[for a practical list of what to do to help me: see the end of this page*]
So, you’ve realized that you’re a part of the societal madness and that there’s no way of dealing with it by creating a fake identity of being any different from the rest? And from this the following question is – where to move on? what to do? how do we deal with this?
Some of these things got talked about at Hirvitalo in Tampere, Finland 22.9.2009. Here is the power presentation that caused a mix of defensive-outraged-offended as well as grateful-glad-and-sad reactions amongst the participants. A presentation including topics like Power of definition & Partiality and concrete examples of open sexism expressed in different spaces by different individuals, together creating a picture of Our Society.
Thanks to Kaija, the text below was changed into speaking about “Us” and “We” instead of creating a split between “you – the privileged” and “we – the oppressed”. This way it’s clear that we, as in “we – all”, have many different positions of power that we need to self-reflect upon in order to rid ourselves of the current systems:
Below the website of Social Center Satama, Helsinki Finland, showing a part of the principles of the place. The sentence high-lighted says: “..as a collective we are committed to pointing out oppressive behaviors, and we’re not afraid of talking about things openly.” For a translation of the principles seen on the slide below: Click here.
I got on the mailing list of the social center project and tried to start a discussion on sexism. Three months later on I got kicked off the list – told that I lack a sense of proportions, and that I probably have some mental issues as well – by Aleksi Lilleberg, the administrator, who earlier had denied the existence of sexism on the list: “As the administrator and dictator of this list I can say that I will not tolerate sexism here. But I wouldn’t count Anag’s bad behavior as particularly sexist in this case.” (<< translation of the last comment on the slide below)
Once removed from the list, I sent a call for solidarity on different activist mailing lists. [to read this plus responses: Click here.] This was by the majority at one house meeting interpreted as an “attack” on the house. I got banned not only from the list but also from the physical place.
I contacted a newly founded conflict resolution group in order to start a dialogue on the matter. After first going to a house meeting, 3 women then came to my house and told me I would be welcome to participate in a demonstration and that I could join the party in the house afterwards: As long as I didn’t talk about feminism [sic!] I was also told that my presence would not be wanted during the following workshop-weekend where topics like “feminisms” “everyday power use” “direct action” would be discussed. I was told that me being there would create an unpleasant atmosphere.
After I got ex-communicated from the social center scene there was a mental illness declaration sent to the list. The third paragraph on the first slide states this: “In any case, I find it irrelevant to discuss whether Milla is “right” or “wrong”. This hasn’t for a long time had anything to do with sexism or feminism or politics whatsoever. This is the twisted calls for help of a confused person.” For the full letter: Click here.
I’ve never talked lengthily with Riikka, and I don’t know her well. I met her briefly at the ten-year celebration of Friends of the Earth. We talked for maybe twenty minutes. We’ve also been involved in the same projects, such as arranging events for the international Women’s Day through loose networks – in this case Femmarit (a feminist group and a mailing list by the same name in relation to Tulva).
So the assumptions she’s making about my life are completely taken from her own imagination. But the open lies, and denial of sexism within the project are not the most shocking things about the letter. What I find most disturbing is that a feminist makes a clear split between victim/activist, stating that people who have had damaging experiences in life are not capable of doing creative social change work (!) as well as working on ourselves (!)
I did a naked demo (with the statements above written on my body) during the presentation of the situation with squatting in Helsinki. 2 persons standing in front of hundreds of activists from all over Europe. Not one single word from these two, where my exclusion was mentioned. A woman from Germany was pointing out that there had been no reactions from this radical crowd on the obvious direct action that had taken place. She called for a small group discussing the situation with sexism in Helsinki.
No contact or response was made from the people involved in the social center project. [For an email with a report I wrote on this event: Click here.]
Click here to see the work that was first put up on the toilet wall by association members — Pekko had had them sign a statement where it was said that she would have guaranteed participation in the next exhibition — and then taken down by a person not a member of the association, stating that she was prepared to take on the full responsibility for this action.
Below some of Pekko’s comments on this event on her own blog [for a translation: Click here.]
I took out my camera and filmed the guy after asking me this.
Click the link to see the film:
Leading to the last two slides — Another scene is possible.