itisiwhowillit

unadulterated ranting, it's cathartic.

Month: March, 2013

Brendan O’Neill and the feminist left’s lack of ‘ambition’

Brendan O’Neill, professional blogger and troll wrote today that feminism was bringing about the death of the radical left (by which he of course means the SWP, Wikileaks and Respect, well-known bastions of radicalism). 

In short, the old Socialistic worldview was just too darn cocky, too ambitious, too keen on exploiting nature’s resources to create a world of plenty, and thus it needed to be put in its place by the more caring, apparently mumsy creed of feminism. This, fundamentally, is what the feministic finishing-off of various radical left groups represents: the downsizing of the left imagination to make it fit better with the petty obsessions and humourless authoritarianism of today’s inward-looking politics of identity.

 

Thanks for that, Brendan. I’m just a little confused about the whole, lack of imagination and ‘downsizing’ thing. Brendan’s revolution clearly consists of George Galloway stood on a platform wanking furiously over a photograph of Assange’s face whilst Tony Benn whispers sweet nothings from the Socialist Worker into his ear. AMBITION!!!11!oneone!!1!

I don’t think that O’Neill is unthinking, I think he’s actively a bigot. One more whyte manz who wants to do the socialismz because he went to a good university and read about Kronstadt on Wikipedia so understands struggle. When he tells intersectional feminists that we lack ambition, he’s just mud-slinging. He’s intimidated, as are most pricks in the bourgeois media (and actually many left circles) and terrified of losing his privileges.

My revolution consists of those who are oppressed fighting however they deem appropriate, and educating those of us who have privilege. It also consists of us who have privilege educating ourselves and self-monitoring our behaviour. Until people are at a place where they have the ideas and world understanding that is required for intersectionality to work, we might need to be ‘authoritarian’. I’ve been told (exclusively by white men) that Safe Space is authoritarian. I’ve been told No Platform is authoritarian. Ah, the cries of the oppressed white man ‘STOP CONTROLLING MY THOUGHTS AND MY BEHAVIOURS I AM AN AUTONOMOUS BEING AND MY AUTONOMY SUPERVENES YOURS NOW SHUT UP AND LET ME OPPRESS YOU PLEASE I HAVE THE RIGHT TO OPPRESS YOU YOU BLOODY AUTHORITARIAN FEMINIST’ or something like that.

We do not lack imagination, we do not lack ambition. We are not authoritarian. We wish to bring about a world in which the oppressive structures we have created no longer exist. We believe socialism is not possible whilst women, black* people, LGBT*Q people and disabled people are sidelined. Brendan’s the only prick without ambition here.

So, combabes- let us go forth into our ‘divisive’, ‘authoritarian’, ‘lack-lustre’, ‘obsessive’, victimhood of a revolution cos my god do we kick ass. My revolution will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit. 

ps- kill teh menz.

 

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Why I’m running for VPHE.

Today, The Guardian published an article highlighting more rape allegations in The SWP. Not only have more allegations come to light, but the way they’re dealt with internally has shown just how ingrained misogyny is in these kinds of organisations- organisations that lack a basic understanding of intersectionality, and are blatantly anachronistic in their politics.

According to the article, at least three women have come forward within The SWP with serious accusations of rape and physical abuse which have been followed by victim-blaming and rape apologism. Women have said that that within their inquiries, they was asked about their sexual reputation and alcohol consumption. This is not how revolutionary socialists should treat rape, one of the most visceral manifestations of women’s oppression.

I have the extreme displeasure of sharing a platform with an SWP member in my NUS Vice President of Higher Education election. I recognise and appreciate that there are combabes in SWP who are currently embattled with the Central Committee, and I commend their effort to reform The Party; I hope that they can change the SWP in to an organisation I would feel comfortable working with in future, but I do not currently feel that way.

Tomas Evans, (who is running for NUS VPHE) is running with the slogan ‘Education for Liberation’. I ask what he means by liberation? Is it for the freedom of older men to prey on younger women and have their ‘comrades’ cover it up? That certainly does not seem like any kind of liberation to me, and it is absolutely not my liberation.

The SWP claim to be socialists- I wish to re-emphasise that no socialism is possible without the full emancipation of women. Capitalism requires our underpaid and unpaid labour. It requires us to be unquestioning mothers and menial labourers. It requires us to fear our male counterparts. It requires us to reject our sexuality. Rape, violence against women, emotional manipulation and rape apologism facilitate capitalism’s oppression of women. One can not wish to overthrow capitalism, as The SWP wish to do, whilst putting women’s liberation on the back-burner.

I believe that a better world is possible. I believe in an egalitarian world, I am an anarchist. I believe that education is absolutely fundamental to any egalitarian society. I think access to knowledge is a human right. For this reason, I think education should be accessible (read: free) at absolutely any level. I believe that transitionally we should pay for this via progressive taxation. Ultimately, I believe we should expropriate the banks, destroy hierarchies, and organise our society along syndicalist lines. I want all humans to be as free as possible, to have all of their basic material conditions met, and then to be able to pursue the life they wish to pursue.

I believe that all humans have the right to live their lives free from oppression. Again, I think accessible (read: free) education is necessary to achieve this goal. The more educated a society it, the more free it’s women are. The more educated a society is, the more women are in their parliaments, courts, and schools. The more educated a society is, the more women have fewer children and reject roles patriarchy assigns for them. The more educated a society it, the fewer women die in childbirths and related complications. I cannot claim that this pattern extends to other liberation struggles, because it’s not something I have researched, but I would expect to see a similar trend.

I want to see The NUS dissolve. I want to see a radical, militant student movement. I want us to fight  for our right to education like our combabes in Chile and Quebec are doing. I think destroying The NUS is necessary to fuel such a movement- especially whilst it is infiltrated by oppressive people like Tomas.

I absolutely encourage any socialists and feminists to condemn the actions of The SWP central committee and their sympathisers, which include the man running against me and Rachel Wenstone.

If you agree with the sentiment of this blog, and my vision for education, I also urge you to vote me #1 for VPHE.

Sam Gaus, The Inanimate Carbon Rod, and the gender politics of NUS.

I’m disgusted with the witch-hunt that has taken place against NUS Presidential Candidate Sam Gaus, or, as he’s more commonly known, the ‘Inanimate Carbon Rod’. There have been a number of accusations thrown at ICR, most of which I don’t think hold water.

1- It’s a phallic symbol. Yes, yes it is, I guess. Is this really the level of analysis that we’re involved in, though? Oh, it’s called a ‘rod’ so it’s about willy-waving. Except, no. It just reminds me of the fact that my flatmate’s mother wouldn’t let them have Christmas trees when they were younger because such objects are apparently phallic symbols. It’s ridiculous.

2- He’s intentionally running against two strong women. No, he’s not. Back in November, after the pathetic national demo where Liam Burns valiantly took us to South London for the glorious revolution, I had a conversation with Sam. That day had been the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of our politics. We could no longer tolerate The NUS. We felt it could not be saved, and must be delegitimised as much as possible. We decided a troll slate would be a great idea. At the time, I thought (and I think Sam did too), that Michael Chessum was going to run. Michael is a close friend and political ally to both of us, but that was irrelevant. This has got nothing to do with the candidates, and everything to do with NUS’s structures and political usefulness.

Also, there’s another man running in this election- why are we not talking about that? I feel quite safe in the assumption that it is because his presence does not challenge the orthodoxy of thought in The NUS.

Personally, I want Sam to win. I believe that student unions should disaffiliate from NUS en-masse and establish an alternative, more radical, more democratic union. I want NCAFC to be the basis of this radical new union. I do not think Sam will win, and I think his running serves to seriously delegitimise NUS, which is our primary aim. I guess, then, that if I had a vote, I would second-preference for Vicki Baars, who, over the years, has proven herself as a competent and principled activist. Running against women does not equate to sexism, and I find that accusation particularly sour considering the person running against myself and Rachel Wenstone is an SWP member, Central Committee loyalist and rape apologist. Perhaps we’re not strong women. Perhaps because we’re not running for President we are less important. Perhaps it is not in the right-wing tendency of NUS’s interests to slam Tomas as it is Sam. I’m inclined to say it is the latter two that are the issue.

3- Lots of women have put time, energy and resources into NUS. To mud-sling at it so much disrespects the hard work of those women. I just can not agree with this. Many women before me have shaped the world in which I live. There are many liberties that I take for granted that are the result of their hard work. But, I think, we can never move toward our liberation unless we poke holes in the movements they were part of. Without first and second wave feminism, it’s pretty certain I wouldn’t be writing this blog-post right now. I wouldn’t be standing in this election. I wouldn’t be at University to do so. Without third-wave feminism, my understanding of feminism would probably be white-supremacist and transphobic. I probably would not hold the anarchist politics that I do hold.

Yet, as amazing as these movements were, they had serious issues. The mainstream of the suffrage movement was dominated by wealthy white women (even more so than it is today). Second-wave feminism was lifestylist, sexually repressive and gender essentialist. Third-wave feminism has been known to engage in ableism, and, as is often the case with DIY communities, is again riddled with lifestylism. Contemporary mainstream feminism is not intersectional. We have to criticise even the most liberatory of movements in order to seek any useful insight.

This is why I, despite being a disabled, working-class woman, and so, I think, having a fairly serious understanding of liberation (but by no means without my privilege), think it is important to destroy NUS. I think that NUS structures breed kyriarchy in fact- I think they rely on it. I wish to see a genuinely democratic student movement, where decisions are made on a local basis, where mandates are concrete, where ordinary members are directly involved. I want the student movement to be a revolutionary force, not a step in people’s career-ladder. Getting to this place is of paramount importance to me- even if white men like Sam are helping to get us there.

Joke candidacy undermines the serious women running. I guess we need to redefine what we mean by ‘joke’. Sam’s campaign is tongue in cheek, but it is not a joke. The ideas he holds, and advocates in his candidacy are concrete political ideas. Sam is an anarchist. Sam, like I do, wants the NUS to cease to exist. He wants a revolutionary student movement. He feels, like I do, that whilst NUS is inert, but undeniably powerful, this is difficult to attain.

I sincerely hope that people on all parts of the spectrum take this post seriously. I think the most important thing for us to do right now is explicitly say that we do not support the SWP candidates in this election. We have to make it extremely clear that those who oppress women absolutely are not welcome in the NUS. I don’t think it is legitimate to accuse Sam of this.

Secondly, I hope we can work towards abolishing the NUS. I hope that it is evident that my candidacy is not serious. I do not want to win- I do not want to assimilate into NUS’s bureaucracy. I want us, together, to fight for a genuinely revolutionary student force- the likes of which we see in Chile and Quebec.

I believe, as Tomas (insincerely) says, that education is important to liberation. We all have the right to information. We all deserve an education. We all deserve to develop our ideas, fulfill our inquisitive side and contribute to society, not as capital dictates, but as the needs of our community dictate. I believe that the only way that we can make this happen is by achieving free education. I believe that the only way we can achieve free education is by establishing a new, radical, syndicalist union.

I urge you to vote Sam Gaus #1, Vicki Baars #2 and RON #3.