New Anarchafeminist Magazine from Dublin

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Oct 24 2006 13:00

...but in answer to your actual point, I'd agree that demonising men gets no one anywhere. Demonising men doesn't get anywhere near dealing with or challenging male violence. If do that, we end up accepting that men are inherently violent, that men will always rape and beat women, cos "it's human nature, innit" which is crap.

So we need to challenge it withut the demonising. tempting as the demonising can be at times.

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the button
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Oct 24 2006 13:14
zobag wrote:
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.

Actually, I think it's this thread. Not least because there's a similar discourse about the perpetrators. This is (still another) tightrope to be negotiated, in that the liberal discourse of "well, a lot of perps were themselves sexually abused" ends up stigmatising survivors of child sexual abuse as "damaged goods" or "accidents waiting to happen."

Not to say that child sexual abuse doesn't destroy lives. But the strength & dignity and (quite frankly) amazing togetherness of many of the (heartbreakingly large) number of adult survivors of sexual abuse that I've encountered would suggest that that's not the whole story.

One of my favourite quotes from someone other than Foucault (gasp!) is from Jacques Donzelot, where he says that therapeutics function "to transform suffering into disfunction." Which is to say, expert knowledges take an awful experience, and turn you into a disfunctional individual who'll need surveillance for the rest of your life. (Which is the link back to the bit of your post that I've quote -- honest!).

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Oct 24 2006 13:22

I'm off out now but I'm moving this into Thought.

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Oct 24 2006 13:25

we are juggling couple serious - but on a totally different level - issues on this thread at the same time, sexual gender based violence and participation of women in anarchist groups, difficult to talk about the gender ratios when there is a much more serious and distressing issue of sexual abuse discussed as well wink Maybe the gender ratios should be discussed on another thread as well?

i personally know so many women who have been raped over their lifetime that i have no trouble believing the statistics presented in the RAG article, shocking as they may sound.

So why isn't anarchist movement reacting to this? Is it because we have very little to offer on top of the already existing liberal reactions? Or is it just down to lack of ideas, or lack of actual ways of which one could do something about this? Ok, maybe one reason is that there isn't that many women involved in the class struggle anarchist groups and that skews the priorities (though, there are even fewer non-white members, but anti-fascism and anti-racism is still liften almost to a pedastal) - i hope that is not true.

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Oct 24 2006 13:36

My problem with the "anarchafeminists" is that they denounce marriage as being a way to keep women second class citizens and "useless". I disagree with this. I think marriage is a partnership; an ALLIANCE, if you will. Two heads are always better than one.

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Oct 24 2006 13:38

There's a chance that this is Jack's point, but dressed up in more political language.....

Because we're all so hung up (not incorrectly, but that doesn't stop it being a hang-up) about organising around issues that affect us directly (workplace and community and workplace and community and workplace and community and so on), this produces a certain "What do I know?"-type reticence about doing other stuff.

Is there a way out of this? Hmmmm. Maybe one thing we do have to offer is practical solidarity and encouragement for individuals & groups wanting to self-organise around this.

And maybe the confidence to extend "an attack on one is an attack on all" a bit without getting shot down for being a liberal. wink

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Oct 24 2006 13:41

Maybe it's the American anarchafeminists more than others, then. Most of the anarchafeminists here are lesbians, anyway. smile

ticking_fool
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Oct 24 2006 14:02
the button wrote:
Because we're all so hung up (not incorrectly, but that doesn't stop it being a hang-up) about organising around issues that affect us directly (workplace and community and workplace and community and workplace and community and so on), this produces a certain "What do I know?"-type reticence about doing other stuff.

The thing is that white radicals are capable of recognising that racist attacks effect them directly even if they're not the ones getting a kicking, as JDMF points out. Yet that recognition does not seem to come from male radicals in the case of rape and rape culture. There's something more to it than an anarchist hang up (which also wouldn't explain why the Trot groups leave it alone when done "right" it could be a big recruiter).

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that there's convenient out-group (fascists, bosses, whatever) to attack. The problem is the guy sitting next to you, or even yourself, so it's much more difficult and more discomfiting to confront. I think it's discomfiting that meant it gets left alone.

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Oct 24 2006 14:14

Hi there,
Was just sent a link to this thread, I'm one of RAG. Thanks for all yer lovely compliments!!
Glad you all enjoyed it.
I worte the 'women and anarchism' article almost a year ago now in it's first incarnation. I hated it when I reread it a month or two ago but i guess that's the way it goes. I didn't think it said the things I wanted it to say or maybe I've explored the ideas in a bit more depth now and have clearer ideas on the subject.
Anyways, there were questions in there somewhere... No we are not connected to the WSM, except as friends. Yes we are all women and women wrote all the articles, proofread, designed, illustrated (bar one picture) etc. This is because our collective is women-only and all the articles are written by members for now.

I think it would be great if other anarchist publications published more anarchafeminist stuff and I hope they will. For now and the forseeable future there is a need for a seperate women's group I think. I dont think that because we are seperate has to mean we are sidelined. I hope not.

This is messy coz I'm responding to so many posts and a little sleep-deprived. So sorry and thanks again!

ps. all constructive criticism and lavish praise is greatly appreciated so mail us if you feel like it - ragdublin(at)riseup(dot)net

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Oct 24 2006 14:17
Jack wrote:
Personally, because it upsets me, and I don't know what I can really do. I mean my reactions are pretty much stuck at the 'give rapist scum a kicking' level, but I'm also aware that that's so far from a solution as to make my contribution totally impotent.

This is interesting because me and z (and a bunch of people within our 'scene') know of a particular person who has repeatedly and unconnectedly (allegedly roll eyes) sexually assualted women. But nothing has been done about it, afaik. And no i dont know what to do.

Btw - i think the crapness of feminists should be kept off this thread, because it will kill it. Start a new thread for it. I know we all know it though, so we dont need to keep telling ourselves.

merryragster - thanks for responding!

Quote:
ps. all constructive criticism and lavish praise is greatly appreciated so mail us if you feel like it - ragdublin(at)riseup(dot)net

Looks like you guys should be coming here to find it wink

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Oct 24 2006 14:21
rkn wrote:
me and z (and a bunch of people within our 'scene') know of a particular person who has repeatedly and unconnectedly (allegedly roll eyes) sexually assualted women. But nothing has been done about it, afaik. And no i dont know what to do.

When a similar thing (allegedly) happened a few years ago, his (not the same individual) neighbours got leafletted.

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Oct 24 2006 14:24

Yeah I think in Ireland it's pretty much universally accepted that the (A) movement is pretty shit on questions of sexual assault. That said we're so infinitely better than any other left wing movement and so much better than mainstream discourse, it is really worrying.

The problem is multifold, and RAG kind of emerged out of the fact that a number of women anarchists felt that issues of womens involvement in the anarchist movement were not being satisfactorially dealt with within the movement. (A lot of this arose out of the rape allegation and the responses to it mentioned in Deirdre's article in RAG).

The outcome of that allegation and the way that it was dealt with was I think unsatisfactory for everyone, however it did get people talking. I was at the Grassroots Gathering in Belfast which was focussed on sexual violence and I remember being in a meeting where woman after woman mentioned the fact that they'd been sexually assaulted at some point. It was really shocking.

What was also interesting was the fact that the immediate response by male anarchists to the allegation - we'll go and beat the shit out of him etc. - had absolutely no appeal to any female anarchists. It showed a real gendered difference in responses to and understandings of violence.

That said I think the button is wrong to say "that most violence is perpetrated by men on women". It would probably be accurate to say that most violence is perpetrated by men, but that extends far beyond violence against women. Needless to say most non domestic violence is perpetrated by men. And perhaps more significantly to this day war is considered as being legitimate when it is conducted between men - men destroying men. Also consider how the soldier is the archetype for male body image.

All in all its pretty fucked up.

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Oct 24 2006 14:29

Welcome to the forums merryragster.
I'll try and read the mag online (unless you have got any UK distributors to take it? i could always order it i suppose- I did mean to get it from the stall at the bookfair...)

There are several very interesting discussions going on here at once, but only one that i feel I have anything to contribute on.
In response to the comments on why it is that there is such low representation of women in the UK anarchist movement: I think that one pressure towards this is the composition of those groups. Most people of my generation (mid 20s) I have met have come to anarchist politics through ideas (as someone else on this thread said) rather than through struggle. As such the groups tend to reflect this- quite a few bookish and intelligent people, not many 'normals'.

I feel that since this is a problem it would be a good idea to be brutally honest.

The low level of struggle and the total lack of connection between contemporary anarchist politics and normal (before anyone Dr couscous -es me by saying I'm fetishising that: I mean non-political) people means that there are many subcultural types, diletantes and hobbyists (sometimes i count myself in these categories).

There seems to be something about the 'male' socialised role that favours an autistic collecting mentality (records, subcultural music genres, political sect information...) that to me partly accounts for these sorts of people dominating political groups outside times of mass engagement in politics.

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Oct 24 2006 14:32
Quote:
I'll try and read the mag online (unless you have got any UK distributors to take it?

I know housmans took some. And I think so did freedom. I think pretty much all the distributors took some. They came over with 250 and went home with significantly less.

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Oct 24 2006 14:34
JDMF wrote:
i personally know so many women who have been raped over their lifetime that i have no trouble believing the statistics presented in the RAG article, shocking as they may sound.

It is terrifying.

Quote:
Personally, because it upsets me, and I don't know what I can really do. I mean my reactions are pretty much stuck at the 'give rapist scum a kicking' level, but I'm also aware that that's so far from a solution as to make my contribution totally impotent.

When a friend of mine was rpaed thats what she wanted to hear, she didn't want it done but she wanted to know that I would. It's so hard to know how to react.
I think one of the problems is that sexist behaviour is so intertwined with most discourses that it is really hard to begin to unravel it without asking yourself some very hard questions and a lot of people are unwilling or unable to do that. I might see if I can pick up a copy, I never ever know what to buy when it comes to books and magazines so I usually end up with nothing.

I know that HSG set up a men's group ages ago to complement a women's group that was in existence, a way of men looking at themselves and how they fostered sexist behaviours. Apparently it fizzled out a bit but it was definitely a right step.

I was one of the ones joking too, I don't think that sexual violence should be a sacred cow that we can't approach but it's a subject that's underrepresented on here, so it's worse if it doesn't get the hearing it deserves. I remember a very good thread on sexual violence a while back, it was about the time a 'joke' thread on domestic violence got binned cause of my posts. Any idea where the good thread is?

In terms of the fetishisation of anti-fascism etc I'd say it's because anti-fascism provides a clear enemy and they demonise themselves. Sexual violence isn't normal but as was said above the people who carry it out can be. Also I think that sexism is something that implicates you, because we all have relationships in our lives and sex gets into them in a really pervasive way and there is the link between sex and aggression that can make you wonder how far away you are from the line.

I find the problem with sexual violence is that you don't have a place of safety from which to act, as a result you really do have to let go of your self in a way and that can be quite scary.
Sorry if this isn't very coherent, I can quite seem to get the words out.

merryragster
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Oct 24 2006 14:50

I think that the majority of anarchist theory is just crap when it comes to women. It's almost all written by men and assumes that all things can be applied across the board and doesn't look at our differences. Some of it is downright sexist (eg. Proudhon). Its probably a reason women don't get into anarchism so much through reading theory but through campaigns etc.

On the issue of sexual violence, I think it's a matter of getting away from seeing rapists as evil strangers. We all (women too) cross people's boundaries and can be selfish. Friends have come to me since all this came up and told me about fucked up things they did (usually when they were younger - time lets them think about it more clearly maybe) to ex-girlfriends or lovers. It is a difficult subject because it forces self reflection.
it's really complex and rape and sexual assault happen under very different circumstances but we need to start realising it is a political issue and a gendered issue and one we should be discussing more.

Following the bookfair RAGs are available in the UK (although have not appeared on websites just yet) in:

-FAG club Cardiff
-Kebele Infoshop Bristol
-Now or Never Norwich
-56a infoshop London http://www.56a.org.uk/
-Ak press uk (they only have 4 coz we ran out)
-Active Distribution http://www.activedistribution.org/
-The Cowley Club, Brighton

Just Books also have them in Belfast I think??

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Oct 24 2006 14:53
jef costello wrote:

I know that HSG set up a men's group ages ago to complement a women's group that was in existence, a way of men looking at themselves and how they fostered sexist behaviours. Apparently it fizzled out a bit but it was definitely a right step.

fizzling out would be positive if it lead to changes in the groups behaviour? I mean, the separatist groups are not really an ideal situation to anyone are they? And the point would be to change the overall groups behaviour and culture, rather than just talk about it in separatist groups.

Thats what they did in SAC (oh no, not again!), a separatist womens groups were set up in several locals who discussed the issues first and then brought them back to the main local and suggested some concrete changes. Nowhere else i have seen sexism taken as seriously as in sweden, and it is prevalent everywhere, not just in the radical left.

Some of the practical suggestions coming out of these groups were changes in meeting culture, in the way debates are done within the group and other simple and practical solutions to address sexism or other oppressive behaviours in the group. This is of course not only a womens issue, because changes are there are loads of men who get alienated from the group for precisely the same reasons as well.

I think we should look into this kinds of issues in SolFed personally. I think WeTheYouth raised an item on the agenda for our Manchester local to discuss about these issues.

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Oct 24 2006 14:54
georgestapleton wrote:
Quote:
I'll try and read the mag online (unless you have got any UK distributors to take it?

I know housmans took some. And I think so did freedom. I think pretty much all the distributors took some. They came over with 250 and went home with significantly less.

shit should have taken some to manchester Basement radical social centre and solfed stalls to sell! They will get very pricey if ordered now...

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Oct 24 2006 14:58
Quote:
Thats what they did in SAC (oh no, not again!), a separatist womens groups were set up in several locals who discussed the issues first and then brought them back to the main local and suggested some concrete changes.

That's pretty much what the WSM is doing. Only WSM mna is a national group, not based in the branches cos if it was based in the branches then two of the branches would have 'womens groups' of 1 person. How fucking depressing is that.

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Oct 24 2006 15:09
georgestapleton wrote:
Quote:
Thats what they did in SAC (oh no, not again!), a separatist womens groups were set up in several locals who discussed the issues first and then brought them back to the main local and suggested some concrete changes.

That's pretty much what the WSM is doing. Only WSM mna is a national group, not based in the branches cos if it was based in the branches then two of the branches would have 'womens groups' of 1 person. How fucking depressing is that.

pretty much same in SolFed, most locals have a lone female member, if even that. In Manchester SolFed there are four out of 17, thats probably some feeble record wink

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Oct 24 2006 17:51
JDMF wrote:

shit should have taken some to manchester Basement radical social centre and solfed stalls to sell! They will get very pricey if ordered now...

Shouldn't do, we wanted to keep the price at £2.50/€3.50 so we sold it according to whatever % they were going to take. Should still be £2.50, plus postage i guess.
We sold 200ish mags in one day, mental. We'll try n get more to AK Uk when we can but we're running out fast... Active is your best bet online I think.

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Oct 24 2006 17:55

Quick question and comments cos i'm supposed to be on holiday... sorry

ragster would it be cool for us to have your articles on libcom, in our library perhaps (or elsewhere if more appropriate, I've not seen the mag yet)?

As for this:

JDMF wrote:
So why isn't anarchist movement reacting to this?

Well i think a lot of this is just what can we do? I mean with big things like pension cuts or wars they affect large numbers of people at once. Something like rape is worker-on-worker, atomised and very sporadic. It'd be a bit like anarchists opposing mugging, although even harder cos muggings happen in streets by strangers whereas rape is mostly by blokes at parties or after dates or relationships or whatever (so organising street patrols would achieve fuck all). So it's the kind of thing like domestic violence which just takes a mass cultural change. Will say more later...

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Oct 24 2006 18:20
revol68 wrote:
I mean reclaim the night could and can be useful in specific cases but it does nothing to stop rape and abuse within households and the danger of such marches is that (much like leftie demos) they specatularise rape into something that happens at night in dark alleys, just as capitalism is something that happens at G8 summits.

Yeah I really don't see the point of them. Men are also more likely to be attacked then women in the street or whatever. I mean the only way I can think of moving towards overcoming it is just the step-by-step plodding of trying to build a culture of solidarity and mutual aid which is the anarchist/communist project anyway.

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Oct 24 2006 18:26
revol68 wrote:
yeah I mean it's not like some sort of government legislation that can be forced out by shutting down the country, nor is it like abortion rights, nor even something like racist violence which is generally public and meant to be a public spectacle of humiliation.

Therefore it can only really be confronted in a mediated manner, through wider empowerment of women, children and men (i imagine male on male rape would if anything be harder to deal considering societal attitudes and lack of support networks). In short there is no easy way of tackling this, no direct manner. I mean reclaim the night could and can be useful in specific cases but it does nothing to stop rape and abuse within households and the danger of such marches is that (much like leftie demos) they specatularise rape into something that happens at night in dark alleys, just as capitalism is something that happens at G8 summits.

ok, maybe not the rapes themselves, but we could do much more to tackle sexism within our groups though. And also, take part in the work to tackle sexism in workplaces and where ever in more direct manner.

getting our own house in order would be a great start i think.

keeping on about those damn swedes, even their vegan forum, http://www.vegan.nu/forum/ has a dedicated feminism forum, and also a women separatist forum, along side with anarchist and union struggle forums as well!

broad left forum http://www.socialism.nu/index.php?page=forum has a women separatist forum, but bizarrely no feminist forum eventhough the topics are quite separated.

didnt find syndicalist forum...

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Oct 24 2006 18:30
John. wrote:
revol68 wrote:
I mean reclaim the night could and can be useful in specific cases but it does nothing to stop rape and abuse within households and the danger of such marches is that (much like leftie demos) they specatularise rape into something that happens at night in dark alleys, just as capitalism is something that happens at G8 summits.

Yeah I really don't see the point of them. Men are also more likely to be attacked then women in the street or whatever. I mean the only way I can think of moving towards overcoming it is just the step-by-step plodding of trying to build a culture of solidarity and mutual aid which is the anarchist/communist project anyway.

i think you are underestimating the prevailing fear many women have of dark side alleys and what not, i dont think you can compare that to muggings or attacks on men (you could compare them to rapes of men, but no man i know lives in fear of that). Reclaim the night demos can be empowering and build solidarity and they also create discussion and awareness about the issue. "reclaim the home of your mate" doesnt have the same ring to it...

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Oct 24 2006 18:31
JDMF wrote:
ok, maybe not the rapes themselves, but we could do much more to tackle sexism within our groups though. And also, take part in the work to tackle sexism in workplaces and where ever in more direct manner.

Hmmm I can't think of any sexism in any groups or workplaces I've been in. Apart from my old gay boss who was a misogynist, but no one paid him any attention.

Zobag may haev a different view on the groups though? I dunno. I suppose vis-a-vis that shit Jack mentioned earlier, I suppose we're as much to blame as anyone for not mentioning anything about it, but it just seems like anarcho-gossipping you know? Everyone finds out about him soon enough anyway. Actually *he* was involved in confronting some other guy in a squat about sexist predatory behaviour. I bet he had a good laugh to himself about that.

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Oct 24 2006 18:34
JDMF wrote:
John. wrote:
Yeah I really don't see the point of them. Men are also more likely to be attacked then women in the street or whatever. I mean the only way I can think of moving towards overcoming it is just the step-by-step plodding of trying to build a culture of solidarity and mutual aid which is the anarchist/communist project anyway.

i think you are underestimating the prevailing fear many women have of dark side alleys and what not

yeah but they're mostly unfounded, generated by media scare stories about a couple of spectacular incidents they blow out of all proportion (that blonde model who got raped/stabbed, for example)

Quote:
i dont think you can compare that to muggings or attacks on men (you could compare them to rapes of men, but no man i know lives in fear of that).

How many women get raped in alleys? I'm not totally sure, but I reckon the number is very close to zero (considering the total number of rapes, or women)

Quote:
Reclaim the night demos can be empowering and build solidarity and they also create discussion and awareness about the issue.

"Awareness" about what issue? a non-existent media scare one? I agree with revol's comments on this, above.

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Oct 24 2006 18:36
John. wrote:
Hmmm I can't think of any sexism in any groups or workplaces I've been in.

that is amazing mate, i get it all the time, the blonde jokes, the marriage jokes, the female driver stuff and thats just the jokes and in an office environment. Then of course the pay differences and gendered job roles. When i've worked in manual work the sexism was more blatant and in your face, but more easily confronted as well because it wasn't suttle and it was so blatantly stupid.

At my gym the sexism is rampant (and anti-gay mood) and thats been really tricky to handle balancing not coming across as a cunt to trying to create some change in peoples perspectives. Slow process...

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Oct 24 2006 18:40
JDMF wrote:
John. wrote:
Hmmm I can't think of any sexism in any groups or workplaces I've been in.

that is amazing mate, i get it all the time, the blonde jokes, the marriage jokes, the female driver stuff and thats just the jokes and in an office environment

shit it sounds like you work in the 80s. Maybe it's the public/voluntary sector. The managers are mostly women so they'd probably kick your ass out (though most of the really top managers are blokes, though not at my current place).

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Oct 24 2006 19:04
guydebordisdead wrote:
Perhaps a libcom forum for female posters could be a good way to include female comrades, my girlfriend considers this place a boys club tbh.

imo this is a really bad idea. But if you want to discuss it - its place is on another thread.