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.
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
*(For more about frontlines, check out the amazing zine Organizing Cools the Planet).