A text inspired by the PGA gathering in Greece, 2008:
Im not very experienced with the activist culture*. Been on some feminist mailing lists for some years, having intellectual fights about the meaning of life. And managed to get totally branded (“mentally ill”) and banned by the local squatting scene. I’ve done a year of visiting random gatherings around europe, mostly observing and trying to understand what’s going on. Picking up the pieces that I like and sharing it with other random people I meet on my journey through life.
My activism is about my own development. I’m an insane ego on a rampage against all that – for whatever reasons – manages to upset me. I want to learn, and I want to better myself. Become more loving, more free. Maybe even: Happy.
I’m privileged. From the north. Very very white. Able-bodied. And I’m fairly ignorant of how these major facts of life have impacted on my thoughts, feelings and actions. I haven’t really looked at the patterns I repeat, the oppressive systems I recreate and maintain in my daily life. I understand my ignorance causes oppression. I understand no one is neutral: I am an oppressor.
I’m not middle class. It’s usually assumed of all these gatherings that everybody is. I would like to speak about this openly sometime. Because to me it’s clear that my mother loosing hearing and health working in the steel industry, wanting her daughter to do right in society and find a permanent space by a conveyor belt, clearly affected my understanding of what kind of possibilities I have in life. Not only the socialized class, but also not having connections to “advance” anywhere in a society based on nepotism >> “who-knows-who”. I’m also so called “second generation immigrant”. Low status white trash immigrant background, having my national identity questioned all the time, because of a non-normative name, and perhaps also because of slightly different facial features. This has also affected who and how I am.
I don’t feel oppressed because of the above. The only heavy oppression I’ve faced is because of being born with a cunt. I’m a woman. And my identity as a woman comes not because of biology, it comes from the hatred and despise I face in my everyday life. It marks every aspect of my reality. Life becomes very heavy and hard to bear because of it. It made me a fighter. I have no other choice. I can not pretend everything’s fine.
Sometimes I fight. Sometimes I fall into self-pitying self-hatred and drink. I’m an alcoholic. Ten year history of heavy drinking. Maybe this is a reason for not taking myself so seriously. I have no fear of loosing face or imagined prestige. Been there, done that. Sort of: I am what I am. A wretched human being. Capable of all and everything. I exist. I’m alive.
SO. ANYWAYS: I like the PGA hallmarks. And, curiousity and the hope for something different – something I could feel I belong to – brought me to northern greece.
* culture = something I usually interpret as limitation of behavior and/or emotion related to specific behavior – for instance the way we’ve been taught to greet each other [hand-shake, kisses, hugging, bowing etc] are usually connected to a way of feeling. changing the way of greeting usually feels very strange, and takes some time to get used to. (limitation as in: non-spontaneous, non-creative)