Saturday, July 14, 2007

"Purple": New Story by the Most Brilliant Writer of Our Generation

If you don't know that Danielle Valore Evans is the Most Brilliant Writer of Our need to know. The youngest student admitted to the prestigious writers workshop at Iowa since Flannery O'Connor, Evans releases timely, crucial and evocative stories that often center around the lives of young black women. Evans' work makes the bottom of your soul drop...or maybe it makes your heart expand. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, (self-proclaimed) beloved friend and (admittedly) fanatic supporter of Evans gushes, "I know how brilliant Danielle is. We've worked, laughed, sighed, lived and dreamed together for more than seven years. However, every time I read a new piece of her work, I am stunned again by grateful awe."

As Lamarr Burton would say...don't take our word for the link below to read "Purple" a story by Danielle Valore Evans in the currrent issue of The L Magazine.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Our Principles-Our Demands: March to Stop Violence Against Women 1978

Okay...I know I'm behaving as if NOW is the only time that I will be able to share information with you ever. But since I know some people who are interested in holding marches to end violence in April sometimes....I thought it might be useful to disperse the demands and principles of a group that coordinated a "March to Stop Violence Against Women" in 1978.
One important thing that I think is missing from the principles of this group is a challenge to the category "woman". Of course I have the benefit of almost 30 years of hindsight and the help of many trans allies...but I think it is important that (at least as I see it) our intention with the Day of Truthtelling was/is to end gendered violence which is importantly distinct from "violence against women". And...we know (or need to to remember) that transgendered people were certainly experiencing at least as much violence in 1978 as they continue to experience today.

Principle and Demands of the March to Stop Violence Against Women

1. Self-Determination for Women: All people have the right to control our own bodies and sexuality. We should not have to restrict our freedom of movement, our bodies or our activities and behavior in order to be safe. We have the right to freedom from violations of our personal autonomy and our physical integrity on the street, in the home and at the workplace.
2. Power for Women: To stop violence against women and to exercise the right to control our own bodies, women need power...Women can become powerful by organizing together to express our will. Women need to break through the barriers of silence that isolate us from each other and to see that an act of violence against one woman is an act of violence against us all.
3. Self-Defense for Women: Women have the right to self-dense. Self-defense it the ability, both physically and psychologically, to defend oneself against violence....
4. Community Censure of Violence Against Women: We promote the idea of community censure of violence against women. People must speak out and condemn rape and battering as they happen. This means no more complicity: We are asking for a public expression of disapproval---that we will not tolerate violence against women.

In addition to responding to many questions such as “What is violence against women?” They ask and answer the questions “Why doesn’t the criminal justice work?” “What do we mean by saying the criminal justice is racist, classist and sexist?”

May the questions continue.

Freedom On Our Own Terms: Towards a Revolutionary Culture

“It is past time that black intellectuals, professionals and so-called black scholars assumed a more active role in the leadership of the liberation struggle, instead of laying back theorizing and writing essays in a vacuum, or in various bourgeois publications.”
-from Message to the Black Movement: a Political Statement from the Black Underground
by the Coordinating Committee of the Black Liberation Army

Duly. Noted. With those words in mind, before another moment passes I want to sneak out some passages from this "Message to the Black Movement" that I found in the belly of the beastly plantation university here in Durham, NC. Though the Black Liberation Army decalres itself to be explicitly anti-sexist..and indeed did some radical work to respond to violence against women within black communities...there is no real mention of gender (or reference to their interventions against sexual assault and domestic vioelnce) in this "Message". However I think that these principles are relevant approaches to some of the questions (How do we respond to violence? What is the role of violence in that response? What is our relationship to the law? (How) do we make demands on anyone?) that I/we are thinking about in community (next to the very university that searches me every time I leave the vault because they know I want to steal the pamphlet make a zillion copies and give them to you.) It should be clear why the Black Liberation Army never publicized the date or location of this publication. Consider the citation above complete.

Please comment by clicking on the link to the At the Kitchen Table Blog

A Relationship to the Law and to Violence

p7 “We therefore do not view the ‘law’ of our class enemies as valid nor do we feel restricted in struggle to his laws. On the other hand, we understand the “tactical” value of using the law and consequently we understand the tactical value of reform in the liberation process. For example, school takeovers by community parents, rent strikes by tenants, labor union takeovers....

“There can be no conditions on our fight for freedom except those set by the oppressed themselves. Those who claim that revolutionary violence gives the enemy the opportunity to repress the movement in general are profoundly mistaken if they think the reactionary government needs such excuses for repression...” (emphasis by Alexis)

On the Creation of a Revolutionary Culture
“In order to break these psychological-class chains of 20th century enslavement, we must build a revolutionary culture.”
"The dominant reactionary culture must be destroyed before any revolutionary culture can truly manifest itself. In other words, it is in the active struggle of the two that the seeds of a revolutionary culture are laid. Not in the passive creation of an alternative culture.”
(emphasis by Alexis)

On (the Hegemony of) Technology
“One such factor that sets our struggle apart from other (third world) struggles is the profound influence of organized technology on our consciousness, social relationships and behavior. People who live in the technologically advanced societies of the west have been programmed to perceive their needs as being one and the same as the technology that created these artificial needs.”

“Technology in the context of capitalism is the ultimate means by which the masses are programmed out of the need for real freedom...we must create a new need within ourselves for freedom, so that we can harness technology on our behalf.”


Monday, July 02, 2007

Fighting Fire

Most of us received Aishah's email about the black lesbians in Newark who are serving jailtime for defending themselves from a homophobic attacker. Today in the library in the archives of a small feminist publication called Feminary (that used to be based right here in Durham and operate through collective potluck meetings...) I found a few more examples of how the law criminalizes black women and women in prison for standing up for themselves. These are all direct quotes:

January 4th 1976

“On June 17, 1975, two Black women, Cheryl S. Todd and Dessie X. Woods, were arrested and charged with murder and armed robbery in Wheeler County, Georgia. The women were defending themselves from a sexual assault by a white man who was posing as a police officer;...This case involves a woman’s righto to defend herself against sexual assault, and has obvious racial implications. A defense committee has been formed....”
March 28th 1976
“On December 27th of last year (1975), a Black woman officer of the Flint, Michigan police force found herself temporarily assigned to patrol car duty with Walter Kalberer, who so opposed the assignment of women to street patrol that he requested in writing never to work with one. Madeline Fletcher was a rookie hired under the city’s affirmative-action program for increasing minority representation on the police force. Fletcher was already in the driver’s seat when Kalberer ordered her to mve over saying he would drive. After obscenities and racial insults, Kalberer said he grapped her by the coat collar and she “fell” on her back and started kicking him. When she allegedly fought back with her night stick, he attacked her with his, claiming to have said, “If you’re going to fight like a man, I’m going to have to treat you like a man” and knocked her night stick out of her hand. Fletcher is described as having run a few steps, drawn her pistol and shot at him, apparently hitting him in the left thigh. According to witnesses, Kalberer returned the fire. Alleging the she threatened to kill them, 3 nearby white male officers fired at her. During the exchange of some 14 shots, one bullet hit her in the chest. largely recovered, she has been charged with “assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder” and is suspended without pay. While he, the instigator, was charged with nothing and is on sick leave while recovering from his thigh wound.
Contributions are requested for the Madeline Fletcher Legal Defense Fund.”
May 23 1976
“The Raleigh Feminists Organized for Action (RFOA), a group that focuses particularly on black women and issues of civil rights enforcement, is currently involved with the Phyllis Ethridge vs. Robert L. Dunnigan case. Dunnigan was acquitted of assault charges brought against him by Ethridge for “striking her with his hands on the buttocks,”. Judge George Barnett dismissed the charges on the grounds that no bodily harm was intended although, in another case, a N.C. court has ruled that “...every batterin touchgin includes an assault, but ever assault does not include a battery...” the RFOA believes, therefore that Barnett’s ruling is contradictory to N.C. law. RFOA is calling on other local organizations and individuals to join in an effort to request a Judicial Standards Review of the judge in this case, and also to support Ethridge’s further appeal...

July 4 1976
"The first mass confrontation at the North Carolina Correction Center for Women between prisoners and guards occurred last summer (1975). Among the issues that the women were peacefully protesting were bad working conditions in the laundry and poor medical care. As you know, the peaceful demonstration ended in ciolence when the prison administration responded to the demands with force. Not only are many of the same conditions that were protested still existing, but many of the inmates who participated are still suffering reprisals. Several of the women who were involved have been writing since the protest, and now their articles, drawings and poems are being organized into a book.
Nine people from two groups Triangle Area Feminists and the North Carolina Hard Times Prison Project---are colecting and printing the book. One thousand dollars is necessary for its publication. This money will cover materials. Labor is being donated....
Break de Chains of Legalized U$ Slavery will be available for $2.00 in the late summer at local bookstores.

What I learn from these examples is that it is possible to fight fire with fire (and I support black women who defend themselves through the law and with physical self-defense), but it is also possible to fight fire with water. To read a zine of responses to violence that reject the law itself read the zine OutLaw Visions: Reclaiming Power, Truth and Justice for Ourselves.
Participants in the workshop that Serena and I led on behalf of UBUNTU at the Allied Media Conference Last Week in Detroit created it in one hour!

You can download your own copy here....

the nympho of info