The Silence of Our Friends

Thursday, June 28, 2007

AMC 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

chilling for a bit...

**to donna, sorry I keep forgetting to cross post my posts over here!!!!!

Well, it seems that I have finished everything that needs to be finished for the moment--I'm trying to calm down and enjoy a bit of a chill...

I joined that face book thing--I have no idea what it is supposed to do, I get the feeling you're supposed to stare at your wall all day, waiting for somebody to write on it. But then I just found out that you're not supposed to write on your own wall--so I really really don't know what the point is. But it looks cool and everything.

My upcoming trip to the USSF has been made completely possible by the generosity of donations--VeganKid has offered crash space, Frowner has made the blogging aspect possible, and multiple people have donated money so I could get a ticket and eat. I can't possibly thank everybody enough.
A note of thanks:


I never really thought about it before this weekend, but controlling the mobility of a people is a HUGE way to control the people. See this post (the videos for those of you who can't read persian) for commentary and videos of a petrol rationing by Iran (h/t to Maryam Namazi). And then this weekend I learned about CODEP's--work to bring alternative travel options to those who don't want to support paramilitaries (paramilitaries control the cab service, whenever you take a cab, you are supporting paramilitary action). And of course, there's the upcoming Indigenous blockade of Canadian rails.

It's made me consider how transportation is controlled in the U.S. How the people in the U.S. are controlled through their need for transportation--how those who don't have adequate reliable transportation are often restricted not just in their ability to be mobile--but also in their ability to attend school, have a job, get to a hospital/doctors office, go shopping, and so many other things. It made me think about how the poorest people in the U.S., those in rural and inner city areas, either don't have any transportation options at all, or the transportation is so unreliable, unsafe, and irregular--it's as good as not having transportation. It made me think about that scene in Smoke Signals where the women give the men a ride in their car--their car that only drives in reverse. It also made me think about how in the olden days, before computerized cars, Mexicans could fix any car problem with a little bit of tape and wire hanger.

What does it mean that these days, when a car breaks down, you have to pay corrupt mechanics 150$ an hour to fix something that could have been fixed with a piece of duct tape back in the day?

What does it mean that our transportation options are constantly restricted and controlled through gas prices, car seizures because of unpaid tickets, unaffordable car maintenance, underfunded public transportation, and unsafe neighborhoods (who's gonna walk to work in Flint Michigan at 5 AM)?

What would a feminist intervention into transportation in the community look like? I know Critical Mass has done some amazing work mobilizing around bike riding--but I can tell you right now--in Ann Arbor/Ypsi--only rich people ride bikes. They are the only ones that can afford to buy them, much less maintain them. But the community demand is there--we've had two bikes stolen in the past year. And trust me, these bikes were the equivalent of the Yugo. They were cheap, busted up, 70$ target bikes. One of them had one peddle and breaks that only worked if you shifted the bike into one of the upper gears first to slow it down. And it was still stolen.

How could radical minded folks make quality bikes available to the masses?

on a related note--read this:
Don’t drink the bottled water,
it’s stolen. It came from the mountain
and flowed through the town,
where people drank and swam,
where they pissed under the sun, where
they let their sewage collect downstream
where it quaked and stank
until the rains flooded
and swept the banks clean. Who
can deny it? Man is a beast.
He thirsts and goes mad without water.
His shit stinks, but water washes it away.
He raises his face to the warm rain
and heedlessly thanks the heavens.
Tell me, friend, who owns the clouds?
Who owns the time of day the rain falls?
Who owns the riverbed and the cracks in the earth?

More later--

We're in Deep Doo Doo

Hi everyone. There is still so much I want to say but so little time to say it. Right now I am supposed to be on the road headed back from NH to CT, but while I am waiting on the kids I thought I could put up a quick post.

My husband always has big dreams and always thinks we have more than we really do. I remember when I first met him he would have plans for dates that I just knew were more expensive than he planned for, lucky for him I always took a pocketful o' cash to pay for the difference. I can't exactly do it this time. I warned him to stop looking at the fancy pants houses and look for fixer uppers that over time could be fancy pants houses with a little saving and work on our parts. Oh no, we have to have it all NOW! Well we made an offer on a fancy pants house and he was already preapproved but he is just taking a look at what that mortgage really is all about. It's half his pay. Really. We aren't even talking phone bill, electric, oil, cable or internet, groceries, upkeep etc. Just the mortgage. And he thought he would have enough to put 20% down on the house from the sale of the last house. Well sure he does, if there was no such thing as closing costs, inspections, tax escrow, etc. We don't have it and now we will need a second mortgage to cover those costs.

And I already talked him out of worse. He was looking at houses 50 to 75 thousand more than the one we got. It's times like this I wish white people, including my husband, weren't all about keeping up with the Joneses. I know he was thinking, gosh, we are going to have the best house out of all our friends and family! Yeah we do, but now we don't have enough to get an orthodontist for my oldest son's braces. Now I will need a full time job. Now he will have to work overtime all the time. All for the house and not much else. My kids won't have a Christmas, but they'll live in a big barn of a house. My 16 yr old won't be able to get a license. We can't afford the lessons, the insurance, or a car for him even a beat up piece of crap.

I am not a happy person right now and all I can hope is that somehow this deal falls through, that the home inspector finds serious flaws with this house or something like that.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Gilliard/Gilbert/Jesus' General Flaming

Hello from Connecticut. I arrived here safely over a week ago but as I mentioned previously, I wasn't sure what sort of opportunity I would have to read or post. Not much is the answer, but I have made a few quick checks online and have seen some of the latest flamewar and that many bloggers I like and respect have gone on hiatus or are quitting completely (I hope they change their minds at a later date!)

I want to say a few things about the Steve Gilliard/Brittney flamewar. First, I feel badly for Zuzu. I don't know how many times I or other POC have said that we hate having what feels like purely academic theoretical discussion with white people about race, because for us we are talking about our real experiences, feelings, and lives. Our humanity is under the microscope and being ignored or dismissed or denigrated about it doesn't feel too good to us. Are we being oversensitive, or are those white people insensitive? This is exactly what is happening to Zuzu. It really doesn't matter what Brittney's intentions were when Zuzu feels like she has been kicked in the teeth. Is Zuzu being oversensitive or is BG insensitive? I think BG was insensitive and should have known that when a popular young blogger dies many people would be doing searches for any information about his life and untimely death and come upon that posting. But this is not an evil vs good moment either. I disagree with the blogswarm against BG and don't think that she should have quit her job over this either... a cop shoots a teen in the back because he was running away after shoplifting, the punishment does not fit the crime. The punishment does not fit the crime here either.

I really wish BG had been able to step back and see how painful that post had to be for those mourning Steve Gilliard's death, I really wish she had just taken the short amount of time and effort to change the title of the post and/or add comments to it to express how vile she believed it to be. But I also wish that Jesus General and his supporters would have de-escalated after being told about who BG is and what her intentions were. If I had been online throughout this, initially I would have attributed JG's reaction entirely to grief and disagreed with Ilyka about the sexism, but I came in late and saw what his commenters said and that he did nothing to discourage it. This is exactly what I was talking about when I said that Feministing is unsafe for POC, they do/did little to discourage racist/white supremacist language at their site. (I haven't been there since the blogwar over FFF and resulting friction between WOC and Feministing, so I don't know what they have done to improve comments moderation. They did say they were discussing this and I'd give my eyeteeth to see better relationships between major feminist blogs geared towards white audiences and those of us in the WOC arena.)

People can have more than one reason or motive for the things they do and say. I actually believe JG when he says that he went after BG because she blogs for a ABC affiliate, because he didn't want to send traffic to smantix etc. I also think it was due to grief and...sexism. I concluded this because he either doesn't recognize sexist language amongst his commenters or condones it, it's not a huge leap in logic to think that he might see a woman as an easier target than a man too. As I said when criticizing Feministing, you don't have to ban people or delete posts, I know that JG has a light touch when it comes to moderating, but all he had to do was make a comment indicating that he doesn't agree with what a commenter is saying, doesn't even matter if it is direct or snarky. If he does that, he lets the people on his site know what he thinks of sexism instead of having so many wonder if he agrees with the sentiments. And the weird part to me is this is exactly what he was asking BG to do, to clarify if she agrees with that vile post, why can't JG do the same when a commenter steps over the line with sexist or misogynist language?

I consider Democommie a friend, I have had private email exchanges with him and hope that one day we will meet. If I had been online during this I would have explained to him that calling a woman "kitten" is the same as calling a black man "boy". That's why it's sexist, it dismisses the woman as a child not worth responding to, the same goes for his explanation about putting women up on pedestals and firing with both barrels at men. Native Americans know that when people idealize us as stoic, mystical, and wise it isn't a good thing. Asians know the same about the model minority label. The same goes here. There is a tendency to use the pedestal as a way of keeping people in their place and an unspoken assumption that they can either stay there or in the gutter, no in between, no being a fallible human like yourself.

The posting I found most upsetting personally was at Sadly, No! It reinforced what I have discovered most recently about the liberal/democratic/progressive white blogosphere. The post and so many of the comments are willfully ignorant about sexism and racism. Do these people really not see the racism in what Maha said? And I am not talking about the end where she says that black people are racist (which I strongly disagree with but understand what they mean and see as a distraction to the rest of the problems with the post), the rest of it is condescending and dismissive. I still want to hear a blogger from a major white blog answer my question; If that table had been all men, would they have expected any anger from women bloggers? Or would leaving them out have been just as ok as leaving POC bloggers out? Without identity politics that table would have been all men. It is women bloggers fighting tooth and nail for recognition, respect, and equality that got those women there.

I'm too tired and demoralized to go through the whole 700+ comments thread but will leave you with a couple of them.

Jillian said:
…identity politics is not just a function of being a minority and feeling marginalized, it’s the belief that marginalization gives you a sort of privileged access to the nature of reality. And it is a deeply harmful thing to believe. But how do you attempt to reason with someone who believes their ability to perceive reality is more accurate than yours - which conveniently allows them to dismiss anything you say which they do not like?

Jillian just turned white male privilege on it's head. See it's not white's or men who have privileged access to the nature of reality or dismiss us because their perception of reality is more accurate than ours. We don't know racism when we experience it, we don't know sexism when we experience it. No, just let the white men tell us when racism and sexism are real. They have no vested interest in telling us that the way we got crapped on which is the same as the way we got crapped on before and that other time and the time before that, it's all a coincidence! No racism or sexism involved in the fact that whites and men do these crappy things to us ALL THE TIME!

Random Observer said:
That is my interest here. Not in defending some awful troll speaking ill of the dead. People who loved and respected Mr. Gilliard are not the “stupid, self-righteous morons” I was referring to.

What I found interesting about this quote is that Random Observer's main point is that saying, "It's not about you." is an invalid argument. But that quote is clarifying what he said, and basically saying "it's not about you." This really isn't a difficult concept. In the heat of the moment people make sweeping statements about a majority of a group who angered them. There will be a minority who don't fit the bill, it's not about them. If what you read makes you say, "Hey! I resemble that remark!" then it's probably about you. On the other hand, if you go in saying, "But I don't do that!" then it's not about you and quit identifying with the assholes who do those things.

What Random Observer and the others slamming Zuzu don't get is that Zuzu isn't mistaken or identifying with assholes, she knows that it's not about her, and that is what pisses her off. She wants it to be about her and wants someone to acknowledge her rational pain and disgust. This is what happened between WOC bloggers and the post Jill ran about FFF critics. She ignored us and specifically excluded us and our real concerns, just like Zuzu is being ignored and excluded. Zuzu's complaints deserve attention, but it doesn't fit the framing some are making, so they try to exclude and ignore her valid points. I'm not saying I would completely agree with everything Zuzu says but it tears me up the way she is being treated.

Friday, June 15, 2007

sexual violence in australian aboriginal communities

This article from BBC News points to the horrific level of sexual violence aboriginal children experience in Australia.

As I was reading the article however, I was wondering why this report (also compiled by the Australian government) was not mentioned or referenced any where in the article. The report, called the Bringing the Home Report, investigated the effects of the government sponsored forced removal of children from their parents on the aboriginal community.

The report documented children forced to work in migrant communities and as cleaning ladies, intense physical repercussions for wetting the bed or not eating maggot infested food, constant sexual violence, and foster "parents" that used the children as servants, sexual tools and/or beating posts.

This policy was in effect between 1885 and 1969. Could the fact that there are multiple generations of aboriginal peoples whose official "parent" was a brutal colonizing nation/state intent on their destruction have anything to do with how the community is now raising their children?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

men of color, sexuality, liberation, female autonomy

It seems that I have really pissed off a lot of men of color lately. amongst some of my unapproved comments: "fuck you and everyone here," "fuck who made this website," and a really beautiful "fuck you" in Arabic (I've been told to fuck off in three languages now!!!).Read more »

Friday, June 08, 2007

police brutality, anarchism, europe, feminism

In response to this comment thread, I found this video, which appears to be created by an anarchist in germany and details instances of European police brutality. (I could be wrong in guessing this, I don't know much at *all* about anarchists/anarchist movement in Germany, and the video blurb doesn't give much clarification, so somebody correct me, please, if i'm wrong!!!!)

(P.S. Video has LOTS of disturbing images and has been flagged by the youtube community, so watch at your own risk)

(and just on a side note, the thing I noticed watching the video was that there were *no* women throughout the video. it made me think about how nation/state violence plays out against women at protests and how men on the left are quite capable of using a righteous cause to violate and brutalize women. are women not to be a part of liberation? does community liberation come at the cost of the health and freedom of the women of the community? And how is this protest images above different from this one?

or from this?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gratitude & An Explanation Or Two

First a huge thank you to BfP for stepping up for me and cross posting some of the best content from her site over here. But it's time that I should get my act together and come up with some content myself.

I guess I ought to explain a few things to newer readers and maybe some not so new readers. I've gotten a few confused comments from people saying, I thought you were gone, or too busy, etc. Most I hope are genuinely confused, but there has been an undercurrent to a couple where it sounds like the writer thinks I am lying or creating drama. I gave my goodbye cruel world post a week and a half ago thinking I wouldn't have internet access, when instead I was only cut off for a few days. I did find the time to set up another computer to the internet after I packed my own. We have three computers, which I explained back in November, my husband worked massive amounts of overtime in order to get the kids their own desktop, instead of sharing with me, and got me a laptop for Christmas this year.

So yes, even though I was very tired and aching from packing up the house and cleaning all day, late at night I missed reading blogs and emails so I took a half hour to set up the kids computer to that DSL thingee just so I could have internet access for one more lousy week! And now we are staying in a hotel so that the kids can finish up school and the hotel has open wireless, so I am tapping away on the laptop. Also, my sisters and my father all have internet access, so while I am staying with them I will be able to find time to at least check email and maybe post to the blog or comment on others blogs, I just don't know what the plans are or how busy I will be at the moment so I hate to make any promises that I will be around at all.

The other thing most regulars know is that I have three herniated cervical disks which causes alot of pain in my neck and shoulders and numbness down my left arm. All the cleaning, packing, and lifting has made that alot worse. I have meds for the pain but it causes problems with my short term memory and just plain ability to think clearly. Since I've gone from 3 pills per day to 6 or 7, I'm pretty much in a fog most of the time. The few paragraphs I have typed here have taken me over an hour to write. Half the time I can't remember where I was going with this, or I can't remember the words I want to use and have to stop and reread or think about it. The most frustrating thing for me is reading blogs, if the article or post is really long, I have extreme difficulty following it because I forget what was said in the earliest paragraphs and have to reread again and again.

I wanted to explain that because I may or may not have the ability to post even though I am online. I have to get some rest so that I don't need as many pills and can retrieve my brain! And once I have my brain functioning well again, I may not have time to be online. That's whats up with me for now. I only took 4 pills today so things are getting better and hopefully soon I will see if I can put up a post or two about some other things I've been thinking about and wanting to talk about.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

the JFK "plot"

via UK Indymedia

The weekend’s news in the US was dominated by screaming headlines and sensationalist broadcast coverage of an alleged plot in New York to blow up John F. Kennedy International Airport’s jet fuel tanks and supply lines. The attack would have been, according to many accounts, “more devastating than September 11.”

Four men were charged in an indictment [] unveiled Sunday that included features that have become almost invariable in every such “terror” case brought by the government in recent years. First, the suspects had not only carried out no acts of terror, but they apparently lacked any means to realize such an attack. Second, a central figure in the alleged plot was a paid undercover informant of the FBI. MORE

G8 summit and Africa

An interesting article on the G8's role in continuing the colonization of African countries.

If you need any further evidence G8 summits are acts of imperialism/colonization, notice how the presence of an entire continent of countries is reduced to one representative (Ghana’s President John Agyekum Kufuor), and yet the European Union has multiple representatives (The United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France).

Also notice how many of the G8 members have *extensive* histories of global colonization:
The United Kingdom, The United States, Italy, Germany, France, Japan and Russia. Which equals every country but Canada. And Canada--with its history as a colonial outpost of England (and it's current presence in Iraq and Afghanistan), it's not like it's clueless when it comes to the methods of colonization.

It makes the summit's stated intention of "helping Africa to develop" pretty frightening, huh?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

New Life

I've been thinking a lot about Nadia's post about sexual violence and historical trauma. In the post, Nadia states:
Read more »