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GENDER DISCUSSION

PART III

AROUND THE
BELGRADE CONFERENCE OF
THE PEOPLES GLOBAL ACTION IN EUROPE

2004

Warning: The Peoples Global Action in Europe


Process is dominated by White Middle Class Men
defending Western European imperialism
CONTENTS Page No.

All-Female Groups 3

The European as Male 5

Going To Places That Scare Me: 7


Thoughts on masculine (de) construction
and anti-capitalist activism 14

A few more reflections on the usefulness of


men-only groups as a tool to struggle against patriarchy
and oppressive masculinity 20

Hosannah pour Le Châtre-Nègre 22

Masculinities, Violence, and Peacemaking 26

Oshun Fought for Equality 30

Sex Magic + Sexual Politics = Suxess 31

Do we have a true gender? 31

Sterilisation In The USA 33

Kosavas New Hairdo 35

Gender Working Group 40

Proposed Gender Questionnaire 40

Definitions and Disputations 42

Over the Resnik Horizon 43

Dear West Essex Zapatista, West India Zapatista


or We'Sex Zapatista, 47

Gender Discussion Bibliography 53

2
All-Female Groups

An extract about all-female groups in America in the 1830s

Early feminists, in Europe as well as in America, debated the merits of all-female or mixed groups
and usually adopted a pragmatic both/and approach. "I should be very glad if women generally and
men too, could so lose sight of distinctions of sex as to act in public meetings on the enlightened and
true ground of Christian equality," [[Lucretia Mott]] wrote Abby Kelley, who attended the first
women's convention.

Advising women to "mingle in discussion and take part with their brethren" whenever possible, Mott
also argued that in "present circumstances," with male opposition likely to disrupt proceedings,
women should also meet separately, which would be useful in "bringimng our sex forward,
exercising their talents, and preparing them for united actions with men, as soon as we can convince
them that this is both our right and duty." The argument that women had not only a right but a duty
to participate in public life runs through feminist discourse in this period: it furnished the opening to
Louise Otto's first article published under her own name.

The 1837 all-female Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, the first political meeting of
women in the united states, brought together 174 delegates, about 10 per cent of them black from ten
states to organize support for abolitionism and opposition to racial prejudice. With Lucretia Mott
presiding, the convention began with a reading of Psalm 27 ("The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?"), and delegates followed her lead in interpreting Christianity to mean radical
action against unjust conditions. They unanimously passed resolutions that abolition was "the cause
of God, who created mankind free," that "kind usage" did not exonerate slavery, that "the
combination of interests" between North and South maintained slavery, that fugitive slaves should
not be returned, that petitioning should be continued "with the faith of an Esther," that slavery
"desecrated" both white and black marriages, that education at all levels be sexually and racially
integrated, and that the Free Produce movement be supported. Believing that "an unnatural prejudice
against our colored population is one of the chief pillars of American slavery," they urged whites to
"mingle" with blacks and "to act out the principles of Christian equality by associating with them as
though the color of the skin was of no more consequence than that of the hair, or the eyes."

Controversy arose over women's public speaking, even within this radical group. A resolution
declaring "that as moral and responsible beings the women of America are solemnly called upon by
the spirit of the age and the sign of the times, fully to discuss the subject of slavery," passed without
objection. But the next resolution, which urged "woman, to plead the cause of the oppressed in our
land, and to do all that she can by her voice, and her pen, and her purse, and the influence of her
example, to overthrow the horrible system of American slavery" occasioned "animated and
interesting debate respecting the rights and duties of women" and passed, but not unanimously.
Woman's public use of her "voice," as distinguished from private "discussion," challenged
conventional behaviour and prevailing Christian teachings that the sexes be divided into separate
spheres of activity. The convention moved that woman should disregard "the circumscribed limits
with which corrupt custom and a perverted application of scripture have encircled her" and repeated
this argument in the six publications it
authorized:

Woman is now rising in her womanhood, to throw from her, with one hand, the paltry privilege with
which man has invested her, of conquering by fashionable charms and winning by personal
attraction, whilst with the other, she grasps the right of women to unite in holy co-partnership with
man in the renovation of a fallen world.

3
Deliberately flouting male ministerial authority by claiming full moral and political autonomy for
the female sex was revolutionary. "We Abolition women are turning the world upside down,"
Angelina Grimk¨¦ wrote Sarah Douglass after the convention, referring to the tune "The World
Turned Upside Down," which was played at the British surrender in the American Revolution.
Encouraged by support from other women, the Grimk¨¦s began an extended New England lecture
tour that summer. Speaking to "promiscuous" audiences of both men and women, the sisters
received severe criticism from ministers, authors and antislavery workers. Opposition initially
strengthened their dedication. "If we surrender the right to speak to the public this year," Angelina
Grimk¨¦ wrote two male abolitionists, "we must surrender the right to petition the next year and the
right to write the year after and so on. What then can woman do for the slave when she is herself
under the feet of man and shamed into silence."

Debate widened as the Grimkes continued to lecture and publish works supporting their position.
Many activist women asserted that "in striving to strike (the slave's) irons off, we found most surely
that we were manacled ourselves" as Abby Kelley wrote in 1838. From this realisation, it was a short
step to insist upon emancipation for all women as well as for the women and men trapped in slavery.
"Are we FREE!" Maria Weston Chapman declared at the convention. "It is because we have burst
our manacles in our effort to undo those that weigh so heavily on slaves". To the Grimkes, the
causes merged into a single struggle "My idea is that whatever is morally right for a man to do is
morally right for a woman to do," Angelina wrote in 1837. "This is part of the great doctrine of
Human Rights & can no more be separated from |Emancipation than the light from the heat of the
sun; the rights of slaves & women blend like the colours of the rainbow." This argument informs
Sarah Grimke's 1838 Letters on the Equality of the Sexes, and the Condition of Women, distributed
in Britain as well as the United States. Drawing on the Bible and ranging widely through world
history, Grimke argued for full emancipation from "the bonds of womanhood" - the religious and
political system of male dominance that reduced all women except a few women rulers to teh status
of "slaves" or "dolls". "I need hardly advert these women to teh names of Elizabeth of England,
Maria Theresa of Germany, Catherine of Russia, and Isabella of Spain, to prove that women are
capable of swaying the sceptre of royalty," she wrote. "I mention these women only to prove that
intellect is not sexed; that strength of mind is not sexed and that our views about the duties of men
and the duties of women, the sphere of man and the sphere of woman, are mere arbitrary opinions,
differing in different ages and countries, and dependent solely on the will of erring mortals."

The Second Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, which met in Philadelphia in 1838,
intensified feminists' struggles to participate fully in public life. Unable to find a church or assembly
room in which they could meet, abolitionists built Pennsylvania Hall, a large auditorium dedicated
"to the rights of free discussion". Inviting male sympathisiers to attend, the women convened despite
a threatening mob that broke windows and rioted throughout the convention. Encouraged by their
president, Lucretia Mott, who urged delegates to overcome their "false notions of delicacy and
propriety" about addressing a mixed audience and their fears about "a little appearance of danger"
from the rioters, the audience listened to William Lloyd Garrison, Maria Weston Chapman, Abby
Kelly, Mott herself, and Angelina Gromke Weld (she had married teh abolitionist Theodore Weld in
an egalitarian ceremony the previous week).

The strain of public speaking, even before a sympathetic group, should not be underestimated.
Chapman left teh convention with "brain fever" and never spoke in public again. Sarah Grimke
virtually ceased giving speecges after Boston abolitionists criticised her "peculiar and monotonous"
delivery in 1837. Angelina Grimke Weld withdrew from public life after her marriage and lectured
infrequently thereafter. Abby Kelley, who gave her amiden speech at the convention, became an
anti-slavery agent the following year and lectured widely but testified to the arduousness of her work
at the Worcester women' rights convention in 1851. "I did not rise to make a speech - my life has
been my speech," she told the audience. "For fourteen years I have advocated this cause by my daily
life. Bloody feet, Sisters, have worn smooth the path by which you have come uo hither."

4
Given these difficulties, Lucretia Mott's experience and expertise as a speaker proved crucial. Older
than most of the other antislavery women and an accomplished lecturer accustomed to addressing
audiences, Mott orivided an impressive and consistent example of women's ability to function in a
public forum. Harriet Martineau found her "noble", "firm" and "philosophical" when she heard her
preach in 1836. Henry David Thoreau wrote that "her self possession was something to see, if all
else failed, it did not," after he attended an 1843 lecture. One of the fullest descripions of Mott's
impact on an audience comes from Marianne Finch, an Englishwoman who heard Mott deliver a
sermon against the Fugitive Slave Act in 1851:

A very plainly dressed little woman rose [Mott was thin and barely five feet tall, considered small in
her own day] . . . Taking off her bonnet, [she] revealed a very ugly Quaker cap, an expansive
forhead, and a pair of beautiful soul-lit eyes.
As soon as she spoke, I felt myself her captive. Her voice was inexpressibly sweet, deep-toned, and
earnest. Her manner easy and dignified; her Christianity broad and practical, without bigotry and
mysticism; her words flowed freely, but not supoerfluously, and seemed the best she could have
chosen to express her meaning. Above all, she seemed to take a deep interest in what she said, and
to wish her hearers to do the same. . . Lucretia Mott deserved her fame.

Those present at the 1838 convention and at a later meeting threatened by violence confirmed her
unshaken composure in the face of danger.
On the second day of the Philadelphia convention, the mob swelled to thousands. Refusing to
provide police protection, the mayor advised that black women cease attending. His suggestion was
rejected by the delegates, who walked arm in arm in linked black and white pairs to the convention.
That evening, the mob set fire to the hall, which burned to the ground as the fire department refused
to act. In a meeting the following morning, the antislavery women resolved to increase their
interracial socialising. In the following year, a number f women joined previously all-male
emancipation societies and began to serve on committees as well as continuing to speak in public.

Joyous Greetings: The First International Women's Movement, 1830-1860 by Bonnie S. Anderson

The European as Male


From [Yurugu]

The feminist critique of European society has its roots in the bowels of the European tradition. The
patriarchal nature of early Indo-European religion indicates more than a desire of men to dominate
women. It also results from the association of "maleness" with superiority and "femaleness" with
inferiority. Perhaps the earliest European definition of "self" and "other" was as male and female. In
reaction to a more than 4000-year-old tradition of male control European feministsorganize for an
end to female oppression. Some see the base of their movement in the equality of men and women,
which they translate as "sameness". Others have developed a "feminist ideology", much of which
uses the tenets of an African world-view as its foundation within the category of what Ruether calls
"reform feminism", although they do not identify it as such. The question looms: Why was it the
male in the Indo-European experience who sought separation and dominance rather than the female?
Or did the female share the same ambitions but simply lost out because of disparity in physical
strength? Susan Brownmiller seems to be saying that male domination is related to anatomical
characteristics that allowed the human male to rape the human female. Engels offers a materialist
analysis that links male dominance to the origin of private property. These explanations are not
culture-specific. The concept of [Asili] demands that we be above all culture specific.

In our analysis male domination has a specific history in European culture and is linked to the other
cultural forms in a uniquely "European" manner. This phenomenon should not be understood asa

5
universal, because while it may have similar appearances in different cultures, the degree of intensity
varies as does the relationship to the [Asili] of the culture. Perhaps teh answer to teh question that
looms is that separation and dominance are themselves part of a "male" or "patriarchal" approach to
reality, and that this approach became associated for the European with maleness of gender. Indeed,
I have argued that separation, opposition, and dominance are characteristic of the European
[Utamawazo] and mythoform. This imparts what Eric Neumann would call a "patriarchal
consciousness" to the culture. This consciousness is directed toward control, distance and analysis or
splitting, and it tends to be threatened by the matriarchal nature of consciousness. Neumann says, "A
fundamental development has been to expand the domain of patriarchal consciousness and to draw
to it everything that could possibly be added". The patriarchal nature of European culture in this
deep sense as part of its [Asili] explains many aspects of its development; for instance, why the
tradition embraced Freudian theory but relegated Jungian thought to its lunatic fringes.

In other cultures where we find patterns of female oppression, these patterns do not have the saem
ideological positioning in the culture as they do in the European tradition and therefore are not as
strong. They co-exist in tension with matriarchal philosophies, often matrilineal descent systems,
traditions of female leadership, and strong patterns of female leadership, and strong patterns of co-
operation and associations among females. The literature and ideology of European feminism
reaches towards these cultures for intellectual inspiration and the creation of a new feminie self, or it
attempts to compete with teh patriarchal nature of the European tradition by denying the female and
seeking to dominate the male.
But the analytical mode is not limited to the male gender, and men do not necessarily lack
spirituality. It is the culture which tends to create the dominance of the patriarchal consciousness in
both genders, i.e., in all who participate therein. What is to be leared from African and other non-
European philosophies is the principle of appositional complimentarity. It is not a question of which
gender dominates nor of whetehr everyone can become "male" (that is, take the dominant position),
rather it is a question of whetehr our view of existence dictates the necessary co-operation of
"female" and "male" principles for the success and continuance of the whole.
Plato was very clear on this question, but he was simply developing the Indo-European [Asili] in its
intellectual, ideological form. Not only were males superior, but they were superior in ways that
demanded their control of women. they were more rational, critical and intelligent, more capabale of
grasping higher truths. Only men could be philosophers. In fgact women were not even qualified to
be their lovers. But if we accept for the moment a jungian analysis, the characterstics for which the
Europeans breed were indeed "male": coldness, control, oppositional thought. Even females who
succeed in these terms are incomplete, as the culture is in a continual state of disequilibrium because
of "lopsided" development, since its [Asili] is not based on the principle of complementary or
wholeness, but rather on dominance and destruction.

See: [Map by Opicinus]

6
Going To Places That Scare Me:
Personal Reflections On Challenging Male Supremacy

Hello pga people,


As I understand it, in the run-up to the prep meeting and in order to stimulate debate about the
"gender issue," people have been encouraged to post a few texts about it on this list.
Here is a text that I think is very honest, readable and inspiring and maybe also very relevant to
whati s going on. This is not about witch-hunting or finger pointing or a competition to get the gold
medal in political correctness, it's just about acknowledging the impact that patriarchal society has
had in shaping our (every single one of us) thoughts and actions, and how acknowledging it is one of
the first steps in trying to positively deal with it.

7
cheers now, Kev (kevin@eyfa.org)

Going To Places That Scare Me


Personal Reflections On Challenging Male Supremacy
by Chris Crass; August 21, 2003

Part I:
How can I be sexist? I'm an anarchist!

"What do you mean I'm sexist?" I was shocked. I wasn't a jock, I didn't hate women, I wasn't an evil
person. "But how can I be a sexist, I'm an anarchist?" I was anxious, nervous, and my defenses were
up. I believed in liberation, for fighting against capitalism and the state. There were those who
defended and benefited from injustice and then theres us, right? I was 19 and it was 1993, four year
after I got into politics.
Nilou, holding my hand, patiently explained: "I'm not saying you're an evil person, I'm saying that
you're sexist and sexism happens in a lot of subtle and blatant ways. You cut me off when I'm
talking. You pay more attention to what men say. The other day when I was sitting at the coffeeshop
with you and Mike, it was like the two of you were having a conversation and I was just there to
watch. I tried to jump in and say something, but you both just looked at me and then went back to
your conversation. Men in the group make eye contact with each other and act like women aren’t
even there. The study group has become a forum for men in the group to go on and on about this
book and that book, like they know everything and just need to teach the rest of us. For a long time I
thought maybe it was just me, maybe what I had to say wasn't as useful or exciting. Maybe I needed
to change my approach, maybe I was just over-reacting, maybe it's just in my head and I need to get
over it. But then I saw how the same thing was happening to other women in the group, over and
over again. I'm not blaming you for all of this, but you're a big part of this group and you're part of
this dynamic."
This conversation changed my life and its challenge is one I continue to struggle with in this essay.
This is an essay for other white, middle class, raised male who identify themselves as male,
left/anarchist organizers struggling to build movements for liberation. I want to focus on my own
experience of dealing with issues of sexism and anti-sexism from an emotional and psychological
centered perspective. Im choosing this focus because it is personally challenging, it has proved
effective in working with men against sexism and because of consistent feedback from women who I
organize with not to ignore these aspects of the work. Rona Fernandez of the Youth

Empowerment Center in Oakland writes: "Encourage men/gender privileged folks to examine the
role of emotions (or lack thereof) in their experience of privilege. I'm saying this because I think
men/gender privileged folks also suffer under the system of patriarchy and one of the most
dehumanizing ways they suffer is in their inability/difficulty in expressing feelings."
Clare Bayard of Anti-Racism for Global Justice puts it pointedly in addressing gender privileged
activist men, "It took years of study and hard work to develop your political analysis, why do you
think emotional understanding should just come to you, it requires work as well."

This essay looks to the leadership of women, women of color in particular, who write about and
organize against patriarchy in society and sexism in the movement. The work of Barbara Smith,
Gloria Anzaldua, Ella Baker, Patricia Hill Collins, Elizabeth Betita Martinez, bell hooks and so
many others who provide the political foundations, visions and strategies for the work gender
privileged white men need to do. Additionally, there are more and more gender privileged men in the
movement working to challenge male supremacy. There are thousands of us who recognize that
patriarchy exists, that we have privileges as a result, that sexism undermines movement, that women,
transgendered folks and gender queer people have explained it over and over again and said you all
need to talk with each other, challenge each other and figure out what you're all going to do. And yet
there are far more white men in the movement who agree sexism exists in society, perhaps in the

8
movement, but deny their personal involvement in it. Lisa Sousa, who is part of the San Francisco
Independent Media Center and AK Press, told me that in recent discussions she's had in groups
about sexism and gender, she's heard the following responses from men:

"we are all oppressed", "we should be talking about class", "you are just using gender as a way to
attack such and such".

When she raised the issue that women leave the majority male group soon after joining, the
responses included: "men leave our group too, women are not leaving more, people leave it's a fact
in volunteer organizations", "we just need to recruit more women, if women leave, there's more
where they came from". These comments are so familiar and while it is tempting to distance myself
from the men who made them, it's important that I remember when I made those comments. As a
person who believes in movement building and collective liberation, it's important for me to connect
with the people I'm organizing with. As a person with privilege organizing others with privilege, that
means learning to love myself enough to be able to see myself in people who I would much rather
denounce and distance myself from. It also means being honest about my own experiences. When I
think back to that conversation with Nilou and her explaining how sexism operated. I remember
trying not to shut down and I tried to listen. The word "But" repeated over and over again in my
mind, followed by "It was a misunderstanding", "I didn't mean it that way, I didnt know you felt like
that", "I wasn't trying to do that", "I would love to see you participate more, I don't understand", "no
one said they didn't want to hear what you have to say, we all believe in equality", "I love you and
would never do anything to hurt you", "it was circumstances not sexism", "I don't know what to do."
Looking back ten years later, its amazing to me how often that same list of buts comes running to
mind. I'm more like those other men than I'd like to admit. Nilou spent hours and hours talking with
me about sexism. It was tremendously difficult. My politics were shaped by a clearly defined
dualistic framework of good and bad. If it was true that I was sexist, then my previous sense of self
was in question and my framework needed to shift. Looking back, this was a profoundly important
moment in my growth, at the time it felt like shit.
Two weeks later, at our anarchist study group meeting, Nilou raised her hand. "Sexism is happening
in this group." She listed the examples she had told me. The defensive reaction that I experienced
was now amplified by the 5 other men in the room. Other women started speaking up. They too had
experienced these dynamics and they were tired of taking it. The men were shocked and defensive;
we began listing all the reasons why claims of sexism were simply misunderstandings,
misperceptions. With genuine sincerity we said, "But we all want revolution".
After the meeting, the woman who had been in the group the longest sat me down. April had been
part of the United Anarchist Front for well over a year and she too gave me example after example
of sexist behavior. Men in the group didn't trust her to handle responsibilities, even if they were
newer. She wasn't looked to for information about the group, nor were her opinions asked for on
political questions. Others joined our conversation and men continued to challenge the assertion of
sexism. April put forward an example that she had just clearly explained to me and men denied it as
a misunderstanding. A few minutes later, I restated the exact same example given by April and this
time it was met with begrudging agreement from other men that perhaps in this case it was sexist.
April called it out immediately, I hadnt even fully realized what happened. I looked at April as she
broke it down. April's words coming from my mouth were heard and taken seriously. There it is. I
didnt really want to believe that sexism was happening, but now I saw it. I felt horrible, like a kick to
the stomach. Nilou and April desperately trying to get us to agree that there was a problem. How
could this be happening when I hadn't intended it to? I was scared to say anything. Two months
later, I was sitting in a men's caucus silently. We didn't know what to talk about. More specifically,
we were scared, nervous, dismissive and didn't put energy into creating a useful discussion about
sexism. Nilou and April had suggested we spend a day talking about sexism and we'd start with
caucuses. "What are the women talking about", we asked ourselves. When the group re-united the
discussion quickly turned into women defending themselves, defending their understandings of their

9
own experiences. I felt horrible and struggled to believe what I was hearing. I felt completely
clueless about how to move in a useful way.
Several people of all genders left early in tears, disillusioned and overwhelmed by powerlessness.
My Mom had observed part of our discussion and asked to speak. "You're all taking on enormous
issues and these issues are hard. It makes me happy to see you all at such young ages seriously talk
about it. It shows that you really believe in what you're fighting for and it's a conversation that
doesn't happen in one day." I could feel the heaviness in the room as we looked at each other, many
with tears in their eyes. It was clear that challenging sexism was far more than learning how to make
eye contact with women in group discussions, it was challenging a system of power that operates on
the political, economic, social, cultural, psychological level and my internalized superiority was but
the tip of an iceberg built on exploitation and oppression.

Part II:

What historical class am I in?


"Do you know what class you're in?" Being a white, middle class, male taking Womens Studies and
Ethnic Studies classes for all seven years that I was in school, I was asked that question a lot. In a
Black Women's history class, someone offered to help me figure out where I needed to go. I
understood why people asked me and I understood that the question wasn't just about class as in a
room, but class as in a social category in a white supremacist, patriarchal, heterosexist, capitalist
society hell bent on maintaining control. I knew what class I was coming from and I knew that my
relationship to Women's Studies and Ethnic Studies was complicated. I knew some people didn't
want me in those classes and I knew that my very presence made others feel uncomfortable. And
many of the teachers and some of the students told me that they were glad I was there. It helped me
see how complex these struggles are and that there aren't easy answers. I went to community college
for four years and then San Francisco State for three. The majority of my teachers were women and
people of color. I had grown up in a generally segregated community and had few role models,
authority figures, mentors or teachers who were people of color. What I read and studied in college -
women of color feminism, Black liberation struggle, Chicano/a history, colonialism from the
perspective of American Indian history, labor history and organizing, queer theory, anti-racism from
the perspective of immigrant and refugee women - had a profound impact on me.

However, having people of color and women of color in particular grade me, instruct me and guide
me was incredibly importantto my development on psychological levels that I wasn't necessarily
aware of at the time. Having people of color and women with progressive/left/radical politics leading
my educational development was a subversive shifting of the power relationships that wasn't
mentioned onthe syllabus but was central to my studies. Learning in majority women and people of
color settings also had a deep impact, because it was the first time that I had ever been in situations
where I was a numerical minority on the basis of race or gender. Suddenly race and gender weren't
just issues amongst many, they were central aspects of how others experienced, viewed and
understood the world. The question I sometimes thougtht silently to myself, "why do you always
have to talk about race and gender?", was flipped on its head; "how can you not think about race
and gender all the time?"? Over time I developed a strategy for school. I'd stay pretty quiet for the
first month or so of class, pushing myself to really listen. In the first week of class I'd say something
to clearly identify myself as opposed to white supremacy and patriarchy (sometimes capitalism) as
systems ofoppressions that I benefit from, so people knew where I was coming from. This was
generally met with shock, excitement and a sign of relief. I participated in dialogue more as I tried to
develop trust through listening and being open to the information, histories and stories. While this
strategy incorporated anti-sexist goals, it was also about presenting myself in a certain way.
The other part of the strategy was to participate and raise questions and other perspectives in my
Western Civics, Political Science and other white, male dominated classes. People of color and
women I worked with were clear that this was something they felt I had a responsibility to do. "They

10
expect it from us and dismiss us as angry, emotional, stuck in victim mode. You need to use your
privilege to get heard by white people and men." The goal wasn't to necessarily change the
perspective of the Professor but to open up space for critical dialogue about race, class and gender
with the other students who were mostly white and often mostly male. This was extremely useful
learning as well, because frequently I came across as cold, angry, self-righteous or unsure of myself,
none of which were particularly helpful. If my goal is to yell at men and white people to alleviate my
own guilt and shame for being white and male, then perhaps that's a useful tactic. If my goal is to
actually work with folks to embrace anti-racism and feminism, then I needed to be more complex
and real with myself. I grew up believing that I was a lone individual on a linear path of progression
with no past. History was a set of dates and events that, while interesting to learn, had little or no
relationship to my life. I was just a person, doing my own thing. Then I started to learn that being
white, male, middle class, able-bodied, mostly heterosexual and a citizenof the United States meant
that not only did I have privileges, but that I was rooted in history. I was a part of social categories -
white, male, hetero, middle class. These are all groups that have history and are shaped by history.
Part of being in those groups means being deemed normal, the standard which all others are judged.
My images of just being my own person were now joined by images of slave ships, indigenous
communities burned to the ground, families destroyed, violence against women, white ruling class
men using white poor men to colonize white women, peoples of color and the Earth.

I remember sitting in an African American women's history class, one of two white people, one of
two men, the other 15 people Black women and I'm the only white man. We were studying slavery,
Ida B. Wells anti-lynching campaign and the systematic raping of enslaved African women by white
male slave owners - millions of rapes, sanctioned and protected by law. Simultaneously hundreds of
Black men were lynched by white men who claimed to be protecting white women from Black male
rapists. I sat there with my head down and I could feel history in my nauseated stomach and in my
eyes filling with tears. Who were those white men and how did they feel about themselves? I was
scared to look into the faces of the Black women in that room. "While there is mixing of races
because of love," the Professor said, "our people are so many shades of Black because of generation
after generation of institutionalized rape." Who am I and how do I feel about myself?

Part III:

This struggle is my struggle

"I haven't the faintest notion what possible revolutionary role white heterosexual men could fulfill,
since they are the very embodiment of reactionary-vested-interest-power." - Robin Morgan from the
Introduction of Sisterhood is Powerful

Face your fear


the fear is you
you cannot run
you cannot hide
thefear is you
in the end,
what have you done
can it be true that the damage you bring is greater then the good you make
face your fear
embrace your fear
the pain inside is the truth inside
let it out
let it out
when the socialization is gone
what is left

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the fear is more real then the hope you create
where will you go
what will you do
let it all go cuz it's already you
can I move forward
can I move forward
open it all up
you know it's all true
the hope is you

White boy emo-hardcore, I have and do go through periods of hating myself, feeling guilty, afraid. I
know in my heart that I had a role in liberation struggle and I know through practice that there was
useful work that I could do, but still the question haunts me, "Am I just fooling myself?" That is, am I
fooling myself to believe that I am more useful then problematic. To be clear, I think Robin
Morgan's quote is useful to struggle with, but not to get stuck on. I grew up believing that I was
entitled to everything. I could go anywhere and do anything and wherever I went I would be
wanted/needed. Patriarchy and heterosexism also taught me, in subtle and blatant ways, that I was
entitled to women's bodies, that I was entitled to take up space and put my ideas and thoughts out
there whenever I wanted to, without consideration for others. This is a very different process of
socialization than most other people in this society who are told to shut up, keep it to themselves,
hide who they really are, get out of the way and to never forget how lucky they are to be allowed
here to begin with. I think its healthy to not assume you're always needed, to learn to share space and
power and to work with others to realize the role that you in fact can and should play. What is
unhealthy is how rare it is for gender privileged men to talk with each other about these issues and
support eachother through the process.

Laura Close, an organizer with Students for Unity in Portland, discussed this in her essay, Men in
the Movement. She writes, "Every day young men wake up and decide to get involved in activism.
Often they encounter language and discussions about their male privilege that alienate and silence
them without anyone actually supporting them to decolonize their minds. Consider what it would be
like for ally men to take our younger/newer guys out to coffee and talk about his own experiences as
a guy in the movement. Talk about what you've learned! Consider what it would mean for men to
cheer on other men who are making progress towards becoming allies." She put out a challenge for
men to mentor other men engaging in anti-sexist work. I knew she was right, but the idea of really
doing it made me nervous. Sure, I had plenty of close gender privileged friends, but to make a
political commitment to develop relationships with other men and open up with them about my own
struggles with sexism seemed terrifying. Terrifying because I could handle denouncing patriarchy
and calling out other men from time to time, but to be honest about my own sexism, to connect
political analysis/practice to my own emotional/psychological process, to be vulnerable? Pause.
Vulnerable to what? Remember when I said that in Womens Studies classes I would identify myself
as opposed to patriarchy, white supremacy and sometimes capitalism? The level of consciousness of
feminism, let alone political commitment to it amongst most gender privileged men in college was
so low that just reading one feminist book and saying I recognize that sexism exists mean't I was
way advanced.

While the level of consciousness and commitment is generally higher in activist circles, it's not that
much higher. I have had two major struggles going on most of my political life - genuinely wanting
to be down for the cause and feeling a deep level of fear that I wasn't coming anywhere close to that
commitment. It's far easier for me to make declarations against patriarchy in classrooms, political
meetings and in writing then it is to practice feminist politics in my personal relationships with
friends, family and partners. This is particularly difficult when political men, like myself, make so
little time to talk with each other about this. What am I afraid to admit? That I struggle everyday to
really listen to voices I identify as women's. I know my mind wanders quicker. I know that my

12
instant reaction is take men's opinions more seriously. I know that when I walk into rooms full of
activists I instantly scan the room anddivide people into hierarchies of status (how long they've been
active, what groups they've been part of, what they've written and where its been published, who are
their friends). I position myself against them and feel the most competitive with men. With those I
identify as women, the samestatus hierarchies are tallied, but sexual desirabilty enters my
heteromindset. What is healthy sexual attraction and desire and how does it relate to and survive my
training to systematically sexualize women around me? This gets amplified by the day-to-day reality
that this society presents women as voiceless bodies to serve hetero-male desire, we know that. But
what does it mean for how I communicate with my partners who are women and who I organize
with? How does it translate into how I make love, want love, express love, conceptualize love?
I'm not talking about whetheror not I go down on my partner or say I love you, I'm talking about
whether or not I truly value equality in our relationships over getting off on a regular basis.The fact
that my partners have provided far more emotional and financial support then I have for them. I'm
talking about having almost never zoned-out on what a gender privileged man is saying because I
thought about him sexually. I've repeatedly found myself zoned-out thinking about sex while
listening to women speak who are organizers, leaders, visionaries, my friends, my comrades. I'm all
about crushes, healthy sexual desire and pro-sex politics, thats not what I'm talking about. I'm talking
about power, entitlement and womens leadership marginalized by hetero male desire. I wish I didn't
get defensive on a regular basis, but I do. I get frustrated and shut down conversations about how
power operates between my partner and I. I get defensive about how the world interacts with us and
how that influences our dynamics. I know that there are times when I say, ok, I'll think more about it
when really Im thinking, leave me alone. This isnt a confessional so that I will be forgiven. This is
an on-going struggle to be honest about how deeply shaped I am by patriarchy and the sesystems of
oppression.
Patriarchy tears me up. I have so many fears about whether or not I'm capable of being in healthy
loving relationships; fears about whether or not I can be genuinely honest and connected with myself
so that I can then open up and share with others; fears about organizing to genuinely build and share
power with others. The scars of patriarchy are on every single person I interact with and when I push
myself to see it, to really look and take the time to think about it, I'm filled with sadness and rage.
bell hooks, in her book All About Love, writes that love is impossible where the will to dominate
exists. Can I genuinely love? I want to believe. I want to believe in a political practice for gendered
privileged men forged in opposition to patriarchy.
I do believe that as we struggle against oppression, as we practice our commitments, we actualize
and express our humanity. There are moments, experiences and events when I see patriarchy
challenged by all genders andit shows what we can do. I believe that this is our lives work and that at
its core its a fight for our lives. And in this fight we realize that even in the face of these systems of
oppression, our love, beauty, creativity, passion, dignity and power grows. We can do this.
Post Script: we must walk to make the struggle real. While its necessary to get into the hard
emotional and psychological issues, there is also an endless supply of conrete steps we can take to
challenge male supremacy. An organizer working on Palestinian Liberation wrote me saying,

somethings gender privileged people can do:

offer to take notes in meetings,


make phone calls,
find meeting locations,
do childcare,
make copies and other less glamorous work.
Encourage women and gender oppressed people in the group to take on roles men often dominate
(e.g. tactical, mc-ing and event, media spokespeople).
Ask specific women if they want to do it and explain why you think they would be good (don't
tokenize).
Pay attention to who you listen to and check yourself on power-tripping.

13
She is one of hundreds of thousands of women and gender oppressed people who has outlined clear,
concrete action steps that people with gender privilege can take to challenge sexism and work for
liberation. There is an abundant supply of work to be done. The larger issue for me has been, what
will it take for me to actually do that work, to actually prioritize it and follow through on it? In
additional to men talking with each otheras discussed above, we also need to hold each other
accountable to follow through. There are a lot of heavy emotional issues that come up in doing this
work and its critical that we help keep each other from getting lost and help each other take concrete
steps forward. Asking ourselves:

How does our work support the leadership of women?


How am I working to sharepower in my organizing?
How am I making myself open to hearing feedback from gender oppressed people about my work?

Each of these questions generates next steps to make it happen. Examining and challeng ingprivilege
is a necessary aspect of our work, but its not enough. Men working with other men to challenge male
supremacy is just one of many, many strategies needed to develop women-led, multiracial, anti-
racist, feminist, queer and trans-liberationist, working class based, anti-capitalist movements for
collective liberation. We know that sexism will work to undermine movement building. The
question is, what work will we do to help build movement and in the process expand our ability to
love ourselves and others.

Much love to the editorial crew on this essay: Clare Bayard, Rachel Luft, J.C . Callender, Nilou
Mostoufi, April Sullivan, Michelle O'Brien, Elizabeth Betita Martinez, Sharon Martinas, Roxanne
Dunbar-Ortiz, Rahula Janowski and Chris Dixon
Further Reading:

Patricia Hill Collins: Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of
Empowerment
-bell hooks: Feminist Theory from Margin to Center
Paul Kivel: Mens Work: How to Stop the Violence that Tears Our Lives Apart
Maria Mies: Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: women in the international division
of labour
Barbara Smith: The Truth that Never Hurts: writings on race, gender and freedom

Thoughts on masculine (de) construction and anti-capitalist activism

This text was first written in the context of the European People's Global Action conference, late
August 2002 in Leiden, which over the course of a week brought together a few hundred anti-
capitalist activists from all over Europe. Patriarchy was supposed to be a topic relevant to all issues
and therefore more or less addressed in every debate. Finally, it turned out to be mostly absent. This
text was first aimed at men involved in anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist spaces and struggles. I
hope that it can be of interest for others. This text refers to a ‘we’ in which I include myself, and if it
sometimes poses difficult questions, its primarily aimed at questioning myself. It's inspired by
various discussions in mixed and non-mixed groups inside the ‘Sans-Titre’ non-network (a French
anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian experiment). I hope that it won't be understood as a moralist
diatribe, but as a hopeful invitation to constructive self-reflection and action on the basis of this.

‘Prealable’:
To those who believe that patriarchal oppression in our soceity is a thing of the past (others can skip
directly to the next paragraph): During the past century in ‘rich’ countries, capitalism has grudgingly

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allowed women (up until then virtually slaves) to have access to the ‘freedoms’ of paid work and
consumerism. Apart from this, we can also acknowledge several undeniable changes in the rights
and status of women over the course of the past few centuries which have been the result of years of
underground resistance and collective feminist struggles for more freedom and autonomy: the right
to financial autonomy, birth control, the recognition of the right to have a fulfilling sexuality,
increased participation in social and political life, and the start of men's contribution to household
tasks. These gains and theoretical changes of status remain few and insufficient. The fundamental
structures of patriarchal domination and gender differentiation remain largely unchanged
housework is still largely considered to be the woman's responsibility, and the ‘double shift’ of job +
housekeeping is the common reality in a majority of families.
inside the public sphere (be it in workplaces, leftist collectives, companies or political institutions)
organisational and decision-making roles are distributed mainly amongst men.
women are still generally thought of and educated as weak creatures, short-sighted, irrational and
ruled by their feelings and emotions. This is in contrast to men, who are rational creatures with the
power to reason and change the world (with their technical capacities).
men are still viewed as the norm and women as the ‘deviation’ from this norm.
since the beginning of courtship and the construction of western culture in the 12th century, man has
had prove his valour by accomplishing feats, while the woman's role is generally restricted to being
passively seduced and appearing by the man's side like a trophy.
women are depicted as objects of sexual consumption, selling points, before ever being credited with
speech and reason.
women are still the first victims of rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, intimidation, threats,
fear of going out alone and of all the associated trauma that these experiences bring.
the right for women to derive pleasure from their bodies is often contested, or accepted so long as it
comes from submission to men's sexuality.
women still, under social pressure, must obey to alienating beauty norms.

Alright, I'll stop the list...This isn't the purpose of this text. Thankfully, exceptions to this norm are
more and more frequent in certain contexts. Nonetheless they still remain facts. For statistics, info,
and analysis, a small bibliography can be found at the end of this text.

Patriarchy and the capitalist system within us


Let's start with two definitions to understand the meanings of these words in the text. These are
fairly personal since I find the dictionary to be quite patriarchal and capitalist regarding such matters.

Patriarchy:
The economical, political, social, sexual and legal system historically founded on the authority of the
father from the private sphere (the family) to the public sphere, and characterized by men's
domination over women. (see examples above)

Capitalism:
The economical, political and social system founded on the private property of means of production
and exchanges. In the capitalist system, the primary dynamic is the quest for profit and competition
between companies. According to Marxist theory, capitalism is based on the search for profit derived
from exploitation of workers by those who retain the means of production and exchange. I might add
that the distinction between these two classes is not always as simple as one might think. More
generally capitalism implies the domination of the most powerful over the less powerful at every
level of the social ladder.

The aim of this text is not to merge patriarchy and capitalism into one problem, but to link certain
aspects of both. Theoretically, we could imagine a large number of women appropriating values and
privileges currently held by men and specific to capitalism, which would mean a hypothetical
capitalist society with a much lesser degree of gender based oppression. We could also imagine

15
capitalism to disappear and patriarchal oppression to remain just as present, as would have been the
case in many of pre-capitalist societies. Nevertheless, these two systems of oppression often rest on a
set of complementary and common values. A huge difference is that in patriarchy, men are for the
most part oppressors and beneficiaries, whereas a majority of both men and women are victims in
the capitalist system.... This doesn't mean that all women are victims of patriarchy to the same
extent, nor that all men equal in the extent of their participation in patriarchal oppression. There are
also, of course, men who are oppressed because they don't want to/can not correspond to masculine
values: ‘shy’, unsure of themselves, ‘weak’, ‘sweet’, ‘gentle’...The specificity of women in regard to
these oppressions is that these diverse traits which are automatically attributed to them as belonging
to a category, and considered as natural, which makes it harder for them to escape from. The
patriarchal culture which has characterised our societies for the past few millennia, is a culture based
on competition, power and domination. In this society, educational and infra-structural capacities are
first awarded to men to be competitive, to gain power and to dominate others, starting with women.
These values of power and domination are promoted as positive values and judgement criteria.
These are deeply rooted within each of us and define our self-esteem, our sensitivity and our
relationships, whether sexual, friendly, inside the family or at work...

They are driving forces of capitalist and state social relations: economic and political competition
between corporations and parties, competition at every level of the social ladder between
individuals, the will to accumulate and centralise power and riches. We could also underline the
parallel between economical and practical dependency of women inside the traditional family
structure, and the growing dependency of a large part of the population on the elite's technological
knowledge and tools.
Both of these systems, the former rooted in the private sphere, the latter in the public sphere, are
complementary and mutually reinforce each other. Logically, a coherent critical analysis of one can
help us to better understand and criticize the other. It may even be vain to want to change the values
of any one these spheres if we continue to accept them in the other. This doesn't necessarily
condemn the legitimacy and/or the strategic interest of steps in specific struggles in one or the other
of these issues.
We can also highlight various cases in which the very foundations of capitalist society relies on
patriarchal structures:

The free maintenance of salaried production tools (housekeeping, food, child care, emotional
support)
The creation of a category of under-paid workers
The separation of individuals into families instead of collective or communitarian structures
potentially harder to subjugate
The exploitation of sexual frustration and using women as objects to create and maintain
consumerist impulses.

These few examples show us that by confronting patriarchy, we have a chance of undermining some
of the structural underpinnings of capitalism. The problem of anti-capitalist critique is that it
constantly targets external power structures. The interest of feminist critique, more centred on the
individual, is that it offers the tools necessary to understand the mechanisms of oppression from
inside and the way we integrate and personally reproduce these systems of power and domination in
our social, intimate and daily relations, ranging from the manner in which we express ourselves to
our relation to technology. This doesn't exclude the accuracy of class analysis (men/women or
proletariat/bourgeois) but enriches it with an indispensable self-questioning (a process that we still
have great difficulties to accept and which surely explains, at least in part, systematic anger rushes
caused by feminist theories). The enemy which we usually try to confront in the street is in fact also
inside of everyone of us. Without confronting patriarchal culture, we can destroy as many G8, world
bank, corporations and state summits as we want, we'll surely end up creating all over again exactly

16
the same types of social relations. You can't change society without changing the individual, just as
you can't start a revolution without having already experienced different ways of life.

The emancipation of men?

The problem of patriarchy doesn't only relate to women's oppression and anti-capitalist struggles. As
men we can also analyse how much patriarchal culture can also make us suffer and is in opposition
to our emancipation and the construction of different social relationships. We're obviously
actors/agents, but also often victims of constantly needing to stay competitive, strong, of feeling the
need to dominate others even in our own ‘alternative’ spaces and collectives. But we're usually
afraid to question these attitudes, as they constitute our male sense of selfworth and give us roles of
power. We also suffer from a sexual culture of inevitable masculine domination that is generally a
safeguard for the complementary structure of couples/family/state. To do so, this culture bases our
sexuality on violence, frustration, extremely restrictive norms, and repression. To this regard, Reich
and his book ‘Sexual Revolution’ still has some relevance. On this particular issue, he shows that a
deconstruction of masculinity could bring a great potential to destroy capitalist society.

Activism for men


Many of us, European activists, involved in various collectives, are white, heterosexual, middle-class
men. We've been educated to feel strong, self-confident with our ideas and analyses, to be able to
speak loud and to fight to show that we're better than others. It makes us skilled in the art of
‘meeting warfare’. We are capable in various highly valued areas and specific technical fields such
as building, repairing, computer work. Other people, and especially women, generally suffer from a
cultural and educational background – even sometimes in left middle-class intellectual families -
which have prevented them from acquiring these nice patriarchal tools. Some often feel
disempowered in the activist culture and it's ways of doing things that are supposed to be so
different. Many of them are quickly sick of it, others have great difficulties to assert themselves
inside it.

Let's only give a few examples of this patriarchal activism:


In our actions and the mythology that we build around, we keep on glorifying the most
spectacular/confrontational aspects and the situations in which male heroes can rise on the stage of
activism. To take a common example, we'll pay a lot more attention to the one who has dropped the
banner than to anyone who painted it. More care to the stones thrown at cops than to the time spent
talking about new repressive laws with people in the street (which doesn't mean that we shouldn't
drop banner or throw more stones at cops, men and women together... it's another debate).
In many situations, we can feel a constant pressure to show how courageous we are, how much we
don’t give a shit about repression and are ready for revenge, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
I'm pro-direct action and I'm not against various strategies that include what some would consider to
be ‘violent,’ but not when it turns in a contest of testosterone, that sometimes strategically blind us,
and can also quickly exclude many.

Even if some types of methodologies are useful in their efficiency (if taken as reaching our goal with
positive and equalitarian political methods and without alienating collectives and individuals), we
should also be conscious that a typically masculine understanding of efficiency (meaning doing
things as fast as possible by those who know best how to do them) disempowers and excludes many,
especially women. We could say the same of our tendencies to compile as many spectacular events
as we can instead of giving time for long-term and sometimes more efficient campaigns.

The justifications that we always have to keep on doing things instead of others (“it
will be less tiring, safer, better done”) often hide old sexist gallantry, be it in activist or more
personal environments. We often give priority to technical discussions and fellowship between
specialists without facilitating the participation of others (but rather to stay spectators).

17
We're constantly developing relations of the type ‘ I know better, I do better...’ where we mostly try
to show that we are more radical, stronger, that we're right or that we were there, that we've been
listened to, that we’ve been involved since a long time, that we made great sacrifices for the cause.

Regarding the relationships in the anti-capitalist radical scene, I often wonder whether we're happy
to see people doing good things and changing the world together through various ways, or if we're in
fact sometimes secretly or openly eager to see other groups or collectives stagnate or have
difficulties. Do we sincerely want other people to do cool things and help them to do so, or do we
want to be seen as the most prestigious?
We sometimes end up reproducing party type politics (‘I agree with him because he's my friend’)
hiding important and needed political debates (often pushed by oppressed minorities) for the sake of
unity.
The examples described here could seem to be excessively negative and critical, but many situations
have shown how greatly they can paralyse our movements on a large scale.

The pseudo-importance of gender questions in our collectives

We have all experienced meetings in which premises of debates end with this sad joke - “Yes,
gender issues are really important, but let's reach a decision/organise this debate/plan this action first.
We'll deal with it next time...’ Efficiency is always a good excuse. It's an example among many
others of the, often conveniently ignored, way in which we give priority to certain struggles and wait
for the day of revolution and the end of capitalism to deal seriously with patriarchy (or power
structures in our collectives, or incoherencies between our ideas and practices...). We always
consider ourselves as anti-sexist, but how much time do we truly take to work on the issue of
patriarchy? When we address this issue in a mixed context, it's generally restrained to what's
happening far from us, or to a depressing list along the lines of ‘men do/don't do this; women
do/don't do that’(see the first paragraph of this text) without any more analysis and/or real potential
to move towards concrete changes. If we only count the initiatives taken by straight/hetero men,
anti-sexism in the radical, anti-capitalist movements, mainly appears to be a superficial folklore. We
sometimes debate but let women take real initiatives on the issue. And the women who do it are
often judged and condemned, as some accuse them of acting in too confrontational a manner (when
they disturb the great consensus of masculine fellowship, or point to the inconsistencies between
theory and individual practices. Just think about the extremely tense reactions that arise when non-
mixed spaces or meetings are suggested during meetings, debates, action camps...). The result is that
many women who have a will to struggle against patriarchal society end up by giving up actions,
collectives and mixed movements such as PGA.

Changing...a few specific ideas

Gender issues should be a major focus in every one of our collectives and every action - why is this
action generally organised by white middle-class men? What can we concretely do to change this
situation and to create a comfortable frame for others? Are we ready to take time for all this? Here
are a few ideas:

Allocate time and space for non-mixed meetings between men and between women inside each
collective
Intervene every time we perceive the habitual division between tasks taken care of by women or men
in our collectives, places, meetings and activities
Clearly formalised structures for meetings (for example by way of hand signals/gestures, clear
agendas, turns of speech, clear reports, moderators, a fluid decision-making process to reach
consensus, giving priority to people who don't usually express themselves, etc.) help at the very least
to feel at ease during meetings, and to break the monopoly of the big mouths

18
Often, women who take care of children must reduce the time they might want to spend on militant
activities. Political groups should take concrete measures to collectively take care of children at
times when their mothers wish to take part in activities. At the PGA conference, some activists from
London described how they had occupied a nursery that was on the verge of closing down after
having been privatised. These people tried to self-manage the nursery and turned it into a social
centre for the neighbourhood with baby-sitting services.
One should also take time to think about ostentatious pro-feminist attitudes that can easily hide a
superficial strategy of acknowledgement, seduction, maybe even paternalist attitudes and re-
appropriation of feminist struggles. To my mind, this doesn't mean that one shouldn't discuss
patriarchal themes with women, but rather that we should question a minimum our reasons and ways
of doing it.
If you know how to make a bomb... Other basic and funny strategies to subvert patriarchal culture
starting with ourselves and ultimately ending up with (why not?) the whole world

We assume that most of the differences between men and women are neither essential, nor
permanent, neither rooted in any natural or religious transcendental order. For the most part, these
differences are the result of our socialization and of cultural and economical circumstances
throughout history. It is still possible for us to intervene freely on these differences and to modify
them as we please (even if it's hard work that can take generations...). I modestly present here a
paradigm for this process of change. A paradigm that can be freely recycled, changed or developed.

1) Ingredients and goals

Our first task is to try to define and analyse methodically what, in our patriarchal culture, is more
often attributed to men on one side, and to women on the other. We should then attempt to perceive
the various ways in which these differences are used by some to dominate others. We can assume
that there are presently good and bad things, to keep or to reject, in both masculine and feminine
specific social attributes. Therefore, a potential aim would be to build a society in which, what we
believe as fulfilling could be equally shared on an egalitarian basis, such as self-confidence,
technical/practical capacities, the care given to others, communication skills, creating beautiful
things, practical things, cooking, growing vegetables, repairing a computer or building a wall...

2) Pastry-making theory and the re-composition of the ingredients

A second step would be to evaluate our various capacities, what they can offer us in both positive
and negative aspects, what we would like to keep and transform for a society that would be less ugly.
None of these qualities are intrinsically good or wrong. It all depends on our use of it, and of our
capacities to transform it: for example, masculine self-confidence as it is presently expressed often
oppresses others. But it also potentially offers fulfilling potentials to individuals. It can initiate huge
dynamics, the will to surpass oneself and to change things. This step should bring us many
theoretical questions, both profound and instructive, such as: how to keep the will to change things
without competition, how to keep sexual desire without domination, the capacity to talk and to argue
without predominantly using it to win people over... Pastry theory is a process that needs to be
constantly renewed.

3) Practice and pastry mix

We should then develop practices through which men and women could acquire positive social
benefits of each gender. Aim to exchange knowledge (skill-sharing), slow the pace of what we
usually do and take the time to explain it to others. Increase the value of some things that are usually
discredited (house cleaning for example) and explore new activities. We mainly define our social
role, even in the activist world, by our activities (be they cooking, flyer writing, meeting, cleaning,
painting, communicating with others..). We are more than often too afraid to give up this rôle. We

19
are afraid to loose some of the privileges it gives us. We are also often afraid to try to do something
new when there's already someone that does it well. We should nevertheless take time to get out of
our shell, to do things that we aren't used to, and to offer space for others in the activities that we
usually monopolise (which can take time before working efficiently). This process should be guided
by the will to get away from our usual foci in order to feel things from new perspectives, to find new
beautiful things... An important tool for this can be to have spaces at our disposal that are protected
enough for us to feel comfortable to experiment within them. It is important that these spaces (like
some squats, autonomous places, collective housings) are not just spaces of public activities but also
of collective daily life: living spaces!

4) Incorporating exotic ingredients

Freeing ourselves from patriarchal culture means starting with what we have in terms of
redistributing and recreating our old gender habits, but it also means doing something new: creating
new words (because our language structures our relationship to the world - I've used in this text,
quite paradoxically, a certain amount of typically manly and warlike language concepts in order to
subvert others), inventing new feelings, new couples or non-couples relationships, inventing
qualities and styles that don't exist yet, spaces and actions that make us live differently. All the
stories, pictures, movies, situations that we have lived with, especially as kids, have slowly
constructed our sensitivity, our ways of having sex, what we find as beautiful, exciting, what make
us cry or make us stronger. We have all felt how difficult it can be to combine newly learnt
theoretical ideas and analysis with our sensitivity. Renewed debate and thought, rational will to
change our feelings toward things can help us, little by little, to make sensitivity change.
Nevertheless, it's often difficult, as pictures and fictions constantly push us back to a standardized
sensitivity. Moreover, even if we change individually or in communities, these pictures and fictions
will continue to shape the desires and frustrations of the generations that will follow us. Sensitivity
needs to be fed on dreams and stories, our theoretical ideas need a new imaginary world. A struggle
aimed at deconstructing masculinity should therefore spend time building a new subversive culture
(be it through books, music, painting, theatre, movies) which would give us pictures and feelings of
de-gendered society and of the necessary struggles and tensions to reach it.

Beware!

The repetition of these operations could make us compose a new world where everybody could be
free to live diverse and fulfilling feelings, practices and sexualities, without having one's desires and
potentials determined by being born male or female. So... LET'S DREAM !

PS:
This text predominantly proposes ideas and actions for men in the frame of mind to question
patriarchy and masculinity. However, in the last part ‘how to make a bomb’, I've considered mixed
dynamics as I state only really general ideas. But I have to say that I find it really problematic,
profiting in many aspects from this oppressive system, to give my opinion on whatever women
should or should not do. The fact that this text is addressed to men doesn't imply that men are the
only actors of this system and the only one who have to question and change. Patriarchy, as with
every oppressive system, is often accepted and maintained from both sides, so initiatives and a will
to emancipate ourselves are needed from both sides. But to start with, many women have struggled
for ages with these issues without much support. Moreover, as a man, it seems to me really counter-
productive and dangerous to focus on what women should or should not do and what they do well or
wrong. We'll never act instead of them and should never wish to do so... So instead of taking the rôle
of external judges, let's first take care of what we can do ourselves. As oppressors, it could even be
easier for us, in many regards, to break this system, with a little bit of good will.

20
Nicolu - dijon -janvier 03 - nicolu at chutelibre.org – with the great help of juules and others for the
still unsatisfaying english translation To be read :... As most of my documentations was in french, I'll
have to find english ressources and you'll have to wait a little bit for that.

A few more reflections on the usefulness of men-only groups as a tool to struggle against patriarchy
and oppressive masculinity

The idea of women-only and men-only groups, practices and actions is often rejected and badly
mistaken as a segregationist strategy or a way to reproduce gender differences. Most of the anti-
authoritarian feminist groups I know, in European countries at least, use women-only groups as one
of the best ways they have to understand the oppressions they suffer from, and to emancipate and
empower themselves. Most of these feminist, as far as I know, don't do it on a seperationist basis and
still develope mixed lives, activities and discussions. Throughout history, groups of oppressed
people (be it proletarians, slaves, black people, colonised people, indigenous people, GLBTQIs...)
made the choice to have some times and spaces specifically between themselves to organise against
their oppression and oppressors.
Even if many men and anarchists, feeling threatened, criticize without taking the time to try to
understand the positive aspects of women's groups, it's women's perfectly legitimate choice to do so.
It's not really for me to explain it more and I'd rather focus on something different in many regards
but that I've experienced as really useful and a great tool to positively and collectively confront
masculinity: men-only groups.
Let's make it clear that I don't see men-only group as an aim in itself. It's a means to help building
the mixed and degendered society that we can dream of. I would also add that, in my experiences,
men-only groups didn't look like a popular tribunal/court, puritan confessional or collective therapy
where men would have to judge themselves or to compete to be the best pro-feminist. They're on the
contrary aimed at being a place where men share a common goal of feeling comfortable to talk and
to change themselves and help others. We are also taking care not to end by just reinforcing the
usual masculine solidarity against women (some men-only movements, especially in the US are just
conservative, essentialists and pro-masculinists and have nothing to do with what we fight for).
Anti-patriarchal male groups do not work by the fact it's a men-only group. Society is full of men-
only discussions and spaces (bars, sport clubs, groups of friends, some collectives) that often just
reflect patriarchal and virile relationships between men. Anti-patriarchal men´s groups work when
some men choose to do something that rarely happens - taking some formal and organised time to
discuss and struggle against patriarchy. If we seriously want to confront masculinity, we need deep
and serious talks about a lot of personal, intimate and difficult issues. We can consider ourselves
anti-sexist and struggle with it for years, our mixed collectives/discussions/groups will still
sometimes reflect a lot of oppression, focus on seduction, fears, frustrations, angers that make us feel
secure in disclosing ourselves and showing emotional vulnerability.
Non-mixed groups give the possibility to get out of the usual competitive arena. I've seen myself and
many other men addressing personal issues that they would never have talked about (at least before)
in mixed groups and debates. One of the basic reasons for men’s groups to work sometimes so
efficiently is that a discussion is always easier when you share a common experience with people
around, and can sometimes be uncomfortable when you have to speak of something that doesn't
necessarily give you the role of the good guy in front of people who could feel oppressed in that
situation. It's good to go beyond this, but men-only groups offer a way to question ourselves,
perceive that we share problems and feelings with others, and feel more confident to change. It can
help to develop, step by step, more sincere and productive discussions in mixed groups.
In my experience we usually, collectively don't take much time and initiative as men to speak about
patriarchy. We often follow feminists and at the best say they're right. There are a lot of ‘uneasy
issues’ that we usually skip in informal situations. Men´s groups are a way to do our part of the job
as men and to try to change ourselves while women use women´s groups to do so... It can help us

21
reach better relations and understandings of oppression when we go back to our mixed groups,
discussions and lives.
Our relations between men are, to me at least, really frustrating, with constant competition and
pressure to be the strongest, smartest, funniest, the one who knows the most and acts and speaks the
best. While those who are not so good at whatever it is, can just shut up and listen. These
relationships are often enclosed inside rigid norms that prevent us from many great feelings,
discussions, physical exchanges. Changing our relations to women is therefore only part of the job,
changing our relations to other men is one of the most important things that we can start doing
through men-only groups.

Hosannah pour Le Châtre-Nègre

As I read Thoughts on Masculinity (de)construction and anti-capitalist activism I became quite


disturbed about what I was reading.

It is quite a skillfully written text which hides its patriarchal proposals behind a superficial pro-
feminism. It is also written in a manner which helps to psychologise and de-politicise any discussion
of gender. It also expresses quite a deep [institutional racism] and defends middle class elitism. The
writer attempts to thwart a possible direct confrontation with such disarming critiques as:

"We're constantly developing relations of the type ‘ I know better, I do better...’ where we mostly try
to show that we are more radical, stronger, that we're right or that we were there, that we've been
listened to, that we’ve been involved since a long time, that we made great sacrifices for the cause."

My problem is that I have been faced with an abusive text, which I feel requires a confrontational
approach - how else can we deal with such oppressive behaviour. So let's deconstruct the
deconstruction:

After a few paragraphs which rehearses an understanding of women's oppression, we then have the
emancipation of men. Pretty soon we get:

The problem of patriarchy doesn't only relate to women's oppression and anti-capitalist struggles.
As men we can also analyse how much patriarchal culture can also make us suffer and is in
opposition to our emancipation and the construction of different social relationships.

So suddenly we are into "men-identified men". Suddenly women are being squeezed out of the
debate. We are no longer thinking of ourselves as human beings, but as gendered beings. "Men"
welcomed in and the others pushed to the perifery of the discourse. Suddenly the author is speaking
for all men. The opening paragraph contained a giveaway:

This text refers to a ‘we’ in which I include myself, and if it sometimes poses difficult questions, its
primarily aimed at questioning myself.

Clearly this is disengenuous. People question themselves by questioning themselves, whereas this
text has been put out for discussion. "Men" are being drawn into collusion with the author, into
identifting with his disturbing views. However what is meant by "men" quickly becomes apparent:
"Many of us, European activists, involved in various collectives, are white, heterosexual, middle-
class men." So this where the pitch is at. Suddenly we are talking not about men but White Men.
Let's just pause a moment and consider how issues of gender have been part of the construction of
racism in European culture:

22
One of the much vaunted acheivements of the European "enlightenment" is the rise of scientific
thought providing a new form of rationalism sweeping aside the superstitions of religious
obscuranticism. An integral part of this involved a great deal of confusion over whether African
people were human or not. And from this arose the word mulatto, used to refer to someone with one
African and one European parent. The word is derived from mule which is the sterile offspring of a
male donkey and a female horse.

Are mules fertile?

Like many other mammalian hybrids, mules are considered infertile. This is despite the fact that in
both male and female mules the internal and external sexual organs are quite normal and both have
the normal sexual urges. The explanation is a bit lengthy but lies mostly in the chromosomes and
their inability to completely pair up in the mule. Although not fully understood, from 1527 to 1990
approximately 60 live births of foals to mules had been reported in Europe, the U.S., South America,
North Africa and China. Quite a bit of study has gone into the infertility of mules and the few
reported live foal births from mules, but until a modern birth is fully investigated and found to be
substantiated through science, it would definitely be safe to say that mules are an infertile hybrid.
Even if you consider some or all reported live foal births to mules to be true, it would represent a
very small fraction that, while significant to the scientific aspect of mules, would still only warrant
an asterisk beside the word infertile.
http://www.murphymules.com/pages/553827/

This term is an example white male disquiet about black fertility and its gender consequences. Once
the myth that Africans were quite a different species, this comparison - so readily understandable in
a rural society - asserted the sterility of mixed race people. Obviously as the fertility of enslaved
African-European women was an economic reality of the plantation system, the control of their
fertility was quite different than from African-European men.

Imagine for a moment that there was a aprt of your body, an organ, that by the very nature of the
society in which you lived, existed under immense pressure. Imagine that this organ, placed in a
conspicuously vulnerable position on your body was to expand, rise and remain erect at will.
Imagine that your status in society depended on your ability to control this organ. Imagine that if
you couldn't get the damn thing to work, the importance of your existence would be questioned.
Suppose further that some other overly oppressive race of people confined your "freedom of
expression" almost exclusively to the manipulation of this organ. And then suppose that this race
was always threatening to cut it off, to sever this organ from your body and leave you with nothing!

Suppose your peers started a movement to obtain your equality to this oppressive race. Suppose you
took it upon youreslf to prove your ability to use other parts of your body such as your heart and
your mind. Suppose your great heart enabled you to endure enormous suffering and still ove your
enemy. Suppose your clever and resourceful mind enabled you to prepare eloquent and moving
speeches and to write exhaustive and lengthy papers that gave evidence beyond doubt that you were
the equal of any man.

But then equally suppose your enemy's response was to spit in your face, to waterhose you, to bomb
your homes and school buses loaded with your children, and suppose the whole nation in which you
lived watched the abuse your people on national television but still did nothing to end your misery.
And suppose that one of the main reasons they didn't was because they were afraid you would use
this organ on their daughters. Suppose the enemy race continued to define you only in terms of this
organ (meanwhile making the function of this organ a dirty thing, illegal to describe or
photograph), giving even greater emphasis to your by now legendary ability to manipulate it. And
finally suppose that this enemy race's ability to manipulate this organ was assumed, by popular
culture, to be extremely doubtful at worst, unreliable at best.

23
Isn't it just possible under these circumstances, you might begin to fantazise about this organ?
Couldn't you begin to bestow all sorts of magical powers on it that it might or might not have?

Couldn't this organ begin to represent the very essence of your struggle against the oppressive race?
Isn't it possible that you would begin to feel, since its manipulation was your one absolute strength
and your enemie's one absolute weakness, that with the operation of this organ lay the solution to all
your problems? How else could you react to centuries of attack on this part of your body, this organ
that separated you from nonexistence, from extinction, from nonmanhood-from death?
For hundreds of years white men had written and spoken about how the black man was "hung like
an ape", about how he fucked like an animal. The big black prick pervaded the white man's
nightmare. Why? In a male chauvinist society each man is somewhat threatened by every other
man's virility. Because white men were the oppressors and blackmen were oppressed, white men had
an even greater cause to fear the black man's virility.

It was really quite simple. As long as black men were virilenlack people would continue to exist
(assuming the women were willing) and as long as black people existed, there would be the
popssibility of liberation, their taking what was theirs-the products of their labor-even of their
conquering the white man.
On one level, the emotional, hysterical level and the level on which most powerless white men react,
white men feared the black man's sexual dexterity, the black man's sexual appeal, and the black
man's attraction for white women. But on another level, on the level at which actual power changes
hands, white men feared the black man's penis as the starting point of black families, of the strength
of numbers, ofthe perpetuation of the race, and the resourcefulness gained from centuries of
oppression.

Michele Wallace, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwomen

Although Michele Wallace was drawing upon the experience of gender and race relations in North
America, the relevance for an understanding the situation in Europe is not hard to draw out. Under
the Nazi regime about 500 Rhinelandbastarde were sterilised in 1937. These were the children of
African soldiers serving in the French army of occupation. This was part of a broader nazi
programme of sterilization of African-Europeans, gypsies, jews and people regarded as asocial or
biologically unfit. Of course, this was not limited to the Nazis: Social Democrats in Sweden used
sterilised 62,000 people from 1935-1975. (The bulk of these were women.)

Michele Wallace continues:

The Civil Rights Movement occurred when black men and black women could not be terrified into
silence any longer. A black woman, Rosa Parks, set the wheels in motion. Both black men and black
women had grown weary of suffering,were ready to struggle, and thought they had discovered
techniques that would soon lead to their freedom, But white men would not budge an inch. Despite
the Civil Rights Movement's dedication to the methods of "passive resistance", white men saw the
speaking out of black men as a combined threat to their own virility, to their money and their power.
Under pressure the white man enacted meaningless legislation. He continued to debate the
inferiority of the black race. He gave the blacks the right to vote and nothing to vote for, the right to
buy but no money to buy with, the right to go wherever they wanted but no transportation to get
there. And lastly he told the black man to keep his penis tucked between his legs or there would be
nothing at all. With good reason, the black man grew blind with rage. He decided he would do
exactly what he thought the white man wanted him to do least. He would debase and defile white
women. He would also show the white man that black women had no influence over him and that
they would have to pay for fucking white men for all those years. He too would make his woman

24
submissive, but he would not be the chump the white man had been. He'd give his woman nothing
for her submissiveness.

Yes, white men were perversely obsessed with the black man's genitals but the obsession turned out
to be a communicable disease and in the sixties black men came down with high fevers. Richard
Wright was the first to present the white nightmare, Black Macho, as a vehicle of liberation. Then
Mailer spoke of the nobilityt of the primitive within America's center and described how if that
primitive was ever to realise his equality - equal education, wealth, political representation, and
couple it with his sheer physical magnificence, his awesome virility and stoneage sexual morality, he
would rule the earth.

Blackmen began to harp on the white man's obsession with their genitals and that was the very point
at which their own obsession began to take hold. Baldwin, under pressure, Jones, Cleaver and many
others began to glorify the primitivism of the black man, to take his macho out of the category of
human error and place it in the category of divine destiny.
An assertion of his selfhood and sexuality, a rejection of the all-importance of fear, was very
probably essential to the black man's development at the stage he found himself in the sixties.
Perhaps it was necessary for Huey Newton and the Black Panthers to make a public display of
arming themselves. Their actions represented an unprecedented boldness in the sons of slaves and
had a profound and largely beneficial effect on the way in which black men would regard
themselves from then on. Yet the gains would have been more lasting if an improved self-image had
not been so hopelessly dependent upon Black Macho-a male chauvinist that was frequently cruel,
narcissistic and shortsighted.

Pulling back from immersion in such contagious fantasies, we can see that these fantasies are rooted
in defence of white male power and priveleges. Let's use this to understand the mysoginist views
which are recited in Thoughts On Masculinity:
"Women are still generally thought of and educated as weak creatures, short-sighted, irrational and
ruled by their feelings and emotions. This is in contrast to men, who are rational creatures with the
power to reason and change the world (with their technical capacities)."

Clearly women are not irrational. However when people operate from a different set of priorities,
then they are likely to reach different conclusions. So to dismiss women as 'irrational' is a way of
avoiding discussing those other prioritise which are being brought into play. (Of course, another way
is to ban them from meetings . . .) So 'irrationality' is projected onto women, or onto non-Europeans
precisely because white men are the people with the power to change and define the world, and
hence to define what is reasonable, even when it defies reason. The problem with 'Thoughts on
Masculinity' is that it does not seek to move outside the mysoginist fantasy world:
Our first task is to try to define and analyse methodically what, in our patriarchal culture, is more
often attributed to men on one side, and to women on the other. We should then attempt to perceive
the various ways in which these differences are used by some to dominate others. We can assume
that there are presently good and bad things, to keep or to reject, in both masculine and feminine
specific social attributes.
According to this recipe we first elaborate mysogynist stereotypes, but then instead of looking at
how these stereotypes are used to hide real social relations, the plan is then to evaluate and
redistrbute these fantasies in a process of 'pastry making'. then for example:

[F]or example, masculine self-confidence as it is presently expressed often oppresses others. But it
also potentially offers fulfilling potentials to individuals. It can initiate huge dynamics, the will to
surpass oneself and to change things.
Now while I can understand self-confidence as a justifiable understanding of one's own abilities
which allows the development of realisable goals, I see 'masculine self-confidence' is something
which is always oppressive, in that it is a false self confidence which is based upon men utilising

25
gender privilege - a socially conferred advantage - to acheive their goals. It is about men acting as
'men', rather than acting as human beings. It remains within the dynamics of patriarchy, and while it
may well be shrouded in metaphysical speculation of self-overcoming a la Nietzsche, Evola etc. it is
much more about maintaining existing gender relations.

Moving onto A Few More Reflections on the Usefulness of Men-only Groups, here the problem is
further elaborated: "Men´s groups are a way to do our part of the job as men" - i.e. maintaining the
illusion of changing gender relations whilst still remaining man-identifeied man in comparison to
Robin Morgan's woman-identified women. No matter the wonderful intentions of creating a new
caring man, it ends up defending the importance of 'man' the gender category as a way of ordering
our lives. What it avoids is the process of men and women working together in a radical movement
to move beyond patriarchy.

We have a few days together at this conference, and it has been agreed to spend at least a day
discussing gender issues. But precisely at this point we are faced with an argument that suggests that
men should be allowed to wiggle away from dealing with gender by secluding themselves in men
only meetings.
Of course it maybe that a significant number of women decide that they need a women only
discussion. And some men maybe wondering what they should do while this takes place.
Is it too radical to suggest that there will be plenty of housework, chores, childcare and other work
for men to busy themselves with?

Masculinities, Violence, and Peacemaking


by Bob Connell

Though women have often manufactured weapons and serviced armies¡ªand in an age of nuclear
weapons are equally targeted¡ª it is historically rare for women to be in combat. The twenty million
members of the world's armed forces today are overwhelmingly men. In many countries all soldiers
are men; and even in those countries which admit women to the military, commanders are almost
exclusively men. Men also dominate other branches of enforcement, both in the public sector as
police officers and prison guards, and in the private sector as security agents.
In private life too, men are more likely to be armed and violent. In the United States, careful research
by criminologists establishes that private gun ownership runs four times as high among men as
among women, even after a campaign by the gun industry to persuade women to buy guns. (The
average percentage of US men owning guns, in surveys from 1980 to 1994, was 49%.) In the same
country, official statistics for 1996 show men accounting for 90% of those arrested for aggravated
assault and 90% of those arrested for murder and manslaughter. These figures are not exceptional.
There is a debate about the gender balance of violence within households, and it is clear that many
women are capable of violence (eg in punishing children). The weight of evidence, however,
indicates that major domestic violence is overwhelmingly by husbands towards wives. Rape is
overwhelmingly by men on women. Criminal rape shades into sexual intercourse under pressure.
The major national survey of sexual behaviour in the United States finds women six times as likely
as men to have an experience of forced sex, almost always being forced by a man.
Further, men predominate in warlike conduct in other spheres of life. Body-contact sports, such as
boxing and football, involve ritualized combat and often physical injury. These sports are almost
exclusively practised by men. Dangerous driving is increasingly recognized as a form of violence. It
is mainly done by men. Young men die on the roads at a rate four times that of young women, and
kill at an even higher ratio. Older men, as corporate executives, make the decisions that result in
injury or death from the actions of their businesses¡ªindustrial injuries to their workers, pollution
injury to neighbours, and environmental destruction.

26
So men predominate across the spectrum of violence. A strategy for peace must concern itself with
this fact, the reasons for it, and its implications for work to reduce violence.

"Natural" violence
There is a widespread belief that it is natural for men to be violent. Males are inherently more
aggressive than women, the argument goes. "Boys will be boys" and cannot be trained otherwise;
rape and combat¡ªhowever regrettable¡ªare part of the unchanging order of nature. There is often an
appeal to biology, with testosterone in particular, the so- called "male hormone", as a catch-all
explanation for men's aggression.

Careful examination of the evidence shows that this biological essentialism is not credible.
Testosterone levels for instance, far from being a clear-cut source of dominance and aggression in
society, are as likely to be the consequence of social relations. Cross-cultural studies of masculinities
reveal a diversity that is impossible to reconcile with a biologically-fixed master pattern of
masculinity.
When we speak statistically of "men" having higher rates of violence than women, we must not slide
to the inference that therefore all men are violent. Almost all soldiers are men, but most men are not
soldiers. Though most killers are men, most men never kill or even commit assault. Though an
appalling number of men do rape, most men do not. It is a fact of great importance, both
theoretically and practically, that there are many non- violent men in the world. This too needs
explanation, and must be considered in a strategy for peace.
Further, when we note that most soldiers, sports professionals, or executives are men, we are not just
talking about individuals. We are speaking of masculinised institutions. The organisational culture of
armies, for instance, is heavily gendered. Recent social research inside armed forces in Germany and
other countries reveals an energetic effort to produce a narrowly-defined hegemonic masculinity.
Similarly, organized sport does not just reflect, but actively produces, particular versions of
masculinity.
We may reason, then, that it is in social masculinities rather than biological differences that we must
seek the main causes of gendered violence, and the main answers to it. How are social masculinities
to be understood? In grappling with this question, we are able to draw on a new generation of
research, to which I now turn.
Understanding masculinities
In recent years there has been a great flowering of research on the nature and forms of social
masculinities. This research, and accompanying debate, is now world-wide. It has moved decisively
beyond the old concept of a unitary "male sex role" or a fixed "masculine" character structure.
Empirical studies of the details of social life are necessarily complex, but some important general
conclusions do seem to be emerging from this research as a whole. I will condense them into seven
points, noting in each case some implications for peace strategy.

1) Multiple masculinities: Different cultures, and different periods of history, construct gender
differently. In multicultural societies there are likely to be multiple definitions of masculinity.
Equally important, more than one kind of masculinity can be found within a given culture, even
within a single institution such as a school or workplace.
Implications: Violent, aggressive masculinity will rarely be the only form of masculinity present, in
any cultural setting. The variety of masculinities that are documented in research can provide
examples and materials for peace education. Edudcation programs must recognise diversity in
gender patterns, and the tensions that can result from social diversity.

2) Hierarchy and hegemony: Different masculinities exist in definite relations with each other,
often relations of hierarchy and exclusion. There is generally a dominant or "hegemonic" form of
masculinity, the centre of the system of gendered power. The hegemonic form need not be the most
common form of masculinity.

27
Implications:: Large numbers of men and boys have a divided, tense, or oppositional relationship to
hegemonic masculinity. Clear-cut alternatives, however, are often culturally discredited or despised.
The most powerful groups of men usually have few personal incentives for gender change. Other
groups may have stronger motives for change.

3) Collective masculinities: Masculinities are sustained and enacted not only by individuals, but
also by groups, institutions, and cultural forms like mass media. Multiple masculinities may be
produced and sustained by the same institution.
Implications: The institutionalization of masculinity is a major problem for peace strategy.
Corporations, workplaces, voluntary organisations, and the state are important sites of action.
Collective struggle, and the re-shaping of institutions, are as necessary as the reform of individual
life.

4) Bodies as arenas: Men's bodies do not fix patterns of masculinity, but they are still very
important in the expression of masculinity, which constantly involves bodily experience, bodily
pleasures, and the vulnerabilities of bodies.
Implications: Peace education may often be too much "in the head". Health, sport and sexuality are
issues which must be addressed in changing masculinity. Active construction.

5) Masculinities do not exist prior to social interaction:, but come into existence as people act.
Masculinities are actively produced, using the resources available in a given milieu.
Implications: The process of constructing masculinity, rather than the end state, may be the source
of violence. No pattern of masculine violence is fixed, beyond all hope of social reform. Equally, no
reform is final. It is possible that gender reforms will be overthrown and more violent patterns of
masculinity re-introduced.

6) Division: Masculinities are not homogeneous, but are likely to be internally divided. Men's lives
often embody tensions between contradictory desires or practices.
Implications: Any pattern of masculinity has potentials for change. Any group of men is likely to
have complex and conflicting interests, some of which will support change towards more peaceable
gender patterns.

7) Dynamics: Masculinities are created in specific historical circumstances. They are liable to be
contested, reconstructed, or displaced. The forces producing change include contradictions within
gender relations, as well as the interplay of gender with other social forces.
Implications: Masculinities are always changing, and this creates motives for learning. However, as
any agenda for change is likely to be against some groups' interests, controversy and conflict is to be
expected.
These lessons are mainly drawn from research on local patterns of gender. In thinking about a
strategy for peace, however, we must go beyond local contexts, and think at a global level too.

Globalising masculinities
The colonial empires from which the modern global economy developed were gendered institutions,
which disrupted indigenous gender orders, and installed violent masculinities in the hegemonic
position. This process was the beginning of a global gender order, and the colonisers' masculinities
were the first globalising masculinities.
In turn, the process of decolonisation disrupted the gender hierarchies of the colonial order. Where
armed struggle was involved, the use of western military technology also involved some adoption of
western military masculinity, and further disruption of community-based gender orders.
World politics today is increasingly organised around the needs of transnational capital and the
creation of global markets. Neo-liberalism speaks a gender-neutral language of "markets",
"individuals", and "choice", but has an implicit view of masculinity. The "individual" of neoliberal
theory has the attributes and interests of a male entrepreneur. Institutionally, the strong emphasis on

28
competition creates a particular kind of hierarchy among men. Meanwhile the increasingly
unregulated world of transnational corporations places strategic social power in the hands of
particular groups of men. Here is the basis of a new hegemonic masculinity on a world scale.
The hegemonic form of masculinity in the new world order, I would argue, is the masculinity of the
business executives who operate in global markets, and the political executives and military
leaderships who constantly deal with them. I call this "transnational business masculinity", and I
think that understanding it will be important for the future of peace strategies.

Peace strategies and masculinities


There are many causes of violence, including dispossession, poverty, greed, nationalism, racism, and
other forms of inequality, bigotry and desire. Gender dynamics are by no means the whole story. Yet
given the concentration of weapons and the practices of violence among men, gender patterns appear
to be strategic. Masculinities are the forms in which many dynamics of violence take shape.
Evidently, then, strategy for peace must include a strategy of change in masculinities. This is the
new dimension in peace work which studies of men suggest: contesting the hegemony of
masculinities which emphasise violence, confrontation and domination, replacing them with patterns
of masculinity more open to negotiation, cooperation and equality.
The relationship of masculinity to violence is more complex than appears at first sight, so there is not
just one pattern of change required. Institutionalised violence (eg by armies) requires more than one
kind of masculinity. The masculinity of the general is different from the masculinity of the front-line
soldier, and armies acknowledge this by training them separately. The differing masculinities that
are hegemonic in different cultures may lead to qualitatively different patterns of violence.
Some violent patterns of masculinity develop in response to violence, they do not simply cause it.
An important example is the "protest masculinity" that emerges in contexts of poverty and ethnic
oppression. On the other hand, some patterns of masculinity are not personally violent, but their
ascendancy creates conditions for violence, such as inequality and dispossession. The case of
transnational business masculinity has already been mentioned.

A gender-informed strategy for peace must, therefore, be sophisticated about patterns of masculinity.
It must also be designed to operate across a broad front, broader than most agendas of sex role
reform would suggest. The arenas for action to reduce masculine violence include:

Development: Schooling, child rearing and adult/child relationships in families, classrooms, play
groups, etc (including the issues commonly thought of as "sex role modelling").

Personal life: Marital relations and sexuality, family relationships, friendship (including the role of
sexual and domestic violence in constructions of masculinity).

Community life: Peer groups, neighbourhood life, leisure including sports (including youth
subcultures as bearers of violent masculinities).

Cultural institutions: Higher education, science and technology, mass media, the arts and popular
entertainment (including exemplary masculinities in broadcast sports).

Workplaces: Occupational cultures, industrial relations, corporations, unions and bureaucracies; the
state and its enforcement apparatuses (armies, police etc).

Markets: The labour market and the effects of unemployment; capital and commodity markets both
international and local; management practices and ideologies.

What principles might link action across this very broad spectrum? I do not think we should follow
the model of gender reform that demands men adopt a new character, instantly become "the new

29
man". Such hero-making agendas deny what we already know about the multiplicity and the internal
complexity of masculinities.

Rather, strategy for peace needs to be embedded in a practicable strategy of change in gender
relations. The goal should be to develop gender practices for men which shift gender relations in a
democratic direction. Democratic gender relations are those that move towards equality,
nonviolence, and mutual respect between people of different genders, sexualities, ethnicities, and
generations.

Reshaping gender

A peace strategy concerned with masculinities, then, does not demand a complete rupture with
patterns of conduct men are now familiar with. Some of the qualities in "traditional" definitions of
masculinity (eg courage, steadfastness, ambition) are certainly needed in the cause of peace. Active
models of engagement are needed for boys and men, especially when peace is understood not just as
the absence of violence, but as a positive form of life.
The task is not to abolish gender, but to re-shape it; to disconnect (for instance) courage from
violence, steadfastness from prejudice, ambition from exploitation. In the course of that re-shaping,
diversity will grow. Making boys and men aware of the diversity of masculinities that already exist
in the world, beyond the narrow models they are commonly offered, is an important task for
education.
Though the hierarchy of masculinities is part of the problem in gender relations, the fact that there
are different masculinities is in itself an asset. At the lowest level, it establishes that masculinity is
not a single fixed pattern. More positively, multiple masculinities represent complexity of interests
and purposes, which open possibilities for change. Finally the plurality of gender prefigures the
creativity of a democratic social order. For men, the democratic remaking of gender practices
requires persistent engagement with women, not the separatism-for-men which is strong in current
masculinity politics. The "gender-relevant" programmes now attempted in schools, which do not
necessarily segregate boys and girls but attempt to identify gender issues and make them the subject
of conscious debate, are important examples. Educational and social action must be inclusive in
another sense too, responding to the differing cultural meanings of gender and the different socio-
economic circumstances in which students live. A programme apt for suburban middle-class
students may be very inappropriate for ethnically diverse inner-city children in poverty, or rural
children living in villages.
No-one with experience of struggles for peace, or of attempts at gender reform, will imagine these
are easy tasks. Recognising the interplay of masculinities with strategies for peace is not a magic
key. In some ways, indeed, it makes familiar strategies seem more complex and difficult.
But it also, I believe, opens ways of moving past obstacles which both peace movements and the
movement for gender democracy have encountered.

Dr Connell works at the University of Sydney.

Oshun Fought for Equality

Central to Yoruba culture are 256 stories of Ifa which arrange a mythology for educational, spiritual
and divinational reasons. This is one of those stories.
Long ago when movement between heaven and earth was very easy, Olodumare sent 400 male
primordial spirits, and 1 female primordial spirits, Oshun to Earth to make it suitable for human
habitation. After a successful journey to Earth, the male primordial spirits set about the task which
they had all been appointed to do. They excluded Oshun. They never asked for opinion in their
discussions and refused her request to participate in what they were doing.

30
For a while everything went smoothly for the male primordial spirits. Then it dawned on Oshun that
she needed to change the situation. Convinced that she had a good point, Oshun took her complaint
to Olodumare. When she reached heaven she explained how her male colleagues had left her out of
the decision making process and that she felt that she was not part of the group preparing Earth for
habitation. When Oshun finished her story, Olodumare gave her the special power of Ase, a
universal energy which facilitates magic.. With this Oshun could achieve whatever she wished.
With this newly acquired power, Oshun returned to Earth. She felt secure in herself and was
determined to demand due respect from the male primordial spirits. As usual the male primordial
spirits continued to do the tasks set by Olodumare without regard to Oshun. However they were in
for a big surprise. Suddenly everything around them went chaotic. Nothing they did worked
anymore. Nothing worked properly because Oshun was at work with her secret insurmountable
power. Oshun was busy thwarting the efforts of the male primordial spirits as they worked to
develop the Earth. The crops they planted failed, the roads they had previously constructed fell apart
and all their efforts to rebuild them came to nothing. Actually everything went haywire for the male
primordial spirits. Eventually they realized that the problems they were having needed an urgent
solution and they went back to Olodumare to tell him what was happening.

They left for heaven without even telling Oshun. They did not invite her, or even tell her about their
problems. When they got to heaven, they told Olodumare about all their problems and complained
that they had been given an impossible task. “What about the only woman amongst you? Did you
include her in your deliberations? Did you ever seek out her opinions? Did you seek her advice? Did
you treat her as an equal?” No, the male primordial spirits replied and Olodumare told them to return
to Earth and ask Oshun for her forgiveness and then get on with their tasks.
When they got back to Earth they apologized to Oshun and asked her for forgiveness. Then they
returned to their tasks, carrying on from where they had left off. Miraculously things started to work
properly and they praised the spirits. Surprised and happy that they were able to correct their
inadvertent mistakes they chanted in unison:

We give our reverence to Oshun, the unseen Mother ever present at all gatherings and meetings. We
give our reverence to Oshun.

Sex Magic + Sexual Politics = Suxess

There are 3 main types of sex majik, and they are characterised by their place in differing majikal
systems and relationships to life and death. In each type, the practitioner may take the role of priest
or magician, but the class interests of each type of majik venerates itself in the form of its 'god/s' and
can be understood through the different relationships to death:

Imperial (or aristocratic) sex magick is practiced for power over death. Its purpose is immortality or
the "death of death!" This depends upon a strict separation between life and death and requires ritual
human sacrifice. This is similar to the role of rape or genocide in imperial (ie aristocratic) warfare,
eg "ethnic cleansing" to transform people and land.

Modern sex majik (or bourgeois majick/ magic etc) is a feature of industrial/capitalist society and
serves to make death spectacular and commodified, hence the bourgeois slogan: "long live death!".
Sex is an alchemical processing which is hedonistic or decadent because it creates further production
and consumption of commodities with the aim of totally transforming life and death into
commodities. This involves a majikal process of objectification, and a feature of this magic or
majick is the sublimation of sacrificial rites, where objects can come to stand in for people.

Revolutionary sex majik does away with god/s, sacrifice and the murder of the body, and seeks the
reintegration of the dead into the sexual practices of the living as a necessary step towards a real

31
human community. It is important to note that this is very distinct from ancestor WORSHIP, which
can be every bit as repressive as the denial of death.

More majik : http://highmajik.org.uk

Do we have a true gender?


(from Sexual Magick & other essays by Katon Shaul (Mandrake: Oxford, summer solstice 1989)

The obvious question that needs re-asking is:

"Do we have true sex? With a persistence that borders on stubbornness, modern western societies
have answered in the affirmative.. They have obstinately brought into play this question of a true sex
in an order of things where one might have imagined that all that counted was the reality of the
body and the intensity of is pleasures." - Michel Foucault introduction to Herculine Barbine: Being
the recently Discovered memoirs of a Nineteenth Century French Hermaphrodite (Harvester 1980)
page vii

In the nineteenth century the existence of the hermaphrodite was assumed to be a medieval myth. It
was deemed impossible for two genders to reside in one person. True sex may be a myth bolstered
only by statistics. The consensus is that there are two basic genders, male and female. We are all
familiar with the analysis of the chromosomes of animals. Most human beings have 46
chromosomes consisting of 23 identical pairs; one half of the pair is contributed by each parent.
Deviations in this array seem to result in some quite gross deviations from the norm, although it has
to be noted that faulty genetic structure does not invariably lead to any functional abnormality. An
unknown percentage of the population possess abnormalities in their chromosomes but have no
detectable dysfunction other than this (Ronald Fletcher, lecture notes on endocrinology, Blackwell
scientific)

According to the chromosomal theory sexual differentiation is determined by one pair of genes on
one pair of chromosomes, the so-called sex-chromosomes. In sexual reproduction the mother
contributes a female chromosome which is labelled X and the father contributes either a male or a
female chromosome which is labelled X or Y. This analysis points towards a basic bisexuality. From
the mixing together of these factors is produced a number of possible genders:

1. XXX
In this permutation one of the parents has contributed two female chromosomes and the other one
chromosome, making an unusual configuration of XXX, the so-called hyper-female. Very little is
known about the incidence of this karyotype in the population. The statement of Charlotte Wolff, the
eminent sexologist, that phenotype females of this karyotype are sterile and mentally retarded is
probably an unwarranted generalization. (Charlotte Wolff, Bisexuality (quartet))

2. XXY
At the other end of the spectrum is the so-called hyper-male, who combines one female chromosome
from one parent with two male chromosomes from the other. Some of the ideas about the XYY type
are a bit suspect. XYY types are sometimes said to be more common amongst criminals. However
some of the karyotyping for this research was carried out in penal institutions! The XYY male is said
to be excessively tall and masculine.

3. XX

32
is one of the most common permutation, somewhere near or just under fifty percent of the
population in the female phenotype are thus. There has been a certain amount of
discussion as to whether this type is the more primal chromosomal type.

4. XY
The other more common chromosomal type just under fifty percent of the phenotypal males.

5. XXY
When two female or X chromosomes combine with one Y or male chromosome, the result is said to
be one of the most common abnormalities among the phenotype males; the so-called Klinefelte's
Syndrome. Physically this manifests in a dwarfed male body with underdeveloped genitals and
emotional infantilism and sometimes a degree of mental retardation. Perhaps one in six hundred
phenotype males could be said to suffer from this syndrome.

6. X
Where the male side (Y) of the chromosome is completely missing or faulty. In other words the
person has 45 instead of 46 chromosomes; the result is the so-called Turner Syndrome: a dwarf-like
human body with congenital defects such as a webbed neck, obesity and infantile sex organs.
Detection of this is rarer amongst the population of phenotypal females: about one in 3000 in
population. And 8% of spontaneous miscarriages show this abnormality, if hat is what it is. Which
raises some interesting questions about so-called lethal genes.. It might be argued that if a particular
genetic makeup leads to functional abnormalities, sterility or even premature death, then that
makeup is pathological or abnormal. However the more one looks into it, the further away recedes
the so-called normal person or type. The issue of fertility is a case in point.

7. XX, YY
This brings us to the most famous of the alternative genders, the hermaphrodite (HW Jones and WW
Scott 'hermaphroditism, genital anomalies and related endocrine disorders (London, 1958)). Some
might think that hermaphrodites are mythological beings. Those that find their way into textbooks
are likely to be the unfortunate minority who were hapless enough to be identified by the system. All
the literature says that they are extremely rare although about 1000 cases have been described in
modern medical literature. Their existence was doubted in nineteenth century medicine although it
has subsequently been proved by modern endocrinology. As one might expect in true
hermaphroditism the chromosomes are a simple doubling of the standard type. Thus the true
hermaphrodite usually has two pairs of sexual chromosomes. XX,YY or XX,XXY being the most
common. One of the earliest mentions of the deity Hermaphroditus, of which there are several extant
images, is by Theophrastus (382 - 287 BC). Heroditus also tells of the Scythians, said to be
hermaphrodites and to possess supernatural powers taught to them by Aphrodite. The Greek term
combines the name Hermes, god of Secrets and occult knowledge with Aphrodite the goddess of
Love. Of course the most famous reference is in Plato's Symposium.

Why not try Gender Binarism, Sexual Violence, the Military and War

http://www.summercamp.squat.net./reader.english.pdf

Sterilisation In The USA


From The Alchemy of Race and Rights by [Patricia Williams]

A friend of mine practices law in rural Florida. His office is in Belle Glade, an extremely depressed
are where the sugar industry reigns supreme, where blacks live pretty much as they did in slavery

33
times, in dormitories called slave ships. They are penniless, illiterate, and have a high birth rate and a
high death rate. My friend told me about a client of his, a fifteen-year-old young woman pregnant
with her third child, who came seeking advice because her mother had advised a hysterectomy - not
even a tubal ligation - as a means of birth control. The young woman's mother, in turn, had been
advised of the propriety of such a course for herself by a white doctor some years before. Listening
to this, I was reminded of a case I had when I was working for the Western Center on Law and
Poverty almost a decade ago. Ten black and Hispanic women were sterilized by the University of
Southern California-Los Angeles County General Medical Center, allegedly without proper consent
and in most instances even without their knowledge. Most of them found out what had been done to
them upon inquiry, after a much publicized news story in which an intern charged that the chief of
obstetrics at the policy pursued a policy of delivery and simultaneous sterilization for any pregnant
woman with three or more children and who was on welfare. In the course of researching the appeal
case, I remember learning that one quarter of all Navajo women of childbearing age-literally all
those of childbearing age ever admitted to the hospital-have been sterilized. (This was the testimony
of one of the witnesses. It is hard to find official confirmation for sterilization statistics involving
Native American women. Official statistics kept by the U. S. Public Health Service, through the
Centers of Disease Control in Atlanta, come from data gathered by the National Hospital Discharge
Survey, which cover neither federal hospitals or penitentiaries. Services to Native Women living on
reservations are provided exclusively by federal hospitals. In addition, the Public Health Service
breaks down its information into only three categories: White, Black, and Other. Nevertheless, in
1988, the Women of All Red Nations Collective of Minneapolis, Minnesota, distributed a fact sheet
entitled Sterilization Studies of Native American Women which claimed that as many as 50 per cent
of all Native American women of childbearing age have been sterilized. According to Surgical
Sterilization Surveillance: Tubal Sterilization and Hysterectomy in Women aged 15 - 44, 1979 -
1980, issued by the Centres for Disease Control in 1983, "In 1980, the tubal sterilization rate for
black women . . . was 45% greater than for white women. The sterilization rate for all women in the
United States is about 17%, as compared to about 27% in Brazil". Furthermore, a study released in
1984 by the Division of Reproductive Health of the Center for Health Promotion-one of the Centres
for Disease Control-found that, as of 1982, 48.8% of Puerto Rocan women between the ages of
fifteen and forty-four had been sterilized.)

(pp 217-219)

UNICEF Nigerian Polio Vaccine Contaminated with Sterilizing Agents Scientist Finds
Scientist says things discovered in vaccines are "harmful, toxic"

KADUNA, Nigeria, March 11, 2004 (LifeSiteNews?.com) - A UNICEF campaign to vaccinate


Nigeria's youth against polio may have been a front for sterilizing the nation. Dr. Haruna Kaita, a
pharmaceutical scientist and Dean of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ahmadu Bello
University in Zaria, took samples of the vaccine to labs in India for analysis.

Using WHO-recommended technologies like Gas Chromatography (GC) and Radio-Immuno assay,
Dr. Kaita, upon analysis, found evidence of serious contamination. "Some of the things we
discovered in the vaccines are harmful, toxic; some have direct effects on the human reproductive
system," he said in an interview with Kaduna's Weekly Trust. "I and some other professional
colleagues who are Indians who were in the Lab could not believe the discovery," he said.
A Nigerian government doctor tried to persuade Dr. Kaita that the contaminants would have no
bearing on human reproduction. "…I was surprised when one of the federal government doctors was
telling me something contrary to what I have learned, studied, taught and is the common knowledge
of all pharmaceutical scientists -- that oestrogen cannot induce an anti-fertility response in humans,"
he said. "I found that argument very disturbing and ridiculous."

34
When asked by the Trust why Dr. Kaita felt the drug manufacturers would have contaminated the
Oral Polio Vaccine, he gave three reasons: "These manufacturers or promoters of these harmful
things have a secret agenda which only further research can reveal. Secondly they have always taken
us in the third world for granted, thinking we don't have the capacity, knowledge and equipment to
conduct tests that would reveal such contaminants. And very unfortunately they also have people to
defend their atrocities within our midst, and worst still some of these are supposed to be our own
professionals who we rely on to protect our interests."

Dr. Kaita is demanding that "those who imported this fake drug in the name of Polio Vaccines…be
prosecuted like any other criminal."

The campaign to rid Nigeria of polio is in its fourth year. Officials there claim that all contaminated
vaccines have been exhausted and replaced by uncontaminated batches.
In a rhetorical conclusion to the interview, Dr. Kaita asked "What plans has the government put in
place to help children who have been given these toxic and contaminated vaccines in case they start
reacting to them?"
This is not the first time UNICEF has been embroiled in a controversy over sterilizing agents in
vaccines. LifeSiteNews?.com reported that in 1995, the Catholic Women's League of the Philippines
won a court order halting a UNICEF anti-tetanus program because the vaccine had been laced with
B-hCG, which when given in a vaccine permanently causes women to be unable to sustain a
pregnancy. The Supreme Court of the Philippines found the surreptitious sterilization program had
already vaccinated three million women, aged 12 to 45. B-hCG-laced vaccine was also found in at
least four other developing countries.

Kosavas New Hairdo

One more view... KOSOVA'S NEW HAIRDO By Casey Cooper Johnson

As the smoke settles over Kosova, while the victims are buried in mass mourning and NATO tanks
once again roll through the streets of downtown Prishtina, we are beckoned to reflect on the events
that have transpired here in the past week. As an American who has lived in Kosova with my family
since July 1999 and as father of a Kosovar born child, I dare not say that I am any kind of expert or
authority on the society and politics in Kosova, but declare that I am deeply connected to and an
integral participant in all that has developed over the past five years here. From standing in the
crowds last Wednesday on the hill of Veternik, filming as people hurled rocks at the shielded police,
to speaking with my friend, Florent, on the telephone as ! sniper gunshots ring outside his office
under the Mitrovica bridge, to rushing Albanian Roma families into a safe shelter just moments
before protesters stormed the streets to go torch the orthodox church in Prishtina, and then reading
the international press announce the latest wave of "organized attacks" and "ethnic cleansing" in
Kosova, I can only put my head in my hands and weep for my new land. I have compiled several of
my personal observations and reflections over the past days, which I hope will serve to provoke
further thought from all who read this and are concerned with the well-being of Kosova.

1. HUMANITY IS ADDICTED TO VIOLENCE Before I get into the political climate, the causes
for unrest, the inadequacies of all parties involved, I would first like to point out something about the
human nature of violence. The fact is, I believe that we humans are actually really stimulated and
turned on by violence. I could see it in eyes of the young men walking up to the demonstrations in
Caglavica. These were not looks of sorrow for the boys drowned in the Ibar River. These were not
faces of anger over the past years of injustice. These were faces filled with curiosity and excitement,
like they were marching up to a big football match or a gre! at concert, enthusiastic for the rare
chance to participate in or at least witness some violence and chaos. I could feel it inside myself as
well, the adrenalin of being in front of big tanks as the police cordon pushed back the crowd and

35
avoided stones. It was such a rush. I don't know why violence is so exciting, but it is. What a great
relief from the boredom and stagnancy of life. And all the modern societies of the West, please do
not dare try to isolate this as a dark phenomenon of the Balkans or of the Third World. Look at the
incredibly bloody histories of every nation on earth, and you will agree there is little to be proud of.
We are addicted to violence.

2. VIOLENCE MAKES GREAT HEADLINES Even for the modern people sitting in the safety of
their armchairs in USA or Europe, your addiction to violence is fed right through your TV screen. It
is the very hunger of consumerist TV viewers in the West that compels international medias to
highlight images of blood and sensationalized violence. We Americans never heard the news of
massive peaceful candlelight demonstrations against the Milosevic regime in 1997. But as soon as
the Kosovo Liberation Army managed to provoke the Serbian police and military to massacre old
men, women and children in villages around Kosova, we in the West were turned on, tuned in, and
ready to listen. Violence has once! again become the proud spokesman for Kosova's frustrations on
the world stage. Congratulations, everyone is watching us again. Kosova is not forgotten.

3. VIOLENCE IS WRONGLY JUSTIFIED And for this awakening, I hear many of my close friends
and colleagues soberly declare, "Well, in one way, it's good this all happened, because at least..."
Good this happened??? How many people died last week? How many injured, displaced from their
homes, how many lives shattered? Violence is something that we justify for all sorts of reasons;
justified reactions for the past, justified means to an end. In flat response, nothing about what
happened is good. Kosova's relations with the world community are on the breaking point, thousands
of lives have been damaged, Independence and inclusion into the European Union are ever
jeopardized into a distant question mark, and spectators around the world are now thoroughly
convinced of who is the latest troublemaker and ethnic oppressor in the Balkans. All this as a means
to get our frustrations heard? Quite a heavy cost.

4. STATE OF PERPETUAL PROTEST One problem I have noticed ever since I arrived here is that
the Kosovar nation seems to be in a state of perpetual protest. It is completely understandable, when
for centuries the Albanian people have been occupied by one empire after the next, the Romans, the
Turks, the Serbs, now the United Nations, that there is a deeply ingrained sense of defense which has
become more a way of life and society than a calculated strategy to a situation. I also understand
very well the growing dissatisfaction with the UNMIK and the arrogant attitude with which many
internationals function in Kosova. I have often been sickened by the condescending remarks that my
fellow foreigners have made to me about Albanians, mistaking me for someone who sympathizes
with their difficulties here as high paid and short term aid workers. However, it is as if the Albanians
had barely finished shaking the hands and unpacking the roofing materials from the newly arrived
liberators, that the protests began again. Protesting the arrests of war heroes, protesting the return of
Serb families, protesting the dialogues between Prishtina and Belgrade. I begin to worry that
somehow, in this state of perpetual protest, the Kosovar society is missing a very narrow window of
opportunity, a window which closes each time the reflex mechanism cries, "No!" Is this not a time in
which pro-active ideas, plans, proposals, and solutions are actually possible for a change? Leaving
aside the fact that! the international community does not have all the right answers for Kosova's
future. At least, the past five years have been an opportunity for Kosovars to develop their own good
ideas and potentially get support from international institutions and donors. If the Kosovar
Government had not spent so much energy trying to resist their forced seats at the dialogue table,
they might have better used the chance to bring solid and pro-active proposals to the meeting, and
thereby used the world diplomatic process to Kosova's advantage. There is a saying we have in
America, probably derived from the Spanish tradition of bullfighting. It is called "Taking the bull by
the horns." It means taking pro-active advantage of the situation.&n! bsp; When the bull is coming at
you, you can protest, but it will only run you right over, just like the tanks and helicopters of NATO
prepared to do this past weekend if riots continued. There is a process in motion throughout the

36
world. Call it modernization, call it globalization, call it the United Nations. Only by learning to ride
this Bull can Kosova remain an ally to the world powers and a player on the global stage.

5. POINTING THE FINGER SYNDROME As the demonstrations flared out of control this past
week, beyond the undermanned police cordons trying to protect enclaves and churches, beyond the
reprimanding voices of the SRSG and international diplomats, beyond the feeble appeals of the
Kosovar leaders, right out onto the front pages and headlines around the world, it was prime time for
us all to point the fingers at each other. Who is to answer for this mess? Kosovars blamed the
UNMIK for tolerating the Serbian parallel system and stalling on the final status of Kosova. UN
officials blamed the Kosovar leaders for not promoting tolerance and the UN designed Standards
with whole heartedness. The K! osovar leaders blamed UNMIK for not having transferred enough
political competence to local institutions, thereby limiting their capacity. The Serbian government
happily chimed in, "See, we told you so! They're all a bunch of Terrorists down there. Let us send
back our military." Kosovars returned with, "This is all the doing of the Serbian Secret Service,
working to destabilize Kosova and ruin our chances for independence." On one Radio Television
Kosovo live debate last Thursday evening, a panel of five Kosovar and International representatives
were all left frowning at each other after a 90 minute finger pointing orgy, from which neither side
ever made one introspective or self critical remark. We are an incredib! ly egotistical and childish
species, which has not yet learned to look at our own participation in the cause and effect of crisis.
Who was responsible for this? We all were! Every one of us has contributed to the demoralized state
in which Kosova hangs today. Every one of us should be ashamed at our failure to create a thriving
and healthy Kosova. This goes too for each citizen of Kosova, whether you burned someone's house
last week or simply stood by for the past five years expecting that someone else was going to build
the free and prosperous nation you have waited so long to live in. Collective Guilt? Yes, exactly.
Colle! ctive responsibility for the future? Yes, exactly.

6. EVERYONE HAS A COMPLAINT, NOONE HAS A PLAN I recently received several mass
emails in the recent days, some from NGO's, some from individuals, some from groups calling
themselves a new "movement". They all reminded me very much of the commentary I was seeing on
the television. Speeches, declarations, and manifestos all articulating their dissatisfaction with the
arrogant blundering of the United Nations and the selfish ineptitude of the democratically elected
Kosovar institutions. At first, I was excited. Great, finally a real movement! Of course, it's about
time that "We the People" began articulating our dissatisfaction with our failing leadership i! n a
democratic manner. Well, actually, it's a bit late, don't you think? I anxiously read to the bottom,
looking eagerly for the progressive platform of new ideas to stand behind. But, sadly, there were
none. No platforms, no proposals, no ideas. It was then that I hung my head once again and deleted
these well articulated complaints from my Inbox. This is one of our greatest shortcomings here in
Kosova, and in the world for that matter. Everyone has a complaint, but nobody has a solution. Of
course, there are plenty of solutions that benefit the individual, the leadership, the wealthy corporate
classes of the world. Populations are pitted against each other, the poor get poorer, and organized
crime and political leaders (who we elect) continue to profit from destabilization and war.
Meanwhile, the masses continue to stay relatively uninformed, either lost in apathy or stuck in
protest, only to sink further and further into frustration, until we finally join in the mob violence
which abandons logic and human sympathy, resorting instead to desperation and destruction. It is
high time for some pro-active plans and solutions that benefit the society, in this case, Kosovar
society.

7. THE HUMBLE SEARCH I feel a bit ashamed because I do not have the great solution to
announce in this new manifesto for Kosova. I feel quite humbled by this sobering realization. For all
of my observations, for all of my criticisms of humanity, I do not have the answer. So, I have
decided to shave my head completely bald. Personally, this is an action that physically sheds me of
my cover, strips me of my ego, leaves me in a naked state of humility. I now look like my 2-month
old infant daughter. Shorn down to my infancy, I feel more honest, like I am back starting from the

37
beginning h! ere. Much of my assumptions and hopes about what would become of Kosova through
the past 5 years have now been stripped down to the naked truth. I am back on that first page, no
longer bouncing lightly on words like "peace-building", "tolerance", and "co-existence." I am in my
own search for new solutions, a very humbled and naked search. In this solitude, I call on anyone
brave enough to admit their own responsibility for the tragedy that has befallen Kosova, anyone
humble enough to admit they had not the solution, anyone dedicated to the search, I call on you to
shave your own head too as a sign of starting over. Harri Holkeri, shave your head and show us you
are really committed to a new page for Kosova. Ibrahim Rug! ova, stop mumbling about
independence and shave your heard. We need a president, not a tape recorder. Vojislav Kostunica,
you nationalist bastard, shave your head if you really care about the poor Kosovar Serbs which you
have misled and manipulated all these years. Flora Brovina, Nekibe Kelmendi, where are you? Get
off the political backstage. Shave your heads and lead the women of Kosova into a new age of peace
activism and social responsibility. Independent Union of University Students in Prishtina, stop your
pointless protesting of the old system and realize that you will inherit all this mess soon. If you
expect to become any different from the guys crouching in their pa! rliament seats throwing insults
at each other, then I suggest you shave your heads and get ready for a bigger challenge than
protesting. Intellectuals of Kosova, shave your heads, your intelligence has not saved us. Every
international aid worker or UN staff member who arrives here with your pre-conceived notions
about Kosova, let your condescension fall away with every hair, and arrive here with the bald
humility that shows us you understand the gravity of your mission in Kosova. Every single person
who took to the streets to proudly burn homes and churches, realize that such destructive form of
protest and retribution is archaic and barbarian and should have been abandoned centuries ago.
Shave your heads. Kosovar Serbs, you who have barricaded yourselves for t! he past five years
behind your illusions that Serbia will come back to save you, shave your heads. Your government's
oppressive management of Kosova has produced irrevocable consequences and the majority of
people here will no longer stand under its flag. Hell, your country is still voting for people like Seselj
and Milosevic, I don't want to live under that kind of leadership either. Take a reality check and get
your bald asses involved in a proactive process of developing the new democratic Kosova. Kofi
Annan, you too. You can not just condemn the violence, but you must look into the growing
dissatisfaction that Kosovars are expressing for your organization. You have been too light-handed
in pushing neighboring states to recognize and respect UNMIK's rule of ! law here. How do you
build confidence in the Kosovar society, when you openly tolerate the fact that Kosovo Serbs totally
reject your administration and still depend on Belgrade? And what good is an UNMIK passport, if
most countries don't recognize its validity? Even the OSCE recommends me to get Yugoslav
passports for my Kosovar film crew to travel with. You have been stalling too long on a process you
promised to foster and it is coming back to you. Shave your head, and set the table for talks on the
final status of Kosova. Artists, get out of the cafes, shave your heads and inspire us. Mothers, shave
your heads and teach your children not to make war. In fact, people all around the world, shave your
heads, not like the Neo-Nazis who think they are superior to everyone else, but like mature,
introspective infants who recognize that we all must work harder to create peaceful prosperity for the
mass populations of the earth. United in our humility, we may take the time and space to reflect on
the responsibility we each must make within ourselves and together form the new ideas and
commitments we will contribute to our communities and to humanity as a whole.

8. JETA, KOSOVA'S FUTURE My daughter, Jeta, who sleeps on my chest as I write this article, is
like the symbol of Kosova's future. She is the daughter of a Kosovar mother, carrying the rich
traditions and culture of the motherland, as well as of an international (American) father, who brings
a mixed bag of modernization, crazy new experiments, and a high-speed connection to the rest of the
world. There are differences of opinion and clashes of mentalities. But this is a marriage. The
marriage of Kosova with the international community. It is a marriage that both parties agreed to
back in 1999, and this marriage is in jeopardy today. ! If Kosova wants to move towards an
independent nation recognized by the world and included in the European Union, then it must honor
this marriage and work to nurture it. If the United Nations wants to enjoy the success of international

38
development in Kosova, then it too must consider this a marriage and treat it with introspection and
humility. One thing happening now is that we are all finally getting more honest with each other, I
could see that on the live TV debates. No more ass-kissing and back-stabbing. That's no way to take
care of a marriage. But still, I think we have difficulty in understanding each other's language and
codes, and we could all take some time to do a little research in this area. It would be very useful for
international agencies and st! aff members working in Kosova to read the Kanun or Code of Leke
Dukagjini (available in www.amazon.com) While this is a very ancient book of laws, it might help
us to better understand the roots of Albanian society. Kosovars, on the other hand, would do well to
read the UN Resolution 1244 (http://www.nato.int/kosovo/docu/u990610a.htm)and the 8 Standards
for Kosovo.
http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/0/d1f49ce8361de1cb85256df8007a2ef2?OpenDocument

It will give everyone a more clear understanding of the agreements that the Kosovar leaders have
signed on to, and what the international community expects of Kosova. Hopefully then, we will all
be better educated and more considerate to this marriage we have undertaken, more understanding
and respectful of our spouse, mutually vested in the child we are raising. And hopefully, together we
will be able to draft some new codes and documents, more long lasting and better adapted to our
times, by the time our hair starts growing back out.
Author's note: Shaving your heads is in no way related to religious or political affiliations. We each
have our own spiritual and political connections or not. Hair has historically been a strong symbol of
a person's identity, pride, and spiritual connection in many ancient traditions around the world. The
cutting off of your enemy's hair, as in many Native American traditions, was widely seen as a way of
taking their pride and their spirit from them. Whereas in other traditions, such as Buddhism, cutting
of one's own hair showed spiritual humility and the discarding of the ego. My thoughts: better to cut
my own hair than to cut my enemy's hair.

Casey Cooper Johnson, co-founder of Crossing Bridges, is an American Kosovar social activist and
documentary film producer, currently living in Prishtina. To contact him, please send emails to
cooperjohnson@yahoo.com

39
Gender Working Group

"gender working group for the european people's global action (PGA) conference in belgrade, july
2004 groupe de travail sur les genres pour la prochaine conference europienne de l'action mondiale
des peuples (AMP) ` belgrade en juillet 2004"

So says the website. However these people refuse to answer questions about their racism (so that's
what they mean by european peoples global action) and how they manage the list. Yet one
individual is ready to agree to participate in research funded by the European Union without
consulting other people.

see [gendertrouble mailing list] http://gendertrouble.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/breakingthesilence

Proposed Gender Questionnaire

The circulation of this questionnaire with the Application Form has been blocked.

Intro

We are researching gender, patriarchy and social hierarchies within the anti-authoritarian and anti-
capitalist movement because of the widespread experiences of problems in social interactions
between men and women both inside the movement and in wider society.
We would like to know how various groups and individuals are struggling in their local contexts
about patriarchy.
We hope this questionnaire will help to start debates within the movement and practical projects to
address gender issues.
This is part of the preparation process for the next european pga conference in belgrade (23rd to 29th
of july 2004).
The gender working group for the pga conference would like to use this informations to compile a
report summarising the results and giving examples of people's experiences.
The questionnaire is anonymous and any contributions used as examples within the report will not
be linked with specific groups or locations.
Please spread the questionnaire widely. We also invite you to send us any texts concerning gender
issues which have inspired you.
You can answer this questionnaire in your own language if you find this easier. Please feel that you
don't have to answer all the questions.
Answers to : breakingthesilence at gendertrouble.org
We also invite you to send your answers to question 9 (about women only and men only spaces)
directly to the process list, as the proposal to have such spaces during the conference was blocked at
the October preparatory meeting and this may help everybody to work through this block.

We've defined what we mean by some of the terms used in the questionnaire :

Gender:
We understand gender to be the norms, social and cultural organisation based on sexual differences
in our societies. We consider that the gender organisation of our society doesn't find its origin in
natural differences of behaviour between men and women but should be analysed as social,
economical and cultural constructions that create social status hierarchies and are not fixed.
Patriarchy:
Patriarchy is the social system in which men are awarded higher social status than women.

40
The social, political, cultural and historical basis of which is predominant in the nuclear family and
the social sphere and is characterised by the domination of men over women.
Hierarchy:
Hierarchy is a value system in which your worth is measured by the number of people and things
you control and how dutifully you obey those above you.
Rhetoric:
Using various language/verbal techniques/tricks to persuade and dominate other people.
Series of statements directed at an individual or group in a debate which contain pre-suppositions
that are derogative and often hurtfull towards the target person/group.
In our patriarchal society, women are often not so aware of the existence of rethoric and therefore
are often less prepared to defend themselves against it.

Questionnaire

Are you male, female or other?

What is your age?

Where are you located ?

What groups are you affiliated with ?

Have you or do you experience differences in personal power between men and
women in your working groups, communities, job or family (for example; in discussions, writing,
taking decisions, handling infrastructure, direct actions, daily tasks, taking care of people... ? who
does what and how ?

Is the anti-patriarchal struggle explicitly addressed in your working groups, communities, job or
family ? If so how? ?

Has your group/community experienced incidences of sexual harassment, assault or gender


domination through physical behaviour and rhetoric? If so how did you deal with it personally and
how did your group deal with it? ?

Would like to tell about any personal experiences of gender inequality ?

9 a) What do you think/feel about people/groups/classes taking the time to meet specifically amongst
themselves as a tool to fight against domination or oppression by others. (for example, as women-
only discussions/working/support groups/spaces but also in the context of immigrants/'ethnic'
minorities in racist society/working class people in a capitalist society/disabled people/gays and
lesbians etc.)?

9 b) What do you think about men taking the time to meet amongst themselves as a way of
stimulating reflection and action about the way that men can (consciously or unconsciously)
dominate or oppress women and try to develop constructive strategies in working against oppressive
masculine behaviours and the restrictive nature of socially imposed gender constructions?

41
Disputations and Definitions:

Gender

Definition from Proposed Gender Questionnaire


"We understand gender to be the norms, social and cultural organisation based on sexual differences
in our societies. We consider that the gender organisation of our society doesn't find its origin in
natural differences of behaviour between men and women but should be analysed as social,
economical and cultural constructions that create social status hierarchies and are not fixed."

This is challenged;
Men and women differ through procreation, in that only women become preganant and bear
children.
Not to recognise this is to undermine certain key women's struggles over the control of their bodies.
Thus access to abortion has been a central women's issue and the placing in her hands the decision
about whether to terminate a pregnancy or to have a child is very important.

Rethoric:
"Using various language/verbal techniques/tricks to persuade and dominate other people.
Series of statements directed at an individual or group in a debate which contain pre-suppositions
that are derogative and often hurtfull towards the target person/group.
In our patriarchal society, women are often not so aware of the existence of rethoric and therefore
are often less prepared to defend themselves against it."
from Proposed Gender Questionnaire

This last statement is regarded by some as derogatory to women.


See http://www.africawithin.com/ani/excerpt_chap6.htm for an example of a woman who is aware
of the existence of rhetoric.
See http://www.theory.org.uk/ctr-butl.htm for another example of a woman who is aware of the
existence of rhetoric

Hierarchy
Defined in the Proposed Gender Questionnaire as:
"Hierarchy is a value system in which your worth is measured by the number of people and things
you control and how dutifully you obey those above you."

This definition is more of a personal methodology of measuring value, rather than a social or
political situation. Hierarchy is not simply a value system, but is also a physical body of people in
power. It is a system or structure of oppresion because it provides power to some over others without
regard for value.

Also to be considered is the way hierarchies privelege speculative thinking over operative thinking.
Skilled work requires skilled workers who have developed the relevant skills. e.g to drive a car it is
necessary to learn how to drive. If someone who doesn't know how to drive starts driving a car, it
can get very dangerous. So are hierarchies necessary for anything which requires a skill? Or can we
say that a hierarchy is in place when access to skills is restricted and ideological considerations
rather than practical considerations are involved in the decision making process.

Formator

We did a web search on this, and it seems to be a part of Catholic Christianity:


See:
Institute for Formators

42
http://www.sulpicians.org/whatwedo/institute.html
Monastic Formators Program
http://www.belmontabbey.org.uk/mfp/

or you can get your Diploma in Formative Spirituality

The name "Dharmaram"(Garden of Virtues) indicates the vision and inspiration of its founders that
an authentic Christian life consists in the realization of Dharma in oneself and in the world.
Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram is an ecclesiastical Institution of Higher Learning established by the
congregation for Catholic Education, Rome, as an independent institute empowered to grant
degrees, including Doctorate in Philosophy and Theology.

http://www.dharmaram.com/default.htm
<i>About the Course The purpose of this one-year diploma course is to prepare competent formators
who can foster growth and wholeness in the youth entrusted to their care. The course is organized in
such a way, so as to help the participants to acquire the basic spiritual and psychological insights and
skills essential for this ministry. The main areas of this programme include : Understanding of
growth and development of the human person: An overall view of the physical, emotional, social,
intellectual and spiritual development of the person with an emphasis on adolescence and early
adulthood. Abnormal human development and preventive care. Training in the use of psychometrics
for assessment of candidates.</i>
and http://www.dharmaram.com/dforms.htm

Over the Resnik Horizon

Strange
En
counter
2004

“It is often better to write your account of a conference before you go, then the facts don’t get in the
way of the Truth.” Lutham Blissett

If you just wanted a cheap holiday in the New Bel(sen)grade, then it would have been a mistake to
go to the 3rd People’ Global Action Conference in Europe held in Resnik, an industrial suburb of the
Serbian capital. You have probably heard the horror stories of people arriving at their holiday
destination only to find the builders haven’t finished work yet. We found out that we were the
builders. We arrived several days early - to avoid disappointment - and soon found more than
enough to keep our idle hands from finding trouble. We decided to concentrate on installing showers
in the school so that the queues would not be too long when the conference finally got underway.
Nevertheless despit our best efforts, we still had to get dowm there at 5:00 a.m. to have a shower if
we didn’t want to hang around.
We knew it would be a rough ride. Azin, a Yugoslav women’s group dropped out of the organising
process early on, and the debate about men-only groups had got quite heated. Perhaps this was why
people had been avoiding a debate about gender - it could only lead to big bust ups. But I suppose
that’s what you get from being invoved in a network - there’s always the third you like, the third you
feel luke warm about and then there’s the third you’d like to detest but were too polite to dis. Don’t
worry, you don’t have to speak the same language to know who sees you in which category, just
watch the way the sparks fly. Needless to say the heated debate in Serbo-Croat was only roughly

43
translated, mostly by shrugged shoulders, nervous laughs and smouldering stares. We aligned
ourselves with those who had the sort of gestures we liked.

STIRING THE COULDRON OF DESIRE

The geezer from Sans-Iitre had warned us - if anyone from the opposite sex talks to you about
gender it’s probably because they want to get off with you. Apparently this is called ‘Horizontal
Networking’, and lots of people were getting excited about the forthcoming London Eurocentric
Social Forum, where the ‘Horizontals’ hoped to meet lots of flesh-blood. They were very worried
about the ‘Virtuicals’ who disapproved of all this and were more concerned with recreating
nineteenth century social democracy in the twenty first century as if the twentieth century had never
happened. As vegans we had to be very careful as we did not want be eating any meat. So perhaps
we missed out on some of the tastier dishes being served. However this did not stop us getting
involved in the process of cooking. In practice it is usually better to have sex with the landscape, so
we resolved to spend the gender day wandering around the vicinity looking for psychogeographical
hotspots. A nearby ruined monastery was clearly a very powerful erogenous zone. The Tower of
Avala reminded us of Glastonbury Tor. It had been well fucked by the NATO bombers. For those
who like the dead, there is an excellent cemetery or ‘dead-only space’ where we spent several hours
exhuming our passions. We were well shagged out by the time we returned. We discovered that
those comrades who had stayed secluded in the conference had not even started discussing whether
or not there should be men-only groups. Everyone was too scared to say anything in case they were
accused of trying to seduce someone else. Still, we felt glad to be back home.
Europe as Male: Belgrade as Genitals
Part of our remit in visiting the mether regions of Europe was to uncover one of the mysteries which
has puzzled the world since the days of Herodotus. Is the myth of Europa and her rape by Zeus
merely a patriarchal smokescreen to hide the essential masculinity of Europe, which could be better
termed Zeusurbia. An ancient map by Opicinus de Canistris has lead us to believe that Europe is a
man whose Ball-Cans hang into the mediterranian represented as the Sea of Sin. In the inscription a
compliant Africa whispers venite commiscemini nobiscum: Come fuck with us. The accuracy of the
map could only confirmed by an exploratory mission within the soft folds of the Yugoslav
countryside. So on the second day we headed off into the hills and valleys to see what we could find.
However the landscape refused to submit to our bipolar ideology. By the monastery we entered a
tunnel thrust into the hill. Was this a naturally produced cleavage providing proof of Europe’s
femininity? Or were we entering a man-made construction, transgendering the masculine nature of
Europe? Either way, it was a military installation and we were only just able to scrabble out when a
person in army fatigues started shouting at us.
Bipolar thinking is a part of patriarchal oppression and is very important for war. Friend-enemy,
man-woman, civilisation-barbarsism, Serb-Croat, healthy-ill, white-black form the pre-requisites for
societally legitimised murder. For us this can only mean that we should come to a way of thinking
and acting that breaks the repeated war polarisations instead of letting us be pressed into bipolar
structures. The male/female concept guarantees oppression, yet it is so much part of European
thinking.
It is not cultivated transitions from a to b, from red to blue that we have to organise, but a kind of
resistance that seeks to destroy the principle of gender binarism as a central foundation of patriarchal
domination. We fumbled for our copy of Asger Jorn’s Naturens Orden: De divisione Naturae -
Silkeborginterpretation contra Københavner-interpretation. This text developed an artistic science or
a science of magic:

“Only when confronted by two unambiguous explanations, which were both satisfactory yet
mutually excluded each other was it understood that one absolute unambiguity for the whole of
scientific description was an impossibility.Thereby, however, the way was open to gather up these
ignored observations and investigate whetehr trhey too could form an independent unambiguous
description.”

44
Jorn’s approach had followed on from Neils Bohr’s attempt to reconcile the conflict between wave
theory and particle theory in atomic physics. Bohr had proposed ‘complementarity’ which allowed
each view to co-exist as non-absolute explanations. But Jorn wanted to go one step further using the
triolectical principles of the Roumanian philosopher Stéphane Lupasco. Red and blue discover green
as the complement to their combination.

“If the opposition between symptom [the direct experience of reality] and signal [willed experience
created by consciousness] can reveal the opposition between natural and artificial, then it is only by
the manufacture of false signs or symbols that any anatagonistic relationship can be established
between what we call lie and what we call truth.” Jorn then says that this “establishment of
subjectively acting causal relationships is magic, or art”.

Our heads had begun to spin. this theory was getting too much. We had to head back to the
conference where the discussion about men-only groups was drawing to a close and our comrades
from SUS were organising a three-sided football match. Surely the bump and grind of contact sport
would take us to the next stage of our alchemical quest.

Peoples Global Action: Network Or Federation ?

From the Organisational Principles:


“The organisational philosophy of the PGA is based on decentralisation and autonomy. Hence,
central structures are minimal. Following the same idea, each region's participating organisations and
movements will decide how to organize locally. Nevertheless, there needs to be a point of contact
and coordination for each of these regions, decided at regional level and known to all the
participating organisations and movements of the network.”

These “regions”, comprise of such “spaces” as “Asia”, “Europe”, “Latin America”, “North
America”, “Pacific”. To regard these areas composed of billions of people as being in someway
“local” is perhaps to stretch language unsustainably. Some of these regions are geographical (North
America), others cultural/linguistic (Latin America), some even ideological (Europe). Some overlap
(Pacific,Asia and Latin America), while great swathes of the globe are not touched (Africa, the
Caribbean).
Despite claiming to be a Network, PGA turns out to be a fedration of these regions with power
centralised in the regional bodies. Thus an attempt to get information from PGA Asia on the
embedding of Bi-Polar Gender Essentialist positions in the structure of their Dhaka Conference (20-
25 May 2004) was met with contempt. Questions linking the gender debate there with similar
proposals for the Belgrade conference had been left unanswered for over three weeks. They still
remain unanswered.
Despite claiming as the third objective of the conference to be to: “Establish a strong solidarity
among Asian people.” the response seemed oblivious of the existence of an Asian Diaspora.

These issues got posted to both the PGA Europe and PGA Asia lists, yet there was a marked
reluctance of anyone in the PGA process to try and discuss these issues. One European activists did
however take the trouble to recite the PGA dogma that “No-one speaks in the name of the PGA”
when clearly political positions were being presented in how the conference was structured.
As Bi-Polar Gender Essentialist politics are being pushed both PGA in Europe and PGA Asia, it
seems more than relevant to ask what is going on. When the response hides behind some sort of
“regional autonomy” this is much more a defense of centralised power at the regional level than a
defense of autonomously organised politics.

45
The fetishisation of regional autonomy as opposed to the autonomy of all constituent elements is
undermining the claim of the PGA to be a Network. The creation of unrecognised centres of power
erects a facade behind which different groups with different agendas can quietly foster the extension
of their power. This runs counter to a sense of openness and the decentralisation and autonomy
proclaimed in the PGA Hallmarks. Of course, it is easier to uncover a problem than to come up with
a solution.

Go to www.agp.org for more information about the PGA

The fetishisation of Regions is the reproduction of imperialism

Next morning as dawn’s rosey light tickled the minarets of the Resnik mosque, languid bodies
emerged from their sleeping bags like butterflies welcoming a new day in the history of the human
race. Soon we swarming around the central podium ready to here Lutham Blisssett give his
presentation on Networks and their subversion by heirarchical organisations, both vertical and
horizontal. Although it was still early in the morning, the sound system was cranked up high,
repetitive beats massaged the sub-conscious of the assembled masses who were thus rendered into a
suitable state of receptiveness, all critical faculties lulled into torpor.

Lutham Blissett began:


<i>"It is foolish to regard networks as something distinct from the Horizontal and Vertical
organisations who operate within them. Networks never exist on their own, they need the energy and
the focussed activities of more specific organisations to create the dynamism which gives them life.
Centralised and decentralised organisations are often set up to carry out specific functions, e.g. to
organise a particular action or activity. However they can degenerate into a gang if they become an
ideological apparatus used to control the network. This has been illustrated by the attempt of
Anarchists to control the London Social Centres Network..."</i>

DECENTRALISED/Horizontal and CENTRALISED/Vertical GANGS VIE FOR CONTROL OF


THE PINK NETWORK

Attack Networks of Power

The term Eastern Europe is often used in the Western countries to refer to all European countries
previously under communist regimes, the so-called Eastern Bloc.
East-West Bi-polarism in Europe

The concept of Eastern Europe was greatly strengthened by the domination of the region by the
Soviet Union after the Second World War and the takeover of the nations of the region by
communist governments. The idea of an "Iron Curtain" separating Eastern and Western Europe was
an extremely common view throughout the Cold War.

This strict dualism caused problems, however, as it failed to account for the complexities of the
region.
For instance, Yugoslavia and Albania refused to be controlled by Moscow, but this division was
often ignored by many in the west. Such a view is considered pejorative by the population of all such
countries, especially since the fall of the Berlin wall and Communism in Europe overall. They do not
see themselves as Eastern Europeans, and most of them prefer to include themselves in other groups,
associating themselves with Central Europe, with Scandinavia (in Northern Europe) or with
Southern Europe. Note that countries that were never under Communist influence, such as Finland in
the north and Greece in the south, are never considered part of Eastern Europe, while conversely
several countries much further to the west but which were under Communist influence, are.

46
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Europe )

Bipolarity and . . .
“Pushing people into the categories “male” and “female” is the starting point for every-day role
assignment. This means sexist life and work conditions which have to be violently enforced. Bi-
polar thinking is a part of patriarchal oppression and important for war.” “For us this can only mean
that we should come to a way of thinking and acting that breaks the repeated war polarisations
instead of letting us be pressed into bi-polar structures.”
Checkout:
http://summercamp.squat.net/reader.english.pdf
for more on the Crossover Conference, 17 - 20th January 2002 Bremen

Dear West Essex Zapatista, West India Zapatista or We'Sex Zapatista,

I think I am making you quite happy by answering your email, which is in fact the only thing that in
my opinion you are looking for: atention and power.

I know I should remind silent and completely ignore you, but I also think the fair thing with myself
in my relation with you is to answer your email for last time, trying to put ALL my points and MY
RELATION with you on the table. I will not read any more your emails, since I can not find
anything constructive in them, but provocation and durty politics. Simply this is my personal way to
close a door and to let you know why I am never going to attend your provocative and bad
intentioned meetings. Take this as my appologizing note you are demmanding from people who
didn't want to attend your meeting about "institutionalist racism in pga". So, you are free to send this
email to the people who attend that meeting.

Just I want to point now, for the intelligent people which will not read further this boring and
unnecesary email, that I don't have "power" in the Asia process. Something that people like Asim
and Fabian can not understand (idiomatic spanish expression: "think the thief that everyone is a
thief"). I am working in the support group of Asia, which its main target is to dissapair. We can not
write political documents, neither take decisions. We are just working as technical people, doing our
best supporting the process we believe we are part of. We are five people quite familiar with social
movement in Asia and working in issues there for years. In fact I am one of the people from this
group who less acquirence have with Asian culture. For example I am just in my first steps on the
language learning. We are not in power struggle, but trying to make a work to change things, being
part of the struggle there as our own personal choice. I have moved to India in January this year for
personal reasons and I am getting involved in local struggles, apart of working for farmers
international network.
Clearly, it is difficult for you both to understand that people are working without ambition of power
or status. Just working. But that is your problem, not mine.

1. Naive

I think I was very, very naive after Belgrade with you and specially after I arrived in Amsterdam and
I was told that you were quite constructive and positive in a different space, which some of my
friends shared with you. Then I thought that maybe I was mistaken you and I wrote to Fabian,
apologizing for my reaction in an angry mood to him, instead of being silent of answering in a more
objective way. In fact I was looking for meeting you in London and have the opportunity to speak
deeper with you. Huge mistake, big dissapoitment.

47
I travelled back from Belgrade in the van you were driving. As I was sitting between you both (Asim
on my left and Fabian on my right), and Asim started very polite to speak with me, I get into a
normal conversation with you. A conversation I found quite normal and even with a lot of try
to mutual understanding.It was clear in that conversation that you didn't have a clue what are the
issues of Asia, not the reality of rural areas (i would say also urban, as for example slams). So i
wanted to take your emails (very naive from my part) as a simple and total ignorance, mixture with a
touch of arrogance. Nothing serious, everyone of us have limitations and make mistakes, which
can be repaired with a bit of well intentioned exchange of understanding, opinions and open minds.
Again I was mistaken. You were not at all interested in that. This is clear for me now.

2. Small problems during travel coming from Belgrade.


Two main things made me quite furious during that travel. But I have to say that this is very
subjective and personal. Anyway, after arriving in Amsterdam, I must say that I still thought I could
make a try to understand your behivor and your point of views.

The first thing that made me mad was the skin of that poor animal. I opened the back door of the van
and I was horrifed. I didn't know what happened. I screemed for help thinking that we had killed a
poor animal. Then Asim came laughing. It was "a mascot" giving by anarcish friends, I undertood. It
was the entire skin of a poor small animal, with its legs, and entire face. This horrible things that
high class asshole women put around their necks. I found it so cruel I just wanted to cry. It was very
shocked to me. Specially when you were laughting at me because of my reaction. I couldn't and can't
find anything funny about it, sorry. I am in love with animal, and I can not understand that cruelty
shit. Politicaly it is for me, also, intolerable.

The second "problem" happened the last day, few ours before I got down to the van to get my train
to Amsterdam. I was drinking a hot chocolate, more sleepy than awake, when you, Asim, came to
me asking me to be included in the Asian list. I answering that you have to write to the list or to the
moderator for that. First I was surprise that you were surprise of me not being the moderator of that
list. But I was more surprise when inmediatly, before I couldn't open my mouth, I was called
imperialist, herarquical, fascist and a long more "ist" from the woman part of your group. I was
called all those things, as an accusation for the lack of thousands of people on the list. Of course, this
is not the way some one could imaginate a question regarding a process. If you were less eager to
insult and deslegitimate and more eager to understand, I could explain that in the farmers movement,
computer are not the means of main communications, since the farmers, indigenous and workers of
trade unions don't have computers at home. Neither the few office we count with, have a 24 hours
internet conexion. I could try to explain you that the way of organizing and take decisions in
grassroot organizations with thousand or even milloens of members are not internet discussions. But
of course, I can understand that for some europeans, which have never visit a rural region and rural
struggle can have the vision that internet is THE communication tool, and can not understand living
without it. Oh, sorry, I forgot you, Asim, come from Pakistan.

3. BELGRADE.
In Belgrade we (Yudhvir Sing from BKU India, current convenor from South Asia and me) have to
bear your propaganda in a dinA4, calling us imperialist and I can not remember the rest of the shit in
that paper. You were complaing for the autonomus status of the regions, comparing that with
feudalist, imperialist and I don't know what else. One of the stupid argument you use for it was that
we didn't answer one of your request, which you put in the web page of pga. First this is showing the
huge amount of ego and arrogance you have. You are desligitimazing a entire proccess of
struggles coordination of huge social movement in Asia, just because we don't check web page. Just
because we don't have time or whatever other reason, to answer YOU. Guau, what a crime!! What

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imperialist behivor!!! How can PGA work with such horrible movements that not answering to
Fabian and Asim request inmediatly? No doubt. All people working in Asia were racist against
Asim, because he was a black people from Pakistan.
Not answering to that post in the PGA web, brought a brutal attack against the entire region, the
work of the region on gender and the autonomy of the region.

Further, using as a weapon his origin, Asim was manipulating people, who lack of knowledge of
Asia and told everyone in Belgrade that Asia process was imperialist because we have chosen an
Indian farmer organization as convenors for South Asia. Indian farmer organization!!!! My god, how
could we do such horrible thing? Don't we know what is happening among Pakistan and India in
Kashmir? Of course, we should have asked Asim for a better political choice. But maybe Asim
doesn't understand that people and social movements are different than goverments. Maybe we
should remind Asim the history of Pakistan and Bangladesh and the war of independence of
Bangladesh from Pakistan on 71, when Pakistan was raping and killing thousands of women of
Bangladesh and...Maybe Asim can not understand yet what the struggle is and what the side of the
social movement are, quite far from goverments and their criminal policies. Maybe Asim hasn't
realize yet that we are not political parties, not part of the goverments but at the contrary.
The less important question of course, to argument against West Essex Zapatista attack, but just to
show another example of their total ignorance in the Asian process, is that Pakistan is still not really
involve in PGA Asian. There are some contact we are developing, but they are still not active in the
process. Just to mention it.
Meanwhile, as Asim was in his way to understand these things, he made a fantastic job
Deslegitimazing the Asian process and destroying confidence of people in the struggle of Asia. He
insulted Yudhvir and made people untrust him, ONLY BECAUSE HE WAS INDIAN. I don't know
others, but I would call this RACIST.

4. SEXIST
The attack of West Essex Zapatistas against the PGA Asian process started after they sent a horrible
insulting email to the European list. In this email they called us sexist among other things. They
complained that we were"excluding" women from meetings, since we were developing a work of
masculinity only with men. First I find quite manipulated the way they write things. But not entering
in the discussion on masculinity work or not, just knowing a bit about Asian rural realities, anyone
with more than two fingers of brain, would understand the necesity of such work in Asia.
Women are depending of men decisions to be able just to attend women workshop. In rural areas
(and in many urban realities), husband can easily forbid women to attend any women meeting, even
to go out of the house. It is very important that men are aware of the problem, specially leaders of
social movement. I don't go to explain here the entire process of gender work with social movements
in Asia. It would be enough to say that there is a different reality. But West Essex Zapatistas were
not worried about the struggle there or the situation, they were only trying to get us angry and
to get attention. And with the attention power. Again it was clear that a black Pakistani was able
neither to see the reality in the villages of Pakistan, neither in other urban or rural parts of Asia, nor
the strategies used in Asia to work against the situation of women there.

We were also acussed of ussing "experts". Clearly you think that anyone can go to a social
movement and give a workshop. Of course, you have never hear before what it is called popular
education and popular education tools, as drama, videos or participative and interactive visual
workshops. And that it requires people who knows how to do it. Again, your "confrontational
actitude" came from a total ignorance and eager to attention and power.
Clearly for me that email was a very sexist email, against the women in Asia and the way they are
working there. Two men just desligitimaze a very complicated and hard work with deal with serious
matters. But of course, now they will say that there is a woman in their group. A woman who never
writes anything, and who is completely invisualize by the other two men in the collective. But of

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course, this is the problem on your collective, not Asian PGA one.

I was so idiot, that I answered that email in a very angry and at the same time funny mood. We were
in the office in Dhaka, and I read to everyone the email. People were between angry and laughting
and we decided just to answer something. Big mistake, that clearly I regret, and I apologize for
it. Specially because not knowing from which kind of collective come, I took for granted the danger
of people taking serious that email and start the problems among the regions. I apologize to all
people in the European process, because it was clear a very unfair and unrespectful email to the
European process and European people involved in it.

5. RACIST and "white" Asim.


As an answer of my four angry lines to the email from West Essex Zapatistas, they send an amazing
racist email against Asian movement.
In my email I pointed that the text was picked up from an application form we had sent to a funding
NGO, and we didn't have time to elaborate a more political language correct one, changing for
example the world "expert" to a something like "workhop facilitator" or "trained people in popular
education".
Manipulating this, West Essex Zapatistas, acussed the Asian movement of begging for money to
Europeans, and when one european collective would not have money to give, then the asian
movement would ignore them. After all colonialist history, all explotation that Asia have suffered
from European States, receiving an email calling us "beggars" because of solidarity call on
economical support to a leftist collectives, is something more than unbearable. If that is not
RACIST, I don't know how to discribe it. But how can I always forget that Asim is BLACK
Pakistani?
But would you not call racist to exploit your origin to be able to insult other asiatic people with racist
emails?
Maybe Asim doesn't realize that in North India there are people whiter than me, but promise I am
"whiter". Maybe Asim still hasn't realize that the color of the skin, the sex of the people come more
from the culture than from the real color or sex. Maybe Margaret Tacher is a woman, but I promise
she is a "man".
So, if I told you that you were "white", I told you regarding your emails to Asia. Regarding your way
to destroy with completely European etnocentic arguments a hard work on gender in Asia.
Regarding your racist insults to Asian social movements and social leaders there as Yudhvir Sing.
Regarding you absolutely ignorance in Asian situation and problematic. My god, you even didn't
know about the green revolution.
I don't deny that you could travel to Pakistan or to India even for months, as many, many, many
other Europeans as myself, who even stay for years there. I don't deny for a second the hard shit of
amount of racism for sure you have to bear everyday in Europe. I don't deny your family is in
Pakistan. But seriously, the color of your skin or your family is not the color of the political culture
you have showed till the moment, for sure not the color of your understanding of the complications
and diversity of the different realities and social movements in Asia. The reality of the low class, the
dalits in India. You are really playing with fire, and you know it. An inmediatly reaction (or worst,
not react at all) to your emails, the accusation of being racist to a black man will be throwed in
the face. I am sorry, I am not eating that bull shit. For sure maybe there are racism behavor and
sexism by concrete individuals. Many times the culture and the etnocentrism can make us to be shit.
But please, stop to manipulate and missused something so serious as this.

Sumarizing. I am really convinced now that you are just manipulating people in the search for
power, the bad power, the durty politics of power. And you don't care what you destroy in your path
to get that power.

5. Attacking people

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Listen carefully. I am NOT saying that you are fascist, BUT the strategy you are using to attack
individuals is quite fascist. You are not argumenting in a political discussion, you target people. You
look for the limitation, the weakness of people and then you attack them in a personal level, as your
strategy to get people angry, manipulate their anger in your benefit and get attention and power. You
try to make people scare of confronting you, thought the threat of being personally target in
international lists, in web pages. You are using the coordination tools and the diversity and inclusive
and horizontal way to organize, to manipulate people and get the power. You just speak about
"instutionalize racist" as a very attractive and strong power position. Of course, how are you going to

be racist if Asim is "black"? Of course, what more easy than make all the problems people have with
you a question of racism.
You don't care about the hard work that many people have done for years to solve problems inside
the PGA, to create a better process to make able to fight. You don't care about deslegitimaze a
farmer organization, who are fighting for their lives every day. You don't care to destroy the support
of Europeans collectives to the gender work in South Asia, where thousands of thousands of women
are killed and rape every single day. You don't try to make a better process, handeling with work the
problems ...No, you are just looking for a power position. If you destroy the trust of many
organizations in PGA, if you, with your marketing propaganda, instead of addressing the problems
and look for solutions, destroy the net, it doesn't matter. You just point your next victim. If possible
persolizing as much as you can, in the way you can just get up another step in your imaginary
stairs. The rest doesn't matter. I am just waiting for the day you will accuse me for my middle-high
class childhood. This is your job, deslegitimize people. Specially the people, that more intelligent
than me, don't care at all of you or your destructive emails. Becauce the worst thing you can bear is
that people ignore you. That's the real issue for you.

If you were really worried about racism behivor in the net, you would have address the issue in other
way, trying to discuss contructive and work in the issues. As many women have been done since the
creation of PGA. Organizing workshops, discussing and denouncing. But not making shitty and
useless unfair propaganda.You call yourself Zapatistas. Well, many people I know from Chiapas
would say that you are doing a perfect job on contrainsurgencia. If you were infiltrated, you would
have not done better job till the moment. But of course, you even don't know what Zapatistas means
for real Zapatists. It is just another way to use other struggle identity.

6. LARC.
I am really amazing how you are using the name LARC. As far as I know you are just one of the
collective on LARC. But you are using the name, THE STATUS, as if you speak in the name of the
entire building. You are accusing people of being the power people of PGA, but you are the only
ones, using all the time the status of LARC as info point of PGA, as if that would give you any extra
power and right inside the net.

So, finishing and sumarizing, the only racist comments adress to the Asian or Latin American
process have been writen by you. So, I am sorry for not attending a meeting on racism calling for the
people who has been racism with a farmer leader from India and with the social movement involved
in the pga asian process.
And sorry to say, that I would never attend a meeting, which is called by a really misleading,
negative and destructive propaganda. Propaganda which will avoid many people to get involved in
PGA, because they heard somewhere that PGA was racism.
Sorry, if I don't attend a meeting which the main target is get power by specific collective, specially
using as a tool the desligitimazion of other people who is working hard, even if these people make
mistakes.

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Hoping this appology letter is enough and you don't need further explanation of me not going to your
meeting.

Sincerely yours,
trasgu

p.d. I was not there when the people discussing regarding the Samba Climatic, told you not to attend
the meeting. But just to say I agree with that decision, which personally I don't think it has to be
nothing with censorship, exclusion, bla, bla, but with not accepting destructive infiltrators, who their
only mean is to destroy process and deslegitimaze people in their ambition for power.

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Gender Discussion Bibliography
Reading List/ Bibliography for Gender Discussion

Joyous Greetings, The First International Women's Movement 1830 - 1860, by Bonnie S Anderson

Homosexuality and Liberation, Elements of a Gay Critique, by Mario Mieli

Yurugu, an African-Centred critique of European cultural thought and behavior, by Marimba Ani
http://www.africawithin.com/ani/marimba_ani.htm

Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman, by Michele Wallace


http://www.blackculturalstudies.org/wallace/wallace_index.html

The Nazi persecution of the Gypsies, by Guenter Lewy

The Wretched of the Earth, by Frantz Fanon

Dreamer of the day, Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International, by Kevin Coogan

The Dialectic of Sex, The Case for Feminist Revolution, by Shulamith Firestone

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