New Anarchafeminist Magazine from Dublin

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Ramona
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Oct 22 2006 23:36
New Anarchafeminist Magazine from Dublin

I bought this at the bookfair, and for the fist time EVER read a "zine" that was actually really, really, really good. Nice one RAG! cool

Quote:
The RAG is a magazine produced by a diverse group of anarcha-feminist women in Dublin. We are all feminists, united in our recognition that women's subordination exists. Our struggle needs to be fought alongside the struggle against other forms of oppression, not treated as an afterthought or as a distraction. We are all anarchists, united in our belief for the need to create alternatives to this capitalistic, patriarchal society wherein all are dominated and exploited.

Although anarchism is, in theory, inherently feminist, the reality is often quite different. RAG was created out of a need to bring feminist issues into mainstream anarchist sphere. We hope the magazine will contribute to a change in anarchists' organising, on all levels. We desire a fully participatory role for women in anarchism.

This first issue of the magazine has taken over a year to produce, and has been an important and fulfilling process. We have taken time to get to know one another, to become comfortable talking in groups and to discuss and develop our ideas. While some women in RAG have been long-time political organisers, others have approached the group from a range of diverse backgrounds.

We have remained committed to non-hierarchical structures within the collective, with revolving facilitators, skill sharing, group editing, mutual support and respect, and, whenever possible, consensus decision making.

As time goes by members come and go but the spirit of the collective remains constant and, we hope, welcoming, involving and empowering. Over the past year and a half we have held discussions on a variety of topics from motherhood to the sex industry, watched feminist films, had a pro-choice stickering campaign, organised an
anarchist assembly and workshops, swapped and shared books and zines, built friendships and supported one another.

We hope that this magazine will provide food for thought and provoke discussion. We hope that readers will be inspired to set up their own feminist collectives, organise workshops, start and continue writing, and otherwise bring the anarcha-feminist gospel to the streets where they live. Please contact us with your feedback and ideas to tell us what you think about the magazine, and what you would like to see addressed in future issues. If you are a woman* living in our area interested in writing or organising for the revolution, please come get involved.

This is just the beginning!

www.ragdublin.org

Jason Cortez
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Oct 23 2006 09:27

I bought it too, haven't read it but have a skim and looks good.

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Ramona
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Oct 23 2006 23:05

But you're a MAN, you're not supposed to read that, you're supposed to be a bigot with a complete lack of self-awareness. Post it back to them.

wink

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georgestapleton
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Oct 24 2006 00:35

More proof that dublin anarchists are the best. wink

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Ramona
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Oct 24 2006 00:42

Well, yes. Except you didn't start libcom wink

But it was the first time in a while i've read something from the current anarchist offering s and actually felt inspired to want to write and to want to organise something. Which is cool smile

stinkerbell
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Oct 24 2006 01:16

I thought it was wicked, well done all involved. The only thing I would say (and I know as a zine it's a collection of different peoples thought etc so I'm not trying to say it was wrong to print this or anything) was that i found some of the stuff in the article on sexual violence pretty dubios and a bit offensive. the bit about behaviours to look out for in a person as signs that they might be a risk to you. I think saying that someone who drinks/does drugs excessively orhas mood swings etc is potentially a rapist is a bit dodgy to be honest. But a really good read, well done girls!

ticking_fool
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Oct 24 2006 07:50

Goddamn my thrifty crowd avoidance - that looks really good and I want one.

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Oct 24 2006 08:00

we (as in me and .flux) bought the mag as well. Well done for all involved, its not trivial to bring out a magazine with fair bit of content like RAG has!

I think articles such as "anarchism and women" and the sexual violence bit could have been published in regular anarchist magazines to maximise the impact. They were not really a specialised subject as much as some of the other articles, but rather things which would have been great to bring to the readership of your average red&black revolution/direct action/organise reader. I for one would love to see content like that on Direct Action.

I liked the anarchism and women piece, even if i disagreed with some bits of it. For instance, while the impact of the anarchist group culture may be quite gendered, there are loads of men who do not join the groups/movement for the very reasons described on the article and we mostly end up with loudmouths and stubborn bastards such as myself.

The gender imbalance in the organised class based anarchist groups bothers me a lot - same imbalance is apparent here on libcom. I have my theories (many of which are aired in that article as well) of why this is the case, and it is not that women are not politically as involved because we can see about 50/50 gender balance in many other political groups from grassroots enviro & animal groups to dissent and earth first groups to radical social centres. It is not also true that women would be somehow inherently not as interested in class politics, you only have to look at sweden (there goes JDMF about sweden again) and see how the anarcho-syndicalist union SAC has about 50/50 gender balance in participation, maybe not quite there yet, but certainly better than in any other class struggle anarchist group i have ever seen.

ticking_fool
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Oct 24 2006 08:10
Quote:
The gender imbalance in the organised class based anarchist groups bothers me a lot

My feeling is that the organised groups in Britain at least tend to attract people who pretty familiar with theory and are attracted by the ideas, whereas the Dissent style groupings are pretty anti-theoretical, a divide which seems far more exaggerated than it is anywhere else in the world, with the possible exception of the US. I think it's possible that the fact that all the class struggle groups in the UK ignore feminism altogether apart from a few half-hearted nods here and there puts off a lot of women who would otherwise be intellectually attracted.

That's my guess anyway, although I've no proof of it at all. Am I right in thinking though that RAG are connected to the WSM, who at least have a position paper on women and class, I think? If the gender balance is better in that organisation than say the AF then it could support the argument.

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Oct 24 2006 08:45

so, if you were on the editorial board of the magasine, technically would you be on the...

Never mind.

sovietpop
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Oct 24 2006 09:33
ticking_fool wrote:
Am I right in thinking though that RAG are connected to the WSM, who at least have a position paper on women and class, I think? If the gender balance is better in that organisation than say the AF then it could support the argument.

RAG is a completely separate group from the WSM, though some WSM members are also members of RAG, and the WSM is supportive of them. They are a great addition to the anarchist scene.

Unfortunantly the gender ratio in the WSM is also very poor, and it is something I worry about too.
I'm not sure about the idea that anarchist groups are more theory bassed and therefore are less attractive to women - there might be something in that, but it's not that women are less interested in theory. Feminism after all is knee deep with theories - I think it might be more that women feel less engaged with anarchist organisations because they don't feel that they are wanted, needed or that the organisation is interested in what they have to say. Perhaps. tbh, I'm really not sure.

ticking_fool
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Oct 24 2006 09:45
Quote:
I think it might be more that women feel less engaged with anarchist organisations because they don't feel that they are wanted, needed or that the organisation is interested in what they have to say.

That was what I was trying to say - that theoretically inclined women often end up in specifically feminist groups rather than in organised anarchist groups, partly because a lot of the organised groups don't take feminism seriously enough. But it's a guess.

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Oct 24 2006 10:03

not taking seriously - does that imply intent? I think there is an intent and desire to the other direction, at least from the conversations i have had with SolFed folks people are very self critical about the issue and really keen on seeing some initiatives to fix things.

It just needs a bit of concrete initiatives to kick it off i think.

ticking_fool
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Oct 24 2006 10:12
Quote:
not taking seriously - does that imply intent?

I think there's an, understandable, reluctance to have the row. Coming up with a clear position on the relationship between gender and class politics would almost inevitably involve a, potentially quite bitter, fight in most groups and I think there's a tendency to steer clear of it and leave things vague in order to avoid this. I can understand, but I think it's a mistake.

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Oct 24 2006 10:41

Do any of the RAG people post on here? (oh and out of wondering - are all the contributors women?)

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Oct 24 2006 10:45

........... :?

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Oct 24 2006 11:23

Jack - what? Tell me what on earth that was all about, and then I'll tell you what the Trot's point was wink

JDMF - yeah what you're saying about the rape culture articles being in mainstream anarchist media - I agree totally. In fact the thing that made me sad about seeing RAG was "why does this have to be in it's own magazine?" I mean I know why, and I'm not knocking RAG, it just saddens me that anything "feminist" often ends up seperated and sidelined. I was thinking how much I'd love to get something like that going over hear, but then I thought wouldn't it be better instead to get a group of writers together and get that kind of writing into mainstream anarchist media?

They made a fantastic point about anarchists being prefectly willing to mobilise against racist attacks, yet a general silence on sexist attacks. We go on demos about police brutality, we go on demos against racist violence. Why can't we come out and challenge sexual violence? The only people I know who've done that are fervently seperatist radical feminsits doing "women only" reclaim the night marches. So why can't men be actively involved in challenging male violence? It seems ridiculous to leave that to women. Have you ever heard of a mixed group of people getting together to protest after someone was raped? Is that such a ridiculous idea? I don't think so at all...

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Oct 24 2006 11:41
zobag wrote:
Why can't we come out and challenge sexual violence? The only people I know who've done that are fervently seperatist radical feminsits doing "women only" reclaim the night marches. So why can't men be actively involved in challenging male violence? It seems ridiculous to leave that to women. Have you ever heard of a mixed group of people getting together to protest after someone was raped? Is that such a ridiculous idea? I don't think so at all...

Agree 100% with this. I've known anarchists to challenge male violence in the past (and was quite a long time ago in the past), but it was more in the antifa style (if you get my meaning) than holding a protest.

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Oct 24 2006 11:46
zobag wrote:
They made a fantastic point about anarchists being prefectly willing to mobilise against racist attacks, yet a general silence on sexist attacks. We go on demos about police brutality, we go on demos against racist violence. Why can't we come out and challenge sexual violence? The only people I know who've done that are fervently seperatist radical feminsits doing "women only" reclaim the night marches. So why can't men be actively involved in challenging male violence? It seems ridiculous to leave that to women. Have you ever heard of a mixed group of people getting together to protest after someone was raped? Is that such a ridiculous idea? I don't think so at all...

this was one of the most powerful parts of that article i think and i started looking back at my political activity and how i have myself been involved in any of these issues. OK, some of the "reclaim the night" demos have been all women - some advertised as all women, but then some men went in, and those men who didn't got guilt-tripped, lol, and some have been mixed which i have taken part as well.

but pathetic really how little we have done over these issues really considering the level of gendered violence in our society.

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Oct 24 2006 11:50

Well just kicking the shit out of someone doesn't really do much in the long run. "Don't mess with our women, bruv"... In RAG they were talking about a specific example when the women assaulted by this particular guy have found a way to mediate with him, and challenge what he did, and encourage him to face up to his behaviour and seek some help. Which impressed me no end tbh - I can barely think about trying to get the guy who raped me to think about it. I mean I know there was another girl too, but it seems impossible to try and find her (I only know about her because he told me about her, weirdly enough) and even harder to get the guy to deal with what happened.

Like I said though, I've actually not felt so inspired by stuff I've read for a long, long time!

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Oct 24 2006 11:52
JDMF wrote:
this was one of the most powerful parts of that article i think and i started looking back at my political activity and how i have myself been involved in any of these issues. OK, some of the "reclaim the night" demos have been all women - some advertised as all women, but then some men went in, and those men who didn't got guilt-tripped, lol, and some have been mixed which i have taken part as well.

but pathetic really how little we have done over these issues really considering the level of gendered violence in our society.

I am only speaking from my own recent experinces with the RTN organisers in London. They have been strictly women-only (except you can bring your sons so long as they were below a certain age), with men allowed to stand "over there" at the end.

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Oct 24 2006 12:07
zobag wrote:
Well just kicking the shit out of someone doesn't really do much in the long run. "Don't mess with our women, bruv"... In RAG they were talking about a specific example when the women assaulted by this particular guy have found a way to mediate with him, and challenge what he did, and encourage him to face up to his behaviour and seek some help. Which impressed me no end tbh - I can barely think about trying to get the guy who raped me to think about it. I mean I know there was another girl too, but it seems impossible to try and find her (I only know about her because he told me about her, weirdly enough) and even harder to get the guy to deal with what happened.

Like I said though, I've actually not felt so inspired by stuff I've read for a long, long time!

Brave post, zobag.

I know what you mean in the first sentence, and can have no idea about what it means to write the second half of that first paragraph. That's all.

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Oct 24 2006 12:21

what button said.

Steve
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Oct 24 2006 12:24

I totally agree on the need to challenge violence against women. Typical recently was a thread about the increase in domestic violence when England play or there is a big football event like the world cup. Rather than being a serious debate it soon got into a jokey sort of thread 'slap my bitch' etc.

I haven't read the mag but I think the articles mentioned should be in anarchist mags, certainly in DA. The problem is that we haven't got many women in SolFed and consequently not many (none?) women writing for DA. Preston SF are having a discussion meeting in the New Year on anarchism/feminism (not sure of the exact title yet) given by a woman member so hopefully an article for DA can also be got out of it.

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Oct 24 2006 12:31

Ah come on now, don't go all quiet on me wink

It's an interesting discussion to have though. I mean the knee-jerk (and enduring) reaction is often about wanting revenge, punishment... but I think this way of dealing with it just frustrates the process. Most rapists get let off, cos they plead not guilty (assuming anything goes to court), and there's no evidence. And why would anyone plead guilty ffs? Go to prison for rape? Hell no.

But if all that looking for "justice" is sidestepped, and it was made possible for people to confront those who've assaulted them, make them face up to it, maybe there could be a change. After all, most rapists know the people they rape.

I mean it kinda feels a bit pie in the sky really. Most rapists are goign to justify their actions to themselves, they're not goign to see what they did as rape, so getting them to face up to it... fuck, it'd be hard. But perhaps possible.

I'm not saying I'm after loving forgiveness and a destigmatisation of being a rapist, but if the current method of dealing with sexual assault (or not dealing with it) relies on scaring people off (don't do that, you might get sent down/get the shit kicked out of you) then it's clearly not working.

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Oct 24 2006 12:36

Sorry steve didn't see your post before

Steve wrote:
I totally agree on the need to challenge violence against women. Typical recently was a thread about the increase in domestic violence when England play or there is a big football event like the world cup. Rather than being a serious debate it soon got into a jokey sort of thread 'slap my bitch' etc.

I'm glad it wasn't just me who noticed that. I mean jokes aside, if all we can offer on the subject is jokes and a sort of watery "oh but of course we know it's bad, so that's ok, we're self-aware then frankly that's bollocks. It's not the first time on here people have made jokes about domestic violence (I have specific examples in mind), but of course we all know about how bad it is so there's no discussion to be had, right?

Quote:
I haven't read the mag but I think the articles mentioned should be in anarchist mags, certainly in DA. The problem is that we haven't got many women in SolFed and consequently not many (none?) women writing for DA. Preston SF are having a discussion meeting in the New Year on anarchism/feminism (not sure of the exact title yet) given by a woman member so hopefully an article for DA can also be got out of it.

Awesome. Well, I'm currently keen to get my "write" on. And once I have either a job and/or a local area, you never know I may be joining SolFed. But either way I certainly hope to see more of this kind of writing around!

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Oct 24 2006 12:42
Steve wrote:
I totally agree on the need to challenge violence against women. Typical recently was a thread about the increase in domestic violence when England play or there is a big football event like the world cup. Rather than being a serious debate it soon got into a jokey sort of thread 'slap my bitch' etc.

Zobag wrote:
I'm glad it wasn't just me who noticed that. I mean jokes aside, if all we can offer on the subject is jokes and a sort of watery "oh but of course we know it's bad, so that's ok, we're self-aware then frankly that's bollocks. It's not the first time on here people have made jokes about domestic violence (I have specific examples in mind), but of course we all know about how bad it is so there's no discussion to be had, right?

yeah fair call, see my new tagline. and Steve, it didn't 'soon' get into that, it was in the first post neutral

basically i know nothing about this, so i'm all ears (and shutting the fuck up wink)

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Oct 24 2006 12:46

Ah hey I wasn't trying to make anyone feel bad about it JK!

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Oct 24 2006 12:48

One of the difficulties I find myself in trying to write about this stuff is that, on the one hand, it is an absolute, cast-iron, 100% fact (and keep in mind that I'm a poststructuralist wink) that most violence is perpetrated by men on women. In Lewisham, for instance, a quarter of reported crime (that's ALL reported crime) is domestic violence -- and we know how under-reported that is.

On the other hand, there is a paradoxical sense in which demonising men actually lets violent & abusive men off the hook. In the sense that, "well, you can't blame them, it's their testosterone," or whatever.

Of course, feminism has had a related problem, i.e. how to talk about "women" in a non-essentialist, non-reductionist way, and yet preserve womens' status as a collective subject of an emancipatory politics.

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Oct 24 2006 12:50
zobag wrote:
Ah hey I wasn't trying to make anyone feel bad about it JK!

i'm not feeling bad! i'm shutting the fuck up without emotion wink

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Oct 24 2006 12:57
the button wrote:
One of the difficulties I find myself in trying to write about this stuff is that, on the one hand, it is an absolute, cast-iron, 100% fact (and keep in mind that I'm a poststructuralist wink) that most violence is perpetrated by men on women. In Lewisham, for instance, a quarter of reported crime (that's ALL reported crime) is domestic violence -- and we know how under-reported that is.

On the other hand, there is a paradoxical sense in which demonising men actually lets violent & abusive men off the hook. In the sense that, "well, you can't blame them, it's their testosterone," or whatever.

See that's exactly what I was trying to say on the "inane" cosmo thread last week. It ends up making out like rapists are like ultra-sexually charged men or something, or just "monsters" when in fact the reality is far more cmplicated. It's entirely possible for a rapist to be "a really sound bloke".

Blaming it on rapists being monsters only goes to reinforce the popular myth that "real" rape happens only with violent physical coercion, out of the blue, by some random stranger, with the "victim" being a "good" victim who kicks and screams and scratches.

Quote:
Of course, feminism has had a related problem, i.e. how to talk about "women" in a non-essentialist, non-reductionist way, and yet preserve womens' status as a collective subject of an emancipatory politics.

Another problem with feminism is an unspoken tendency to write off any "unusual" sexual behaviour/preferences on the rape survovor's part as acting out, leaving rape survivors with a castrated (as it were) sexuality where only "safe" normal "nice" sex can ever be healthy again. But that's another thread.