MY SISTAH, Coming Back At Me!
I admit it: I am in Big MF’in LOVE wit BrownFemiPower!! Here’s why:
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?
i agree with this 100%–that we are living in violent times. isn’t it time, however, for us to stop responding and start creating our own structures? In saying i don’t advate violence, i’m not saying i don’t *ever* under any circumstances *ever* advocate violence (as a lot of the white liberals would–that they use MLK to silence or berate those of us who get too loud or use property damage as a strategic form of violence)–i support native peoples who set briges on fire, i support native peoples in latin america who are taking over land through mass mobilization, i support iraqi’s setting fire to oil structures. But violence against one another in the community–especially when social heirarchies haven’t been challenged and women are still expendable whether you’re talking to malcom x or the u.s. government–well, i can’t get behind that.
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? and this is a completly different situation than what we are facing in the U.S. violent colonization, of course, must strategically be met much differently than a centuries long occupation.
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?
actually, although there is no proof at the moment, most of the native peoples i respect state that it was AIM members (specifically, AIM leadership) that killed anna mae. currently, anna’s daughters are engaged in a battle with a guy (Vernon Bellecourt) to get him to admit to his part in the murder, as well as the guy who they think ordered the killing, bill means. here is a link to native women who are organizing around the death of anna mae–both of her daughters support this org.
so what it boils down to is that within the overarching structure of violence, there is *another* structure of violence, in which women of color are again expendable. native women organizing around anna mae’s death argue that anna had been sleeping with bill means, and had been talking about it with other women–and means didn’t like it. she became expendable the minute means was done with her sexually. this is what happened with the young woman accused mike tyson of rape. whole churches were praying in support of mike tyson. this happened with so many hundreds of thousands of anonymous women of color that we’ll never know about. women becoming expendable when the larger structure of oppression starts leaning on the men. women becoming expendable when men find a new woman to have sex with. women becoming expendable when they cry too much and bring their kids with them to meetings. (which of course, it’s not just “women”–it’s especially women who have all the intersecting identities–queer, trans, poor, mother, disabled, etc)
So i think the point is not that some guys were a bunch of uncle toms or whatever, it’s that they were in a position of extreme power within the AIM movement, and they had no intention of challenging heirarchical power structures within their power. ANgela davis, Gloria Anzaldua, andy smith, minoo muellum, lee maracle, nadine naber, beth richie, audre lourde and so many other radical women of color have *all* written about this–because they have all been organizers and they have all *experienced* this.
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? is rape easier when it’s done by my own community in the name of liberation?
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?
i would disagree here that the world is not ready for revolution with “feminine” values. look at the native peoples throughout the world. look at the six nation peoples up in canada who are currently protesting and organizing to take back their own land. look at native peoples in latin america who are using community based strategies to take back *their* land. what these folks are doing is creating such community health that they are able to share strategies, organize with other tribes, and yes, challenge and confront oppressive structures with minimal violence, because they are acting not as one man, but as a whole community. read about how the six nations peoples have taught their children how to resist. kids are out protesting as much as grown men are. but they are doing this within a context that men are out front “protecting” those in the inner circle. but men aren’t at a “higher” level than women, they are just as dependent upon women as women are on them. I think thier saying is something like this, “men’s job is to protect the women and children, women’s job is to protect the earth”. so men protect women who in turn protect what gives men their life through food shelter and emotional nurturing.
and yes, at this moment, native peoples steps are small–but is that because the structure is so oppressive or because the rest of us think the only way to fight is through singular forms of violence?
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?
every situation is different–that’s the beauty of woc organizing. they have said from day one that X strategy isn’t going to work the same way it does at one place as it does in another place. so as i said above, what will work in the U.S. indigenous communities may or may not work in kenyan communities. what works wonders in india may or may not work in the bronx. but the fact of the matter here, is that it is currently woc and native peoples almost exclusivelly who are exchanging ideas and strategies–most other progressive/radical organizers are still stuck believing that what worked sixty years ago will work now, and what worked in one place will work every where.
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 i have to ask you–how much of the male based confrontation actually worked? maybe there’s a reason why AIM, the black panthers, malcom, MLK et al were destroyed by the system? i believe the reason why is because not one of these folks, *not one* endorsed an egalitarian community based system of overthrow–MLK got it “right” more than any of the others–and look, fourty years after his death, there is still a huge democratic block of black voters–yeah, not exactly what i call radical, but still, the point being that when MLK’s particular movement advocated grassroots basebuilding, community organizing, this movement was at the same time building three generations of community members who would hold loyal to the cause. but the problem with MLK is that that MLK became a charismatice leader, such that when he was killed, the masses didn’t know how to go on by themselves. woc argue that there can be no charismatic leader. there can be no mlk or malcom or russell means or ceasar chavez, because, in the end, all it takes is a bullet to end the movement. and the woman who actually organized MLK’s movement said this and recognized this. but again, we have the issue of heirarchical structures reproducing themselves in “radical” circles–she was ignored.
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?
i think the question is, are they worth living for? a very dear organizing friend of mine (she organized WARN, worked with AIM, and is the co-founder of Incite!) tells this story often–she’ll be working on a movement, and a bunch of gung ho kids will come in and tell her they are ready to die for the cause–at which point she will tell them, that’s wonderful, thanks for coming–now are you willing to stuff some envelopes for a while? grassroots basebuilding (that is talking over and over again with people you hate, stuffing envelopes, organizing picnics, creating childcare co-ops, fixing public transportation so people can get to meetings, in short, creating a healthy community) is far too often dismissed by progressive/radicals as “boring” as “not fierce enough” as “women’s work”—and yet nobody can understand why nobody’s showing up for the rallies, much less the revolution.
the revolution is happening in other places–it’s just not what people (ie males) think it should look like. read andy smiths “conquest: sexual violence and native american genocide”. an excellent book and the basic foundation for how my ideas were formed.
“Do we just love them until there is no ozone layer left and there’s no water to drink and no air to breathe?” this logic drives me insane. 🙂 it really does. because it reduces all the complicated shit that woc are doing to “peace love dope!” peace love dope is not a strategy. we have strategies, we are exchanging strategies, we are learning from other succesful movements, we are doing the shitty work of talking when nobody is listening, of drawing first one person than another into the movement–and yet all our complicated work can be boiled down to “just love them” and it will all go away. like “feminine” values are singularly about love. the christian right did the same thing before attacking iraq–belittled and laughed at peace people by asking over and over again, “what are we supposed to do, sit and have coffee and sing songs with saddamn?” what this logic is, is really a hidden way of calling somebody a fag or a pussy, imo. shaming a person/organization into shutting up with the one thing that’s worse than death, being a fag.
could their possibly be other options? Like disengaging from a fight until our communities are so strong and so interconnected with each other–latin@ supporting black supporting asian supporting native and yes, white folks on our side to, can we gradually phase out the *need* for police/miliatry etc, and as such, phase out the *need* for a government? this is what angela davis argues, and this is what fabulous groups like sistaIIsista and incite! are doing–creating childcare collectives so we don’t have to go through the abusive welfare system. creating community response teams so we don’t have to go the police. creating creating creating, rather than destroying. because in the end, that was what was wrong with the rioting, the killing, the violence–it didn’t create an alternative structure for people to live by–so when all the violence was done, what choice did we have but to return to the same old horrible structure, only now, the structure was pissed as hell at us?
radical woc are demanding that we end this cycle and create viable alternatives–our alternatives are healthy communities that phase out the need for the government and incorporate community accountibility and transparency.
ps. max, baby, i (heart) you!!! 🙂