Dialogue Between BrownFemiPower and An Unshackled Slave
BrownFemiPower has the baddest fucking blog in this solar system: Womenofcolor.blogspot.com. Check this shit out. We had a little tete a tete and I wanted to share my sisters (bold/italic) words and my comments:
you always put out such thought provoking posts!!!!
I read this post over twice, because i want to be sure that i am reading it the right way.
first off, i agree with your initial thoughts–why are we focusing on “illegal” human beings and not an illegal war, and illegal president an illegal government. it’s about damn time somebody said it–because i haven’t been able to formulate this thought myself, but it’s what i’ve been subconsciously thinking. so you brought a lot of relief to my befuddled brain with that!!!
The part where i disagree is about the french revolutionaries. using violence to change things has been proven over and over and over agian to be harmful for women of color.
If the context within in which one EXISTS is violent, can you see how accusing the ‘victim of oppression’ of “using violence to change things” is blaming the victim for responding to an environment that someone else created and maintains? (Ward Churchill, Native American scholar makes this point very well in “Pacifism As Pathology.”) What is violence? Is violence what our government does to the homeless, to the Iraqi, to the school children denied an education or healthcare, while our nation spends more on “offense” than the next 15 countries COMBINED? Or is violence what the pathologically poor do, what the drunk does, the pawn moved around by forces beyond his or her control, like a chess piece? Is a woman who is raped, guilty of “violence when she seeks to stop her attacker? OR: Is a country that attacks a sovereign state that MIGHT do them harm at a later date (according to Miss Cleo), guilty of violence? Which is the violent meal and which is the burp?
For example, anna mae pictuo aquash. she was a part of the american indian movement, who had similar “tests” and challenges to be a part of the inner circle. but the problem was, the inner circle was a reproduction of sexist heirarchies that postion native women specifically and women of color generally as expendable. so when an informer infiltrated the group, the first one “tested” was anna mae. she was shot in the head, and it is suspected that she was raped and tortured before she was shot.
It is my understanding that the fascist Indians on Aquash’s Res, who were armed to the teeth, had murdered dozens of AIM members, without any kind of serious police investigation; in fact, the thugs who were guilty of the most heinous crimes were supported by the white police authorities, including the FBI if I’m not mistaken. Who killed Anna Aquash – Aim members or the Uncle Tom Indians who controlled the Res by violence? I have to research that one; the larger question is who controlled the context and ensured that violence was a 24/7 reality.
I can’t endorse something based on being tested by violence because that means 9 times out of 10 that it is me whose gonna get my ass shot or raped.
Are you not shot at or raped now – in this racist, sexist, fascist, imperialistic culture, degraded by the media, ignored by the body politic, invisible UNLESS you do something “wrong” ie. stepping out of your second class place?
but the thing is, women of color have provided a multitude of ways to organize without depending on violence as a tool of control. but the various ways that they have come up with are based on “feminine” values (and i quote feminine because although women have been asigned these roles, i don’t think we are the only ones capable of performing them), such as teamwork, consensous voting, and creating a certian type of dependence upon each other rather than “testing”…in other words, rather than “testing” they would use shunning or ostrisizing.
I’m down with that. I’d love to use my feminine values more for real and actually, I do. Humanity would be better served if feminine values ruled the roost. I support you, endorse what you do, wish you and all similarly thoughtful women success in asserting teamwork, consensus and other right-headed values….BUT…at this time feminine values don’t make it in this world. The one who rules lives by the sword, a sword that we die by. Somebody has to remove the sword from the field of ‘play.’ Let women remove the sword by the use of feminine values – I’m behind you 100%. But if they start chopping off women’s heads, do you want me to just stand there, or, let them chop off my head?
Crack cocaine is one sword this government uses. Aids is another. Militarism, interventionism are others, economic sanctions, sabotage, the hiring of agent provacateurs to infiltrate progressive organizations, etc, “are all a part of this man’s game” to quote Aretha. How can one “successfully” meet Hitlerian violence with feminine values? The Jews in Germany tried and they have since vowed, “NEVER AGAIN!”
yeah, it may not carry the destructive power of murder, but at the same time, say that anna mae did inform the FBI. i don’t believe for one minute she did, but lets say for this case that she did. First off, if the “feminine” value of community building had been recognized and implemented, there would have been a much much greater chance of social monitering, and as such, members of the community recognizing that hey, anna mae’s been acting funny lately, and she’s been disappearing for hours at a time…what’s going on? and in the case of an actual betrayal–if at that point, the person has become heavily dependent on free childcare, free pot luck meals, regular conversation with others like her, not to mention the protection living in a community offers–how easy is it going to be to not just walk away from that, but to be banished forever? which is not to say that banishment isn’t a problematic issue–we aren’t in the days any more where you kick somebody out of the community and they’ll be dead in a month because they don’t have shelter, clothing or food. but at the same time, once you banish a person, if you have a community set up, you can then pass the word–for example, you not only banish the person, but have a rotating community of people who follow this person and set up camp where ever he/she goes, and let each new community know what this person has done. for example, one guy raped his daughter, and being who he was, he escaped punishment from the law, so a bunch of women organized and followed him around to wherever he was giving speeches (he’s a prof) and protested at his speech. so boom, the entire academic community now has to deal with the fact that they have a rapist in their midst. and although you’re always gonna have your pricks who are gonna side with the guy no matter what, There’s also always a bunch of good people who will ignore, shame, ostrisize and otherwise make this man’s life difficult. you know?
I think that banishment is a valuable and worthwhile tactic/objective in the proper context. But when you are in a war-time context – which AIM members were from the little I know, and their world was under the complete control of vigilante turncoat Indians supported by the white man – who’s fault ultimately is it that Ms. Aquash became a casualty of a racist war? Was AIM advocating a revolutionary overthrow of America? NO, they merely wanted justice, but that is a capital offense and the government response was murder and bloodshed. Martin Luther King never advocated violence, but he received the death penalty at the hands of the US government. How many Panthers died, 99.95 percent black males, at the hands of the government, men who only asserted their rights to be Constitutionally protected human beings? Is the violence that ensued, which was 90 percent or more one-way (white against black) the fault of the Black Panthers, or the Federal Government and white, racist society who refuse to give us freedom?
but to get to the point where this sort of thing is possible to it’s fullest maximum affect, i really and truely believe we have to dismiss the idea that violence is beneficial for every member of the community, and start doing good old grassroots community basebuilding…women’s work!!!
My beloved BFP, I don’t advocate violence AT ALL; I wouldn’t say that violence is ever “beneficial” for every member of any community. However, if you were attacked by someone intent on raping and/or killing you, I would support your use of any means to remove/eliminate that threat. And if I were there, I would use maximum force to remove/eliminate that threat. As Malcolm said, that is not violence, that is intelligence. Is your life not worth that? It is to me! Are the lives of the generations of black people incarcerated for using drugs the US government flew into the country and dealt in inner cities across America not worth it? Are the Native Americans, who have had their land stolen without just compensation and are still GETTING their land stolen – not worth fighting for? Are not the Mexicans who are being starved by their leaders and NAFTA not worth it? The immigrants?
Our country wages war on people and then has the nerve to accuse the person who “responds in kind” of violence. That propaganda seeps into the groundwater of our society and we drink it and then accuse the defender of self and his or her community with violence or worse — “terrorism.” Remember that these same devils are destroying the biosphere of this planet. Do we just love them until there is no ozone layer left and there’s no water to drink and no air to breathe?