Dear Diary: Resting my mind in different landscapes.

by Cunt Non Grata — she=he

In this place, what do I choose to do?

today’s tired, anemic song: Pixies – Where is my mind

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What’s the point.

I don’t know. I want to write a ‘dear diary’ blog post, since I would like to get my ‘head together’. Whatever that means. I guess it’s something about letting go of reoccurring thoughts and behaviors and making some ‘sense’ out of what I in essence find ‘meaningless’ ((my life)).

I don’t remember time very well. I’m also bad with faces and names. I feel fairly disconnected and fearful, distrusting, and Tired (helpless? hopeless?) making connections with other human beings. I’m used to being the screen of whatever people want to see. ‘High’ ‘Low’ ‘Good’ Bad’, whatever it happens to be, I find it painful, saddening and frustrating. I want human relations to go deeper, beyond Projection, to real, and mutual Understanding and Connection. To see and hear without distortions. Or with much awareness of that there are distortions.

I’ve lived 35 years so far, and that’s a lot of time of playing the game of ‘here’ but ‘not here’, of being present without being fully present. I’m fairly cynical and bitter. I want desperately to shed my numb surface, open my clenched core, and get in touch with the warmth and tenderness that’s there, inside, aching to get out, aching to be fed, to be met with welcoming delight.

Memories are a part of my everyday life. Remembering glimpses of what has happened, here and there. My own private frame of reference, an internal nagging conversation, triggered by places, words, moods, small markers reminding me of the traces left by the many experiences, making up the paths that I tend to follow in the landscapes that are familiar to me, in the inside walk, that few persons dare to recognize as ‘real’, that most seem to willingly suppress for whatever gains there are in pretending that what they’re doing is making sense and is fulfilling. I walk along the big crack inside that we’re supposed to avoid. Don’t step on the crack. Keep your mind on the external patterns laid out for you by collective madness. Collective fears of the Unknown and the Everchanging, turned into manifold comforting lies and beliefs that We Are In Control, that We Can Be In Control. Of what? Our existence? Life itself? Our feelings? Our Fears? Our Love? What?

Time passes, and most things seem distant. Even the here and now is distant. One day adds to another, and I’m wondering what I’m doing here, not managing to figure out something that I can do to make sense of my existence, I’m wondering if I’m waiting for the nightmare of illusions to end, for a collective awakening, or maybe just an individual awakening from my own mental entrapments, or maybe waiting for it all to end. Sometimes getting into a fear of it all ending. Or rather, if bringing the “end of it all” into perspective: A fear of my own death. Fear that the sum of my whole existence would amount to being in a lot of pain, and then – death. I don’t know why. I don’t know why love and happiness is so important for me to experience to make this space journey ‘worth while’. It’s weird.

This summer I’ve had more liver spots coming on my skin, and small growths. Probably nothing to take notice of, the usual changes that comes with aging. Still I got into some state of anxious paranoia of having skin cancer when getting these itchy growing spots on my under arms and on my shoulders and back. I’m trying to care for my health. I had two teeth pulled out this summer, which was heavenly, since I’ve had an ailing wisdom tooth growing for years, often with gums swollen and irritated, driving me ‘mad’.

I’m trying to care for my mental health. Staying put for a while. Not having this dreamlike existence of moving from one place to another. 3 days in one city, then going 500 km somewhere to someother place. Constantly meeting new faces, new bodies. Many places, and many talks of a collective pain, not cared for by the collective . This is the pain spoken privately. Not the focus of our struggles. It is the crack inside exposed. A few moments of shared sadness. Then back to fitting ourselves into the things we so strongly believe that we can’t change. Walking paths that have been well-trodden, and are easy to follow. The crack inside is what’s mad, not our belief in that the pain is permanent, private, and not possible to change.

I feel scared and alone in my longings. I want to walk around that crack, jump over it, stare into it, fill it with meaning, empty out the fear, welcome the fears of the unknown and the everchanging into the collective consciousness, approach it with friendliness, embrace it with care and acceptance. Shaping the paths around it, stepping into it, feeling the walls, knowing that this is just another place, a space just as exciting and wonderous as the open landscape around the crack. A different view.

Often in my daily life, the phrase “I feel like an idiot” goes through my mind. I’m not sure what it means, “feeling like an idiot”. Probably it’s my interest in things that most seem to fear. And my lack of understanding (absolute bewilderment) of how to connect with that fear and turn it into curiosity. An idiot for wanting connection, and myself creating distance out of my own fears and hurts. Others are perfect screens for my projections. ‘Idiot’ maybe meaning the same as ‘simple-minded’, thinking it could all be very easy, and simple to face fears and expose ourselves to one another without clinging to expectations of what’s supposed to happen next.

I’m tired of being alone. I’m tired of writing texts that are interpreted in whatever way by people that I can’t connect with. Why do people feel familiar with what I write? Why are words so distant from nerves, muscle, blood, heart? I’m tired of being alone. Of my thoughts constantly working on a survival plan: Isolating myself to get rest, Learning nvc to make it possible to live with all the conflicts, Thinking that I need to work out some workshops on Transformative Justice to spread the basic concept, and find real people I can work with to make this a reality in my life – a practice felt with nerve, and stomach, not just something agreeable for the mind to play. Not another addiction. A cure. I’m so tired of being alone. Of being an outcast. Sad and damaged of the hurtful things said and done.

I became aware fairly late on. Around year 2000 someone got me to read a book on feminism. That’s how I eventually got into activism (whatever that means). I’ve spent the last three years traveling around. I’ve gotten myself an education. Somehow I seem incapable of transmitting it, of sharing the excitement I feel, in relation to what I know with others. I might as well just go asöoiuw lklioj jjoilkkkli alkdf äälkjd ääk. So much time spent on human interaction, the development of many words and languages, and still it’s mostly disconnection going on.

‘Dear diary’: Thank you for receiving my words. It makes the loneliness less lonely somehow. Carving a mark into a rock: “I was here”. Like talking with a rock. More connecting and receptive and less complicated than human interaction. Simple. In the loneliness of my comfortable room, where I feel fairly safe, this ‘carving’ [‘a’ ‘l’ ‘o’ ‘n’ ‘e”] calms my mind. My needs for sharing and belonging are met by scribbling away. [a bit of truth, a bit of sarcasm] ‘Dear Diary’: Today I’m menstruating. I bleed a lot during a couple of days and less during the rest of my period. Yesterday I experienced some positive sides of the social system I’m in, by getting a free health check up at the employment agency that I transferred to, because of being long-term unemployed. It’s seems I’m okay. Need to check my eye sight, and as well having an itchy bottom (had it since childhood, loose stomach too) I had a bit of anemia. The heavy menstruation might make it a bit worse. Otherwise fine. The task of this employment agency, is to help me find meaning by pushing me into an education (I should be doing care work, help the elderly, or clean) so that I don’t have to be a burden for this society but be a proud contributor and not a worthless nobody. [sarcasm, and sadly enough the real message of these places] Some months ago, I missed a meeting and my benefits were cut off for two weeks. A beautifully restful period [total sarcasm] spent my days queueing for free food, and eating free soup on thursdays at a church, doing some praying and singing before eating. People raising their hands if they wanted to be specifically noticed by God, the great caring father, embracing us all, accepting us all. [fairytales told to grown-ups] I was in paper-hell during that time. And scared that I would lose the place of rest that I needed so badly. I had just moved in with a person sympathetic to my own beliefs, and had spent three months before, living with a man aggressively yelling to the Russian lover over the phone — “My friend saw you eat berries outside the store. So you don’t spend any money here, but you can buy berries for you and your son, and gulp down by the store, but you don’t share anything with me!” — also threatening to burn her pass port if she would not give the man money. I stayed in “la la” land in my head during that time. Not getting involved. Not saying one single word. Just listening to this man talking about the woman sharing her “cunt, all over town”. Saying all kinds of nasty things to her and in the presence of her six-year-old son. She quietly disagreeing. She trying to communicate with this man for a space to sleep. Me in silent collusion. Thinking that I need a place to rest, not to fight. It was completely fucked up to stay silent. A mad summer. So exhausted, thinking there are no peaceful places to go.

‘Dear diary’: I think a lot about different conflicts. And wondering why I can’t start thinking of getting a heavy rug to flatten out all the lumps pushed under. Why I keep staring at the bumps instead of the beautiful pattern on the mat covering it. Why I can’t be happy with reading the website of Nane, and Men against male violence but instead get mental images of a woman swimming in the sea, holding up the heads of women struggling to keep afloat, affected by the currents, and me thinking that I disagree with this waste of energy. Supporting the head of one woman at a time, keeping her head above water, while the currents still pull her. Other bodies hanging on to her body, pulling her down. So much energy wasted. The woman from Nane supporting, saying she’s too exhausted to deal with another conflict, close to her. She’s called a man from the ‘Men against male violence’ group, supervising the work that she does, a “guru”. Saying that the women doing this exhausting work of keeping a few women afloat, call this man a guru. But that this should not be told to the man. The man from the ‘Men against male violence’ group is standing on dry land – Masculand – where men implicitly or explicitly are treated the way they ‘deserve’. Implicitly being treated as ‘the guru’ by the women feels ‘normal’ to this man. I have clear images of this. I know that making these images won’t make anything clear to anyone else but myself. I lose energy on just talking, when the words I have are perceived as something non-related to the reality I describe. Talking in this climate, feels like emptying myself of life-supporting air. My perspective, my feelings around the reception and response to my words are not seen as relevant to the struggle with keeping the heads above the surface. The words are drowned out by a strong current. The sea is invisible. The power positions spoken in clear text with clear words in private amongst women is invisible on the shores of Masculand. The women struggling in the water are overwhelmed. They are afraid of more waves. I’m seen as a wave. My words crash on the shores of Masculand. They leave ripples in the sand. The ripples have no meaning there. My words can’t reach to the center of this land. If the storm is strong on the coast, the men stand with their back against it. Huddling up, arms around backs and shoulders. Protecting one another. When the wind calls a specific name, this person gets pushed into the center of the protective mass. They know that the water can not come to where they are. They are safe. When they feel like it, usually when the sea is more calm, they go in for a swim. They go to the struggling women and maybe they say “I sympathize with what you do, it’s important”, maybe they add “I bet this is hard for you. Well, you know, this is hard for me too”. Then they swim back, and huddle up again. Sometimes they bring a woman up on the shore, they use her body as a mattress, saying that she’s “soft and warm”.

The social center is the same. A website that I see as a lumpy mat. I don’t want to be alone in my perspective. I don’t want my words ‘interpreted’. I want to be understood. I carve my message into the rock. Or write it in the sand. I holler it in the wind. It does not matter. The crack is mad. It’s only by pretending that it’s not there that I too would become real to the others.

Wanted: A credible Cover-Up. Or: Social change. Transformation. Justice.

Feminist Self-Defense Philosophy

by Cunt Incognita … she=he

I did a workshop on Feminist Self-Defense on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, November 25th, and was later asked to write one or two pages on the philosophy of this practice.

Feminist self-defense is a collective process of self-empowerment. One workshop/training session is not enough.

Introducing a random googled link on what someone has written on Gendered Violence.


ONE OR TWO PAGES:

I am an individual feminist activist – a 35-year-old, white, childless, able-bodied, Scandinavian woman – who was invited to do a workshop on feminist self defense for the event called “Feminists will arrive at 3 o’clock”, in Tallinn, Estonia.

The background to this form of organizing, as I have come to understand it, has its roots in women getting together in consciousness raising groups in the 70’s in Canada and the U.S, sharing experiences, and skills in how to defend themselves from everyday mental, verbal and physical assault. Groups of women focusing on understanding and figuring out how to break with the gendered violence coming their way from acquaintances, friends, lovers, relatives, strangers, as well as from their own internalized limiting ideas of how they ‘should’ behave, and think, and feel in relation to the role given to them as ‘woman’Not speak ‘too’ loud. Not act ‘too’ proud. Not take space. To self-sacrificingly care for the needs of others, preferably guessing what’s wanted and wished for without anyone having to say out loud what’s expected of them. – Small groups of women coming together, supporting one another in talking and behaving as loud and proud as they feel like, taking space on their own terms – in spite of the external and internal forces acting against it.

40 years later the concept is still the same: A group of women (or women and trans, or just trans) deciding to train together for a certain period, maybe 6 months or a year, and depending on the wishes of the individuals in the group, meeting 1-4 times per month, 2-3 hours each time. Each group make up their own way of how to organize their trainings.

It can be difficult finding persons interested in really committing to this type of practice, so after having some open trainings, where it’s possible to try it out and see what it feels like, the groups usually close once there are enough persons willing to dedicate their time to this form of collective self-empowerment. The idea with having closed groups, is to create an atmosphere of trust and intimacy, making it easier to share experiences with the others. It is not a rule [there are no rules – there’s only tradition and habit], but I would say that less than 4 persons in a group makes it difficult to play games, so I would put that as a minimum of participants for having fun and functional trainings.

The groups are self-organized and strive towards some form of non-hierarchic practice. The responsibility of creating exercises and guiding the others through them, is a task shared by all participants of the group, each time two different persons prepare the training together, according to their own wishes and needs. Sometimes a training is more focused on discussion, other times it can be more physical. The only thing that is a permanent part of the structure is the go-round in the beginning and end of the trainings, where everybody is sitting in a circle, and each one gets a turn to speak and share whatever thoughts, feelings and experiences are currently alive in them, without interruption from the others.

Other reoccurring elements in the practice is Role-Play, Physical Games and Exercises. Coming up with ideas for exercises, is a great way of empowering anyone participating in this type of group to get in touch with their inner creativity and trust that what is important for one person can be beneficial and rewarding for others too.

Around Europe, and in other parts of the world, there are different ways of organizing, and different levels of information-sharing outside the groups. Some groups have leaders, specific persons, training the others. There are adult trainers practicing with children. There are also groups training in a self-organized fashion in schools. Some go and speak publicly on national television about what they do. Some groups train secretly. The trainings can go by many different names: Feminist self defense, Wendo, Wenlido. My own idea and practice around the issue of information is that any practical exercise is okay to talk about outside the group, while the personal stories are not talked about with others. There are many reasons for keeping the information secret. Women participating in groups have been known to face ridicule by male spouses. There have also been cases of women sharing physical self-defense skills with their male partners, and later having these techniques used against them. I’ve also heard of trainers having their property destroyed, some bikes burnt, by a community hostile to their practice. I myself have faced ridicule, massively defensive reactions, and have been denied training space by the community I’m in, based on that the practice would not be ‘fair’ against men, if the trainings don’t allow the participation of men as well. The idea of not including men, is not there to ‘make them into the enemy’, or about being ‘against’ them. I wish for men to deal with their own role-jail of machismo and unemotionality. The feminist self defense groups are there as a marginal space for persons facing a certain type of reality, hopefully finding the space there, to realize themselves and trying out different ways of relating to themselves and one another. It’s important though, for these groups to maintain an awareness, that power-relations and violence exist and need to be dealt with within all spaces. I’ve heard of sexualized assault occurring within a women only group, and this setting off the usual mechanisms of denial and splitting the community into ‘for’ and ‘against’ the perpetrator. In the first group I took part in, internal power-relations were not discussed, and I ended up having a pretty damaging experience where I was told I should seek therapy by the other participants. Class and different backgrounds, as well as different expectations on how to interact socially, was a big part of that conflict – but instead of talking it through as a political fight, it was pushed into the ‘private’/’personal’ sphere, and I ended up leaving the group, as the ‘odd one out’.

It’s important to actively seek ways to talk about the power-relations existing. In India there is a higher awareness of the differences, and the importance of tools for dealing with them constructively, and the network there has introduced Nonviolent Communication (nvc) as a part of their training.

I leave it up to each group to organize in whatever way that makes sense to them in their specific context. In relation to the question of information-sharing outside the groups and networks, I choose a high level of openness, since I wish for more women/trans to tap into the power that can be found in this form of organizing in a daily existence too often focused on mere survival.

For more information on feminist self-defense: https://sosiaalikeskus.wordpress.com/feminist-self-defense/

If you have specific questions in relation to trainings available in Europe write directly to: milla.ahola at gmail dot com

Vipassana meditation

by Cunt Incognita — Fitta in Sweden — she=he

Today’s Song .. from mainstream radio in räkälä-bars — Tämä on totta – Laura Närhi

At Lyckebygården outside Ödeshög, in Sweden, you can get to know Vipassana meditation. When I was there, the area marked with red was for men, and the area marked with yellow, for women.

I tried out a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in Sweden about a year ago. Apart from practicing consciousness and resilience, I recommend it to anyone wanting time-out from whatever is going on around them, and for anyone in need of shaping up physically, cleansing the body.

This is made possible by a team of volunteers doing cooking and cleaning and clanging the gong to let you know when to wake up, when to meditate, when to have a break, when to eat, when it’s time to sleep. It’s probable you will start having a slight dislike of the soft sound of the gong as the days go by. This is not for persons wanting a nice retreat, resting and enjoying some quiet time by oneself. This is for persons really willing to do the work. After promising not to speak and not to have eye-contact with the other participants during 9 days, there’s not much to do, and if your mind is not set on meditation then you would quickly get bored. After all – doing the work will pay off in the long run.

The meditation is fairly simple. Sit with your back as straight as possible and focus your attention on your breathing. Observe the air as it comes in and out through your nose. Then gradually expand your consciousness – your sensitivity – by noticing the different sensations – tingling, cold, warmth, wetness, dryness – focus on the area of your upper lip. Hours and hours. Becoming aware of the loss of focus in favor of the thoughts going on in your head. Resisting the urge to fall asleep. Being painfully aware of that you’re not used to sitting in a cross-legged, straight-backed position. Legs going numb – back aching. The days go by, and you have eventually built up resilience to sit like this for a long time. I remember having the thought that it’s a brilliant method to learn how to cope with pain – Just observe, wait, this too will pass, it will change, there is not only pain, but many other sensations at the same time, move your consciousness to other places, notice it all without clinging on to it. Just observe what is – Constant Change.

We practiced meditation together in the meditation hall, as well as in our rooms. In the hall we got instructions through Goenka speaking on a cd. The task of the assistant-teacher was to sit on a small podium and to press ‘play’ and ‘stop’ on the cd-player at the beginning and end of the sessions. In the evenings people could ask questions related to the mediation after the group-sitting. In the day-time it was possible to speak for some minutes with the assistant-teacher if you put your name on a list. I talked with the assistant-teacher twice. Once about the back-pain, if there was something I could do to ease it. And once about the unfair split of the space. Strings had been hung arbitrarily across the yard to separate the women’s and men’s space. The men’s area surrounded the women’s area, as well as being bigger than the women’s space. I asked if it could be changed. The response to the back-pain was “It’s a part of the meditation” and about the partition made by the volunteers “Don’t let it disturb your meditation”. I also had some criticism to how the introduction of how to move in and out of the meditation hall had been done the first evening we got to the place. A man was telling that “first the men go in and sit down” and that after the session “the men let the women go out first”. A clear power relation expressed in the language. There were other women there recognizing the same thing and agreeing. The man using this expression said that what I noticed was not important and did not matter. Which made the annoyance, when becoming aware of how the space had been split off, even greater. The unconscious effect of making a group ‘the other’, and that it was ‘natural’ to keep us apart because of the ‘natural’ ‘sexual’ ‘tension’ between these two ‘opposites’, and then having the ‘active’ ‘free roaming’ group surround the area of the ‘passive’ ‘submissive’ ‘domesticated’ group.

It was a sad sight to see women standing next to the string hanging between two houses, trying to catch a glimpse of the autumn sun from the inner yard. One woman had lifted a curtain covering a window in the hallway of our building and had been told by one of the volunteers that she shouldn’t do that because this window faced the stairs the men took to enter the meditation hall from outside the building. From our rooms there was no dangling curtain though, and I remember a funny moment, watching the men walking in the woods outside our building. We had been instructed to move slowly – not to run or jump or do ‘strange’ movements – during the course, in order not to disturb or attract the attention of the other participants. So out in the woods there were men moving around slowly, walking seemingly aimlessly, with an inward gaze, in different directions between the trees during a break, and at the sound of the gong all of them suddenly faced the house and started moving towards it. It was like watching a zombie film 🙂

An important part of the meditation for me was to experience being in a group without going through an intensive group process. And still it was there. Small interactions. Small rebellions. We had been told about clothing, that it should cover certain parts of our bodies and many of us were going through a strange acculturation process, reflecting on ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. I experienced great joy the evening one woman came out from the shower in a towel. She said later that she had also thought about whether to cover up or not, but that in the short time we had in the evening for shower, she didn’t want to waste it on dressing when someone was standing in line, waiting, outside. For a person experiencing the meditation for the first time, a large part is put on understanding what is a part of the meditation and what is a part of excess culture. It leaves you feeling slightly paranoid “Can I wear this sweater – does it show too much shoulder? Would this or that disturb the meditation?” Small rebellions brighten up the atmosphere – Small things like: recognizing another person’s presence by holding up the door to them, even though you don’t have eye-contact.

I kept myself human by planning my own small rebellion. I didn’t want to be kicked out and miss out on learning from the course, so I waited until the last days, and then I started crossing the ridiculous lines in the yard. It was really scary. “Will someone notice? Will they go and tell someone? What would happen?” It was scary, and also very symbolic — and a great relief. Crossing these arbitrary lines that we hang with no explanation other than “This is just how it is. Shape your life around it. Don’t discuss it. Ignore it. Focus your mind on something more important”. The fear of punishment for doing something that in reality is Insignificant.

It felt magnificent. Taking a small step for humanity, in the darkness out in the yard – the trees glowing and gleaming with yellow leaves 🙂 Would anybody follow?

On the last day I walked across the men’s section of the shared meditation hall. When walking in, taking a step over the string, and walking on the same path as the men, walking up the curved metal stair case. I saw a big smile on the face of one of them. Still no eye-contact, but no more in Zombie land 🙂 Sitting down and doing the meditation felt really good after having done this small thing. On my way out, once again crossing the men’s space, one male volunteer stopped me and said “This is the men’s area”. I raised my index finger, putting it in front of my mouth “Shh”. Which rule would be more important to keep intact: No talking? Or keeping the men and women separate? I continued out through the men’s entry and down the metal stairs, crossing the string on the edge of the building and feeling the wet autumn grass and then the grovel of the inner yard against the bare soles of my feet. Once again: Great meditation. Crossing the line didn’t lead to punishment, but a great sense of freedom. Peace of mind.

On the 9th day we were allowed to speak again. My own voice first feeling strange and echoing inside my head and soon everyone getting over-social and over-loud. It was tiring. I noticed the effect of the meditation as well in a new sensitivity, experiencing feelings very strongly manifested as physical sensations in my body.

I didn’t stick with the meditation. I just recently – a year later on – joined group meditation in Helsinki once a week. I was drinking badly before the meditation course Sweden. I was in a physically and mentally bad condition. The first days was all about becoming very aware of this fact. My bowels out of order. Diarrhea. I felt tired after the course was over. But I managed to clean up for some time. I stayed sober from November until my birthday in July after which I’ve been drinking random amounts on random occasions. It’s far from what I want: Self-induced insanity that comes through the consumption of alcohol. I’m still in a process of making small positive changes. No radical revolutionary paradigm shifts from one day to the other in my life. One small step after another. Vipassana was a nice step to take – An intensive course in meditation. Try it out. You will get the usual contradictions of how ‘entirely scientific’ this method is while being served a row of colorful ‘Buddha-stories‘, sort of like listening to ‘Jesus walked on water‘-stories, and as well feeling paranoid and freaked out about what you ‘can’ and ‘can not’ do in the name of ‘meditation’. But you will also – provided that you do the work – experience yourself with an awareness that is absolutely healthy for you. I remember at one evening meal being very aware of the acid bitterness of an orange around my lips, as well as the tight pressing sensation across my chest when I was getting into an argument with someone the first day we got to talk again. These are worthwhile revelations 🙂

Elemento di Disturbo (workshop for men and trans)

by Cunt Incognita — Figa in Vicenza, Italy — she=he

Intenting a workshop on the different use of Space.

I’m keeping the description of this workshop ‘short’ and with focus on what we did, rather than what we talked about. Apologies to anyone curious about the content of the discussions. I’m writing this down for the sake of sharing a bit with the ones who want to know what happened, as well as a means to share my main idea of the workshop – creating awareness of the concept and practice of Consent, as well as awareness of the concept and practice of Transformative Justice – with a larger crowd than the ones who participated live.

The workshop for men and trans:

Three men and myself (a woman) meeting up. First I spoke some of feminist self-defense: Separatist groups of women training together and sharing experiences and skills with one another on how to deal with everyday male chauvinism.

After this I explained that I wasn’t really clear on what would happen in this workshop for men, that I only knew I would like to begin and end the workshop with a round (each person taking turns speaking) and somewhere in between speak of sexualized violence. So we started with a round saying what expectations we had and anything else that came to mind.

Then we played a few games to create a sense of closeness. The first one is with everyone standing in a circle and clock-wise (or counter-clock-wise) looking at the persons in the circle one by one, and when two persons happen to look at each other at the same time, they change places with one another, and then continue looking at the others in a circle and when there’s eye-contact they swap places again. And so on..

The next one is a game to build trust. Half of the people stand with their eyes closed and hands reached out in front of them, the other half lead the others around the space palm to palm. The ones who lead, leave the person standing after a while, and change to another person, so that it’s possible to experience many different ways of leading and following. After a while the roles are switched, and the ones that followed are now the ones that lead the others around the space.

After this we had a short exchange on how the games felt.

And then we tried walking around in the space – half of us with a sense of entitlement “I can go wherever, and move however I want” not caring for how the others are located in the room. The other half, make their space small, avoid eye-contact, and get out of the way of everybody else. After a while we swapped roles. The idea with the game was a wish to convey an inner as well as a physical reality experienced in public space by women as well as other disadvantaged groups. I’m not too sure I managed to transfer my intention to the men. I made connections not only to physical bodies getting and taking space, but as well to how much visibility different groupings have in media, and advertisement etc.

In the game that followed, half of us were greeting the others with a firm handshake, direct eye-contact, and a strong voice. The other half had a weak handshake, avoided eye-contact and spoke with a small voice. After two rounds of greeting the others we swapped roles. This time the idea was to think about the roles we have to one another on an individual level, and how we relate to that. Once again I wanted to convey the deep impact of gendered socialization on our behavior, as well as sharing an internalized reality by privileged and disadvantaged people in this society. These games didn’t really have an impact on the men since they knew one another from before. One person said that the reactions and reflections might be different in a larger group.

We had a talk about how we had experienced the games and I tried to explain my intention behind choosing to do these exercises with them: That it’s about the sense of space (mental – verbal – physical space) that we feel entitled to in relation to roles of privilege and disadvantage.

Then I asked some questions, and one of the men asked a question as well, with us choosing to place ourselves on a line between one end of the room representing a definite “Yes” and the opposite end being a clear “No”. In between could signify “Something in between” or “Both” or “I don’t know”.

The questions asked could be interpreted freely: “Do you reflect a lot on how gender affects your life?” The question asked by the man was something like this “Do you experience prejudiced treatment towards you by other genders because of them seeing you as belonging to a different gender?” Then I asked some questions in relation to community responsibility: “Would you stop someone from driving drunk?” “Would you stop someone at a party, from taking a drunk person home for sex?” “Do you see yourself as capable of sexualized violence?” This part took quite some time, and we all took turns explaining why we had chosen our particular position in the room to each question. There was a clear difference in the way I placed myself in relation to how the men placed themselves in relation to these questions. Someone was saying after, that they experienced it as being a cultural difference (I live in Finland. They live in Italy) as well as a gender difference (I am female, they are male).

After this we sat down in a circle again. I asked briefly if they see their friends as capable of sexualized violence, and after this we went on to speak about Consent.

I showed a graph looking like this:

The graph describes the gliding scale from Consent (“YES! I know what I’m doing and I absolutely agree and want to do exactly THAT thing with YOU! Yes! Yes! YES!”) to Co-operation (not saying no, but not wholeheartedly [or even half-heartedly for that matter..] agreeing/wanting to do what the other wants to do either) to Coercion (absolutely disagreeing/not wanting to do/not being able to give consent to what the other wants to).

The closer to consent you are – meaning: checking for agreement to every individual act, as well as staying tuned with how the other is responding to it – whatever it is you’re doing might start feeling nicer/less nice – so it’s not enough that the other person has said “yes”.. consent is a continuous communication and sensitivity towards the other, and the closer you are to consent, the more certain you can be of someone not having a bad experience with you.

I had a paper looking like this:

I had left the “What is consent?” column open in order to keep the focus of the discussion there for a while. One person said that consent is not possible unless you really know the person, otherwise there are too many factors speaking against the possibility of real consenting sex (for example: power-asymmetries). Another person was saying that it’s impossible to expect consent or ‘good sex’ when doing one night stands, to which I replied that consent is not only in relation to sexual contact with persons but a general approach on how to interact with others. Just as we can work on having equal relations with random strangers in the street, it should be possible to work on having enjoyable sex with random strangers in bed.

I followed the talk on consent with the conclusion that a substantial part of sexual interaction happening today is closer to co-operation and coercion than consent. And saying that we in spite of a high level of violence choose to individualize the experiences and label them as ‘personal’ matters instead of seeing it as a collective problem, and if there’s any response to violence within our communities, then it most often follows the same pattern as the Criminal Legal System: Violence is only recognized if there has been high level of coercion/resistance, and once there’s a recognition of harm done, the only response is to condemn the act and punish the person who did it. Often by exclusion or physical violence. The safety and healing of the person affected by the violence is not taken into consideration, nor is the changing/transformation of the harmful behavior – in other words: healing – of the person who caused the abuse, or a change in, and healing of, the community colluding with the violence (excusing it, denying it, allowing it to happen).

I said that the term Criminal Legal System (instead of Criminal Justice System) is coined by a group called Generation Five (the name coming from a vision of ending child sexual abuse within five generations). They question the legal system seeking and delivering justice so therefor they’ve changed the word ‘Justice’ to ‘Legal’.

Generation Five have come up with another concept as a response to the State’s inability to provide justice on individual and collective levels. They call this Transformative Justice. Their vision and practice is “based on the idea that individual justice and collective liberation are equally important, mutually supportive, and fundamentally intertwined—the achievement of one is impossible without the achievement of the other.” [from the first pages of the text called Toward Transformative Justice – A Liberatory Approach to Child Sexual Abuse and other forms of Intimate and Community Violence . A Call to Action for the Left and the Sexual and Domestic Violence Sectors .]

“For the Left to accomplish its vision of a just world, we must develop a liberatory response to intimate, interpersonal, and community violence. The daily reality of such violence prevents people and communities from imagining and participating in the creation of a more just world. Without a just world, people cannot find healing and safety. Developing a radical response by Left social movements to all forms of violence opens the opportunity to heal the trauma of past violence, reduce the level of violence we experience, and mobilize masses of people for fundamental social change.

Transformative Justice responds to the lack of —and the critical need for—a liberatory approach to violence. A liberatory approach seeks safety and accountability without relying on alienation, punishment, or State or systemic violence, including incarceration and policing.”

The goals of Transformative Justice as a response to all forms of violence are:

  • Survivor* safety, healing and agency
  • Accountability** and transformation of those who abuse
  • Community response and accountability
  • Transformation of the community and social conditions that create and perpetuate violence, ie systems of oppression, exploitation, domination and State violence.

* Survivor ~ The person immediately affected by the violence

** Accountability = Stopping immediate abuse / Making a commitment to not engage in further abuse / Offering reparations for past abuse

There was a question on how abusive behavior can be transformed and I responded that there is a short booklet, about 20 pages, describing a practical example of Transformative Justice in building collectives and supportive networks of individuals around the persons who have abusive behavior to support them in healing and change.

After this we had a closing round, saying how we had experienced the workshop, and then it was over.

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FURTHER READING:

Generation Five (send them a message if you want the short booklet version of 20 pages – the longer version can be found as a pdf on their website)

Facebook group for people wanting to talk about the text (Toward Transformative Justice)

Everyday Male Chauvinism

Power-under: Trauma and Nonviolent Social Change

Five methods of domination (Berit Ås)

During the workshop I was asked if I had had other workshops with men only, and my answer was no, but that I had had a workshop on gender, where the group was split into men/women. The results can be read here:

Male group (d), Female group (ms), Female group (milla)

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My personal experience of the men and trans workshop in Vicenza:

I felt nervous before the workshop, not knowing what to do with the time, or what exercises I could do to get into a deeper discussion on male violence and the role men as individuals take in maintaining patriarchal norms. After the workshop I had the feeling that I need a different – stronger more clear concept – to make a powerful impact on the participants.

I felt attracted to one of the men, which kept me focused on my internal process as a heteronormative woman in a space with men. I don’t know if this affected the workshop anything. Maybe the man was getting more speaking space than the others. Maybe I didn’t follow some discussion through the way I would have in other circumstances.

On two occasions I felt singled out by this man, once when speaking about sex and the man saying that it just ‘goes how it goes’ and that you figure out how you felt about it after, and then making a comparison saying that it would be the same as if this man would have dinner with me and then seeing how it feels afterwards. I did a clumsy “Or with that guy!” comment, instead of saying “I feel singled out as the only female person in the room, and put in the position of potential sex partner” [objectification] “I would prefer if you wouldn’t use my person as an example when we are speaking of the topic of sex”. The same man burped at a later occasion when speaking [at least two of the men were drinking beer], and then looked at me and said “Sorry”, and once again I felt singled out as the ‘female’ in the room and as someone to be ‘sensitive’ to with manners. I made a comment about it, and the man was saying that it was just that the guy knows the other men, and not knowing me, that made the difference. I still feel singled out and made “other” by the comments made.

I stayed after the workshop to have a talk with the two men who are key-holders/’patrons’ of the space, about calling the mixed workshop ‘non-sexist’. It was a long workshop, so most likely out of tiredness, we stopped translating, and one of the men ended up listening to the English conversation I had with the other man, and I’m not really sure how much of this conversation was understood. We spoke in loops, both repeating ourselves, and I experienced the talk as tiring and full of contradictions, and it is still a mystery to me how to speak of my experience of sexist structures and thinking in a ‘convincing’ way for a male person who can not recognize privileged behavior and feeling ‘attacked’ by my point of view. For me it’s not enough to recognize that we have ‘different realities’ – it is important to reach an understanding of what sexism really is. I can not agree with defining separatism as ‘sexism’ or that a simple comment on the fact that we can’t claim to know experiences we’ve never had (when speaking of the need for some women to have temporary space without male persons around, in order to be able to speak more freely, and the response from this man being that it’s ‘better’ to have those talks with men included, and a woman saying: “You can not understand, because you are a man!”) to be ‘sexism’ against men, instead of using the emotional response to this factual statement as an indicator that it’s time to check your privilege: “Why am I reacting in such a strong and negative way to someone asking to do things in their own way? What prevents me from relating to their point of view? What prevents me from letting them do what they want?”

Elemento di Disturbo (on Separatism and Sexism)

by Cunt Incognita — Figa in Vicenza, Italy — she=he

Disturbing elements: Illusionary bubbles and undiscussed concepts.

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When offering a workshop on feminist self-defense for women and trans at Elemento di Disturbo, the answer was first a blank “No”, and in the unstructured process of coming to an agreement between the two women and the two men discussing the issue, I offered a compromise: A workshop for women, another for men, and after a comment was made by one of the men, that a mixed workshop would be preferred, then I offered that too. All in all three workshops – diversity of strategy and freedom to choose – in order to satisfy the needs of everyone involved, and to enable the use of the space for the women, trans only workshop.

When asked why a separatist workshop would be wished for, and giving the short explanation that men and women grow into different cultures that co-exist in a constant power imbalance, and saying that women can speak more freely in the company of other women of what it’s like being at the short end of the stick in this power relation – the response by the men, was that it is better to share experiences in mixed groups in order not to create ‘exclusion’. The point I was trying to make on self-censorship and behavioral differences in mixed environments didn’t come across. A woman was saying: “You can not understand, because you are a man!” The man continued to say that the same conditions would be for any group, for instance a group of immigrants would not be welcome to keep separatist meetings in the space, since they wished for open interaction between everybody contributing to the laboratory in order to maintain a process of exchange and common growth. In other words, they seem to believe strongly that: Here And Now their ideal is made real of a future Without Walls.

I asked if a neo-Nazi would be welcome to have meetings there as long as they were open to anyone interested participating in the activity. The response to this was yes. The two ‘patrons’ of E.di.D said that they believed that anyone in interaction with them would — if not ending up with an expanded mind — eventually realize that this wasn’t the place for them. In the case of neo-Nazism versus feminism at the Lab, it seems that while neo-Nazis would after a while feel that they don’t fit in with their activity, feminists need to be told directly to go away since their activity would threaten the shared ideals of the majority of the users of E.di.D?

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The exclusion of self-determination for individuals and groups working within the space, affects the general (mixed) interaction and atmosphere there, and sends a message for more radical (disturbing?) elements to ‘go elsewhere’ with their ideas and diversity of strategy [this was expressed openly], and is therefor the making of a place where people more comfortable with the majority opinion, and mainstream behavior in the group, or to be more precise – people who, for better or worse, fit with the opinions and behavior of the two men in charge – create the breaking mechanism for the creative expression on the far left of the far left in the same way that society at large stops creativity and self-determination in most commercial spaces for people wanting to relate to one another ‘differently’ (in an alternative way to the mainstream).

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The contradiction of the space goes like this: Elemento di disturbo is a space set aside – Separated – from a ‘slow-growing’ ‘mainstream’ society to be a space to break down walls and generating discussion, free exchange of ideas and creative energy. At the same time there is no understanding for the diversity of issues needing separate space to burst into bloom set aside – Separated – from the ‘slow-growing’ ‘mainstream’ within the alternative space itself. Liberation does not come by labeling a space ‘non-commercial’ or ‘non-sexist’ or ‘non-racist’ or wishing for people to ‘feel free’, or even by two persons stating that they are making efforts for everyone within the space to ‘feel free’ in the way they understand the concept of freedom (or: ‘non-commercial’, ‘non-sexist’, ‘non-racist’ [which includes having tolerance and understanding for one of them making racist ‘jokes’] etc).

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Separatism can not be equaled to segregation, which functions in an exclusionary manner to maintain power imbalance, and unequal access to resources. Separatism is not about exclusion and maintaining power, it is an opportunity for affinity, for growth, for creative flow between the ones who have less power, and less access to resources. It is an opportunity for the unspoken and unheard to be told and listened to. A space for a suppressed reality to explore and grow without heavy resistance. Separatism is not something ‘taken away’ from the mixed group. Mixed discussions should and can exist in the same space as separatist discussions, in the same way as alternative spaces and discourses can and should exist within the so called ‘mainstream’ society. Belonging to a dominant group and demanding access everywhere in the name of ‘freedom’ (or to “break down walls”) is the same as the State demanding access everywhere for the ‘safety’ and ‘good’ of the citizens, because the State knows better than the individuals what is best for them. Absolute access, absolute presence = Control = No space to express or try something different, no space to change.

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After the decision was made to have the three workshops, a text was written and sent by myself and another woman with a short description of the different groups (women & trans, men & trans, mixed) [workshop on self-defense against male violence] so it was a surprise to later find out that the workshops had been announced by the men as “for men” “for women” and “non-sexist” (mixed). One of the men said that the description sent by us, hadn’t been received, and that the text that the man had passed on, had been written according to what had been decided at the meeting: Women, Men, Mixed and for this man it was clear that the ‘mixed’ group was interchangeable with ‘non-sexist’ [I disagree] since the other two groups represented some form of ‘sexism’ [I disagree]. The decision made at the meeting that us two women would write the text and have it passed on to the facebook group, was overridden and ignored, and the same was what happened with our right to self-determination in relation to what was going to happen at the workshops. This is the first time ever in my life that someone else has written the description of my workshops, and this without consulting me: “Does this description fit with what you envision you will be doing?” Nothing of this sort, but instead talk about me, saying that there will be one non-sexist workshop and that what I’m doing is absurd and sexist, and will surely not take place again at E.di.D..

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I was told by one of the men that separatist activity is against the ‘group will’ (majority) of the users and contributors to Elemento di disturbo, a statement which I see as minimizing and marginalizing the effort and contribution made by users relating to a minority (alternative) opinion, when I said this I was told that the space is not about the group but about the two men caring for the rent, and that others are there as guests. And it was said that there is no space to make a lot of separate groups, that they wouldn’t want to take away space from mixed interaction by having separatist activity there (I have the understanding that they mean that even unused, empty space should be labeled ‘mixed’ = ‘non-sexist’, rather than allowing it for the use of separatist, and real, anti-sexist activity.) Saying that anything that doesn’t fit the norm set by the dominant majority is ‘alien’ and not belonging to the group, is plain and simple a politics of sameness – a struggle against Change and for Status Quo.

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When one woman talked with the men about swapping the dates of the workshops for men and women in order to include the woman who had initially began to organize for the feminist self-defense workshop, she was told that this wasn’t possible and that this might ‘teach me’ – the person holding the workshops – to get on the path of ‘a-sexual’ (possibly meaning non-sexed, non-gendered?) communication – after a pause changed to – ‘non-sexist’ (a-sessista), meaning that separatist groups are seen as a form of perpetuating sexism by the two men. Not as groups ‘For women’, but as groups ‘Against men’? With the same type of logic I assume that they would be against homosexual relations between women since it would ‘exclude’ men? Seriously: Why is it threatening to someone that some women might want to meet without men?

Women meeting with other women is a disturbing picture?

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I was told that the laboratory was only for mixed interaction and that other activity would be supported as long as it would be elsewhere. I was told that there is a center for battered women in the city, and that separatist activity could be done there. According to the logic of the man, a center for battered women must be a terribly backward and wall-building place, causing a lot of sexism in this society with their separatist work? So it’s clear that a liberated space where everyone says they are against sexism, no work on the issues worked on over at women’s centers are needed? Right? Let’s push that kind of activity out the door!! Sexualized violence and internalized oppressive gender roles can be dealt with somewhere else!

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The man had been faced with the Fact that as a man – as a person categorized and socialized and constantly related to as ‘male’ – it is not possible for this person to understand the realities of someone categorized, socialized and constantly related to as ‘female’ and how a space for women can work in a beneficial way to discuss what is usually un-talked and un-told since it is met by the mainstream with: Ignorance and Denial. This man had experienced the woman saying: “You can not understand, because you are man!” as an act of ‘sexism’ against men. I tried to explain that for me it is not possible to claim that I understand a non-white existence in a society dominated by whites. And that it is a privilege to belong to a group and yet consider oneself as an individual and feel ‘targeted’ when someone is presenting you with the mere fact of “You can not know, cause you don’t have that particular experience, and right now you are showing the type of behavior that makes it difficult for me to co-exist with you”. This isn’t sexism against men, in the same way that it is not sexist of me to say that I can not possibly understand what undergoing the process of male socialization in a system based on male dominance is like. I can understand privilege (as a white person, as an adult, as an ablebodied person and so on) and I can understand disadvantage (as a woman, as someone growing up with the surname of my immigrant parent, as someone who has experienced homelessness, as someone who experienced physical abuse as a child) and I can say that through these experiences I’ve come to realizations of advantage and disadvantage. The advantages/privilege I have is something I rarely have to think about unless someone feels bothered by my ignorance and has the courage and energy to point it out. Current disadvantages, on the other hand, are a constant stressful awareness from which there are very few moments of relief and rest. The relief comes in spaces where I can share my reality without being told that “I can’t take a joke” or “Shouldn’t think so much” or that I’m “Too serious and should relax”. Or that when I’m speaking of the reality of sexism I am told that I am misinformed and that I am in fact the one being ‘sexist’ against men and not vice versa..

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I’m not saying that separatism is a choice that everyone has to make. I am saying that it is a useful tool for persons with similar experiences to work on ways to change our existence. A way to stay sane. I’m all for privileged groups working on their/our issues in separatist groups as well (but with the possibility of transparency and accountability in relation to members of the disadvantaged groups). I see separatism as a choice, and not as something forced on anyone, or a threat against anyone, in the same way that I wouldn’t see mixed groups as forced on, or against anyone, unless it would be stated that separatism isn’t possible. I am saying that it is exclusionary and patronizing for members of dominant groups to claim that real freedom can only be reached by all making the effort together, when these same people don’t even recognize that there is a problem, or can relate to that they have problematic thinking and behavior.

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I have after writing this piece, read the conversation that took place on facebook in relation to the announcement of the workshops, and will within a couple of weeks post my response to the comments made, on this blog. I’m hoping that my comments will act as a needle bursting the bubble of illusion of ‘inclusiveness’ and ‘no walls’ that the men of E.di.D seem to live inside. I say ‘hoping’, since experience has showed me time and time again that some people don’t want to burst their bubbles or break down their own walls, and self-reflection is, for whatever reasons, unwanted.

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Written by: A temporary contributor to the Laboratory of Elemento di Disturbo, having my contribution Minimized, Marginalized, Vilified and Distorted by Some (note: not All) other contributors of the space.


In memory of Jyri Jaakkola

by Cunt Incognita, FOTZE in Berlin — she=he

Today’s Song – Titiyo, Come Along

The text for this blog post is copy pasted and slightly edited, from an email passed around.

An interview with Jyri Jaakkola, Finnish anti-authoritarian activist, murdered by paramilitaries in Oaxaca, Mexico, April 27. The interview was made February 1, in Finland, before leaving for Oaxaca.

An extract:

“If my presence could prevent violent moderation, that would be a thing to do. Paolo Freire said something like:

‘Real solidarity requires that you put yourself in the same position with the ones that you are in solidarity with’

Which to me means, that I got to put myself in the game somehow.

Even though I will never end up in the same position as the locals. I will have a plane ticket back to Finland, as well as this white skin color which will work as some kind of protective coloring, and so on.

Just to be there with local people, if it helps them. And to try to spread information about their struggle and their goals. I think that is the main reason why I am going there.”

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Another  clip with Jyri speaking, filmed less than a week before his death. On climate
issues. Hyökyaalto is a Finnish grassroots network inspired by the Rising Tide-network.

Jyri is the last speaker [20:40]. The clip is in Spanish, no subtitles:

Diálogo Climático de los Pueblos

Jyri Jaakkola. Will be missed.

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Paramilitaries Kill Two Human Rights Activists in Oaxaca
by DemocracyNow!

Death Squad Mexico:

State Terror Reigns in Oaxaca

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A beautiful article written by Sarah about Jyri and the situation in San Juan Copala:

“No one would deal with the situation.  It took the scandal of the dead Finnish foreigner to force the Oaxacan government to act, and even then it is most likely that only the video proving that the two reporters were still alive and explaining where they were and what had happened to them saved their lives. Meanwhile, the event has finally blown up in the national and international media, creating an irritation for the Oaxacan government, which has shown once again its remarkable ability for ineptitude, callousness, and ignorance.  Ulises Ruiz’s first reaction to the situation was to blame the attack on foreigners who come to Oaxaca “to cause problems” and to threaten to expel all foreigners from the country.”

The text in the photo reads more or less as: "Let's get back the autonomy of the indigenous peoples. Triquis."

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Short conflict background:

Raise Your Voice in Solidarity with Oaxaca and Against Militarization

An appeal from Witness for Peace. Transforming People. Transforming Policy. On the funding of the Merida Initiative (“War on Drugs”) >>

No More for the Drug War!

From the link above: “Over 70 Mexican civil society organizations recently denounced such military aid as the wrong approach.”

“we express our serious concerns and reservations regarding the military aid provided by the United States to Mexico. Instead, we urge for an approach that is more comprehensive and respectful of the human and civil rights of the Mexican population”

… “we urge the United States to consider ways to support a holistic response to security problems; based on tackling the root causes of violence and ensuring the full respect of human rights; not on the logic of combat.


… “we urge the United States to consider ways to support a holistic response to security problems; based on tackling the root causes of violence and ensuring the full respect of human rights; not on the logic of combat.”

Leftist “Who Knows Who” Bureaucracy

by Cunt Incognita, FOTZE in Berlin — she=he

This is a letter to an infoshop in Berlin about some workshops I want to do and my frustration with the unspoken bureaucracy of the leftist scene.

Who Is Cool in the Leftist Scene? Who knows who?

hello again,

i’m now about to share a big deep trauma i have with the leftist scene.

starting with going to a workshop called männlichkeitsbilder in der antifa (Male images, Masculinity types within Antifascist politics) at friedelstrasse 54 last sunday, and the guy doing the workshop going around with a bowl where everybody was putting their mobile phones, and then putting the bowl in the fridge (or some other place while having the workshop) – not explaining anything, and no discussion whatsoever if this would be necessary or not.

i got the same feeling last time i was over at the faq cafe. a person who was there for the first time taking care of it, could not answer my usual desperate questions on how to practically arrange whether or not i would have some workshops there. i was asking for a person i could speak with face to face, someone who felt responsible for this, i asked for a phone number i could call, and the person was looking hesitantly at me, saying she’s not really sure it’s a good thing to share phone numbers.

i ended up writing down my phone number on a piece of paper. supposedly to be passed on to some person who could answer the questions about workshops.

here’s the number again:

0160 6777 059 (Please Call. It would make my life a whole lot easier and less stressful)

i’m not really doing any promotion for the workshops at faq.
i sent the info to stressfaktor, but nothing has been done with it so far (no info posted anywhere, and none of my questions answered, and i dont’ know why.)

also there’s no info on the faq site, and probably no info sent out on the mailing list you have?

i love diy. i love free spaces.

i hate the security paranoia, and the strong feeling of being trapped in an insider “who knows who” nightmare bureaucracy in order to be able to share something with others in a workshop or discussion.

i’m still not sure that the workshops are welcome at this place.

i’m trying to make clear that i have very small means of promoting them. i will NOT make flyers. i will NOT talk with everybody i meet. i would like to be able to have the information out there in some space where people who are interested, easily can find it and decide for themselves if they are interested in joining or not.

i can’t express the frustration i have with this.

that i would really like to be able to speak with someone face to face. since email contact is not working, and just prolonging this agony of being a total outsider to the “scene” that to me mostly is about people wanting to be cool or getting some status – not about people sharing what is in their hearts.

i got an email saying i would receive more info on keys and such later. that the person answering didn’t feel comfortable speaking english, and would write me when getting help with language.

i respect this. and my answer now is that i prefer SOME form of communication in WHATEVER language, rather than none.

i’m perfectly fine with getting the info in german as long as i: get some info.

and also would like to know who i can speak with in order to get the info about the workshops out on your mailing list, and on your website/blog (whatever it’s called).

please please please

milla

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WORKSHOP INFO:
SUNDAY MAY 9th. TIME: 15 – 18
:: Consensus Culture & Decision Making

How to deal with dictatorship in so called “flat
structured/anarchist/leaderless horizontal” groups?

Practical workshop with short intro to consensus and different meeting
techniques. — Consensus means to agree, to compromise until
everybody can agree on something. It’s a method to practice direct
democracy. It doesn’t mean that everybody should be of the same
opinion. It simply means that it’s possible to agree on a decision
that everybody can accept.
.. ..


WEDNESDAY MAY 12th. TIME: 18 – 21

:: Theatre of the oppressed

Practical workshop where we through various warm-up exercises, games,
and finally theatre (role play) explore oppression on an up-close
personal level.
.. ..

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THURSDAY MAY 13th. TIME: 19 – 21.
:: Alternative spaces & squatting from a radical feminist point of view.

Radical feminist talking about sexism within a social center project
in Helsinki and other spaces. Intro and then free discussion.

For more info: https://sosiaalikeskus.wordpress.com/read-this &
https://sosiaalikeskus.wordpress.com/h-e-l-p
.. ..


SATURDAY MAY 15th. TIME: 15 – 18
:: Feminist Self Defense

Practical workshop with mental, verbal and physical self defense.
Including games and role-play.

(For “WOMEN” = persons born with female genitals or intersexed who
have had faced oppression because of being categorized as female, or “women”
by the rest of society, “TRANS-MEN” and “TRANS-WOMEN”)

For more info: http://www.myspace.com/feminist_sister
.. ..


LANGUAGE: The person doing the workshop speaks English, but it’s probably possible to work out translation in German.

For more info, questions, comments, please write to:
milla.ahola@gmail.com

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The workshops will take place at:

FAQ-Infoladen,
Jonasstraße 40,
U-bahn: Leinestraße (U8)

🙂