Monthly Archives: April 2013

Statement from the Patriarchy Resistance Committee of the Portland branch of the IWW

We are issuing a statement to express our support for the Patriarchy and the Movement event and the community members who called attention to the manifestation of patriarchy in our organizing. We support the brave individuals who stood up and spoke out against oppressive behavior during the event. We support the right of survivors and survivor-centered accountability processes. We support the rights of those facing oppression to speak out against the harm done to them and to identify those participating in oppressive behavior.

The event itself was meant to identify patterns of patriarchal oppression within the anti-capitalist movement, support survivors and promote anti-patriarchy work. During the discussion portion of the event a survivor’s attempt to identify a person who has demonstrated a pattern of oppressive, patriarchal behavior was silenced. This exchange was triggering and harmful to many of the attendees and replicated the patriarchal patterns identified earlier in the event. It also had the effect of derailing the important discussions around survivor support that had been taking place up until that point. That such behaviors took place within an event centered around dismantling those very same behaviors clearly demonstrates the need for a strong anti-patriarchy survivor-centered stance within the anti-capitalist movement.

It is often easy in theory to say that we are anti-patriarchy or anti-oppression, but it can become extremely messy and challenging to put those theories into practice when it involves those we trust, respect, and care about. As painful as it often is, we need to continue to recognize patriarchal and oppressive behaviors within our organizations, communities and ourselves. Our responses must be survivor-centered and supportive of those being harmed by patriarchy and oppression. The work of responding is EVERYONE’S work regardless of gender and should not only be the burden of those who are most oppressed by it.

We look forward to seeing our allies and Fellow Workers in the Toward Gender Equality Committee and the Portland IWW come forward and show support for anti-patriarchy work such as the Patriarchy and the Movement event. We encourage them to be proactive in recognizing and addressing the damaging forces of patriarchy in organizing as we all work to create a new world in the shell of the old.

Signed,

The Patriarchy Resistance Committee,

Portland Industrial Workers of the World

“Don’t be afraid to speak up, and resist. Every time we speak out, we empower others to do the same. Don’t be intimidated by the mechanisms which are classically used to silence and discredit us. Other feminists who have had similar experiences will have your back and be there for you. We are many more than you think. Resistance begins when fear stops.” — from the statement from the “Patriarchy and the Movement” event organizers

Link

Why I’m Angry

**Editors note:  This is a piece written by a close comrade about his own experiences with wartime violence, sexual assault, IV drug use, and domestic violence.  I feel it adds an important voice to the community discussion about the traumatic repercussions of patriarchy in our communities so I wanted to repost it here.  

 

Why I’m Angry

 
Trigger warning: This post contains references to wartime violence, sexual assault, IV drug use, and domestic violence. 

Anyone who knows me knows I’m pissed. I’m just generally a really angry person. Lately, my writing hasn’t been particularly angry, however. I’ve been trying to be thoughtful, with lots of well-considered analysis and hopeful critique. The things that we tackle day-to-day don’t just require rage, though that rage may be well-deserved. We need to really understand the problems that we face as a society and as a species– oppression, privilege, resistance, stigma, shame, capitalism, repression… these require thought and subjective understanding. Not just personal, but political.

These posts have led some strangers to question, why? Why do you call yourself One Angry Queer? My posts lately… just haven’t had my usual indignation. They have had, I like to think, a level of sophistication, of finesse.

This isn’t one of those.

I’m going to tell you why I’m angry.

I’m really fucking angry I grew up poor. I’m angry that poverty led me to live in an economically depressed area, generally, where I didn’t have access to the kind of education I others did. I had to get jobs in high school, and I’m angry that I was distracted from what I needed to do to “get ahead” in our society. I’m angry that, when it came time to graduate high school, I didn’t go to college; I was too poor and so I joined the military. I’m angry that military then sent me to a country I never thought I’d visit. I’m angry that I contributed to death there. I’m angry that while I was there I saw dead bodies that I’ll never forget; I’m angry that I once stood over a dead Iraqi woman in her twenties who had been shot in the head. I’m angry she was shot in the head. I’m angry I was ever there. I’m angry any of us were ever there.

I’m really fucking angry that this destroyed my life for so long. I’m really angry that I couldn’t handle my feelings about what I did and what was done to me and I’m angry that I didn’t feel that I could handle them out in the open. I’m angry that in my society, men are stoic and don’t talk about their bad feelings. I’m angry that in my society, gay men are supposed to be happy all the fucking time and go out and drink cocktails and hey, maybe do some blow and then we dance and entertain our straight girlfriends because my goodness! Gay men are such a good time all the fucking time.

I’m really fucking angry that I then descended into the madness of drugs, slowly and surely over the course of years. Coke at first, and then when I stopped doing that… occasionally that devil of a drug methamphetamine. It wasn’t bad at first, I was using here and there, sometimes months between uses. A weekend warrior! All under control! Of course, I’m angry that meth culture is largely without condoms and I’m really angry that I fell for that shit, oh boy am I angry, because now I have HIV and I might have it for the rest of my life and good goddamn do I hate taking those pills.

I’m really fucking angry that HIV exists. I’m angry that so many of the elders I could have had in my community are dead and they’re dead because Ronald fucking Reagan wouldn’t admit that we existed back then and just let us die. I’m really angry about this because I might not have gotten it if we had just addressed it back when it fucking started. We might have a cure right now, but we don’t, and I’m angry about that because the reason we don’t have a cure is profit margins and political expediency andgay folks are icky. Instead I’m taking these pills and I’m angry that I have to find insurance to pay for these pills and I’m angry that thousands of people don’t have the privilege I do and they will die because they can’t pay for these fucking odious little pills.

I’m really fucking angry that I have the shame and internalized stigma that I have about HIV. I’m angry that I haven’t been the insertive partner with someone in months and months because I largely date seronegative people and I’m terrified of giving it to them. I know, oh so rationally, that because I’m undetectable it’s almost impossible for me to give it to someone, especially using safer sex practices. I’m angry that I can’t accept that easily because every day my fellow queer “brothers” tell me I’m dirty and reject me and tell me “Drug and Disease Free, U B 2” on their shitty online hookup websites and I’m angry that we are all so isolated in our communities that we have to seek intimacy through our computers because I’d rather seek intimacy in warm, encircling, loving arms.

I’m really fucking angry that the shame that I have been taught to have about HIV led me to toss in the towel, give up and become a full-blown meth addict, one that used every day and fell apart. Just fell apart. Oh, and I’m really angry I started shooting up. OH GOD. I am so angry about that. I’m angry that I now have hepatitis C because of that and I now have to quit drinking because my liver enzymes are through the roof. I’m angry that now I’m going to have to inject myself with goddamn interferon to treat it, something that I’m afraid of because needles are triggering and because it will likely make me sick and that’s just a mess that I don’t want to deal with but have to or else I’m really fucked. I have to go back to sticking a needle in my skin, even though I get super anxious and traumatized during blood draws just because there’s a needle in the room and oh yes, now I just have nightmares about shooting up that make me wake up yelling and crying and the person who occasionally sleeps next to me has to wake up and tell me that it’s all okay and really I would just like to let him sleep but I can’t. I’m angry because I’m in something of a cool, new relationship right now and he has to deal with all this trauma and insanity because I couldn’t take care of it before I met him. I’m angry that my addiction did this to me and that addiction still exists because we won’t treat it like the disease it is, no, instead we criminalize it and lock it up and fuel the trade that it feeds on.

I’m really fucking angry that I was a full-time meth addict that was out of control and had no control and never had control and that led me to having sex with someone I didn’t want to, and when I wanted to stop it I couldn’t because I was too fucked up and hey, men are always ready to have sex so why would I have wanted to anyway? So I said nothing, even though I was horrified at what was happening to me. I said nothing because I was too goddamn fucked up to know what to do and too stupidly worried about disappointing that random sex partner I’ll never see again. Men certainly can’t be raped or assaulted or however you want to call it and if it happens they certainly can’t admit to it. Except I was and now I am and I’m really fucking angry it happened to me. So angry that it makes me cry.

I’m angry that while all this was going on I was so busy trying to survive and not succumb to desperation and was so busy just trying to not die that I wasn’t sending my brother any letters, because did I mention he got arrested when I was 18? Yeah, he was there for eleven years in prison, and when he got out I talked to him on the phone and I said “I love you, Jon, and I’ll see you in a year on the outside, because I want to come and visit you because I miss you.” And then, of course, six months later he keeled over dead because he’d been eating shitty prison food for eleven years (because who cares what slop they feed criminals? Got to keep the budget low when feeding those reprobates), and I will never see him again. I’m angry that the real criminals, the ones who fed him shit for years, the ones that decided that prison food should be a for-profit business, don’t have to deal with this pain. Capitalism ended up in our prisons, ladies, gentlemen and genderqueer persons, and didn’t you hear about capitalism and property? Property is motherfucking theft, and my brother was made the state’s property and he was goddamn stolen from me and so I haven’t seen my brother since I was sixteen and that makes me so fucking outraged and furious and angry and raging because I’ll never see him again and that is. So. Horrible.

I’m really fucking angry that here I am, years later, assaulted and bereft and guilty and shamed and weeping and sad and I just hate it. I hate it that patriarchy, imperialism, prison, all of it has fucking wrecked my life every day and it just doesn’t quit. I still get called a faggot on the street and that pisses me off and then I have to threaten these assholes’ safety in order to get them to leave me alone and that really fucking enrages me because I really honestly just love most people and hitting someone is the last thing I want to do. I’ve had lovers and strangers both do it to me, and I hated it! Why would I want to do it to someone else? But they make me have to threaten them to get them to leave me alone and that fucking infuriates me. After everything I’ve survived, I have to deal with this petty shit almost every week I’m alive and why should I? Why does it still happen?

What’s really insanely infuriating is that my story is not unique, far from it. My story is actually really fucking commonplace. All around us the systems that we have bought into and plugged into and taken stock in do this to people around us each and every day. Strangers, people we love, people we hate, this is all happening to them and it seems hopeless because it’s a never ending cycle of poverty, violence, rape and exploitation. It’s not hopeless, though, because we can challenge them, but do we ever? Do you ever?

 
Why the fuck aren’t you angry like I am? My stories and those like it aren’t even the worst case scenario. I walk through life still wrapped with the privilege my skin gives me and my Y chromosome gives me and there are people who don’t have that, who are black or female-assigned or trans and they have it a lot worse and they are treated like shit and are dying and you aren’t angry? My female friends are getting raped and you would rather sip your Absolut cocktails and go to a Pride Parade? The people I cared about during my using years are bleeding out their lives in gutters and alleyways and you want to crow about marriage equality passing in motherfucking France?

That’s the worst. You know why I’m really fucking angry?

Because you’re not angry enough.

 

The Anatomy of a Cover-up: How Organizations Respond to Patriarchy and Reinforce it

to the victor go the toils

It would seem that throughout the anarchist milieu, wherever you turn, there is a community being ravaged by rape, by sexual assault, and by abuse. These cycles are neither new nor unique to anarchists. — Betrayal: a critical analysis of rape in anarchist subcultures

Radicals have always dealt with crises involving rape, sexual abuse, harassment and other forms of patriarchal destructiveness. Currently, the issue seems to have exploded seemingly from nowhere and has enveloped multiple radical communities throughout the world.

It is highly unlikely that radicals worldwide have just become patriarchal all of sudden and for no reason. Quite the contrary, rape and abuse have existed among anarchists and socialists and other radicals for as long as these communities have existed. What does seem to have changed among the current generation of radicals is that the patterned logic of the cover-ups is no longer working.

In comparing the way these…

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Statement on recent events

**This post is authored by Jen, one of the blog administrators and one of the organizers of the Portland event.  The statements here represent my views only.

I feel people should be aware of the following:

  • Since the event a handful of organizers and panelists have in fact been subtly threatened in a variety of ways, received inappropriate emails and phone calls, have been told to step back from organizing or have been directly marginalized from organizing, and have undergone many false accusations. Some have also been scapegoated for things that occurred after the panel. It is not inaccurate to say that although the organizers and panelists did not call out P. Little (except for one panelist who didn’t call him out by name but in fact called himself out for co-participating in patriarchal behaviors with P. Little) this repressive reaction has come from people who are close to P. Little.
  • One of the more over the top accusations is that the entire event was organized to call out P. Little, and that he was “the main target of the event”. This email, which has reached now possibly over a hundred people around the country, accused organizers of sneakily setting up an event to trap P. Little and call him out. It paints P. Little as a victim of an event about patriarchy, and the organizers as manipulative and suspect. Although this allegation has been refuted time and time again, and named for its sexist nature, this paranoid allegation of holding an entire event as a conspiracy to falsely accuse P. Little has now been sent out on a national list-serve. On this same list serve allegations and lies have been spread about panelists, as well as other people involved in a survivor support group, while defending P. Little. Those who sent out this email nationally have said they are friends with P. Little but they don’t know the organizers.
  • The people who sent out this email say that no one is allowed to refute allegations against them, such as the allegation that the event was organized to target P. Little, without evidence. The authors of this email have presented no hard evidence to support the claim that the event was organized to target one person.
  • A campaign to discredit an entire event and the organizers/panelists (because of someone being called out during the event) through the use of subtle intimidation, threats, and overt accusations of conspiracy is repressive. It sends a message to intimidate feminists and those who wish to organize feminist panels that they will be accused of targeting men.
  • I have noticed that since the event many people who have a problem with P. Little have been silenced, and the response to those who were brave enough to stand up is part of that silencing.
  • I do not want to be part of a political community that allows feminists to be attacked to the extent of what I have seen after the event. I do not support those making accusations about the organizers of this event.
  • There were a few different organizers of the Patriarchy and the Movement event. These organizers as well as some panelists did not want their names revealed before the event because they did not want to be approached, harassed, or intimidated by ANYONE before the event, as that has been the experience in the past. Despite this, there were sexist accusations that the motive of those speaking at the event were wanting to call out their ex boyfriends.