Solidarity and its Discontents

While building solidarity between activists in the U.S. and Iran can be a powerful way of supporting social justice movements in Iran, progressives and leftists who want to express solidarity with Iranians are challenged by a complicated geopolitical terrain. The U.S. government shrilly decries Iran’s nuclear power program and expands a long-standing sanctions regime on the one hand, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes inflammatory proclamations and harshly suppresses Iranian protesters and dissidents on the other. Solidarity activists are often caught between a rock and a hard place, and many choose what they believe are the “lesser evil” politics. In the case of Iran, this has meant aligning with a repressive state leader under the guise of “anti-imperialism” and “populism,” or supporting “targeted” sanctions.

Mujeres Creando: rebellion, it’s your fault i’ll be happy

Translation of an article by Helen Álvarez Virreira about the Bolivian anarchist feminists, Mujeres Creando (from thecommune.co.uk)

mujeres creando graf in la paz

To walk the streets of La Paz is also to walk through the story of Mujeres Creando (Women Creating) an anarchist and feminist movement which has used graffiti and creativity as its forms of struggle and has made the streets its canvas. “Women who get organised don’t have to iron shirts any more”,  ”I don’t want to be the woman of your dreams, I want to be the woman of my dreams” and “Because Evo Morales doesn’t know how to be a father (he tried to disown his daughter), he doesn’t know what it means to be a mother” are among its graffiti.

Venezuela Hosts Global Grassroots Women’s Conference to Mark 100-year Anniversary of International Women’s Day

Along a noisy highway in Caracas, Venezuela stand a series of tall buildings that once belonged to Exxon-Mobile. Today, those buildings are home to the Bolivarian University, where poor and working class people can get a free higher education and specialize in careers that are focused on community development and political organization. The Bolivarian University is just one of the many innovative government supported projects underway in Venezuela, and for that reason it was selected to host the Global Grassroots Women’s Conference, which took place this past week.

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silviaViolence, Healing and 500 Years of Anti-capitalist Resistance

JOIN US March 3-4 for a TWO-PART lecture and discussion series featuring autonomist, feminist, activist and writer, Silvia Federici.

...THURSDAY MARCH 3, 7:00pm
"Women, Witches and the IMF: The True Nature of Global Capitalism"
Wooden Shoe Books, 704 South St

This discussion will focus on the true nature of global capitalism, including the way that "primitive accumulation" is actually an ongoing process, and that this process is generated and maintained, at least in part, through violence against women. Federici will touch on the major themes in her book "Caliban and the Witch," which explores the violent origins of capitalism in the Great Witch Hunt of Europe, and draw parallels between the new land grabs and simultaneous return of witch-hunting in Africa and India. She will also discuss the necessity for a feminist analysis of capitalism and the importance of women's struggle over reproduction as part of anti-capitalist movements.

Over Wo(my)n’s Dead Bodies: On Surviving ‘Liberation’

It was a vivid autumn evening. Americans were still grieving from the stun of 9/11, and the only entity that dared punctuate the eerily quiet streets of New York were the lurid faces of the missing, plastered across a thousand white pages on everything that could still stand in lower Manhattan. It was under this tense and mournful atmosphere that first lady, Laura Bush, took to the airwaves. It would be the first solitary address of any president’s wife in U.S. history, and Mrs. Bush would use her airtime to bolster her husband’s military campaign, Operation Enduring Freedom. Just six weeks after the US invasion of Afghanistan, Mrs. Bush spoke with confidence and pride as she described the rejoicing felt across Afghanistan with the fall of the Taliban. ?

Dirty Lady Time

Do you ever get tired of listening to the barrage of constant male voices on the radio? Sure men dominate everything but isn't is supposed to be “girly” to be in a band and sing? Two local women are doing their best to battle this injustice, every Sunday on Voltaradio.com at 1pm.

Honoring George Tiller

In a climate of debate over “health care reform,” can we start with this one? Don’t shoot down courageous women’s doctors or harass women seeking to control their own lives. The jury took only 37 minutes to convict Scott Roeder of the first-degree murder of Dr. George Tiller - one of the few doctors to perform late-term abortions. Roeder imagined he was delivering justice when he gunned down Dr. Tiller. He testified at the trial that he had considered cutting Tiller’s hands off with a sword so he couldn’t operate.

Beyond Attica: The Untold Story of Women's Resistance Behind Bars

By Hans Bennett

"When I was 15, my friends started going to jail," says Victoria Law, a native New Yorker. "Chinatown's gangs were recruiting in the high schools in Queens and, faced with the choice of stultifying days learning nothing in overcrowded classrooms or easy money, many of my friends had dropped out to join a gang."

"One by one," Law recalls, "they landed in Rikers Island, an entire island in New York City devoted to pretrial detainment for those who can not afford bail."

Law shares this and other recollections in her new book, Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (PM Press). At 16, she herself decided to join a gang, but was arrested for the armed robbery that she committed for her initiation into the gang. "Because it was my first arrest -- and probably because 16-year-old Chinese girls who get straight As in school did not seem particularly menacing -- I was eventually let off with probation," she writes.

Women's Self-Help Group Challenges DHS in honor of International Women's Day

By Amy Dalton

On Friday March 6, several dozen mothers, grandmothers, children, and their supporters gathered in front of the Department of Human Services (DHS) office in downtown Philadelphia to challenge the agency's priorities and practices. The women say the DHS has a pattern of mistaking poverty for neglect, and trauma caused by domestic violence as evidence of poor mothering. Several spoke at length about their experience trying to get their children back from the state foster care system, or encountering abuse, neglect and racism within what are supposed to be solutions. The group then marched down the street to the Arch Street United Methodist Church, where a teach-in was held.

“Spider” Woman: Louise Bourgeois’s Retrospective at the Guggenheim

by Bronwyn

On entering Louise Bourgeois’s Guggenheim Retrospective (the museum, a spiraling stroll of four floors – like walking inside of a large conch shell is a perfect space for her work) one is greeted by a 30-foot, steel spider: “Maman” (1999). Typical of the ambiguous and contradictory emotions found in and elicited by her work, the spider (or mother) is simultaneously frightening, larger than life and devouring – representative of…well, mothers, and of the sustenance of life… the spider is also a weaver – of stories, social threads, interconnectedness; a spider’s web is both practical and beautiful to behold. To kill a spider is bad luck. Bourgeois, named by her feminist mother, after Louise Michel, an anarchist involved in the Paris Commune, has said “my best friend was my mother and she was deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat and useful as a spider.” A tapestry-repairer and a strong role model in many ways, her mother nevertheless tolerated a visible affair between Louise’s father and her governess, a self-described childhood ‘trauma’ that Bourgeois has revisited in her artwork through out her life.

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