her] life.” She points to Maggie’s as the organization that helped her understand that prostitution is not a bad thing, but an empowering thing.

Considering SlutWalk has particular appeal to young women, it is extremely concerning that this upcoming march is partnering with an organization that promotes prostitution as an empowered choice, not just for women, but for girls.

Beyond this, Maggie’s has worked to silence and smear feminists who criticize the sex trade. In 2015, the organization launched a petition to have me fired and no-platformed, due in large part to my writing (published then at rabble.ca, a Canadian progressive online magazine) in opposition to the sex trade. The petition authors made numerous libelous statements about my words and my work, labeling me as “racist,” a “bigot,” “transmisogynistic,” and “whorephobic.” While, ultimately, I was not fired from my job, the petition and willingness of this organization to publish lies about and work to silence women who make feminist arguments against objectification and male violence against women further cemented their anti-feminist and anti-democratic politics.

On July 29th, the Vancouver Dyke March, an annual event that works toward “greater visibility, pride, and community engagement for queer women and their allies” announced that the Grand Marshal for the 14th Annual Vancouver Dyke March was Sex Workers United Against Violence (SWUAV).

Like Maggie’s, SWUAV is a lobby group that advocates for the full decriminalization of pimps, johns, and brothel-owners. In 2007, the non-profit group filed a constitutional challenge to Canada’s prostitution laws, and has worked with Pivot since then to fight for the decriminalization of johns.

In 2014, SWUAV and Pivot co-published a report called, “Criminalization of Clients: Reproducing Vulnerabilities for Violence and Poor Health among Street-Based Sex Workers in Canada,” which argued against the “criminalization and policing of sex buyers.” In 2016, SWUAV and Pivot partnered with Maggie’s, as well as a number of other pro-sex industry lobby groups, on a submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which argued it was the criminalization of johns — not the men themselves — that endangered prostituted women. The submission presents prostitution as a source of “economic empowerment” for women and attacks Canada’s new, hard fought for feminist legislation (the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, also known as Bill C-36), which decriminalized prostituted people and criminalized exploitative men, demanding the new laws be repealed. Shockingly, the submission also goes to great lengths to downplay trafficking, saying there is “little evidence of trafficking in Canada,” that numbers are exaggerated, reports sensationalized, and that trafficking is not a pressing problem in Canada, despite numerous reports showing otherwise. Indeed, there is ample evidence connecting the trafficking of Asian women to “massage parlours” across Canada; and Indigenous girls and women, in particular, are trafficked within Canada’s borders. Yet the submission states, “In the vast majority of situations, Indigenous women do sex work independently and voluntarily.”

To imply that marginalized women and girls are voluntarily choosing prostitution of their own free will, that it empowers them, and that men should not be held accountable for exploiting these women and girls is deeply unethical. To deny the problem of trafficking in order to advocate towards the full decriminalization of prostitution, when it is common knowledge that trafficking increases in countries that legalize prostitution, is similarly unconscionable. Both Maggie’s and SWUAV have shown themselves to be working in the interests of capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy in their efforts to normalize and expand the sex trade. They have also demonstrated opposition to feminists and women’s rights. That two events purporting to center women and women’s empowerment have officially partnered with such demonstrably unethical and anti-feminist groups is deeply troubling.

 

[MEGHAN MURPHY IS A FREELANCE WRITER/JOURNALIST AND FOUNDER/EDITOR OF FEMINIST CURRENT. SHE HAS BEEN PODCASTING AND WRITING ABOUT FEMINISM SINCE 2010 AND HAS PUBLISHED WORK IN NUMEROUS NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL PUBLICATIONS, INCLUDING NEW STATESMAN, VICE, AL JAZEERA, THE GLOBE AND MAIL, I-D, TRUTHDIG, AND MORE. MEGHAN COMPLETED A MASTERS DEGREE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF GENDER, SEXUALITY AND WOMEN’S STUDIES AT SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY IN 2012 AND LIVES IN VANCOUVER, B.C. WITH HER DOG.]

STATEMENT

 

 

August 26, 2017

To all-

It has come to our attention that a respected leader of our small online enclave has betrayed the trust many people have instilled in him over the past years.  We are stunned at these revelations like everyone else.  It was with much internal debate and emotional pain that we decided as a group that we had to release the information to the community.  Although this form of information is not our usual forte as we are collectively concerned about overriding issues, such as leaving some form of a natural world above all else, it was something so stunningly vile that we had no other choice but to present it to the community as our conscience would not allow us to conceal this from the public.

Since this decision, which is something we thoroughly debated due to its seriousness, there is much online discussion regarding to what degree his transgressions can be described as terrible and even if they should be in the public due to the personal nature of the correspondence.  From this perspective, this person and his supporters have pointed to the fact that the behavior between himself and the woman in question was of a consensual, private nature, and should be of no concern to the wider community.  We believe this argument falls short for three critical reasons which should be considered both separately and collectively.

The first reason is one of ethics, which is separate from legality.  The word ethics is defined as “a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.”  Most professional organizations have codes of ethics, which participants must adhere to in order to remain in good standing.  In regards to its specific ethical standards, the American Psychological Association states “your psychologist shouldn’t also be your friend, client, or sex partner.  That’s because psychologists are supposed to avoid relationships that could impair their professional performance or harm their clients. One type of relationship that’s never acceptable is a sexual relationship with a current client.“

This person has taken on several roles, which in combination provide the framework for producing potentially serious ethical concerns.  As a recognized authority in the field of climate science, this person’s words contain the weight of authority for many.  His carefully worded prognostications of a coming end of human existence on the planet, though backed by his scientific understanding,  nonetheless have the ability to produce a state of anxiety, uncertainty, and despair in those who accept his perspective.  This person acknowledges this on his website, stating that “Because the topics of his presentations sometimes induce despair, Guy became a certified grief-recovery specialist in January 2014.”

The combination of his pursuits, as a climate scientist predicting the end of life as we know it, and grief counselor, puts him in the unique role of both producing or exacerbating the effect of anxiety or despair in an individual, as well as creating the context through which that despair is then addressed.  His audience, of which we have been a part, consists of individuals often marginalized by our larger society that ignores the very real warnings of catastrophic  climate change.  The views shared by many in our numerous and varied Near Term Human Extinction (NTHE) groups have produced not simply a sense of despair about the future, but also a sense of isolation from our immediate communities and families.  Solace is then sought out within the NTHE community, under the banner of this person’s scientific findings.

While in many ways natural responses warranted by our current situation, this combination of despair, confusion, and isolation, none the less set up the potential for the exploitation of those who acutely feel the desperation and disorientation of abrupt climate change, and have nowhere else to turn for answers.

And this is the reason for the need for ethics and ethical boundaries.  This person is in a position of authority with direct influence over the mental, emotional, and in some cases physical and monetary lives, of those who exist in a state of vulnerability.  This is a state which he has helped to facilitate and of which he profits from in his personal life.  To then use that position, as this person has done, to engage in sexualized relations with women by way of administering a self-serving “healing” to individuals who are going such traumatic personal experiences, is a violation of ethical boundaries.  From a purely ethical perspective within a narrowly focused context of a professor/student and grief therapist/client context, the exact content of these relations, which will justifiably elicit revulsion in many by themselves, is not the primary concern.  The mere existence of these relations under such power dynamics, whether consensual or not, is at best ethically compromised, simply because of the potential  for abuse that exists, even if no actual abuse can be conclusively identified.  As the revelations of women who have come forward and expressed their pain with regard to these relationships continues to grow, this strongly indicates that emotional abuse and the abuse of power were at play and their claims should be taken with utmost seriousness. At the most basic level, it is because these abuses could take place that professional boundaries and codes of ethics are established and why we should reject this person‘s behavior.

In that vein, the truth of the matter is that whatever grey area there may potentially be is no longer up for debate due to his repeated and lengthy record of attempting and succeeding in taking advantage of women in a vulnerable position emotionally due to the disheartening mental and social effects of personally accepting the ongoing Sixth Great Extinction (of which humanity will be one of its victims, as well as its singular cause).  As one of the admittedly unfiltered and honest voices concerning this present set of circumstances with few people having the sphere of influence that he has in our small community,  the unethical manner in which he used this trust for nefarious sexual ends repeatedly has left us no other recourse but to do everything in our power to stop him from continuing the same behavior.

This then leads to the second critical point.  While the argument has been made that in regard to his relations with one particular woman, the content is irrelevant because of its consensual nature, this defense rings hollow.  To use an analogy: while living in a free society one may be legally permitted to hold racist beliefs and freely associate with other racists, a member of the NAACP would  nonetheless rightfully oppose its leader if they were later discovered to be a member of the KKK.  Such an association would clearly violate the spirit and mission of an organization promoting racial justice, and in the duplicity of core beliefs in the leadership, it would  also indicate a threat to the structural integrity of the organization and potentially its members.  It would not matter whether the current leader had joined the KKK after being first approached by a klansman, or if the leader started a chapter on his own.  The compromise would be clear.

Similarly, the content of his interactions with one woman in question, no matter how they came about, indicated the willingness of this person to engage in, perhaps initiate, rape fantasies  and other degrading and sexually objectifying dialogues that are not congruous with the core values of a significant number of members of the Near Term Human Extinction Support Group and its associated community.  This incongruity is borne out in the fact that he has spoken out specifically against patriarchy on his regular online radio program and in innumerous public forums and presentations, but has engaged in fantasies of rape and sexual enslavement, which represent the most extreme form of patriarchy, regardless of how that interaction began.   Therefore, the problems surrounding the content of his interactions are twofold.  They are contained in both the degrading, misogynist verbiage itself and the fact that such interactions represent a betrayal of trust relating to the public image of a respect for life and an opposition to patriarchy that he has cultivated in the public eye to his personal benefit.

The destruction of the Earth, the underlying concern of the various NTHE support groups, is the direct result of human and environmental exploitation, a core element of which is the domination of women where females are treated as property to be used  like much of the natural world, mere objects for male gratification.  Thus the move from more egalitarian, hunter gatherer societies into stratified agricultural and industrial societies, which culminated in today’s planet devouring global civilization which this person critiques, entailed the objectification and commodification of women.  To participate in such objectification and fantasies of female subjugation with a potential member of the NTHE community no less, goes beyond hypocrisy.  It signifies that in regard to what this person believes and values, he cannot be trusted.  And given the context, as suggested in the above analogy, this duplicity threatens both group integrity and potentially the safety of its members.

Perhaps some would say that the way in which the information was obtained makes us no better and even worse than the perpetrator, as there are many online accusations of this being the case.  However, we didn’t go out seeking this information, even if we are greatly appreciative of it since it allows us the opportunity to stop any future manipulations by someone in a leadership position.  It was brought to us and we made the difficult decision to use it for the greater good of stopping any further occurrences – our decision superseding any disparaging things said about us individually or collectively.

Ultimately, the fact of the matter is that none of the individuals who became privy to this information have an axe to grind with this person. Actually, this is quite the contrary.  We are all people who had a great amount of respect and admiration of him as a scholar and a person.  It wasn’t until recently that those who possessed such a tremendous amount of respect for this man started questioning his motives outside of the irrefutable science and his singular desire to provide it to the public.  Sadly, this recent incident dispelled any doubts in our minds regarding much of his endeavors.

We are a small community of activists.  Most of what we know to be true in this world in regards to the state of affairs of the planet are things that are not accepted by the mainstream world, even though they are playing out in real time and disaffecting humanity at this very instant and with growing intensity.  As it is difficult to find any sources of solidarity, be it local or globally, once this disparate group of human beings find comrades or leaders (of which there are even less), we tend to cling on to them in great desperation as they are truly few and far between.

As this is the case, the people who come to us and try to find a community of some sort to explain to them what is going on or just commiserate about the ongoing travails of this global society are the picture of vulnerability during their greatest hour of need.  Hence, it is unethical, even predatory, for anyone to take advantage of these people while they are most defenseless.  As some people are trying to construe this as just a single, solitary case,  the fact of the matter is that this has been an ongoing pattern for awhile now and has reached a point where someone must step in and stem the tide of abuse this man is committing on this tiny yet venerable group.

As such, it begs the question how long can people righteously withhold  what they know to be the truth when it comes to this man’s interaction with the members of such a small group, an already victimized sect who find very little acceptance in general society?  Can we, as supposedly moral people, just sit back idly and allow this type of behavior to continue unabated since it is the path of least resistance to stay silent?  As the response from this tight knit community has ranged from outrage to acceptance, the outcome of this revelation is of no real importance as biases abound as to the acceptance of this information.  Since that is the case, the only thing of barometric significance is apprising the people of the truth to keep them from harm, which was our singular reason for the release of this information.

Although we are cognizant that all of us have personal transgressions and no one is perfect, the predatory nature of this individual makes him a threat to both those who may be accepting of his advances and, most importantly, those who are not.  If the interaction is one of consent amongst equals, it is not the business of us as individuals or as a group to intercede at all.  But, when there is a blatant disregard for the welfare of the people  in an attempt to serve the lascivious desires of one man, then that is something that must be addressed by those who are in power to do so by any means necessary.

This brings us to the third and final critical point.  Not only was there a sordid psycho-sexual aspect of what took place that was against everything this man professed to be of a personal nature as a leader of a social movement, he also betrayed the confidence and trust of another intellectual leader and comrade in the movement, where, based on his documented language, it is a legitimate concern as to whether or not he would have been an actual physical threat to her if he had the opportunity.  With this third and final critical piece, his actions go beyond purely professional ethical violations and public misrepresentations of core values which demonstrate a willingness to degrade and objectify women.  His discussion moves into the realm of creating a physical environment that justifiably feels unsafe to core members.  As previously mentioned, there are other cases of women who have begun to voice their own troubling experiences, which at this time we cannot provide further details.

Therefore, even though we have all had an immense amount of respect for this man over the years, the recent events show he isn’t worthy of being in a position of influence and power over others, as he has abused it in the past, is abusing it presently and will assuredly continue this behavior in the future if no one attempts to at least stop him.

Although we are understanding that people will still hold their opinions about the veracity of the evidence against this man and come away absolving him of all guilt in this series of events, the primary thing we hope to accomplish is to warn those who are in the community about the ulterior motives of this man.  Once people are provided all the evidence, it is up to them to make a personal decision if they wish to continue their relationship with this person, be it personal and/or professional.  We aren’t here to tell anyone what to do in any aspect, as freedom of thought and choice is something we believe in and respect.  However, we would be remiss if we didn’t provide people the total knowledge they need to make informed decisions.

As we know that many people will consider our revelation as being divisive and a planned attack for some fantastical reason that has no basis in reality, we can only say we received this information through no attempt on our part and will receive no reward for releasing it.  Once we became aware of it though, there was no other recourse but to bring it to the public sphere, as the ongoing pattern of behavior was spiraling out of control. There will be those who will cast aspersions against our character and accuse us of somehow profiting in some way from this event, even though this is anything but the case.  Still, there will be many people who will consider us turncoats, paid informants, subversives and every other form of accusation as to our motives.  Yet, we will almost assuredly lose more favor and receive heightened scorn through providing this information than any other outcome.  No matter what blowback we receive though, it is worth it to us to receive a mountain of negative response rather than live with the unconscionable act of staying silent in the face of knowing malfeasance.

We welcome all queries about the veracity of the information since the specific evidence is part of the public domain and not under our supervision.  We have nothing to hide and will vociferously defend our decisions in this matter since to be silent in this regard is criminal, if not legally, then definitely morally.

We are greatly appreciative of the support from our online community in bringing this to the fore.

Thank you.

Michael  Sliwa, Host of the radio show Nature Bats Last from August 2014 to May 2017

Derrick Jensen, Deep Green Resistance

Lierre Keith, Deep Green Resistance

Cory Morningstar, Wrong Kind of Green

Forrest Palmer, Wrong Kind of Green

Luke Orsborne, Wrong Kind of Green

 

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Psychiatrist, researcher, teacher, and author Judith Herman:

“Authoritarian, secretive, sometimes grandiose, and even paranoid, the perpetrator is nevertheless exquisitely sensitive to the realities of power and to social  norms. Only rarely does he get into difficulties with the law; rather, he seeks out situations where his tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired. His demeanor provides an excellent camouflage, for few people believe that extraordinary crimes can be committed by men of such conventional appearance.  The perpetrator’s first goal appears to be the enslavement of his victim, and he accomplishes this goal by exercising despotic control over every aspect of the victim’s life. But simple compliance rarely satisfies him; he appears to have a psychological need to justify his crimes, and for this he needs the victim’s affirmation. Thus he relentlessly demands from his victim professions of respect, gratitude, or even love. His ultimate goal appears to be the creation of a willing victim. Hostages, political prisoners, battered women, and slaves have all remarked upon the captor’s curious psychological dependence upon his victim. George Orwell gives voice to the totalitarian mind in the novel 1984: “We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us; so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul.”

 The desire for total control over another person is the common denominator of all forms of tyranny. Totalitarian governments demand confession and political conversion of their victims. Slaveholders demand gratitude of their slaves. Religious cults demand ritualized sacrifices as a sign of submission to the divine will of the leader. Perpetrators of domestic battery demand that their victims prove complete obedience and loyalty by sacrificing all other relationships. Sex offenders demand that their victims find sexual fulfillment in submission. Total control over another person is the power dynamic at the heart of pornography. The erotic appeal of this fantasy to millions of terrifyingly normal men fosters an immense industry in which women and children are abused, not in fantasy but in reality.”

FINAL-STATEMENT-AUGUST-26-2017-final-revision

 

WATCH: John Pilger: The Hijacking of Feminism

A brilliant lecture by John Pilger. [April, 2012, Melbourne, Australia. Hosted by Socialist Alternative (AU) and the International Socialist Organisation of Aotearoa (NZ) was held over the Easter long weekend at the University of Melbourne.]

Pilger is recognized the world over for his investigative journalism. His many awards include:

– British Academy of Film and Television Arts – The Richard Dimbleby Award
– American Television Academy Award (‘Emmy’)
– International Reporter of the Year
– Journalist of the Year

 

Peru: Mass Feminist Victory Confronts Embedded Patriarchy..Ni Una Menos

The Free

September 16, 2016

 

not-one-less

Arlette was dragged by the hair and strangled by her boyfriend on camera as he screamed.”You’re mine or you’re nobody’s”.

But yet again the Judge refused to convict for ”lack of evidence”.

That was one of a string of horrific attacks on women that swept social media and provoked the massive 500,000 strong feminist demo last August 13th in Peru, supported by cities worldwide.

ni_una_menos_5-1

Peru has finally joined the tidal wave of ‘Not One Woman Less’ protests that have inundated Latin and South America. Finally women are confronting the ingrained social license to treat them as sex slaves, private property, servants and veritable punch-bags in the service of runaway macho hubris.

In recent years in Peru, women’s groups like the Red Carpet, The Insurgents, Feminist Command, the Association of Women Affected by Forced Sterilizations, Stop Street Harassment Street, Chola Contravisual and various university groups, have fought on several fronts against gender violence, domestic and institutional.

But they have been answered by open police repression, beatings and tear gas, condescension and contempt for their demands and protests by the press and much of civil society.

'I decide whose hands touch me'..'Not one woman more..nor one less, I want to ne a woman and enjoy my se'.. No lock nor key can shut me up'..
‘I decide whose hands touch me’..’Not one woman more..nor one less, I want to be a woman and enjoy my sex’.. No lock nor key can shut me up’..

Soon after the mega protest it became clear that far from improving the wave of attacks on women and children was actually on the increase. Officials were quick to explain this might be due to women becoming emboldened to accuse their tormentors.

Milagros was inspired by the demo to report her tormentor, but he and the police turned against her.
Milagros was inspired by the demo to report her tormentor, but he and the police turned against her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Famously the police and courts were seen to continue their open anti-women policy when Milagros Rumiche, inspired by the movement, decided to denounce the systematic abuse she received from the father of her child.

Instead of redress she was taken in for questioning and then beaten by her husband. Today Milagros lies disfigured and tubed-up in a hospital bed, yet the coroner has determined that she has only suffered minor injuries and the criminal ‘cannot be found’.

This and many many more atrocities, along with the court rejection yet again of the case brought by more than 200,000 peasant sterilized against their will, has finally broken through the submission of hundreds of thousands of women.

The acquittal of Adriano Well of crimes of sexual violence, the femicide against Arlette Contreras and the suspension of the prison sentence of Ronny Garcia, the individual who left Lady Guillen disfigured with blows and bites were the drops that overflowed a glass that seemed bottomless.

100_5440

The call for a ‘Not one Woman Less’ National Mobilization began on July 19 as a closed Facebook group. The response was such that in three weeks it had nearly sixty thousand people.

Allegations and testimonies flooded the wall, confessions gave courage to others to also break their silence and publicly identify their assailants by name, even if they were public figures, including well-known artists and activists.

Soon self pity gave way to companionship, fellowship led to catharsis, and catharsis to rage. The objective of ”holding a demonstration” faded among both harangues, calls for self-defense, and to picket the oppressors. The exchange of information and resources was so empowering that they had to create a new virtual group – specifically for the operational issues of the march.feminismo-peruano

The massive August demo was an amazing wake up call, but being Peru this was qualified by all kinds of wild, hypocritical, and scandalous actions.

An almost kitsch bandwagon of positions opened up with the appearance of a whole range of  previously unknown institutional feminists hostile to the most combative, based on the streets: the pacifists, who are terrified of the word feminist; the fujimoristas, which claim for women only her role as mother, wife, sister or daughter;

The pro-life, who cry “Not one less from the womb”; those supporting till a male friend was denounced; Catholics outraged at the male violence, but indifferent to the conditions of horror in which hundreds of thousands of clandestine abortions are practiced.

(The streets of downtown Lima are riddled with flyers and posters advertising ‘Delayed Menstruation Clinics’ that offer an illegal and dangerous solution to an unwanted pregnancy that seriously undermine the health of patients. The vast majority of Peruvian women can not afford to pay between 600 and 800 dollars for a private clinic. )

march against forced sterilisations
march against forced sterilisations: ‘Your hatred doesn’t reduce my rights’…’Are Forced Sterilizations part of your ‘Natural Order”

Then there were those well-meaning men, ‘mansplaining’ the way we should organise the feminist struggle; the enthusiasts of the death penalty for rapists; and many more multiple groups, more diverse every day.

Amid this barrage of information, the phenomenon of ‘victim shaming’ or blaming the victim was not long in appearing. Along with polemics networks, blockades and taking sides.

Having started as a funny and novel initiative, easy to join and without risking much, when it was just a platform “against gender violence”, once the harassment, self-defense and the debate on the consensus began to be common themes in discussions ‘Not One Less’ began to be referred to as a “cage of raging madwomen” and “feminazis out of control”.

'No More Patriarchal Violence' .. 'Abusing one of us they abuse us all' .. 'We cry out against our forced destiny'..
‘No More Patriarchal Violence’ .. ‘Abusing one of us they abuse us all’ .. ‘Libertarian Socialism’ .. We cry out against our forced destiny’..

But there was no stopping it, next thing, brands and companies of all kinds, including those who do not allow their workers to form unions or which do not recognize rights to maternity leave, were jumping on board and joining the cause.

Even the judiciary and the most recalcitrant mass media were voicing support. The march on August 13, also had 24 cities in the world in support with simultaneous actions.

 Half a million people marching is many, many people. So that, among them, to the astonishment of abused women, they could find even their own assailants, some of them still operating in situ , shielded by the police uniforms.
marcha-ni-una-menos-movilizo-a-jpg_265x148

 

After the march, in fact, social networks burned with complaints about the slow reactions of the police who gawked at the protesters, almost always accompanied by a “how sexy you are.”

Peruvian hypocrisy, our inheritance of a courtier and colonial past, begins to show signs of having turned into schizophrenia. Stalkers marching against patriarchy, prosecutors cynically mouthing support for their victims,  businesses printing T-shirts, to be distributed by workers in scandalous slave labour conditions.

The macho Internet trolls called a counter demo..”Not One Man Less” for September 3rd, demanding their girlfriends learn to cook “like their mothers” and the right to give ‘a good beating’ for suspected infidelity.. but only 20 men and a lot of media showed up.

feminicidioargentina

Despite everything the arrival of Not One Woman Less is a huge breakthrough, reinforcing struggles on every side and re-creating women’s solidarity against a deep and implacable repression.

Feminists, far from being content with not being beaten, have sharpened their detection of everyday patriarchal practices and started talking about rebellion against capitalism, trans rights, and proclaiming what we have always known.. that the Pachamama is a feminist .

above is a shortened translation based on Diagonal article below.  https://www.diagonalperiodico.n..


 

El desborde feminista se enfrenta a la impunidad de las agresiones a mujeres en Perú

Alrededor de 500.000 personas de todas las regiones del país participaron el pasado 13 de agosto en la marcha Ni Una Menos, la más multitudinaria de la historia de Perú.

, de Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque Armado / Comando Feminista
El caso de las más de 200.000 campesinas esterilizadas contra su voluntad mediante el Programa de Salud Reproductiva y Planificación Familiar entre 1990 y 2000 ha sido archivado una vez más.

La fiscalía no considera que existan suficientes pruebas de que se trata de un crimen de lesa humanidad –a pesar de que fue perpetrado contra un sector específico de la población: mujeres campesinas y de escasos recursos– y niega la autoría directa de Alberto Fujimori y sus ministros de Salud.

El pasado 27 de julio, el Ministerio Público, por decisión de la fiscal Marcelita Gutierrez, dio por cerrada la investigación. La misma semana, la justicia peruana se inclinó en favor del agresor de Arlette Contreras, joven que fue estrangulada y arrastrada de los pelos por su novio al grito de “si no eres mía no serás de nadie”.

A pesar de que el episodio de este culebrón de terror fue registrado en vídeo por una cámara de seguridad, el juzgado ha resuelto que, otra vez, no hay pruebas suficientes.

Al archivo de conocidos casos de agresiones a mujeres en Perú se suman otros en los que son las propias instituciones las que dan el ‘tiro de gracia’ a las mujeres. Fue el caso de L.C., una adolescente que, al sospechar que estaba embarazada producto de las violaciones sistemáticas que sufría desde los 13 años, intentó suicidarse lanzándose desde el techo de su casa.

Sobrevivió, pero con graves lesiones en la columna vertebral que requerían de una intervención quirúrgica urgente para no causar daños irreversibles en la movilidad de su cuerpo. Los médicos encargados decidieron que la vida del feto, según ellos en peligro, era más valiosa que su salud y le negaron la operación.

Tres meses después L.C. tuvo un aborto espontáneo y finalmente fue operada, pero ya era tarde. Hoy en día es parapléjica y tras nueve años de batalla legal contra el Estado no ha conseguido una compensación.

Durante los últimos años en Perú, colectivos como Alfombra Roja, Las Insurgentes, Comando Feminista, la Asociación de Mujeres Afectadas por las Esterilizaciones Forzadas, Paremos el Acoso Callejero, Chola Contravisual y diversos colectivos universitarios, han luchado desde distintos frentes contra la violencia machista, doméstica e institucional, recibiendo como respuesta, por parte de la policía, golpes y bombas lacrimógenas, y por parte de la prensa y gran parte de la sociedad civil, condescendencia y desprecio ante sus demandas y protestas.

“¿Dónde? –parecen preguntar los estupefactos rostros de las manifestantes, al llegar a la sede–, ¿dónde está esa justicia?

Alrededor de 500.000 personas de todas las regiones del país participaron el pasado 13 de agosto en la marcha Ni Una Menos, la más multitudinaria de la historia de Perú.Las miles de manifestantes vieron como en la fachada de la sede del Poder Judicial peruano en Lima colgaba una inmensa pancarta en la que se podía leer “El Poder Judicial rechaza la violencia contra la mujer”, rematado con la frase “Una justicia con igualdad de género”.

Entre ellas y la pancarta, un cordón de policías con guantes blancos –en señal de rechazo a la violencia–. Por todo esto es por lo que es imposible no tomarse las palabras que adornan la inmensa pancarta que el Poder Judicial ha colocado en su fachada como una macabra broma, casi una provocación.

“¿Dónde? –parecen preguntar los estupefactos rostros de las manifestantes, al llegar a la sede–, ¿dónde está esa justicia?

La absolución de Adriano Pozo de los delitos de violencia sexual y feminicidio contra Arlette Contreras y la suspensión de la sentencia de cárcel de Ronny García, el individuo que dejó desfigurada a base de golpes y mordiscos a Lady Guillén –otro de los casos de violencia machista que saltó a los medios en 2012–, fueron las gotas que colmaron un vaso que parecía no tener fondo.

La convocatoria a ‘Ni Una Menos. Nos tocan a una. Movilización Nacional Ya’ se abrió el 19 de julio como un grupo cerrado en Facebook. La respuesta fue tal que en tres semanas ya había alcanzado casi sesenta mil personas.

Las denuncias y los testimonios inundaban el muro, las confesiones de cada una daban valentía a otras más para romper también su silencio e identificar públicamente a su agresor con nombre y apellido, aun cuando se tratase de personajes públicos, como conocidos artistas y activistas.

Pronto la autocompasión dio paso al compañerismo, el compañerismo a la catarsis y la catarsis a la rabia. El objetivo “manifestación” se desdibujó tanto entre las arengas, los llamamientos a la autodefensa, al escrache, al intercambio de recursos e información empoderadora, que se tuvo que crear un nuevo grupo virtual, específico para las cuestiones operativas de la marcha.

Los reclamos identitarios no se hicieron esperar. Un espectro casi kitsch de posturas se abrió como un abanico antes desconocido para las feministas institucionales, incluso para las más combativas, con base en la calle: las pacifistas, las que le tienen terror a la palabra feminista, las fujimoristas, las que reivindican a la mujer en tanto su rol de madre, esposa, hermana o hija; las pro-vida, que claman “Ni una menos desde el vientre”; las que dan me gusta a los testimonios hasta que uno de sus amigos es denunciado;

Las católicas indignadas ante las cachetadas masculinas, pero indiferentes a las condiciones de horror en las que se practican los cientos de miles de abortos clandestinos en las siniestras ‘clínicas de Atrazo Menstrual´ –las calles del centro de Lima están plagadas de flyers y afiches que ofrecen la solución a un embarazo no deseado y en los que la palabra ‘atraso’ se escribe con z.

Se trata de consultorios médicos clandestinos `low cost´ en los que se practican abortos en condiciones de insalubridad e inseguridad que atentan gravemente contra la salud de las pacientes. La inmensa mayoría de mujeres peruanas no puede darse el lujo de pagar entre 600 y 800 dólares en una clínica privada–.

A estas se suman los hombres bienintencionados, explicando el camino que debería seguir la lucha feminista, las entusiastas de la pena de muerte para los violadores y un largo etcétera cada día más múltiple y diverso.
De ser una iniciativa considerada graciosa y simpática cuando era sólo una plataforma “contra la violencia de género”, cuando el acoso y la autodefensa entraron en las discusiones ‘Ni Una Menos’ pasó a ser referida como una “jaula de locas furiosas” y “feminazis fuera de control”

En medio de esta lluvia de información, el fenómeno del ‘victim shaming’ o culpabilización de la víctima no se hizo esperar. Polémicas en redes, bloqueos, eliminaciones, bandos.

De haber empezado como una iniciativa considerada graciosa, simpática y a la que sumarse sin arriesgar mucho cuando era tan sólo una plataforma “contra la violencia de género”, una vez que el acoso, la autodefensa y el debate sobre el consenso empezaron a ser temas comunes en las discusiones ‘Ni Una Menos’ pasó a ser referida como una“jaula de locas furiosas” y “feminazis fuera de control”, especialmente por personajes de las redes sociales como la modelo Adri Vainilla, que utilizaron argumentos como estos para defender a amigos sobre los que pesaban denuncias de acoso.

Así y todo, marcas y empresas de toda ralea,incluyendo a las que no permiten sindicarse a sus trabajadoras o las que no reconocen sus permisos de maternidad, se sumaron a la causa, junto al Poder Judicial y los medios de comunicación más recalcitrantes.

La marcha del 13 de agosto sumó, además, 24 ciudades del mundo en acciones simultáneas de apoyo. Medio millón de personas marchando es mucha, muchísima gente. Tanta que, entre ella, para estupefacción de las agredidas, podíaencontrarse a sus mismísimos agresores, algunos de ellos operando in situ con tal desparpajo, escudados en su uniforme de policía.

Tras la marcha, en efecto, las redes sociales ardieron de denuncias a cerca de los lentos repasos que los efectivos policiales dedicaron con la mirada a las manifestantes, casi siempre acompañados de un “qué rica estás”.

Ni Una Menos consiguió una presencia avasalladora en las calles y en los medios. Y sin embargo las cifras de violencia contra la mujer y feminicidio se han incrementado tras la marcha. Milagros Rumiche, inspirada en el movimiento, decidió denunciar el sistemático abuso que recibía del padre de su hijo.

La policía recogió el parte y ni siquiera citó al denunciado para interrogarlo. Hoy Milagros yace desfigurada y entubada en la cama de un hospital, pero la médico forense determina que sólo ha sufrido lesiones leves, siguiendo a pies juntillas la ley que dictamina que sólo si la agresión postra a la víctima durante más de 15 días pasaría a tratarse de lesiones graves. El criminal se encuentra ‘no habido’ (no localizado).

La hipocresía peruana, herencia de un pasado cortesano y virreinal, empieza a dar señales de haberse tornado en esquizofrenia. Acosadores marchando contra el patriarcado, fiscalías acariciando una causa con la mano y dándole patadas con los pies, empresas imprimiendo camisetas de Ni Una Menos que reparten trabajadoras en regímenes laborales escandalosos.

Los primeros ya cuentan con una segunda cita a la que asistir para manifestarse, Ni Uno Menos, el 3 de septiembre. ¿Sus demandas? Las de siempre: que sus novias aprendan a cocinar “como sus viejitas” –un tipo acaba de destrozarle la cara a ladrillazos a su esposa por servirle la comida “muy picante”–, el derecho a propinar una buena golpiza en caso de infidelidad o sospecha de infidelidad y un extravagante “No + mujeres violadoras”, para darle color al asunto.

Las feministas, en cambio, lejos de conformarse con no ser golpeadas, parecen haber agudizado su órgano detector de prácticas patriarcales y empiezan a hablar de reinvindicaciones trans, de rebelarse contra el capitalismo y aseguran siempre haber sabido, eso sí, que la Pachamama es feminista.

XSanFrancisco – White Men, Wealth, Neoliberalism and Tech Disruption, Part 1

SFsthetik

January 8, 2016, San Francisco

by Mark Gould

XSF1

Image by Mark Gould

The political and socio-economic forces of neoliberalism, private equity venture capital investment, commodity capitalism and the advance of technology have transformed culture around the world for decades, and continues to accelerate at light speed in the 21st century. Here, the City once referred to as Baghdad By The Bay, home to several significant social and counterculture movements, San Francisco and large parts of the Northern California Bay Area can now be seen as both a petri dish and assembly line for “unicorn” grade corporate wealth, new extremes for unregulated private equity markets, hyper-speed gentrification, mass cultural displacement and a business culture that rewards white male supremacy over diversity creating unparalleled income inequality. Distilling it in these terms might sound like hyperbole. These are quite simply, the facts.

You’ll find it in all of the headlines, and just about everywhere you look. In a January 6, 2016 article published by San Francisco Chronicle owned website SFGate, the headline was Good news, Bay Area: Region is one of the best to find a new job in 2015.

A WalletHub analysis compared the 150 largest cities in America to determine the best places to find a job. They used eight different job market criteria, including job opportunities, monthly median starting salary, employment growth and disability friendliness. They also gave points for the city’s socioeconomic environment, like benefits, annual transportation costs, housing costs and time spent commuting.

By their metrics, San Francisco has the ninth-best job market in the nation. The holistic ranking was brought down by socioeconomic environment, which ranked 74th (those housing costs did not help). Topping the list was Plano, Texas, which has the country’s second-best job market and eighth-best socioeconomic environment ranking.

A city once believed to be one of the most progressive places on earth now boasts the highest rents in the country, one of the most inhospitable environments for the poor and middle class, and an affordable housing program that appears to be all but non-existent. This is happening while African-Americans have been reduced to 3 per-cent of the city’s population and as is happening in many other big cities in America, deaths of African-Americans and Latinos caused during police interactions are being investigated.

SF Mayor Calls for Budget Cuts, Ethics Commission Says No – Commissioner Says City Has ‘Slid Into Corruption”

While progressives on the Board of Supervisors might hope they can turn things around – San Francisco city government is now being questioned for its role in creating this unfortunate scenario. Curious that during this 21st Century Gold-Plated-Smartphone-Rush of wealth into SF, the city is being told by Mayor Ed Lee to cut budgets across the board. According to SF Weekly, the Ethics Commission is not at all pleased to be faced with cutting it’s budget, and said Commissioner Peter Keane:

“The city has slid into corruption,” he said. “It’s pay to play. It’s a game of bribery, whether we can ever prove it or not.”

 

Keane noted that, by rights, the city should have plenty of dough and accused the mayor of sabotaging the commission and turning it into a “castrated body” that can’t do its job — a job that includes policing the mayor’s office.”

Y Combinator Founder Under Fire After Celebrating Income Inequality

Welcome to the new world of neoliberalism, where tech disruptors with money proudly proclaim themselves as “manufacturers of economic inequality.”

In an essay published on his website this week, Y Combinator founder Paul Graham mansplains to us that people are rich because they’re not lazy. You see, attempts to address income inequality would be nothing more than an attack on tech startups:

“Y Combinator founder Paul Graham published an essay over the weekend in which he argues economic inequality is a good thing, or at least that it’s a necessary evil of promoting entrepreneurship.  A lot of people think he is wrong. He frames critiques of economic inequality as attacks on an ecosystem that allows the startups to thrive:
“You can’t end economic inequality without preventing people from getting rich, and you can’t do that without preventing them from starting startups.”

Essentially, Graham comes from a world in which, at least economically, which more often than not turns out to be more important than basketball, white men can jump, and higher than you.  His brand of social darwinism fuels the new social order, writes Holly Wood on Quartz News:

In his singular defense of Silicon Valley Ideology, Paul Graham would have you believe our entire economy should run on startups. I think Paul Graham believes this is democracy. This ability to start a company, he assumes, is equally accessible to everyone, and this presumed equality of opportunity legitimizes gross wealth inequality. If some people are rich, it’s because they were driven to do what you are too lazy to do.

 

Never mind if you don’t actually want to run a startup because you’re a nurse and you believe saving lives and caring for people adds value to society. Screw you, really.

 

Graham never addresses how a startup economy would put men like Paul Graham in positions of plutocratic authority, since the majority of us are deprived of startup capital without first submitting ourselves to the judgment of people like Paul Graham. It might not be overtly rent-seeking, but it’s definitely not democratic.

 

We should worry about an American future that would first have to pass through the judgment filter of men like Paul Graham.

Ayn Rand And The Disruptors

Writes Pando’s Paul Carr about the nature of tech disruption:

The truth is, what Silicon Valley still calls “Disruption” has evolved into something very sinister indeed. Or perhaps “evolved” is the wrong word: The underlying ideology — that all government intervention is bad, that the free market is the only protection the public needs, and that if weaker people get trampled underfoot in the process then, well, fuck ’em — increasingly recalls one that has been around for decades. Almost seven decades in fact, since Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” first put her on the radar of every spoiled trust fund brat looking for an excuse to embrace his or her inner asshole.

Tech’s “White People Problem”

It probably may come as no surprise to most then, that high-tech has a wee bit of a diversity problem. Perhaps no surprise, most people working in high tech are white men. While companies like Apple make sure the front lines working in stores are incredibly diverse, the biggest tech companies are only now publicly saying they will try to address the tragically low percentages in hiring of women, blacks and Latinos. (The Nation)

“…While Twitter the platform is bustling with all types of racial diversity, Twitter the company is alarmingly white.

Twitter isn’t alone. Most of the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley are overwhelmingly white and male. While blacks and Latinos comprise 28 percent of the US workforce, they make up just 6 percent of Twitter’s total US workforce and six percent of Facebook employees. The number drops to five percent at Google. The statistics are startling considering the increasingly important role the technology sector plays in the American economy. Tech firms employed nearly six percent of private sector workers in 2014 and the industry is responsible for a little more than seven percent of the US GDP.

After World War II in the last century, companies profited by meeting the needs of consumers, and putting a premium on trust in the products they sold. These days, it’s more that you buy some products because you’re made to think you have to, or need to, than because you want to, and the sell happens in increasingly manipulative and hidden ways. Quite often the advertising, news media, or social media messages to consumers are often disguised in a number of ways. (More about that in a future post.)

In an excellent essay written by Ben Valentine, “Masking Against The Neoliberal Gaze,” Ben Valentine notes that some artists are now using elements of feminist and queer theory, using masks as a way of resisting this gaze and as a tool in the fight against surveillance and technology’s built in method of identifying  and tracking consumers, a feature (often surreptitious) of how business has succeeded  transferring control of the economy from the public to the private sector.

As neoliberal capitalism extends around the globe and into our lives, the mask has become an iconic symbol of the struggle against the logic of the neoliberal gaze. I define the neoliberal gaze as a transnational means of looking that is prying, self-serving, and reductive;

 

The desire for a utilitarian mask that perfectly obscures our identities has long attracted our imagination, but unless it hides us from humans and machines alike, it only draws closer inspection from humans and machines alike. The desire of the neoliberal gaze is to identify, categorize, and then profit from or subdue everything it sees — as such, it’s an apparatus that loathes anomalies.”

Critics have argued that neoliberal capitalism can promote exploitation and social injustice, further advance income inequality, increases corporate power and shift economic privilege to the upper class.

All of this makes me want to throw my smartphone and my laptop out the window, and turn off the internet. Maybe tomorrow.

 

[Mark Gould is a former journalist and editor, a photographer and videographer. http://markgould.net/ . He can be reached at mark@sfsthetik.com. ]

 

 

Real Men Don’t Prostitute Women

August 18, 2015

Running time: 2:38

“To understand patriarchy is to understand that free choice is a fairytale.” — Dr Meagan Tyler

“Prostitution – We Don’t Buy It” – Speakers: Tom Meagher and sex trade survivor Rachel Moran

 

For All Those Who Were Indian In A Former Life

Manataka American Indian Council

by Andrea Smith

The New Age movement has sparked a new interest in Native American traditional spirituality among white women who claim to be feminists. Indian spirituality, with its respect for nature and the interconnectedness of all things, is often presented as the panacea for all individual and global problems. Not surprisingly, many white “feminists” see the opportunity to make a great profit from this new craze. They sell sweat lodges or sacred pipe ceremonies, which promise to bring individual and global healing. Or they sell books and records that supposedly describe Indian traditional practices so that you too, can be Indian.

On the surface, it may appear that this new craze is based on a respect for Indian spirituality. In fact, however, the New Age movement is part of a very old story of white racism and genocide against the Indian people. The “Indian” ways that the white, New Age “feminists” are practicing have little grounding in reality.

True spiritual leaders do not make a profit from their teachings, whether it’s through selling books, workshops, sweat lodges, or otherwise. Spiritual leaders teach the people because it is their responsibility to pass what they have learned from their elders to the youngest generations. They do not charge for their services.

Furthermore, the idea that an Indian medicine woman would instruct a white woman to preach the “true path” of Indian spirituality sounds more reminiscent of evangelical Christianity than traditional Indian spirituality. Indian religions are community-based, not proselytizing religions. For this reason, there is not ONE Indian religion, as many New Agers would have you believe. Indian spiritual practices reflect the needs of a particular community. Indians do not generally believe that their way is “the” way, and consequently, they have no desire to tell outsiders about their practices. Also, considering how many Indians there are who do not  know the traditions, why would a medicine woman spend so much time teaching a white woman? A medicine woman would be more likely to advise a white woman to look into her OWN culture and find what is liberating in it.

However, some white women seem determined NOT to look into their own cultures for sources of strength. This is puzzling, since pre-Christian European cultures are also earth-based and contain many of the same elements that white women are ostensibly looking for in Native American cultures. This phenomenon leads me to suspect that there is a more insidious motive for latching onto Indian spirituality.

When white “feminists” see how white people have historically oppressed others and how they are coming very close to destroying the earth, they often want to disassociate themselves from their whiteness. They do this by opting to “become Indian.” In this way, they can escape responsibility and accountability for white racism.

Of course, white “feminists” want to become only partly Indian. They do not want to be part of our struggles for survival against genocide, and they do not want to fight for treaty rights or an end to substance abuse or sterilization abuse. They do not want to do anything that would tarnish their romanticized notions of what it means to be an Indian.

Moreover, they want to become Indian without holding themselves accountable to Indian communities. If they did they would have to listen to Indians telling them to stop carrying around sacred pipes, stop doing their own sweat lodges and stop appropriating our spiritual practices. Rather, these New Agers see Indians as romanticized gurus who exist only to meet their consumerist needs. Consequently, they do not understand our struggles for survival and thus they can have no genuine understanding of Indian spiritual practices.

While New Agers may think that they are escaping white racism by becoming “Indian,” they are in fact continuing the same genocidal practices of their forebears. The one thing that has maintained the survival of Indian people through 500 years of colonialism has been the spiritual bonds that keep us together. When the colonizers saw the strength of our spirituality, they tried to destroy Indian religion by making them illegal. They forced Indian children into white missionary schools and cut their tongues if they spoke their Native languages.

Sundances were made illegal, and Indian participation in the Ghost Dance precipitated the Wounded Knee massacre. The colonizers recognized that it was our spirituality that maintained our spirit of resistance and sense of community. Even today, Indians do not have religious freedom. In a recent ruling the Supreme Court has determined that American Indians do not have the right to sue under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. They have also determined that if Indian religious freedom conflicts with any “compelling” United States interest, the government always supersedes Indian peoples’ freedom of religion.

Many white New Agers continue this practice of destroying Indian spirituality. They trivialize Native American practices so that these practices lose their spiritual force, and they have the white privilege and power to make themselves heard at the expense of Native Americans. Our voices are silenced, and consequently the younger generation of Indians who are trying to find their way back to the Old Ways becomes hopelessly lost in this morass of consumerist spirituality.

These practices also promote the subordination of Indian women to white women. We are told that we are greedy if we do not choose to share our spirituality. Apparently, it is our burden to service white women’s needs rather than to spend time organizing within our own communities. Their perceived need for warm and fuzzy mysticism takes precedence over our need to survive.

The New Age movement completely trivializes the oppression we as Indian women face: Indian women are suddenly no longer the women who are forcibly sterilized and tested with unsafe drugs such as Depo Provera; we are no longer the women who have a life expectancy of 47 years; and we are no longer the women who generally live below the poverty level and face a 75 percent unemployment rate. No, we’re too busy being cool and spiritual.

This trivialization of our oppression is compounded by the fact that nowadays anyone can be Indian if s/he wants to. All that is required is that one be Indian in a former life, or take part in a sweat lodge, or be monitored by a “medicine woman,” or read a how-to book.

Since, according to this theory, anyone can now be “Indian,” then the term Indians no longer refers specifically to those people who have survived five hundred years of colonization and genocide. This furthers the goals of white supremacists to abrogate treaty rights and to take away what little we have left. When everyone becomes “Indian,” then it is easy to lose sight of the specificity of oppression faced by those who are REALLY Indian in THIS life. It is no wonder we have such a difficult time finding non-Indians to support our struggles when the New Age movement has completely disguised our oppression.

The most disturbing aspect about these racist practices is that they are promoted in the name of feminism. Sometimes it seems that I can’t open a feminist periodical without seeing ads promoting white “feminist” practices with little medicine wheel designs. I can’t seem to go to a feminist conference without the woman who begins the conference with a ceremony being the only Indian presenter. Participants then feel so “spiritual” after this opening that they fail to notice the absence of Indian women in the rest of the conference or Native American issues in the discussions. And I certainly can’t go to a feminist bookstore without seeing books by Lynn Andrews and other people who exploit Indian spirituality all over the place. It seems that, while feminism is supposed to signify the empowerment of all women, it obviously does not include Indian women.

If white feminists are going to act in solidarity with their Indian sisters, they must take a stand against Indian spiritual abuse. Feminist book and record stores should stop selling these products, and feminist periodicals should stop advertising these products. Women who call themselves feminists should denounce exploitative practices wherever they see them.

Many have claimed that Indians are not respecting “freedom of speech” when they demand that whites stop promoting and selling books that exploit Indian spirituality. But promotion of this material is destroying freedom of speech for Native Americans by ensuring that our voices will never be heard. Feminists have already made choices about what they will promote (I haven’t seen many books by right-wing, fundamentalist women sold in feminist bookstores, since feminists recognize that these books are oppressive to women.) The issue is not censorship; the issue is racism. Feminists must make a choice either to respect Indian political and spiritual autonomy, or to promote materials that are fundamentally racist under the guise of “freedom of speech.”

Respecting the integrity of Native people and their spirituality does not mean that there can never be cross-cultural sharing. However, such a sharing should take place in a way that is respectful to Indian people.

The way to be respectful is for non-Indians to become involved in our political struggles and to develop an on-going relation with Indian COMMUNITIES based on trust and mutual respect. When this happens, Indian  people may invite a non-Indian to take part in a ceremony, but it will be on Indian terms.

I hesitate to say this much about cross-cultural sharing however, because many white people take this to mean that they can join in our struggles solely for the purpose of being invited to ceremonies. If this does not occur, they feel that Indians have somehow unfairly withheld spiritual teachings from them. We are expected to pay the price in spiritual exploitation in order to gain allies in our political struggles.

When non-Indians say they will help us, but only on their terms, that is not help – that is blackmail. We are not obligated to teach anyone about our spirituality. It is our choice if we want to share with people who we think will be respectful. It is white people who owe it to us to fight for our survival, since they are living on the land for which our people were murdered.

It is also important for non-Indians to build relationships with Indian communities, rather than with specific individuals. Many non-Indians express their confusion about knowing who is and who is not a legitimate spiritual teacher. The only way for non-Indians to know who legitimate teachers are is to develop ongoing relationships with Indian COMMUNITIES. When they know the community, they will learn who the community respects as its spiritual leaders. This is a process that takes time.

Unfortunately, many white feminists do not want to take this time in their quest for instant spirituality. Profit-making often gets in the way of true sisterhood. However, white feminists should know that as long as they take part in Indian spiritual abuse, either by being consumers of it or by refusing to take a stand on it, Indian women will consider white “feminists” to be nothing more than agents in the genocide of their people.

OUR SPIRITUALITY IS NOT FOR SALE!

 

Editor’s Note:  The article above first appeared in the “Cultural Survival Quarterly”, Winter 1994 and was written by Andrea Smith, who is a member of “Women Of All Red Nations” in Chicago, and she is the Chairperson for Women of Color for the “National Coalition Against Sexual Assault”.  While branded by right-wing Catholics as controversial, pro-gay, pro-abortion and a radical feminist, her opinions bear a strong resemblance to truth that some people find offensive.  We do not.

 

How I Sanitized the Feminist Outrage over the Montreal Massacre

How I Sanitized the Feminist Outrage over the Montreal Massacre

Ottawa Citizen

December 6, 2014

by Shelley Page

 

 

Ecole polytectnique massacre victims

 

I arrived in Montreal four hours after the killing was done.

Yellow tape wrapped l’École Polytechnique like a macabre Christmas present; surviving students gripped each other in numb disbelief.

I was 24, sent by the Toronto Star to write about the slaughter of female engineering students, all around my age; fourteen of them.

The White Women of Empire

The New Inquiry

October 1, 2014

times-square-ad

Despite the fact that advertising is the cutting edge of ideological production, there is little critical engagement with advertising outside of occasional controversies and industry-specific work. Truth in Advertising is a new monthly series which hopes to investigate how advertising is constructing psychic life and cultural narratives in the metropolis, often doing its work silently and unnoticed. To trace how often those narratives then emerge “naturally” as cultural criticism, political debate or interpersonal discussion: Behind every think piece, a subway car full of ads. This piece is also informed by Emma Quangel’s The Weaponized Naked Girl.

In imperialist fantasies, the most famous role of white women is the damsel in distress, the pure and purifying object of sexual desire menaced by the unclean, violent, sexualized colonial subject: Faye Wray in the grips of King Kong. There’s another major role for white woman in imperialist narratives, however: as the metonym of the homeland, the representation and image of civilization. The white woman “back home” is the reason the male protagonist goes forth, it is her image he fights for and against which the savagery of the colony is thrown into starkest relief. He may cheat on this mythical white woman with a sexualized, state-of-nature beauty, but he always returns to her in the end: To fail to do so is to fail the colonial project.

But what happens when the white woman is the protagonist of the imperialist story?

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This image collapses all those subject positions into one. What and where is the “homeland” here? The homeland is present both in the form of the white woman, and as the thing implicitly menaced by the fact of her difference from those around her. It is the values of the homeland that the burka’ed other imperils, violent invasion of the homeland which their sea of monotonous similarity promises. The very idea of a “homeland” only makes sense as something which can be defended from barbarians, in this instance uniform, colorless, de-sexualized barbarians whose country we must infiltrate and dominate to protect our citizens from current danger and our culture from future threat.

But it is clear that the helpless and/or metonymic white woman of imperial fantasy will no longer do. The historical victories of feminism have forced empire to interpolate (mostly white) women as its agents as well as its objects.

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It’s bold to claim a TV show clearly about the previous Secretary of State is “not politics as usual.”  Indeed, the “NOT” obviously takes up excess space in the image and is easily cropped out or visually ignored–it’s enough to make you feel like you’ve got a pair of Rowdy Roddy Piper’s magic sunglasses:

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But it’s no brilliant subversion of the ad to point it out. That’s literally within the framing of the imagery: The sight lines all center on Téa Leoni’s eyes. The advertisement’s visual language undermines its own tagline, but this makes the ad that much more effective at capturing its liberal prestige-TV-loving target audience. If it works on those naive enough to believe a show about a female secretary of state is subversive, it also flatters the media-savvy viewers imagining themselves to be deconstructing the ad and to be “above” those naive fools who believe the tagline. The purposefulness of this effect is visible in the billboard as well, where the crop is perhaps even more obvious.

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The ad campaign for State of Affairs, meanwhile, offers us a younger, sexier secretary and a more vulgar, militarized vision of power, the 24 to Madame Secretary’s West Wing.

"All the president's men are nothing compared to her"

And then, just in time for the fall season, the Democratic Party’s main rag publishes a think piece about the shows, pretending all this Hillary worship is some fascinating cultural phenomenon emerging from the creative ether, not an obvious piece of the Party’s electoral machine preparing for 2016. As though the entertainment industry didn’t go 5 to 1 for Obama, and, as a result, get favorable administration action on intellectual property enforcement.

Of course, empire isn’t just administered by the federal government. There are all the local internal colonies to deal with, the carceral state to defend. But as white women’s imperial function is localized, the marketing is made more immediately bodily, more familiar, more sexualized and ridiculous. As the women get closer to home, so to speak, the advertising becomes more traditionally sexist.

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She has nothing to do with the law — this Bad Judge upholds and breaks “the rules.” Her casual sexiness, her red hair (as opposed to the Aryan-differentiation-from-brown-women blondes), her come-hither stare, her short skirt and ample bracelets: This judge is fuckable. Why get caught in a confusing nexus of ideological and symbolic desire production when you can just have the audience desire the state, directly, in one of its flesh and blood incarnations?

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The marketing campaign is terrible–that font!–which never bodes well for either the show’s prospects or the network’s confidence in it. But the show also goes too directly for the ideological money shot, its political project is too obvious, its premise too icky. People don’t find judges desirable: The pop culture judges (Joe Brown, Judy, etc) are older, stern, maybe sassy but never hot. They evoke folk wisdom, righteous anger and final authority, not fucking. Cops, however, make much more sense in the daily circuits of family, desire, and work…

Catching bad guys. Raising naughty ones

This tagline is almost identical to the tagline from Bad Judge. But Laura here has one more role than the judge. Not made sufficiently schizophrenic by her roles as a woman and an agent of the state, Laura is also just as much a mom, the perfect triumvirate of lean-in feminism subjectivities (career-haver, family-maker, cis-white-woman), the pathetic pun on mysteries (indeed, how does she do it?) already resolved visually: Laura is literally tripled in the image. Just like Bad Judge she’s a redhead, not a blonde. Just like Madame Secretary, the pitch is the “novelty” of a woman in a man’s role, but it is a wink-wink novelty, it is actually normal, normalized, and everyone knows it.

Here the anti-feminism is particularly strong, equating the work of mothering with the work of policing. It’s a variation on the old myth of controlling mothers–a misogynist inversion of the fact that in a traditional hetero-patriarchal family, it is dads who are structurally always cops, while the relation of the mother to order and oppression is more complicated and ambivalent.

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But not in these ads. In the beautiful world of the spectacle, things aren’t complicated, they’re great: Women are detectives, moms are cops, judges are babes, look at all this progress we’ve made, get ready for Hillary, rah-rah-rah to the war against those Middle Eastern women in their burqas, the horrible unspeakable women who do not give themselves to our gaze, who refuse our liberal democracy, who could never be a sexy Secretary of State, a sexy homicide detective, a sexy storm trooper with her high-heeled boot sexily poised on the throat of some horrid barbarian.

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Wont you please help her help you help her save herself, the homeland? Or at least tune in on Sundays and watch her try?