Tag Archives: feminism

Checking In on Collective Process: An FTB Update

Over the past few months we’ve been in a period of exploration; looking inward to reconnect with each other and with our feminist selves.  We began with a wish to expand our focus through and beyond punk cultural feminism to create a more expansive praxis of our intersectional, social justice model of feminism.  But the needs are endless and the matrix of oppression feels ubiquitous.  The choice of what frontline* we can most effectively claim requires thorough examination of both ourselves (including our privileges) and of the circumstances in which we are organizing. It’s also required that we get real about our capacities and reconnect with our desires and feminist imaginations.

Within our current context of late neoliberal capitalism, marked by a relentless demand for the professionalization of Self, to always be improving oneself as a worker to compete for limited resources in a climate of precarity and extreme anxiety around financial survival and debt, we have become exhausted.  Our web presence has slowed within this context; as we’ve struggled with the imperative to produce online media content that is at once social and non-social; productive, and ephemeral.  We are grappling with the dual truths that important feminist dialogues are occurring over the internet every day and also that blogging is work (even a full time job for some of us).  We are looking for ways to engage in feminist process that feel more productive to us in this moment; to help bridge us to new forms of empowered community action.  We are learning how to care for ourselves both alongside of and as part of our vision of social justice, and this is no simple project in a patriarchal culture that seeks to silence our needs and constantly dehumanize us.

The Institute for Precarious Consciousness asserts that the dominant affect, or lived experience of these times is anxiety.  Anxiety paralyzes us into worry about “what ifs” and avoidance of risk at all costs to empowerment and autonomy.  Anxiety moves us even at times to dissociate and lose skill in being able to articulate our own traumas or to bear witness to the traumas of others.  Our collective has moved to focus inward, through longer, intimate discussions where authentic communication defines our project of trying to hold a safer space for each other.  This holding, for us, has been deeply regulating; producing security and trust in the face of destabilization.  Four members currently remain, and our survival as a feminist entity depends upon this process.  Print

Our web presence will likely remain less active as we embark on a larger journey of connection with other feminist groups and individuals; seeking to archive, understand, and make connections between other groups struggling to maintain momentum.  Through an analysis of the web of power that seeks to make us doubt ourselves, seeks to drain and demoralize us, and relies on our acceptance of cynical immobilization to keep us effectively policed and contained, we hope to uncover an updated logic of resistance.  A logic that speaks to where we are now and where we need to go.

Our website will remain as a bookmark to hold and display the work we’ve done so far.  Please get in touch if you have thoughts or would like to dialogue with us about similar struggles you’re having as an individual or in a group to build sustainable feminist networks; we’d love to hear from you.  forthebirdscollective@gmail.com
*(For more about frontlines, check out the amazing zine Organizing Cools the Planet).

UP YOURS Fest 2014:: All the Details

1509840_746677812026863_1164788360_nOur fabulous intern, Stephanie, attends SUNY Purchase and is throwing this amazing feminist music fest on February 22nd with FORTH (Feminists Organizing for Real Transformation Here) at The Stood in Purchase, NY from 5pm-midnight. We are SO excited to be presenting a short workshop on feminist organizing and communication, as well as tabling with our distro and networking with rad Purchase feminists:

“FORTH will put on a festival… that will utilize ART, MUSIC, WORKSHOPS, COMMUNICATION, and FUN to CELEBRATE female identifying // non cis male identifying folks. We strive for more inclusive, intersectional, and safer environments, and feel the use of ART, MUSIC, WORKSHOPS, and COLLABORATION will help to foster these safer environments, free of structural inequity and oppression.”

UP YOURS will feature music from:
Aye Nako
Downtown Boys
Nine of Swords
Tomboy
Evil Sword
Parasol
Whatever, Dad
Jawbreaker Reunion
Vanessa Grasing

Workshops and/or Tabling from:
For The Birds Collective
Asbury Park Feminist Collective
Complexuality
The Alt Clinic
Boy Tears
Willie May Rock Camp for Girls
Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic
and more!

We love that this is a Safer Space event; here is their policy, adapted from Ladyfest Philly:

-Be mindful of your speech and actions and the effect they may have on others.
-Do not make assumptions about people’s identities in terms of gender, race, sexuality, abilities, class, or background.
-Respect people’s boundaries and always interact with others’ consent, be it physically, emotionally, or verbally.
-Carry these guidelines through all forms of communication, physical and non-physical: in person, by telephone, and on the Internet.

Get more details and music previews in their promotional video.  See you there!

feministwire2

ICYMI: The Feminist Wire’s forum on race, racism and anti-racism within feminism

The Feminist Wire just wrapped up a ten day forum on race, racism, and anti-racism within feminism. If you haven’t already, the forum is really worth delving into. In the introductory post, Aishah Shahidah Simmons and Heather Laine Talley explained its origin:

Perhaps in this twenty-four hour news cycle culture, the horrid sexist and racist sexualization of nine-year old Quvenzhané Wallis both at the Academy Awards and in Twittersphere is now old news. And maybe for her sake, it should be. 

White feminists’ silence in the face of racism is old news too, but feminism’s troubled relationship with race and racism is something to keep talking about. It was the reaction to Tressie McMillan’s analysis of white feminists’ response to the attacks on Quvenzhané Wallis that ignited our interest in hosting this Forum on Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism within Feminism. To be sure, The Feminist Wire has been engaged in these conversations since our founding, but what McMillan’s piece noted was the yawning vacuum of public response to misogyny directed at a Black girlchild.

Many white feminists jettisoned the opportunity to think about silence as racism. Instead, they cited examples of white women’s response to defend against the critique of white silence. While it is true that some white feminists publicly responded, the very impulse to deny a pattern of silence sidesteps critical feminist and anti-racist work. The legacy of feminism has taught us to ask: in what ways am I oppressed and marginalized? In thinking about race, racism, and anti-racism within feminism, an equally important question is: in what ways do I oppress and marginalize?

Following the forum with that critical question in mind—”in what ways do I oppress and marginalize?”—has been both challenging and enriching. Here is a (non-comprehensive) collection of some of the pieces, but the entire forum is highly recommended reading.

The Tragedy of a Failed Politic By Farah Tanis, Kalima DeSuze, and Nikki Patin

When have Black feminists been able to rely on their white comrades in earnest?  When have we been able to rest assured that white feminists would show up fully armored, ready to challenge even the most egregious forms of racialized-sexism?  Has there ever been a time in history when Black women have not had to pull themselves from real-on-the-ground battles to defend human and civil rights, including the right to bodily and personal safety, in order to step away, to educate, and to ensure our white feminist comrades engage in authentic alliances on our behalf?

You Become an Anti-Racist Feminist By Cori Mattli

And then one night, there is a dinner and discussion at your house–a class project about immigration and the media. You arrange copies of magazine covers, like place mats, on the dining room table for discussion–they show Latino people, the shadows of their eyes dark. The illustrated faces squished into hard stares and grimaces. Their creators, through ink and gloss, try to communicate to you (you young white American woman you) that these faces wish you harm. You think that this sort of media does not affect you.

Un-Raced in Transit : Colorblindness and the Stakes of Speaking Up By Marlaina H. Martin

My reality is that this world remains one in which my black skin and feminine attributes connote almost every move that I make as spectacular. There have been many times in which I have felt trapped by the paradox of liberalism – on the one hand, I am framed as an ‘equal stakeholder’ at the table of social (mis)givings, able to determine my own destiny and to assume access to the same possibilities and resources as anyone else. On the other hand, gasps and whispers swirl around me as I walk into many of those very places claimed to be open for those willing to work hard and persevere.

Black Feminist and Dominican: How Black Male Writers Shape My Practice By Rosa Cabrera

I count up the strikes I have against me. Female. Daughter of immigrant parents. Survivor of domestic violence, sexual manipulation. Queer. I think about the way all of these markers inform each other, intersect. I am told by some self-proclaiming feminists and critical race theoreticians that in more ways than others, I’m nearing the top rung in some form of oppression olympics. But instead, it feels somehow, like I’m losing.

Building a Racial Justice Praxis By Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz

Maintaining a rigorous racial justice praxis that is based on learning, self-reflection, action and more self-reflection; valuing the necessity of discomfort when the struggle is honest and accountable; understanding that political alignment is almost never based on identity but rather on shared values and a commitment to collective liberation.

Silence Does Not Equal Absence: Lessons from Arizona By Wendy Cheng

I do think that there are moments and situations when we are obligated to act and speak out, and can understand why many people felt that Wallis’s degradation by The Onion was one of them. But I interpret reactions to the treatment of Wallis as an instance in which we cannot assume that silence equals absence and consent.

Tilting at Windmills By Rebecca Miriam

No, goddamnit, I’m pissed. I’m not a special snowflake who clutches her pearls because someone has hurt her “feelings.” This is not about personal comfort zones. I’m freaking angry because someone is a racist. And so should you be. This is not a personal wellness issue.

No Easy Walk to ‘Total Freedom’ By Josh Cerretti and Theresa Warburton

What does it mean for a white person living in a white supremacist society to label themselves an ‘anti-racist feminist’? Does it surrender control over the meaning of the term ‘feminist’ (unmodified) to those who tacitly support white supremacy? Does it again re-center the good intentions of white people and their need to be validated by the people of color in whose oppression they are complicit?

You can check out the entire forum over at The Feminist Wire.

“WINGING IT” AT C.L.I.T. FEST

FOR THE BIRDS is excited to announce that we will be presenting a workshop titled “Winging It: Nurturing Authentic Communication in Feminist Organizing” at this weekend’s Combating Latent Inequality Together Fest, being held in Highland Park / New Brunswick, NJ.

SUNDAY, JULY 15
11AM-12:15PM

@ Reformed Church of Highland Park
19 S. 2nd Ave. Highland Park, New Jersey

Winging It: Nurturing Authentic Communication in Feminist Organizing

In this workshop, For the Birds (a New York-based feminist collective and distro) will guide a community discussion about internal and external struggles in feminist cultural and social justice organizing, creating feminist spaces, and coalition building. The Collective maintains that it is imperative to communicate authentically in order to bridge gaps, and to grow, both interpersonally and between groups. The workshop will discuss commonalities, such as the way that the efforts of many marginalized groups coalesce around issues like safer spaces, grassroots modes of organizing, and artistic and political visibility. For the Birds invites questions about their own processes, and seeks to find out how other feminists work through these issues and towards similar goals in their own groups and communities. This is a participatory workshop.

For additional C.L.I.T. Fest details visit their website. The entire schedule is posted here. I (Kate) am also curating a zine reading Friday night and speaking on a panel entitled “Art Labor: A Discussion of Art Practice, Presence, Preservation and Perseverance,” but I wrote a fairly lengthy blog post about that on my personal blog. For the Birds will be tabling Sunday as well.

To pump you up for the Fest, listen to this “once-in-a-lifetime” podcast with the C.L.I.T. Fest organizers, in which they discuss their process planning the Fest, their own experiences in activism and D.I.Y. communities, and why conversations like these are so vital.

And, while you’re at it, check out these C.L.I.T. Fest mixes!

COMBATING LATENT INEQUALITY TOGETHER FEST PT. 1 from devalina on 8tracks.

COMBATING LATENT INEQUALITY TOGETHER FEST PT 2 from devalina on 8tracks.

Can’t wait to see you there! Please do come say hi.

September is all about music: Screenings & Events

As we swiftly approach the most beloved of seasons — the fall — people are coming out in droves to share their work with the world. This week is all about music!

FROM THE BACK OF THE ROOM: A Documentary about Women in Punk
TONIGHT, SEPTEMBER 14 @ SPECTACLE THEATER
WILLIAMSBURG (BROOKLYN)

Check out this new documentary playing at the Spectacle Theater (“a collective of film collectors, filmmakers, editors, performers and misfits”) tonight:

This documentary chronicles the past two decades of female involvement in the DIY punk community. We’ve interviewed tons of amazing women ages 17-40 from all over the United States!

You can RSVP on Facebook; showings at 7:00 and 9:30PM. $5.

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION?
A Panel at the Brooklyn Book Festival
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2PM @ ST. FRANCIS VOLPE LIBRARY
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS

Music is often the voice of a generation-a touchstone for issues both personal and political, and a way for its fans to understand themselves. Mark Yarm, (Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge), Marisa Meltzer (Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music) and Marcus Reeves (Somebody Scream: Rap Music’s Rise to Prominence in the Aftershock of Black Power) – look at the impact of punk, hip hop, riot grrrl, and more on the lives of its fans. Moderated by Will Hermes (Love Goes To Buildings On Fire).

For more information on this panel, click here; for more information on the Brooklyn Book Festival, see their main site.

& THEN… LATER THAT NIGHT!

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 7:30PM @ UNION DOCS
WILLIAMSBURG, BROOKLYN

Verso Books has declared September “the month of White Riot and I am not one to disagree. Stephen Duncombe (Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture) and Maxwell Tremblay (The SLEEPiES) have edited this pioneering collection on punk and race. Verso and UnionDocs have teamed up to bring us this night of films and a discussion on the subject. You can listen to Stephen and Max on WFMU discussing the book, too.

From UnionDocs:

Sunday, September 18 at 7:30pm // at UnionDocs // 322 Union Ave., Brooklyn, NY // $9 suggested donation.

Movie selections and critical discussion on punk rock and race, from the Clash to Los Crudos, skinheads to afropunks, with professor Stephen Duncombe and writer/musician Maxwell Tremblay. More after the jump.