by Cunt Incognita (Fotze in Hamburg)
Meeting with Dani in Tampere, Finland was good. I felt I did the right thing for me and also for the woman that she had already started exposing to her disturbing behaviors – the thing she calls exploring love – a love infested with dominant sexist violent patterns.
I talked about Dani’s behavior at a workshop she was having on squatting and the alternative scene in Hungary. It was the usual bullshit repeated. Propaganda films showing sexist art (a naked objectified female body throwing a swastika in a trash can.. ?!) and men speaking about how great it is with consensual decision making and freedom to act and create in the scene. Liberation! Sitting there and listening to this crap was just too much for me – a person facing political, physical, emotional exclusion – with no help to be found. And there Dani was – answering questions on how the enemy-State, the enemy-Police, and the enemy-Fascists affect the squatting scene.
Click here to see the film: http://www.politube.org/show/1020 The film starts after about one minute.
In the group of about 20 or so persons, only about 5 were speaking. Mostly men. And me. Bringing in criticism. Speaking of sexism. I was a bit emotional. Had difficulties not interrupting. There was one man from the social centre from where my voice is excluded in Helsinki. And also Dani there – a person lying about love, using women for comfort, not giving a shit about changing her sexist behavior (always something more important to fix first…) She didn’t give a fuck about supporting my struggle in Budapest. Was only giving negativity. ‘Not possible’. ‘Stop giving me stress’. I didn’t ‘understand’ her situation. Or just ignoring, ridiculing, and shaming and blaming me when I – in spite of severe pressure and emotional distress – was speaking of possible ways of action. A comrade who would work hard on milking you for love, affection and comfort, but not really willing to engage in political action on the terms of the oppressed. Not without blaming and whining at least.
It’s weird having this mix of still getting into her. Being the usual visionary – knowing how great things could be. (The usual “drop the sexism and let’s make love”-wish that’s just impossible to make happen in this world.) I always felt unsafe with her. I got into these really caring and giving patterns. And eventually broke down into self-destructive aggressive alcoholic behavior. Becoming suicidal. If I would have figured out a way of killing myself, that I would have felt comfortable with, I would have gone for it. It’s not only her behaviors affecting me. But the general isolation I feel. The lack of community.
Guess I’m writing this today cause I wanted to get some more of Dani’s disturbing behavior out of my system. We talked a bit after the workshop – where I had started talking of Dani’s violence (male pattern violence fairly unchallenged and vastly exercised within the autonomous left) and most of the persons attending the workshop left. Some persons were giving me feedback afterwards. Thought that I had brought a “personal” issue in there. The only thing I can agree with is that I should have informed the woman that Dani’s involved with in Tampere about what I was about to do (spontaneous, unplanned), so she wouldn’t have had such a shock. I wouldn’t have agreed on keeping her side silenced. I feel that since Dani has expressed that she’s looking to create many love connections like these, that it’s important to pass on the information, especially when the person is living in denial, and doesn’t bother to inform her romantic interests of how she is with ‘love’. [I refuse to be a silent accomplice in the destruction of other people’s lives.]
One woman came and talked with me. Said she had felt really uncomfortable. That I had been ‘dominating’ and ‘assaulting’ the person keeping the workshop (the topic of male violence within the scene, and in this case specific male violence within the scene was viewed as an off topic – even though it’s something we live with more closely and it being more present than the random police aggression or nazi attack or state violence.) I pointed out to the woman that I thought that the best way to go about if there’s somebody you feel might need support or think has been offended, that you should ask this person directly how they are feeling, and also ask in what way they would like to be supported. Otherwise they might just feel like they once again have lost control over their life – re-victimization no matter how good the intent is. Without involvement of the person affected the likelyhood to cause more harm is stronger than the possibility of healing the anger and pain.
I was also pointing out that, I as a person saying that I’ve been exposed to her abuse and violence, would at a proclaimed antisexist, antioppressive event (see the statement written about Musta pispala) see it as more likely that someone would come up and ask me if I would be in need of any support, or that someone would come up and say that it’s brave of me to bring up this taboo-labled topic. (something that Dani herself doesn’t reckon has anything to do with the scene, but is just a small “private” matter between her and I)
I’ve been obsessed with Dani. Trying to figure out what’s been going on between us. Figure her out. Figure myself out. Trying to understand why it’s so difficult to be as open as possible. Shit. There are so many things left unprocessed between us. I guess I will never understand her side. But I can try to get myself as clear as possible in order to learn as much as I can about this.
Hmm. So I asked the woman to ask Dani directly if she felt she was in need of support. The woman was at this point hesitant. Saying that maybe later. But since Dani happened to be nearby at the moment it was easy to mediate the woman’s question to her. Dani seemed at the moment to accept the situation for what it was, not really understanding why I did what I did (saying that she wonders what “makes me tick”) but still not sitting in a corner crying her selfish sexist little heart out.
I gave her some feedback on the workshop (that got a few “great workshop” comments, when people were leaving). Dani has had the same workshop before. Showing two films about squatting. One with the usual sexist bullshit propaganda. And another short one with a meeting showing how consensus is still not practiced, and minority opinions and ‘non-clique’ persons being run over, bullied out and pushed away.
She started the workshop herself by just talking talking talking. She didn’t ask if there were specific questions or topics that people would be interested in hearing about. And as I said before. About 5 persons speaking. And me the emotional outcast bringing in interesting criticism, is most likely seen through the filter of “dominant woman” – not as someone with knowledge, and also as someone in need of solidarity and support.
The way it could have been.
Showing film number one (that has this really strong sexist image – leaving something like that uncommented or unremarked at the beginning kind of sets the standard for what kind of denial can be accepted at the workshop. It’s good to warn about this image before showing the film.)
So. First show the film. Get people to get into smaller groups (3-4) for a few minutes to talk about what they felt or thought or would like to know or share. Then the questions can be collected in the larger group. And responded by the person showing the film, or anybody else who happens to have a response of some sort (unclear statements and unfinished thoughts are also welcome).
Second film. Same thing. Encourage people to get into groups with people they don’t already know.
PLUS. If there’s an intent with the workshop. Like for instance wanting to show the internal hierarchies within the squatting scene. Then this can be made clear. No need to keep these things in, for the sake of “neutrality” — a thing that doesn’t exist.
So. I gave some of this feedback to Dani afterwards. I was sitting by a computer changing the names of the women Dani was seeing in Tampere into initials on their request. One woman had felt really uncomfortable about me bringing the topic up at the workshop. I hope at least that now she sees that she doesn’t need to hide with this topic. And that she has a right to get angry. She has a right to make demands. Not just patiently and understandingly and calmly explain where her boundaries go and where she feels hurt while the guy is just fucking her mind and feelings all over with no regards whatsoever to what it leads to for the individual woman or women as a whole.
Dani was softly saying “Milla” while I was by the computer. I looked up, and then she was showing me a computer. A pink laptop. Like a kid in show and tell at school. She said she got it through a friend who didn’t need it. That it was a “complicated” story. She said that the computer had a “designated user”.
Once again I felt sick. It came over me afterwards as well. Dani continuing telling her life and intents without opening up. The mind-games I strongly dislike. I interpreted the message as some kind of – “Milla, look, I got a laptop for (a). I’m making her a part of my network.”
I don’t know what she meant. I don’t really care. I just know I don’t want a type of connection that puts women into competition. She does that a lot. Tries to put one woman down in order to express appreciation for another. Coming with the usual heterosexual monogamic “you’re the only one” “you are more special than the others” bullcrap, basing the love connection not on the specific relation, but instead building it on having a network where women go up and down on the ranking list. Who’s got the most milk in her titties for Dani at the moment? That’s where she goes. If mama’s run out of milk Dani moves on to the next place, more prosperous.
I really wish (a) will have the strength not to be taken in by the bullshit. Cut right through the crap and confront the equal there. Get angry. We have a right to get angry. It’s not crazy. It’s not strange.
Dani is the one who is acting crazy and strange (and at the same time I’m not denying my own imperfection one least bit. I’m perfectly willing to accept that my crazy drinking has traumatizing effects on my surrounding. I’m not in denial. It’s not about “who’s the biggest baddest meanest” but about what we’re willing to do to make it better. Being able to take in the reality of the other and admit simple things like “I was wrong, I did wrong – How can I make it better?”)
LETTER i SENT today TO ANOTHER WOMAN ABUSED BY DANI:
once again. i can’t express enough how your encouraging and
reaffirming words were needed. “break it off. lying about wanting to
love”. love is a dangerous drug.
the woman that dani’s been meeting up with in tampere is now fully
informed (has read through the text by stop male violence, and dani’s
still a complete sexist asshole, but is at least not denying that she
fits the pattern. it was also agreed at the meeting we had the four of
us – me, dani and the two women from tampere – that dani would write a
statement to the stop male violence group where she talks about
herself as having problems with abuse and violent behavior in intimate
relations, and that she wants help. since the realities differ so
much, i said i wouldn’t feel safe with only her writing, so we agreed
that me, dani and (a) would write a statement each. to show the group
what they’re dealing with.)
also that we agreed on meeting up 13 or 14 of aug in budapest to have
a meeting with (v) facilitating. (it would be useful for me. so it’s
not for her sake i’m coming there. i still have somethings to
understand within myself about abusive relations and love)
i will be in romania 27 july – 2 aug. there will be a LoveKills festival there.
so. i will most likely go to budapest after this festival.
so, maybe some week before aug 13th?
it would be nice to get to know you better. as i said. it meant a lot
that you wrote to me. it broke my isolation with this matter.
LoveKills, ROMANIA july 27 – aug 2 >>>
Callout for LoveKills Festival #4 (Camp!!)
LoveKills Collective intends to bring about the fourth edition of
LoveKills Festival in the summer of 2009. We will organize again the
anarcha-feminist gathering, but this time we would like to organize it
as a one week camp. The camp will take place in the mountains (west of
Romania, Socolari village) between 27 july – 02 august 2009. Our
experience with the previous editions and the impact they had, above
all in the local context, conferred us not only with the motivation
but also with the strength to keep on organizing such an event. We
believe and we feel that organizing such gatherings contributes to a
stabilization and activation of the anarcha-feminist community,
especially in the eastern-european area. Our passion for freedom and
our desire to achieve a society free of the violent patriarchal
oppression are stimulating us in taking another step forward in the
struggle to abolish patriarchy! This is why we are inviting everyone
interested in joining and supporting us (we will need a great deal of
support!!) to contact (email@example.com) for further information.
The program of the camp is also up to the participants to shape and
organize, meaning that everyone is invited to register (in advance of
course) for workshops/presentations/
and so on…. To find out more about our collective and our work visit
the website: http://aro.ecobytes.net/lovekills/
In solidarity, LoveKills Collective