some sort of debate

this conflict has been with me for so long. i’m married to it. shackled. can’t run away.

i got to talk about the conflict again. (d) is staying over at a person’s place for a month. and once again i got into speaking about the craziness of it all. how this had in some way stolen my life away. so much insanity day after day. and that (d) coming here, is really something out of the ordinary, because for so long i’ve been 24/7 with this. having to deal with it mostly on my own. (i wouldn’t recommend that to anyone… it’s really damaging for your self-esteem, physical, mental health and so on…)

anyways. i showed one of the mental illness declarations. written by an anarcha-feminist (journalist, documentary film-maker). the flat-person wrote a solidarity statement to one anarchist list. started a debate. which at first felt like “oh no. here we go again…” cause there’s usually not a lot of understanding coming out, when this issue is brought up.

but i really appreciated the solidarity statement. one person was replying saying that it’s important to make a distinction about what community we’re referring to. that the exclusion of me (and the issues i try to raise) is only in relation to the squatting scene. and i disagreed with that. i thought this is very much related to the anarchist scene as well. cause i don’t feel welcome. anyways. there were some mails back and forth. and here’s the latest. that i think could make sense to people living the same thing.

A discussion about the personal / political. Structural / individual. The movement / individual actions.

.

.

Hello again,

Just a general reply to your statements, John (and: thanks for
helping out with getting the book back to Unioni’s library.) about the
squatting scene, the anarchist scene, kokoomus [right wing party]-skene in relation to
the issue of solidarity with the (or any..) feminist anti-sexist
struggle.

You said before that:
Tiedän että moni anarkisti ei henk.koht. tasolla pidä Millasta, mutta
en ole ainakaan itse tietoinen siitä että liike olisi aktiivisesti
sulkenut Millaa ulos?

[I know that a lot of anarchists don’t like Milla on a personal basis, but I’m not aware of that the movement would actively exclude Milla?]

In my book, the scene(s) are built up by the individuals in it. It’s
what we as individuals do and say. It’s the actions we take (and don’t
take), and how we relate to one another on a interpersonal level that
make up the environments / working relations / interactions we call
“the scene”.

The scene is like a small scale society, built up by people with
different affinities (anarchist, communist, feminist etc). And within
these scenes – just as was pointed out before – we have interaction
between people. Individuals who relate to each other in different
ways.

Just as society at large would have interactions with straight and gay
people happening in a certain way, and this causing the mainstream
culture (the norm) to freak out in several different ways. Start
saying “illness” in order to ‘correct’ the un-normal. Or just behave
in unaware patterns that the one under the boot (in this case the
non-hetero), would recognize as prejudice, discrimination, oppression.

The mental illness declaration that was sent in the previous mail, was
written by an anarcha-feminist. She made the same kind of statements
about me on another list (maybe you are not on it John, but it is
definitely labeled “A”). This can be seen as an individual anarchist
active within the scene, expressing her personal idea of how to
interact with me as an individual, and just on a personal level
wanting others (complete strangers) to have an opportunity to relate
to me in the same way (she’s encouraging others not to take me as a
political being, and compares the issues I bring out to a
schizophrenic person “hearing voices”, which I understand as her
saying that what I talk about is “not real” and therefore should not
be taken into consideration…)

She as an individual has taken upon herself to speak not only for
herself, but for the people in two different communities – the
squatting scene (which i admit is a true sekamelska [mix] of
people/affinities), and also for the anarchist-affinity list. In
speaking so boldly and openly, defining the issues I speak of as
non-political, and at the same time asking for people to have
compassion with me because of my “illness”, saying that I can’t be
judged in the same way as the “normal” people… Well I take it that
she feels that she speaks for a larger group of people, assuming that
they would be of the same opinion. She’s speaking to the norm.

I would still say that within the anarchist scene (which I still have
to say I know very little about) anarcha-radical feminism, which i
represent, could be seen to be in the same position as any other
‘outsider’ group in the rest of society. I feel that a lot of the
conflicts that people would label ‘personal’ are indeed h i g h l y
*political*. And for instance the mental illness declaration could be
a sure sign, that it’s high time to take a discussion not only with
the person ready to make such a statement, but also with the
communities willing to leave such statements undebated.

If we all the time think that everything we do is individual and
unrelated to one another, and also unrelated to how we function as a
movement (or: “scene”), and don’t listen to the persons under the boot
shouting that

” this is political ! we need to talk about this ! ”

Or as “Riitta” – the individual representing the norm within the skene
– called it:

Joka tapauksessa on mielestäni epäolennaista keskustella siitä, onko
Milla “oikeassa” tai “väärässä”. Tässä ei enää pitkään aikaan ole
ollut kysymys seksismistä tai feminismistä tai politiikasta
ylipäätään, vaan sekaisin olevan ihmisen kieroutuneista avunhuudoista.

[In any case, in my opinion, it’s not essential to discuss whether Milla is “right” or “wrong”. This hasn’t for a long time had anything to do with sexism or feminism or anything related to politics. This is about a messed up person’s twisted calls for help. ]

If we do not take heed and start acting when these kind of statements
are being made openly, but instead try to push the problem over to the
neighbors backyard (valtausliike) [the squatting movement], and in our own backyard personalize
the issues to being just vague non-political friction and dislikings
“moni anarkisti ei henk.koht. tasolla pidä Millasta”
[a lot of anarchists don’t like Milla on a personal basis]

well, then I would like to know: How would it be possible to raise the
issue? How can structural, institutionalized sexism be recognized,
when we do not listen to the ones who are experiencing it?

I feel marginalized and excluded from many groups because of this
general unwillingness to have a real discussion (debate!) around these
issues, the general attitude is to label me a trouble maker and
impossible because I still claim that there is a problem, and that the
problem is very much on the level of how we act towards one another on
an individual / personal level. Many of the conflicts that people
would define as “personal” disgrievances are not perceived by me in
that way. To me, it’s about me having a certain kind of reality (we
all live with our own realities) and that the reality I speak of, is
percieved as “threatening” (an “attack”) to the norm.

As you John said:
Seksismiä esiintyy ilman muuta anarkistipiireissäkin, varmasti jossain
määrin meissä jokaisessa. Minusta ei suora konfrontaatio ole
välttämättä kuitenkaan aina kovin tehokas tapa saada ihmiset
kyseenalaistamaan sen minkä tuntevat/pitävät itsestäänselvinä asioina.

[Sexism, without a doubt, comes out in anarchist circles as well, surely to some degree in each and everyone of us. I don’t think direct confrontation is necessarily the most efficient way to get people to question what they feel / think as self-evident.]

I agree that we have these societal structures within us, and that in
many cases it’s difficult to question ourselves on these issues that
are rarely discussed: sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism.

I disagree that we can do anything about it, or start questioning
ourselves, unless we as comrades start caring for one another and
start holding up mirrors, letting ourselves be reflected in each
others realities. Not be ashamed that what we might say might be the
reflection of the norm (including insanity declarations, and
personalizing structural problems). Not be afraid to speak the reality
mirroring what it’s like for us who are marginalized, seldom heard.
Seldom taken seriously. Sometimes a reality kept to ourselves, because
we already know that the ones we are speaking with will not like what
they see, and try to avoid it, deny it, or destroy and discredit.
Saying that this piece of reality, this mirror, is only telling one
separate piece, not related to the whole.

Once again. I thank Lucy for letting me in, and letting me be a part
of the whole, saying that my struggle is not isolated from the
community, but is felt as a valued part of it. There *is* a problem
with having this struggle accepted in the scene. There *is* a *huge*
problem in getting to talk about it, and having the problems
recognized as political problems and not just personal issues.

Sexism is everywhere. Including in ourselves and in our scene(s).

we are the world…
❤ milla

And some more about my political methods,
about open honest confrontation >>

Oppressive Realities & Showing Sensitivity

Oppression is an everyday thing, so expect it to be an everyday topic.

For the privileged: Try to listen to and take in criticism of behavior
not as an attack on your character, but more a guideline and help
towards understanding what you can do in order to create a safer and
more caring space for your comrades. To truly change the power
structures, you need to not only get confronted, but also to confront
yourself. Self-reflection and awareness is our way to liberation.

For the oppressed:
Our reality is most often denied and met with a
defensive reaction. It takes courage to speak. Don’t be afraid to
express anger, frustration, fear and sadness. It’s not up to us to
educate our oppressors. It’s worth risking the disapproval of
comrades, friends and lovers; we need to love ourselves enough to
believe we deserve respect and equal participation.

For all: Dealing with this is highly emotional. Make sure you take
time to take care of yourself and heal.

Examples of objective structural power positions:

privileged: Human, Adult, Man, White, Able-bodied, Hetero, High Class,
Meat-eater
oppressed: Non-human animal, Child, Woman, Non-White, Disabled,
Non-hetero, Low Class, Vegan

**THe PErsonAL IS PolitiCAL

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: