TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LATER

I am reminded by the writings of others that I “came out” 25 years ago. I came out to a cacophony of raised voices, direct actions, angry spray-painted walls. Our rights were under threat by a right wing ideology enshrined in legislation. In the UK “clause 28” was a direct attack on the lives of lesbians. There was enough of a lesbian feminist movement to know that, as lesbians, we had to defend our own rights, that no one else would do it for us and that, if we joined forces with gay men, we would be subsumed by a male agenda.

We did join with them sometimes. We joined the big marches against clause 28 along with hets and gay men. But, more importantly, we carried out our own direct actions and we saw ourselves as separate and apart in our fight for liberation. As radical lesbian feminists, we had no interest in the gay male agenda of being “accepted” within mainstream patriarchy. We saw ourselves as subversives and we wanted to act like that’s what we were.

I was reminded by a tweet of Julie Bindel’s that we occupied the ideal home exhibition. I don’t recall her being there but there were a lot of women taking part in the action that day. It was mother’s day and the action mocked the idea that lesbians were “pretend mothers” (as stated by the Thatcherite propaganda). When we occupied the house and shut the doors, I remember one of the male security guards asking, in puzzlement, “How can lesbians be mothers?” and we laughed. I remember shouting from the top “There’s a lesbian in every woman” and the other lesbians laughed. I don’t even recall going with anyone I knew. A solitary figure casually joining in. There was a lesbian feminist existence to join. She was bold, transgressive, she wanted to scrap all the patriarchal rules and start again.

I look back over the next 25 years as if they are ruins of a forgotten time. Individualistic solutions took a hold in lesbian feminist communities as the fight against patriarchy started losing momentum. If you are fighting what is invisible, acceptable, it is much harder than if you’re fighting an obvious wrong, an obvious injustice. Counselling, alternative therapies and happy coupledoms and tight friendship networks began to be all-pervasive as fewer women were increasingly less overtly political.

There were pockets of resistance. Some of us held out in tiny parts of the UK. We protested when they threatened to cancel our lesbian poetry reading, to be held on council premises. We continued to identify as lesbian feminists and we built communities but, gradually, the fire in our bellies died. It became more and more difficult to fight apathy. The malestream had accepted some feminist reforms. Some of the activists got well-paid jobs and were assimilated. And time rolled by. In the midst of the surge towards individualistic solutions came a new theory. I understood why it appealed to so many lesbians. It gave them permission to merely indulge in oppressive gender roles, instead of fighting them. Don’t like how women are oppressed? Pretend that “gender” is “fluid” and that by dressing up as a man or a woman you are, somehow, doing something revolutionary. And so dragkings and “femmes” and “butch femmes” and goddess knows what were born. They are now enshrined in an apolitical, barely visible, tiny lesbian corner of the universe somewhere. Meanwhile, gay men are busy getting richer and becoming the acceptable gay face of the LGBT world. We insisted on the “l” being at the front; we, the lesbian feminists, who knew we had to fight to be heard; that we are women, as well as lesbians, and that women are hated under patriarchy.

Our movement was co-opted by queers, by “feminist” (sic) men, even by MREs (male rights extremists) – all of whom demand “gender equality” and, in their different ways, deny, trivialize and actively suppress the liberation of women. It’s happened gradually, slowly, over that 25 years so that, now, we have to fight for women-only “reclaim the night” marches, for women-only services, for radical feminists to meet and critique gender openly and without fear of personal recriminations. We are slowly seeing feminist victories of that era being eroded as funding for refuges and rape crisis centres water down political critiques and the funding itself disappears; lesbians are seen as less vocal versions of gay men with the same needs and aspirations. To the (mostly gay men of course) people writing how gay men (and lesbians) are much more comfortable with their sexuality now, 25 years on, understand how our feminist herstory is important. This is only so because of fragile reformist acts protecting rights. Conservatives have made very clear how much they want to repeal those rights. They could be gone in seconds and the attacks on lesbians (and gay men) resurface. It’s what is happening to women’s rights already and, as lesbian feminists, we care about the reproductive and abortion rights of our sisters (and ourselves). We see retrogressive attacks on all women, as a class, increasing, while gay men fight for the right to marry and fit into patriarchal norms.

All is not lost, however, because there is a growing movement of radical feminists who put fighting women’s oppression first, once more. Central to that movement is the right to openly and autonomously organise as women. Our oppressors will not liberate us. We have to pick up the sword of freedom from our sisters past and fight on until we achieve true liberation. Revolution, not reform, will win our freedom.

If you think man-hating is a problem, read this

Either I am looking in the wrong place, or little is written about man-hating. I’ll admit that plenty of feminists say that feminists don’t hate the male sex. I would say that it is definitely not a core part of feminist tactics or theory: it’s an emotional experience that erupts after wimmin are mistreated to such an extent that they cannot trust men as a whole anymore. It is definitely something that happens, sometimes to feminists and sometimes to regular wimmin — but it is a common experience to wimmin of all kinds, and therefore I think it is relevant to anarchafeminism.

Hatred of the male sex is not an illness to be cured, an oppression to fight, or a bad attitude. It is a consequence and a symptom of wimmin living under patriarchy. Attempting to directly remove wimmin’s animosity towards the male sex is an act of emotional manipulation, a power play, and an act of silencing wimmin. By meddling with this emotion, you meddle with the only defense a womon has against the dangers of men. By numbing herself, she may end up getting hurt once more. We know that men would rather that wimmin’s emotions be numbed just as wimmin’s bodies be dead. By numbing her, you tell her you’d rather she be dead. Wise wimmin know better than to heed the naysaying against man-hating, and encourage wimmin to trust their survival instincts.

I believe that the reason wimmin hate the male sex, by and large, is because men rape us, kill us, and put us into slavery. Every other reason is extra fuel to the fire. Wimmin want to believe that the male sex is human just like them. After all, men are everywhere, so they can’t easily be ignored. Therefore, wimmin tend to forgive men for many things. But some things are unforgiveable.

If man-hating makes you uncomfortable: the only way man-hating could stand a chance of disappearing is not by attacking wimmin’s emotions, but by attacking the root cause: wimmin’s oppression by the male sex. Rape must end, at the very least.

Why you can’t be a feminist if you’re not an anarchist

Is every feminist secretly an anarchist?

Feminism is not feminism if it is not antisexist, but also must be:

  • Antiracist (for wimmin of color)
  • Anticapitalist (for working class wimmin)
  • Female+Female love-positive (for lesbians and bisexual wimmin)
  • Anti-state (against the state control of wimmin’s autonomy, rejecting patriarchal protection rackets)
  • Anti-hierarchy (against wimmin exploiting other wimmin)

I can’t tell you how many wimmin have been turned away from anarchism — the politics of opposing all hierarchy — due to male violence, male abuse, male threats, male testerics. And that is an awful shame, because wimmin have the greatest chance for achieving anarchy.

It’s pretty simple… Forget all your preconceptions about what anarchism is. Forget malestream anarchism with its male fantasies of “let’s kill all the bad people and we will win” because that’s just naive. Men are pretty dumb, let’s be honest. They expect everything to be cleaned up after them.

And they fail at all the basics of anarchism.

Actually, anarchism belongs to wimmin first. Before there were antisemetic men (Bakunin) arguing with sons and hangers-on of capitalists (Engels and Marx), there were wimmin who embodied the best ideals of antihierarchy, distrust of the state and scammy economic systems, and distrust of male society. These wimmin were witches. They were empowered, but not with authority.

It was male society that brought capitalism and nation states, male society that brought feudalism and kingdoms and churches in the first place. Before the power grabs, there existed the possibility for political parity between men and wimmin. I’m not sure how long this period lasted or whether inequality has always existed, because male violence is a problem universal to this planet, but I digress. We are where we are because men brought us here.

Where were the wimmin when this happened? We were given the non-choice of becoming submissive wives or dead bodies. This has always been the case.

We are not edgelords.

Wimmin as a sex have demonstrated clear tendencies towards preferring nonviolence wherever possible. We may not be pacifists, of course not; we must protect and defend as necessary. But as a sex we do not worship violence. The important thing to understand about men is that they do worship violence no matter their stated political tendencies, and if they can dress up that violence in righteous trappings then they will do so. But ask them for analysis and evidence, and they will quickly reveal their personal, emotional reasons for resorting to such aggressive tactics. The thing to understand about why men worship violence is that it is a tactic that as a sex has always worked for them to gain power over others. But killing every living thing that disobeys is not the tactic of an anarchist, it is the tactic of a tankie.

The feminists, with a bit of modification, are the true revolutionaries here. The promise of a new world where everyone is free is in our hands.

But wimmin are nonviolent not because we subscribe to liberal guilt trips of “violence is always bad, guys” — which always sounds dull. Violence is not our first impulse because we know we will be the ones to clean up the mess, be it a brawl or a war, and suffer the consequences that come with the choice of violence. Men have always fought wars and come home or abroad to wimmin who would comfort them, take care of the children, care for the wounded, and mourn the fallen — this is what I mean when I say wimmin have been forced to clean up men’s messes. Violence is not our strength, either — throwing our weight around has not usually been something that wimmin are successful at. Often, we wimmin are the targets of violence and we are the ones who struggle to defend ourselves in the first place — from our own men.

Rather than fill all our time with fantasies of revenge, we dream of worlds that could be and in our hands there lies the possibility of a world’s creation. It is over our creative abilities that wars between men are fought.

We are tirelessly antifascist.

There is no such thing as feminazi; this is a contradiction in terms. However, there is such a thing as a nazi men’s rights activist. They’re all the rage these days. All those red pillers feminists have been debating have moved on to become full on nazis, reportedly letting go of their explicit hatred of wimmin and moving on to a passive possessive petulance of wimmin. They are quietly popping up on the dating scene hoping to snag a womon who will fall for their 1950s nuclear family dreams. Feminists don’t fall for this.

Feminists were opposing red pillers before antifascists knew this was a thing that was happening. For the most part, manarchists and brocialists ignored and derided red pillers but did not actively engage with them. It might be a hindsight is 20/20 observation, but the brocialists thought they knew where fascism would emerge and it does not seem anyone had their eye on the MRAs. Perhaps because with porn culture, they themselves were pretty womon-hating.

While no feminist will be battling the worst incarnations of fascist brutes on the streets any time soon, it is worth pointing out that feminists were the ones opposing gender roles and writing cutting analyses of fascist patriarchy decades ago — incisive enough to bleed Julius Evola dry of his vile theories. And, if you do your research, it is feminists who get publicly shamed by both brocialists and actual nazis.

Manarchists fail at antifascism. They can provide muscle, but they regularly equate fascists with feminists, which leaves you wondering where they will take us, if we need to fight fascism but the antifascist men are threatening to treat us the same way as fascists.

Their antifeminist actions make them the unwitting pawns of fascists, doing the work of silencing wimmin for the fascists. When a fascist takeover happens, the lefty men will have paved the way with our bodies. They fail at antifascism. QED.

Feminists on the other hand have the wit and the gynergy to produce systemic analyses of fascism as a system that arose out of patriarchy which presents a serious existential risk to feminist organizing. Feminists know that patriarchs divide up wimmin (their “property”) through the creation of racial categories. Fascism is like the boss of patriarchy going into overdrive. It does so because fascists want to use wimmin’s reproductive systems to produce their “racially pure” societies. Feminism frustrates that. Fascism is overwhelmingly male. Feminism is female.

Feminists should be concerned about fascism, and rather than beat people senseless as men are wont to do, feminists should work to create dual power with antifascist organizers. There are nonviolent ways of opposing fascism since in the end politics is a war of ideas, resting on a decision to act: violence becomes a necessity when there is no choice. Fascism spreads itself via culture, e.g. postmodernism and traditionalism, and culture is the stomping ground of feminists. Feminists must reach people and tell them what must be heard, and the analysis must be radical to the core. The diagnosis must be thorough, the truth must strike the heart.

Fascism is gaining ground because feminism is losing ground.

Feminism finds its antifascist manifestation in the womon warriors of Kurdistan fighting Daesh.

Feminism knows that there are many patriarchies, some of them white, some of them otherwise, but almost all of them nationalist.

Finally, while communism and anarchism have both been coopted in bastardized forms to suit nazi narratives (see: “national anarchists”, “national bolsheviks”, and alt-left leftypol tankies), feminism — even liberal feminism — remains untouchable to nazi scum.

Feminism is anti-racist and female + female love-positive

If it isn’t about wimmin of all cultures, nationalities, colors, religions, etc, then it’s not feminism. Feminism is international and crosses all barriers between wimmin, fostering unity across time, space, and male-drawn political lines.

Feminism does not pull punches for patriarchies of any kind.

Feminism is about promoting unity and love between wimmin all across the board.

Feminism does not abandon wimmin to the streets; it takes them in to shelter.

Feminism is anti-capitalist and anti-statist

A feminism that recognizes prostitution as slavery is essentially not only Marxist, but above and beyond that, and all feminists should be proud of that fact. Feminists recognize the coercive nature of economics for wimmin who are starving and rely on degrading work to survive. It is not a far leap to also extend this to all kinds of slavery, such as wage slavery; and even before that, feminists organized against plantation slavery.

Men talk of the proletarians, but wimmin see the work that is never paid. Wimmin recognize many kinds of work — such as household chores and tending to the family — that Marxists never did, and correctly identified these things as servitude under patriarchy. While communists were obsessing about the dollars and cents being mugged from them by capitalists, wimmin were aware that they were not being paid at all.

You could forgive feminists for being a little standoffish to Marxists. But, truth be told, feminism is better suited to communism than liberalism. What kind of feminist imagines liberation and includes in it only bourgeois (capitalist) wimmin exploiting working class wimmin? A fantasy better suited to the likes of Ayn Rand, who was at least more honest about not being a feminist.

It was male society that brought capitalism and nation states, male society that brought feudalism and kingdoms and churches in the first place.

It would be impossible for an anarchist to talk of capitalism without also mentioning the state, since it is important to understand that a state is merely the violent enforcer of the economic order. There is no such thing as a state that acts independently of capitalism. The very same people at the top of the capitalist pyramid scheme are also at the top of the state bureaucracies, and often they know one another and invite each other to dinner, which is probably cooked by their wives or served by some unfortunate waitress.

We will not end capitalism by overtaking the state; the only thing that can be done with a state is to throw it away as the shriveled organ of capital that it is.

Feminism is anti-hierarchy

There is no authentic feminism that could be called hierarchical feminism. Hierarchical modes of organization and other forms of domination are inimical to wimmin’s liberation, since feminism is about freedom for all wimmin. You can’t tell wimmin we are officially free and give us a list of orders for us to obey.

Our task, then, is not to join and take orders from man nor womon. Our task is to set out towards collective self-determination.

Statement in support of WoLF’s and Cathy Brennan’s work on gender identity reforms

I’ve had this one in the chamber for some months now. I saw it coming because I know the radical male left — but to be honest, it never really hit me until Cathy Brennan and her friends were ambushed in Olympia, WA by self-described communists and It’s Going Down (an anarchist publication with an antifascist focus) celebrated it. The pattern has only been confirmed with the attack on the Vancouver Women’s Library where, again, self-described communists (Trans Communist Cadre) are involved. This is to say nothing of the vitriol we have seen on the Internet for years, harassing and pushing out radical feminists.

What did I see coming? Rage. I definitely saw an incredible amount of rage boiling over by the latter half of 2016. I truly expected that the male left would be distracted with fighting fascists, the Trump regime, and punching Richard Spencer. That they would be too occupied with opposing the racist right to spend any more energy on radical feminists or other infighting. After all the years of Red Scares and Green Scares, the moment has come to prove themselves, to show what they can offer to the world.

How wrong I was! They went into overdrive. What happened was shocking: the incredible narcissistic rage of the male left exploding and wasting itself not on capitalists, but on wimmin. The literal societal/macro equivalent to the husband coming home to beat his wife because he is angry at his boss. Not even lesbians, spinsters, single wimmin, or children are spared. And perhaps, as I’ll explain, he is also mad because he feels the lefty female is cheating.

It has come to my attention that feminist groups have been suffering as a result of the accusation that they are “working with the right”. This has been flying around social media echo chambers for some time — for decades, actually, if you consider previous legal work feminists have done on pornography and prostitution. It’s not a surprising response from the left, since the left will never fail to compare radical feminists to Christian conservatives. Yet for some reason, the male left decided to be most angry at this now. Feminists are being used as punching bags to sublimate the male left’s indignation and feelings of inefficacy.

feminist
The worst part: the male left succeeded in confusing wimmin. They are expected to be feminist and dictate what feminism is.

They would like wimmin to live in a world of self-censure and immaculate allyship, a world where the only men and wimmin acceptable to work with are those on their own team. In return for this loyalty, the lefty female gets to feel that she is “good”, and in her own thoughts she is “better” even than the lefty male whose self and canonized heroes are riddled with character flaws and tainted track records. But the male left hates when wimmin take the dyke-ish route of prioritizing solidarity with other wimmin, not dissimilar to how racial minorities prioritize solidarity with their own collective . The male left hates more than anything in the whole world wimmin’s solidarity with other wimmin at the expense of leftist men — this is an unforgivable sin in lefty land, as evidenced by the disproportionate respect paid to black liberationists over radical feminists, because they respect oppressed groups only as long as such groups contain men. Malcom X’s birthday is consistently celebrated, while Andrea Dworkin has almost never been acknowledged much less respected. For male politicos no matter what their label, oppressed classes are only listened to and respected according to their proximity to men and compatibility with patriarchy, and to the degree they can be twisted in order to fit the patriarchal imperative and flatter male egos.

However the male left, in their outrage at radical feminists, shows gobsmacking ignorance of their own political theory and practice. This is likely the same outrage that led to the disrespect of the Zapatistas, the Black Panthers, and other liberation movements, which caused leftists to be accused of showing hypocritical racism, sexism, and even imperialism. Some leftists disrespect even Rojava as it unfolds now for not being pure enough. Yet they still tokenize all these groups. Now I understand how insulting this is. Why does the distinctly Western male left feel such a need to control liberation movements outside their walled gardens?

malcolm

It’s easy to get shocked at reformist feminist groups for appealing to the Establishment for help with their cause, but that’s what reformist groups do and no one should really be shocked by that. It might make radicals uncomfortable but that’s because your expectations are not right. Also, who cares?

The tactic of appealing to the Establishment can be deradicalizing if the reforms sought are not worth it, but let’s not pretend for a second that being a radical means being against reforms altogether. It’s childish thinking to believe that accepting aid from your political rivals is going to compromise you or make you their puppet. It’s not as clear cut as that.

If winning reforms, which are inevitably temporary, defines all you do, then that is reformism. No revolutionary movement was ever won by a series of compromises. Yet this can change over time within the same organization — would anyone disagree that unions have become pretty reformist? But anarchists with any modicum of empathy and experience of being under the boot of oppression should understand that to be against reforms is to be against making life better in the short term. We are not idealists, we are materialists, and that means recognizing and responding to our material conditions.

If some people feel that to win welfare, to win the right to be viewed as a full human being, to win the right to not be executed at will, is worth working with conservatives, you won’t oppose that, will you? Then don’t be shocked when feminists do the same.

It is unacceptable and exceedingly sexist for anarchists and communists, including antifa, as well as the liberal transactivists with whom the male left collaborates, to use this “allying with the right” argument to justify physically assaulting and smearing the reputations of feminists who work to make women’s lives livable, and going as far as to call radical anarchafeminists “fascist” for having sympathies with our radical feminist sisters. In particular, the radical male left’s allyship with conservative and liberal transactivists, as well as their historical collaboration with conservatives on other issues, reveals the hypocrisy of their claims. The betrayal (and erasure) that the entire radical male left has shown anarchafeminists will not soon be forgotten. We don’t look the other way when you attack our non-anarchist sisters, either. We see what you do. And we know better than you who is acting “fascist”.

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In truth, the male left deserves a full analysis on their fascistic tendencies, and that’s coming. Whether they truly qualify as fascist remains to be seen, but one thing they certainly qualify as is “patriarchal”, which is a prerequisite for fascism that radical feminists will never come close to meeting. And by wasting their energies on masturbatory fantasies of rape and murder of radical wimmin, these male “radicals” are wasting whatever use they are or were to revolutionizing the economy. I’ve given up all hope of these deluded men achieving meaningful change. Only the female left can bring us forward.

The most concerning thing in all of this is wimmin’s role in betraying other wimmin. There have been wimmin and lesbians involved in abusing feminists.  To be honest, this part is not surprising either, because patriarchy requires that we are pitted against each other. But it is the most upsetting.

Of course, any anarchist or communist on the radical left is free to disown these abusers but it seems that either violence against wimmin is worth celebrating, or no one cares. Please write to me if you disagree. Over my continual engagement with the male left I have seen nothing but disrespect. We can call this a clever CIA plot to turn labor activists against feminists, or vice versa, but this wouldn’t be an issue if the male left weren’t so patriarchal. Manarchists and brocialists will always get away with abusing feminists until anarchism and communism accept their destiny to be absorbed by radical feminism, the disowned daughter of the radical left.

Decolonisation, not manarchy: we need to abolish porn to abolish prisons

writing by renee

In November 2016, New Zealand’s prison population ticked over ten thousand. So in February, abolitionist organisation No Pride in Prisons lead a “10,000 Too Many” march, calling for decarceration and challenging government plans to expand New Zealand’s prison system. NPIP and its supporters say that instead of building more prisons when they are ineffective, inhumane and discriminatory – we should work toward prison abolition by addressing the root causes of violence.

To some women – women who walk home at night with keys between knuckles; women facing interrogation in court after reporting sexual abuse (only 13% of such cases in New Zealand result in a conviction); women who are trapped in homes with abusive men – the idea of unlocking all prison cells might come across as extreme. Over 85% of the ten thousand incarcerated New Zealanders are men, and sexual assault is one of the most common offences for…

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Why can’t we just make up?: On the hypocrisy of transactivism in the prison abolition movement

writing by renee

On the night of June 25 last year, Alex Aleti Seu sexually assaulted a young man in an alleyway and on the grounds of a Dunedin church. Seu, who identifies as transgender, has been sentenced to prison for the attack as well as that of two of his former flatmates. Having entered the prison system, Seu is now among those whose rights No Pride in Prisons (NPIP) defends through its activism, its calls for prison reform and its prison abolitionist demands.In fact, much of NPIP’s work focuses specifically on imprisoned people who identify as transgender.

NPIP is founded on the recognition that the prison system does not to function primarily in the interest of public safety, as we are lead to believe. Reoffending rates are high, and prisons are violent, not rehabilitative, institutions. They do not reduce crime rates – if that was their purpose, indigenous women would not…

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