Archive | March, 2012

JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON MARTIN

21 Mar

17-year old, unarmed Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by self-appointed, unofficial “neighbourhood watchman” Zimmerman who has a history of stalking innocent young black boys. Zimmerman is over 100 pounds heavier and 11 years older than Trayvon who was walking away when Zimmerman began to chase him. Trayvon was returning to his dad’s girlfriends house from the local store having brought Skittles and some Ice Tea. He was on the phone to his girlfriend.

In an almost incomprehensible on-going injustice, the police have allowed Zimmerman to walk free, not even arresting him, as the murderer has admitted to shooting dead the innocent teen but has claimed “self-defense” saying he felt threatened and describing Trayvon as “suspicious” during his 911 call. Under the controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws in Florida, this is apparently all a murderer needs to say to be completely let off. But how does someone half your age and half your size who is walking away from you threaten you? Since when did wearing a hood when it is raining become a justifiable reason for murder? Why did police do a “background check” on Trayvon as he lay dead on the floor but not on the murderer Zimmerman? Why was Trayvon’s blood tested for alcohol and drugs but not Zimmerman’s? Why did police “correct” witnesses who said Trayvon lay screaming for his life?

As the 911 tapes are released and more witnesses come forward to speak to the media, it is increasingly apparent that this was a hate crime, an act of racist violence, which has been defended by a racist police force who seem to be actively protecting the murderer.

Community rallies are taking place and media coverage is growing as mass public outrage also increases. There will be a “Million ‘Hoodie’ March” tonight (Wednesday 21/03/12) attended by Trayvon’s parents in NYC to demand an end to racist profiling. People who can’t attend are being asked to upload photos of them in a hoodie to social networking sites show support. UPDATE:  Trayvon protest in Oakland SF Trayvon’s parents at protest in New York

Please sign and share the petition:

http://www.change.org/petitions/prosecute-the-killer-of-our-son-17-year-old-trayvon-martin

Visit Trayvon’s website:

http://www.justicefortrayvonmartin.com/

for info on what you can do, events, people to contact & how to spread the word.

Please read/share the following links:

White People, You Will Never Look Suspicious Like Trayvon Martin

The crime of killing a black person still is not greater than the crime of being black.

Listen to the 911 tapes which prove Trayvon was the victim not the aggressor

Trayvon Martin and the fatal history of American racism

White Denial and Trayvon Martin


JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON MARTIN

REPEAL THE STAND YOUR GROUND LAWS

END WHITE SUPREMACY

Handy Reference Guide to Identifying Oppressive Silencing

18 Mar

To assist you in identifying and resisting dominant and unequal power relationships in your life, we’ve compiled a list of common phrases people in historically dominant roles have been conditioned to and may use to try to silence oppressed others, particularly when they perceive their dominance to be challenged.

The quotations below were used by men against women and are thus patriarchal; however, one could expect to find similar strategic dismissals and silencing of the accounts and concerns of people of color, working class and poor people, queer and LGBTQI people, young people, fat people, disabled people, and other marginalized folks in the discourses of those who discriminate against them. The simultaneous and intersecting nature of oppression is also considered here.

These strategies, and others we may have missed, can be found in any order, but from our experiences attempts to silence us commonly go something like this:

Assert authority
Question your knowledge/judgment
Delegitimize your response
Delegitimize you
Enforce dominant point of view
Shut down debate or conversation

Continue reading

Happy International Women’s Day!

8 Mar

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2012 we link to and quote from just some of the articles celebrating IWD we have found so far.

To all women resisting imperialism, war, violence, patriarchy, environmental destruction and other forms of oppression all year round we say the struggle continues! Venceremos!

Sisterly Solidarity, today and everyday,

Sisters of Resistance

*****************

From http://feministsforchoice.com/international-womens-day-how-did-it-start.htm

International Women’s Day: How did it start??

Today marks the 101stInternational Women’s Day around the globe. Communities use the day across the world to press demands on governments, promote gender equality, raise awareness about women’s oppression, celebrate mothers, and more. Given that this day has so much significance worldwide, it is worth knowing how the movement was started.  Consider it another item in your feminist history repertoire. [...]

International Women’s Day was originally created by a group of international Suffragists to recognize their work and to press demands on their respective governments. The holiday was proposed at the second International Conference of Working Women, a Socialist conference held in Denmark, at which over 100 women from 17 countries attended.

At first the day was most widely observed in Europe but quickly spread globally. It is now an official national holiday in many countries including China, Russia, Bulgaria and Uzbekistan. While the overall purpose is the same, each country has a unique history with the holiday…

Read the full article here

***************

From http://allafrica.com/view/group/main/main/id/00015918.html

Africa Celebrates International Women’s Day

Rural women represent, on average, more than 40 percent of the agricultural workforce in the developing world, but they own only 1 percent of the land, and face constant barriers to equality and success.

Read more of the informative articles that All Africa have compiled from Sudan, to Rwanda and South Africa, to celebrate IWD here.

************

From http://thefeministwire.com/2012/01/why-the-question-of-palestine-is-a-feminist-concern/

Why the Question of Palestine is a Feminist Concern

I have been asked how I view the occupation of Palestine from my feminist perspective, or perhaps another way to put it, why and how I think the question of Palestine is a feminist concern. It seems to me that the question posed by the predicament of Palestinians is not merely the uncertainty of their future political fate as a people (a nation without a state, territory, and resources of its own, without capacities of self-determination). It is rather the question of the specific conditions of human devaluation and disposability to which they appear to be fated by a normalized system of exploitative inequality, dispossession and violence.

That these conditions of devaluation and disposability depend on the maintenance of naturalized hierarchies of human difference (race, ethnicity, nationality, religion) will undoubtedly resonate with feminist analyses of forms of gendered devaluation, disposability and violence that obtain in many socio-historical contexts, including this one. It is also the case, however, that beyond any homologies, which this theoretical resonance might suggest (eg. between racialized and gendered forms of devaluation and disposability), the projects of settler colonialism and apartheid nationalism that the Israeli state embodies and the logic of security which undergirds and legitimates its policies of surveillance, militarization and war have long been feminist concerns.

Feminist analyses have shown how such projects are enabled and upheld not only by normative cultural ideals of gender and sexuality embedded in their constitutive conceptions of land, territory, sovereignty, people/race, citizenship, freedom and power. As modes of producing and regulating life – indeed, as projects that see to the uneven distribution of life-chances (the augmentation of life-chances of some at the cost of the reduction of life-chances of others), like and in tandem with capitalism – the projects of settler colonialism and apartheid nationalism also require divisions of labor and forms of social reproduction (and social death) that are profoundly gendered and racialized in ways that exceed the dominant form of political antagonism.

Read full article

**********

from http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/laurie-penny-thats-enough-politeness–women-need-to-rise-up-in-anger-7544480.html

Laurie Penny: That’s enough politeness – women need to rise up in anger

A huge cultural change is taking place all over the world right now. Over the past year, from the Arab Spring uprisings to the global anti-corporate occupations, young people and workers have realised that they were flogged a false dream of prosperity in return for quiet obedience, exhausting, precarious jobs and perpetual debt – most of it shouldered by women, whose low-status, low-paid and unpaid work has driven the expansion of exploitative markets across the world. Equality, like prosperity, was supposed to trickle down, but not a lot can trickle down through a glass ceiling.

Women, like everyone else, have been duped. We have been persuaded over the past 50 years to settle for a bland, neoliberal vision of what liberation should mean. Life may have become a little easier in that time for white women who can afford to hire a nanny, but the rest of us have settled for a cheap, knock-off version of gender revolution. Instead of equality at work and in the home, we settled for “choice”, “flexibility” and an exciting array of badly paid part-time work to fit around childcare and chores. Instead of sexual liberation and reproductive freedom, we settled for mitigated rights to abortion and contraception that are constantly under attack, and a deeply misogynist culture that shames us if we’re not sexually attractive, dismisses us if we are, and blames us if we are raped or assaulted, as one in five of us will be in our lifetime.

Read full article here

***********

From http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/W/women/

Women and Mental Health A- Z

Mental health problems affect women and men equally, but some are more common among women. Abuse is often a factor in women’s mental health problems. Treatments need to be sensitive to and reflect gender differences.

The same numbers of women and men experience mental health problems overall, but some problems are more common in women than men, and vice versa.

Various social factors put women at greater risk of poor mental health than men. However, women’s readiness to talk about their feelings and their strong social networks can help protect their mental health.

Women as guardians of family health

However busy they are, it is important that women look after their mental health. Traditionally, women have tended to take on the responsibility of looking after the health of members of their family as well as themselves. For instance, women often shop for their family and influence what they eat or advise their family when they feel unwell. This role makes it particularly important that women understand how the choices we all make in everyday life can affect our mental health. 

Women as carers  

Most carers are women, whether they care for their children, partner, parents, other relatives or friends. Women carers are more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression than women in the general population. Three quarters of people who care for a person with a mental health problem are women and the average age of carers is 62 years.  

Read more

*****************

Further Reading from SoR

Also be sure to check out the Revolutionary Lovers Guide and Women We Admire posts to celebrate IWD with Sisters of Resistance :)

Revolutionary Lovers Guide

This IWD make sure you are in healthy, equal and respectful relationships: http://sistersofresistance.wordpress.com/resources/sista-resista-library/revolutionary-lovers-guide/

Women We Admire

Wangari Maathai: http://sistersofresistance.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/women-we-admire-wangari-maathai-1940-2011/

Audre Lorde: http://sistersofresistance.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/women-we-admire-audre-lorde/

Grace Lee Boggs: http://sistersofresistance.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/women-we-admire-grace-lee-boggs/

Erykah Badu: http://sistersofresistance.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/women-we-admire-erykah-badu/

Racism, Invisible Children and the Kony2012 Viral

7 Mar

As Invisible Children’s Kony2012/stopKony campaign goes viral, Sisters of Resistance share links that criticize the paternalistic, racist, “white savior” nature of the “not for profit” organization (as well as a trailer for a documentary about US interference in Africa.)

In advocating further US military intervention in Uganda, with no reference to the political economic context, or underlying systemic causes of the conflict,  let alone the fact corporations prolong and profit from it, Kony2012 furthers a racist, imperialist Western agenda which cannot be understood without reference to Africom.

African people are presented as “invisible” and incapable, while the Hollywood narrative of the “white American good guy saving the world and getting the bad guy” is perpetuated at a time when US global dominance is crumbling. 

If the founders of Invisible Children were serious, they would take down the arms companies, corporations and governments that fund, profit from, cause and prolong the conflict (read more about cobalt, corporations and Central Africa here).

Supporting further militarization

We got trouble.

From http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/post/18890947431/we-got-trouble

Invisible Children has been condemned time and time again. As a registered not-for-profit, its finances are public. Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 32% went to direct services (page 6), with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production. This is far from ideal for an issue which arguably needs action and aid, not awareness, and Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they lack an external audit committee. But it goes way deeper than that.

The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces. Here’s a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is “better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries”, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since 2006 by their own admission.

******************

Thoughts on Kony 2012 and White Saviours vs. Allies

by Alex Snider

From http://2zelda.blogspot.com/2012/03/kony-2012-reduces-story-of-northern.html

I watched the Kony 2012 video this morning and I have to say the White saviour, colonial overtones made me extremely uncomfortable. Not to mention the lack of any consultation or even reference to any of the Ugandan groups who have been actively fighting against Kony for years. Even the way Invisible Children denies granting the two (!) Ugandan politicians further identification in the video. What party are they from? What role in government do they play? Why was there no mention of the president? Or of any other adult Ugandans? Why weren’t Ugandans given the opportunity to speak for themselves? Why were they instead treated as props for the self-aggrandizing filmmaker and his friends? Merely showing images of nameless mutilated children, flashing them before the audience’s eyes reduces and erases the children’s humanity. This type of stomach-turning pity-porn is no way to bring attention to a cause. This is no way to treat those you wish to help. 

I could go on about the problems with the video: the lack of Ugandan culture; the weird inclusion of the narrator’s very young son and how the video placed him at the centre of the narrative as the ideal future; the fact that it took nearly 9 minutes for Joseph Kony and the LRA to even be mentioned; the pro-military stance; and the basis that no one else could possibly have heard or cared about the LRA before Invisible Children ever before. The video is the very definition of the White Man’s Burden.

******************

Stop Kony, yes. But don’t stop asking questions

From http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/03/07/stop-kony-yes-but-dont-stop-asking-questions/

Invisible Children has had some success already: late last year, President Barack Obama committed 100 US troops to provide “advice and assistance” to the Ugandan army in removing Joseph Kony from the battlefield.  The President’s move came in part due to the NGO’s tremendous advocacy efforts.  Everyone agrees that this a hugely important issue, but Invisible Children’s methods have come in for searing criticism; most scathingly, they have been attacked as “neo-liberal, do-good Whiteness”.  Elsewhere, Foreign Affairs has provided some important context on this matter, in relation to Uganda’s strategic importance to the USA.  I would also recommend the  Twitter feed of Laura Seay, who was moved to comment this morning that “[Solomme Lemma] is tweeting links to great community-based organizations working in Northern Uganda.  Give there if you really want to help. I understand the anger and resentment at Invisible Children’s approach, which with its paternalism has unpleasant echoes of colonialism.  I will admit to being perturbed by its apparent top-down prescriptiveness, when so much diligent work is already being done at Northern Uganda’s grassroots.

********************

@DynamicAfrica, @InnovateAfrica and @TexasinAfrica have been tweeting criticism and analysis as well as promoting the important work already being done by grassroots Ugandan organisations. For further information on the context of US imperialism in Africa please see:

Apocalypse Africa: Made in America – Trailer

Sisters of Resistance will be adding to this list as more anti-imperialist analysis of Kony2012 becomes available.