On February 4th upwards of 20,000 people descended on central Auckland to protest against the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Big sections of that crowd actively participated in blockades, shutting down the central city. It was an exciting and powerful display of popular power- as well as an active challenge to those wanting to drive radical change in Aotearoa. This massive exercise in popular power showed what is possible, the question facing radical leftists now is how can this energy be harnessed to bring forward a new generation of organisers?
However, not everyone sees it this way. In the aftermath of this rally, Fightback published an article by Daphne Lawless titled “Against Conservative Leftism”, which began with a decidedly pessimistic view of these rallies. The article begins with the rally- but rather than being upbeat at the unprecedented protest – it polemicized against its participants. Supposedly, too many people carried…
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I am six. My babysitter’s son, who is five but a whole head taller than me, likes to show me his penis. He does it when his mother isn’t looking. One time when I tell him not to, he holds me down and puts penis on my arm. I bite his shoulder, hard. He starts crying, pulls up his pants and runs upstairs to tell his mother that I bit him. I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone about the penis part, so they all just think I bit him for no reason.
I get in trouble first at the babysitter’s house, then later at home.
The next time the babysitter’s son tries to show me his penis, I don’t fight back because I don’t want to get in trouble.
One day I tell the babysitter what her son does, she tells me that he’s just a little boy, he doesn’t know…
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Last year the Westpac Rainbow survey showed that Marriage equality had done little to positively change the lot of LGBTIQ (Queer) in the workplace. Well that depends who you talk to of course. By and large the majority of workplaces represent a hetero-normative worldview tightly framed by the dominant gender binary and those voices believe they are the saints that granted the ultimate wish.
I sometimes liken the experience of being chosen to lead a group of heterosexual conservative women to what I imagine a woman in 1970 being selected to lead a group of blokes faced – open hostility, avoidance, red herrings and an attitude of ‘it’s not us, it’s you”. It was the way I dressed, cut my hair, challenged or questioned non-inclusive views, the look on my face and then finally it was my eyebrows.
It was apparent that if I chose to present as femme, wear a dress, heels and make up that the team ‘softened’. I became the recipient of much praise, lauded for my style and fashion sense and for how gorgeous I looked. The trouble with that is it was not how I felt. The very act of appearing like this was an act of manipulation at first amusing and then dishonest. The problem was that if I chose to present my authentic comfortably dressed gender fluid self the team reportedly found my appearance intimidating and uncomfortable.
I think this experience is exactly why many remain ‘closeted’ at work – it’s a massive hurdle to face every working day. The problem is that calling out non-inclusive, homophobic attitudes is rarely led by those who are reaping the privileges associated with fitting a gender binary and what happens instead is that the authenticity of Queer and LGBTIQ workers’identity is sacrificed every day.
The experience has been euphemistically described as a challenging journey, a few months out the other side I’d call that a polite understatement.
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are”. Carl Jung
“You have no right to destroy our river. The mothers of the Xingu will not allow it.”
For those times I feel hopelessly overwhelmed and eaten alive by the predatory colonist culture, it is awesome matriarchal warrior women like Indigenous Brazilian Chief Tuira Kayapo of the Xingu River Basin who breathe life back into my wilting Spirit.
Some pictures are worth a thousand words, like the ones below. One is Chief Kayapo using her machete to smack upside the head a bunch of colonist assholes who are trying to rape her land and genocide her culture for the usual reasons – profit and what they think is power – as the white male supremacist colonist culture has done and continues to do to all indigenous cultures across the globe, yours and mine included before our ancestors began the so-called “civilization” process forced upon them. The other is her scolding two…
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It’s been a weird year for trans people.
Allow me to be more specific: It’s been a heated, daring, tumultuous, graphic, specularizing, aggressive, pointed,contentious, highlyfatal, and really, really complicated year for trans people.
Here are a few examples: Kristina Gomez Reinwald, Ty Underwood, Lamia Beard, and many othertranswomen of color have been brutally murdered at the hands of lovers, family members, and strangers.Meanwhile,Laverne Cox and Janet Mock have come to fame and exhibited incrediblefeats of grace, articulation, and poignancy under the gaze ofan eager media. Blake Brockington, Leelah Alcorn, Taylor Alesana, and many other transgender youth have committed suicide afterenduring endless bullying and systematic brutality. Meanwhile, Jazz Jennings became the new face of Clean & Clear and published a children’s picture book about her life, and teen trans couple Arin Andrews and KatieHill (best known for “Can You Even Believe They’re Trans?!” types of headlines) wrote and published individual books…
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It’s a paradoxical turn of events. Decades ago marginalised groups could shout disdain from the edges of civic life because they genuinely weren’t included. But these days any dissent can be quashed with one of two rebuttals: either, “We’ve got one of you lot on our board/committee/advisory group etc, and they’re not complaining,” or, “Where were you when we were inviting diversity into our club?”