decolonize feminism

We see movies in which people are represented as being in love who never talk with one another, who fall into bed without ever discussing their bodies, their sexual needs, their likes and dislikes. Indeed, the message received from the mass media is that knowledge makes love less compelling; that it is ignorance that gives love its erotic and transgressive edge. These messages are often brought to us by profiteering producers who have no clue about the art of loving, who substitute their mystified visions because they do not really know how to genuinely portray loving interaction.
—  “all about love: New Visions” by bell hooks
On This Day: August 26

Women’s Equality Day

  • 1789: French Revolution: The Estates General in France passes the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
  • 1827: Militant anarchist feminist Nathalie Lemel born in Brest, France. She was active during the paris Commune and was a co-founder of the Women’s Union for the Defense of Paris and Care of the Wounded with Elisabeth Dmitrieff.
  • 1864: Revolutionary Anna Ulyanova born in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. She was a sister of Vladimir Lenin and a Soviet stateswoman.
  • 1899: Anarchist and unionist René Lochu was born in Vannes, France. He was the inspiration for the Léo Ferré song Les Étrangers.
  • 1907: Congrés Internacional Anarquista (International Anarchist Congress) begins. It is held in Amsterdam.
  • 1913: Start of the Dublin Lock-out. It was a major dispute as workers fought for right to organise, led by Jim Larkin.
  • 1919: Fannie Sellins, United Mine Workers union organizer, shot and killed by company-hired sheriffs during a Pennsylvania coal strike.
  • 1920: 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, officially part of US constitution.
  • 1924: Anarchist Vasily Postnikov is arrested in Moscow by the Bolsheviks.
  • 1930: Louis Eugène Jakmin, aka Jacquemin, dies in Paris. He was a founder of the Fédération révolutionnaire communiste (FRC).
  • 1935: United Auto Workers union is founded.
  • 1946: Animal Farm by George Orwell published in the United States.
  • 1956: Marxist Alfred Wagenknecht dies in Illinois. He played a key role in the founding US Communist Party in 1919.
  • 1970: Women’s Strike for Equality: 50 years after US women’s suffrage, 20,000 celebrate and march in New York City.
  • 1986: Italian anarchist Boris Franteschini dies in Melbourne due to complications caused by lung cancer. He was one of the last active members of the Italian Anarchist Movement in Melbourne.
  • 1989: Jean Barrue dies in Bordeaux, France. He was a communist militant and then a anarchist syndicalist. He took part in the creation of the French Communist Party.
  • 1997: Former East German leader, Egon Krenz, convicted of shoot-to-kill policy at people fleeing at Berlin Wall.
  • 2006: Five hundred employees at Progressive Enterprises in New Zealand begin strike for national collective agreement.
  • 2015: Amelia Platts Boynton Robinson dies in Montgomery, Alabama. She was a leader of the US Civil Rights Movement.

Courtesy of Ruth Cankudutawin Hopkins, The Truth Behind Pocahontas.

Image description: a picture of Disney’s version of Pocahontas with the following words:
“Pocahontas was a nickname (meaning The Naughty One). Her real name was Matoaka. If we believe John Smith’s account of events, she would have been 10 or 11 when she met him. That’s hardly a romantic scenario, unless you’re a pedophile.

Pocahontas was kidnapped by the English. She was imprisoned at the Jamestown colony for over a year, where she was assaulted. While still a teenager, our young heroine married John Rolfe. Marrying the Englishman was a condition of her release.

Pocahontas was then taken to England, as a sort of living specimen and advertisement for colonization. She died at the tender age of 21, unaware that the English would create the Pocahontas Myth; one where she was the good Indian who rescued the whiteman from her brutish, savage Tribesmen.

This myth birthed many colonial stereotypes of Native people and was used as justification to make war against us.”

On This Day: September 17
  • 1394: Jews are expelled from France by order of King Charles VI.
  • 1849: In Maryland, abolitionist Harriet Tubm and her brothers, Ben and Henry, escaped from slavery.
  • 1861: First class for escaped slaves taught by Mary Peake at Fortress Monroe Virginia, which is now Hampton University.
  • 1871: International Workingmen’s Association begins conference in London, though attendance disrupted by Franco-Prussian war.
  • 1898: Last edition of Jewish anarchist newspaper Dos Fraye Vort published.
  • 1900: Across US 100,000 United Mine Workers of America anthracite coal miners strike for union recognition.
  • 1916: 40,000 Amsterdam demonstrators demand general voting right.
  • 1921: Under pressure the Bolshevik regime releases 10 anarchists from the Taganka- Voline, Vorobiov, Mratchny, Mikhailov, Maximov, Yudin, Yartchuk, Gorelik, Feldman and Fedorov. Most are deported to Berlin.
  • 1930: The Ararat rebellion, an uprising of Kurds in eastern Turkey against the government, is defeated with thousands of casualties.
  • 1940: Nazis begin confiscating the possessions of every person of Jewish descent.
  • 1941: Canadian government declares strikes illegal for the remainder of World War Two.
  • 1943: Italian anarchist Gino Lucetti escaped from prison with the help of others, but was killed shortly afterwards during a German bombing raid on Ischia.
  • 1944: Dutch begin railroad strike against German occupiers.
  • 1980: Over 20 Inter-factory Founding Committees of free trade unions merge into one national Polish organization Solidarity.
  • 1995: Gustafsen Lake Crisis: End of armed standoff between RCMP and First Nations people over a ranch claimed to be sacred territory.
  • 1998: Santa Cruz, California passes a nuclear free zone ordinance.
  • 2006: A leaked recording of Hungarian PM Gyurcsány admiting he lied, provokes huge protests and civil unrest.
  • 2011: Occupy: The first day of Occupy Wall St (OWS) In New York City.
  • 2015: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports 2015 Northern Hemisphere summer hottest on record.
With a decolonial identity, young Chicanas and Mexican women can engage differential forms of consciousness that allow movement among and between spaces and narratives.
—  Rosario Carrillo, Cultural Production of a Decolonial Imaginary for a Young Chicana: Lessons from Mexican Immigrant Working Class Women’s Culture

The feminist movement is generally periodized into the so-called first, second and third waves of feminism. In the United States, the first wave is characterized by the suffragette movement; the second wave is characterized by the formation of the National Organization for Women, abortion rights politics, and the fight for the Equal Rights Amendments. Suddenly, during the third wave of feminism, women of colour make an appearance to transform feminism into a multicultural movement.

This periodization situates white middle-class women as the central historical agents to which women of colour attach themselves. However, if we were to recognize the agency of indigenous women in an account of feminist history, we might begin with 1492 when Native women collectively resisted colonization. This would allow us to see that there are multiple feminist histories emerging from multiple communities of colour which intersect at points and diverge in others. This would not negate the contributions made by white feminists, but would de-center them from our historicizing and analysis.

Indigenous feminism thus centers anti-colonial practice within its organizing. This is critical today when you have mainstream feminist groups supporting, for example, the US bombing of Afghanistan with the claim that this bombing will free women from the Taliban (apparently bombing women somehow liberates them).

it’s wild rediscovering how full of love & sweetness i am/can be. i think just being a black/brown girl in the hood, you’re taught those will be points of weakness, reasons for people to take advantage of you, the source of naivety. you’re not allowed to just wanna give love and receive love without someone assuming you’d end up hurt or (of course god forbid) in someone’s bed or pregnant (every momma’s fear). especially as Black girls, as children of immigrants, as girls who are supposed to do better & be better by “getting out of the hood”, as “smart” girls. we’ve been taught to disassociate our selves from our great capacity to love. we are misinformed in the power of a love ethic, in the strength it takes to love & let go of it. some of us don’t even get a chance to learn what it will be like to love ourselves & bodies. taught to think of love as a distraction & not as a motivation for being and thriving…

i’m taking time now to value all the lessons of love my family has blessed me with but also unlearn these toxic things.

I see myself as an antiracist feminist. Why does antiracist feminism matter in struggles for economic and social justice in the early twenty-first century? The last century was clearly the century of the maturing of feminist ideas, sensibilities, and movements. The twentieth-century was also the century of the decolonization of the Third World/South, the rise of the splintering of the communist Second World, the triumphal rise and recolonization of almost the entire globe by capitalism, and the consolidation of ethnic, nationalist, and religious and fundamentalist movements and nation-states. Thus, while feminist ideas and movements may have grown and matured, the backlash and challenges to feminism have also grown exponentially.

So in this political/economic context, what would an economically and socially just feminist politics look like? It would require a clear understanding that being a woman has political consequences in the world we live in; that there can be unjust and unfair effects on women depending on our economic and social marginality and/or privilege. It would require recognizing that sexism, racism, misogyny, and heterosexism underlie and fuel social and political institutions of rule and thus often lead to hatred of women and (supposedly justified) violence against women. The interwoven processes of sexism, racism, misogyny, and heterosexism are an integral part of our social fabric, wherever in the world we happen to be. We need to be aware that these ideologies, in conjunction with the regressive politics of ethnic nationalism and capitalist consumerism, are differently constitutive of all of our lives in the early twenty-first century. Besides recognizing all this and formulating a clear analysis and critique of the behaviours, attitudes, institutions, and relational politics that these interwoven systems entail, a just and inclusive feminist politics for the present needs also to have a vision for transformation and strategies for realizing this vision.

Hence decolonization, anticapitalist critique and solidarity.

—  An excerpt from “Feminism Without Borders,” by Chandra Talpade Mohanty.
My notes from my presentation at the Trans Experience in Philosophy Conference

● To rethink transgender politics by placing it within the context of colonization. ‘Queer’ decolonization studies focuses on the colonial erasure of pre­colonial gendering and sexuality, with some arguing a non­existent pre­colonial gendering and sexuality within some contexts of colonization. In taking these critiques seriously we must ask the question of what transgender and feminist politics within colonized spaces means with an understanding of these politics as developing from a eurocentric framework.

● To do this we must place Judith Butler and Monique Wittig in conversation with the tradition of Black and Indigenous Feminisms to better understand the role race plays in the construction of gender. A common Black Feminist critique of the Radical Feminist movement in addition to other Feminisms, is the unspoken assumption of the white sexually dimorphic body as universal female experience. Wittig spoke of the biological model for sex as part of the legacy of patriarchy naturalizing the social divisions between men and women when used by both gender science and feminism. The Combahee River Collective made a similar claim against radical feminism, coming from a racial lens, to describe biological essentialism as racialized and why they rejected it from the perspective of often not being considered to be ‘real women.’ We know from Judith Butler that there is no pre­discursive body, that to describe a body before discourse is to discursively construct it, and because of this biological sex is always already gender; the move towards essentializing sex is to discursively construct a category as pre­existing discourse. Gender is always already heterosexual, the symbolic categories of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ existing to naturalize divisions that exist to propagate itself through reproductive futurism that produces the gendered subject. But these gendered subjects, the assumption of universal whiteness by excluding the narrative of race from its conception, was always already racialized. Gender is a white nationalist politics that associates the purity of the nation with the reproduction of the white race and its subjects. This is a departure from the framework that there is a universal female experience based in the naturalism of sex. Instead, Maria Lugones’s framework of the Coloniality of Gender, or gender as part of the European colonization of the Americas and Africa is where we’ll base an analysis of gender from. The Coloniality of Gender describes the arising Enlightenment project of scientific naturalism replacing the theological basis for race. In this process, scientific naturalism seeks to explain previous theological justifications for race within biological terms ­ naturalizing social divisions within the pre­discursive. Maria Lugones argues that gender is part of this process within Enlightenment thought.The biologizing of gender cannot be separated from the biologizing of race. The Coloniality of Gender describes the supposed universal dimorphic sexed body as white. By placing attention to the context where Black and Indigenous Feminists were describing their gendered experiences as raracialized - that their womanhood is not a universal assumption but a contested space we can rethink gender politics as a racial politics. Coexisting with the assumption of the white sexed body as the universal female experience is the assumption of Blackness and Indigeneity as outside the symbolic integrity of gendered categories. The Coloniality of Gender is seen in the colonial encounter ­- the meeting space of the colonizer’s eurocentrism with the colonized subject. Maria Lugones describes this colonial encounter as not carrying forward the notion of a universal sexually dimorphic body. The colonial encounter instead produces racial subjects within what Lugones terms the ‘light’ and ‘dark’ side of gender. The dark side of gender is seen in the colonial literature describing Black and Indigenous persons as non­normatively sexed, as intersexed, disfigured, mutilated, excessive, as not dimorphic but rather masculine and feminine in ways unintelligible in the face of the model of sexual dimorphism as white. Hortense Spillers further problematizes the notion of a universal white sexed body by arguing that the violence of the Middle Passage and enslavement is an ungendering violence, and making visible that violence into the flesh. Her distinction between body and flesh is essential to an understanding of gender as racialized. Black Flesh being ungendered further proves the white sexed body is not universal. Black persons existing outside of the Enlightenment Humanist discourses shows us that the body belongs to the human while Black Flesh also belongs to the nonhuman. The flesh can never be part of the light side of gender, as dimorphic or heterosexual.This historical narrative of gender as racialized confirms much of what Black and Indigenous Feminism have already described starting with “Ain’t I A Woman?” Gender politics being based within accepting the narrative of the Coloniality of Gender answers this question for us: No. Sex is the naturalization of white supremacist racial politics, not existing within the body before discourse, and sex relying on the separation between the liberated subject position of the body versus the ungendering of the captured flesh.

● The implications this has for a transgender and feminist politics is immense. Returning to Butler, we know that in Gender Trouble she described that feminism produces the very subject it claims to be representing ­- the female subject. If we recognize the female, sex as always already gender then it becomes necessary as part of a decolonization effort to reject the female as the basis of feminism. If biological sex and thus the female arises from a context of colonization and slavery, then we can come to the conclusion that gender essentialism that places transgender people as outside can only exist because of colonization. Transmisogyny and the antiblack violence against Black Trans Women and colonial violence against transgender indigenous women is a direct consequence of the
biologizing of sex and race. The essentialist politics of Radical Feminism, based within the female subject as a revolutionary subject, is therefore a racial nationalism. Cissexism and transmisogyny are therefore racialized in its formation. There cannot be a female subject without the white sexed body. The main purpose of feminism as the liberation of women, which has often been exclusionary in both racial and trans contexts, cannot be a truly liberatory gender politics.

After many laborious months, I’m proud to say that Amber McCrary and I have finally completed our second zine! This time around, we’ve decided to call our latest feminist endeavor The Nizhóní Beat, nizhóní meaning “beautiful” in the Navajo language/Diné bizaad. Although we’ve changed the name, our message remains much the same. Like the woman on the cover, we’re here to encourage every Native Woman to get down with her bad self and dance to her own beautiful beat! In this issue, we have some really great contributions from Saylor Alex, Tamara Seaton and fellow zinester Going Places. We’re selling them for $4 each on #Etsy but are open to zine swaps as well. Please feel free to share and ahéhee’ for taking the time to read this post!

Fuck Your Genderqueer Prison! A Nihilist Insurrection Against Gender

I’m asking for submissions to a zine/anthology that I’ve been wanting to create for months.

An all encompassing idea surrounds us: gender is safe, gender is neutral, gender should exist, gender should be expanded. We experience this ideology from liberal feminists and their grrrrl power male aligned youtube channels, from radical feminists who insist that gender abolition would maintain sex as a designation and replicate gendered norms, to trans people who see any critique of gender as an attack on ‘identity’ and from genderqueers and non-binaries that want to expand gender and gender recognition infinitely. Neverending flags, pronoun sets and gender identities with neverending advocacy for state recognition of non-binary genders. How long before this neoliberal scourge inevitably expands into a homonationalist terror demanding not the abolition of prisons but infinite prisons for infinite genders? This anthology is declaring war - and this war is fought against this gender liberalism.

This war will not be fought with rainbow flags and military inclusion, hate crime legislation or prison construction, gentrification or settler-colonization, state recognition or ‘visibility’ politics. This war will be won with the abolition of sex and gender, an insurrection against the ascribed meaning violently placed upon us.

Inspired by Baedan: The Journal of Queer Nihilism this anthology would focus on the topics of queer nihilism, antipolitics, decolonization, radical feminism, insurrectionary anarchism, autonomous marxism, nihilism and existentialism, gender abolition, materialist analysis, critical race theory, cyborg feminism, reproductive labor and compulsory heterosexuality. Foucault, Butler, Debord, Althusser, Lacan, Marx, Engels, Federici, Maria Lugones, Andrea Smith, and bell hooks and who else you’d like to mention is appreciated as well.

Guidelines: 5-15 pages double-spaced on the topics mentioned above, responding to the crisis described. Preference given to trans women of color for submissions. Artists also wanted for this project. Please submit to by December 15th, 2015.

Navajo Nation Leader Wants Action Against Sexual Harassment

By Astrid Galvan 

In a tearful plea to her fellow Navajo Nation Council delegates, Amber Kanazbah Crotty announced for the first time publicly that she had been sexually harassed as an elected official and called for change.

Crotty — the only woman on the 23-person board — talked at a recent council meeting about vulgar comments and sexual innuendo directed at her by a colleague.

She also said she had been groped while working as a legislative district assistant several years ago.

She demanded that something be done.

Crotty’s plea came as women in Indian Country are being victimized by sexual assaults, rape and violence at more than twice the rate of other women in the U.S., according to the federal Department of Justice.

There were 330 reported rapes in Navajo Nation in 2013, a figure that is likely low because authorities believe the crime is underreported.

A study released this year by the National Institute of Justice found that 56 percent of Native women have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime.

Crotty said she did not feel comfortable reporting harassment, and that she didn’t think she was protected under the Navajo Nation’s employment laws when she was a legislative district assistant — a political appointment.

“I cannot ask my people to be brave enough to tell their secrets, tell their stories, if I’m not able to do that either,” Crotty told The Associated Press. “It’s hard, it’s challenging. It’s shameful.”

Jared Touchin, a spokesman for Navajo Nation Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates, said Bates is putting together training on sexual harassment. He said he is working with Crotty to hash out the details. Bates did not respond to requests for an interview.

Crotty, who sits on the council’s sexual assault prevention committee, said tolerance for sexist comments at the tribe’s highest level of government is a symptom of the overall culture on Navajo Nation.

She said no one spoke out when a delegate made an offensive sexual innuendo toward her during a budget committee meeting.

“It was interesting that I was the one who apologized to the committee when I was the one, in my opinion, being assaulted,” she said.

Deleana OtherBull, executive director of the nonprofit Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, said such behavior has become a vicious cycle that affects generations.

“It might start with enforcing very unequal gender assumptions, and then it really creates this culture where women are hypersexualized and that’s the beginning of rape culture,” OtherBull said. “There’s a lot of shame, a lot of guilt, a lot of self-blame. And it’s created this culture where it’s something that we know is happening but very few people speak out about it.”

Genevieve Jackson, who served as a council delegate from 1991 to 1999, said sexual harassment has been going on for years.

Jackson, now a commissioner in McKinley County, New Mexico, said she often heard sexist remarks from male colleagues and that she was ostracized for speaking out against them.

On one occasion her name was written on a men’s bathroom wall at the council chambers.

“I mean these are behaviors that are indicative of a junior high or sixth grade kid, and the fact that I had to deal with this coming from elected officials was really discouraging and just shocking,” Jackson said.

Jackson said she had to introduce an anti-domestic violence act several times before the council approved it.

Jackson and Crotty say most of their male colleagues have been respectful but the few who are not go unpunished.

“There has to be a safe place that’s beyond the political dynamics that an individual who’s put in this situation has the ability to talk about it and that something can be done,” Crotty said. “Nobody’s above the law.”

Keep reading

buriitanii  asked:

Oh wait! I got it. I talked to my friend, who knows way more about archaeology than I could ever hope to and she explained to me that a lot of individuals use artifacts without even trying to contact the group who has ownership of them. Wow. This seems like a major problem. :( I guess when I think of a lot of things that I've seen in museums, I never really considered how many of the items were stolen by archaeologists and historians. :( I'm sorry if I bothered you with my stupidity.

No, you didn’t bother us with your ask! :]

What I would ask is that non-Indigenous PoC think about what they reblog critically, and to avoid using Indigenous cultures as “inspiration” or reblogging historical artefacts for solely aesthetic purposes. A lot of times this makes aspects of Indigenous cultures accessible to appropriation by whites. Our aesthetics have specific histories, contexts, and meanings, some of which are deeply religious.

On the other hand, whites should not be reblogging anything about Indigenous peoples that isn’t about education or their historical and ongoing struggles worldwide. It’s really gross to see white folks reblogging stuff like random B&W photos of old Native chiefs, just because it’s seen as magical, or exotic or whatever. This stuff leads directly to white folks appropriating culture. And then when Indigenous folks want to take part in their culture, they’re forbidden.

“…[S]ettlers continuously seek to capitalize on what they understand as their country’s own ‘native’ resources, which include Indigenous cultures and peoples themselves.”

Decolonizing Feminism: Challenging Connections between Settler Colonialism and Heteropatriarchy. Maile Arvin, Eve Tuck, and Angie Morrill

“…[T]he logics of Western philosophy … are premised on the self-determined subject’s aspirations to achieve universality. Consequently, Native studies often rests on a Native subject awaiting humanity. In other words, if people simply understood Native peoples better, Natives would then become fully human-they would be free and self-determining … Native studies thus becomes trapped in ethnographic multiculturalism, what Silva describes as a ‘neoliberal multicultural’ representation that ‘includes never-before-known consciousness’. This representation which attempts to demonstrate Native peoples’ worthiness of being universal subjects, actually rests on the logic that Native peoples are equivalent to nature itself, things to be discovered that have an essential truth or essence. In other words, the very quest for full subjecthood implicit in the ethnographic project to tell our ‘truth’ is already premised on a logic that requires us to be objects to be discovered. Furthermore, within this colonial logic, Native particularity cannot achieve universal humanity without becoming ‘inauthentic’ because Nativeness is already fundamentally constructed as the ‘other’ of Western subjectivity.”

Queer Theory and Native Studies: the heteronormativity of settler colonialism.