Thursday, December 17, 2009

Update on Hidden From History: The Canadian Holocaust

Just a quick update for those who are interested. Bingo, an activist for Aboriginal rights in BC, who was mentioned in our previous post "A Day in the Life of Kevin Annet," has passed away. If you want to honour his life, and the lives of the many native women, men and children who have been killed by colonialism, residential schools, racism, poverty and violence against women and children, please take some time to educate yourself about genocide in North America.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mourn on Sunday, Then Resume the Fight

A very good article about the 20th anniversary of the murders of 14 women at École Polytechnique in Montreal. Written by Evelyn Myrie for The Hamilton Spectator (curiously, it was not available on and forwarded to me by the Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton and Area).

These homicdes altered the gun control debate, making it clear to women that our safety was worth the expense of the gun registry. The same debate is taking place again, with MP after MP giving in to the gun lobby, which promotes the use of guns for hunting, and wants us to forget that their sales impact our safety.

88% of women killed by gunshot are killed using shotguns or rifles- the "hunting" weapons that the gun lobby wants exempted from the gun registry.

Visit to send a rose to MPs who voted against long gun registration.

Mourn on Sunday, then resume the fight
By Evelyn Myrie
The Hamilton Spectator
Thursday, December 3, 2009
This Sunday, memorials will be set up in communities across Canada in memory of the 14 young women who were killed and 13 injured by a gunman who "hated feminists."  
This Sunday will mark 20 years since a man with a semi-automatic rifle entered an engineering class at L'Ecole Polytechnique, separated the women from the men, and then murdered 14 women. He also had a "hit list" of an additional 19 high-profile women he identified as feminists, including Quebec's first female firefighter and the first female police captain.  
On Dec. 6, 1989, our country lost 14 young women -- sisters, daughters, friends. We will remember these young women in services and vigils across this land this week:
Geneviève Bergeron, 21
Hélène Colgan, 23
Nathalie Croteau, 23
Barbara Daigneault, 22
Anne-Marie Edward, 21
Maud Haviernick, 29
Barbara Maria Klucznik
Widajewicz, 31
Maryse Leclair, 23
Annie St-Arneault, 23
Michèle Richard, 21
Maryse Laganière, 25
Anne-Marie Lemay, 22
Sonia Pelletier, 28
Annie Turcotte, 21
Mourning is an important step in the healing process. Taking time to reflect and remember these innocent young women is necessary and important. But it's not enough.
 I'm inspired by the phrase, "First we mourn and then we act."  Taking action is not always easy.  Sometimes it means ruffling feathers or "speaking truth to power," and challenging systems.  But it is necessary if we are to change the discourse that still keeps women at the social, economic and political periphery of our society.
Getting involved as an agent of change is not easy. But it is necessary. It sometimes means you will not be on some guest list. But that should not matter. The work for equality and social justice requires strength of character and perseverance.
The backlash against those who engage in women's equality work is keeping many women more silent than a decade ago when one could readily hear women's voices on issues of the day. Stigmatizing those who work for women's equality is the order of the day.
A good friend of mine told me she does her work more quietly now, because she is afraid her speaking out could make her a liability to her workplace. "I need to have a pension," she said. This friend spent decades fighting for women's equality, but felt the creeping "chilly climate" was too much to bear.
Twenty years ago, the Montreal Massacre became a galvanizing moment to fight violence against women across Canada. Twenty years later, violence against women remains a major problem in our society. On Dec. 6, do take time to mourn, but on Dec. 7, develop your action plan.
Let's use the day of mourning as a catalyst for renewed commitment and action to end women's unequal position in our society.  Violence against women continues to be a serious problem across this country and in our local community as shelters are filled with women and children fleeing violence in their homes.
Addressing violence against women requires a comprehensive strategy that takes into account women's unequal position in our society. Women face higher levels of poverty, their wages are less than their male counterparts. Pay equity and access to child care are still unresolved issues facing Canadian women.
In Hamilton, there are still a few groups working to address women's equality issues.
Long-standing institutions such as the Hamilton YWCA have articulated the need to address issues such as poverty and fair wages. St. Joseph's Women's Centre also continues to add women's voices to community conversations. Women's shelters in Hamilton are also looking for support through fundraising and advocacy work.
When the community gathers to remember the Montreal Massacre this Sunday, let us be inspired to take action, to be a part of the solution, after we mourn.  
This Sunday in Hamilton, starting at 1 p.m. there will be a National Day of Remembrance Memorial held at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre at 51 Stuart St., with guest speaker Priscilla de Villiers who will talk about the controversy relating to gun control. Other speakers include Rosita Hall, former director of Second Stage Housing (now
closed) and Linda Ense of the Native Women's Centre.
First we mourn, then we act.
Freelance columnist Evelyn Myrie lives in Hamilton and is a former head of Hamilton's status of women subcommittee.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The New Conservative Party

This is a great blog with terrific writing:

Recently, The Alien and I attended a lecture by Chris Hedges at The Revolutionary book store on 26th between 6th and 7th. It is a communist book store full of the same uncritical allegiance to the same old liberal issues without any consideration of identity politics!

They actually believe that identity politics are IRRELEVANT! They used sweeping generalizations about “people” and “women.” They called on audience members as “gentleman” and “lady” without consideration of gender politics.

We spent two hours talking to people outside the bookstore after the lecture:

Then, they protested when Alien and I suggested that the ways that black and white womyn experience oppression are very different. Bw are “strong” and can “handle a rough life”; ww are “weak” and have to be “protected from life”. Ww are oppressors of bw. AND there are gender and sexual orientation nuances among womyn as well.

There are COMPLICATIONS that MUST be discussed or these patterns of hierarchy/oppression will be REPEATED in radical communities.

Right! It’s simple! But for funzies, I came up with a little blurb about the political party that I lead:

The voice of the New Conservative Party is one of rational, real and logical beliefs.

Money requires the obedience of a labor-driven economy, and so, we are required to labor for the purpose of exhausting ourselves with work. The New Conservative Party are anti-labor and anti-work.

When we believe in a hierarchy, we will always be fighting to be higher on the scale of privilege. For the more privilege you have, the more access you have to happiness. Hierarchy is the hateful lens through which we see everything in life- from the evolution theory to office politics. But happiness is a right, not a privilege. Here at The New Conservative Party, we are anti-hierarchy and anti-authority.

Religion, along with its allies in its industry of oppression, including non-consensual government and science, instill in us a self-oppression that slowly teaches us to find comfort in misery. The New Conservative Party encourages you to be emphatic about seeking pleasure and is big proponents of masturbation.

Work is unnecessary. We live in abundance but we do not distribute evenly. There are few who can enjoy the necessities of happiness which, I'm sure you are inclined to agree, are:

-an abundance of free time

-health of body and mind

-community and love

Happiness is available to all of us but we must become Pleasure Seekers and leave self-restraint and modesty behind. Modesty and shame are the tools of the Industry of Oppression.

With industrialization, the earth and its abundance are kept hostage by corporations which sell it to consumer-citizens. These corporations along with government, religion, science and the labor system destroy all that is good and divine about life.

In sum, The New Conservative Party is about the simple, old-fashioned values of love and community.

We also encourage questions, comments and debate.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What If Black Women Were White Women?

"If" Black Women Were White Women
August 23, 2009

In “If Men Could Menstruate,” Gloria Steinem makes the persuasive argument that “Whatever a ‘superior’ group has will be used to justify its superiority, and whatever an ‘inferior’ group has will be used to justify its plight.”

For too long the definition of racism has been a fight between white and black manhood or “who’s the bigger man”, so to speak. We've trivialized the existence of gender between both groups of men in favor for discussion of the "bigger issue".

This has historically enabled white female supremacy—the most unchallenged form of white supremacy—to escape any critical thought.

What if suddenly, instantly, the power of white femininity were transferred to black women?

The answer is clear: Black women would represent value, purity; and based on their natural traits would be worthy of protection and instantly become the objects of universal desire. White women would represent the opposite.

“Beauty tar potion” would become globally popular to get the “black look.” “Dove” would be replaced with a black soap called “Raven” to help exfoliate the skin and bring out subtle hints of melanin.

White female features would be declared violent. Their “jagged” thin lips, “knife sharp” noses, and “harsh” jaw lines would be nature's way of expressing why men have a natural preference for the soft features of black women. Soft lips, soft cheekbones, and soft, round noses would be proof of natural femininity. Full, pink lips and large, dark eyes would become associated with virginal black girls whose purity must not be compromised. Black female features would thus be said to represent youth.

Straight, blond hair would be considered “wild and unruly” because when the wind blew, it did not stay in place. Women with naturally straight hair would hide their “unruly” and “wild” stick-straight hair in public. The desire for “lightweight hair” that defied gravity would permanently end the use of blow dryers. Keeping one's natural blond hair wild and straight would become indicative of a political statement.

The anti-aging properties of black female skin combined with soft, curvy bodies would be proof of the overall reproductive health of black women. Scientists would argue that black women were naturally preferred as long term mates and mothers because they were “healthier.” Men’s attraction to women is based on overall health and fertility, after all.

Suddenly, biracial women would be “in” because the hard features of white women wouldn't prevent the fragile genes of “black beauty” from peeking through. Men would suddenly have the desire to date “ethnic,” non-black women since they would look “closer to black” than blond women—at least they wouldn't look like white women.

Statistics would equate the fact that white women make up the majority with their “overpowering” and “strong” population. This would be proof that they could handle unsafe neighborhoods. The “strong culture” they would have created amongst themselves would enable them to withstand their lack of protection from predators and criminals. Statisticians would argue that men were attracted to black women innately because they made up a small percentage of the population. “We tend to value what is rare,” they might say.

Men would proclaim that white women deserve sexual objectification because “flat buttocks” allow for deeper penetration. In ghettos across America, men would stand on street corners and yell “Damn! You got a flat ass!” to remind white women of their sexual status in society.

Upper class women would be afraid that their “asses looked flat” since it would represent animalistic and sexual deviance, like white women. Black women’s buttocks, said to protrude farther from the body, would prove that their natural vulnerability made them “less equipped” to handle hardcore sex and rape like white women could.

“I need a strong white woman!” would become a popular “empowering” slogan for exploitative men who rationalized the emotional, financial, and sexual overburdening of white women.

Overweight white nannies would become the “acceptable white women” in popular culture as they do not pose a threat to black female superiority and privilege. Conventionally attractive white women would serve as a sexual threat to black women for single-handedly breaking down the beauty hierarchy.

Hip hop videos would feature men throwing money at “white bitches” bent over in front of the camera to showcase their white asses, eager for deep penetration. Entire songs would be devoted to hatred of “white gold digging bitches” who believed that they were entitled to the financial security in marriage to which black women were entitled. “Penetrable white asses” and “pale-faced hoes” would become the cash commodity for selling entire musical genres.

White women’s “hard” bodies would be deemed more “capable” of fighting off sexual attackers, while the soft curves of black female bodies would become worthy of police protection. White women, despite being at high risk of being victimized by violence and sexual crimes, would not “need” police protection.

Movies would feature black women as the main objects of men’s desire across racial lines while stereotypes of evil, bitter, and oversexed white women would further prove why men of all races simply did not prefer blonds. “We can’t help those to whom we're attracted,” men would say. “Preference” would become an unconcealed acceptance of discrimination against white women. White women’s anger towards and sadness about the status quo would show their unreasonable jealousy of the innate superiority of black women.

Republicans would ban abortions to protect the virtue of pure, black motherhood and liberals would advocate increasing the number of abortion clinics in “low income” neighborhoods where white women would be the majority. Liberals would claim that white women had “culturally” approved of sexual objectification and were “safe enough” without outside help since they were warned not to touch “in-group issues” with a ten foot pole.

And so on and so forth.

The most important reality is that black feminists would eventually grow tired of being seen as innocent and vulnerable in patriarchy and would fight to erase the commodity of black femininity. “The innocent, submissive, and vulnerable representation of women is what puts us in danger. The rigid category of femininity has contributed to our oppression,” they might argue.

In the back of every black feminist movement we would hear the quiet and dignified pleas of radical white feminists. “But, we do not represent femininity. We are considered strong, incapable of feeling pain, and sexually deviant—but all this has done is increase our likelihood of being in danger. And aren’t we women too?”

As Gloria Steinem wrote, “In short, the characteristics of the powerful, whatever they may be, are thought to be better than the characteristics of the powerless - and logic has nothing to do with it.”

What remains universally evident is that the many justifications for power and privilege are always inherent, always scientific, and always permeate society to the point that they remain deeply buried within our collective consciousness.

Until someone challenges them.

© 2009 Alienati0n

Edited by Kara Feldman.

Monday, July 27, 2009

"It's Just a Pile of Rocks"

This article from The Washington Post comes courtesy of Native Nations Joining Forces. It is about more than a pile of rocks, and more than a religious site- it's about the value of aboriginal people, and all non-Christians, in the United States. Would this happen to a pilgrims' church? I doubt it. The message in actions like these is clear: if it doesn't support the wealth and power of the white majority (Christian churches do- through indoctrination, networking and political lobbying- and so does Wal-Mart), it's not important.

Ala. city plows beneath Indian site for Sam's Club

By JAY REEVES The Associated Press Tuesday, July 21, 2009; 5:33 AM

OXFORD, Ala. -- Bucket loaders and bulldozers are tearing apart a hill that researchers call the foundation of an ancient Native American site to provide fill dirt for a Sam's Club store, a move that appalls preservationists.

Tribal advocates and state officials say a large stone mound that tops the 200-foot rise was put there a millennium ago by Indians during a religious observance. It is similar to rock mounds found up and down the Eastern Seaboard, historians say, and likely dates to Indians of the Woodlands period that ended in 1000 A.D.

"It's just heartbreaking," said Elizabeth Ann Brown of the Alabama Historical Commission. "I find it hard to believe that for fill dirt anyone would do this."

Despite a city-commissioned study that found tribal artifacts in the red clay that makes up the mound, Oxford Mayor Leon Smith denies the work by the city is damaging anything important. He said the stones atop the hill are a natural part of what locals call Signal Mountain and were exposed by millions of years of erosion.

"It's the ugliest old hill in the world," said Smith, who has overseen a mushrooming of big-box stores in this east Alabama city of 15,000 during his seven terms as mayor.

The hill certainly is an eyesore these days. Its wooded sides have been stripped bare, and the red soil is being trucked downhill to the site of a new Sam's warehouse store and a small retail strip, where it's being used to build up a good base for foundations.

The rock mound perched atop the hill is mostly undisturbed so far, though it is denuded save for a few spindly trees that haven't been knocked down. Officials with Sam's Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said no material from the rock mound is going into the site where the store is under construction.

Brown said the state lacks the power to halt the project, and petitions and protests haven't done anything to stop the work. Big yellow dump trucks rumble up and down the hill, located behind a retail development just off Interstate 20, about 60 miles east of Birmingham.

City project manager Fred Denney said officials plan to remove the top of the hill eventually to create an elevated, eight-acre site that will overlook the Choccolocco Valley and the city of Oxford.

"It would be a beautiful view," said the mayor, who envisions a motel or restaurant atop the hill.

Indian historian Robert Thrower is aghast at what he sees as the city's lack of concern for the historical importance of the site, which he said is similar to others along the East Coast. Groups have saved rock mounds in Montague, Mass., North Smithfield, R.I., and elsewhere.

"With increasing development occurring, these sites are in jeopardy," said Thrower, a member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama and chairman of culture and heritage for the United South and Eastern Tribes. "Here, you're looking at a site that is a sacred site for us."

Denney said the city purchased the hill and surrounding acreage several years ago for $10 million for development. Faced with questions about an ancient Indian site, Smith said the city paid the University of Alabama $60,000 to study the mound.

University of Alabama researchers found six shards of Indian pottery under rocks atop the mountain, and their report said the mound was likely built by Indians during the late Woodlands period.

Researchers didn't discover any evidence of burial sites among the rocks, though they said such remains could have been lost to erosion or looting. Oxford's mayor said the lack of bones means there's no reason not to bulldoze the mound.

"It's just a pile of rocks is all it is," said Smith.

City officials deny they are insensitive to history. Denney said officials have banned development at a 12-acre site about a half-mile from the hill because archaeologists found evidence that Indians once had a community there.

Thrower said Indians from that settlement possibly carried many of the rocks up the steep hill to mark a place of prayer or to commemorate special events. There's no way to move the stones elsewhere and preserve the site, he said.

"A colleague of mine referred to these places as ..prayers in stone,'" Thrower said. "For us it's immaterial whether there are burial or historical artifacts present. The site itself is historic."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

In Those Genes

"Usual Question: Why is a biracial child considered black?

Usual Answer: Because the child looks "more black" than white.

Follow up question: Why does the child look more black?

Follow up answer: Because whites have recessive genes."

Awhile ago on, I saw a post that summed up my feelings about the "First Black President". She posted images of the president's grandfather and of Obama as an adult. Here are those two pictures:


Clearly, Obama is the splitting image of his grandfather. So what about him makes him 'look black' exactly, out of curiosity? Is it complexion, features, or because "we know"? When we assign people to a race (and when it's ambiguous we ask 'what are you?' so we can attach stereotypes to 'understand them better') what are we really looking at? Or is it that a biracial person is said to look "more black than white" because OUR definition of whiteness is much less vague and always has been, than blackness? The "octaroons" during colonization and slavery show that white superiority has always meant that blackness was "too dirty" to rub across it. A person who was 1/8th (and prior to that 1/16th) black was "tainted" and therefore left out of the construct of white privilege as punishment.

Bob Marley's father.

How strange it is that people who range from Alicia Keys complexion to Wesley Snipes complexion are considered to "look black"? Especially since Alicia Keys is much lighter than Osama Bin Ladin, who is "racially" considered caucasian, as is Angelina Jolie who has features associated with black women. What about those who range from say Zoe Saldana to Cameron Diaz, how can you safely say you can "tell" someone "looks" latina? This has always been a huge WTF and a big SMH, imho.

We can use "culture" to define who is "black" and "white", but most biracials are raised by their white mothers so by this argument, why aren't they considered "white"? Then, there's the fact that other than stereotypes, underprivilege, and isolation there's nothing in America unifying "blacks" to each other to create a distinct culture. There's also the issue that states that biracials have "trouble" with their identity without considering the same ramifications exist for someone who is "black" AND "GLBT", or "black" and "woman" and which part of their self-identity should come first. The fight for self-identity is a human experience that is not isolated to people who exist in between two "distinct"(fictitious) groups. But when your identity is tied to "natural" (social) privilege or lack thereof, this fight simply becomes much more complicated.

It is very real in many societies that anything deemed vulnerable needs to be better protected. This ranges in all scopes of things from children to our immune systems, from white female virginity to our economic budget.
If European phenotypes are considered "naturally recessive" to all other "races" it essentially says that white genes are more valuable and therefore meant to be kept pure. Diamonds are only valuable because they are considered rare, otherwise, what would differentiate them from regular rocks?

We cannot separate racial perception from social conditioning. When we look at real life evidence, we can simply see that "race" doesn't exist.

Can we safely say now that the jig is up?


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Rest of "A Day in the Life of Kevin Annett"

I don't know why my first email didn't send the entire post, but here's the rest of it:

I hopped a bus for awhile to get away from the madness, but found things even crazier in the plush manicured part of downtown where people rush from thing to thing to thing. There is no heart there. Back on hastings street, the heart is torn and bleeding, but still beating.

Every day I delight when Bingo and Deanna and Irene and William are still alive, though my joy is at the cost of their agony, of having to go through another day. But they see my joy, and maybe it helps them a bit.


Midnight. Alone in the radio station, taped blues music humming away. Three people sprawl unconscious outside on the doorstep, others stumble by. No answers yet, but just a lot more questions. And the long, long waiting.


Read and Hear the truth of Genocide in Canada, past and present, at this website:

Film Trailer to Kevin's award-winning documentary film UNREPENTANT:

A Day in the Life of Kevin Annett

I received this message via a Facebook group, "Hidden from History: The Canadian Holocaust," and I thought it was worth sharing. Kevin Annett's website and radio show tell the stories of Aboriginal Canadians, and their deaths, from residential schools and the death of native cultures to uninvestigated abuses and murders. This "day in the life" story provides a variety of examples of how natives realities and experiences in Canada could be considered genocide. White Canadians learn about native culture in school, about our history with them, trading fur and marrying metis wives, and then kind of flash forward to a reality in which Native people are angry at us, and nobody knows why. Except we do know why- we know about drunk natives, homeless natives, native children in foster care- but we've always treated addiction, abuse, poverty, family breakdown, criminality as problems native people inflict on themselves, never as the direct results of a campaign to wipe them out.

So here it is: A Day In the Life of Kevin Annett

I met Bingo this afternoon at his corner, our listening post at Main and Hastings. His usual joy at seeing me struggled through layers of drunkenness but the courage as always was there. A guy from WAHRS handed us some minutes from their meeting and we were scanning them when a big, particularly stupid cop, a sergeant, accosted us and stared over my shoulder at the paper, yelling,

"What's this shit, more propaganda?"

I folded the paper and turned away from the thug. He leaned over to Bingo and sputtered,

"I don't like you! You're a goddamned trouble maker!".

Word gets around. I turned to the cop and said,

"You don't know the half of it."

Bingo raised himself up, and replied,

"I don't have to talk to you!"

"Fucking trouble maker!" returned the cop.

"Don't say that" I said to the cop. "Come on, now."

I half expected a brawl but the sergeant suddenly bolted across the street to the cop shop after giving Bingo a very mature gesture.

Bingo and I, clearly, are known and hated by the downtown eastside cops, after leading our wave of sit-ins at the local churches. Why, I'm not sure. Why should it be any skin off their nose?

I hung around to see if the cop would return with help, but Bingo wasn't fazed at all. His main concern was how he was going to get a bottle of something to get him through the night.

"I don't remember much of what happened to me at the rez, Kev" Bingo said to me later. "But I got the hurt bad anyway, really bad. You don't have to remember for it to be there."


Earlier, at the Sweetgrass Centre, a native woman named Irene I met awhile ago told me how she still can't see her son more than an hour each week, and he screams whenever she tries to hold him. He's one year old and lives in a white foster home.

"It ain't normal. They're abusing him, I know it" she said, her eyes crazy with the pain.

"I gotta stop it, but how? The social worker ignores my calls."

"Some guy went crazy with a rifle and shot three people at the Pow Wow yesterday" said a man next to us, as he read a newspaper.

"Seems he was pissed off 'cause they wouldn't let him in drunk."

"But the soup is good" croaked an old guy, slurping the fish stew that Carol and others had slaved at all day.

Irene watched it all, her heart miles away. She studied me to see what I would do about her son.

"Come on my radio program, we can tell others" I said to her.

"Gotta do more'n talk" she replied, and to my surprise, added,

"We should picket their home. Picket the welfare office."

People came and went, signing the list, eating their stew and bannock, then hurrying out. Irene lingered, spreading the pain, sustained a little bit just by being with us. She kept patting the cat, over and over.


Deanna finally spoke on the air today, years in the making. But doing so sent her into a post-traumatic reaction and I had to talk her down for an hour after the program.

"I felt it all again. I felt all that fucking fear ..."

She spoke about almost being murdered by an aging john who took her to a weird looking room that had awful vibes, and sheets covering all the windows, and muffled stuff on the walls.

"I knew girls were killed there. I knew it" Deanna said. "I picked a fight and got outta there. I would have died."

She spoke about hearing a long, blood curdling female scream one night, a block away.

"We ran around, trying to find out where it was coming from. But we couldn't. It sounded like murder."

I commented about the house at Jackson and Hastings where girls had been killed and then buried under the floorboards. The whole place was gutted and asphalted at the start of the Picton trials.

"Everybody knows that place. I stayed away from it but I lost some friends there. Every day, we wonder who's gonna disappear next. It never stops for us."

One of the station staff people kept walking by the studio, flashing me angry glances. A prostitute, on the air?

Deanna started crying when Carol spoke about the pedophile rings at the Campbell street apartments, where six year old kids dressed all fancy are taken on Friday nights. She didn't stop crying.

I didn't cry. I never do.


William sat through the entire program, saying nothing, sober for once, and thus deep in his pain. He smiled only once when Molly, our operator, brought her new born daughter with her into the studio. He didn't dare touch the baby when Molly offered her to him.

Molly had arrived late, in tears. A cop had ticketed her and yelled something at her for not wearing a bike helmet. She kept wiping her tears with one hand and breastfeeding her baby with the other.


[The entire original message is not included]

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Further Reading For the National Holidays

My first anti-canada-day post was focused on the problems we live with at home, and that's just the tip of the iceberg, as far as human rights abuses go. "Free trade" is killing the world and our proud, wealthy country is soaked in blood because of it.

The link below is to the text of a speech called "Come September" by Arundhati Roy. I strongly recommend reading it, and thinking about what nationalism has gotten us, what nations do for us, and what it means to be the blindly entitled children of "Western" countries that claim a moral high ground and a better way of life. Roy focuses on the United States (and September 11th), but Canada, Britain and the rest of Europe are not inncoent bystanders in the globalization revolution. We exploit and abuse the developing world and we reap the rewards of economic imperialism right along with the US. This is the face of Canadian arrogance (disguised as patriotism & as citizenship) as much as it is the face of US aggression.

A quote: "Nationalism was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century. Flags are colored bits of cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people's brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead."

I Really Don't Hate Canada, Folks

I just hate Canada Day.

If I lived in the US, I'd also hate July 4th. Actually, I do hate July 4th, I just don't care as much about it.

I have a problem with a holiday that comes with the sentiment: "Canada is the best. I'm proud to be Canadian. And if you don't like our country, you can leave!" Nationalist pride does nothing for Canada, except give us a day to ignore our problems while we party (drinking Canadian beer while we listen to Canadian music, naturally). We may have a few privileges that citizens of other countries do not, but we, as Canadians, did nothing to earn them, besides being born in Canada, and we are not innocent of human rights abuses, here or abroad.

But I am a patriot. I love Canada, and Canadians, enough to want to see our country change. I am patriotic enough to refuse to take a break from valuing human rights, from condemning injustice, inequality and oppression, from seeing and hearing the Canadians who will never expereince opportunity or success in our country, or from demanding to live in a country that I CAN celebrate.

There is no excuse for Canadians to spend time and money propping up a Canadian identity of diversity, equality, democracy and freedom that doesn't exist, especially when so many Canadians are desperate for an investment of resources that will allow them access to the "Canadian way of life."

What should Canada Day mean to aboriginal citizens, when our Prime Minister refused to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, when they are still suffering the consequences of residential schools, when they are still living with an epidemic of family violence, addiction and poverty, when land treaties are ignored, when nuclear waste is dumped on their land, when they are filling Canadian prisons at alarming rates, and when some do not even have access to clean drinking water? What does it mean for the rest of Canada, that we choose to celebrate and have not fixed these problems?

What should Canada Day mean for people who do not have homes, when Canada Day celebrations are funded at municipal, provincial and federal levels, but no money exists for more shelters or public housing, when they do not have access to our "universal" health care because they do not have addresses and when they face barriers to voting? What does it mean for the rest of us, that we choose to have these people rounded up and imprisoned so we don't have to see them at our "public" celebrations?

What should Canada day mean to the people who fought for voting reform, whose votes didn't count because their ridng went another direction, who didn't bother to vote because it didn't matter, or who weren't allowed to vote? How can we rejoice in democracy when nearly half of our country can't be bothered participating in it? How can we celebrate responsible government when the Governor General decides who will be Prime Minister, even as the government collapses, and can shut down the parliamentary process while the elected Leader of the Opposition is replaced by someone who is willing to leave the boat un-rocked for awhile, if only because taking power in a recession would be bad politics? What does it mean for the rest of us that we don't even like the people we elect to represent us, and we feel comfortable blaming "the government" for problems, as if the government has nothing to do with us?

What should Canada Day mean to people living with daily violence that they can't afford to escape? To the working poor who will never earn enough to break the poverty cycle for their children? To Haitian Canadians who know that our military is being used to "reform" the Haitian economy for the "global" economy's benefit? To Canadians who are refugees here, either because our corporations have caused widespread poverty and violence in their home countries, or because wealthy countries still refuse to put an end to the poverty and violence in developing countries that makes them so easy to exploit? To the people whose educations were sufficiently inferior as to guarantee they will never qualify for meaningful employment? To the people who lost their jobs because the company they worked for moved to another town when they tried to unionize? To the people working in animal shelters who are daily witnesses to the cruelty, apathy and violence that Canadians commit? To people with mental illness or addictions who are sentenced to lives of poverty and shame? To the people whose poverty drove them to crime and now live in prisons, with few human rights? To the people whose children were sent to other families because they couldn't afford to feed them?

What does it mean for the rest of us when we are willing to celebrate a Canadian identity that allows such terrible injustice? We're not doing ourselves any favours by failing to acknowledge that Canada has not lived up to our expectations, that the human rights crimes committed in this country do not coincide with our values and that we have no reason to celebrate when the battle has just begun. We hurt ourselves- we damage the value of every one of our lives- every time we choose to be OK with injustice, oppression and suffering, even if its only for one day.

We are not diverse. We are not equal, in value or in opportunity. We are not democratic. We are not free.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Our Mid-life Crisis.

At what point in your consumer driven, work oriented, chronically exhausted, and severely dysfunctional life do you start to wake up about the unfulfilling nature of the American existence?

At what point do you realize that no matter how hard you work, there is no freedom waiting at the end of the rainbow to relieve you of your debt, cure you of your depression, restore your health, or, bring you anything other than momentary happiness?

Does this crisis await us all?

When did things change from "I know what I want to be when I grow up" to "this is what, if I'm lucky, I plan to accomplish before I'm dead"?

I turn 25 in one week. While I can say that I wish I were excited, I've always had a weird phobia/fascination with dying. To me, birthday's are a reminder of my mortality. Sort of like waiting for a mammogram to tell you when your time is up.

One year older for me is one year closer to death.

Children are so happy with so little. Some say it is the naivety of children--innocence maybe and the freedom to escape the misery that plagues adulthood. One day they will realize that adulthood is a series of depressing crossroads. "What am I doing in my life"? (logic), and then "I am working to achieve something great" (American Programming) create constant states of turmoil we will call "Capitalist Borderline Personality" for the moment being. And the need (more like addiction) that can only be relieved by more products; which we believe is power. Like a junkie that craves a heroin needle only to return to a state of depression and open sores where the needle penetrated their tender flesh.

Americans are house slaves, I've said this before. As controversial as it may sound, it is more realistic than what we care to admit. We are "better fed" (have more shitty processed food to choose from), and more "options" aka things to buy (IPOD touch or flat screen anyone?) All of which cover up a dull aching pain that can only be described as an unfulfilling urge to be something better --but without the ambition or wherewithal to plan an escape route to that destiny. I will say that we are the "better fed" and "better clothed" house slaves that are closer to master, and therefore have the "illusion of freedom" that stops us from fighting for our freedom.

Perhaps this is the reality we face right before we are shipped off to a retirement home or poverty for being "old" and therefore, too obsolete to work for our master.

when does it suddenly hit you like a ton of bricks that America has crushed your hopes and dreams. With the promise of freedom that will never come?

This is your fellow radical bitter old hag signing off.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Minimum Rage

"Kiss ass while you bitch so you can get rich while your boss gets richer off you. You'll work harder with a gun in your back, for a bowl of rice a day. Slave for soldiers till you starve and your head is skewered on a stake." Dead Kennedys lyrics

My spouse's new job is as a wage slave for a retail inventory service. Thanks to their tendency to work him to death, it pays better than working in a daycare. Just a word on daycares: their employees attend three years of college to work for subsistence wages and do housekeeping work in addition to the difficult job they actually trained for. Sexism isn't dead.

Back to spouse's job: since they still only pay minimum wage, they can easily work him to death- it's the only way to make enough money to make working for minimum wage worthwhile.

And ontario's minimum wage isn't really that low at $9.75/hr (of course, you should factor in the exchange rate, the higher price of everything and our 13% sales tax). It's just low enough to keep the slaves busy while giving the companies they work for an excuse to raise the cost of living. minimum wage is bullshit without price caps, because it creates an endless cycle of raising wages ever so slightly and raising prices to make sure that minimum wage workers are willing to work whatever hours and whatever conditions they're told to. Yesterday, spouse arrived home 7 hours before he had to be back at work. Who needs sleep?
The other day, at his job, one of the wage slaves got tired of being told he can't sit down while working his 10-15 hour shifts, told the boss-man to go fuck himself, and got fired. He waited outside the store, and cracked the first coworker to come out in the face with a baseball bat. The guy obviously has a problem besides the crappy job, but he made a decent point: poverty is violence. Workers deprived of food, sleep, breaks and even the slightest comfort at work are already abused. And it's not like this is the only corporation that does it, because this is not the only corporation with workers desperate enough for $ that they'll do whatever it takes to ensure their own survival and the company's soaring profits. Of course they're willing. Boss-man has the tacit ability to take away food, shelter and basic needs from his employees, just by hiring someone poorer and more desperate to work your hours.

Again, i say, minimum wage is bullshit. It's not about the wage, it's about making damn sure that everything you earn is paid right back to boss-man and his cronies for your basic needs.

Sometimes people will encourage me to quit my job (these people don't consider my labour "work" or my income mine, though) and go work for a boss-man for minimum wage (cause who else wants to hire a ho?). They call what I do "violent" and "degrading." But i've never been hit with a bat, or anything else, or forced to work on no sleep, without breaks or in physically damaging positions. Well, not since i stopped working for a boss-man, anyway.

Since women are more likely than men to work in low-paying positions, we bear the brunt of the abuse that poverty allows. Add our vulnerability to sexual harrassment and rape at work, and the increased likelihood of being assaulted at home or in our communities if we live in poverty, and we have ourselves a problem. Then consider the low-wage slaves in latin america, asia and africa, immigrant and poc domestic workers and literal slaves- people trafficked for farm and factory labour (sorry folks, but the "sex trade" does not have a monopoly on this, and is quite the minority if you stop calling consenting migrant sex workers "trafficked" to excuse their kidnap and deportation)- and we have ourselves a genocide. Women and people of colour are being forced, in order to eat and shelter themselves, to participate in a market that has every advantage over them. Yeah, there's exceptions- female CEOs and a black president etc.- but the rule stands, and firmly.

But talk about price caps, regulations, profit caps, livng wages and- heaven forbid- wealth redistribution and the boss-man and his cronies scream "socialism! fascism! OUR RIGHTS ARE BEING VIOLATED!" We watch the news and we're supposed to believe this, too. But the news lies, and our rights have already been to the firing squad.

The time will come when people get fed up with their own rights being contingent on their willingness to break their backs and devalue their lives, and find a way to guarantee their own food and shelter, absent of market participation. When no one is willing to be boss-man's meat. I hope it's soon.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Shop Till You DropOut

what men need:
food, shelter, clothes/suits, shoes, soap, razors, deodorant/aftershave/cologne, bowflex+muscles, fancy car, presents to bribe women for sex

what women need:
food, shelter, clothes, shoes, soap, pink razors, pink deodorant/perfume/bodyspray, accessories, jewelery, more shoes, more clothes, makeup, hair products, decorations, lingerie, "help" fixing stuff/building stuff, low-fat food/diet food , diet pills/books/drinks, new clothes to fit after the diet, maternity clothes, children's clothes, children's toys, children's food, magazines to tell us what we need, fancy car, fancy wedding, "feminine" "hygiene" products

everyone, and especially women, faces a barrage of advertising telling her what she "needs." for women, looking "ugly" or "masculine" equates to looking "unprofessional" and "unlikable." so our list of "needs" just gets longer. my face isn't going to fall off if i don't put makeup on it, but i won't have a job for long- few men spend this kind of time or money on face paint. if you need "specialty products," say for the average female body size, or the vast majority of human faces that aren't white, the expense grows.
thing is, women already make less money than men. in canada, we earn 76 cents, working full time, for every dollar earned by men. in hamilton, where i live, it's 62 cents. since women are more likely to work in low-paying service positions, they're less likely to have benefits. i can't imagine trying to live with a disability or a child without public health care. so why are we giving the little wealth we do have right back to the men we slave away to earn it from? hmm.. or maybe that was the plan all along. *if we can't have women working for free at home, why not have them work for free by taking all their money back at the mall?*

even for necessities, like food and clothes, north americans of this generation are an oddity. people in developing countries don't have the option of depending on grocery stores for food, and (assuming their land isn't grabbed up by north american corporations) they use generations of wisdom to produce their own food. similarly, women, even in developed countries, used to teach each other to knit, crochet and sew.

we are the only idiots around willing to sell our security for the "luxury" of being useless and dependant.

and it's not like it's hard to get what you do need for free. buildings being torn down provide an array of free building materials for the willing woman. thanks to a few hours work and a helpful friend, my back yard boasts a reworked trellis, a brick and flagstone patio, garden walls, a rosebush and firewood: all free.
and have you actually looked in a grocery store's dumpster? There's a metro near my helpful friend's house with half a dozen bins of nothing but fresh vegetables. grocery stores have discovered that it's cheaper to raise the price of their food, knowing that no one's going to stop eating and few of us have the time to provide for ourselves (you know, cause we spend our time working, so we can depend on grocery stores instead), than to mark down older products when new ones arrive. cause then nobody would pay for the marked up new stuff. so they throw it out. fresh, crisp, green red and orange veggies. loaves upon loaves of bread. cheese galore. while people starve on the streets, they toss food out the back door.
i take men's money for a living- and i keep it. i don't buy wads of bleached cotton to cram up my vag. i eat free food from dumpsters. i can and do make clothes.
more importantly: i have the income i need to guarantee that i will never have to choose between being a victim of violence and being homeless. i can take care of myself and my family. i do not depend on the market for survival. and i have a lot of free time.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wo/Man Enough

As the trial of Angie Zapata's murderer begins, about a year after she was killed by a date who "discovered," in the course of sexually assaulting her, that she had a penis, a google search of "transgender" produces this companion story: opposition to a bill banning discrimination based on gender orientation (to be frank, I find US law-making processes confusing.. 11 states have a similar law in place, and there's a federal and other state laws in the works, I think).
It's a precedent-setting case: the first murder of a transgendered woman to be tried as a hate crime. News reports stated that Zapata's killer began to suspect her gender identity, and, when she refused to "prove" that she was female, he put his hand on her crotch without her consent and felt her penis. This is mentioned in passing, as they describe how and why he "snapped" and "killed it," as he referred the the woman he beat to death and robbed. Though they did mention tha the two had "spent the night" and Zapata's mysterious not-putting-out behaviour, no commentary was provided about why, after suspecting that Zapata had formerly identified as a boy, he decided to sexually assault her rather than stop seeing her. Apparently, having a suspect gender is asking for it. But we already know that some sexual assaults just don't "count," right?
Opposition to the anti-discrimination bill, which is the basis of a hate crime prosecution, calls it a "bathroom bill," giving legal protection to perverts who want to use the "wrong" bathroom. I used a unisex bathoom in residence at school, and I can't say any harm came of it, aside from a few awkward conversations with a particularly chatty guy who sometimes occupied the stall next to mine. The rapes that took place in a university dorm the following year happened in bedrooms, not bathrooms (and were perpetrated, as is typical, by a male-identified, heterosexual man). But here's the rub: our cultural taboos about the toilet, and who should or shouldn't be allowed to see us using it, are being used as legitimate criticism of a bill that is aimed at preventing violence, employment, medical, legal, and educational discrimination. It's a measure that will protect transgendered people from poverty and illness, making them less vulnerable to violence in the first place, and which will provide necessary education to violent criminals who expect our courts to excuse their "gay panic" style attacks.
Why the opposition? There have never been any attacks on bathroom users by trans persons, ever, so that's clearly not the issue. Let's let gender/orientation lines get blurry for a moment, and think about why either/or/neither/both/other identifications (people who don't fit in to white-idealized versions of strong male man/submissive female woman gender dichotomies) are the target of so much violence. Zapata's killer stated that she performed oral sex on him. If he liked it, does that make him gay? In his mind, probably. Would it make him gay if he enjoyed oral sex with someone who identified as male? In my mind, no... but I tend not to fuss over gender.
What about a bunch of guys who attend a strip club together? Sure, they're looking at a naked woman, but the sexual relationship they're exploring is with each other. And if the stripper performs with a female partner, are they, or their audience, now lesbians? If the next show is a drag performace, and both gay- and straight-identified audience members think she's hot, what's their orientation? What gender do we call men who are raped in self-contained all-male societies, like prison? What gender do the hetero-identified rapists call the victims, or themselves? Who is more man: a white transgendered man/woman or a black transgendered man/woman (by Western standards, the black "look" is far more "masculine")? And what to make of all that muscley man-on-man action in professional wrestling, football, ufc? Where and how do any of these men fit into a system of sex-based heirarchies, once we recognize that manhood and heterosexuality are pretty fluid concepts? Much of men's objectification of women (I use this term against my better judgement, for lack of a better phrase, and without the implied disrespect to femme folk who work in sex industries) has nothing to do with women at all, and everything to do with male fraternity. Actually, even the word "fraternity" calls to mind homoerotic imagery of Bush and his "Skulls" pals dancing around in robes and spanking each other. Hawt. And male violence, whether against women or other men, tends to be about establishing male power: over women, over the earth, among competing men, over nations/races/cultures, and by collecting the most money or land. Anti-trans discrimination and violence are necessary components of a system that lets men engage in sex-based explorations and exchanges/seizures of power without having to sacrifice the ideal of the straight, masculine man.
My point is this: the non-existant victims of non-existant trans bathroom predators are a decoy, and Zapata, and every murdered woman like her, are what we're not supposed to see. Continuing anti-trans discrimination won't nail any sex predators because sex predators, by and large, are male-identified, heterosexual men. But it will protect the ideal of masculinity and the excuses it provides for "straight" men to create and maintain power through violence.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Got Soul?

Erase all notions of positive stereotypes. They benefit the status quo. Because there are "positive" stereotypes in addition to the negative ones in every group, people "claim" the positive side because at least it's better than the negative. So people try viciously to prove the "positive" or accept it, and don't eliminate either. So quite clearly, both effectively stay in tact.

One of those we don't think about is the fact that black women can "sing" more strongly than white women. Seems "positive", so positive in fact that we get upset when white female soul singers come out. Actually, those white female soul singers are doing us justice. They show that black women are NOT genetically stronger in vocal range. Because, unfortunately, one cannot embrace the "positive strong black singer" stereotype and deject the "black women are loud" stereotype. They come from the same "stock".

I love Mary J, Jennifer Hudson, and a variety of other "strong" vocal singers. But when we contrast them against Mariah Carey, or other falsettos it is clear that stereotypes have created a DEMAND for a particular type of black female singer. Mariah, being lightskinned, and a "high pitched" singer plays into her femininity where as Mary J being a dark, "bold", and "strong" singer plays into the opposite.

Black women being "soulful" strong singers SUPPORTS the argument that our natural voices are louder, our bodies are stronger, and that "strength" is the justification for how we deserve to be treated. We can't escape that.

Agree, disagree?

Monday, January 26, 2009

What to do?

How awesome would it be to have a room with a bunch of these in different positions?

I'm just thinking about ideas to organize my 300+ books. My parents have given me an expiration date on the other 200 or so I have at home (they will keep them for me but not forever). As of now I found some vanity shelves outside, and have put most of them on those. But that shelf is incredible.

In further news, I have borrowed about 5 books from the library.

So far "Whatever Happened to Daddy's Little Girls?" is incredible. Everyone should pick it up.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

School is for dummies.

What if monotonous biology/chemistry classes were replaced with understanding your bodies chemistry and the basics of health. What if we knew what the basics of what doctors know? What if you could determine whether or not you even need to go to the doctor when you see symptoms? What if in the event that you even need a doctor, your doctor and yourself could compare notes about your symptoms?

What if instead of reading dead and outdated authors such as Charles Dickens and books like "The Great Gatsby"-English classes taught you how to read legal documents, the law, how to analyze what others write, and how to develop the analytical skills necessary to effectively write and therefore communicate?

What if Math classes where numbers were a source of hell, boredom, and frustration were replaced with showing the student how to budget money, how to read financial documents, and how to file your taxes for example?

What if Gym classes, which are a source of hell for teenagers who are uncomfortable with their bodies (and how they fit into gender hierarchy), were replaced with nutrition courses? What if instead of Gym being about comparing meat with jocks, were about holistic nutrition, how to eat to live?

What if instead of dating history as "being in the past", "it didn't happen to us", or "thank god America is free", we learned that what we had in common with those of the past. What if we learned how similar our struggles are with those in our history as a whole, instead of totally disconnecting from it? What if instead of boring Social Studies courses about how great our dead white presidents were; we could create a better future outcome in societies, by simply looking at older societies?

If these things were accomplished, what would that mean for the American Economy? If we knew how not to be sick, what would happen to the pharmaceutical industry? What would happen to a lot of jobs, that actually, discourage the development of students?

We alllll know what the current American Education system has created.




When will we learn?