SMC! at the Climate Camp 2009

We were at the amazing Climate Camp for Climate action this week (http://climatecamp.org.uk/), for those who still don’t know what this is “The Climate Camp is a place for anyone who wants to take action on climate change; for anyone who’s fed up with empty government rhetoric and corporate spin; for anyone who’s worried that the small steps they’re taking aren’t enough to match the scale of the problem; and for anyone who’s worried about our future and wants to do something about it”.

We met amazing people, participated in very interesting workshops, learned a lot about climate change and economics, engaged in direct action, ate lovely vegan food, danced in a massive kelly, got drunk and sang around the fire. We also collaborated with the Feminist Fightback (http://www.feministfightback.org.uk/) on a workshop called Confronting the Backlash on Feminism, around 70 people attended and we consider was a total success!

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No Pretence, an anarcha feminist statment

Here is the great action of No Pretence at the Anarchist Movement Conference 2009. Fucking well done!

This is what was said.

“We make no pretence. This is a conference by and for anarchists. And by anarchists, we mean those opposed to the state, all forms of nationalism, capitalism, sexual/race/gender oppression and all forms of exploitation and domination,” Anarchist Movement Conference 09 Call Out

This is our response.

We have taken this space and projected this short film to show how we see sexism in ‘the movement’ and sexism in capitalist society. We have covered our faces in the same way we might do against the state and its agents – inspired by the tradition of our militant sisters who took back male-dominated stages, and political spaces.

We expect hostility, intimidation and greater surveillance after our action. Covering up makes it easier to communicate. And we know that our message is much bigger than the messenger herself.

The following text is our response to the four themes of the conference.

MOVEMENT or why we aren’t one

No matter how much we aspire to be ‘self-critical’ there is a clear lack of theorising and concrete action around sexism, homophobia and racism in the anarchist movement. We do not feel that the content and structure of the conference deal with gender and we’re tired of asking for space – we’re taking it ourselves.

You want to talk about history? Let’s stop pretending that feminism is a short blip in the history of political struggles. The feminism you know may be the one that has been dominated by white middle-class liberal politics – NOT the struggles and pockets of revolutionary resistance missing from our political pamphlets and ‘independent’ media. The feminism of Comandanta Yolanda, of bell hooks, of Anzaldua, of Mbuya Nehanda, of Angela Davis, of Rote Zora, of Mujeres Libres…

CLASS or is anybody out there?

We are all oppressed by the class system, but there is nobody ‘out there’ who isn’t also oppressed by white supremacy, imperialism, heterosexism, patriarchy, ableism, ageism…Pretending these systems don’t exist or can be subsumed into capitalist oppression, doesn’t deal with the problem, it just silences those people most oppressed by them, and allows for the continuing domination of these systems over our lives.

We are tired of being told that anarchists don’t need to be feminists, because ‘anarchism has feminism covered’. This is just a convenient way of forgetting the reality of gender oppression, and so ignoring the specifics of the struggle against it.

RESISTANCE or are we futile?

If the anarchist movement doesn’t recognize the power structures it reproduces, its resistance will be futile. For as well as fighting sexism ‘out there’ we must fight sexism ‘in here’ and stop pretending that oppressive systems disappear at the door of the squat or the social centre. Only a movement that understands and fights its own contradictions can provide fertile ground for real and effective resistance.

Ask yourselves this – do you believe sexism exists within the movement? When a woman comrade says she’s experienced sexual abuse or assault from a male comrade – what do you think? That it’s an individual or an isolated case? Or that it can happen – and disproportionately to women – because there is a system which allows it to develop and gives it life? Can we honestly say that our own autonomous spaces do not play a part in upholding this system?

Ask yourselves this – Why do fewer women speak in meetings? Because they think less? What is the gender of the factory worker? Why do more women do the washing up and run creches at meetings/events? What is the gender of the carer at home?

Now tell us if you believe sexism exists: tell us why men rape; why more women are battered than men; why more women are used by the state to do free and unwaged work. Tell us – are you a feminist?

We believe that in the anarchist movement, the strongest evidence of sexism lies in the choice we’re told to make between ‘unity’ and what-they-call ‘separatism’, between fighting the state and fighting sexism. Fuck that! We refuse to be seen as stereotypes of ‘feminists’ you can consume – like fucking merchandise in the capitalist workplace.

IDEAS INTO REALITY and what’s in between?

There will be no future for the anarchist movement if it doesn’t also identify as an anarcha-feminist movement. Anarcha-feminist organisational structures must exist within the movement to make anarcha-feminism an integral part of it. And you don’t need to identify as a woman to be an anarcha-feminist – every anarchist should be able to participate in the struggle against sexism.

The state’s incursion into our private lives and the relationship between sexuality and productivity from which it profits affects people of all genders. The gender binary system violently allocates us roles on the basis of our anatomy. A refusal to accept even these basic precepts will be a great hindrance to the movement.

You ask, ‘Can we find common cause despite our differences?’. We will only find common cause if we recognize that our differences are structured by numerous oppressive systems, and together fight to end each of these systems, wherever we find them.

Our feminisms must be plural, they must be anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-homophobic. Our inspiration must come from the actions of feminists who have helped self-identified women reach revolutionary consciousness.

Our feminisms must be revolutionary.

Final word

You can pretend we didn’t come here, pretend nothing was said.

You can purposefully misunderstand us.

Or you can ask yourselves why we came, what we meant, and whether we’ll come back again.

http://nopretence.wordpress.com/

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Some interesting articles

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/may/01/burlesque-performance-art-stripping

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/17/feminism-america-sex-promiscuity-drinking

 

sorry for the grauniad-centric nature of this post!

But the debates inside and around these issues overlap with things we were thinking about a little.

It’s complicated, innit.

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Miss California Press Conference

Guess which one is real:

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Get involved with a feminist live art project!

Hello everyone we met at the RED ROOM event, brilliant to see so many people at a feminist discussion evening!

Our friends at FemAdLibKolektiv are doing an exciting project that maybe you would like to get involved with?

The event itself will be on the 18th june in the City of London.

Women can get involved for as long or as little time as they like.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

OPPORTUNITY FOR WOMEN TO PARTICIPATE IN A FUNDED CITY INTERVENTION TACKLING SEXISM: 

 

We are looking for women to participate in a political live art project this June in the heart of the City in London. FemAdLib K (a space for explicitly political feminist art) has been commissioned by the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination and ArtsAdmin to put on an anti-capitalist feminist intervention as part of the Two Degrees programme of events. The ‘show’ (art activism) will take place 18 June. 

The project will be a one day interactive performance within a shop space. We’ll transform the space and invite the public in to interact. It will be part action, part performance and part art intervention. We plan to explore ideas around the process of commodification and consumption within a capitalist society, and particularly how this affects women.

 

Please email femadlibkolektiv@rocketmail. com if you are interested or would like to know more.

 

We can’t wait to hear from you!

FemAdLib K

For more information on FemAdLib Kolektiv go to:
http://femadlibkolektiv. blogspot.com/

For more information on the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination go to: 
http://www.labofii.net/ experiments/crash/

For more information on the Two Degrees festival go to: http://www.artsadmin.co.uk/projects/project.php?id=265

Two Degrees is funded by the European Union Culture Programme, Arts Council England and Artists Project Earth.

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SMC and lots of lovely Feminists Live at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club

Sunday 10th May

THE RED ROOM

The Red Room Platform presents:

Women’s Edition 6-9pm(bar open until midnight) / Price: by donation

Booking or information: 0777 933 0434.

Feminism is dead so they say…But is this true? Leading artists, activists and thinkers across generations get together to reveal feminism and it’s place in our lives today. Come and join us for a dynamic evening of debate, performance and provocation. Women’s Edition features: Lois Weaver, David Hoyle, Anna Furse, The Muffia, Olusola Oyeleye, Rosa Goncalves, Karena Johnson, Semsem Kuherhi, Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambaksh, The Vacuum Cleaner, Smash Miss Contest, plus a host of special guests (t.b.c),

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Video never killed the radio

Hello everyone; there will be some Smash Miss Contest chat and discussion on the very wonderful Dissident Island Radio show, this friday the 20th March starting a 9pm, then will be archived on their website, which IS:

http://www.dissidentisland.org/

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