I Don’t Remember Being Born to Please You

Politeness isn’t our shield, our unity is. Unity not only between women, but between all of us who are dedicated to destroying White Capitalist Patriarchy.

There is no way to destroy the Patriarchy by being “gezellig”.

From Mirna Wabi-Sabi

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How To Get Over Fake News

All media is opinion, it has a perspective, and a political purpose. Some are very transparent and honest. Others not so much. Either way, the media we consume is a reflection of our core personal values, not the other way around.

From Mirna Wabi-Sabi

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As you might have heard, Brazil ‘s population decided to blunder into the depths of blatant fascism last month. Aside from the nerve-wrecking concerns over physical safety, the environment (future of humanity), and basic human decency, we had to cope with the heart break of seeing family members come out of the ‘fascist-closet’. One popular coping mechanism has been to blame it all on Fake News. “They don’t really think this way, they’ve been manipulated by viral lies. Trust me, Google Steve Bannon”. Even though I want to believe this argument, all I can think as I hear it is: “Humans have amazing mental gymnastics abilities”.

We want to believe the problem isn’t Democracy, that it’s Fake News meddling with Democracy. But Fake News is not news, and it’s not new. Fake News is not something that will promote media literacy, it’s something that distracts us from that. We’ve already been reproducing false information for political purposes since before Brazil was a country (in fact it might be the reason why we are a country at all).

What came first, the personal values or the forwarded WhatsApp message? It doesn’t matter, because they depend on each other to exist, like the chicken and the egg. Or do they? Maybe I don’t truly know how chickens are born, what are facts and where do I find them? Maybe Bolsonaro didn’t really get stabbed, maybe the Gay Kit for school kids is real, who knows?

Scientific fact is based on consensus, and thanks to this we’ve been feeling pretty confident about things like chickens laying eggs and horses having hearts. Consensus and politics, on the other hand, seem to be concepts much, much further apart. The Democracy I’ve known has relied heavily on polarization, and regressive values, none of which are recent, or provoked by Fake News. The power to manipulate the population is something that can easily be framed as heroic; Google’s Jigsaw, for example, came gallantly on horseback to save children from the evil dragon Isis. But the very same power of manipulation can just as easily be framed as inauthentic behavior by Russian villains.

It’s possible to see, though, that there is a little something that holds the power to define what is a terrorist, who is the villain, who is the hero, and the victim. It’s not the big They; those in Power. Well, not only… They are the values we’ve internalized from our ancestors, and the eyes we choose to see them through.

A friend recently told me a traditional Quilombola saying:

“Those who sleep with someone else’s eyes, don’t wake up when they want”.

We all learn, we are influenced by things around and before us, we admire and we believe. But that doesn’t have to mean blindly following, it means making decisions that reflect our political principals.

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All media is opinion, it has a perspective, and a political purpose. Some are very transparent and honest. Others not so much. Either way, the media we consume is a reflection of our core personal values, not the other way around. But if we don’t know what our values are, or how to recognize how these values are represented in all the media being constantly bombarded at us, is it because we’re lazy, go-alongers, or bigots?

Let’s say someone in your family is worried about homosexuality being promoted at schools and wants to vote for someone who says homosexuality can be solved with a good spanking early on in life. Either they’re too lazy to find out whether this “promotion” is really happening, where, how, and what this means to children’s sexuality, if homosexuality is “taught”, etc. Maybe they are going along with people around them, and don’t have the means to step out of the group-think. Or, they’re simply homophobic and think we need to prevent homosexuality from spreading; they think the traditional family needs to be preserved, that gay practices are disturbing, and they just instantly relate to the message. Either way, the results are the same. Going through the effort of distinguishing between these seems like a waste of energy, and even potentially dangerous if you consider the rise in physical violence on the streets.

Unfortunately, believing in certain people’s right to exist is a radical ideology as widespread as veganism. While some on the left are out there desperate trying to prove what’s Fake, I’m here thinking that thanks to “Democracy” we can finally see how the lives of LGBTQIA+, indigenous, black, and poor people don’t really matter to the majority of voters…

What do we do with this information?

One might say: “Not all of us have access to information, or the ability to process and analyze a message”. Well, you are here now, reading and analyzing this. If you have a skill or resource, share it, because waiting for your Government to do it clearly isn’t gonna work. Autonomous skill sharing is paramount for strong community building, and it doesn’t mean to lecture others on personal political views.

One might say: “But who has the time to fact-check everything these days?”. We seem to have plenty of time to scroll, read, watch, forward, click, click, click. But to spend a few minutes alone with our own thoughts seems like a daunting task. Take a moment to think for yourself. Harvest an idea.

Guerrilla From Within

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When I took a moment to look inwards, to think about what I was looking at and through whose eyes, it felt like political therapy. Forget the piles and piles of information on-line, these are just useless things we hoard and get on our way. Instead, I looked at the information I gathered first hand: memories. Then I thought about how they made me feel. These feelings guide my political existence, and consequently my work with Gods and Radicals.

The fact that I work with media now is no arbitrary phenomenon, although it happened unexpectedly. I know first hand its power to move people, and people can (and should) make a movement to change the world. When we talk about the (ir)responsibility of other people who produce (Fake News) media, and our artlessness when we consume it, we tend to forget that when we share and talk about it, we are taking part in its production. In other words, in this technological landscape, we should all learn not only how to consume media responsibly, but also how to produce conscious and honest content.

Whenever I talk about the Patriarchy or anti-capitalism, it’s not because I’m brainwashed by feminist or communist media. It’s because men* have interacted with me sexually without my consent since before I knew what sex was. It’s because I constantly see misery and poverty since much before I knew what “class” was. And this makes me feel an array of negative emotions. Media has helped me find the vocabulary to express and process how these memories and reoccurring experiences make me feel.

When I was 12, a group of about 8 boys came to the back of the bus and surrounded me. Some people stood up and moved to the front because they didn’t want to be bothered or harassed. I stayed, listening to my Walkman. They started talking to me, saying I was beautiful, asking where I lived, where I was getting out, until one of them started masturbating under his t-shirt while the others laughed.

It wasn’t until many years later that I realized how this event impacted me, and its relevance in the construction of my political principles. First of all, I only understood the sexual connotation of what he was doing later. But what impacted me the most was the class disparity in São Paulo. I was on that bus going home from school, where a girl’s driver had dropped me off after some type of play date. The whole day hanging out at her house was a bizarre experience. She had big swimming pool, a tennis court, “Friends” in English on DVD, and basically her own section of a mansion. Then suddenly I was on a bus going back to my modest apartment, when these black boys showed up making me feel like my Walkman and the way I looked were extravagant luxuries.

I could easily imagine that they felt about me something similar to what I felt about that girl; a feeling of being from worlds divided by a deep, dark abyss. A separation close enough we can wave at or insult each other from a distance, but deadly if we tried to come together. More disturbing than the public masturbation, was the fact that while some people have private tennis courts and an array of useless glittery objects, others need to sniff glue in order to not feel hungry, and sleep on the street.

From this point on, I could take the fight outwards. If I understand my own pain, I can easily imagine the pain of LGBTQI+ people; the rejection, the self-doubt, the threat at every corner, and the wide range of potential violence. We will fight side by side.

From that point on I can imagine the struggle of Indigenous people. The displacement, and forced assimilation framed as charity. I see first hand the racism, and neglect, no one needs to tell me, all it takes is looking around with my own eyes. All it takes is showing up and listening.

From that point on I can imagine what it must be like for black people. If my body has been used and abused, silenced and erased, how can I not listen and understand the particular, and even more brutal ways this has happened to them? All it takes is to listen the way I wish I was listened to.

Look, I can’t guarantee where people’s imagination will take them. Plenty of people will look inward and not be able to find principles like honesty and empathy, because they’re buried deep under the desire for personal wealth, and repulsion for deviant behavior. But that’s fine, because that’s better than to deny; to deny the racism, to deny the genocide, to deny the violence we are inflicting on ourselves and our environment. This denial is the historical loop we can’t seem to pull ourselves out of.

From that point on, we find safe ways to bridge the abyss to our comrades, and we find the strength to fight together against those who are a threat to our existence.

Rules don’t have to guide us, integrity to our own principles can.

My body, people desire. My heart is squeezed for blood almost every day. It has hardened, and at my age it’s no small effort to squeeze out one drop. I love it, because I love me. It took me 30 years to realize that my self-worth is the rope around the neck of the Patriarchy.


Footnote:

*- If you have an urge to react to the word “men” by saying something like “but women abuse too,” think of all the times you have been abused by a woman, then use the feeling to try and relate to me, to how I felt when I was abused. Please refrain from using comments like these to correct me, or to point out how what I feel is wrong or invalid.


Mirna Wabi-Sabi

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is co-editor of Gods&Radicals, and writes about decoloniality, feminism, and anti-capitalism.download.jpg

‘A Luta Continua’: The Struggle Continues

Good Morning, Brazil! And to all of you watching us from afar in this special day. Yes, today (October 28th, 2018) is election day down here… and the front runner is the kind of person that would make you think: “Ah, good thing it’s 2018 and we don’t need to deal with this kind of shit anymore”. Then you realize the shit is here, now, your heart drops to the floor, and you start stressing about your own safety and that of your loved ones.

Here is my prediction…

From Mirna Wabi-Sabi

Tradução Português (BR) aqui.

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The Official John Heartfield Exhibition (5 Finger hat die Hand/5 Fingers Has The Hand) Shared with the permission of the artist’s grandson, we much appreciate the generosity.

“Many, indeed, most political parties, especially in the metropolis, have become open servants of capital, and thus compete, not even pretending to represent the people, but in service to Wealth.

Political parties, in addition to being mechanisms to amass personal wealth, are machines to give people the illusion of democracy.”

(Múmia Abul Jamal)

Good Morning, Brazil! And to all of you watching us from afar in this special day. Yes, today (October 28th, 2018) is election day down here… and the front runner is the kind of person that would make you think: “Ah, good thing it’s 2018 and we don’t need to deal with this kind of shit anymore”. Then you realize the shit is here, now, your heart drops to the floor, and you start stressing about your own safety and that of your loved ones.

People are so stressed that even anarchists are talking about voting and doing the “lesser-evil” thing. But what will voting actually do? I have some scenarios in mind:

-J.B. wins and he actually does all the absurd things he claimed to want to do. This is less likely because, let’s be honest, when does a candidate actually follow through on a promise? Kill poor people, don’t allow an inch of land to indigenous and quilombist peoples, completely neglect public education and affirmative action, condone hate crimes!, militarize whatever necessary, and so on… In this scenario, he would simply be the irrigation of the already existing and thriving crop.

-J.B. wins and he doesn’t do anything (as usual). We just continue to live in a country where we need to hear his voice, and we pity ourselves for having the ability to discern meaning out of those inhuman screeches.

-Haddad wins, J.B. rallies his troops and his repulsive minions to take power by force. Democracy is certifiably over, we can finally stop pretending!

-Haddad wins, nothing changes, and we are left in bliss. The bliss of what could have been not… being; finally free from all of our most apocalyptic predictions. We’ll continue to kill poor people, not grant land to indigenous and quilombist peoples, completely neglect public education and affirmative action, condone hate crimes, militarize whatever necessary, and so on…- but Diet.

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In any case, comes summer and we’ll still know who did what this spring. Families will never be the same, no more guilt driven polite interactions at major holidays. Hopefully. And not too shabby is the memory of when virtually no one on the left shied away from using the word Fascist, shouting together knowing we don’t mean it figuratively.

For any case, I prepare, and wait for the day to pass, for us to stop occupying our minds with the absurd words of a bigot, and to get back to work. The truth is we are pretty much fucked either way, and the ballot is not what’s gonna get us out of it.


Update: The result is out

Brazil elected Jair Messias Bolsonaro as president. Since the “Messias” emerged, we began to see the masks falling.

Now, all the atrocities that have already been taking place, have been legitimized and will become even more visible. Kill the poor, as a solution to the crisis of Capitalism. Kill LGBTQI+ as a solution to the “crisis” of the traditional family. Kill black, kill Indigenous peoples, kill women .. and destroy the minimal achievements of many years of struggle.

We give up certain principles because of fear. Because crumbs are better than nothing. This strengthens the hegemony, while it accumulates and wastes sadistically. Fascism, which had hitherto been veiled, is now uncomfortably exposed. Now we’ll drown on Genocidal Patriotism.

Yesterday, October 28, 2018, shortly after confirmation of the election results, a woman was beaten by a Military Police officer in the state capital that voted least for Bolsonaro; Salvador.

She wore a red t-shirt with Lula’s face on it, and her unconscious face bled. The fear that we, marginalized, already felt on the streets, was only exacerbated.

Being marginal is not a crime, it’s being excluded.

Mirna Wabi-Sabi and Jam Costa


Mirna Wabi-Sabi

44590204_10156834106472372_3689192296684716032_o

is co-editor of Gods&Radicals, and writes about decoloniality, feminism, and anti-capitalism.


Tradução

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“Muitos, na verdade, a maioria dos partidos políticos, especialmente na metrópole, tornaram-se servos abertos do capital e, portanto, competem, nem mesmo fingindo representar o povo, mas a serviço da riqueza.

Os partidos políticos, além de serem mecanismos para acumular riqueza pessoal, são máquinas para dar às pessoas a ilusão da democracia “.

(Múmia Abul Jamal)

Bom dia Brasil! E para todos vocês nos assistindo de longe neste dia especial. Sim, hoje (28 de outubro de 2018) é dia de eleição aqui… e o candidato favorito é o tipo de pessoa que faria você pensar: “Ah, que bom que é 2018 e não precisamos mais lidar com esse tipo de merda”. Aí você percebe que a merda está aqui, agora, seu coração cai no chão, e você começa a se preocupar com a sua própria segurança e a de seus entes queridos.

As pessoas estão tão estressadas que até os anarquistas estão falando sobre votar e fazer a coisa do “menos-mal”. Mas o que a votação realmente fará? Eu tenho alguns cenários em mente:

-O coiso ganha e realmente faz todas as coisas absurdas que ele pretende fazer. Isso é menos provável porque, sejamos honestos, quando um candidato realmente faz o que promete? Matar pessoas pobres, não permitir um centímetro de terra para povos indígenas e quilombolas, negligenciar completamente a educação pública e cotas, defender crimes de ódio, militarizar o que for necessário, e assim por diante… Neste cenário, ele seria simplesmente a irrigação de uma plantação já existente e próspera.

-O coiso vence e não faz nada (como de costume). Nós apenas continuamos a viver em um país onde precisamos ouvir a voz dele, e temos pena de nós mesmos e mesmas por ter a capacidade de discernir o significado desses berros desumanos.

-Haddad vence, o coiso reúne suas tropas e seus asseclas repulsivos para tomar o poder à força. A democracia está comprovadamente acabada, podemos finalmente parar de fingir.

-Haddad vence, nada muda e ficamos felizes. A felicidade do que poderia ter sido… não ser; finalmente livre de todas as nossas previsões apocalípticas. Continuaremos a matar pessoas pobres, não concederemos terras a povos indígenas e quilombolas, negligenciaremos completamente a educação pública e as cotas, não condenaremos crimes de ódio, militarizaremos o que for necessário, e assim por diante…- mas versão Diet.

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“Agora posso comer qualquer coisa!”

De qualquer forma, chega o verão e ainda vamos saber quem fez o que esta primavera. As famílias nunca serão as mesmas, não haverá interações educadas baseadas em culpa nos principais feriados. Espero. E gostosa é a lembrança de quando praticamente ninguém da esquerda se esquivou de usar a palavra Fascista, gritando juntos, sabendo que não a usamos figurativamente.

Para qualquer dos casos, eu me preparo, e estou louca para que esse dia passe, para que paremos de ocupar nossas mentes com as palavras absurdas de um intolerante, e voltemos ao trabalho. A verdade é que estamos basicamente fodidos de qualquer forma, e a maquininha não é o que vai nos protejer disso.


Update: O resultado saiu

Brasil elegeu Jair Messias Bolsonaro como presidente. Desde que o “Messias” emergiu, começamos a ver as mascaras caindo.

Agora, todas as atrocidades que já aconteciam, foram legitimadas e se tornarão ainda mais visíveis. Matar o pobre, como solução para a crise do Capitalismo. Matar LGBTQI+, como solução para a “crise” da familia tradicional. Matar preto, matar Indígena, matar mulheres… e a destruição das mínimas conquistas de muitos anos de luta.

Abrimos mão de princípios por medo. Porque migalhas são melhores do que nada. O que fortalece a hegemonia, enquanto ela acumula e desperdiça sadicamente. O Fascismo que até então era velado, se escancarou. Agora seremos afogados e afogadas nesse Patriotismo Genocida.

Ontem, dia 28 de Outubro de 2018, logo após a confirmação dos resultados eleitorais, uma mulher foi agredida por um PM na capital do estado que menos votou pro Bolsonaro; Salvador.

Ela usava uma camisa vermelha com o rosto do Lula, e seu rosto inconsciente sangrou. O medo que nós marginalizados e marginalizadas já sentíamos nas ruas, só foi exacerbado.

Ser marginal não é crime, é ser excluido e excluída.

Mirna Wabi-Sabi e Jam Costa


Mirna Wabi-Sabi

44590204_10156834106472372_3689192296684716032_o

é editora de Gods and Radicals, escreve sobre decolonialidade, feminismo, e anti-capitalismo.

Fighting Invisibility: Maria Lacerda and Lucy Parsons

“Anarchism has been a hostile political field to racially marginalized segments of the population, as virtually all fields were, and somehow still are. Analyzing why this is is essential so that we can unlearn this harmful behavior.”

From Mirna Wabi-Sabi

English Translation here.

Translator’s note:

This text was originally published in Brazilian Portuguese, on the second issue of the “Enemy of the Queen” magazine, alongside what we believe to be the first translation of Lucy Parson’s text “The Negro”. There were a few adaptations made to the English version below: 1- the assumption that some of you might already know the historical information presented, 2- the explanation of the type of efforts we go through to disseminate Lucy’s work here in Brazil, and why.

Media is a powerful thing. Autonomous publishing was essential in the 19th century and still is today. Visibility and empowerment is a matter of life and death- we must not forget that. Thank you for reading.

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Combatendo a invisibilidade: Maria Lacerda de Moura

Quando ouvi falar da Maria Lacerda de Moura pela primeira vez, só consegui achar pequenos trechos de textos dela na Internet, e nada traduzido pro inglês. Quando finalmente voltei pro Brasil, procurei uma biblioteca anarquista com a esperança de poder pegar e ler algo dela em mãos. E foi exatamente isso que aconteceu. A edição de Serviço militar obrigatório para mulheres? Recuso-me! Denuncio! é épica; frágil e imortal ao mesmo tempo. A capa dura, áspera, vermelha, sem dúvida era mais clara e vibrante 80 anos atrás. As páginas duras, quebradiças e longe de ser brancas, nem sempre abrigam palavras, provavelmente por causa do método de impressão da época. E o cheiro de vida e história é o mais perto que chegamos, sem nos mexer, do que sentimos quando achamos a maior e mais velha árvore da floresta.

É necessário se acostumar com o português antigo. E pra mim foi desconfortável ler uma ideia de feminidade pouco queer (da época e infelizmente ainda existente hoje). Mesmo assim, o binarismo de gênero é abordado criticamente. O mais fascinante do livro é o feminismo interseccional tão a frente de seu tempo. Maria Lacerda reconhece o que hoje chamamos de feminismo branco; a mulher burguesa que não se preocupa com a justiça social, e a mulher que visa inserir-se no mundo machista da guerra e do Estado, ao invés de combatê-lo. Para ela, reconhecer o classismo e ser contra o Estado já eram coisas inseparáveis da ideia de ser contra o sexismo, isso mais que 50 anos antes de Crenshaw nos ter apresentado ao termo “interseccionalidade”.

É importante reconhecer que nós no Brasil consumimos ideias do “exterior” e invisibilizamos conhecimento e pensadoras daqui. O eurocentrismo é uma força multi-centenária que todos e todas nós internalizamos, independentemente de atuais afiliações politicas. Livros de Maria Lacerda de Moura não foram traduzidos, ou até mesmo republicados, enquanto textos de pensadores (predominantemente homens, brancos, ocidentais) são reproduzidos e traduzidos incessantemente por décadas. Não acredito em momento algum que isso seja associado à relevância histórica e política do trabalho dela, mas sim um resultado da inegável força de invisibilização histórica exercida pelo Patriarcado neo-colonial.

Lucy Parsons, assim como Maria Lacerda, é uma mulher que deve ser urgentemente removida da obscuridade. Esse ano, 2018, o New York Times admitiu que seu obituário, desde 1851, tem sido dominado por homens brancos, e criou um tipo de coluna dedicada a mulheres que foram negligenciadas e omitidas.

“[Q]uem é lembrado[(a)] – e como – inerentemente envolve julgamento. Olhar para trás nos arquivos obituários, portanto, pode ser uma dura lição de como a sociedade valorizava várias conquistas e conquistadores”. (Amisha Padnani e Jessica Bennett)

A desconstrução desse processo misógino e racista de julgamento de valor é muito recente. Está acontecendo tarde, e devagar. Portanto, é nossa responsabilidade interromper a invisibilização de mulheres, e negros e negras, da conjuntura política anarquista. Por que quando homens, predominantemente brancos, fazem afirmações políticas com as quais não concordamos, ainda os citamos como pensadores importantes? Enquanto mulheres, especialmente negras, não só não são citadas, não são vistas, e têm suas existências apagadas ou escritas na história da perspectiva de um homem.

A Inimiga da Rainha é a nossa iniciativa de combate à subjugação de mulheres revolucionárias; combate à invisibilização e silenciamento de nossas vozes, e das vozes de nossas ancestrais.

Combatendo a invisibilidade: Lucy Parsons

Lucy Parsons nasceu em 1853, provavelmente escravizada, no Texas (EUA). Mais tarde entrou no movimento operário e se mudou para Chicago, a cidade onde morreu aos 89 anos de idade (em 1942). Ela escrevia para o jornal que seu marido Albert editava chamado The Alarm (“O Alarme”). Não só escrevia, mas organizava trabalhadores e era uma grande oradora.

Em 1886, ela foi uma figura primordial na luta épica anarcossindicalista que resultou na morte de 4 pessoas, 7 policiais, e onde vários foram feridos e presos: a Revolta de Haymarket. A “jornada de oito horas de trabalho” em Maio de 1886 foi um confronto fatal entre trabalhadores (as) e policiais- mãos do Estado capitalista. No fim de 1887, depois de um longo e doloroso processo legal de investigação, seu marido foi brutalmente executado, ao lado de 3 outras lideranças anarquistas e sindicais, por seu envolvimento na revolta- um fenômeno que até hoje é imortalizado no feriado de 1º de Maio, mas infelizmente não é propriamente lembrado.

Mesmo depois de tantas tentativas do Estado de interromper o trabalho dessa mulher, sua atuação política não se abalou. Em 1905 ela foi uma das fundadoras de um sindicato de extrema importância, o Industrial Workers of the World (“Trabalhadores Industriais do Mundo”), que até hoje deve nos servir como inspiração de organização revolucionária trabalhista, capaz até de unir forças socialistas e anarquistas.

Emma Goldman e Lucy Parsons tinham conflitos ideológicos que alguns acreditam ser geracionais. O feminismo de Lucy era fundado em princípios da classe trabalhadora, enquanto Emma abstraia o conceito e o aplicava a tudo e em qualquer lugar. Hoje podemos facilmente interpretar isso como uma disputa entre o feminismo interseccional e o feminismo branco. Para Lucy, a opressão do negro, do trabalhador e da mulher vem igualmente da conjuntura capitalista. Enquanto Emma acreditava na libertação da mulher em si, como algo isolado da teoria de classe. Alguns chamariam Emma de burguesa, enquanto outros chamariam Lucy de comunista que prioriza a luta classe sobre a da mulher.

Olhar pra história nos ajuda a evitar a constante reinvenção da roda como se fosse novidade. O que podemos reconhecer agora é que o Anarquismo tem sido um campo político hostil pra segmentos racialmente marginalizados da população, como praticamente todos os campos eram, e de alguma forma ainda são. Analisar o porque disso é essencial para podermos desconstruir e desaprender esse comportamento prejudicial. A incapacidade de reconhecer uma outra realidade é o que causou tanta animosidade entre essas duas grandes pensadoras anarquistas. Ser feminista sem ser anticapitalista e antirracista não significa nada, e se não esperamos de nossos e nossas pensadores e pensadoras um claro posicionamento em relação a isso, nós temos um problema. Um problema que manterá o campo ideológico anarquista ruidosamente burguês e branco.


Mirna Wabi-Sabi

44590204_10156834106472372_3689192296684716032_o

é editora do site Gods&Radicals, e escreve sobre anti-capitalismo, decolonialidade, e feminismo.


Translation

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Fighting Invisibility: Maria Lacerda

When I heard about Maria Lacerda de Moura for the first time I could only find short excerpts from her texts on the Internet, and nothing translated to English. When I finally returned to Brazil, I looked for an anarchist library hoping I could hold a book of hers and read it. And that’s exactly what happened. The edition of “Compulsory military service for women? I refuse! I denounce!” (Serviço militar obrigatório para mulheres? Recuso-me! Denuncio!) is epic; fragile and immortal at the same time. The hard, rough, red cover was definitely brighter and more vibrant 80 years ago. The thick, brittle and far from white pages do not always contain words, probably because of the printing method of the time. And the scent of life and history is the closest we come, without moving, from what we feel when we find the largest and oldest tree in the forest.

The old Portuguese takes some getting used to. And for me it was uncomfortable reading a less-than-​​queer idea of femininity (of the time and unfortunately still existent today). Even then, she approaches gender-binarism critically. The most fascinating thing about the book is the intersectionality so far ahead of its time. Maria Lacerda recognizes what we now call white feminism; the bourgeois woman who does not care about social justice, and the woman who seeks to insert herself in the sexist world of war and the State, instead of fighting it. For Lacerda, recognizing classism and being against the State were already inseparable from the idea of ​​being against sexism.

It’s important to recognize that in Brazil we consume ideas from the “outside” and we invisibilize local knowledge and thinkers. Eurocentrism is a multi-centennial force that we all internalize, regardless of current political affiliations. Maria Lacerda de Moura’s books were not translated, or even republished, while texts of thinkers (predominantly men, white, westerners) are reproduced and translated incessantly for decades. I don’t believe at all that this is associated with the historical and political relevance of her work, but rather a result of the undeniable historical erasure of women of color within the neo-colonial Patriarchy.

This year, 2018, the New York Times admitted that its obituary, since 1851, has been dominated by white men. So they created a kind of column dedicated to women who were neglected and omitted.

“[W]ho gets remembered — and how — inherently involves judgment. To look back at the obituary archives can, therefore, be a stark lesson in how society valued various achievements and achievers.”

(Amisha Padnani and Jessica Bennett, March 8, 2018)

The deconstruction of this misogynist and racist judgment of value is very recent. It’s happening late, and slow. Therefore, it’s also our responsibility to combat the invisibility of women, black, and indigenous peoples within the anarchist political landscape. Why when men, predominantly white, make political statements with which we do not agree, do we still call them important thinkers? While women, especially black women, are not only not cited, they are not seen, and their lives are erased or re-written from the perspective of a man?

The magazine The Enemy of the Queen; based in Salvador, Brazil; of which the 2nd issue was published this month, is an initiative to fight the subjugation of revolutionary women, and to combat the invisibilization and silencing of our voices, and the voices of our ancestors.

Fighting Invisibility: Lucy Parsons

Lucy Parsons, like Maria Lacerda, is a woman who must be urgently removed from obscurity. For the many of you who already know plenty about her, also know that it’s due to the militant (DIY) efforts of very few of us in Brazil that some of her work is available in (BR) Portuguese and distributed at all. Her story has immense power for us here now, especially in the city known as the capital of the African Diaspora (Salvador), in a country on the brink of completely losing its faith in “democracy”.

Reading the words written by a black anarchist woman born in 1853, probably enslaved in Texas, can send chills down one’s spine. She entered the labor movement and moved to Chicago, where she wrote to the newspaper that her husband Albert edited called The Alarm. Not only did she write, but she organized workers and was a great public speaker.

In 1886, she was a prominent figure in the epic anarchist struggle where many were killed, wounded, and imprisoned: the Haymarket Affair. The demonstration of the “eight-hour movement” in May 1886 was a fatal confrontation between workers and the police – hands of the capitalist state. At the end of 1887, after a long and painful legal process of investigation, her husband was brutally executed, alongside 3 other anarchist and union leaders, for their involvement in the revolt – a phenomenon that until today is immortalized on the 1st of May, but unfortunately not thoroughly remembered.

Even after so many attempts by the state to interrupt this woman’s work, her militancy was not shaken. In 1905 she was one of the founders of the Industrial Workers of the World, which to this day should serve as an inspiration for revolutionary labor organizations, capable even of joining socialist and anarchist forces.

When it comes to anarchist feminism, Emma Goldman and Lucy Parsons had ideological conflicts that some believe to be generational. Lucy’s feminism was founded on working-class principles, while Emma applied the concept to the relationship between womanhood and love. For Lucy, the oppression of “the Negro“, the worker, and the woman comes directly from Capitalism. While Emma believed in the liberation of the woman herself, as something separate from the class struggle. In other words, Emma was called bourgeois, while Lucy a communist who prioritized class struggle over that of the woman.

All this might be redundant to some of you, but looking at history from the perspective of others helps us avoid the constant reinvention of the wheel as if it were new. What we can now recognize is that Anarchism has been a hostile political field to racially marginalized segments of the population, as virtually all fields were, and somehow still are. Analyzing why this is is essential so that we can unlearn this harmful behavior. The inability to recognize another’s reality is what has caused so much animosity between these two great anarchist thinkers. Being a feminist without being anti-capitalist and anti-racist means nothing, and if we don’t expect from ourselves and our revered thinkers a clear stance on this, we have a problem. A problem that will keep the anarchist ideological field deafeningly bourgeois and white.


Mirna Wabi-Sabi

44590204_10156834106472372_3689192296684716032_o

is co-editor of Gods&Radicals, and writes about decoloniality and anti-capitalism.


Hey! We pay Mirna and others for their articles. We’re one of the few pagan or anti-capitalist sites to do this. 🙂

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It’s 2018, Do You Know Where Your Personal Data Is?

“The political relevance of Privacy Rights is not exclusive to one country or one continent. These rights are essential for combating violent forms of control practiced by States everywhere, which aim only to benefit a hegemony rather than the people as a whole. Europe and the Americas are connected in ways that transcend the virtual world, but these connections have undeniably been exacerbated in this ever-changing technological landscape.”

From Mirna Wabi-Sabi

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The concept of privacy, in relation to personal data, is paramount for the fight against fascism (in the literal sense). In Europe, where fascism was born and bred, authorities misusing personal information is a lurking threat. Just because there has been a historical struggle to eradicate this type of violent rule, it doesn’t mean combating fascist tendencies is a thing of the past. Technology evolves at alarming rates, and reaches far across the globe. Keeping up with the world-wide political implications of these changes is essential to ensure history does not repeat itself.

Some of these changes involve how personal data is processed and stored. We have become increasingly dependent on social media platforms; the internet has expanded into a complex network of institutions and companies; and data is being stored exponentially more on “the cloud” rather than on individual hardware. These innovations have provided us with new types of connections, but they also provided new vulnerability gaps on personal and political realms. These gaps can seriously undermine basic human rights, and there are serious doubts regarding whether the legal framework that is being put in place can be effective in safeguarding these rights.

An analysis of one of the shortcomings of the current legal framework that aims to ensure user’s basic rights (the inconsistency with which we establish accountability) will be presented tomorrow, October 5th, by René Mahieu at the Amsterdam Privacy Conference 2018. In the current networked online landscape, tracking down who has your data is a matryoshka doll of labyrinths, where arriving somewhere only means finding new sets of potential controllers. In his most recent working paper, Mahieu (et. al.) argues that in this context the law is unclear in assigning legal responsibilities to companies and institutions.

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“We are currently witnessing what Zuboff calls the rise of “Surveillance Capitalism”. It is characterized by a new form of extreme concentration of power by those who control the platforms and the data. If we do not force this concentrated power under the control of new forms of checks and balances, it will be detrimental to democracy and individual autonomy.” (Rene Mahieu)

According to Mahieu (et. al.), attempts to make this type of law enforcement more effective by the Data Protection Authorities, the courts and even the introduction of a new law in Europe have fallen short in doing so. Nevertheless, the European legal system became the main reference for law-making in Latin America. Brazil has just adopted a virtually copied-and-pasted version of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) as data usage accountability efforts. As one of the world’s biggest democracies, as well as the “most influential” South American country, we are yet to see if this new General Data Protection Law (LGPD) will be used to repair some glitches in this so-called “flawed democracy“.

The LGPD was approved in August 2018, and immediately confronts us with the following question: will it be used to protect personal and political freedoms of the Brazilian population, or was it approved precisely because it may not? If this new privacy protection law is an attempt to balance out the completely unbalanced way in which law enforcement operates, it is happening so slowly that by the time it can be used to help the people who need it the most, they would have already served their sentence and we would have a whole new set of problems (technologies and mechanisms) to deal with.

The law won’t come into effect before 2020, while 23 political prisoners of Brazil need protection now. They were convicted based on personal data collected online and by phone wires, which paint a distorted picture of criminal plans that were never realized (an investigation lead by the Precinct for Repression of Informatics Crimes).

This concern over using people’s personal data to monitor, intimidate, imprison, or even kill marginalized peoples is widespread in Europe. The conference where Mahieu presented his research hosted a vast majority of Privacy Rights related works, but it was strangely financed by the very companies most likely to evade people’s privacy and misuse personal data. For instance, Google, a large umbrella cellphone company, and even a data collection agency for the military were involved in the realization of this event, which provoked resistance from a hand full of scholars.

Scholars members of the groups DATACTIVE and Data Justice Lab published an open letter one month before the conference stressing that, “in the context of what has been described as the increased neoliberalization of higher education”, transparency with regards to corporate funding and “a clear set of principles for sponsorship” is of the utmost importance. Without it, participants and organizers of this academic field would inevitably play a role in efforts to “neutralize or undermine human rights concerns”.

There were several problematic sponsors, but the one that stood out in their protest was Palantir, a data analysis company from the United States affiliated with the military and inhumane border control initiatives:

“[P]roviding Palantir with a platform, as a sponsor of a prominent academic conference on privacy, significantly undermines efforts to resist the deployment of military-grade surveillance against migrants and marginalized communities already affected by abusive policing.” (Why we won’t be at APC 2018)

The political relevance of Privacy Rights is not exclusive to one country or one continent. These rights are essential for combating violent forms of control practiced by State-Capitalism everywhere, which aim only to benefit a hegemony rather than the people as a whole. Europe and the Americas are connected in ways that transcend the virtual world, but these connections have undeniably been exacerbated in this ever-changing technological landscape.

Just so you don’t finish this article in complete despair, there are a few things we can do to remedy the situation; if not a cure, at least damage control. There is value in demanding your right to access information about where your personal data is, who it is being shared with, and what this data consists of (e.g. address, name, birthday, etc). Denouncing the institutions that refuse or evade the request may shift the power imbalance between individual citizens and organizations in favor of the citizen. Perhaps our biggest asset in capitalist society is our demand as consumers, and consequentially our motivation to not wanna be fined alongside potential business partners. In short: do your best to keep track of where your personal data is, and don’t do business with shady companies.

And of course: #NotHim


Other References:

Booklet on Privacy as a Human Right (For teachers and students).

Coding Rights

Direitos na Rede

Policy review


Mirna Wabi-Sabi

44590204_10156834106472372_3689192296684716032_o

is co-editor of Gods&Radicals, and writes about decoloniality and anti-capitalism.


Hey! We pay Mirna and others for their articles. We’re one of the few pagan or anti-capitalist sites to do this. 🙂

Here’s how you can help us do that!

What’s Pan-africanism got to do with Marxism?

“The fight against Eurocentrism, a thing which does not allow for a life with dignity, is a struggle against the naturalization of racial oppression in the social condition of the worker. For this reason, Pan-Africanism is a necessary understanding of class struggle.”

From Mirna Wabi-Sabi

Texto em Português (BR) aqui.

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A wall with all white male presidents of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB), and the day’s lecturer Dr. Silvio Luiz de Almeida.

In the second to last week of August, the Faculty of Law of the Federal University of Bahia, in Salvador, hosted the first cycle of a course on Marxism and Pan-Africanism. This course will be a recurring initiative to discuss concepts and disseminate knowledge not only for law students in the university. From the 20th to the 23rd, the doors of the main auditorium were open to everyone with an interest in the event, free of charge. It was not just a lecture on the perspective of black women, on the history of white supremacy and capitalism, or on the meaning of Pan-Africanism. It was a meeting of exchange that brought together speakers, teachers, poets, students, writers, artists and more, many of whom were not always welcome in that space. Due value must be given to the initiative to address anti-capitalist and anti-racist issues and practices in the academic environment where Brazilian Law is researched and enforced.

On the first day of the course, before the lecture of Dr. Lindinalva de Paula, there was a warm welcome from the table and exciting performances of theater and poetry. The topic of the lecture, the perspective of black women on Pan-Africanism, was fully expressed in everyone’s chest when Sophia Araujo stepped on stage and presented her poetry- in the presence of her daughter named Dandara (also the name of a notorious enslaved woman of the 17th century). The bridge between the reality of the streets today, and the theoretical debate of centenary ideologies, has materialized in an environment that has been historically hostile against both.

One of the participants at the beginning of the event stated not only the relevance of us being there, but the obligation we have to occupy that space. She reports that in that same room she has been booed for defending affirmative action, and many have been booed for trying to address anti-racism. Combating institutional racism needs the production of anti-racist knowledge, bringing other non-European rationalities to the academic environment. This means not only studying, but transforming.

“Until the lions have their own historians, hunting stories will continue to glorify the hunter.” (Eduardo Galeano)

Leno Sacramento, from the Olodum Theater, presented a shocking performance on police oppression, addressing the psychological and physical violence that compose our incessant denunciations against the genocide of black people. Nor can we forget the invisibilisation and ideological silencing of black and indigenous peoples, reinforced by epistemic-genocide, which brings us the famous phrase “death begins before the shot” (Pedro Borges).

The event was not restricted to the urban context, a link between the rural area and the urban area was also forged. There was a representative affirmation of Union power in contrast to the corporate one. And the presence of members of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) brought to the table the struggle of black peasants. Therefore the symbiosis of land, class, and race was demonstrated in theoretical and practical ways.

“I am landless / I am poor / I am black / I am a revolution” (Raumi Souza, musician and MST member)

Dr. Lindinalva de Paula’s talk had a simple and indispensable message: Together, black women go further. Alone they may walk fast, but even with all their titles, it is a trap. “Our steps come from afar,” she said, referring to all the black women who came before us, and made our way possible today. They were part of a feminism that was not Eurocentric, that burned no bras, and was not ignorant of Africa. They had different guidelines; for example, daycare, which was not a white feminist agenda because they had access to basic health, and when they got pregnant they could hire a black woman to help. In the periphery, and before, black women were already feminists.

“We did not become feminists, we did not know we were doing feminism all along.” (Dr. Lindinalva de Paula)

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The following day, the lecture by Dr. Muniz Gonçalves Ferreira also addressed the issue of the black movement’s dialogue with whiteness, only from a more Marxist perspective. In contrast to the previous speaker, who at no point demonstrated any value in the political collaboration between black women and white feminists, he argued that despite the position of undeniable whiteness from which Marx and Engels spoke, they did not reproduce the racism of their time. At least not after a certain point in their careers. Therefore, for him, there is no contradiction in adopting the philosophies of these thinkers in the anti-racist or Pan-Africanist struggle.

Before the course began, attendees received an email with a video of a debate that clearly shows the tense divergence within the Pan-africanist movement between Afrocentric and Marxist thinkers. Eurocentrism, as a worldview where racism is put into practice, has no place in Pan-africanist doctrine. While Afrocentrics believe that adopting Marxism means giving space to a Eurocentric doctrine, Marxists such as Dr. Muniz Gonçalves Ferreira believe that Marx and Engels overcame their inherited Eurocentrism and fought against racism.

“Were Marx and Engels racist?” To the lecturer, no. They undoubtedly studied the texts of people contaminated by ‘ethnocentrism’, such as Hegel, who believed that world history was an evolutionary process from the East to the West, concluding that Africa, having a stateless people, had no history. They were not only European intellectuals, but they were German, in a colonial and enslaver period that oppressed even the peripheries of their own continent (the Slavs), but eventually they joined the struggle against slavery and against colonialism.

If Marx and Engels’ struggle against slavery and colonialism was indeed an anti-racist act, it remained open. They stood in favor of anti-colonial revolts in India and China, defending them as strategies proportional to the violence of capitalism and colonialism. They also defended the North in the U.S. civil war, denouncing biased journalism in Britain that had economic interests in cotton production in the South. Marx even “let” his daughter marry a Haitian of Afro-descent. That is what it means to be anti-racist in the 19th century, even if these are no longer our standards for determining whether someone is racist or not today. Unfortunately, the lecturer hinted that racism was once more palpable back then, and that our criteria for categorizing racism today is subjective; it is enough to say that African paganism is “of the devil”.

This reading does not work for everyone. A member of the audience questioned whether these arguments are enough to determine whether or not someone was racist. Being abolitionist, at that time, was a position held by many who had interests far from being the destruction of white supremacy. Having a black relative also means nothing, since even Bolsonaro tried to use this argument to reassure that he is not racist. Others have brought the question of how racism persisted after socialist revolutions in Cuba and Russia. And the Afrocentric Pan-africanist organization React or Die asked to have their flag removed from the event, but maintaining cordial relations and organizers of the course demonstrating full support for their VI International March Against the Genocide of the Black People that happened 4 days later, August 25th, and to the “Don’t Vote, React!” campaign.

Since the 19th century, racism has not ceased to be palpable and real. From medical genocide, necropolitics, mass incarceration, to police violence, our criteria for denouncing racism still holds immense weight on the bodies of black people in Brazil. A Marxism that is not anti-racist is possible, but for the speaker, being a Marxist without being anti-racist is an appropriation of the term. An anti-racism that is not Marxist is unquestionably embraced, since our goal is human emancipation and we fight against all forms of oppression. We do not have to be Marxist to be anti-capitalist. Other anti-capitalist guidelines are more than welcome.

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Soviet Poster (1960)

Dr. Silvio Luiz de Almeida, the speaker the following 3 days of the course, presented a different perspective on the relationship between Eurocentrism and Marxism. What Marxism and Pan-Africanism have in common is that they are effective ideologies in dealing with historical moments of conflict. It’s not possible to essentialize the two ideologies. There is no homogeneity, there is history. The movement of history is one of transformation and conflict.

Some say they don’t want to read white writers, but those who kill us have only what to gain from that. “They are horrible indeed,” he said, but it is not consistent to read Fanon without reading Hegel, for example. Even though Hegel had extremely ethno / Eurocentric rhetoric, and undeniably racist stances, he also introduced us to the dialectic between the master and the enslaved.

W.e.b. Du Bois was the first black man with a Harvard doctorate. Without theory, practice submits itself to the immediate. But Marxism has nothing to teach the worker. “Theory of the Strike?” Uniting theory and practice, intellectuals and politicians, means joining the agenda of thought with political practice, since the transformation of the world depends on us understanding the world.

At the same time, the act of transformation transforms the practitioner: Praxis. The future must be built and can be transformed. In the midst of many fantastic examples and analyzes, perhaps the most striking example of the union of theory and practice, praxis, and transformation, was the presentation of the concept of naturalization of the condition of exploitation.

Naturalizing the social condition of the worker happens through the Capitalist ideology. Their condition is naturalized within the system by the social division of labor, which depends on race and gender. These social relations are concrete. They are social relations that give meaning to things. Therefore, the relationship between Africa, race, slavery, and blackness is a socialization. Race itself is a historical creation. Racism created the black, and created its antithesis, the white. The fight against Eurocentrism, a thing which does not allow for a life with dignity, is a struggle against the naturalization of racial oppression in the social condition of the worker. For this reason, Pan-Africanism is a necessary understanding of class struggle.

Jal Souza, one of the attendees, explains this phenomenon wonderfully from his personal perspective:

“While the children of the elite study to develop critical thinking, young working-class people are committed to increasing the small profit of the family, and thus are not allowed intellectual development. I remember a youth, poor financially, where to open a book was seen as an act of pure entertainment and laziness, for there is no value recognized in those words but rather contempt. Time spent reading should be employed in paid work. The irrelevance of the study and relevance of basic manual labor makes it difficult for boys and girls from the peripheries to see themselves in educational institutions. Therefore, they occupy the positions of worse remuneration and greater physical effort, without representation in political organizations, and without knowing how to claim and conquer rights. Rich and white men, those who are most interested in keeping the mechanisms of the system in place, decide the future of all.” (Jal Souza)

While Marxism makes contact with reality by piercing to ideology, structural racism is the social fabric that sustains institutions. We can advance in isolated institutional contexts, without even beginning to change this structure. Racism consists not only of conscious actions, but also of the unconscious ones, those in the economic, political, and subjective level. In fact, the “demonization” of African cultures leads black people to lose identity and to accept the structure as natural and immutable.

The last day of the lecture took place in the Brazilian Bar Association, the institution where the abolition of slavery was discussed in Brazil. Dr. Silvio Luiz de Almeida again shared a moving and inspiring speech, this time on the legacy of the thinker, artist, and now officially lawyer, Luiz Gama.

Slavery has different moments, and Luis Gama lived during the most brutal of them. He was a lawyer for enslaved people, and accused the public power, the empire, putting it in the press and using public opinion in his favor. In 1881 there was a lynching of 4 enslaved whom he considered heroes. Those people were lynched because they killed their “lord.” Luis Gama boldly stated publicly that it is important to be radical against an evil that is even more radical, and that these enslaved men killed in self-defense. Killing the master is self-defense. This led him to be persecuted. His story is active resistance.

Luiz Gama is an idea. An idea that materialized there at that moment, in that room in the Brazilian Bar Association. “His story is in each one of us.” (Dr. Silvio Luiz de Almeida)


Mirna Wabi-Sabi

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is co-editor of Gods&Radicals, and writes about decoloniality and anti-capitalism.


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TRADUÇÃO PORTUGUÊS

Para Além dos Muros: A Academia e o Debate Antirracista

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Na penúltima semana de Agosto, a Faculdade de Direito da UFBA hospedou o primeiro ciclo de formação do curso de Marxismo e Pan-Africanismo. Esse curso será uma iniciativa recorrente de debater e disseminar conhecimento, não só para alunos(as) de direito na universidade. Do dia 20 a 23, as portas do principal auditório estavam abertas para todos e todas com interesse no evento, gratuitamente. Não foi apenas uma palestra sobre a perspectiva de mulheres negras, sobre a historia da supremacia branca e do capitalismo, ou sobre o significado de Pan-africanismo. Foi um encontro de aprendizado e troca que reuniu palestrantes, professores(as), poetas, alunos(as), escritores(as), artistas e mais, muitos dos quais nem sempre foram bem-vindos naquele espaço. Devido valor deve ser dado à iniciativa de abordar os temas e práticas anti-capitalistas e antirracistas no ambiente acadêmico onde pesquisa-se e aplica-se a Lei.

No primeiro dia de curso, antes da palestra da Dr. Lindinalva de Paula, houve um caloroso bem vindo da mesa e apresentações emocionantes de teatro e poesia. O tópico da palestra, a perspectiva das mulheres negras sobre o Pan-africanismo, foi expresso em completo no peito de todos e todas quando Sophia Araújo subiu no palco e apresentou suas poesias- na presença de sua filha chamada Dandara. A ponte entre a realidade das ruas hoje, e o debate teórico de ideologias centenárias, se concretizou em um ambiente que foi historicamente hostil contra os dois.

Uma das participantes da mesa no inicio do evento afirmou não só a relevância de estarmos ali, mas a obrigação que temos de ocupar aquele espaço. Ela relata que naquela mesma sala ela ja foi vaiada por falar de cotas, e muitos já foram vaiados por tentar abordar o tema de antirracismo. Combater o racismo institucional demanda a produção de conhecimento antirracista, trazendo outras racionalidades não européias pra conjuntura acadêmica. Isso significa não só estudar, mas transformar.

“Até que os leões tenham seus próprios historiadores, as histórias de caçadas continuarão glorificando o caçador.” (Eduardo Galeano)

Leno Sacramento, do Teatro do Olodum, apresentou uma peça impactante sobre opressão policial, abordando a violência psicológica e física que compõe nossas incessantes denúncias contra o genocídio do povo negro. Também não podemos esquecer da invisibilisação e silenciamento ideológico de povos negros e indígenas, reforçado pelo epistemicídio, que nos traz a famosa frase “a morte começa antes do tiro” (Pedro Borges).

O evento não se restringiu ao contexto urbano, um vinculo entre a zona rural e a zona urbana também foi forjado. Houve afirmação representativa do poder sindical em contraste ao corporativo. E a presença de membros do MST trouxe à mesa a luta de camponeses e camponesas negras. Portanto a simbiose de terra, classe e raça foi demonstrada de forma teórica e prática.

“Sou sem terra / sou pobre / sou negão / sou revolução” (Raumi Souza, músico e membro do MST)

A palestra da Dr. Lindinalva de Paula teve uma simples e indispensável mensagem: Juntas, as mulheres negras andam mais longe. Sozinhas talvez andam rápido, mas mesmo com todos os seus títulos, é cilada. “Seus passos vem de longe”, ela falou, referindo-se a todas as mulheres negras que vieram antes de nós, e possibilitaram esse caminho hoje. Winnie Mandela, Amy Jacques Garvey, Lélia Gonzalez, Assata Shakur, Anna Júlia cooper são algumas delas. Unir mulher e raça significa reconhecer que existem feminismos (em plural). Existe um feminismo que não era branco eurocentrado e que queimava sutiã, já que haviam mulheres que nem usavam sutiã. Esse feminismo completamente desconhece a África, e não tem as mesmas pautas. Creche, por exemplo, não é pauta da feminista branca porque que ela tem acesso à saude básica, e quando engravidava tinha como contratar uma negra pra ajudar. Na periferia e antes, as mulheres negras já eram feministas.

“Não nos tornamos feministas, não sabíamos que estávamos fazendo feminismo o tempo todo”. (Dr. Lindinalva de Paula)

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No dia seguinte, a palestra do Dr. Muniz Gonçalves Ferreira também abordou a questão do diálogo do movimento negro com a branquitude, só que de uma perspectiva mais propriamente Marxista. Em contraste com a palestrante anterior, que em momento algum demonstrou valor na colaboração politica entre mulheres negras e feministas brancas, ele argumentou que apesar da posição de inegável branquidade da qual Marx e Engels falavam, eles não reproduziam o racismo de seu tempo. Pelo menos não depois de um certo período de suas carreiras. Portanto, pra ele, não ha contradição alguma em adotar as filosofias desses pensadores na luta antirracista, ou Pan-Africanista.

Antes do curso começar, inscritos e inscritas receberam um email com o video de um debate que mostra claramente a tensa divergência dentro do movimento Pan-africanista entre Afrocêntricos e Marxistas. O Eurocentrismo, como uma visão do mundo onde o racismo é colocado em prática, não tem espaço na doutrina pan-africanista. Enquanto Afrocêntricos acreditam que se reivindicar Marxista significa dar esse espaço para uma doutrina Eurocentrica, Marxistas como Dr. Muniz Gonçalves Ferreira acreditam que Marx e Engels superaram seu Eurocentrismo herdado, e lutaram contra o racismo.

“Marx e Engels eram racistas?”, pra o Dr. não. Sem duvida eles estudavam textos de pessoas contaminadas pelo “etnocentrismo”; como Hegel, que acreditada que a história mundial era um processo evolutivo do oriente em direção ao ocidente, concluindo que a Africa, por ter um povo sem estado/civilização, não tinha historia. Eles eram dois intelectuais não só europeus, mas alemães, em um período colonial e escravagista que oprimia até as periferias de seu próprio continente (os eslavos). Mas eventualmente eles se uniram à luta contra a escravidão, e contra o colonialismo.

Se a luta de Marx e Engels contra a escravidão e o colonialismo foi de fato um ato antirracista ficou em aberto. Eles se posicionaram a favor de revoltas anti-coloniais na India e na China, as defendendo como estratégias proporcionais a violência do capitalismo e do colonialismo. Também defenderam o Norte na guerra civil Norte Americana, denunciando o jornalismo tendencioso na Inglaterra que tinham interesses econômicos na produção de algodão no Sul. Marx até “deixou” sua filha casar com um afro-descendente haitiano. Isso é o que significa ser antirracista no século 19, mesmo que esses não sejam mais nossos padrões para determinar se alguém é racista ou não hoje. Infelizmente, ele insinuou que o racismo antigamente era mais palpável, e que nosso critério pra categorizar racismo hoje em dia é subjetivo; basta falar que “o Candomblé é do diabo”.

Essa leitura não funciona pra todos. Um membro da audiência questionou no bloco de perguntas se esses argumentos são o suficiente pra determinar se alguém era ou não era racista. Ser abolicionista, naquela época, era um posicionamento mantido por muitos que tinham interesses longe de ser a destruição da supremacia branca. Ter um familiar negro também não significa nada, já que até Bolsonaro tentou usar esse argumento pra afirmar que não é racista. Outros trouxeram a questão do racismo que persistiu após revoluções socialistas em Cuba e na Russia. E a organização Pan-africanista Afrocêntrica Reaja ou será Mortx pediu para ter sua bandeira removida do evento, mas mantendo relações cordiais e organizadores do curso demonstrando completo apoio à VI Marcha Internacional Contra o Genocídio do Povo Negro que aconteceu 4 dias depois, dia 25 de Agosto, e à campanha “Não Vote, Reaja!”.

Dês do século 19, o racismo não deixou de ser palpável. Do genocídio hospitalar, necropolítica, encarceramento em massa, à violência policial, nossos critérios para denunciar racismo ainda segura um peso imenso nos corpos de negros e negras no nosso país. Um Marxismo que não seja antirracista é possível, mas para o palestrante, ser marxista sem ser antirracista é uma apropriação do termo. Um antirracismo que não seja Marxista é inquestionavelmente abraçado, já que o nosso objetivo é a emancipação humana e lutar contra todas as formas de opressão. Não precisamos ser Marxistas pra ser anti-capitalistas. Outras pautas anti-capitalistas são bem vindas.

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Dr. Silvio Luiz de Almeida, o palestrante não só do dia seguinte mas dos 3 dias seguintes do curso, apresentou uma perspectiva diferenciada sobre a relação do Eurocentrismo com o Marxismo. O que o Marxismo e o Pan-africanismo tem em comum é que são ideologias eficazes ao lidar com momentos históricos de conflito. Não é possível essencializar as duas ideologias. Não existe homogeneidade, existe história. O movimento da História é de transformação e conflito.

Alguns falam que não querem ler autores brancos, mas “quem nos mata só tem a ganhar com isso”. “Eles são horrorosos mesmo”, ele disse, mas não é coerente ler Fanon sem ler Hegel, por exemplo. Mesmo Hegel tendo seus posicionamentos extremamente etno/euro-cêntricos e inegavelmente racistas, foi ele também que nos apresentou a dialética entre mestre e escravizado.

W.e.b. Du Bois foi o primeiro negro com doutorado de Harvard. Sem a teoria, a prática se submete ao imediato. Mas o Marxismo não tem nada a ensinar ao trabalhador. “Teoria da Greve?” Unir teoria e prática, intelectuais e políticos, significa unir a pauta de compreensão com a prática política, já que a transformação do mundo depende de nós entendermos o mundo.

Ao mesmo tempo, a ação transformadora transforma o praticante: Praxis. O futuro deve ser construído e pode ser transformado. Em meio de muitos fantásticos exemplos e analises, talvez o mais impactante exemplo de união de teoria e pratica, práxis, e transformação, foi a apresentação do conceito de naturalização da condição de explorado.

Naturalizar a condição social do trabalhador acontece pela ideologia Capitalista. Naturaliza-se sua condição dentro do sistema pela divisão social do trabalho, que depende da raça e do gênero. Essas relações sociais são concretas. São relações sociais que dão sentido para as coisas. A relação entre África, raça, escravidão, e negro, portanto, é uma socialização. Raça em si é uma criação histórica. O racismo criou o negro, e criou sua antítese, o branco. A luta contra o Eurocentrismo, uma coisa que não viabiliza uma vida com dignidade, é uma luta contra a naturalização da opressão racial na condição social do trabalhador. Por isso, o Pan-africanismo é uma compreensão necessária da luta de classe.

Jal Souza, um dos ouvintes da palestra, explica esse fenômeno maravilhosamente a partir de sua perspectiva pessoal:

“Enquanto os filhos da elite e dos pequenos burgueses estudam para elevar o pensamento crítico, os jovens da classe trabalhadora estão empenhados em aumentar o pequeno lucro da família, e portanto, não se permitem ao desenvolvimento intelectual. Recordo de uma juventude, pobre financeiramente, onde abrir um livro era visto como um ato de puro entretenimento e preguiça, pois, não ha valor reconhecido naquelas palavras, mas sim desprezo. Aquele tempo gasto com leitura deveria ser empregado em um trabalho remunerado. A medição da sabedoria é medida pela capacidade de ganhar dinheiro, não pelo conhecimento. A irrelevância do estudo e valorização do trabalho básico e braçal faz com que os meninos e meninas das periferias não se enxerguem em instituições de ensino. Portanto, ocupam os postos de trabalhos de pior remuneração e maior esforço físico, sem representação nas organizações políticas, e sem saber reivindicar e conquistar direitos. Permitindo assim, que os homens brancos e ricos, os maiores interessados em manter os mecanismos do sistema vigente, decidam o futuro de todos.” (Jal Souza)

Dia 23 de Agosto foi o lançamento do livro O Que é Racismo Estrutural? do Dr. Silvio Luiz de Almeida, na Senzala do Barro Preto.

O espaço cultural Senzala do Barro Preto é sede do bloco afro Ilê Ayiê, “uma entidade carnavalesca que funciona como centro cultural no bairro do Curuzú, ensinando e difundindo entre os moradores da localidade e regiões próximas à identidade africana, mostrando com orgulho o poder da ancestralidade, religiosidade e construção dos negros no Brasil e internacionalmente.” (Jal Souza)

Enquanto o Marxismo faz contato com a realidade furando a ideologia, o racismo estrutural é o tecido social que sustenta instituições. Podemos avançar em contextos isolados institucionais, sem nem começar a mudar essa estrutura. O racismo não constitui apenas de ações conscientes, mas também das inconscientes, as do nível econômico, político e subjetivo. Aliás, a “demonizaçāo” das culturas africanas leva o negro perder sua identidade e a aceitar a estrutura como natural e imutável.

A performance do grupo indígena Ybytu Emi trouxe a pauta artística, musical, e teatral como expressão das raizes entrelaçadas da comunidade indígena e negra brasileira. Nítido ficou o entrelaço dos índios na vanguarda da proteção da cultura africana no Brasil, no passado, e das religiões afros preservando a cultura indígena, no presente.

E por fim, o ultimo dia de palestra aconteceu na Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil, uma instituição onde discutia-se a abolição da escravatura no Brasil. Dr. Silvio Luiz de Almeida novamente compartilhou um discurso comovente e inspirador, dessa vez sobre o legado do pensador, artista, e agora oficialmente advogado, Luiz Gama.

A escravidão tem momentos diferentes, e Luis Gama viveu durante o mais brutal deles. Ele era advogado pra pessoas escravizadas, e acusava o poder público, o império, colocando na imprensa e usando a opinião pública no seu interesse. Em 1881 houve um linchamento de 4 escravizados que ele considerava heróis. Aquelas pessoas foram linchadas porque mataram o “senhor”. Luis Gama corajosamente afirmou publicamente que é importante ser radical contra um mal que é mais radical ainda, e que esses escravizados mataram em legítima defesa. Matar senhor de engenho é legítima defesa. Isso o levou a ser perseguido. Sua historia é uma resistência ativa.

Luiz Gama é uma idéia. Uma idéia que se materializou ali naquele momento, naquela mesa na AOB. “A história dele esta em cada um e uma de nós.” (Dr. Silvio Luiz de Almeida)


Mirna Wabi-Sabi

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é militante anti-fascista/decolonial, e feminista interseccional. Ela edita o site Gods and Radicals.

The Tragedy of Brazil’s National Museum Started Much Before the Fire

If we’re gonna talk about the carelessness with which we deal with valuable artifacts, we must also talk about how we attach value to those artifacts, and the undeniable Ethno/euro-centrism involved in that process.

From Mirna Wabi-Sabi

Texto em Português (BR) aqui.

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“It’s a National duty to rebuild it from the ashes, even if it is not the original it will forever be a memory of the royal family that gave us our independence.” (Marcelo Crivella, Rio de Janeiro’s Governor)

It’s safe to say the whole country of Brazil was dumbfounded watching the National Museum literally go up in flames, as if it was our turn to be destroyed by the aliens from Independence Day. When it was over, we were all left oscillating in the range of emotions between rage and sorrow, mourning the loss of irreplaceable objects, and 200 years worth of people’s work.

We’ve been careless with our material History and irresponsible in preserving memory for as long as this Museum existed, why are we so upset now? Our indignation seems to come from shame for not living up to an European standard of possessing History.

Ten years ago there was a criminal fire that destroyed an indigenous community not far from where the Museum is, and virtually no one took to the streets. We talk about all the records of Indigenous languages that were lost inside this Colonial building, but what are we doing to the Indigenous people alive here now? We don’t see them as having history, we see them as obstacles for development. This is what truly makes me oscillate in the range of emotions between rage and sorrow, year after year.

Part of the fascination we had with that Museum wasn’t necessarily all the valuable objects that were inside, it’s about who attaches value to these things. The royal atmosphere of the space comes from it being one of the few places with authentic European style architecture in our country. One of the people in their fundraising video from last year said that when you walk up the stairs of the museum you can easily imagine walking into a Gala from the Royal Family, which is why she fell in love with the place.

The National Museum is the oldest scientific institution of Brazil. Let that sink in. Academia, alongside the Monarchy, and the Catholic Church, were Medieval institutions introduced to us hundreds of years ago, that today we still feel the desperate need to preserve without properly accessing the genocidal role they’ve played in our lives. While I see the tragedy of the event and feel the horror of the loss, I think it’s important to address our internalized Eurocentric views that lead us to believe Europe and European institutions are the havers and holders of History.

The concept of what it means to be a Human being, as developed in Western Europe in the 16th century, was very much tied to the idea of Having history, and therefore of being civilized. The loss of this “History”, these artifacts, brings up from our colonized idiosyncrasies the feeling of being less human. Tragic is how we still treat our Indigenous and Quilombist communities as less human, as not really having History, or not worthy of having their land and their homes preserved.

Haven’t we seen what happens when we leave History in the hands of European Institutions? They steal, then whitewash, distort or destroy. Egypt, for instance, has wanted its treasures back for years. They were colonized and Europe has profited from what they stole ever since. We as a society are still struggling to unlearn the teachings of an ethnocentric campaign that created the idea that Africa has no History. We learned that the evolution of humanity has been Northwards and Westwards, and we conveniently forgot that Egypt is black and African, not white and Northern Mediterranean like Greece.

Brazil also had its memory distorted, and we go along with it. Indigenous peoples were massacred and portrayed in Europe as savage animals. To this day European museums proudly display the works of white men who painted naked Indigenous women alongside made-up animals and plants. Here we internalize that rhetoric, we whiten ourselves, and reject all other ancestry.

If we’re gonna talk about the carelessness with which we deal with valuable artifacts, we must also talk about how we attach value to those artifacts, and the undeniable Ethno/euro-centrism involved in that process. As, if not more, important than rebuilding this institution is combating epistemic-genocide which has been annihilating our people and our History for hundreds of years.


Mirna Wabi-Sabi

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is co-editor of Gods&Radicals, and writes about decoloniality and anti-capitalism.


Gods&Radicals would like to know how we’re doing. Mind taking a four-minute survey?


TRADUÇÃO PORTUGUÊS

A tragédia do Museu Nacional começou muito antes do incêndio

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O país inteiro ficou perplexo ao ver o Museu Nacional literalmente em chamas, como se fosse nossa vez de ser destruídos pelos alienígenas do Independence Day. Quando acabou, oscilamos entre emoções de raiva e tristeza, lamentando a perda de objetos insubstituíveis e 200 anos de trabalho de muitas pessoas.

Fomos descuidados com nossa história material e irresponsáveis com a preservação de nossa memória desde sempre que este museu existe, por que estamos chateados agora? Nossa indignação parece vir da vergonha de ter falhado em alcançar um padrão europeu de possuir História.

Dez anos atrás, houve um incêndio criminoso que destruiu uma comunidade indígena não muito distante do Museu (em Camboinhas), e praticamente ninguém foi às ruas. Nós falamos sobre todos os registros de línguas indígenas que foram perdidos dentro deste edifício colonial, mas o que estamos fazendo para proteger os povos indígenas vivos aqui agora? Nós não os vemos como tendo história, nós os vemos como obstáculos para o desenvolvimento. Isso é o que realmente me faz oscilar entre emoções de raiva e tristeza, ano após ano.

Parte do fascínio que temos com o Museu não é necessariamente todos os objetos valiosos que estavam ali dentro, é sobre quem atribui valor à essas coisas. A atmosfera Real do espaço vem do fato de que é um dos poucos lugares com arquitetura de estilo europeu autêntico em nosso país. Uma das pessoas no vídeo de “Campanha para a requalificação do Museu Nacional” do ano passado disse que quando você sobe as escadas do museu pode-se facilmente imaginar um baile da família real, e é por isso que ela se apaixonou pelo local.

O Museu Nacional é a instituição científica mais antiga do Brasil. A Academia, juntamente com a Monarquia, e a Igreja Católica, foram instituições medievais introduzidas aqui centenas de anos atrás, e que hoje ainda sentimos a necessidade de preservar sem analisar adequadamente o papel genocida que elas tiveram em nossas vidas. Embora eu veja a tragédia do evento e sinta o horror da perda, acho importante abordar nossas visões subconscientemente eurocêntricas que nos levam a acreditar que a Europa e as instituições européias são detentoras da História.

O conceito de o que significa ser humano, desenvolvido na Europa Ocidental no século XVI, estava muito ligado à idéia de ter história e, portanto, de ser civilizado. A perda desta “História”, esses artefatos, traz de nossas idiossincrasias colonizadas a sensação de sermos menos humanos. Trágico é como ainda tratamos nossas comunidades indígenas e quilombolas como menos humanas, como não tendo realmente história, ou não dignas de ter suas terras e seus lares preservados.

Não vemos o que acontece quando deixamos a História nas mãos de instituições europeias? Roubam, depois embranquecem, distorcem ou destroem. O Egito, por exemplo, quer seus tesouros de volta há anos. Eles foram colonizados e a Europa lucrou com o que eles roubaram desde então. Nós, como sociedade, ainda estamos lutando para desaprender os ensinamentos de uma campanha etnocêntrica que criou a idéia de que a África não tem História. Aprendemos que a evolução da humanidade foi em direção ao norte e ao oeste, e convenientemente esquecemos de que o Egito é negro e africano, não branco e do norte do Mediterrâneo como a Grécia.

O Brasil também teve sua memória distorcida, e aceitamos. Os povos indígenas foram massacrados e retratados na Europa como animais selvagens. Até hoje, os museus europeus exibem com orgulho as obras de homens brancos que pintaram mulheres nativas nuas ao lado de animais e plantas inventados. Internalizamos essa retórica, nos embranquecemos, e rejeitamos nossas outras ancestralidades.

Se vamos falar sobre o descuido com qual lidamos com artefatos valiosos, devemos também falar sobre como atribuímos valor a esses artefatos, e o inegável Etno / eurocentrismo envolvido nesse processo. Tão importante quanto, se não mais do que, reconstruir esta instituição é combater o epistemicidio que tem aniquilado nosso povo e nossa história por centenas de anos.


Mirna Wabi-Sabi

23844610_10155972276622372_5754996345436383112_n

é militante anti-fascista/decolonial, e feminista interseccional. Edita o site de Gods and Radicals, é filósofa e professora.

Place of Discourse and Folklore of the African Diaspora

On being white and talking about racism. How to learn about Afro-Brazilian stories of resistance, through lenses free from the objectifying effects of the white gaze.

From Mirna Wabi-Sabi

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“To get rid of the curse, the community called for good spirits to take to the streets in the month before August to ward off the evil spirits and attract good ones, managing to save the community from the great tragedy of Death. Initiating thus the apparitions of the mandus and Caretas (grimaces) on the streets of Acupe on Sundays of July.” (Wiki)

Each Sunday of July, a small Brazilian town called Acupe hosts street theater folklore of the African Diaspora. People come from all over the world to witness this unique cultural manifestation, and to support the community’s effort to reclaim its history. Nego Fugido (the play’s title, which I’ll roughly translate as “runaway black guy”) represents the long overdue opportunity for Afro-Brazilians to tell their own stories of resistance, spirituality, and ancestry. This way, they combat invisibility and the twisted white gaze of recorded history and western anthropology.

This play is about enslaved Africans who ran away, then were chased and killed by their master. This master was trying to avoid bankruptcy by offering the lives of enslaved runaways to Ikú (an Orixá, a force of nature, Death itself in the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé), and planting a banana tree over each grave. Eventually, there are no more lives to be offered, and Ikú curses the whole town. Every year, good spirits must be sent out to chase away the bad ones and break the curse. Caretas, the masked children that roam the streets, symbolize the “insertion of blacks and their culture into Brazilian society” (Jamilson Oliveira). Ultimately, the enslaved are granted freedom, and the town manages to arrest and auction out the King. Today, the skirt made out of dried banana tree leaves worn by the performers holds immense spiritual power, symbolizing the sacrificed lives of their ancestors.

“The banana tree leaves themselves are used in Candomblé terreiros to scare away eguns (spirits). Every terreiro has a babá of the house, a good egun that prevents other eguns from disrupting celebrations and rituals.” (Jal Souza)

The story, which comes from oral tradition of a couple hundred years ago, is remembrance of colonial power dynamics, the brutality of the struggle for freedom, and the primordial strength of Ikú. Acupe is a Quilombola community at the “Bay of All Saints” (Bahia de Todos os Santos), a region with a long colonial history, and land with deep ancestral roots. The combination of lifelike reenactments, on the Land where the story took place hundreds of years ago, and the sacred ritual to rid the town of evil spirits makes for a breathtaking experience.

Unfortunately, the swarm of white photographers overpowers not only the audience, but also the performers. There is nothing inconspicuous or ordinary about those giant lenses being shoved at all angles and in all directions. These hybrids between tourists and professionals felt no shame in interrupting the performances to direct the actors into ideal poses. The drone hovering over us witnessed hostile arguments between photographers who fought over an ideal viewpoint, or between audience members that just couldn’t take those people’s entitlement over some cubic meters of aerial space.

Perhaps the the lack of a formal theater setting caused uncertainty over of what would constitute etiquette. Or perhaps they felt that this was a once in a life time opportunity to register that moment. What is certain is that the colonial gaze, and the historical form of racism being depicted in the play, was also manifested in its modern form, making people very anxious.

The population of Acupe is predominantly black. So, when there are white people there they are seen as outsiders. In fact, a lot of white people show up only to document this event, and the objectifying effects of the white gaze are palpable.

I believe there is a level of entitlement that comes through when white people act like being there and documenting the event is a favor they are doing for the community, as if their presence there is what gives the event value. There is absolutely no way that a photographer would interrupt an actor’s performance with “psssst! pssst!” while aggressively pointing to where the actor should move for a better shot at Shakespeare at the Park in NYC.

The “epidermalization of inferiority” may or may not come at play in response to this, but it is easy to imagine that many black people feel that the “social cost” of calling out white people’s insensitive behavior is too high, aside from having to deal with a likely outburst of white fragility. What I can say is that a hand full of black people in the audience were pushed too far and lashed out at arrogant gazers who were clueless and disrespectful.

I was taking pictures with my phone… the costumes were beautiful and designed to be photogenic. The problem isn’t visiting the town for the event, watching the performance and taking pictures. The problem is treating the Other as there to serve You.

One extremely insensitive thing you can do as an audience member is to treat those performers as objects, as if their purpose for being there was for you to make a fantastic photo. The parallels between history and modernity are distressing. The community is passing down a tradition to their children, honoring their ancestors on the very land where their blood seeped into the ground. Being able to witness it should be taken as a humbling learning experience.

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Place of Discourse

As someone who is not black or of the African Diaspora, I tell this story partially. I don’t, nor will I ever want to, speak for anyone. I speak about them, and about myself, because we exist in relation to each other, dialectically. My place of discourse is not, and doesn’t claim to be, impartial. That doesn’t mean I have no right to speak.

“[W]hite people cling to the notion of racial innocence, a form of weaponized denial that positions black people as the “havers” of race and the guardians of racial knowledge.” (Robin DiAngelo)

It’s my responsibility to address my white passing privilege, and to address how my own community might be reproducing classism and colorism. As white (passing) people, we must listen and learn (and read), but when we demand the unpaid emotional labor of racial education from Afro-descendants, we fall in the trap of reproducing the very thing we want to eradicate.

Support the community, don’t take from them. Learn without demanding labor. And attend when you’re invited. This is the etiquette we can establish.


Mirna Wabi-Sabi

23844610_10155972276622372_5754996345436383112_n

is co-editor of Gods&Radicals, and writes about decoloniality and anti-capitalism.


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Sometimes Coordinated, Always Authentic: Terrorism prevention efforts apply to G&R

Facebook’s efforts to detect and eradicate “coordinated inauthentic behavior” by Russian meddlers is a pretext to suppress political activism and counter-hegemonic initiatives.

From Mirna Wabi-Sabi

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In the beginning of August, 2018, we tried to boost an article about climate change on Facebook, and we got this message:

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We looked up what the authorization process entailed, and didn’t even consider going through with it when we learned that:

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Let’s begin by clarifying why we are buying Facebook adds to begin with:

“Facebook already determines what posts you see and which you do not, both from friends and pages. Pages in particular are throttled heavily. For instance, Gods&Radicals has 10,000 followers but often our posts are only seen by 500-1000 people.

The only way that Facebook would allow a post to be seen by more followers is if you paid. It’s about 1 dollar per 100 people.”

-Rhyd Wildermuth, G&R’s Managing Editor

Regardless of whether you think we should be paying for adds or using Facebook at all as a platform, we need to discuss what it means for Governments and Corporations to have this kind of control over the dissemination of information and ideas, and the personal information and location of the people spreading them.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “was founded 15 years ago to prevent another 9/11, but today I believe the next major attack is more likely to reach us online than on an airplane.”

Kirstjen Nielsen

This FB-DHS twosome isn’t surprising, but it’s alarming. It means giving carte blanche to request and store names, locations/IP-addresses, and photos of anyone they want, and use that information who knows how. Treating political activism as a terrorist activity is a deliberate effort to intimidate activists, while at the same time manufacturing public support for fascist policies. When the State defines what “terrorism” is, it not only does that to justify unacceptable actions (military violence, censorship, etc…), it does that to ensure that label is never used against them.

Both editors of G&R are not currently residing in the U.S.A., and we are not interested in advertising our locations. Does that mean what we write and share is “meddling”? The U.S.A. has financed a military dictatorship in the country where I live, and controls essentially every aspect of our economy and of our electoral process. But we are not allowed to boost an article about how banning plastic straws doesn’t actually reverse Climate Change or even significantly reduces the amount of plastic dumped into the ocean… (Do I need to affirm that the oceans and Climate Change are not issues important only in U.S. American politics?)

This new policy doesn’t only affect foreigners or people outside the U.S., it affects everyone everywhere. If you’re on a U.S. IP-address but have your language set to Russian, or if you’re a regular English speaking American trying to increase attendance to a meeting, it’ll apply to you too. Eric O. Scott, a Pagan writer and labor organizer, was unable to publicize a meeting for the Democratic Socialists of America in Columbia, Missouri. He said that, even though he already is a public political figure, with class, gender and race privileges, he still chose not to complete the authorization process:

“it’s easy to imagine a scenario in which a state demands Facebook turn over all the registration information for anyone associated with a leftist page. […] And of course if promoting any kind of writing that could be considered ‘political’ requires registration, that’s requiring that anybody who wants to publicize writing that has actual substance will have to register. The chilling effects are huge.”

This policy is not an actual effort to promote media literacy. Identifying authenticity is something we indeed should focus on. But this Capitalist Democracy relies on the population’s inability to discern between authentic and inauthentic information. This policy is simply an attempt to keep the ability to manipulate “authentic passability” exclusive. Much like banning plastic straws, it is not something that will do what it claims to set out to do.


Mirna Wabi-Sabi

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is co-editor of Gods&Radicals, and writes about decoloniality and anti-capitalism.


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