Snagged this from The Underwire blog from Wired.
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Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
The Patriarchy: Like the Hotel California
Metafilter has taken up the subject of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival and its anti trans policies. It's interesting to hear how this topic plays outside of the feminist community.
Call for Papers – Feminism for Freaks
Fresh from Queen Emily is the call for papers for an anthology of people like me: feminists who don't fit the stereotype. Please consider contributing to this great project:
Call For Papers (please distribute widely)
Feminism For Freaks
At its best, feminism offers an emancipatory potential from gendered oppression, inequality, and violence. At its worst, however, feminism can work to simply affirm the rights of middle-class, heterosexual, white women, and exclude the voices of already-marginalised groups such as women of colour, trans* women, sex workers and so on.
Like Derrida's democracy, a truly liberatory feminism is mostly a feminism to come. Not un-coincidentally, those marginalised groups of women are often demonised by the dominant culture, rendered as monstrous, simultaneously invisible and hyper-visible, compelling and threatening, desirable and disgusting--and forever denied a voice of our own. The question of if and how monstrosity can be reclaimed or re-worked is a vexed one for feminists.
We therefore invite proposals that affirm the voices of socially excluded people, that seek to create new and exciting knowledge and address themselves to feminist theory and activism or the wider culture, on such topics including, but not limited to:
* Monstrous bodies and identities
* Social marginalisation and exclusions (for instance, borders, walls, and immigration laws, and the silencing of voices such as those of women of colour and transgendered people)
* sex work
* queer sexualities and genders
* Visible signs of difference (Muslim women wearing the veil, disabled bodies etc)
* religion and spirituality
* freaks in popular culture, body modification etc
* fat positivity
Academic, non-fiction and creative work will be considered--the call is broad, and we're willing to accommodate new and interesting work by freaks of all kinds. Please submit abstracts of up to 250 words and a short bio by May 31st to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
*Note - Given that some contributors may not feel safe or comfortable telling their stories in the public sphere, submissions under pseudonyms will be accepted.
Pass it on!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I like this
A couple of years ago, the Minneapolis City Council tried to insist on licenses for panhandlers. A long-time activist fighting homelessness in the Cities, asked, "How much are we gonna charge Carl Pohlad (owner of the Minnesota Twins) or Target (large hometown retail corporation)?" Both are getting huge tax breaks. That sorta put things in perspective for me. And so does this video. Watch and enjoy "The Job" from www.screamingfrog.com:
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I'm not inclined to like any Democratic candidate for president. But I really am amazed at Hillary Clinton's lies about a trip to Bosnia. It isn't just that she tried to portray herself as something more than she actual is. It's that she pretended, as many politicians do, that she was in harm's way when the military had to make damn certain she was not.
I remember scoffing at the idea that GW Bush was brave for traveling to Iraq for Thanksgiving in 2003. If there had been the slightest hint of danger, he would have been out of there and none of us would have heard about it.
These attempts to pretend that politicians face the same dangers as the ordinary American citizens who are sent off to war around the world is truly disgusting. Their visits are photo ops and grandstanding that in no way equates to what soldiers have to endure on any given day. The gall is beyond belief.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Getting some hits
My statcounter tells me that an old post of mine is getting hits lately. It all goes back to an interesting post by Maia at Touchingly Naive in which she describes her political journey on the subject of the transgender community.
Maia's posts got a lot of comments and she's closed the thread. In the comments, the question came up, that if you wanted to have women-only space, where do you draw the line?
And I’ve been in plenty of spaces where the line is perfectly well kept. People who live fulltime as women, surgery -not- required, and yes, it’s taken on the honor system, but you know, in my fairly extensive experience with trans-inclusive womens’-only spaces, generally, gawking fratboys who just want to see the wimmins’ commune and dress up in drag for a gag don’t exist outside of movies like “Sorority Boys.”
As for why they want to come: because they’re women, because they’re feminists, because they have things to offer the community, because they’re (sometimes, yeah) lesbian, for the same damn reasons everyone else wants to be there.
This thread is going to appropriate this issue for a different community altogether. My community is that of anti-imperialist activists. I've been doing this ever since October of 1983 when the U.S. invaded Grenada and pissed me off permanently. But, one thing we like to do as we plan our activities, is to get together with other groups who are specifically anti-imperialist and who agree on the issue. If this is not your issue, then go somewhere else and find someone else to play with, right?
However, the anti-imperialist movement has had to deal with spies in our midst. You can read about the FBI's harrassment of people working with the people of El Salvador here. Looks like their up their old tricks again. There's a long history of the Red Squads as well.
So any activist who wasn't born yesterday pretty much has to assume that there are people out there trying to invade our space, spy on us, disrupt our activities and generally be a pest. It's not paranoid, because it keeps happening. And it's also not particularly bothersome because the antiwar movement is strong and effective. We've learned their tricks and we refuse to fall for it. It will grow to be a bigger problem as the date approaches for the Republican National Convention this September.
In recent years, I've learned to identify the police spies fairly easily. At an anti-klan rally in St. Paul in 2001, the undercover cops were fairly ludicrously out of place in their tie-dyed bandanas and Birkenstocks as they tried to stir up violence within the anti-racist groups. But I never assume I'm right. One time I thought I had a fellow pegged, but when I talked to him I discovered he was a visitor from Germany with some kick-ass ideas about anti-war work.
I'm wondering why anyone who holds an event in which 7,000 or more people attend, the Michigan Women's Musical Festival, can think for even a second that their event is completely devoid of men or any other kind of "spy". Of course there will be spies trying to figure out what you are doing and if they can find some kind of secret information about what you do. They may be police spies, they may be conservative women who hate feminists, they may be men. And they will be there, one way or the other. It's something to be expected.
Look around the internet. Google "moon-bat" and "anti-war" and you'll see all kinds of anti anti-war activists who attend anti-war events just for the opportunity to call everyone they disagree with a commie, flag-burning moonbat.
I assume spying is going to happen. I want to learn how to react intelligently. How about we say, "Yeah, there may be one or two spies, but that in no way detracts from the value of what we do when we bring together people who want to change the world."
I just don't get why feminist think that our activities will somehow be devoid of all the crap every other activist group has endured for years. Read about Cointelpro. Read Agents of Oppression about the FBI's war on the American Indian Movement and the Black Panthers.
If you are at all effective, you have to assume that there will be spies out there.
And just to make it clear, I absolutely object to the transhating that was going on in that thread and I acknowledge a bit of guilt for taking the discussion to riff off another issue entirely. To make up for this, I encourage you to read some awesome transgender voices, including:
I know I'm missing important bloggers here. Help me out and I will add to the list!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
The Seven Deadly Sins Quiz on 4degreez.com
The work week from Hell
I just had one of those crappy work weeks. And it ended badly. Very badly. I basically fled the place with my tail tucked between my legs. Crying.
And I hate that. Some day I'm going to write more about this. This will be just a start.
My job? Not such a bad thing. Parts of it are deeply satisfying. I like what I do. It requires skill and creativity. I produce a quality product.
A lot of people have worse jobs. A lot of people get paid less. A lot of people have to deal with more shit than I do. I'd say at least 90 percent of the world has it worse off than me when it comes to employment. Letting it get to me seems like the whining of the privileged. It's unseemly.
Most of the time, I forget about work once I've punched out. Most of the time I have more important things to think about.
But every now and then I get caught up in the hype. I start thinking that my contribution of time and effort to this endeavor is important. I buy that hype that what I can do personally makes a difference. That I need to focus and devote myself to finishing this task or that task. And I give it more attention than it deserves. I let other things slide.
I disappoint myself when this happens.
The thing is. On Monday it starts all over again. Who came up with this crappy system anyway?
Saturday, March 15, 2008
1800 protest in Minneapolis
After several months of planning, the local antiwar protest was successful with over 1800 protesters marching through Minneapolis.
KSTP Channel 5, the ABC affiliate article.
Anti-war marchers wind through Minneapolis
By TERRY COLLINS, Star Tribune
Last update: March 15, 2008 - 8:59 PM
Chanting "Off Iraqi soil, no blood for oil," scores of anti-war protesters rallied in Minneapolis Saturday demanding an end to the U.S. occupation of troops in Iraq.
With flags and banners waving amid various proclamations of peace, Meredith Aby, a member of the local Anti-War Committee, said a majority of American citizens want the war over.
"People need to get out in the streets and demand change. Just saying the war is unpopular is not enough," Aby said. "People should think more critically how this government beats the drums for war."
Instead, protesters banged their own drums as they marched and shouted phrases including, "(President) Bush lies, thousands die, troops home now," under overcast skies and a brisk chill from Uptown to Loring Park.
Traffic along Hennepin Avenue slowed occasionally as numerous passing vehicles honked in support. No arrests were made.
Similar anti-war rallies were held Saturday across the country to mark the war's fifth anniversary. More are scheduled through next week.
Many at Saturday's rally in Minneapolis clearly remember when U.S. missles bombed Baghdad on March 19, 2003 and President Bush warned, "We will accept no outcome but victory."
"I'm fed up with the rhetoric and the violence," said protester Kyle Anderson, 23, of Minneapolis. "I'm tired of our politicians running for office skirting around the issue, too. How much longer are we going to be over there?"
Holding a sign that read, "Either War is Obsolete or Are We?," Alesia Casanova, 18, of Eden Prairie, pondered the same question.
"It's really sad that it's gone on this long," Casanova said. "Our voices need to be heard. This has to stop. Now."
Attendee Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said that "the real fight" is right here at home with climate change and the declining national economy.
"We must change the way we live," Rybak said.
Organizers said nearly 1,800 people participated in the two-hour event, while police estimate closer to 1,000. Either way, several marchers thought attendance was lower than in previous years.
"I wish more were here," said Tyrus Thompson, 18, of Minneapolis, a member of Youth Against Racism and War. "I wish they knew how much power we actually have."
As Dick Thompson of Minneapolis stood waving a U.S. flag upside down (a military sign for distress) and carrying a red sign that said, "Impeach," near a bridge at Loring Park, he, too, wanted a larger turnout.
"I'm in distress," Thompson, 74, said. "Because, clearly, the truth has not been told."
pictures and article.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
If you enjoyed the last one, you'll love this:
Monday, March 10, 2008
I waited until the last minute and managed to catch the last show of Peace Crimes by the History Theatre of Minnesota.
Here's the blurb:
1970. Three years after the Summer of Love, the American death toll in Vietnam is 30,000 and climbing. The war continues full tilt with no end in sight. For every 1,000 draftees, 234 are killed or wounded in the conflict. A handful of young men, including college students and a theologian from the Newman Center at the U of M, are busted by the FBI for raiding draft board offices across the state. Dubbed the "Minnesota Eight" by the press, they are tried for conspiracy, convicted and sent to federal prison. Were their crimes heroic acts of civil disobedience or acts of terrorism?Patriotism or treason? "Peace crimes" or just crimes?
It was a worthwhile experience.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Shirley Chisholm presente!
Sylvia has an awesome post about Shirley Chisholm. Go. Read. Enjoy!
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Do it now!
These people need your help right this minute. And they deserve it. So click on over and take a moment to do whatever you can to help:
Southall Black Sisters
Southall Black Sisters, a not-for-profit organisation, was established in 1979 to meet the needs of black (Asian and African-Caribbean) women. Our aims are to highlight and challenge violence against women; empower them to gain more control over their lives; live without fear of violence; and assert their human rights to justice, equality and freedom. For more than two decades we have been at the forefront of challenging domestic and gender violence locally and nationally, and campaigning for the provision of support services to enable women and their children to escape violent relationships.
Southall Black Sisters under threat of closure
SBS is currently facing the threat of closure as a result of our local authority’s (Ealing) decision to withdraw our funding as of April 2008....
What can you do to help?
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Warning: do not read if you can't stand immature self-pity rants!
You've been warned.
Wednesday morning I got up feeling bad. But I trudged into work anyway. Spent a lot of time in the bathroom having the runs. Finished all my hot projects by 2 pm and went home. Sucked down some Immodium, which finally took effect after the 6th or 7th event. Then I slept. 15 hours straight. Got up feeling slightly better, but with no appetite. At all. I can barely eat an entire bagel before I'm full. Slept some more. Laid around reading. Got up on Friday feeling more like myself, except I still have no appetite. Which is very strange for me.
So big deal, right?
Wrong. Because Thursday was my birthday, dammit! Fifty-two and counting!*
Not to worry. Celebrations will occur tomorrow. Just needed to whine.
*If I had been born 5 hours later, Leap Day would have been my Sweet 16 Birthday!