Feminism: (as) a transformational politic  

“We live in a world of crisis – a world governed by politics of domination, one in which the belief in a notion of superior and inferior, and its concomitant ideology – that the superior should rule over the inferior – effects the lives of all people everywhere, whether poor or privileged, literate or illiterate.

Systematic dehumanization, worldwide famine, ecological devastation, industrial contamination, and the possibility of nuclear destruction are realities which remind us daily that we are in crisis…..

Feminism, as liberation struggle, must exist apart from and as a part of the larger struggle to eradicate domination in all its forms….the separation of grassroots ways of sharing feminist thinking across kitchen(table)s from the sphere where much of that thinking is generated [read institutionalised], the academy, undermines feminist movement.

It would further feminist movement if new feminist thinking could be once again shared in small group contexts, integrating critical analysis  with discussion of personal experience(s).

 It would be useful to promote anew the small group setting as an arena of education for critical consciousness, so that women, men (& trans folk) might come together in neighbourhoods and communities to discuss feminist concerns….It is in this commitment to feminist principles in our words and deeds that the hope of a feminist revolution lies.

Working collectively to confront difference, to expand our awareness of sex (gender), race and class as interlocking systems of domination, of the ways we reinforce and perpetuate these structures, is the context in which we learn the true meaning of solidarity.

It is this work that must be the foundation of feminist movement…..

True politicization – coming to critical consciousness – is a difficult “trying” process, one that demands that we give up set ways of thinking and being, that we shift our paradigms, that we open ourselves to the unknown, the unfamiliar.

Undergoing this process, we learn what it means to struggle and in this effort we experience the dignity and integrity of being that comes with revolutionary change.

If we do not change our consciousness, we cannot change our actions or demand change from others.

Our renewed commitment to a rigorous process of education for critical consciousness will determine the shape and direction of future feminist movement……

 

Feminist focus on men: a comment

…now we can acknowledge that the reconstruction and transformation of male behaviour, of masculinity is a necessary and essential part of feminist revolution. Yet critical awareness of the necessity for such work has not led to the production of a significant body of feminist scholarship that fully addresses these issues. Much of the small body of work on men has been done by men…..

(yet) just as love relationships between females and males are a space where feminist struggle to make a context for dialogue can take place, feminist teaching and scholarship can also and must necessarily be a space for dialogue….it is in that space that we can engage in constructive confrontation and critique…..

[Youtube= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gmvx8suFr3M&NR=1%5D

Blogger’s note: these teachings are symbolic of the great work that has been done and that is still ahead of us in healing not only ourselves, but the world, and in liberating not only ourselves, and ALL Afrikans, but ALL people. The bigger point of sharing teachings that have transformed not just me, but many others is simple: to reconnect, relocate and rebuild (our) communities with (big) love en more bredrin en dadas in solidarity….afrika moja!

Writing autobiography

The longing to tell one’s story and the process of telling is symbolically a gesture of longing to recover the past in such a way that one experiences both a sense of reunion and a sense of release…..

To G…., who is she: on using a pseudonym

Bell hooks is a name that comes from my family. It is the name of my great-grandmother on my mother’s side…claiming this name was a way to link my voice to an ancestral legacy of woman speaking – of woman power.

[between the lines: molisa nyakale is also a name that comes from my family. It is the name of my great-great-great-grandmother on my father’s side, and a mark-er of my true true home….claiming this name was also a way to link my voice to an ancestral legacy of wom(b)an speaking]

When I first used this name with poetry, no one ever questioned this use of a pseudonym, perhaps because the realm of imaginative writing is deemed more private than social….after years of being told that I said the wrong things, of being punished, I had to struggle to find my own voice, to feel that I could speak without being punished…

in using the pseudonym, I consciously sought to make a separation between ideas and identity so that I could be open to challenge and change.

Though by no means a solution to this problem, a pseudonym certainly creates a distance between the published work and the author….longing to shift attention away from personality, from self to ideas, informed my use of a pseudonym…the point of the pseudonym was not to mask, to hide my identity but rather to shift the focus, to make it less relevant

Excerpts from Talking Balk: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black

In honour of the legacy of tajudeen abdul raheem (en many many ancestors who dedicated their lives to the liberation of all afrikan peoples)

this post is dedicated to bredrin and dadas in solidarity…nakupenda. bless those who work for truth, justice, reconciliation & peace.

 ase.ase.

 

Afrika moja! Afrika huru!

Ase. o.

.

REPOST

When it came to Haiti, France was first a brutal colonizer, and then a usurious bully. Tunku Varadarajan on why it’s time for reparations…….

As Haitians lurch destitute in the rubble, and as governments, churches, and NGOs do the best they can to bring succor to Haiti’s hell, a vivid solution to the country’s needs presents itself, one so obvious and irrefutable—so resonantly just—that it must be advocated with the greatest of energy: France must repay its colonialist debt to Haiti by paying for much of the island country’s reconstruction.

Haiti’s chronic impoverishment began at its birth in 1804, when, having overthrown its French rulers in a bloody, 12-year slave revolt, the newborn nation was subjected to crippling blockades and embargoes. This economic strangulation continued until 1825, when France offered to lift embargoes and recognize the Haitian Republic if the latter would pay restitution to France—for loss of property in Haiti, including slaves—of 150 million gold francs. The sum, about five times Haiti’s export revenue for 1825, was brutal, but Haiti had no choice: Pay up or perish over many more years of economic embargo, not to mention face French threats of invasion and reconquest. To pay, Haiti borrowed money at usurious rates from France, and did not finish paying off its debt until 1947, by which time its fate as the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country had been well and truly sealed.

In this era of multibillion-dollar bailouts of private banking institutions, $22 billion should scarcely raise a Gallic eyebrow. But to Haiti, the sum would be a godsend.

France must now return every last cent of this money to Haiti. In 2004, at the time of the 200th anniversary of Haiti’s independence, the Haitian government put together a legal brief in support of a formal demand for “restitution” from France. The sum sought was nearly $22 billion, a number arrived at by calculations that included a notionally equitable annual interest rate. (For a full account of the calculation, read Jose de Cordoba’s excellent news story in The Wall Street Journal, published on Jan. 2, 2004.) The demand was made by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a firebrand ex-preacher who was forced out of office by a violent uprising that February. His successors, Boniface Alexandre and Gerard Latortue, controversially chose to renounce Haiti’s claim for restitution/reparations. (There was, of course, much pressure exerted on them by France, which had found Aristide’s demand politically disconcerting.)

Plus: Mark Leon Goldberg on Haiti’s recent history, and why the country deserves our support. This last act of renunciation weakens Haiti’s legal case against France, notwithstanding the fact that the treaty under which France gouged 150 million gold francs from Haiti was clearly unconscionable and executed under duress. But this story is not one of law and legality alone, nor even one of wealth and poverty. (France’s GDP is $2.85 trillion, while Haiti’s is a mere $6.95 billion.) It is, rather, one of historical justice and political morality: No one can dispute that an extortionate and bullying treaty, concluded at a time when France was an imperial hyper-puissance and Haiti a friendless fledgling, is an ugly stain on France’s national conscience.

The money involved is not a sum that will give sleepless nights to Christine Lagarde (France’s finance minister) or Bernard Kouchner (its foreign minister) or President Nicolas Sarkozy. In this era of multibillion-dollar bailouts of private banking institutions, $22 billion should scarcely raise a Gallic eyebrow. But to Haiti, the sum would be a godsend.

More than that, however, this is money that is Haiti’s own. As Haitians lie prostrate, buried under the rubble of their nation, France must do the moral thing, the just thing, the civilized thing: France must write Haiti a reparations check for $22 billion.

Tunku Varadarajan is a national affairs correspondent and writer at large for The Daily Beast. He is also a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and a professor at NYU’s Stern Business School.

 

here’s an action alert for those  in TDot…..

we’re putting more political issues back into our partying….

 

come OUT  to GRANNY BOOTS next week @ the GladStone Hotel.

for the launch of  S.I.S (Sistas in Solidarity), a coalition of folks in Tdot,

organising ourselves to support queer/trans rights on the continent.

 

And we’re recruiting folks for a QPOC activists list serv, hosted by Fahamu, to share resources and build solidarity within queer/trans (pan) afrikan communities.

join us for a night of film screenings, spoken werd & dance.

and stay for the after party, with Swagger & Fresh To Def.

consider this  PROTEST/BAHATI,  a gift exchange party 🙂

all comrades, friends and allies are welcome!

 

 

……what you don’t know, you’re a victim too, Mr. Jailer….

in the spirit of (i)S.I.S…..

sista (en brotha) love en solidarity!

here’s another gift….

 

juicy sneak preview #3

(if you haven’t been counting)

 what’s on our wishlist?

coco la creme en dainty box “performing” burlesque to dis here song 🙂

dis message is WICKED! ( no homo! 😉  )

we have to start where we from.

change/ing our patterns is long term.

gotta use what we got.

share/ing our resources,

and this is not new.

we need to work on our own unity first.

 

so in the spirit  of  critically examining our gaps and tools,

here is an/other teacher,

one of my (revolushunary) guides in the path of story telling and teaching community.

 story telling for social change

about the q werd.  An experiment in resistance and pan-Afrikan creativity

Concept Note

The documentary/serial soap/tragi-comedic depiction of the drama, politics, sex, loves and scandals that follow a group of young-ish (en older) queer/trans Afrikan friends.

[parabola treatment: the first release focuses on the stories & lives of not-so-random folks involved in putting this together, and all the people that have been influential and we’ve crossed paths with in life. These are the diaries and interviews with Akinyi, Alix, Anne M, Audrey, Blessol, Faith, illo, Kasha, Karie, Leslie, Nikki, Patricia, Po, Roxie, Sylvia, Valentine, Victor, Zawadi….to start….there are more interviews with womyn & trans folk of Afrikan descent in the second ‘season’]

Q werd positions itself in conversation with the (Western) L word in acknowledgement of its pioneer status in breaking through in/to mainstream consumer culture conscious.ness as a named/branded entity. It locates itself with/in a dialectical exchange of the construction of identity & the power of resistance & self determination.

It addresses the problematic and turbulent politics of race/ethnicity/sex/class/gender variations/ religion(s) in our society and interrogates the white/western/capitalist/imperialist/lesbian hegemonic thought that the L word (seems to be/) is based on. It explores the ruptures inherent in the U.S shit-stem, and neo-liberal petit-bourgeoise discourses in Afrikan countries.

[parabola treatment: the first documentary is more than Kenya, Uganda, or Canada…which is where the main stories are told…it is locating the political &pan-Afrikan in the personal. It is a direct result of working with what we got…we warn you, ladies & gentlemen (and those of you yet to decide), we have only jus’ begun…]

Q werd is a work/shop in progress. It is organic and collective. It is a living story.
These are the diaries of warriors en queer/trans rights activists (of colour/ed shades en vivrant revolushunary ideologies).
The stories of survivors & hustlers. Of youth en (not-so) single mamas.
These, are the days, and the night/scapes of our lives.
Of contradictions, in/hyper/visibility and fear.
This is nothing more than an attempt to share our realities,
For the purpose of Art (for social change)…
This is more than jus’ a(nother) video…these are our testimonies,
Documenting and archiving Afrikan cultures.

Firmly grounded in (pan) Afrikan/black feminist thought it acts as a portal and reflection of the diverse realities of black and Afrikan women and is being re/created in resistance to the marginalisation/exploitation and distortion of black/Afrikan experiences fe/male experiences.

This ‘conversation’ with the L word is a matter of talking back. Taking back and reclaiming our identities. It examines the (many) gaps and fills them in with what we think should be.
The ‘werd’ charts the process of the embodiment of particular/queer identities that are inhabited/rejected/disavowed/subverted and portrayed in (public) consciousness.

Like Bette, the ‘bi/racial/black’ one, being blacker……and, Papi, being there. It is more black butch women. And many different kinds of trannies. It is the Birkenstock/vegan/second wave white feminist, and the stereotypical ‘community’ worker. It is the activists and the freaks. The many, many, many, many people in the closets.

It is parading myriad identities. It is family and lies, and the truth of (the need for change en) compromise. It is fighting degrading influences, like the fascination with the West we grew up with. It is learning to love ourselves (again). It is masturbation and bi/dykes doing non-monogamy. It is education as the practice of freedom and listening to the lessons of the streets, and the village(s).

It is war. It is resistance. It is every day and every other thing that concerns as as queer women and trans folk. Ni mtaani. It is black ghettoes. Growing class divides. It is Fanny Ann Eddy and Audre Lorde. It is abuse en violence. Unreported hate crimes. Fucked up ‘behavioural practices’. It is self.defense. It is (about) freedom now. Tracy chapman. The ‘invisible’ face/voice of the WSW. It is reality. (necessarily) phantastical.

[parabola treatment: because as the story develops, as we get to more about the womyn in the Q word, we recognise that there is alot that can’t be revealed. We are bound by fear of the repercussions of ‘outing’ others and so we put ourselves on the line(of vision), so to speak, and alter/hide the names of those we’ve loved, fucked, worked, or crossed paths with…and yet, we speak…..)

The Q werd unashamedly tries to be many things for many people and it is singularly focused on the black/Afrikan experience as the central concern of it’s stories.

It is a multi-pronged political act that is about sharing the process of self-recovery, healing and positive living. It is about love. Mama Afrika. It is about loving ourselves, more than hating (on) any/thing else. It is about critical/reflective thinking and mostly it is about change.

The ‘werd’ responds to the paucity of re/presentation of queer/black/Afrikan brothas in the L word. It brings in more positive stories of darkness and being real. It re-politicises the commodified characters.

It does this through the subversive use of the resources available (to the writers/participants/theorists/actors, and, producers).

The L word. A few cameras. Many hours of interviews with many different Afrikan womyn, men and trannies. Lots of gossip and drama. A collective of womyn creating a tv show. Different media. Pen and paper. Cartoons. Private space & public ground. And all this ‘fiction’ is the Q. werd.

The Q werd is about womyn loving wom(b)en en trannies loving wo/men en men loving women. It is normal. It is troubled by all the shit. It is ‘other’ than. It is (some of) ‘the people’. It is about re/membering the past and using our reality to a portray a true picture of ourselves. It is rastas en beautiful (dark) dread lock sistas. It is tomboys & brazen femmes. It is immigrant/emigrant and migrant bodies. It is prisons and boarding schools. It is the girl(s) you (knew who liked other girls who you) played with in high school.
It is the chief’s wife and your aunty from ushago. It is the ho on K-street. The ones standing on the secretive corners of Arwings Kodhek. They are the ‘lesbian’ cliques of dandora, umoja, jamhuri & hurlingham. The old man (?) of the village of N It is ‘western’ gays and lesbians and conflicted Christians. It is queer muslims and Al-Lat worshippers. It is kinky. It is bourgeoise safety/urban privilege in just being ‘out’ and passing life’s existence in sharp contrast to other queers & trannies around the country. It is the contradictions of those ‘in the life’.

It is sh/itty living. Escape. Safe refuge(s). it is the (lack of safe) shelter(s).
It is endless conversa-shun. Specu-la-shun. It is ‘such-a-lesbian-ting’ processing.
It is fights and (adamant) denials. Its bruises. death. sacred ‘interverntions’ and being saved (again). It is something by an ‘other’ name. it is not lesbian. Tho many of the women innit are…

(repeat)
it is not the L word.

It is a parody of the parody of a parody of queer reality and re/presentation in film.
It is multi-dimensional.

The show (also) places itself firmly with/in the contradictory position of refuting the existence of lesbians. This is it’s ‘achilles heel’….so to (western) speak. It might be it’s death ultimately.
It refutes the existence of lesbians – naturally in Afrika; where wo/men were loving wo/men from ancient (times) en we knew different….
where Great Gawdess was prolly a dyke hirself too, somewhere in the beginning. Same-sex. And n’way that woman sappho only went over to that isle of lesbos not even a few centuries ago…

There was a light and then there was the (q) word.
(the) Qore
(of new beginnings and endless repetitions).

It is re-inscribed,
from (Pan) Afrikan landscapes
and the L word…
this diction/stories/poetry of life/death/life cycles.
It is controversial.
and as much as it tries to give space to the largest number of views and interpretations of the state of world politics and (oppressive/necessary/positive) relations with each other.
It is (avowedly) revolutionary.
It is anti-capitalist/pan-Afrikan/anarchist in it’s narration of the issues as (the collective) and ‘particular’ oppressed people(s) see them.

It is hip(s). sex in the afternoon.
It is cook(s)in. steamy kitchens.
Mchuzi wa samaki na mahamri.
It is mango kisses and ejaculating cunts.
It is locked on the floor, reading poetry to each other.
It is the mundane.
The clothes that need to be washed.
It is work. It is necessary.
Unfolding quest of (re) building (communities).
Growing (old) together.

It is beauty.
Incarnate in sistas loving each other,
(re) learning our groove(s) and
sticking up for the ‘other’
sista…
more fiya \sista….

en brothas loving each other,
questioning dem (much) maligned (dark) selves and
looking out for the ‘other’
brotha…
more fiya/brotha.

It is hip(s) rocking against each other. Tight embraces..
It is activism. Battling conformist tendencies.
Shunning the ‘politically correct’ in favour of ‘the truth’.
It is the soul of (queer/trans) folk.
People’s movement.
Searching for a new soul.
Gathered to the beats of (wa akina) mama (wa) Afrika.
Young and old, black and proud (new) Afrikans.

Indigenous.

It is reflective. Reflexive. Introspective.
Remembering the sacrifices of our ancestors/their lives/once/shattered,
From glorious (inter) connection(s)/peace (pipes)
Ruptured from (the) connection with (the) divine,
Distracted by petty wars and insidious presences.

It remembers the prophecies.
The sangomas and (wota) priestesses,
(earth) healers en magic(k)al herbalists,
the warriors who fought and died for (our) freedom.

It is…
(repeat) not the ‘L’ word.

It is…
(tinged) perceptibly with (self) consciousness.
Ni ma kucha na ma sagana…..
Ni ma shoga na mabisexuals.
Na ma pansexuals na MSM.
It is questioning and curious. Womyn. Men. Trannies.

It is conflicted.
Working on self/social acceptance and fully involved in the struggle for (Afrikan) liberation.

It is…
(repeat)
Pan-Afrikan(ist). Black nationalist.
It announces it’s feminist/wom(b)anist/anarchist intent in the shots of contested terrain(s).
It is talking (sharp) with each other.
It is not about (hating) the (white) man or excluding the white woman.
It is just that we need to talk amongst ourselves. Put ourselves first.
It is blood.(claat.) shedding and (shifting) public spaces.
It is subjective and communal.
It is bedrooms and the state(s) of (dying/thriving) nation(s).
It pokes its nose into every oppre-shun.
Doesn’t (necessarily have to) stick to the script.
The stories are old, and many of the characters (un)predictable.
All are contradictory and all a dem harbour (not-so) secret fantasies and wild dreams.
Some of the womyn have learned to ground themselves, are eager to share with others;
Others run (like luna-tics) in those ‘mythical’ red shoes.

Red (black & green) is the motif.
Blood. claat present in every episode,
Coz as the opener declares….

[opening quote subject to change]

‘as long as (one of) my sista(s) and brotha(s) is oppressed then so am I…
to be a true revolutionary one must understand love.
Love. Sacrifice. And. Death

(sonia sanchez)

This is the poetic capsule of a conversa-shun with the L word.
This (en so much more) is the Q werd.

This is the product of a collective imagin-ashun.
The dreams, wishes en collected conversashuns,
Of super sistas, queens en kings,
struggling to rebuild their communities.
These are the challenges and achievements of (all) the people.

This a proposal and a call (out) to join the process of participatory research and co-operative publications.
the (living) framework that guides our search for truth, justice, peace…
En freedom…..

To speak in our languages,
Mould the cultivated tongues,
This used to be the master’s language, en the mistress’s tools,
This English version of a plea to burn all dem lies,
En rediscover (black/dark) self/communal love.

This is for the ancestors,
In memory of great gawdess,
I pray,
I release all disappointments,
Coz I know that spirit guides me
And love lives inside me,
That’s why today I live life as it comes,
Trusting in each moment,
That Jah, Al-Lat, Asiis, Yemoja provides,
Authentic love.

What I’m searching for,
This feeling in my heart,
That brings joy to my soul,
I found it…

This prince(ss?) that me want/ed in me life.
I found you,
Quite unexpectedly,
love was ntense/a sweet surprise,
So good,
So everything that I’d been looking to be(come)….
You changed me…

This is a tragic (love) story,
[and not even]
Translated into (not so) convenient fictions.
It is the diary of one luna/tic warrior,
The ravings of a cheated/lover.
This is hot, hot, hot off the press of current reality…
You want to know what it’s like being queer in Kenya….
It’s mostly hell,
Borrowed terms & radical inclusions.

It can be (like) heaven
Found in secret places,
And growing communities
Mis/placed with (little) knowledge & obscured intentions.

We’re still in the process of finding ourselves.

You want to know what it’s like?
It is a contradiction in itself,
Being queer
(and writing about it)
In Kenya

And, dear viewer, to waste no further no time in introducing the plot of this story,
My conversation with you, this guided tour of the complexities and boundaries of the communities across my country and the continent…

This is the q word, yeah, and yet really, if we’re going to be (about the ) truth/full here, it’s mostly my werd, see this isn’t some fanciful/bourgeoise/western interpretation of what it means to live as a ‘sexual minority’….this is best practices in implementation…if there are so many people in the closet, if it’s so un-african, as most of these religious/fundamentalist brain washed bigots keep foolishly repeating (being little aware or posturing ignorance of the weakness & glaring Achilles heel of their oft repeated argument – there could be possibly nothing more borrowed, distorted & un-african than the modern version of Christianity: the very same agents who were trekking into heathen lands, not far away from the explorers & the anthropologists & all the hungry prospectors, carrying the bible in their hands and proclaiming divine justice, if only one believed in jesus Christ, the only son of God……those are (some of the) ones responsible for our fall and rapid destruction….

We were among the first to fall,
Which is why the best i could come up with for myself,
So far,
The most fitting and convenient,
Remains to be queer – i can move within the contours that were shaped in resistance to hate & oppressive language

The ‘q word’, like I told you before, is not what you think it is, it’s really just about me, and my group of friends, revolushunaries and lovas, allies & enemies i’ve made along the way…
To keep this simple and submit to the dictates of economics & available resources, I’m gonna try not make up (too much) of the gist & chronology of events….
To keep this simple, i’m just gonna walk you through my journey in the last year…

I have officially been back for (just over) a year….
And I am still one of the few people that I’ve met here,
That even call/identify themselves as queer,
A radical/questioning/anarchist/
Fervent afrikan liberationist.

I choose to stand on the fringes,
All the better to see the crowds, and the capacity of….
Resistance, and the people,
with….

I have under gone a meta-morphoses in it/self,
Sacrificed many privileges,
And the truth is I’m struggling,
And I’ve had my heart broken, adjusted to ‘pseudo’ po living,
And working mostly alone,
Battling with a few brave others,
And finding allies where I hoped I would….

I warn you,
we have only just begun…

living document…….amai, blessol, cindy, nadine, nina, po, krys, akinyi, anne, anyone else who’s interested…..let’s continue with the editing…. we’ve got a bunch of interviews collected….we’re going to have alot more in toronto…..we want all this to be participatory and tied in to other educational & arts initiatives…..how can we work together? what are your ideas? how can we help each other share our stories, for art, for social change…