Today, May 19, marks the birthdays of Ho Chi Minh (1890), Yuri Kochiyama (1921), Malcolm X (1925) and Lorraine Hansberry (1930) as well as the passing dates for Jose Marti (1895) and CLR James (1989). Please remember those who gave much for us.
- UPI reports the U.S. Africa Command, also known as AFRICOM’s fostering of a growing mercenary culture in Africa. “A new generation of soldiers of fortune, successors to the ‘Dogs of War’ who fought in the Congo, Angola and other post-colonial wars, is operating across Africa, except today they’re known as Private Military and Security Companies. While the modern breed is more likely involved in logistics than combat, they are still armed civilians operating for profit and aren’t recognized soldiers under the Geneva Conventions.”
- Speaking of Africa, Eric Reeves has a good article at Dissent on Darfur.
- The Venezuelan government will take over land that belonged to collapsed banks of the 1970s and 1990s. The seized land will be used by the Chavez Administration for public housing.
- History nerds (like me) may be interested in Signalfire’s article on spotaneous proletarian organizing, focused on Hungary. Dry, but interesting.
- Advance The Struggle offered up some comments recently on the organizing potential of unions today. Another union piece at Libcom offers a more detailed conversation on unions.
- SlutWalk continues to draw much critique. Privilege Denying 101 points out the Facebook post linked in our SlutWalk post has since been edited to acknowledge the To The Curb writeup. Too bad there was originally no acknowledgement such was edited, “making it seem like the note always existed this way and our comments were just invalid angry POC raging about nothing.”
- Feminist Frequency has one of the better link roundups.
- The four brief critiques piece generated a number of responses. I haven’t had a lot of time (due to work) to reply. This piece has been common of what I’ve read. To it and others, I offer the following:
- The author notes, “So it’s not about ‘reclamation’ of the word ‘slut’ in the traditional sense of reclamation which, as the author rightly points out, has to come from a position of privilege, but rather reclamation by exposing the complete lack of basis for using such a slur, the lack of consistency, the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t that characterizes the use of the word.” Beyond what I find inaccurate (my understanding of the material I’ve read in fact makes the right to call onself a slut core to this conversation), I think clearly if the idea is to focus on a consistency of language, usage and perception, unexamined (and inherently problematic, since you’re setting yourself up to get used by a news media that goes for the most salacious thing possible as a ratings ploy) one has chosen to trade the basic notion of human dignity for attention. Slurs, by their very existence as slurs (racial, gender-based, etc.), have no practical basis or consistency. Using the word slut does not create a watershed moment that changes this dynamic.
- The author states, “marginalized feminists take great pains to emphasize the plurality of the feminist struggle. So to revert to this ’libertarian feminism is shit and capitalism oppresses women’ rhetoric which does not encourage such plurality is the height of hypocrisy.” I must strongly encourage anyone presenting a reading of writings by feminists of color that seeks to obscure anti-capitalist and very openly critical approaches (toward white feminists and occasionally one another) to take another long (looooooong) look at the literature. Many didn’t see the ‘plurality’ of the feminist struggle, the individualist approach or the capitalist one; in fact, they understood the particularlies of issues facing various communities, impacts of imperialism, et al. that didn’t affect white women in the same way, or at all. Anne Valk’s Radical Sisters is among many books that discusses these divisions and the struggles feminists of color raised. I’m all for unity, but not at the cost of sweeping aside the very real, open and honest contentions feminists of color courageously raised at a time many others wouldn’t… and helped us all grow in the process. I can only ask others to study this history, or at least not misrepresent it. It is incredibly important.
- I don’t have a lot of interest in dignifying retorts to things I never wrote (e.g. you’re saying I’m a tool of whites, that I can’t make my own decisions, etc.), but I suspect most of us are busy enough that playing such a game is understood as pointless. If you don’t like my opinion or don’t think I have a right to one, I don’t mind hearing that. Happy to dialog on what I actually wrote as well.
- And do we really need to post about that Cornell West-Barack Obama nonsense? Chris Hedges thankfully reminds the lumpen that West, by his own choice, staked whatever radical credibility he had at the time on campaigning for Obama, in spite of left criticism way back in 2007-8.
- Different Histories, Different Strategies: More on SlutWalk
- A Gleeful Eulogy for #Slutwalk
- More on the “10 Conversations On Racism I’m Sick Of Having With White People”
- #Feminist Friday: A Callout, An Update and A Challenge
- Four Brief Critiques of SlutWalk’s Whiteness, Privilege and Unexamined Power Dynamics