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anti-imperialist pro-vegan radical queer feminist hip-hop & grime revolutionaries.

In Solidarity With #ThisTweetCalledMyBack — December 18, 2014

In Solidarity With #ThisTweetCalledMyBack

Last week, a collective of the seven of the most incisive and insightful feminist/womanist social and cultural critics working in contemporary digital media, who are Black Women, AfroIndigenous and women of color, began a social media blackout. Over the past five years, across various social media platforms, they have created what they describe as “an entire framework with which to understand gender violence and racial hierarchy in a global and U.S. context“, one which is deeply analytical and highly critical of mainstream feminism and heteropatriarchy, as well as cishet activist movements. We at Sisters of Resistance have often engaged with, been challenged by, and learned from them and their work.

And yet, as they explain, far from being celebrated and embraced for the enormity of the work and contributions they have made to 4th wave and digital feminism, their body of work has been colonized, plagiarized by mainstream white feminism and mainstream media while they themselves have been vilified, said to constitute ‘Toxic Twitter”, had their livelihoods threatened and their physical and mental welfare put at stake. Rejected, harassed and provoked by people in mainstream media, academia, and the non-profit industrial complex, who at the same time hijack their prolific and movement-inspiring thought and theory, this collective of women is taking a stand against the status quo with this statement and their conspicuous absence from Twitter.

Here are some of the questions that they ask:

In an age where young women often have cell phones with internet access before they have access to healthcare and social services, why are so many so quick to demean the work of digital feminism in the hands of Black women? When depression, anxiety and disability make it so that getting out of bed, much less into the streets, is a debilitating challenge and risk, why do we demean social media and tell people they cant fully engage without taking up physical space? Whose interests are we centering if we constantly hyperfocus on the limits of grassroots social media, instead of the impact and possibilities, while not making the physical spaces safe or accessible for these women?

They point out that an expanded understanding of violence is necessary to address the kinds of issues they and many others like them/us face and experience, even within “leftist” and “activist” circles:

Once we expand our understanding of violence to include plagiarism, harassment, gaslighting, emotional abuse, ableism and exploitation of labor, we find huge fissures in a movement that the women we are prescribing solutions for fall through on a daily basis. We find a replicated system of violence that prioritizes those closer to systemic and hierarchal values of bodies rather than anti-violence.

They challenge those who will listen to consider the following questions, which are incredibly necessary for our time:

“How do we, as a movement, engage unaffiliated women with no institutional covering or backing, on the grassroots level? How do we close ranks around these women in both digital and physical spaces so that they can continue this work? There is a refusal to legitimize the words of women of color without the backing of academia, established media, and non-profit monikers. How do we then legitimize the lens with which marginalized women of color view their lives and the spaces where they are actually allowed to assert their agency?

The collective includes: @tgirlinterruptd, @chiefelk, @bad_dominicana, @aurabogado, @so_treu, @blackamazon, @thetrudz

Those who have signed in solidarity include: @blackgirldanger, @cheuya, @notallthots, @jazzagold, @natashavianna, @mizzblossom, @sarahkendzior, @scATX, @lilybolourian.

At the same time, we wish to call to mind @redlightvoices, who we believe has been very much a part of this same wave of work, and who expressed many of the same sentiments during the time that she was still on Twitter.

We have so much respect for all of these women. We offer them our solidarity and support in their decision to step out of the Twitterverse and assert their humanity in the face of such despicable systemic discrimination and harassment. We stand with you! #ThisTweetCalledMyBack

READ THEIR FULL STATEMENT HERE.

Individual personal statements are also being posted here.

Read more about the groundbreaking work by radical women of color, This Bridge Called My Back, the 1981 anthology, to which the conversation #ThisTweetCalledMyBack refers.

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UltraViolet Campaign to Cancel CeeLo Green’s TV Show — September 2, 2014

UltraViolet Campaign to Cancel CeeLo Green’s TV Show

In recent news, CeeLo Green has admitted to drugging a woman and defending his actions on Twitter, claiming it wasn’t rape if the victim wasn’t conscious. A coordinated public response that resulted in cancelling his upcoming TV show would be a profound statement against rape and rape culture. UltraViolet, a “new and rapidly growing community of women and men across the U.S. mobilized to fight sexism and expand women’s rights, from politics and government to media and pop culture” has put together a petition to do just that.

Click here to sign the petition

Re-posted from UltraViolet:

Grammy-winning artist CeeLO Green just let loose a series of tweets claiming that rape isn’t rape if the victim is unconscious.

What’s worse is that his tweets aren’t out of the blue—he recently pled no contest to drugging a woman who later woke up naked in his bed, with no memory of what happened. Yet despite this criminal act, and these incredibly dangerous tweets, major network TBS and its parent company Time Warner are still giving him a huge public platform in a reality TV show that recently premiered. They’ve got to drop him, now. 

Tell TBS and Time Warner:

Rapists and rape-apologists should have no place in your line-up. Cancel CeeLo Green’s reality show The Good Life immediately.

SIGN, SHARE AND REPOST!

Selfie Syndrome: Social Media and Narcissism — December 28, 2013

Selfie Syndrome: Social Media and Narcissism

Here at Sisters of Resistance, we get regular inquiries from people who are trying to determine if their partner has narcissistic traits, and to understand their behaviour and the dangers it poses for them and the relationship.

Although we’re not asserting a causal relationship between the use of social media and the rise in narcissism (there are a number of broader factors in late modernity, like neoliberalism, that are likely contributing to the trend as well), we thought this infographic from http://www.bestcomputerscienceschools.net/selfies/ was especially useful for its at-a-glance images of the Signs of Narcissism.

We hope that it helps you identify and put some distance between yourself and narcissists in your life in 2014.

Selfie Syndrome - How Social Media is Making Us Narcissistic

#TwitterSilence is Not Golden — August 4, 2013

#TwitterSilence is Not Golden

twittersilenceIn recent weeks, the online abuse of feminists has made headlines with the bomb, rape and murder threats received by figures such as historian Mary Beard, activist Caroline Criado-Perez, and several female journalists, including Time magazine’s Europe editor Catherine Mayer, Guardian columnist Hadley Freemam and Grace Dent from the Independent. In response, liberal white feminist Caitlin Moran has been campaigning for “all pleasant people”, as she calls them, to refrain from tweeting today, August 4, 2013, as an act of protest against this abuse.

We have many qualms with Ms. Moran’s particular brand of feminism – namely, that it is ablist, transmisogynist and silencing of women of colour. However, our refusal to participate in the #twittersilence campaign is not motivated by personal dislike, but on principle. As many tweeters have said in the past couple of days, our silence is exactly what the trolls – including members of the otherwise anti-establishment organization Anonymous – want. Their hateful abuse is flak directed at feminists and women speaking out against the sexism they are experiencing and observing in the world around them. As explained by Rhiannon and Holly at the New Statesman, rape threats in particular say “shut up, because you’re a woman” to women who have spoken, and “don’t speak, because you’re a woman” to women who might want to speak in the future. [Trigger warning for that link.] But we will not be silenced.

Online as in real life, our ability to speak out and indeed, our commitment to #shoutingback is one of our most powerful weapons, and we will not have it taken from us.

For more info, including news of Twitter’s pledge to address abuse with a “Report Tweet” button as petitioners have requested, check out this article: http://www.heavy.com/tech/2013/08/twitter-abuse-reporting-bomb-threat-silenc/

Racism, Invisible Children and the Kony2012 Viral — March 7, 2012

Racism, Invisible Children and the Kony2012 Viral

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.

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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.

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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.

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@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.

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