Economic Aspects of "Love"

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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:53 am

In capitalist societies the educational system, the structure of moral reflexes handed down from father to son, the exemplary honesty of workers who are given a medal after fifty years of good and loyal service, and the affection which springs from harmonious relations and good behavior — all these aesthetic expressions of respect for the established order serve to create around the exploited person an atmosphere of submission and of inhibition which lightens the task of policing considerably. In the capitalist countries a multitude of moral teachers, counselors and 'bewilderers' separate the exploited from those in power.

— Frantz Fanon
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:50 am

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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:07 am

Wounded Knee Massacre 123 Years Ago: We Remember Those Lost

by Levi Rickert, Native News Online, Dec 28, 2013

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An iconic photo from the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee of a dead and frozen Big Foot.

One hundred and twenty-three winters ago, on December 29, 1890, some 150 Lakota men, women and children were massacred by the US 7th Calvary Regiment near Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Some estimate the actual number closer to 300.

Snowfall was heavy that December week. The Lakota ancestors killed that day were left in brutal frigid wintry plains of the reservation before a burial party came to bury them in one mass grave. The photograph of Big Foot’s frozen and contorted body is a symbol for all American Indians of what happened to our ancestors.

Some of those who survived were eventually taken to the Episcopal mission in Pine Ridge. Eventually, some of them were able to give an oral history of what happened. One poignant fact of the massacre has remained in my mind since first reading it, and every time I think about Wounded Knee, I remember this:

“It was the fourth day after Christmas in the Year of Our Lord 1890. When the first torn and bleeding bodies were carried into the candlelit church, those who were conscious could see Christmas greenery hanging from the open rafters. Across the chancel front above the pulpit was strung a crudely lettered banner: “Peace on earth, good will to men,

writes Dee Brown in “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.”

There was no peace on earth for the Lakota four days after Christmas.

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US soldiers with Hotchkiss machine guns, Wounded Knee 1890.

Later, as absurd as it may sound, some 20 US Calvary soldiers were given the Medal of Honor – for killing innocent Lakota men, women and children. What an insult to those who lost their lives. What an insult to humanity.

The Wounded Knee Massacre is a symbol for all American Indians of what happened to our ancestors.

History records the Wounded Knee Massacre was the last battle of the American Indian war. Unfortunately, it is when most American history books drop American Indians from history, as well. As if we no longer exist.


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A mass grave at Wounded Knee, 1890.

Fortunately, American Indians have survived – one generation after another – since Wounded Knee. It is for us who remain to remember our ancestors as we make for a better life for those we encounter today. We are also taught to prepare for the next seven generations, but as we do, we must remember our ancestors.

We remember those ancestors lost on December 29 — 123 winters ago.

http://nativenewsonline.net/currents/wo ... mber-lost/
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:14 pm

http://cbmilstein.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/anarchism/

Anarchism

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Note: This piece is a reworked extract from my book Anarchism and Its Aspirations (IAS/AK Press, 2010, http://www.akpress.org/anarchism-and-it ... tions.html) for the Lexicon pamphlet series put together by the Institute for Anarchist Studies. You can download a PDF version of this pamphlet, designed by Josh MacPhee, along with the other four titles in this series at http://anarchiststudies.org/lexicon-pamphlet-series/.

* * *

“By anarchist spirit I mean that deeply human sentiment, which aims at the good of all,freedom and justice for all, solidarity and love among the people; which is not an exclusive characteristic only of self-declared anarchists, but inspires all people who have a generous heart and an open mind.”

—Errico Malatesta, Umanita Nova, April 13, 1922

At its core, anarchism is indeed a spirit—one that cries out against all that’s wrong with present-day society, and yet boldly proclaims all that could be right under alternate forms of social organization. There are many different though often complementary ways of looking at anarchism, but in a nutshell, it can be defined as the striving toward a “free society of free individuals.” This phrase is deceptively simple. Bound within it is both an implicit multidimensional critique and an expansive, if fragile, reconstructive vision.

Here, a further shorthand depiction of anarchism is helpful: the ubiquitous “circle A” image. The A is a placeholder for the ancient Greek word anarkhia—combining the root an(a), “without,” and arkh(os), “ruler, authority”—meaning the absence of authority. More contemporaneously and accurately, it stands for the absence of both domination (mastery or control over another) and hierarchy (ranked power relations of dominance and subordination). The circle could be considered an O, a placeholder for “order” or, better yet, “organization,” drawing on Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s seminal definition in What Is Property? (1840): “as man [sic] seeks justice in equality, so society seeks order in anarchy.” The circle A symbolizes anarchism as a dual project: the abolition of domination and hierarchical forms of social organization, or power-over social relations, and their replacement with horizontal versions, or power-together and in common—again, a free society of free individuals.

Anarchism is a synthesis of the best of liberalism and the best of communism, elevated and transformed by the best of traditions that work toward an egalitarian, voluntarily, and nonhierarchical society. The project of liberalism in the broadest sense is to ensure personal liberty. Communism’s overarching project is to ensure the communal good. One could, and should, question the word “free” in both cases, particularly in the actual implementations of liberalism and communism, and their shared emphasis on the state and property as ensuring freedom. Nonetheless, respectively, and at their most “democratic,” one’s aim is an individual who can live an emancipated life, and the other seeks a community structured along collectivist lines. Both are worthy notions. Unfortunately, freedom can never be achieved in this lopsided manner: through the self or society. The two necessarily come into conflict, almost instantly. Anarchism’s great leap was to combine self and society in one political vision; at the same time, it jettisoned the state and property as the pillars of support, relying instead on self-organization and mutual aid.

Anarchism as a term emerged in nineteenth-century Europe, but its aspirations and practices grew out of, in part, hundreds of years of slave rebellions, peasant uprisings, and heretical religious movements around the world in which people decided that enough was enough, and the related experimentation for centuries with various forms of autonomy.

Anarchism was also partly influenced by Enlightenment thought in the eighteenth century, which—at its best—popularized three pivotal notions, to a large degree theorized from these revolts. First: Individuals have the capacity to reason. Second: If humans have the capacity to reason, then they also have the capacity to act on their thoughts. Perhaps most liberating, a third idea arose: If people can think and act on their own initiative, then it literally stands to reason that they can potentially think through and act on notions of the good society. They can innovate; they can create a better world.

A host of Enlightenment thinkers offered bold new conceptions of social organization, drawn from practice and yet articulated in theory, ranging from individual rights to self-governance. Technological advancements in printing facilitated the relatively widespread dissemination of this written material for the first time in human history via books, pamphlets, and periodicals. New common social spaces like coffeehouses, public libraries, and speakers’ corners in parks allowed for debate about and the spread of these incendiary ideas. None of this ensured that people would think for themselves, act for themselves, or act out of a concern for humanity. But what was at least theoretically revolutionary about this Copernican turn was that before then, the vast majority of people largely didn’t believe in their own agency or ability to self-organize on such an interconnected, self-conscious, and crucially, widespread basis. They were born, for instance, into an isolated village as a serf with the expectation that they’d live out their whole lives accordingly. In short, that they would accept their lot and the social order as rigidly god-given or natural—with any hopes for a better life placed in the afterlife.

Due to the catalytic relationship between theory and practice, many people gradually embraced these three Enlightenment ideas, leading to a host of libertarian ideologies, from the religious congregationalisms to secular republicanism, liberalism, and socialism. These new radical impulses took many forms of political and economic subjugation to task, contributing to an outbreak of revolutions throughout Europe and elsewhere, such as in Haiti, the United States, and Mexico. This revolutionary period started around 1789 and lasted until about 1871 (reappearing in the early twentieth century).

Anarchism developed within this milieu as, in “classical” anarchist Peter Kropotkin’s words, the “left wing” of socialism. Like all socialists, anarchists concentrated on the economy, specifically capitalism, and saw the laboring classes in the factories and fields, as well as artisans, as the main agents of revolution. They also felt that many socialists were to the “right” or nonlibertarian side of anarchism, soft on their critique of the state, to say the least. These early anarchists, like all anarchists after them, saw the state as equally complicit in structuring social domination; the state complemented and worked with capitalism, but was its own distinct entity. Like capitalism, the state will not “negotiate” with any other sociopolitical system. It attempts to take up more and more governance space. It is neither neutral nor can it be “checked and balanced.” The state has its own logic of command and control, of monopolizing political power. Anarchists held that the state cannot be used to dismantle capitalism, nor as a transitional strategy toward a noncapitalist, nonstatist society. They advocated an expansive “no gods, no masters” perspective, centered around the three great concerns of their day—capital, state, and church—in contrast to, for example, The Communist Manifesto’s assertion that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” It’s not that anarchists didn’t take this history seriously; there were other histories, though, and other struggles—something that anarchism would continue to fill out over the decades.

As many are rediscovering today, anarchism from the first explored something that Marxism has long needed to grapple with: domination and hierarchy, and their replacement in all cases with greater degrees of freedom. That said, the classical period of anarchism exhibited numerous blind spots and even a certain naïveté. Areas such as gender and race, in which domination occurs beyond capitalism, the state, and the church, were often given short shrift or ignored altogether. Nineteenth-century anarchism was not necessarily always ahead of its day in identifying various forms of oppression. Nor did it concern itself much with ecological degradation.

Of course, comparing classical anarchism to today’s much more sophisticated understanding of forms of organization and the myriad types of domination is also a bit unfair—both to anarchism and other socialisms. Anarchism developed over time, theoretically and through practice. Its dynamism, an essential principle, played a large part in allowing anarchism to serve as its own challenge. Its openness to other social movements and radical ideas contributed to its further unfolding. Like any new political philosophy, it would take many minds and many experiments over many years to develop anarchism into a more full-bodied, nuanced worldview—a process, if one takes anarchism’s initial impulse seriously, of always expanding that worldview to account for additional blind spots. Anarchism was, is, and continually sees itself as “only a beginning,” to cite the title of a recent anthology.

From its beginnings, anarchism’s core aspiration has been to root out and eradicate all coercive, hierarchical social relations, and dream up and establish consensual, egalitarian ones in every instance. In a time of revolutionary possibility, and during a period when older ways of life were so obviously being destroyed by enormous transitions, the early anarchists were frequently extravagant in their visions for a better world. They drew on what was being lost (from small-scale agrarian communities to the commons) and what was being gained (from potentially liberatory technologies to potentially more democratic political structures) to craft a set of uncompromising, reconstructive ethics.

These ethics still animate anarchism, supplying what’s most compelling about it in praxis. Its values serve as a challenge to continually approach the dazzling horizon of freedom by actually improving the quality of life for all in the present. Anarchism always “demands the impossible” even as it tries to also “realize the impossible.” Its idealism is thoroughly pragmatic. Hierarchical forms of social organization can never fulfill most peoples’ needs or desires, but time and again, nonhierarchical forms have demonstrated their capacity to come closer to that aim. It makes eminent and ethical sense to experiment with utopian notions. No other political philosophy does this as consistently and generously, as doggedly, and with as much overall honesty about the many dead-ends in the journey itself.

Anarchism understood that any egalitarian form of social organization, especially one seeking a thoroughgoing eradication of domination, had to be premised on both individual and collective freedom—no one is free unless everyone is free, and everyone can only be free if each person can individuate or actualize themselves in the most expansive of senses. Anarchism also recognized, if only intuitively, that such a task is both a constant balancing act and the stuff of real life. One person’s freedom necessarily infringes on another’s, or even on the good of all. No common good can meet everyone’s needs and desires. From the start, anarchism asked the difficult though ultimately pragmatic question: Acknowledging this self-society juggling act as part of the human condition, how can people collectively self-determine their lives to become who they want to be and simultaneously create communities that are all they could be as well?

Anarchism maintains that this tension is positive, as a creative and inherent part of human existence. It highlights that people are not all alike, nor do they need, want, or desire the same things. At its best, anarchism’s basic aspiration for a free society of free individuals gives transparency to what should be a productive, harmonic dissonance: figuring out ways to coexist and thrive in our differentiation. Anarchists create processes that are humane and substantively participatory. They’re honest about the fact that there’s always going to be uneasiness between individual and social freedom. They acknowledge that it’s going to be an ongoing struggle to find the balance. This struggle is exactly where anarchism takes place. It is where the beauty of life, at its most well rounded and self-constructed, has the greatest possibility of emerging—and at times, taking hold.

Although it happens at any level of society, one experiences this most personally in small-scale projects—from food cooperatives to free schools to occupations—where people collectively make face-to-face decisions about issues large and mundane. This is not something that people in most parts of the world are encouraged or taught to do, most pointedly because it contains the kernels of destroying the current vertical social arrangements. As such, we’re generally neither particularly good nor efficient at directly democratic processes. Assembly decision-making mechanisms are hard work. They raise tough questions. But through them, people school themselves in what could be the basis for collective self-governance, for redistributing power to everyone. More crucially, people self-determine the structure of the new from spaces of possibility within the old.

Anarchism gives voice to the grand yet modest belief, embraced by people throughout human history, that we can imagine and also implement a wholly marvelous and materially abundant society. That is the spirit of anarchism, the ghost that haunts humanity: that our lives and communities really can be appreciably better. And better, and then better still.

* * *
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Tue Dec 31, 2013 9:52 am

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jeanette winterson, the powerbook
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Wed Jan 29, 2014 10:03 am

http://cbmilstein.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/love-is/

Love Is

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In the Big Apple, big hearts seem to be get trampled under foot. Desire is held out, temptingly, in the millions of people and billions of dreams and trillions of capital that brush past you, accidentally knocking your shoulder. Romance flickers alluring in the candlelight cafes filled with beautiful people bringing morsels of the latest delicacy to their lips, with you the voyeur looking through big plate-glass windows and overpriced menus posted on them. Love falls through the cracks, lost in the hustle and bustle, overshadowed by narcissism and necessity. There’s no time for love. Or love, like time, is money, and people are stingy with it.

In flat, flat-out, forsaken mid-Michigan, in the white-gray coldness of polar vortex, in houses that won’t sell and jobs that can’t be found, in processed food and mediocre coffee, in people mouthing “New York” as if it were a distant planet discovered only via their TV, where trends don’t come and go, they just don’t come at all, and most people know hardship as an old friend, love is abundant. It fills the air, surrounds you like a bear hug, springs easily from people’s lips in words and kisses and smiles. It sparkles in eyes that are glad to see each other, and extends tenderness in hands that touch yours for friendly emphasis. It doesn’t hide; in fact, it reaches out. It’s egalitarian. Love here is like fuzzy long johns, steamy-delicious hot chocolate, crackling logs in a fireplace, a kid wanting you to tuck them into their quilt-filled bed with a story — all warm enough to melt the snow.
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:01 am

http://ideasandaction.info/2014/01/whit ... f-detroit/

White Supremacy and the Looting of Detroit

By Mike Kolhoff

The court has ruled, so the legalized looting of Detroit will go ahead as Governor Snyder has planned. The Emergency Manager has ordered the DIA to provide him with a list of the values of the many artworks in the institute. The city water works are also probably going to be sold, as well as city parks and anything else they can get a nickel for. We’ve heard they have even discussed selling all of the animals in the zoo.

But the people set-up by this ruling for the most egregious screwing are the city workers and retirees. The offer on the table is to pay retirees about.30 cents on the dollar. From the Detroit Free Press:

“But for a retiree counting on a modest annual pension of, say $30,000, the proposed cut would leave him or her with $4,800. Of all the once-proud city’s creditors, including banks, vendors and bondholders, retired workers are the least able to take the hit.”


And:

“Orr already created a tsunami of controversy when he acknowledged late last month that billions of dollars worth of art that the city owns and has housed at the Detroit Institute of Arts are vulnerable to creditors. But he potentially could sell or privatize numerous other city assets, too, from public parks to operations of the city’s Water and Sewerage Department to sundry treasures found in some of Detroit’s other cultural institutions.”


Baltimore, Providence, Chicago, all are in financial situations similar to that of Detroit, yet no one is even considering bankruptcy. What’s different about Detroit? Detroit is in a state ruled by rightwing racist Teapublicans. The destruction of Detroit is a political project of these men, and their end goal is to strip the city of anything of value, to the point where they drive off the remaining population, and are then able to replace them with people more to their liking. In fact, the city that Detroit most resembles today is New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when the same sort of shifty thieves and con artists did everything possible to drive off the population. The difference is between one catalyst being a storm, and the other being a storm of pure racism.

No one can appreciate the disaster unfolding in Detroit without addressing the fight against white supremacy and the struggle for social equality that provides its background. The assertion of white supremacy in Detroit is the underlying cause of the current economic and social destruction of the city.

The history of racial conflict in Detroit is traced by many politicians to the insurrection of 1967. In fact the events of 1967 were the crescendo of inter-racial warfare that had been burning hot and cold in Detroit since before World War One. The riot of 1863 was caused by racism and opposition to the military draft. But the 20th century began the real blood-letting. It was at this time that Detroit became a key destination for African-Americans leaving the Jim Crow south in the Great Migration.

In 1910 the black population of Detroit was 5741 people (1% of the total population).By 1920 that number had increased to 40,838. By 1930 that number had doubled, with African-American residents making up almost 8% of the city population. At the same time thousands of white southerners also migrated north to escape the endemic poverty of the rural south, as well as thousands of European immigrants fleeing the class system and oppression of the Old World.

In the 1920s the KKK made Detroit a stronghold (50% of the 40,000 members of the Michigan Klan lived in Detroit). In the 1930s, the white supremacist Black Legion made Detroit its headquarters. The increase in industrial production in the late 30s and early 1940s brought an additional influx of black Americans to Detroit, and likewise produced murderous race riots over housing and white workers objections to working with black workers on the assembly line. The 1943 riot lasted three days and resulted in 34 deaths, 25 of them African Americans, 17 of them killed by the police. 43 people died in the 1967 Detroit Insurrection, 33 of them African Americans, at least 26 killed by the police or the National Guard.

The struggle to maintain white supremacy in Detroit has been an ongoing project. White flight after the 1967 insurrection had a different character than similar events in other cities. Where whole neighborhoods in Chicago and other cities suffered from loss of economic investment, the entire city of Detroit was subjected to disinvestment. The primarily white suburbs were the obvious beneficiaries of white flight and the relocation of capital. Meanwhile the city of Detroit was left on its own to absorb the de-industrialization of the American economy. Disinvestment and capital fight inspired by racial hatred have made Detroit what it is today.
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:59 pm

Powerful poetry slam piece on choice, rape and personhood

Personhood, Lauren Zuniga's 2012 performance at the Urbana Poetry Slam, is a powerful piece about choice, social justice, reproductive rights, and rape [TW]. Set against the backdrop of Rick Santorum's remarks on rape (calling pregnancies arising from rape a "gift from God"), the performance tries to bridge the gap between Zuniga's life and beliefs and her conservative grandfather's staunch opposition to choice on abortion.


Lauren Zuniga's "Personhood
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:43 pm

The IWW and the black worker


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A piece by historian Philip Foner on the IWW's efforts
to organize black workers and its outlook on race in the United States
.


Originally appeared in The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 55, No. 1. (Jan., 1970)

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Foner_PS_-_The_IWW_and_the_Black_Worker.pdf 982.31 KB
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:51 pm

"Whatever the form of my exploitation this is not my identity, unless I embrace it, unless I make it the essence of who I am and pretend I cannot change it. But my relation to it can be transformed by my struggle. Our struggle transforms us and liberates us from the subjectivities and social ‘identities’ produced by the organisation of work. The key question is whether our struggles presume the continuation of the social relations in which our exploitation is inscribed, or aims to put an end to them."


— Silvia Federici - ‘Permanent Reproductive Crisis: Interview with Marina Vishmidt’.
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:00 pm

Old Crow Bourbon

Distilled With A Silver Lining.

Published in CMYK #50 - "Top New Creatives" Showcase

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"If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything."
-Malcolm X
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:37 pm

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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:29 pm

http://anneboyer.tumblr.com/post/765273 ... discussion

"an unforgivable discussion"

Hélène Rytmann was a member of the French Resistance and later joined the French Communist Party. She was known for her intellect and her passionate commitment to politics and political practice.

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When she was a child she was sexually abused by the family doctor, who then had her administer lethal doses of morphine to her own parents. Later, she married an abusive man eight years her junior who engaged in many infidelities, often using these to taunt Hélène. This man was a philosopher, and devoutly religious, but through Hélène, he eventually became engaged with leftist politics. Her husband’s many mistresses and friends often liked to insult her as an “insufferable bitch.” Her husband stated frequently that he preferred women who looked very different from Hélène: it was with these women he had his many affairs. Hélène’s husband, mentally ill, sometimes violent, and deeply paranoid, eventually created a situation of extreme isolation for the two of them. Isolated with her abuser, she became severely depressed. When Hélène made it clear that she was going to leave this relationship, her husband killed her. He claimed that while he was not aware of killing her, he was fairly certain she wanted it. Though her murderer admitted to many hateful opinions and feelings about women in general, many of his friends believed him that murdering his wife in particular was an act of “mystic love.” Because she was considered old, unattractive, and personally unpleasant (“controlling”) there were those who were particularly sympathetic to her murder. Her murderer was never questioned by the police or put on trial, but instead, received mental health care and wrote a book about the murder which detailed the nature of his victimization. He died of natural causes. To this day, people continue to feel very sorry for the man [Louis Althusser] who abused and killed Hélène Rytmann.

As Geraldine Finn wrote, “Theirs was no personal tragedy. The violence, the contradictions, and the struggle that characterized this particular relationship are intrinsic to and constitutive of all patriarchal relationships and sexual relationships in particular because of their central structural position in the social ‘conjecture.’”

As has been said about Finn’s work, to contend that wife abuse and murder— this wife abuse and murder in particular—is not outside of history, politics, or ideology, is to engage in “an unforgivable discussion.”
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:22 pm

"One of the concessions one makes to others is not to present homosexuality as anything but a kind of immediate pleasure, of two young men meeting in the street, seducing each other with a look, grabbing each other’s asses and getting each other off in a quarter of an hour. There you have a kind of neat image of homosexuality without any possibility of generating unease, and for two reasons: it responds to a reassuring canon of beauty, and it cancels everything that can be troubling in affection, tenderness, friendship, fidelity, camaraderie, and companionship, things that our rather sanitized society can’t allow a place for without fearing the formation of new alliances and the tying together of unforeseen lines of force. I think that’s what makes homosexuality “disturbing”: the homosexual mode of life, much more than the sexual act itself. To imagine a sexual act that doesn’t conform to law or nature is not what disturbs people. But that individuals are beginning to love one another—there’s the problem. The institution is caught in a contradiction; affective intensities traverse it which at one and the same time keep it going and shake it up. Look at the army, where love between men is ceaselessly provoked [appele] and shamed. Institutional codes can’t validate these relations with multiple intensities, variable colors, imperceptible movements and changing forms. These relations sbort-circuit it and introduce love where there’s supposed to be only law, rule, or habit."

— Michel Foucault


http://tmblr.co/Z4jSIu18eZXiA
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Re: Economic Aspects of "Love"

Postby American Dream » Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:06 pm

http://libcom.org/library/being-woman-organizer-isn’t-easy

Being a woman organizer isn’t easy

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An article by Luz Sierra about the gendered expectations she has faced within her family and culture.

This past year I became politically active. I went from being completely unaware of the existence of radical politics to doing organizing work in Miami with an anarchist perspective. It has been both a rewarding and difficult journey, yet gender seems to haunt me wherever I go. I am probably not the first woman to experience this, but I believe that I should demonstrate how this is a real issue and provide my personal insight for other women to have a reference point for their own struggles.

Being raised by Nicaraguan parents and growing up in Miami’s Latin community, I have firsthand experience with the sexist culture in South Florida. Many families that migrated from South and Central America and the Caribbean arrived to the United States carrying traditions from the 1970s and 1980s. Daughters are raised by women who were taught that their goal in life is to be an obedient wife and to devote their time to raising children and making their husbands happy. Latin women are supposed to be modest, self-reserved, have the ability to fulfill domestic roles and be overall submissive. Some Hispanic families might not follow this social construction, but there are still a large number of them who insert this moral into their households. For instance, this social construct is apparent in the previous three generations of my father’s and mother’s families. My great grandmothers, grandmothers, mother and aunts never completed their education and spend the majority of their life taking care of their husbands and children. Meanwhile, various male members of my current and extended family had the opportunity to finish their education, some even received college degrees, and went on to become dominant figures in their households. The male family members also had the chance to do as they pleased for they left all household and childcare responsibilities to their wives. As the cycle continued, my mother and grandmothers attempted to socialize me to fulfill my expected female role. I was taught not to engage in masculine activities such as sports, academia, politics, and other fields where men are present. Unfortunately for them, I refused to obey their standards of femininity. I have played sports since I was 10 years old; I grew a deep interest in history, sociology and political science; and I am currently part of three political projects. Such behavior has frustrated my parents to the point that I am insulted daily. My mother will claim that I am manly, selfish for devoting more time to organizing and promiscuous because the political groups I am involved with consist mostly of men. My father will state that I am senseless for wasting my time in politics and should devote more time in preparing myself to become a decent wife and mother.

Throughout my 20 years residing in Miami, I met women from various countries. In school, at work as a certified nursing assistant, and in politics, I have met women from Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, Nepal and the Philippines who share similar stories. Each one of them revealed how they are oppressed at home. They are forced to conform to gender roles and follow traditional standards of being a woman. Some have tried to deviate from those roles, yet the pressure from their loved ones is so powerful that they often compromise with their families to not be disowned. There are some who are able to fight against the current, but consequentially, they are insulted, stigmatized and can sometimes go on to develop depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. I myself have experienced such emotional meltdowns and still do. I recovered from depression in 2013 after receiving therapy for over six months, and I am currently battling with social anxiety and low self-esteem. Nevertheless, I still manage to maintain my integrity and will continue to do so to keep fighting.

Hearing the stories and witnessing the sorrow of all the women who are blatant victims of patriarchy has inspired me to keep moving forward as an organizer. Watching my mother be passive with my father, witnessing my sisters being forced to display undesirable traits, and watching the tears women have shed after sharing their unfortunate stories of living under the oppressive rule of male figures has allowed me to turn anger into energy devoted to creating a society where women are no longer oppressed. I am tired of having to face gender inequality and watching women fall into its traps. We cannot continue to neglect this issue and endure these obstacles alone. As revolutionary women, we must take these matters seriously and find strategies and solutions to overcome them.

One way to start facing this struggle is by sharing our personal experience with one another and recognizing the problems we deal with today. We cannot keep denying and repressing our frustration of gender inequality. It needs to be released. How can we expect to create a social revolution when we rarely lay our personal tribulations on the table? I know it is hard to discuss the issues we face at home, at work or within political circles. It is even difficult for me to write this article, but we need to stop letting barriers obstruct us. I remember I was petrified when I initially spoke about my personal problems with a comrade. I thought she would not understand me and would think I was annoying her, but after exposing my story, I soon realized she faced the same hardships and abuse too and was sympathetic to my situation. This really transformed my life because I thought I always had to wait to talk to my therapist about these dilemmas, but I was completely wrong. There are people out there who are willing to listen and provide support; it is up to us to reach out to them. I came to understand that gender issues still exist and that my hardships are real. Through simple actions like talking and building relationships, I believe we can form a collective of people willing to create tactics to abolish such oppression. This is how Mujeres Libres formed and created a tendency within the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo and Federación Anarquista Ibérica that faced gender inequality. They were able to grow in numbers and seize the power to fight in the forefront of the Spanish Revolution. This could be achieved today if we place our hearts and minds to it. Many of us might say that our current social setting and capacity will make that impossible, but how would we know if we have not tried yet? This is why I encourage all revolutionary women to stop secondguessing themselves and fight. Let’s end the silence now and begin to form the solidarity that is needed.
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