February 5 2017 Dispatch #16
Day 91 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)
Day 16 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-POTUS and his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings
Just two weeks and we have seen quite a roll-out of fascism, demagoguery, and the constant sensationalist and petty lying of the self-styled autocrat and his quislings. We have also witnessed the moral courage and willingness to act of many resistors.
Beware of commentators and opinion makers who are urging the resistance and resistors to make efforts to reconcile and empathize with the Illegitimate-POTUS voters/supporters. They plead: “Really, these folks are not all haters and bigots, if we just talked to these folks, they share similar concerns with us about the economy and their future. Can’t you calm down?” These normalizers of all stripes and political persuasions are already tired, confused, and frightened by emergence of and resistance to Illegitimate-POTUS.
But the point is NOT whether we might share concerns with these voters, or that these voters might be understandably frightened and anxious about the future. The point is what we DO NOT share with them: their willingness to support (or overlook which is the same) the vicious and naked appeal to white supremacy/white nationalism, misogyny and christian supremacy promoted by the White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-POTUS.
We reject and condemn their desire that the Others (black people, brown people, Muslim people, certain mis-behaving women) must suffer because they angry at their own suffering. We say NO to the purveyors of class analysis who are participating in the denial of 400+ years of American brutality, slavery, genocide and unrestrained exploitation.
For a searing assessment of why white people in America have/continue to brutalize black people, go immediately to I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary recently in wide release directed by Raoul Peck with James Baldwin’s words entirely comprising the narrative.
His published and unpublished words — some of the most powerful and penetrating ever assembled on the tortured subject of American identity — accompany images from old talk shows and news reports, from classic movies and from our own decidedly non-post-racial present. Baldwin could not have known about Ferguson and Black Lives Matter, about the presidency of Barack Obama and the recrudescence of white nationalism in its wake, but in a sense he explained it all in advance. He understood the deep, contradictory patterns of our history, and articulated, with a passion and clarity that few others have matched, the psychological dimensions of racial conflict: the suppression of black humanity under slavery and Jim Crow and the insistence on it in African-American politics and art; the dialectic of guilt and rage, forgiveness and denial that distorts relations between black and white citizens in the North as well as the South; the lengths that white people will go to wash themselves clean of their complicity in oppression.www.nytimes.com/2017/02/02/movies/review-i-am-not-your-negro-review-james-baldwin.html/
Direct anyone you know who is having trouble “getting” White Supremacy to see this film.
So we must measure out our passion, out-rage, and energy for resistance and actions by having in mind that there will be no quick fixes. We are in an Iron-Woman Marathon that will likely go on for years and decades. The emergence of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-POTUS and his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings represents the natural evolution of Republican strategies built on White Supremacy, Misogyny, and Christian Supremacy.
Resistance to normalization of evil in Early 21st Century American Fascism involves a balance between (1) always calling out and disrupting the language and behavior of Illegitimate-POTUS and his Quislings because we understand that lying undermines morality and enables the demagogue, while (2) always acknowledging that White Supremacy and Misogyny are foundational to America and extend far beyond the current Illegitimate-POTUS.
Resistance in America has been acting for decades by Grass-roots organizations and national political organizations such as: NAACP, SNCC, Black Panthers, ACLU, NARAL, NOW, Black Lives Matters, National Lawyers Guild, American Indian Movement, SDS, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Jobs with Justice, Fight for Fifteen, just to name just a few. Acts of resistance that empower and unite are always informed (1) by popular education (i.e., Paulo Freire; see also https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_education and (2) by analyses that show the institutionalized oppressions and the strategies for dismantling these oppressions.
Organizing Neighborhood Equity District of Columbia (ONE DC) www.onedconline.org centers its organizing work on popular education, community organizing and alternative economic development projects. A recent post addressed the question of resistance actions.
However, there are two broad tendencies on the left that, if unresolved, threaten to stifle the revolutionary potential of the moment. One desires a world free from the systems of oppression that constitute the American political system. The other merely wants to return to a less tumultuous time. It is this second tendency that refuses to acknowledge the violent core of American politics. They refuse to acknowledge the rising tide of fascism beyond the figure of Donald Trump.
So what is to be done? It is not enough to only engage in critique or to be anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, anti-racist, or anti-Trump. Negative concepts have never been strong enough to hold together revolutionary movements. The general strike, mass protest, and other forms of direct action are all useful tactics for waging revolution. However, their use is secondary to the community and values that drive them. We must refuse the call for a return to American politics and the white subjectivity it privileges. We cannot content ourselves with only pushing fascism back underground, back to only policing low-income communities, back to only terrorizing our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and beyond. We must begin to practice a politics of solidarity, inclusion, and radical egalitarianism. We must center the struggles of marginalized people and listen to their voices. We must prioritize political education. We must build alternative institutions. We must remember, “The essence of politics is dissensus.” Our enemies will try to convince us that “we are insufficient, scarce, waiting in pockets of resistance, in stairwells, in alleys, in vain” but the demonstrations this past week have proven the contrary: “We’re already here, moving.” www.onedconline.org/what_is_to_be_done
If you haven’t gone to The Movement for Black Lives Platform yet for hundreds of examples/teaching moments for resistance actions, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?! https://policy.m4bl.org/platform/
A shout out to Suzanne Moore, Guardian online columnist, and her furious prose:
I care not for these delusional men crawling out like woodlice from under a rotting log. In turn, they each tell us they support feminism while doing it down. There is a slew of them everywhere you look.
The online equivalent are the young guys, pumped on inchoate rage, semi-literate, radicalised by the “alt-right”, spewing hatred at women. These guys don’t say they love women; they don’t even pretend to like them. They are at least honest. Indeed, one of the reasons that the establishment/Republican party failed to challenge Trump was because of its own dishonesty. It has legitimised a level of woman-hating and racism that it pretends is not there. It kids itself that it is decent, while knowing that what festers underneath are expressions of white supremacy and rage against women that it does not want to name and cannot control. To identify all this as the rage of the left-behinds, as simple class war, too often becomes a way of justifying it.
The dismantling of this power cannot possibly come from those who won’t name it and spend the entire time shoring it up, largely reaping its benefits: that is, much of the liberal establishment. By assuming the culture war had been won, the myths of impartiality and neutrality have allowed far–right voices to go unchallenged. The assumption that we all believe in equality, are anti-racist, love an art gallery and some heated debate turned out to be wrong.
Patriarchal power asserts itself through cultural as well as economic resentment. And that is everywhere. The oft-repeated sentiment that feminism is itself an extreme movement is evidence of how liberalism bows down to authoritarianism.
So much more important now than whether dullards profess their allegiance to women’s rights while refusing to listen to women is understanding who will get down on their knees to service the new man-child patriarchy. And those of us who won’t. The power of telling it like it is is ours. www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2017/jan/25/patriarchy-is-the-sea-in-which-trump-and-his-sharks-gather
Still sorting out how you think about/understand the different perspectives from women of color about the Women’s March on Washington (WMW)? Wondering about next steps? Check out this piece by Cinzia Arruzza: http://novaramedia.com/2017/02/01/from-the-womens-march-to-the-international-womens-strike/
In the days following the march, a number of criticisms have been leveraged against it [WMW], focusing mostly on three issues. The first was the march’s self-representation as ‘well-behaved’ and ‘peaceful’, which obscured the fact that it was not respectability that explained the absence of arrests compared with the #DisruptJ20 demonstrations of the day before, but rather the massive presence of white women, who are much less likely to be harassed by the police than women of color.
The second issue was the liberal narrative surrounding the march, which exclusively focused on Trump’s reactionary policy announcements and made little mention of class, obfuscating the fact that women’s rights and living conditions, especially those of migrants and women of color, working class and unemployed women, as well as trans and queer women, have been under attack for years, including under Obama’s administration.
A third concern was more of an expression of resentment against the mass of people who felt motivated enough to take to the streets to protest against Trump, but did not feel motivated enough to take part in Black Lives Matter demonstrations and in protests against police brutality against people of color of the last few years.
Even taking into account all of pitfalls and contradictions, however, it would be a mistake to think that there is no connection whatsoever between the Women’s March and the mobilizations of recent years, from Occupy to Fight for Fifteen, from Black Lives Matter to the struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline. In fact, while Trump’s election has triggered an increase in the scale of mobilization, the various struggles of recent years have been key in shifting popular perceptions concerning protests, their legitimacy, and their efficacy.
The International Women’s Strike network has called for a strike on March 8th. So far, feminist collectives and coalitions from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ireland and Northern Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Russia, Scotland, South Korea Sweden, Turkey, and Uruguay have joined the call and are making preparations.
The various coalitions working on this are articulating their own platforms and demands, which in most cases combine together opposition to male and sexist violence against women and LGBT people, social demands such as the minimum wage, labor rights, equal pay, public services and health care, opposition to racism and xenophobia and defense of migrant women, environmental issues and reproductive rights.
Against Trump, but also beyond Trump.
At the WMW, Ashley Judd delivered an out-raged and out-rageous performance of this poem written by Nina Donovan, a 19-year-old woman from Tennessee. Yeah, talk about the power of telling it like it is!!!!
I am a nasty woman.
I’m as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheetos dust. A man whose words are a deathtrap to America. Electoral college-sanctioned, hate-speech contaminating this national anthem.
I’m not as nasty as Confederate flags being tattooed across my city. Maybe the South actually is going to rise again. Maybe for some it never really fell. Blacks are still in shackles and graves, just for being black. Slavery has been reinterpreted as the prison system in front of people who see melanin as animal skin.
I am not as nasty as a swastika painted on a pride flag, and I didn’t know devils could be resurrected but I feel Hitler in these streets. A mustache traded for a toupee. Nazis renamed the Cabinet Electoral Conversion Therapy, the new gas chambers shaming the gay out of America, turning rainbows into suicide.
I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege … your daughter being your favorite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes.
Yeah, I’m a nasty woman — a loud, vulgar, proud woman.
I am not nasty like the combo of Trump and Pence being served up to me in my voting booths. I’m nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth. I’m nasty like the fight for wage equality. Scarlett Johansson, why were the female actors paid less than half of what the male actors earned last year. See, even when we do go into higher paying jobs our wages are still cut with blades sharpened by testosterone.
Why is the work of a black woman and a hispanic woman worth only 63 and 54 cents of a white man’s privileged daughter? This is not a feminist myth. This is inequality. So we are not here to be debunked. We are here to be respected. We are here to be nasty.
I am nasty like my bloodstains on my bed sheets. We don’t actually choose if and when to have our periods. Believe me if we could some of us would. We do not like throwing away our favorite pairs of underpants. Tell me, why are pads and tampons still taxed when Viagra and Rogaine are not? Is your erection really more than protecting the sacred messy part of my womanhood? Is the bloodstain on my jeans more embarrassing than the thinning of your hair?
I know it is hard to look at your own entitlement and privilege. You may be afraid of the truth. I am unafraid to be honest. It may sound petty bringing up a few extra cents. It adds up to the pile of change I have yet to see in my country. I can’t see. My eyes are too busy praying to my feet hoping you don’t mistake eye contact for wanting physical contact. Half my life I have been zipping up my smile hoping you don’t think I want to unzip your jeans. I am unafraid to be nasty because I am nasty like Susan, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Amelia, Rosa, Gloria, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle, Hillary!
And our pussies ain’t for grabbing. They’re for reminding you that our walls are stronger than America’s ever will be. Our pussies are for our pleasure. They are for birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, you name it, for new generations of nasty women.
So if you a nasty woman, or you love one who is, let me hear you say, hell yeah.