EVICT A MAN-ILLIONAIRE – UNRECOGNISED MALE DOMINATION IN MIXED ACTIVISM
There’s quite a buzz around today. All’s been a bit quiet on the direct action front after a burst of imaginative activism in 2011-12 by UK uncut. I liked a lot of it, I joined in for a while. I like the “non-hierarchical” fluid nature of it because that reminds me of radical feminist activism in days gone by. I became disillusioned after a short time as, gradually, my role, and that of the few other women involved, was increasingly sidelined and I found myself, instead, acting as “appeaser” to stop male aggression and violence breaking out during actions (from all parties of men – security, police, passers-by and male activists on the left). This was aggression because they were, or felt, “provoked” by other men, for whatever reason. There are numerous accounts of sexual violence and aggression towards women as part of the occupy movements (other feminists have written about this). There is the appalling account of the SWP’s complete failure to address male entitlement and privilege within their processes, even in the face of women “comrades” naming them and describing how the situation could have been handled differently. Women publically told how devastating the failures impacted on sisters involved (Read the transcript here: http://socialistunity.com/swp-conference-transcript-disputes-committee-report/#.UWk_88pWKIB ) It made no difference – a report exonerating a man was voted through.
I was almost enthused about today. The UK landscape, particularly for women, is bleak with a state intent on increasing women’s dependency on men by cutting off as many alternatives as possible while throwing women into ever further poverty. I even nearly went to one of the local actions but I hesitated. I wasn’t in a hurry to repeat my past experiences but I did like the “evict a millionaire” theme and the links made with the unfair bedroom tax.
And so I actively sought out the photos of the action I nearly went on. And there it was, illustrated in full colour. Men in the headlights of the action to such an extent that you could be forgiven for thinking it was male-only. Have a look for yourself:
No one’s going to bully, harass, censor or storm this group because of its male dominance. So common is male-led mixed activism I bet no one, except me, even noticed. What price all this lip-service to “inclusivity” now?
In this world where “self-identity is king”, because no one has explicitly stated this is a male-only, or male-led action, male dominance goes unseen and unheard. Oh and I’m very willing to bet that women were behind the scenes making this action happen, as we usually are.
A radical feminist response to this leftist inevitability is to organise autonomously so that we can focus on what matters to women without taking care of men and their delicate feelings and ego. For that, we have been called fascists, bigots, and “transphobic” (sic). All in the name of the self-identity travesty which has hit left-leaning circles at a time when we need to be at our most radical. The rights of everyone except the rich are under attack. Our herstory has already told us that our feminist movements are de-radicalised when we involve those with a sense of entitlement in our fight against oppression.
I feel so sad that the lessons of the past have to be learned all over again – the slow, agonizing way. Women in the 1960s, at Greenham, and as part of other political movements, recognised the vital part separatist activism played in ensuring that women’s voices, women’s politics and women’s energy are heard. Without it, ways in which women’s rights are attacked are “disappeared” in pursuit of male-led interests.
I urge all the battle-weary feminists in the various leftist groupings to stop fighting to be heard within mixed activism. Instead, come to radfem2013 to be with other women to take political action, unfettered, unrestricted, and without acting as caretakers for men.
Sisters. 8 and 9 June. Join us.
Or, if you can’t be with us, help us with our appeal to get women living in poverty, to the conference: