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By A Radical Profeminist
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Radfem. Check. Libtrans. Check. Radtrans? Checking.

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This blog exists to challenge white heterosexual male supremacy as an institutionalized ideology and a systematized set of practices which are misogynistic, heterosexist, racist, genocidal, and ecocidal.

The title of this post may be seen as mildly cheeky. But it is also deadly serious.

Life circumstances have kept me offline in the last while. A good friend died of uterine cancer and then there were other health issues in her family. The cancer was brutal and she was increasingly brave with each passing month. The battle ended two and a half years after diagnosis. I know there are so many people fighting or coping with cancer in some regard. Most along with poverty and other insults and insecurities of marginalisation and invisibility.

But I’m here today to speak to a few things that have been off my radar, more or less, during that period. For example, I have found that a lot more people across a much wider age bracket use the term ‘radfem’.

Due partly to my age, I don’t experience ‘radfem’ and ‘radical feminist’ as synonyms. I grew up before tweeting and texting when feminist terms being shortened was not usually a sign of respect. Such as when Women’s Liberation was turned into Women’s Lib.

So in my ancient mind, shortening means going from this: [Content Warning: the second image is stupidly sexist.]

women’s liberation movement photo is from here
to this:

blatantly sexist visual is from here

So, no disrespect intended to anyone who identifies as radfem or who uses both terms. Lorde knows I’d have more time on my hands if I’d written radfem every time I wrote out the longer version.

Anyway, I realise that in the last couple of years, the shorter term has taken root more widely. And that’s not all. What also seems to have amped up are distressing and awfully bitter battles over terrain and terms, land and language.

Whose land comprises the U.S. of Amerikkka? Will the Federal government or individual States or citizens ever hand back significant tracts and regions of Indigenous land, or does the government remain a land-hoarder and destroyer? Will whites ever concede, en masse, that the Confederate flag is a symbol of white supremacy? That people from Mexico aren’t aliens. That Muslims aren’t terrorists? Will the xenophobic CRAP that spills out of Dumpty Trumpty ever cease? Will Black Lives Matter?

Does it register that some of us don’t have clean water to drink, or no reliable access to water?

Will Bernie Sanders become the DNC candidate for president: how would he rule, and make reparations regarding government-stolen land? Will Hilary Clinton be the first white woman to be U.S. president?

Hey: If you want great political leadership in this country, I think Winona LaDuke and Alicia Garza are as good as you get. LaDuke/Garza 2020!!!

Winona has pointed out the Anglo-ness of thinking of revolutionary feminism is radical to Indigenism. That is, from an Indigenist point of view, one may see that what U.S. government has been doing for decades, centuries, is ‘radically’ destructive. Indigenist feminism may be seen to be Conservative, but not using the term in a white-centric way. I read that perspective for the first time here, in Talking About a Revolution. 

Digging down into and scraping the bottom of the barrel of this blog’s archives, I found this:

What does ‘Radical’ mean here? It holds up for me.

What I bring with me as a way to understand any form of oppression are lessons taught to me by radical feminists across race, region, and ethnicity. There are many who deeply inform my thinking and feeling. Among the earliest and most significant are Audre Lorde and Andrea Dworkin. But there more contemporary voices of wisdom and radical knowledge on the scene.

I will bring radical feminist theory and agendas, of color and white, with me as I go, never settling into any perspective or practice with colonial patriarchal Certainty. Andrea Dworkin, for one, never advocated for theory being mistaken for truth. She knew theory could be made into reality–to look, feel, taste, sound, and smell like CRAP. And like ‘everything’. And the danger to us, in part, is not knowing whose theories we’re were living inside, which we benefit from and protect, and which we are under and rise up against.

The more liberal academic side of the sometimes-termed RadFem vs. LibTrans turf war is a contest over theory–issues of gender, essentialism and privilege. But the social and legal side of it is about spaces of safety and struggle. As noted above, it is clear who is fighting for land and language. In some sense we all are. But not equally.

________________

In some of the next posts, I will endeavor to carefully and respectfully identify what I find to be politically problematic with “The Conversations Project: Radically Inclusive Radical Feminism“.

Because to me it is barely radical. It is welcoming and not supportive of flame wars–that alone is rare online. It has tolerated my presence for almost two weeks. We’ll see who exhausts of the other first. Hopefully amicable relationships will be nourished. But intellectual liberalism is toxic to me. And denial of any form of privilege by anyone, as a way of life, is atrocity-supporting. When I see it, I endeavor to call it out, hopefully respectfully and with increasing sensitivity to how my own places of privilege effect the reception of the critique.

Specifically, when I approach any conversation about gender, I first remind myself: whose bodies are marked for terrorism and destruction? What I see is that the bodies, the souls, of those who are identified as female, Indigenous, Black, and Brown, especially, are being terrorised. As they have been for centuries, at least. More recently, it is also Black trans bodies that are marked and murdered.

Corporate media would rather tell us of these horrors as individual tragedies perpetrated by one, two, six, or a hundred ‘bad men’ or ‘rogue cops’. Mainstream media will not report the violence as systematic: patriarchal, colonial. Most white people I know are willing to settle for dimensions of their truth. As are most men. I wonder how many other excuses white folk can conjure to excuse a cop’s murder of someone not threatening them. I wonder how many rapes have to occur before it is seen as ‘something men normally do’. So I am mindful, heartful, of the violent disappearance of trans and nontrans Black women, murder after
murder. And of the reality of rape culture, and how it is bound both to patriarchy and to colonialism.

Within white spaces, the only L or G or B or T movement I’ve ever seen as being radical was the L. And I have looked to white Lesbian Feminist theorists for keen analysis on heteropatriarchy. Among my fav philosophers is Marilyn Frye. But there are many.

This is what I see, and of course I don’t see a lot. But the _GBTIQA organisations and campaigns which are white-led, are also not revolutionary in theory or practice. This has been brought to my attention in detail quite recently.

The spokespeople, Cristan Williams and John Stoltenberg, purport to be doing something ‘radical’. I believe they are using the term, well, liberally. I have already written about this problem in queer spaces, quite a bit, actually, over the years. This isn’t anything new. But the name of the project did direct me to a set of expectations. Which groups use the term radical TWICE? Perhaps ones endeavoring to be radical.

___________________

I will update you on my own issues, by noting that I’ve been continuing to search for terms to locate my sense of myself relative to gender. Given that I believe the subjectivity of the oppressed matters more than the subjectivity of the oppressor, how women experience me is, first and foremost, what my gender is. That means I don’t get to control it: the naming. The best I can do, subjectively, personally, in using the English language is “a maled adult”. And I only speak one language. I’m a white maled adult, with more economic security than most people, which increasingly doesn’t have to mean a whole hell of a lot. I have a kind of economic stability few people have. And, while gay, I do not engage in romantic or sexual relationships, which means the ways I can harm people are dramatically reduced.

If we’re talking about dominant gender–CRAP-loaded gender–then using a term like ‘anti-gender’ works well. I have been identifying as ‘intergender’ but as a fierce white Feminist Lesbian called out, doing so locates me, affirmatively, between the gender binary that’s also a hierarchy. That is, such a term, applied to me, reinforces the hierarchy linguistically (her point). I agree. It also pretends that by being ‘in between’, I may have less male privilege or sense of entitlement than others who ID as men. So while I don’t have heterosexual privilege, and while I’m not of Northern European gentile stock, I am afforded most male supremacist advantages and benefits. No doubt about it. No denial about it.

I look for communities which share and practice community-enriching, humane values that I learned from radical feminism. Values like listening, self-awareness, mutuality, and assertiveness. One especially important ethic is radical honesty: digging for the truth of one’s feelings and experience, not settling for the views and interpretations of others just because they appear to be cool or popular. And not forgetting: we live inside the theories of others, who may not have humanity’s or the other living creatures’ best interests at heart. I leave you for now, with this:

The purpose of theory is to clarify the world in which we live, how it works, why things happen as they do. The purpose of theory is understanding. Understanding is energizing. It energizes to action. When theory becomes an impediment to action, it is time to discard the theory and return naked, that is, without theory, to the world of reality. People become slaves to theory because people are used to meeting expectations they have not originated—to doing what they are told, to having everything mapped out, to having reality prepackaged. People can have an antiauthoritarian intention and yet function in a way totally consonant with the demands of authority. The deepest struggle is to root out of us and the institutions in which we participate the requirement that we slavishly conform. But an adherence to ideology, to any ideology, can give us the grand illusion of freedom when in fact we are being manipulated and used by those whom the theory serves. The struggle for freedom has to be a struggle toward integrity defined in every possible sphere of reality—sexual integrity, economic integrity, psychological integrity, integrity of expression, integrity of faith and loyalty and heart. Anything that shortcuts us away from viewing integrity as an essential goal or anything that diverts our attention from integrity as a revolutionary value serves only to reinforce the authoritarian values of the world in which we live.  —  Andrea Dworkin, Letters from a War Zone, U.S. edition, pages 127-128

“An activist and writer at the blog, A Radical Profeminist”.



Source: http://radicalprofeminist.blogspot.com/2016/01/radfem-check-libtrans-check-radtrans.html


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