Anti-Empire

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Alright, let's play by men's rules for a second. Fine, we won't write anything we wouldn't want to see on the front page of a newspaper. And I'd sure as hell like to see the post you deleted. Just once, I'd like to see my own voice, my own concerns reflected back to me. Oh hell, I'd even settle for an intelligent woman, period. Not the patriarchy-kissing clones (both men and women) that dominate practically every mainstream media outlet.

We may not have much else, but we have our blogs. We should never let anyone silence us in what little space we have in the world to speak openly, honestly to each other.

truth is power. anger is beauty. yours is inspiring. your courage in visiting - and now revisiting - this essence-shaping, fire-stoking, power-evoking Life Event is AWESOME and IMPORTANT. i have been questioned and accused for sharing as much personal info as i already do on my blog, but there are a zillion stories untold, too many lines uncrossed. for fear of WHAT? boundaries be damned. they're not even ours, so how come we let them prevent us from speaking our truth?

even though i've dabbled for a lifetime in partisan politics, i've long said what's really needed around here is a bona fide Shake Up. a revolution or an uprising, whatever the fuck you call it needs to happen soon. problem is, we are programmed to be complacent. we have everything. we want for nothing. i always say that people need to really LOSE SOMETHING in order to revolt in the manner that is desperately required now. until then, people remain powerless. but women must not. because you are right, polly. it is our potential power that holds us back, the same power that if we had the courage to truly unleash, could turn politics-as-usual on it's big boring Left/Right head. one of the major reasons for our collective fatigue has to be the inevitable migraine of constantly trying to shove ourselves, our voices, our stories, our PERSONAL, into the confines of conventional politics. it's refreshing to hear a young radical feminist talk in these terms, polly. too many of us (however unintentionally) lose sight or hope or energy or whatever the fuck and end up slogging away inside the prescribed set-up. let's break it the fuck down.

That is such a powerful testament, polly. I'm so glad you put it back and so grateful for the chance to read it.

The front page of a newspaper, eh? That is some dork's notion of serious political writing? Wow. Some people's standards are really low, eh?

Imagine a newspaper whose front page was worth reading for a change. Well -- that is precisely what you are doing, and you're giving some of the rest of us the courage to imagine too. Thanks again.

Thanks for the great comments.

You're right, pamused, about people having to lose something to become politicized. I basically lost everything at one point - my dignity, my connection with my family, my security, my money, my future, my dreams - gone. But, I was okay. And, now I'm pretty much fearless. I think this one person saw my blog as some sort of confessional. But, the fact is I ain't a confessin', I'm a preachin' and a practicin'. Seriously. I sit right in the middle of my graduate classes and if someone says something stupid about mental illness, I am really open about having been "mentally ill" and I point out that women and different ethnic groups/and races are over-represented within the mental health system. Some days I walk out of class and think "Oh, fuck...why can't you just play the game?" But, if I don't say something this image of the mentally ill person remains burned into their mind. Suddenly, that homeless person is also the woman in class. Suddenly, the possibility opens that there are problems with "the system" and not just the one presumed crazy guy on the street. I suppose my one worry is that being open in life and on this blog will threaten my success in academia, if I choose to continue down that route. But, so be it. Some might think, "Well I can't be fully myself at my school or my workplace?" But, it is not a matter of wanting to wear my PJs to school or file my nails in class. It is a matter of refusing to leave my politics at the door.

I'm so with you, pamused: Let's break it the fuck down.

Ooh, ideas....

Wow, I didn't know that you originally took that post down. Good to see it up and being talked about again.

Are you dropping out of PB? I hope not, that joint needs shaking up. I'm as big a wonk as anyone, but I've been thinking a lot lately along these lines, as you say,

I am not interested in watching the ping pong match between the left and the right on the blogopshere anymore.

I know I've participated in this, and I'm re-examining the way I engage in party politics. The way that so many issues are used as pawns, from the environment to equality to religion and all the rest, it does a real disservice to society. Going to the PB main page can be quite infuriating because of it.

I'm not leaving PB though, I am still interested in party politics. I one has to realize the purposes and limitations of the legislative part of politics. As you said, the movements are what change society, politicians are just there to change the laws.

I always thought politics was personal. How can it not be?

Thank you for re-posting.

It's takes a lot of courage to put something like that out there in the public domain. You're in the best position to decide what the right decision is so it's appropriate that you not be worried about what people think.

Be well.

RP.,

I appreciate everything you're saying. I like party politics too. But, agree that using people's lives as pawns obscures issues and is ultimately really disrespectful to a lot of people who, let's face it, don't have the time and access to technology to bang these issues around on blogs.

As far as dropping out of PBs goes, not at the moment. For now, I am happy to have made it past the gatekeepers and to partake in shaking things up. However, it concerns me that the more radical voices of the NDP, the Greens, the marxists, separatists, and those crazy feminists are being subsumed under capital 'L' Liberals. I don't want really progressive thought to be diluted in some people's desperate attempts to fend off The Big Bad Right. I am worried about the right and I hate Harper. But, at least, I know where they stand. I am tired of other men being pro-women only when it suits them. If they are so scared of the right, they'd better start taking women's issues (and people's issues) more seriously and get me on their side. Y'know what I'm sayin'?

I tend to agree that the public-private distinction in politics is largely an illusion. But "personal" politics to me is kind of equivalent to relationships for the underclass: A high-stakes, high-drama game in which everyone loses in the end. After all, politics is how we distribute resources; it necesarily entails conflict. If one advocates for something on the basis of a personal experience, they should expect to be attacked on the basis of that experience. That's not pleasant and it's obviously not something that I want to be a part of.

That having been said, obviously politics has to be personal to a certain extent. If a politician beats his wife in his personal life, that matters a great deal to his public life. If Stronach slept with a married man with three children, that matters a great deal to me insofar as her public life is concerned.

Also: I'm sorry that you've experienced what you have. Some of us that struggle with depression know that the only way to deal with it is to thrash around and struggle against it, and we admire those who, like you, seem to be doing so.

But "personal" politics to me is kind of equivalent to relationships for the underclass: A high-stakes, high-drama game in which everyone loses in the end.

The underclass?

Their relationships?

I don't think you get what I mean by personal politics. A personal politics can inform a very academically grounded politcal position.

Thank you for your thoughts on depression.

"A personal politics can inform a very academically grounded politcal position."

I didn't say it can't. Obviously political principles derive from personal views and experiences. But there is a difference between conducting politics on the basis of personal experience and on the basis of the principles that come from them. An important one, since I would rather have my views bashed, not my person.

I should add that this is an important distinction for feminists to grasp. If they wish for politics to be personal, then they should fully expect that the criticisms, attacks, and conflicts inherant in politics will also be personal.

I think you need to grasp the distinction between personal-political and personal. Personal lives are sometimes relevant to political issues. For example, if I hold myself up to be a defender of women's rights and immigrant rights but employ a low-wage undocumented nanny, my personal life is relevant.

I don't think feminists have ever said that personal lives shouldn't be grounds for attack. If you're referring to the Stronach case, I think many people object to the double standard and the use of sexist terms like slut and bitch.

Wow! Powerful, powerful piece, Polly. Thank you so much for reposting it. I hope it's ok that I've linked and quoted from it.

And Aaron, yes, the personal is political, political being:

political
adj 1: involving or characteristic of politics or parties or
politicians; "calling a meeting is a political act in
itself"- Daniel Goleman; "political pressure"; "a
political machine"; "political office"; "political
policy" [ant: nonpolitical]
2: of or relating to your views about social relationships
involving authority or power; "political opinions"
3: of or relating to the profession of governing; "political
career".

I think I said something like this the first time you posted it, but I have to say it again: This is an amazing, powerful post. You are amazing for being able to put it out here, and even more so for being able to put it out here again after having shame inflicted on you. Thank-you.

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