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Posted by on in Feminism & Sexuality

 

It is often assumed that communism equates liberation for the whole of humanity from the shackles of oppression; this includes Persons of Color, Women, and, of course, Queer people. Yet is this set in stone? When a communist mode of production is realized and class society has disintegrated does this automatically entail equality for oppressed and minority groups? Just the same, is the inverse true: is a classless society which still oppresses Queer people (and others) “communist” even when classes have dissolved?

                If communism is defined as simply a classless society than it must be agreed upon that bigotry and communism are compatible. To efface such birthmarks more would need to be added to the definition. Yet, as it stands, this is a peculiar contradiction. Mostly for its “against the grain” attitude as communism is traditionally seen as liberation.

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Where does the revolutionary spark come from? How do some people come to transcend and challenge the crushing oppressions of the world? International Women's Day (IWD) has something to teach us. If the political theoreticians of the radical movements of the 19th and early 20th century were mostly men, it was radical women, close to the grinding brutality and poverty of industrialism's golden age, who encapsulated the personal rage and determination needed to transform suffering and oppression into resistance. It was female anarchist Emma Goldman who said succinctly and straightforwardly, "Ask for work. If they don't give you work, ask for bread. If they do not give you work or bread, then take bread.”

b2ap3_thumbnail_women-workers_opt.jpgThe IWD holiday was first carved out as a day for working women to celebrate their mutual solidarity and empowerment back in 1908, by striking women workers in Chicago. A few short years later in 1914, the world socialist movement adopted March 8 as a political holiday to demand political and social rights for women. The ideals of that socialist movement were promptly tested as the world plunged into war and much of the socialist movement betrayed internationalism, but brave women kept the holiday alive.

And then by 1917, this simple holiday showed its revolutionary potential: A women's day demonstration in Russia for peace and bread (shown above right) turned into a mass strike which quickly became the February Revolution that overthrew the centuries-old rule of the Tsars. Revolutionaries had been organizing against the Tsars for decades with increasing mass success. But it took a demonstration of women workers, of mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, lovers, making an urgent heartfelt plea for an end to death and hunger that captured the mass imagination and changed the once unthinkable into the possible.

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Let us be firm. The Republican Party hates women. They don't care for the rights of women at all. They want to punish ANY abortion procedure with life imprisonment. They want to go back to back alley and unsafe abortions. Our answer to this outrage should be that women have the right to abortion. No ifs, ands or buts.  

-Intro by Enaa

South Dakota Bill Threatens Abortion Providers With Life In Prison

 

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by Miles Ahead

 

Rape audits!@#?!!! Just when you think you’ve heard it all…The reactionary forces come up with even more sinister, heinous, anti-women, ultimately anti-the people assaults—plying their trade with their cause célèbre, as part of the war on women.

And what timing—well, any timing would be reactionary, but the latest attack resurfaced and was heightened , as the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade (which legalized abortion in 1973) occurred just last week.

(Guess Mike Huckabee, Christian fundamentalist and another Tea Party darling, thought his timing was spot on, when he said that rather than rely on “Uncle Sugar” for partial payment of birth control and contraception, women should learn to “control their libido.” Huckabee’s remarks caused a whole firestorm and backlash, and he (and his cohorts) are somewhat (temporarily) hemming and hawing, with their tails between their own libidos. Just because Margaret Atwood’s “A Handmaid’s Tale” was written in the ‘80s, doesn’t make it any less relevant.)

by Nat Winn

 

There were two big events this week in the struggle for reproductive freedom for women. On Tuesday 11/19 the Supreme Court turned away an emergency application asking it to block a Texas law that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Also on Tuesday in Albuquerque voters defeated a ballot that sought to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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Scripting Changes, Changing Scripts

by DR. ROSHAN SHAHANI -- reposted from CHAPATI MYSTERY

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A recent discussion here on Kasama has touched on evolving issues of gender identity and the struggle for the liberation of women and queer people. Coincidentally, an excerpt from an interview with the late Sylvia Rivera was circulating this morning on social media. A friend pointed me to the source of this interview, an extraordinary pamphlet entitled "Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries: Survival, Revolt, and Queer Antagonist Struggle," published as a downloadable PDF by Untorelli Press. The introduction to this pamphlet, by Ehn Nothing, touches on a lot of the issues we have been discussing, and really makes the point that this was a movement forged in the gritty reality of the streets in a pre-gentrification New York City. When I moved to New York in the early 1980s I remember seeing STAR veteran Marsha P. Johnson many, many times on the streets of the village: and not because she was just "hanging out," but because that was where she lived. It was a hard life and the lessons these heroic, ground-breaking revolutionaries learned and shared were the product of blood and tears. Here's the introduction to the pamphlet, and the interview with Sylvia Rivera. Be sure to track down the original and read the whole thing. —ISH

 

QUEENS AGAINST SOCIETY

BY EHN NOTHING

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Posted by on in Feminism & Sexuality

Kasama has received the following from Haiti. It was written in Haitian Kreyol. The translation into English is by Kasama.

By J.J.D.

 

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Recently comrades at the New Communist Party (NCP) have adopted a resolution on the Queer Liberation struggle. This resolution is well written and understands some of the dynamics of heternormative life as seen through the lens of the Queer working class. Yet it possesses some draw-backs which I feel deserve some illumination.

                Their starting point is marriage equality; a strong, well deserved point as the current social-situation has bent increasingly towards this controversial issue. Advocating for a complete sweep of marriage equality legalization they push against reactive tides in the Anarchist and Libertarian Socialist circles which prattle about the supposed counterrevolutionary traits found within marriage equality.

On the occasion of the publication of an anthology of her writing and the accession of a  Wages for Housework NY archive at Mayday Rooms in London, Marina Vishmidt interviewed Silvia Federici on her extensive contribution to feminist thought and recent work on debt activism (with contributions by Mute, Mayday Rooms and George Caffentzis)

Mute: In the text ‘Wages Against Housework’ (1975) you refer to the problem of women’s work (even waged) as the impossibility of seeing where ‘work begins and ends’. Just as French group Théorie Communiste argue that ‘we’ are nothing outside of the wage, you also speak of the problem of unwaged women as being outside of a ‘social contract’. How does this reflect the capital-labour relation today? How much has this situation, then specific to women and some other workers, generalised? How are we to act from the perspective of this being ‘nothing’? Is it still a question of self-identification or dis-identification?

Silvia Federici: We should not assume that those who are unwaged, who work outside the social contract stipulated by the wage, are ‘nothing’ or are acting and organising out of a position of no social power. I would not even say that they are outside the wage relation which I see as something broader than the wage itself. One of the achievements of the International Wages For Housework Campaign, that we launched in the 1970s, was precisely to unmask not only the amount of work that unwaged houseworkers do for capital but, with that, the social power that this work potentially confers on them, as domestic work reproduces the worker and consequently it is the pillar of every other form of work. We saw an example of this power – the power of refusal – in October 1975, when women in Iceland went on strike and everything in Reykjavik and other parts of the country where the strike took place came to a halt.

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Posted by on in Feminism & Sexuality

From Miles Ahead

“You been hurt and you're all cried out/you say You walk down the street pushin' people outta your way /You packed your bags and all alone you wanna ride, You don't want nothin', don't need no one by your side /You're walkin' tough baby, but you're walkin' blind to the ties that bind ….

..."You sit and wonder just who's gonna stop the rain/Who'll ease the sadness, who's gonna quiet the pain/It's a long dark highway and a thin white line/Connecting baby, your heart to mine./We're runnin' now but darlin' we will stand in time/To face the ties that bind. The ties that bind.

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We had a healthy even heated debate among Kasama moderators today about how to celebrate the death of Margaret Thatcher. Afterwards, wandering around, thinking over what others had said, I stumbled upong this gem of an essay from AWOL (Angry Women of Liverpool).

With a special wave to my comrades here at Kasama! Here is an excerpt (it is the last part of the essay):

Where do you stand on singing “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead?”

"Tough one. The history of witch persecution is fraught with the very foundations of modern capitalist and patriarchal oppression, as anybody who’s read Silvia Federici knows. But there are so few songs you can sing joyfully about the death of somebody thoroughly deserving.

"You want a proper argument in defence? Give me a minute.

"OK, got one. The cultural connotations of “witch” in the modern day are so fragmented, having passed from fairy tale and myth through church/state persecution, a modern reinvention as “Wicca”, developing into a full-fledged sub-culture with often positive portrayals in TV drama and children’s literature, it could be argued that the word “witch” is now primarily a fairly neutral term for a female magic-user and serves only to denote the profession of the woman in question, not her moral status. After all, the song takes care to distinguish: “Which old witch? The wicked witch,” suggesting that wickedness is by no means assumed by the term’s use.

"If Glinda, the good witch, can allow the munchkins their song of triumph over the ruby-slippered menace that has oppressed them for so long, who am I to begrudge it?"

By Nat Winn

The liberation of humanity, the aim of our communist goal and vision is impossible without the liberation of women. Millions and ultimately billions of women must emerge as fierce fighters against male supremacy and for a radical egalitarian society. Communists, both women and men, need to investigate where the cracks are in society that may lead to the eruption of a powerful women's movement with its eyes set on emancipation for all women and all humanity.

I recently had a chance to read through a blog exchange between Zora and Ba Jin on the Fire Next Time blog and Eve Mitchell on the Unity & Struggle blog over debates within a trend called Marxist Feminism, including such figures as Selma James and Sylvia Federici. I felt the discussion was suffocated in its scope because of its confinement within in a certain “workerist” conception of how to look at women, sexuality, reproduction, and liberation. I found the discussion confined to questions placed narrowly at the relations of production in the society, reducing the oppression of women to relations of work that is waged or unwaged, while ignoring the question of the superstructure and how the oppression of women has actually broken into the realm of politics.

Posted by on in Feminism & Sexuality

This interview appears on the radical queer website "HOMO." (Caution: very graphic NSFW content). Without endorsing all of its arguments, I thought it introduced a lot of concepts relevant to the discussions on how queer revolutionaries relate to civil rights successes and rightward community drift that we've been having here on Kasama. --ISH

 

INTERVIEW / Sociologist Gary Kinsman on the emergence of the neoliberal queer

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Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. This article appeared on the editorial blog of the New York Times. It opines on the current state of abortion rights.

 The 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Tagged in: abortion Roe v. Wade