War vs. Democracy: Bombs Beat Ballots


 

Donald Trump was recently on his first trip abroad as President of the United States. The itinerary could not be more revealing: Saudi Arabia, Israel, The Vatican and Brussels.

If it is not clear to you why this is astounding , I’ll try to explain.

Trump repeated endlessly during his campaign-and many if not all of his followers believed- that he was an independent outsider, that he was not a part of the Establishment like his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The problem is that if you participate in the election process, you automatically become part of the establishment. I have doubts as to whether he was aware of this fact but he has no excuse for not knowing, being  a wealthy man with access to any information that he needs.

Everything he promised during the election campaign has turned out to be in vain, the attempt of an egotistic being of assaulting the White House for his own purposes. It seems as though he has been told in no uncertain terms what the score is: you as the president are not free to impose your views over the agenda of the Masters. Trump’s only difference with his predecessors is that he is openly blunt and doesn’t try to hide his contempt for foreign nations, other ethnicities than his own  or for those Americans who don’t agree with his policies.

Mr. Trump went to close a millionaire gun deal with Saudi Arabia on his first stop. Yes, the same Saudi Arabia that breeds ISIS and beheads anyone who disagrees with them and which some countries like Sweden or Belgium have appointed as the head of the United Nations Women’s Rights Committee. They were already presiding the United Nations Human Rights Commission. After that , he went to shake hands with Netanyahu in Jerusalem and offer US support, meaning millions. Then, The Vatican. The Pope’s face was a poem. A twice divorced, thrice married man in Saint Peter’s basilica, arguably the moral reserve of the western world. His fourth stop was in Brussels, headquarters of the EU, where he was pushy, dismissive and impolite. He did not consolidate his relations with the leaders of Europe. There was nothing about him that could act as a buffer between his ego and those of his European peers.

As I have said, the difference between Trump and his predecessors is only a question of manners, not mindset. Why has he gone back on his word? Why did Obama go back on his regarding Guantánamo prison among others? How can seemingly opposite characters behave in such similar ways? You must assume that there is something greater than them that sets the pace and the policies.

Who benefits? Americans? Europeans?

Certainly not.

It’s corporations and big banks that grow through these manoeuvres because they hold the purse strings to the economy. The war against terror is not meant to be won. There are too many  vested interests involved. Some corporations make money from killing off people in faraway lands and pitting sectors of western societies against each other. Divide and win. As Adam Smith wrote in his book, “The Wealth of Nations”, ‘All for me and nothing for the rest has always been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.’

Does this sound like a conspiracy theory to you?

The list of countries bombed by the USA since the Second World War exceeds twenty. The only requisites needed to provoke the wrath  of the American establishment (and with it, NATO and the EU) are to stand in the way of American interests, be they resources, raw materials or strategic geographical enclaves. With the excuse of maintaining peace, they actually promote an ongoing war which results in millions of people killed, maimed and/or their houses wrecked. Entire countries succumb to the greed of the Empire, which is the greed of the powerful, obscenely rich people who see fit to keep the rest of humanity in shackles if it ensures their own boundless wealth.

However distasteful you  may find the current American president, be warned: this is not the biggest problem we face.

Open your eyes to the reality we are immersed in: democracy is but a shell of its former self, deprived of all but the symbolic value of the suffrage and bombs that beat ballots into submission.


<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/buff/">Buff</a>

The Lucky One- Poem


I am, indeed, the lucky one

whose every dream has come undone

and where I go, always I see

the others who are lost in scenes

of splendour, unreal,

for sale

on every corner

of every street.

No one’s around,

there’s not a sound

to be heard.

Still, my heart pounds

so loud

it always frightens

the birds

that flutter their wings

inside my head

and make believe

that my dream

is not just a scene

of splendour, unreal,

for sale

on every corner

of every street.

The Unfamiliar Family, A Green DogView


 

What is a family? How does a family come to be a family? Who is responsible for keeping the family together?

To me, the point of family is to nurture, protect and support  people and in exchange these people accept certain common ‘burdens’ such as doing tasks and looking out for each other even if it means not  putting yourself first always.

My birth family  (cousins, aunts and uncles)are normal people. They seem to get along well. They don’t particularly dislike me but I am not particularly welcome either.  They can take or leave me, like an extra potato chip left in a bowl.

As I was neither born nor raised in the same country as my cousins, it seems I was expected  to take the steps to reassure them that I am grateful for their ‘support’ and acknowledgement of my existence. It has always been like walking in the dark, never knowing if I was going to get it right or not. Unconditional love was not a given. Furthermore, there are many unwritten rules that everybody seems to know, agreed upon stories that, if questioned, relegate you to outsider status. This has taken me years to comprehend and I still don’t quite grasp it entirely.

I  suspected early on that I was an intruder of sorts and that I couldn’t rely on my family except for emergencies, that I would not be welcome to just stop by for coffee and a chat. I tried and the outcome left me numb and out of sorts.

It is unsettling to be made to feel  out of place in the one place where you should be accepted just because you are YOU.

Whether for this reason or not, I seem to be incapable of creating a sense of family. By this I mean inspiring those closest to me to be close to each other and to me. It seems I am good at fostering independent individuals but not a group identity. This would be less important if I had a group of my own, a tribe of sorts, made up of friends and neighbours. But again, I seem to not know how to do it. I have few friends and more often than not they are far away and we do  not communicate frequently. While I treasure these friendships which have survived decades and distance, it appears that the universe conspires to leave me without a support system nearby.

I have this theory that I must have belonged to a big family in another life, a rather nondescript child, neither the youngest nor the oldest;  nor the most beautiful or the most hideous.

I have always been adrift on the sea of life, understanding deep inside that I was perhaps the odd one out for a reason, unrelated to the ones I should be, unaccepted, unmoored from the safety of the family dock.

This also reflects on my friendships. I wouldn’t call myself shy, although I am an introvert. I am comfortable in my own company and find small talk only acceptable in equally small doses. I have never had more than one or two friends at a time, in spite of hanging out with larger groups at certain moments of my life.

Is it just me? I  often feel like a balloon floating in the sky, something that people point to but doesn’t really matter.

Can anyone relate to this in any way?

<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/unmoored/">Unmoored</a>

Women and Mothers, Teachers and Warriors


 

 

Women.

We are all daughters.

Some of us are sisters, mothers, wives, girlfriends, best friends and lovers.

We are powerful in and of ourselves. We bear life.

We sustain  relationships, families, nations,  empires.

I want to say thank you to each and every one of you, my sisters, my fearless warriors. In spite of so many pains, you get up, dust yourself off, and move forward. You uphold and nurture. You believe in the Goodness of Humanity. You believe firmly in tomorrow even when it is more an act of faith than an expected outcome.

Real Women see beyond mere appearance.  Real Women love generously. Real Women offer the gift of tender, tough, unbreakable loyalty. Real Women are fraught with struggles. Real women are in a certain way mothers too because they are aware of your intrinsic value as a person. Real women are nurturing to everyone who is around them.

Mothers add  to all those qualities a selflessness beyond what can be perceived at first glance. Often, sons and daughters will only be fully aware of this fact when they, in turn, become parents. Many of the sacrifices they make for the progress and well being of their ‘tribe’ are neither seen nor acknowledged. It may be as little as eating the hard bit of bread left over from yesterday’s supper or  as much as not applying for a job because it would mean too many hours away from your family. In fact, you might even be berated for it. Our aspiration is always to do things better.

We call our first language our ‘mother tongue’, we call our native country our ‘motherland’. The essence of women and our bond to everything human are the qualities that bestow depth and growth upon our world, both upon people and cultures. Perhaps that is why ‘smaller’ cultures are not respected and the traditions of our ancestors, however important or valuable, are vilified because they speak to us of roots and home and sacrifice, which are seen as superfluous or anecdotal in modern times.

I, for one, can truly say that most of the lessons I have learned in this life have been taught to me by remarkable women of all ages and conditions. They have held out their hand and told me their Truth. They have let me know that I am not alone. Sometimes, that is all I’ve needed.

So now, I wish to remind you  that you are not unseen or unheard, that nearby, perhaps next door, there is a woman who is going through the same things as you. You are strong and capable. Learn to see the marvels in you as easily as you see the marvels in others.

May you all be happy and radiant, as well you should. Reach out to each other. Pass on the knowledge that we are strong. Our joy is a gift to be treasured. Our pain is a treasure to be valued. Although many may see our smile, our laughter and our tears belong only to ourselves and to those who we carry in our hearts.

“The import is not the kind of work woman does, but rather the quality of the work she furnishes… Her development, her freedom, her independence, must come from and through herself. First, by asserting herself as a personality, and not as a sex commodity. Second, by refusing the right to anyone over her body; by refusing to bear children, unless she wants them; by refusing to be a servant to God, the State, society, the husband, the family, etc., by making her life simpler, but deeper and richer. That is, by trying to learn the meaning and substance of life in all its complexities, by freeing herself from the fear of public opinion and public condemnation. Only that, and not the ballot, will set woman free, will make her a force hitherto unknown in the world, a force for real love, for peace, for harmony; a force of divine fire, of life-giving; a creator of free men and women.

from ‘Woman Suffrage’- 1910
Emma Goldman, ‘Anarchism and Other Essays’

I dedicate this to my  two Mothers, the one who is no longer with me and the one  whom I say good bye  to a little each day.

<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/better/">Better</a>

ANARCHA-FEMINISM * by Flick Ruby


 

For too long anarchist feminists have been labeled as the ladies auxiliary of male bomb throwers. The misconception and manipulation of both feminists and anarchist principles and practice have resulted in the use of sensationalist and ridiculing tactics by the state and its spokespeople. This has not only polarised the general populace from potentially liberation concepts but has also polarised anarchist from feminists. In the past and more so recently there has been a uniting of these beliefs and Peggy Korneggers article; ‘Anarchism; the Feminist Connection’ goes so far as to say that the two genres of thought are inextricable tied although the connection has not been consiously articulated by feminists very often. Kornegger agrues that feminism “emphasis on the small group as a basic organisational unit, on the personal and political, on anti- authoritarianism and on spontanious direct action was essentially anarchism. I believe that this puts women in a unique position of being the bearers of a subsurface anarchist consiousness which if articulated and concretised can take us further than any previous group toward the achievement of total revolution.

While anarchism has provided a frameword for the transformation required, for far too long even this revolutionary ideology has been largely male identified; male articulated, male targeted and male exclusive in both its language and participation. It has therefore been unfortunately lacking in vital analysis especially with regard to the psychological and physical realities of oppression experienced by the majority of the human population: women. As Emma Goldman said of the Spanish Revolution of 1936 “Despite the impressive rhetoric, most frequently male anarchists retreated to cultural orthodoxy in the personal relationships with women …The vast majority of Spanish comrades continued to expect their own “companions” to provide the emotionally supportive and submissive relationships “necessary” for the activism of the males”. Anarchism has often duplicated the very concepts of power it sought to obliterate . One of the basic tenants of anarchist feminism is that we are not prisoners of the past –

The past leads us if we force it to
Otherwise it contains us,
In its asylum with not gate
We make history or it makes us”

As anarchist feminist we are not asking men to attone for the sins of the forefathers, we are asking them to take responsibility for the masculinity of the future, we are not asking women to be perpetually aware of their opression but to emerge from it. Mostly we are not locating conflict with certain people rather than the kind of behaviour that takes place between them.

Anarchist feminism addresses these notions of power, attempts to criticise, envision and plan. Everything is involved in the question. However it is from a consious understanding of the lessons of the past that presses us into the future, however angry or embarrased. While it is not my intention to analyse in depth the traditions of anarchism and feminism, discussion of their union in the past and the barriers to this union may help to inform both genres as I see them as both phenomenas of urgent relevance.

Definitions of both anarchism and feminism are totally anathma as “freedom is not something to be decreed and protected by laws or states. It is something you shape for yourself and share however both have insisted “on spontenaiety, on theoretical flexibility, on simplicity of living, on love and anger as complementary and necessary compoents of society as well as individual action.” Anarchist feminist see the state as an insitution of patriarchy, and seek to find a way out of the alienation of the contemporary world and the impersonal narture of the state and its rituals of economic, physical and psychological violence.

The word anarchist comes from archon meaning a ruler and the addition of the prefix “an” meaning “without” creates the terms for concieving not of chaos not disorganisation, but of a situtaion in which there is emancipation from authority. Ironically what consititutes anarchism is not goal orientated post revolutionary bliss but is a set or organisational principles which may redress the current obstacles to freedom. As Carlo Pisacane, an Italian anarchist wrote “The propaganda of the idea is a chimera. Ideas result from deeds, not the later from the former, and the people will not be free when they are educated, but educated when they are free.”

Most of the focus of anarchist discussion has been “around the governmental source of most of societies troubles and the viable alternative forms of voluntary organisation possible”, but has paid little attention to the manifestations of the state in our intimate relationships nor with the invidivual psychological thought processes which affect our every relationship while living under the tyranny of a power-over ideology. The above quote came from George Woodcocks anthology called The Anarchist Reader who should be forever embarrased for citing only one woman briefly (Emma Goldman in the role of critic of the Russian Revolution). The quote continues “and by further definition, the anarchist is the man who sets out to create a society without government.”

Exactly.

How is it that revolutionary libertarian fervour can exist so harmoniously with machismo? It is far too easy in this instance to say that “It is hard to locate our tormentor. It’s so pervasive, so familiar, We have known it all our lives. It is our culture.” because although it is true the essences of liberty so illustrously espoused by these people have not extended their definition of freedom to ther sisters. Why not?? It is often a problem of language used by idealists in their use of the term man as generic, but what is also clear in so much of the rhetoric is that the envisioned ‘proletariat’ is the male worker, the revolutionary is a person entering into the struggle that is the seeking of a “legitimating” expression of ‘masculinity’ in the political forum staked out by the dominant male paradigm. Feminists are suspicious of logic and its rituals and the auidence addressed by a ritual language, with reason. Consider the folloving examples and if you are not a woman try to imagine the conflict created by such wonderful ideas that deliberately and needlessly exclude you from relevance or existance.

“Our animal needs, it is well known, consist in food, clothing and shelter. If justice means anything, nothing can be more unjust than that any man lack them. But justice doesn’t stop there.”

“the objection which anarchists have always sustained to fixed and authoritarian forms of organisation does not mean that they deny organisation as such. The anarchist is not an individualist in the extreme sense of the word. He believes passionately in individual freedom, but he also recognises that such freedom can only be safeguarded by a willingness to co-operate by the reality of community”

“An integral part of the collective existance, man feels his dignity at the same time in himself and in others, and thus carries in his heart the principle of morality superiour to himslef. This principle does not come to him from outside, it is secreted within him, it is immanent. It consititues his essence, the essence of society itself. It is the form of the human spirit, a form which takes shape and grows towards perfection only by the relationship that everyday gives birth to social life. Justice in other works, exists in us like love, like notions of beauty of utility of truth, like all our powers and faculties.”

“Chomsky argues that the basis of Humbolt’s social and political thought is his vision “of the end of man”…the highest and most harmonious develpment of his powers to a complete and consistent whole. Freedom is the first and indispensable conditions which the posasibility of such a development presupposes.”

And as if bearing witness to the sucesses of the socialisaion process, women too use this language as Voltairine de Cleyre said “And when modern revolution has thus been carried to the heart of the whole world if it ever shall be, as I hope it will – then may we hope to see a ressurection of that proud spirit of our fathers which put the simple dignity of Man above the gauds of wealth and class and held that to be an American was greater than to be a king. In that day there shall be neither kings nor Americans – only men, over the whole earth MEN.”

Well save me from tommorrow! Sometimes you have to edit your reading with so many (sic) (sic) (sick’s) it renders the text unreadable. And so to what extent than has revolutionary ideology created and spoken to women when the language, the focus and the freedom offered is so often clearly for men? The fact is that women have only so very recently acquired access to education and also do not often have the opportunity for political involvement, consider both the physical and psychological barriers. There have always been a womans voice in political forums and feminism builds upon these tradition, theories and courage to create a body of thought that specifically addresses womens empowerment.

As Robin Morgan points out in her book The Demon Lover, the left have been dominated asnd led by a male system of violence which has created with reactionary punctuality its “opposite” (duplicate) of action theory and language. She argues that in the search for “legitimacy” that male revolutionaries adopt the forums and language of violence and domination that continue to oppress women but that because these fourms are seeminsly the sole route for political transgression; that women are enticed and engaged in the struggle that while purporting to be revolutionary it is revolutionary on male terms and will use and betray her. So often feminist have been abused by and asked by male revolutionaries to make ther claim and focus subsurvient to “the wider struggle”. From the women Abolitionists jeered at when they gave a feminist understaning of the problems of male drunkeness and its devestating effects on women, to the suffragists accused of diverting attention from the war effort, to Zetkin, Luxumbourg and Goldman all suffering the eye roll and brutality of both the state that is and the state that would be. We see Alexandra Kollontai the only women involved in the Russian cabinet after the 1917 Revolution being exiled to Norway after all her references to the necessity of a feminist component to revolution were edited and diluted. We are asked to stop pursuing our cause and start defending it but to argue for the validity of our cause that would imply we wanted “in”. Even recently a once respected friend said that “The womens meeting is on now, the real meeting will state in half and hour.” When questioned he added “the full meeting”. The fullness of the lack filling penile participation I supposed, lubricated and made ready, as always in isolation. Ah but how can one quibble about the sloppiness of language when it serves our purposes so well. Thankyou Mirabeau for the following “Every party has its criminals and fools because every party has its men.”

Entering into political circles with men is an exercise in the risk of compromising and being obedient to this attitude or in confronting it. Ridicule is the worst, tokenism is little better and so gloriously rare and acute is our joy when the issues are taken seriously that we could be mistaken for groaning clapping seals unless we are already cringingly braced in anticipation of the backlash of men genuinely perplexed but inarticulate except in the socialised male response; defensiveness. But there must be some way in which to address the political nature of our polarisiaion as sexes in political forums which involve men. There must be some way to point to the coercive power structures that display a hidden elite, invariable of men but also of women. I believe like Peggy Krogger that feminism could be the connection that links anarchism to the future, both add to eachothers struggle not to seize but to abolish power, but both go further than the socialists and assert that people are not free becuse they are surviving, or even economically comfortable. They are only free when they have power over their own lives. Anaerchist feminist say that the goal is not to fabricate the new and artificial social forms but to find ways or articulating people so that out of their groupings, the insitutions appropriate to a free society might evolve.”

Socialist organisations are popular with a lot of people who are flocking to these groups because it is felt that one must be involved with a revolutionary group,. Indeed. But their gender blind hierarchical bludgenoning from the poduim organisations have a typical style of interpreting feminist concerns and concrete grievances as irrelevant to or symptomatic of the larger struggle. “They appeal to the women to suspend their cause temporarily which inevitable leads to a dismissal of women’s issues as tangential, reducing them to subsidiary categories.”

Anarcha-feminist have said that often the “definitive body of theory which is so often the comforting cushion for male reclining, such theoretical over articulation gives one the illusion of responding to a critical situaion, without ever really coming to grips with ones perception of it. With capitalism and patriarchy so safely reduced to an explination, we distance ourselves from the problem and the necessity to immediately interact with it or respond to other people.” So often revolutionaries deal with concepts and not people.

But while as anarcha-feminists we object to much of the politics of socialist (as a friend of mine says “After your revolution we’ll still be us, but you’ll be them, ) we also argue that liberation needs to happen in small afinity groups so that people are not blugeoned into opinions and can build up the personal relationshiop of trust that facilitates the grieving, the sharing and the exorcisms of the psyhological though processes and experiences that brought them to their politics.. This is often a sanity compromising process or do we actually become sane through that difficult time when we realise that the personal is political.

“Those of us who have learnt to survive by dominating others, as well as those of us who have learned to survive by accepting domination need to socialise ourselves into being strong without playing dominance submission games, into controlling what happens to us without controlling others.” “To this end anarchism must start with a solid feminist consiousness and practise it or it is doomed to just as much internal contradiction and failure as anarchists traditionally foresaw for hierarchical Marxism.”

Silvia Federici


Food for thought…

Quotations

Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and the Feminist Struggle

It is the demand by which our nature ends and our struggle begins because just to want wages for housework means to refuse that work as the expression of our nature, and therefore to refuse precisely the female role that capital has invented for us.

To ask for wages for housework will by itself undermine the expectations that society has of us, since these expectations—the essence of our socialization—are all functional to our ageless condition in the home. (19)

To say that we want wages for housework is to expose the fact that housework is already money for capital, that capital has made and makes money out of our cooking, smiling, fucking. At the same time, it shows that we have cooked, smiled, fucked throughout the years not because it was easier for us than for anybody else, but…

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