Disarm Cops / Arm Feminists

16.09.2011 § 1 Comment

Statement by “Feminists vs. Cops” in Yay Area / No Justice No Bart / ANONYMOUS

08.09.2011 § Leave a comment

As killings and brutality around transit in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond continue, and the hacker group ANONYMOUS has been continuously calling anti-bart actions (see below for vids), “No Justice No Bart” has emerged and “Feminists Against Cops” released the statement below at a press conference announcing their next action:

As Feminists against Cops, we want everyone across the bay area to know that women are not safer because of police presence, in BART or elsewhere. Quite the opposite. Many women are in danger because of the police. Every police institution is sexist and violent. The police are more of a threat to women than a protection, and we do not want our public transport system militarized.

Let’s be clear: the police are here to protect the capitalists and the state institutions, not us. The police have been given the authority to determine our freedom of movement, to harass us and enter our homes. The police even have the authority to determine if we live or die.

There are many accounts of police murdering youth of color in the bay area, or of police murdering homeless people, or whomever they see fit. There are as many accounts of police using their power as police and as men to dominate, harass, intimidate, imprison, and rape women. Many police feel that they have a right to women’s bodies, and when they abuse our bodies it is considered “normal” police procedure.

We are not asking for a less brutal police force because we know that brutality is an inevitable product of this policing system. Police only exist in order to brutally repress us. We must free ourselves. We are asking you to join us as we continue to struggle against the police. The quick and inhumane murder of Charles Hill is a warning: if you call the police you are putting people in danger of their lives.

To the media and to the police we say: do not use women’s bodies and the claim that you are protecting our bodies as an excuse for murder. You called Kenneth Harding a pimp to excuse shooting him in the back. But Kenneth Harding was not harming any women when he was murdered-he was evading paying his fare as many of us do. The ridiculous BART fares are a burden for people who struggle for survival. We evade fares because we claim the right to be able to move freely even if we don’t have the money to pay the fares. Since evading fare is part of how we survive and move freely, then this also means that in order to survive and move freely, we must resist police.

Our message to the police is this: we are under no illusion that you make us safer, or that you protect us. We women join these anti-police movements, including the Oscar grant riots and the response to the murders of Charles Hill and Kenneth Harding, because safety to us as women means resisting the police.

–read at press conference on 9/5; more info on Sept. 8 action here

– post originally here

ANONYMOUS, in case yall haven’t blitzed out on them already:

We Are Anonymous
We Are Legion
We Do Not Forgive
We Do Not Forget

And just fyi, Guy Fawkes (what all those masks are): a militant in the late 16th century, a Catholic who planned to assassinate the protestant King James by blowing up Parliament in the “Gunpowder Plot”.

People burn his effigy in celebration of the failure on Nov 5th.

 

“Women were betrayed by the revolution they helped to make” – Gender, Class and Security Politics in Iran

06.04.2011 § Leave a comment

Fabulous article just finished, focuses intensively on role of women and labor in recent uprisings as well as Iranian revolution. Some passages excerpted below.

New Middle Eastern Uprisings: Gender, Class and Security Politics in Iran

” The two groups that most contested Khomeini’s consolidation of power were women and labor. Iranian women were at the forefront of the struggle to overthrow the Shah; they participated in leftist guerilla struggle as well as in the mass demonstrations that formed the iconic images and collective strength of the revolution. Women’s experience of making the revolution empowered them to launch the modern Iranian feminist movement in its immediate aftermath. Missing from most histories and timelines are a series of marches and sit-ins organized and led by women demanding that gender equality be written into the new post-revolutionary constitution. On International Women’s Day, March 8, 1979, just weeks after the revolution had triumphed, tens of thousands of womenfrom all classes, some veiled, some nottook to the streets. “We didn’t make a revolution to go backwards,” they chanted. For Iranian women, a new phase of struggle against new state forms of patriarchy began at the very moment when the struggle for national liberation was over, when Khomeini told everyone to stop protesting and go home. They marched for days against Khomeini’s draconian family law and mandatory veiling and sat in at the Ministry of Justice. On March 9, Khomeini revoked the mandatory veil decree, only reinstituting it after discrediting the women as corrupted by Western-influenceand then driving them off the streets with violent repression.

Women were betrayed by the revolution they helped to make. Subsequent generations of women’s rights activists have taken this legacy seriously and drawn the lesson that national self-determination in no way guarantees self-determination for women (a reversal of the common wisdom at the time). Significantly, among the first groups of Iranians, if not the first, to express solidarity with the Tunisian revolution, was the women’s movement, which issued a statement excerpted here:
“Tunisian women’s rights activists should know that what they manage to accomplish in their quest for democracy and the equality of women will significantly impact the region and serve as a model for us all. Today, a gain for the women of Tunisia is a gain for all the nations in the region and for all women in Islamic countries.”
http://www.socialtextjournal.org/blog/player.swf 

The above clip summarizes the work of a
grassroots feminist campaign in Iran from 2005-2008.
http://change4equality.org
Iranian women were out in front of the riot squads in 2009 and joined the protests again this past week despite the violence. The women’s movement struggles to find ways of injecting feminist politics into the broader struggle. This is, of course, not an easy task but activists have continued to organize under severe repression. All of the major feminist leaders are in jail or exile, but new leaders have stepped up and the decentralized structure and word-of-mouth strategies enable the work to go on.
Also rarely mentioned in references to the Iranian revolution is the role of labor. Not only were there strikes in every sector of the economy in 1979, including most decisively a protracted strike by oil workers at the Abadan refinery (one of the world’s largest at that time), but workers formed their own councils, or shoras, to coordinate their activities and put forward demands. [2] Again, the experience of making the revolution translated into demands that could not be met within the framework of patriarchal capitalism that Khomeini was attempting to consolidate. Instead, workers demands revealed competing definitions of what an Islamic Republic should look like. On March 1, 1979, less two weeks after the revolution had been victorious, the Founding Council of the Iranian National Workers’ Union issued 24 demands including: “government recognition of theshoras; the expulsion of all foreign and Iranian capitalists and expropriation of their capitals in the interests of all workers; and the inclusion of workers’ shoras in industrial decisions such as investment and the general conditions of the plant, as well as buying, selling, pricing and the distribution of profit.” [3]

arm the women; chaos as moral vacuum; rape as strategy of war

02.03.2011 § 1 Comment

What happens in a moral vaccum?

so Here is an article is about how there was an earthquake and afterwards domestic violence intensifies dramatically. We think about this kind of thing a lot because it’s also what happens in ‘revolutions’ – revolution starts, and women get raped and beaten killed etc (by revolutionaries no less, obv).

Rape during wartime is  a strategy of war — It is proven that violence against women rises amidst disasters/war/etc. Not to mention the fact that wherever a military base makes its home–the economic sexual exploitation of women increases 700 percent. women’s bodies under patriarchy will always be the objects with which/on which to push forth an agenda or used to “entertain” troops or genocide by procreation…

How to subvert this dynamkic?
Arming the women is the answer/always a good idea.
Why does it happen?

nothing a: Maybe it has to do with the breaking down of social order, as in, the ensuing chaos invalidates the social contract or whatever that keeps men from raping women most of the time (of course, not all of the time, but to a relatively lesser frequency). maybe  men think they can get away with it because the already-thin pretense of punitive measures disappears entirely during a crisis of community/government/society?

nothing b: But this would assume that, inherently, men want to rape women, all the time, and that only social contracts or threat of punishment prevent it. Which is to say, it posits an essence to “man” – “he who rapes women”…

nothing a: we generally dont get down with gender essentialism here at the nothing. however, under patriarchy, women are subordinated to men, using methods of control like rape. the penchant for raping women is a tool to shore up male heterosexuality and dominance over women/not-men. this nothing would argue that for many/most not-men, rape is an ever-present threat; but there is something that prevents all men from raping all not-men all the time. so maybe we could posit that the fear of retribution/punishment (ie, from a government/community/society), or some sort of social contract is the preventative block?

nothing c: i def agree that it’s not bc government breaks down, or that abuse is ever really prevented by fear, but 1), yeah, duh frustration taken out on women, and 2) it could be about the destruction of common social space.

high levels of frustration + isolation facilitate a nice private arena for abuse/manipulation. preventing abuse doesn’t require a “government,” but it does require community. revolutions create community.

nothing d: but this argument presupposes that anyone who is oppressed or experiencing high levels of stress are more lkely to be abusive SIMPLY because they are not a part of what is “ideal” or considered “normal” in capitalism and patriarchy etc etc. !

.
THE JURY IS OUT.

Above all, let us not conclude, with Hobbes, that because man has no idea of goodness, he must be naturally wicked; that he is vicious because he does not know virtue; that he always refuses to do his fellow-creatures services which he does not think they have a right to demand; or that by virtue of the right he truly claims to everything he needs, he foolishly imagines himself the sole proprietor of the whole universe.

– Sum MAN

Really tho, earthquakes and revolutions are not moral vacuums. They reveal the starkness of a moral order. Men raping women is not what happens when social contracts lose their hold on people, its what happens to reproduce and reinforce the social contract.

Hence the gun, but also the need for alot of bullets.

Some theories on the abortion conspiracy

26.02.2011 § 3 Comments

(1) Ideological Battle; (2) Control of the Labor Supply; (3) Capital-as-hierarchical-gender-divide

She’s a Marxist recently broke down some of the different positions on “why all the crackdown on reproductive rights?” (full article here: Abortion Banned in Us = Capitalism’s best Interest?). She gives us two possible positions:

(1) First position: This is an ideological fight between the right and centrist social forces within the ruling class. I think this is the most common position within the left (at least that I’ve heard). It assumes that this issue is purely ideological. It assumes that the battle over abortion is at its heart dictated by ideological interests being battled out within the ruling class.

She’sa is right fucking on the money here, critiquing this position, which we’ll call “Ideolgical Battle”, for the vapid suggestion that capital doesn’t really give a fuck one way or the other about what happens to women’s reproductive rights –

I think this position assumes Capital processes (M-C-M) are fundamentally sex/gender/race blind, and thus, Capital acting in its most truest interests is ruthlessly pragmatic and not really hemmed in by ideological interest in any one religion, race, nationality, gender, etc. It wants profit and profit don’t have no gender, race or religion.

She’sa continues to argue for an alternative position,

(2) Second possible position:… different factions of capital have more than just an ideological interest in the outcome of this fight, since the issue [of reproductive rights] critically affects the make-up of the labor force in the U.S. which has an impact on capital here and abroad.

This argument, the “Control of labor pool” argument, that capital is interested in controlling women’s reproduction centrally in order to control the reproduction of labor power, control the labor pool, the reserve army, etc, is an important one. And She’s A Marxist’s intervention, that “concerns about the family, and concerns about gender are not just ideological concerns. They are directly and critically related to the labor needs of capital,” is totally essential and should be tatt’d on the asses of whatever marxists haven’t gotten that yet, but there still seems something more we can say about this.

(3) The nothing offers a third position (in hopes of more to follow): that regardless of what kind of labor pool capital wants (and it is very uncertain whether capital actually moves to produce the kind of labor pool it ‘wants’, or if its even clear what it ‘wants’), capital will constantly be pressing more restrictions and violences on womens bodies whenever it can, because the gender distinction is a constitutive presupposition of capital, and controlling women’s reproduction and perpetrating violence on womens bodies and  is the construction of woman-as-category, is the construction of the gender division.

In other words, capital could give a whatwhat about how many people are in its reserve army (LIKE HELLO THERE ARE WAY TOO MANY RIGHT NOW, SO NOW YOU HAVE EGYPT AND WISCONSIN), it STILL will oppress women. Why? BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT CAPITAL IS. Capital (amongst other things) a new form, a most distilled and systematic form, of patriarchy, which contains as an inherent part, the subordination of women to men. Any attempt to explain attacks on women from capital is to say “capital could just be nice to women, why’s  it being so mean?” But the truth is, it won’t ever be nice to women-as-class.

The reproduction of an increasingly heirarchical gender divide, which is the central cumulative affect of making abortion illegal, is really awesome for capital NOT ONLY IN THAT IT PRODUCES BABIES, but in that THE MORE SERIOUS THE GENDER DIVIDE, THE MORE WOMEN CAN BE EXPLOITED BY CAPITAL, both in the wage-relation, and in unpaid reproductive labor. And capital is FOUNDED on and REPRODUCED BY this hyperexploitation of women, as compared to men.

Silvia Federici has thrown in some chips on the question. In an interesting way, she sets up premises which would move her toward position three, but she seems to throw down position two..

On the positive side, the discovery of reproductive work has made it possible to understand that capitalist production relies on the production of a particular type of worker, and therefore a particular type of family, sexuality, procreation, and thus to redefine the private sphere as a sphere of relations of production and a terrain of anticapitalist struggle. In this context, policies forbidding abortion could be decoded as devices for the regulation of the labor-supply, the collapse of the birth rate and increase in the number of divorces could be read as instances of resistance to the capitalist discipline of work. The personal became political and capital and the state were found to have subsumed our lives and reproduction down to the bedroom

find rest of article over at comrade caring labor

EVENT: Nawal El Saadawi, Fawzia Afzal Khan on struggles in Egypt&Pakistan 3/11

18.02.2011 § Leave a comment

Friday March 11th, 2011 7:30 PM

BOOK PARTY / FORUM
Revolutionary Women
Dissident Voices from Egypt & Pakistan.
Fawzia Afzal Khan, Nawal El Saadawi & Kathleen Foster

An Evening with Nawal el Saadawi and Fawzia Afzal-Khan reading from her controversial memoir of Pakistan: Lahore With Love: Growing Up With Girlfriends Pakistani Style. Followed by clips from Kathleen Foster’s award-winning documentary Afghan Women: A History of Struggle.

Fawzia Afzal-Khan will read/perform from her controversial memoir: Lahore With Love: Growing Up With Girlfriends Pakistani Style.The memoir has come under fire in Pakistan, and Syracuse University Press has withdrawn it from circulation after publishing it.

Nawal el Saadawi, internationally renowned Egyptian dissident writer and human and women’s rights activist.  Fresh from protesting in Tahrir Square, Nawal el Saadawi will be bringing us her revolutionary analysis of recent events in Egypt.

Sliding scale: $6/$10/$15
Free for Brecht Forum Subscribers

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