Posted by Milla
I feel like crap. This is in no way anything new. (d) left an empty space, and i filled it with alcohol. I know by now this remedy doesn’t work. But still like any truly insane person, i repeat the habit expecting different results.
The same goes for trying to get a discussion going on sexism within the Helsinki social centre project. Reading (d’s) post reflecting on my isolated freaky behavior, made me once again reflect over the deep trauma this conflict has brought. And that it’s something real, and that it’s really happening to a lot of others within the scene. Many women have told me they take a break every now and then because of the dense macho culture permeating the activist scene.
The new social centre in Helsinki has an asphalted yard outside. One leading guy was suggesting this should be a space for a skate park, and graffiti boards. There’s not really any consideration taken into who we talk with and why and with what results. A skate park? Because this is the way to go? As if there’s not enough of macho culture taking space. In the city there are already places like these. How about something with an appeal for single parents with children? Making a playground? Also in use for grown up kids. Of all sexes. Not just a narrow space for teen males, and the few women who can put up with their machismo. How about a garden? – We all need to eat. There’s no gender for a hungry stomach. At least not in Finland, where animal rights have managed to take clear space away from a sexist meat-eating culture within the radical scene.
Otherwise everything stays the same. Meetings continue the way they always have. And the power is in the hands of a few men, reluctant of self reflection. The core group within the squatting scene can easily be spotted at a meeting, by the type of attention the “leader” figures get when they speak. And also how and how often they speak. Nothing new under the sun.
And here i am. Banging my head against the sexist wall, hoping for different results. A “open sesame – let’s talk”. Instead of the maddening silence around the issues i would like to discuss. (d) noticing my apathy and torn feelings about the social centre project, expressed doubt that i would actually start doing the food not bans. Who knows. Life is ever-changing, and maybe i will turn my bloody forehead away from the wall, and connect with people who look for the same change i’m looking for. The banging of my forehead against the wall has created a noise. And some people seem to like it. And as long as there’s progress there’s hope. I’m still a loner. I’m still looking for people who would like to work with me. People who would get a kick of inspiring each other. People looking for a “we”, who could make something happen.
Who knows. Anything could happen. A bloody banging forehead could turn into gentle sweeping hands, and smiles and laughter. Ideas worth trying. Some slight changes in the insane repetition of human behavior. Some history we actually manage to learn something from. New paths. Escape routes leading home.
A home where we can talk of the things that hurt. A family where power relations don’t need to be protected with our silence. A place where we are accepted the way we are, but where we are also willing to change. Where we can speak feelings. Both good and bad. A place where our silence is not wanted, but where we can still say “Later, not right now. Let’s talk about this later” and really mean it. And trust that it really is so, when we hear it said. A place where love is practical and made possible and constantly worked on. Seeing, listening, caring for. Equal space to speak, think and act. A place where there’s safety in the fluent and changing. Where Autonomy is not built on fear of exclusion from the group, and Consensus is caring and not pressuring you into thinking you really believe in what the core of the group wants. Where there are no fringes. No centre. No group. But just people acting according to a certain culture. A culture known to us. A culture chosen, not forced.
Well. That’s the tricky thing. If you haven’t tried it, then why would you choose it? Especially since the current mindset of the scene is built on safety in repeated habits. A fake sense of unity in fixed tradition. If there’s a skate park in some greek autonomous centre somewhere, then there should be a skate park in Helsinki. How to make inclusion and community real in the same way as a graffiti wall can be made real and visualized when spoken of?
How can traumatization because of lack of inclusion and community and real autonomy be made real? The stories of women leaving their random skate park-dominated scene going through years of therapy? People refusing to even enter, because macho is something they recognize and stay away from. How to make that as visual and real as the penis tagged on the Helsinki social centre stairs?
Beats me. And i keep banging my forehead against the wall.
It’s not a habit. It’s cool. I feel alive. .. Maybe that’s a lie.