Tips for Radicals

Aiming to be a "blog of the gaps" to cover things that other radical blogs often miss — what we want, our journey there, and issues along the way.

To help you searching the blog, I use the following tags to categorise posts:

  • theory - ways of structuring the world
  • strategy - plans to achieve the theories
  • tools - specific ways to (help) achieve the strategy
  • tips - advice that could help you in your life and action
  • examples and analysis of existing campaigns

For more info, see the about this blog page.

Please send in your own blog posts, links, comments, or article ideas either as a submission or an ask - always welcome.
"if you don't have a strategy, you're part of someone else's strategy."
– a. toffler

"What can we do today, so that tomorrow we can do what we are unable to do today?"
– Paulo Freire


I also run a more scatter-shot blog full of incoherent rants and tumblr arguments. Sorry about that.

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Posts tagged "feminism"
An essential part of fighting rape culture involves identifying these structural systems of oppression and exploitation which allow people to perpetrate sexual violence with impunity. We need to fight the dominant ideologies which suggest that some people deserve to be victims of violence, and bear responsibility for the harm that is done to them – whether because of their clothes, race, gender identity; or because they are a refugee, poor, in prison, or a sex worker.

Yet it is not enough to merely struggle against sexism and sexual violence at a structural or ideological level. If we are ever going to build the collective power required to challenge these systems of oppression we must make a committed effort to challenge violence and other actions which reinforce oppression within our political organisations, our social movements, our friendship groups and all other areas of life.
We need to make a political choice to believe survivors of violence. We need to bring gendered violence out into the open by treating survivors with trust and compassion, rather than hostility. We need to take people at their word when they tell us that they have experienced violence, including gendered and sexual violence, without requiring them to tell us about every little detail of what happened.

And more than this, we need to make a choice to prioritise survivors in our political work. This means that we should have survivor-centred responses to sexual violence – where the needs and desires of survivors determine our response.

We need to be open to excluding people responsible for sexual violence, at the discretion of the survivor, from our political spaces, or ganisations, and movements. And we need to be prepared to support survivors in engaging with the people who harmed them through accountability processes, if that is what they’d like to do.

Most of all, though, we need to make it a political priority to actively support sexual violence survivors through all of the personal and political challenges that come in the aftermath of being assaulted.

Silent no longer: confronting sexual violence in the left

Really good affirmation of where our priorities need to be. These are all practical things we can start doing in our organisations.

tooyoungforthelivingdead:

The London Anarchafeminist Conference 2014 says “Although this conference is not open to cisgender men (men who are comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth), it is open to people of all other genders and none.”

The people behind this letter, and those that have signed it, think that this is a cissexist stance. It exceptionalises “trans man” as a category of “man” in a sketchy way.

This non-binary anarchist is behind it. Y’all should give it a read and see what you think?

novaramedia:

On this week’s show James Butler is joined by Dawn Foster as they discuss feminism and class.

This was a really, really good show. Listen to it if you get the chance!

Also another good piece touching on some of the issues Dawn raises is Feminism: still excluding working class women? (the answer is yes) on The F Word.

"I don’t feel safe" can bring discussions to an end in radical spaces. No further justification is needed for action to be taken.

This happens for a very good reason, but it’s worth considering the negative effects that this has.

Acting quickly to end difficult situations is probably the right thing to do, but sometimes analysing the situation in an explicitly “political” way in relation to systems of oppression can be useful.

An example this article gives is when a women says topless people in a women/trans space made her feel unsafe, so toplessness was moved to a separate area. However, on analysis the toplessness was largely from cis lesbians and trans women, a group who would rarely have such a space to feel safe topless. The story “becomes more complex seen from this angle, and it becomes interesting to question” the idea of stopping at ‘I feel unsafe’.

Asking why certain people feel unsafe in certain situations can help highlight where feelings came from (e.g. class, prejudices) and if it’s possible to go beyond them.

Some of the reasons are:

  1. pretty trite (“Cook with your girlfriend, partner, or spouse. Come on, it’s cute.”)
  2. entirely irrelevant (how is “Travel to unfamiliar places” feminist??)
  3. genuinely just shit (“Treat all women equally. Race, class, or any other identity category should never dictate your treatment.”)

BUT overall lots of good points and lots of links for further reading. Men-folk, take note!

Refusing to Wait: Anarchism and Intersectionality

Anarchists can learn from the theory of “intersectionality” that emerged from the feminist movement. Indeed, anarchist conceptions of class struggle have widened as a result of the rise of feminist movements, civil rights movements, gay and lesbian liberation movements, etc. But how do we position ourselves regarding those struggles? What is their relationship to the class struggle?

Read more

Amaze-balls post on the nitty-gritty of where intersectional theories came from, and why they’re much-needed in the anarchist movement.

Fave point #1: “inclusiveness” (modifying an organising model that prioritises the privileged) is a bollocks idea compared to the preferable option of “recentering the framework around the most marginalized peoples”.

Fave point #2: how too often (guilty as charged) we focus on class-based elitism at the expense of anti-capitalist ideas. We don’t want nicer capitalists, obviously!

boudiccasrevenge:

“We want a feminism that stays up late at the kitchen table convincing us that we deserve better.”

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Well stoked to read this book!

Share your stories if you’ve been affected, with this new tumblr cataloguing sexism in the left.

It’s so rampant, we really need to cut that shit out.

How should we deal with sexual harassment in groups working for social change?

Often for workplaces and other institutions, the approach to sexual harassment is policies and committees.

Formal procedures like this often fail to work; most targets of harassment never report incidents. People know it’s a problem, but policies often make managers feel absolved from responsibility.

A far better way of dealing with sexual harassment is direct action: a general awareness of what is not acceptable, and an expectation of confident support when unwelcome behaviour is challenged.

Feminist Martha Langelan recommends the best idea as "confrontation" at a personal level.

Langelan spells out how women should proceed in a confrontation:

  • name the behaviour
  • hold the harasser accountable
  • make direct honest statements
  • demand that the harassment stop
  • say that all women should be free of sexual harassment
  • stick to your own agenda
  • use appropriate body language
  • respond at an appropriate level
  • end the interaction on your own terms

A necessary prerequisite of confronting individuals is the expectation that people will back you up, which can be started by informal discussions and bolstered by successful challenges.

Confrontation isn’t just a good tool for sexual harassment - it could be used for defending against other oppressions too e.g. racism or bullying.

From Martha Langelan’s book Back Off! via the article Activists and “difficult people” by Brian Martin. Check out similar posts in the difficult people tag.