Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sexism, Anachism, and Men.

Man, I really need a computer.

So, I think I'm going to start reading this eBook: From the Kitchen: Sexism, Anarchism, and Men

Unfortunately, right now I am keeping my computer at work, and don't have a printer to get a copy of this to read on my own. And most of the time I really have to read is after I get off work (or in bits and pieces during my shift when it's slow -- good for reading smaller essays, harder to really analyze a longer work). But I really, really want to read this. Just take this quote from the introduction:

This zine has been produced by a group of anarchist men in Otautahi as part of an on-going process of working on our own sexist behaviour in our everyday lives. It is not just for men to read but the primary function is we hope, to encourage more debate and more discussion about issues of sexism amongst ourselves.

Now, that's something I can get down with. As a androgyne culturally raised as female (with a penchant for drag and a sometimes-boyishness, or Aleksandr), "male-ness" is a frontier I'd like to know more about. Men in feminism is rather dicey territory: there is, of course, the male privelege issue, as well as the cadre of feminists who believe that a men can never be feminists: at best, they can be 'male dissidents.'

What would make me, an androgyne who feels no real affinity toward either gender as a whole? Who feels more neither than either, who feels like both a dress and a three-piece suit is equal drag? Who has a more fully carved out 'male' persona than 'female'? Aleksandr has a bit more of a defined gender role than 'Sasha,' -- I feel more 'male' as Aleksandr than I do 'female' as Sasha, and I was born a female.

I'd say, of course, that I am a 'gender dissident', but not just against patriarchy. Though, in a way, I guess it is. Patriarchal systems have certainly lent us an oppressive binary, though who is to say that might not've happened in a matriarchal power structure?

No gender -- trans, non, girl, boy, androgyne -- should have any more power than the other. We, at our best, should all be fucking dissidents. I might not be a 'girl,' but god damnit, I'll call myself a feminist if I want.

You want to try to stop me? You'll have a pair of ass kicking combat boots aimed straight to your face. And when it all topples, I'll be here on the other side with you. And I'll offer you a hug, a shot of whiskey, and pie.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Binary Systems: or, ASSIMILATE OR DIE.

So, I was reading over Mike's blog (Hi, Mike!), and laughed out loud when I read this:

Of course no one thinks of the poor as more than one thing. Nope the poor is unified, we are the poor, we will assimilate. Poooooor.

It is an incredibly valid point, but I emphasized this because I admire the way Mike can talk about really serious things while keeping his sense of humor. It's a trait I think most of us should cultivate.

Annyway, to continue on his point:

It is a bunch of crap and I really hate it when people talk about the poor as singular and solvable. They are people and their various situations are as varied as they are.

Amen, anyone?

The ideas of class and privelege aren't something we can lump together in one great big fucking box of 'disenfranchised' and 'evil as fuck'. There's more subtlety to it, more nuance, and it'll do us a lot of good to think of things as more of a spectrum of experience than a binary system set in metaphysical stone.

Binary systems, as an enterprise, are flawed from the get go. The roster list of facisms we inflict on one another due to binary systems is staggering: gender, sexuality, morality, and the more amorphous bunches like truth-claims (things are "true" or "untrue", without the possibility of multiple truths and fictions or evolutions of truth-forms) and memory (something "happened" or it "didn't", and memory is always "concrete", a "static" thing, or it is not memory: when really, memory is something that is constantly refigured in our own minds). Binary systems, as a rule, I find to be limiting: the very act of definition is, in a way, a microfacism (though one that is often necessary), and to define something with only two variables seems, to be frank, ridiculous.

On fictions

I'm at work, yet again, with a mostly-quiet bar, which of course means I'm piddling around on the internet. While prowling through various message groups, I found a book review about this:

Mythmakers & Lawbreakers looks like a book I really want to read. As someone very invested in the power of fiction and the study of literature, it seems only natural that I'd be ridiculously excited about this.

I haven't read the book yet, so I've got no commentary of my own, but the review of the work got me thinking about some things. Let me give you a snippet of the review:

A third theme to come out of these interviews wasn't so surprising: politics. Anarchist fiction writers grapple with politics all the time. The politics of writing fiction when the world is dying (see the Derrick Jensen quote, above). Creating an anarchist utopia that is more reality and less utopia. Accurately reflecting the political struggles of everyday life-- including the lives of punks, traveler kids, hackers, pagans, earth first! eco-warriors, and direct action activists. In every interview, Killjoy asks what it means to be an anarchist and a fiction writer. The responses he gets demonstrate how fiction is a political act. While most anarchist writing of our day is limited to real-life ("boring as fuck" -crimethinc.) theory and analysis, anarchist fiction writers play the important role of dreaming what could be and distilling useful stories from what is.
What does it mean to be an anarchist fiction writer? Do we have responsibilities, and if so, what are they? What of 'art for art's sake'? Could it not be said that any true, honest articulation (that particular breed of honesty that is only possible in fiction) of the human experience can, in some way, be an anarchist act? That to look at the world, to relay experience with an unflinching eye toward the real core of truth, is itself a pure distillation of anarchy in action?

In some ways, I believe that fiction can do just as much towards the illumination of truth(s) as "real life.. theory and analysis." I would agree that fiction does indeed play a pivotal role in the oh-so-vital part of our literatures that, I have previously said, we seem to be lacking -- hope. Possibility. Lights in what sometimes feels like an endless void of set-backs, betrayals, fascisms, and heartbreaks. Being able to connect with one honest experience, even if it is seeded with vice, let downs, and unrealized potential (hell, perhaps it is even more valuable if it is), is immesurably important toward creating a new world, even if that experience is one learned through the pages of a novel.

The role of story tellers and fiction weavers is one that I feel we, in our propaganda-saturated, lie filled world, have delegated to the sidelines. In many ways, I feel we don't trust fiction, because we are force-fed it by the media, by those in power, by the very people who claim they are here to "protect" us. But in fiction's defense, I don't believe that every fiction is a lie. Just because we haven't reached that horizon yet doesn't mean that dreaming of it is an act of deception.

How can we create a world if we cannot dream?


For now, that is all.

Click on the image to see the whole of the awesome.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Occupy, Resist, and Produce

"There's only so much protesting can accomplish. At a certain point, you have to talk about what you're fighting for."

While at work tonight (tending a mostly dead-bar: amidst the occasional dance-party, I was essentially paid to read essays -- my kind of salary), I read this essay: Are We Addicted to Rioting?

I think this essay makes a lot of good points and, more importantly, asks a lot of really vital questions that some of us aren't asking.

If you roll a dumpster at the police, why are you doing it? To prove a point? To block a street? To open a street? To cause a diversion to pull off another action? To impress the media? To impress your friends? To get it out of the way? To get it in the way? These are relevant questions, far more relevant than whether or not it's morally acceptable to roll a dumpster around. But then you must ask yourself why you are trying to achieve that tactical goal. Are you blockading a meeting? Are you causing chaos to make the summit look bad? Are you trying to get media attention? Do you want revenge on the police? Then you must ask yourself why you are blockading the meeting or causing chaos or trying to get on TV. Who are you trying to effect? Who's your base? If you want media attention, who are you trying to reach out to? What is your message for them? If you are trying to cause chaos, what is the purpose? Who is it serving? How is it advancing your goals? What effect will it have on your movement next week, next month, next year? What is the follow-up to all of this?
I think these are the kind of things we need to be asking ourselves. As individuals, as comrades, as we gather up arms in solidarity, I think we need to be thinking about why we're doing what we are doing. How our actions will ricochet and what effects and after effects those actions will have. We need to take good, hard looks at ourselves and really ponder our own motivations, what pushes us to fight, and how hard we are willing to do the grit in the teeth, backbreaking, hair pulling, tedious day to day work. The work that makes us feel like our tongues are bleeding and our fingers are breaking. The work that makes us feel like, sometimes, we're taking two steps backward with every step forward. The work that is bleary-eyed and anything but glamorous.

So, while writing this blog entry, I'm watching this:

The Take

There's a slogan that comes from this video: Occupy, Resist, and Produce. Just recently, I was talking with a comrade about the state of modern literature about anarchism. I mentioned how disheartening it is to me that so much of the language we use to articulate the struggle is entrenched in negativity, in destruction, in "smashing the state". There is nowhere near enough literature out there based in positivity, in creation, in joy and wonder. Where is the joyous outpouring? The sense of hope? I know it's out there, and I find it saturated in many of the late-night conversations we have with one another, shoulders tense with passion, leaning toward one another like parentheses holding tight a well guarded secret, stumbling over our words and shaking with fever and the possibility of what-could-be. But where is it in our literature? It is a sprinkling, an echo.

While I understand that criticism is necessary, that serious inquiry and investigation are of crucial import, I think we need to take more time to revel in the glorious madness we call life. We need to dance in the streets, to embrace with earnestness and without fear, and to come to live with both a tenderness and a fire. That's the only way we're going to win: it's love, not hate, that will get us through this.

"It's a dignified struggle, full of beautiful experiences. But we have a big obstacle. The same people who dragged us into misery and unemployment, those who took everything from us, are now trying to come back."

We can't fucking let them.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Breaking the Spell

Do I even need to explain the absurdity of this?

"Men's" and "Women's" bathrooms have always bothered me. I think all restrooms should be gender and sex neutral. Making the assumption that there are only males and females is, alone, pretty fucking insulting (where do the intersexed people use the bathroom, the fucking hallway?). But the entire massive scale of gender, from transpeople to androgynes to non-gender specific people -- how and where do they apply?

I say we all start pissing in hallways. If I were more comfortable with showing my ass in public, I probably would.

In other news:

Might I say that this image is positively fucking bad ass?

Seriously, I'm making a petition for this now: MORE FUCKING NINJAS ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE REVOLUTION. Seeing shit like this makes me want to get back in the habit of lifting weights and running. I want my body to be in the utmost of physical strength endurance for the fight that will come.

I intend on carving out time in my (admittedly ungodly hectic) schedule to start physical training. Between work, drag, DJing, and the novel (which I've begun again -- I've even got myself an editor now: Hi, Mike!), I must admit I don't have much time. But I'm going to need to make it. Admittedly, I could be lifting weights right now, but I'm killing time before dealing with the Evil Entity of Regions Bank. Besides, I did promise to start writing in this little thing more.

I've been listening/watching this while writing this blog post:

I recommend it. Go watch it, and let it put the fire under your ass.

I've got thirty minutes before the bank opens. I think I'm going to talk with my coworker for a bit, and try to get some editing done on the novel.

Until then, comrades, beauties, harlots and heroes: I'll see you in the streets.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Hello, internet. I'm back again.

That picture was lifted from the website of my current place of employment. Kajun's Pub has just put up a website, and it's totally unfinished, but whatever. It's rare that I find a picture of myself that doesn't make me want to set fire to the world (Aleks is far more photogenic than I, the bastard), so there you go.

Story of my life right now:

I'm on the prowl for a new place. I'm crashing with a friend for a while (I lent him $250 towards the deposit for his place, so it's not like I'm abusing his generosity). There's a place in the works I should be looking at tomorrow. It's in the ghetttooooo, but I'm down with that. Makes the 7th ward I just left look like the fucking Garden District, but hey, I'm a big alien. I can handle myself.

I've started DJing with Corrosion now every other Wednesday (or, at least, it seems like every other Wednesday). I'm still doing drag show at the Bourbon Pub. I've amassed quite the collection of glitter. I also work in lingerie once a week at the bar, so for the first time in my life, I've got quite an assortment of frilly, girly underthings. I'm not really sure how I feel about that. This is coming from a person who knows more about sporting a shirt and tie than a well accessorized cocktail dress. My version of accessories tends to be random stuff assembled from craft stores and street corners. I never said I was classy.

I've got some goals in my head now. I'm going to spell them out here, so I can be held accountable by the Iron Hand of the Internets:

o1]: Pay off debt. I've only got about $700 left, then I can start chipping away at what I owe UWF.
o2]: Get my sorry ass back in school. I'm so close to being done with my undergrad, it'd be ridiculous not to.
o3]: Start working on the novel again. I've left it untouched for so long, it's pathetic. I really need to get cracking on that.

There are other goals I am going to be working towards, like lifting my body weight (I want to take aerial circus classes), learning to tango (because every android in a three piece suit should have an ace up its sleeve), and getting my license unsuspended (because who knows when I'll need to drive someone's car in a pinch).

I've been so busy lately, I feel like I have no time to sit still. I'm going to invent time. I'm going to take a fucking bath for the first time in years (there's a claw footed bathtub at my friend's house, and I figure the new house could likely have one as well). I'm going to buy a bottle of nice Spanish wine and get a quart of raspberries and sit on the porch and read comic books. I'm going to have picnics. I'm going to get a warm jacket and ride my bike in the middle of the night when it gets cold.

I'm going to create time for the holy moments, because god damnit, life is too short to stay out of breath. But there's always time to be made breathless.