This was a statement passed on to the social centre forum today, my reaction to the decision made on a 2 year ban. And what effect a 2 year ban would have in this process.
i’d like to show how this whole process of not hearing me out, when i’ve come with clear criticism on sexist structures within the scene, has affected me on an emotional level, by sharing this youtube sketch showing how the patriarchal structures change and silence the reality of women.
[THIS isn’t an exact translation, but gives you the main idea: the film is in finnish and shows a sketch from the 80’s about a rape trial, where the patriarchal structures come out clearly. the accused is asked to rise, and first the man gets up, but it soon becomes clear that the woman is supposed to get up. she’s then made to tell her story, of waiting at the bus stop hearing steps for about a minute. told by the court: “waiting for a whole minute…” she: “well i was waiting for the bus. ” and then she explains how she tried to run away. the court: “in high heels? really difficult to catch… he he” she: “well i took the shoes off.” the court: “so you began to undress…” she: ” and i was raising my skirt”. court: “so you were showing yourself off…” she: “cause the skirt was tight and i couldn’t run in it”. she explains how she’s pushed to the ground, at which point she’s told to show how it was done, by lying down on the table. the man who offended the woman, is told to get on top, to “show how it was done” after which the court declares that the woman is guilty as charged “slut” and that she should pay a fine for indecent behavior in public. ]
giving a 2 year ban (in extension of the already eleven month long witch hunt). will not eliminate the problems of these structures. there needs to be something concrete there, in order for women to feel safe, speaking out about our experiences, otherwise we just end up in the same position as the woman in the sketch.
banning me is not a solution. hearing me out, in a fashion where all the judgments have not already been made, is the only way to stop this situation that most of us, seem to find energy taking and emotionally straining. both you on the inside (the court in the sketch) and me & the others on the outside (the woman in the sketch, not being listened to).
there are several persons i’d like to confront.
Adam on a personal level, as well as a “comrade”, (she invited me to the project to deal with sexism, but in reality i never got any practical support. i thank her for the invitation though, even though she totally denied it in her letter on the mailing list, where she claimed that she didn’t know why i moved to the Elimäki squat)
she has denied sexism many times over, and belittled it, and also made passes on me when i tried to speak about it, and at the same telling me that there’s something wrong with
me for not understanding the persons who have attacked me.
Conrad, since she denied sexism (“shut up and spread”) and also kicked me off the mailing list in spite of there being several protests made. she has also been physically violent towards one woman, bending her arm back, and burning her juggling balls. in this case it wasn’t only Conrad failing the periaatteet of the social centre, it was also the members of the pseudocommunity who stood around and watched and did nothing. the ones who watched and then claimed that they had their own personal reasons for not getting involved when this woman asked for support in confronting Conrad. most seemed to think that that was their “personal issue”. when it’s a clear issue of creating an unsafe environment and showing that some characters within the scene have the power to maintain their dominance through bodily violence.
Teresa , from the “conflict resolution group” for making the conflict resolution hell, by not working on it, and lying about the process. she has been receiving clear and open and precise criticism several times, and just as many times she has avoided to answer it.
Carl, for lying about a meeting not being open for all to one woman, and also trying to exclude her from living at the squat.
William and Hunter for spreading lies about me saying that “all men are rapists”.
Rachel for declaring me mentally ill on the mailing list.
well. the list is long. but just wanting to show that there are some more serious issues that can be discussed apart from “friend’s” being hurt, by talking about these issues. are some people more worth friendship than others? what about camaraderie, honesty, horizontal decision making processes where everybody feel they can speak openly and trust that they will be heard?
there were two persons against the ban,
and their concerns weren’t taken into account.
these were serious concerns about for instance
“mental illness” declarations being one way of silencing political dialogue.
then you don’t have to listen to the “crazy” person saying that there’s something wrong.
in spite of this there seemed to be support for continuing the same process by playing autnomous and making own rules about how we best should deal with sexism within the scene. when a mental illness declaration doesn’t work. then it’s time to make it official: let’s not hear her out in 2 years. in 2 years we will not listen to her. this in spite of the scene changing and nothing being permanent. i understand the message from the group making that decision, and it goes against everything i believe the social centre should be.
a 2 year ban can not make these issues disappear. a 2 year ban will not stop me, and others who are starting to join in.
a 2 year ban is a provocation, not a way to stop me from getting heard.
it will not work.
it didn’t work during 11 months.
it didn’t work during the 2-3 months i lived in the squat.
it didn’t work in my one and a half year long personal / political relation with Adam.
sexism can’t be swept under the rug.
you should put some efforts into ways of dealing with this conflict regarding severe censorship of an anarcha-radical feminist concerns.
if you disagree on what sexism is,
then we should at least have a dialogue on it,
and define better in the periaate text what kind of “anti-sexism” is promoted in the Helsinki Social Center project.
if it’s the kind of anti-sexism that was shown at the meeting this saturday by the person who tore down the sign on the door, telling where the meeting was, saying: “Julma Senssuuri [Cruel Censhorsip] – konflikti / Milla – konflikti / Banning vs. Dialogue etc” and then tore it in two and shoved it in the waste paper basket, before attending the meeting?
if it’s the kind of anti-sexism displayed by Bert, where she tries to smear the work that a woman has painted on the wall, stating “once i though i was a slut, but then i realized i was acting like a man”. and when this didn’t work, finally drawing a big cross on it, writing on the side that “no sexism in this house”?
i would say that these actions are hostile and non-inviting actions to women who are willing and wanting to bring out their idea of what anti-sexism is, through dialogue.
i haven’t seen the woman again, after her work got destroyed.
but i will continue.
cause these are serious serious political issues that need to be discussed.
i’m fine with the people involved in the social centre project making new statements about what sexism is and isn’t, and after that i can choose to move on, but as long as one form of anti-sexism can work freely and not be questioned (as for instance the writing on the the bridge to Rajatila: “Fuck Milla and other sexists”.) while my form of anti-sexism is told to be bad and make people feel bad, and men feel insecure around me, because i say that certain behaviors fit into to certain [sexist] patterns, then i’m told that i can’t do that, because it’s not very constructive.
i think the least constructive would be to not continue talking about it, and to avoid defining what sexism is.
cause then we end up with the same patterns being played out as in the sketch above.
sincerely concerned regards,