Wednesday, 9 February 2011

explanation of entitlement of the day

it's a good long while since i quoted any Jensen, and there's nothing better than a good clear description of the mechanics of entitlement - one core trait of an abuser - to get me going of a morning:
"There’s a great line by Upton Sinclair about how it’s hard to make a man [sic] understand something when his [sic] job depends on him not understanding it. I think that’s true even more for entitlement. It’s hard to make someone understand something when their entitlement, their privilege, their comforts and elegancies, their perceived ability to control and manage, depends on it.

So much nature writing, social change theory, and environmental philosophy are at best irrelevant, and more often harmful in that they do not question human supremacism (or for that matter white supremacism, or male supremacism). They often do not question imperialism, including ecological imperialism. So often I feel like so many of them still want the goodies that come from imperialism (including ecological imperialism and sexual imperialism) far more than they want for these forms of imperialism to stop. And since the violence of imperialism is structural—inherent to the process—you can’t realistically expect imperialism to stop being violent just because you call it “green” or just because you wish with all your might."
- Jensen interviewed by Mickey Z. at Press Action (square brackets in original! i'm not really that offended by the universal 'he')

Monday, 7 February 2011

people have a better understanding of power

this article is very heartening!
"18. People have a better understanding of power. The activists have read their Chomsky and their Hardt-Negri, but the ideas therein have become mimetic: young people believe the issues are no longer class and economics but simply power: they are clever to the point of expertise in knowing how to mess up hierarchies and see the various "revolutions" in their own lives as part of an "exodus" from oppression, not - as previous generations did - as a "diversion into the personal". While Foucault could tell Gilles Deleuze: "We had to wait until the nineteenth century before we began to understand the nature of exploitation, and to this day, we have yet to fully comprehend the nature of power",- that's probably changed."

Dangerous Conversations

new & exciting 'zine project - 'Dangerous Conversations'
email: dangerousconversations(at)riseup(dot)net
deadline for contributions to issue one: March 2011
Dangerous Conversations is a project born out of the struggle to end systems of domination. Our involvement in movements described as anarchist, activist, horizontalist, and so on has been at times inspiring and at other times disillusioning and frustrating. This zine is not aimed at Anarchists
or Activists but at anyone who struggles against the many forms of domination that blight our lives: ableism, ageism, authority, capitalism, civilisation, caste and class systems, heteronormativity, islamaphobia, male privilege, speciesism, transphobia, white supremacy (and others that are
still unrecognised).
Dangerous Conversations is intended as an intervention in business as usual. We hope to collect texts and viewpoints that challenge the status quo in a way that, rather than (or perhaps as well as) provoking hostility, provoke constructive responses and discussion. We hope that, as much as possible,
the zine becomes a place to converse and to deepen affinity. By showing solidarity with others who also see the struggle as their own struggle, evenwhen we differ on the details, we can become stronger as a movement. Ours is a strength that comes through diversity and empathy for different viewpoints
rather than the imposition of dogma and distrust.
These conversations are dangerous to oppressors because they threaten their privilege. They sometimes seem dangerous to us too because they threaten our own privilege. Because of this, they are important conversations to have.
This first issue (‘What next?’) is to be a collection of different viewpoints on where this struggle should go next. We are inviting a range of contributors who we think have interesting and sometimes conflicting ideas on how we should proceed.
We hope that readers will want to respond to and involve themselves in the project by contributing to this conversation in whatever way seems appropriate. There are no guidelines for what is and isn’t appropriate way to express yourself here. Submissions for future publication, participation
in the editorial collective, criticism and ideas are all very welcome.


"most of us get it wrong.  we think first you get security and then you can work for freedom.  but no, that never really works out.  first you get free.  second, you get free.  third, you get free.

security is an illusion."

Thursday, 3 February 2011

cuts are violence

"Women’s Aid, Refuge and independent providers of domestic violence services – all are facing ‘inevitable’ funding cuts, ‘efficiency’ measures, amalgamation and closure. Services that support, empower and protect thousands of families and single women will shut down. Thousands of workers in our sector will lose their jobs in 2011. [...]

Abandoning survivors of abuse and other vulnerable people to the “Big Society” having bailed out banks and cosied up to corporate tax-dodgers is violence that will impact our society for generations. [...]

As survivors and supporters we are face to face with abuse on a daily basis and understand all too well how abusers operate. We have a responsibility to speak out and describe the abusive attitudes of the people behind the cuts programme, and the violence that is enacted in it. [...]

We know full well the links between abuse and homelessness, abuse and poverty, abuse and unemployment, abuse and mental illness. And we know that this cuts programme re-enacts and reinforces abusive structural social injustice. We are acutely aware that these cuts will compound this interlinked violence and make it much harder for the most vulnerable people to become free. [...]

As providers of, and workers within, gendered violence services – how can we respond to this crisis and act not merely to defend our salary structures, but as if stopping abuse in our communities is our absolute priority? 

Are we going to bicker between women’s services over our share of the crumbs and step on one another to stay in business? Are we going to unite as women’s services to gain a larger share of the crumbs at the expense of perhaps asylum seekers’ services, or homeless men’s services? Or are we going to challenge the system that attempts to divide and rule us in this way? [...]

Those anti-violence services that survive or are created in this cataclysmic upheaval face a disturbing ‘race neutral’ and ‘gender neutral’ future in which existing specialist services with decades of experience are ‘streamlined’ i.e. closed, in the name of ‘efficiency’. We are facing the end of specialist “Black and Minority Ethnic” services and specialist women’s services, a future in which provision “by Black women for Black women” and “by women for women” are anachronisms, because “we’re all in this together” [...]

As survivors and supporters we know the need to look for the crux of power in each situation. We are all too familiar with abusers’ use of an ultimate threat to hold over their victim: If you leave you’ll lose your home / No one else would want you / I could kill you… We have to assess whether there is any truth in the threat, and if so what we stand to risk in our effort to be free.

What is the ultimate, most terrifying, threat that the state holds over us? No more funding. So we must reckon with this possibility and face it head on. How can we support the people around us who are experiencing domestic and sexual violence, potentially in the absence of funding? We have done it before: Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis were started by women who reached out to support one another. Before there were refuges, women offered each other their spare rooms. Faced with a decimation of services, do we need to begin this grassroots work once more? Is this idea shocking, frightening?"

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

my wishes

are with egypt and the people there making change and the people living through it. i'm missing mai'a, whose tumblr i read almost daily for inspiration and truth (and pictures of beautiful beds and beautiful women). and the remarkable demonstration of both that the internet can be a tool for actual revolution - and that those in power can take it away.