Posts Tagged ‘solidarity’

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On love and what love is not and what we turn love into if we don’t analyze the issue!

March 12, 2013

Today this issue came up, and I don’t know how come! Anyway!

I have some advice for adults who are in charge of bringing up children, siblings, in a home. I would like to tell them — Please, don’t tell these children that their siblings are Family, meaning that they should love each other because they’ll be the only true and everlasting support they get from human beings. When you do this, you are turning a very human trait, that of love, into an obligation, and this is not positive for the relationship. The truth is that we humans get support from very many and different people throughout our lives, people like friends, but also from people we are not attached to emotionally. And the truth is Family relationships are oftentimes full of hurt. I can imagine this — if we didn’t tell children this kind of horrible things, siblings would possibly develop naturally a love of supporting each other, mutual love, or not, but the story would be about that, not about hurting each other. There is nothing as disempowering and damaging as fighting with someone you love.

I believe this is also a good piece of advice for people who fall in love and want to share their lives. Love should not be turned into obligation. This kills love! Love is not about sacrifice: when we love someone and we’re free to love, supporting this person, doing something altruist for this person should just be about this, about love, and not about selflessness and sacrifice. Actually, when we love and we’re free to love, say I’m sleepy but my partner needs some help, I might prefer to stay awake to help, just out of love. I may also simply go to sleep. Both things are possible and they do not say much about my love for that person. There’s no possible fight here, in free love. The person who needs help will understand the other falls asleep, in the same way that the person who manages to stay awake to help the other will do so because of love.

Life is simpler when we do not chain love to obligation, and it allows for much healthier relationships. At least, this is what I’ve come to believe after a life full of love towards many different people (friends, acquaintances, teachers, colleagues, people you meet when you travel…) but also including frustrated love in the Family. If I had children (something I have never wanted to do, in spite of having a womb! — and I’m not saying this with sadness, I’m just stating a fact in the very novel context of a feminist-developing society where women are starting not to be seen as containers, but as human beings with a mind, who may or may not wish to have children!), I would certainly avoid saying “Love your Family, they will always be there!”

Loving your family is a likely outcome when you share part of your life with them provided they are not at war and it actually happens. If you love them, it’s because we humans grow fond of people we share life with. And there is more: like other animals, we are capable of altruism. On the other hand, not loving your Family may happen for many different reasons, and not just because you are a psychopath! If you don’t love your family, or if you do but it hurts too much to be around them, don’t feel bad, just move away if it hurts or you feel suffocated, or simply try to get along nicely, meaning with nice constructive politeness which does not mean being hypocritical, but simply learning to live together!

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Two pacifist activists analyze Freedom Flotilla to Gaza

March 10, 2013

Brian is Australian (he’s written a lot on nonviolence), and Majken is Swedish but lives in Australia. She also edited CO Women, which I actually translated into Spanish, Objetoras, in case you want to get interested in Inclusive Language translations!

This article has just been published in The Broken Rifle, a newsletters by War Resisters’ International / Internacional de Resistentes a la Guerra (WRI-IRG): http://wri-irg.org/node/21369

RUMBO A GAZA

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What to do. Issues worrying more and more people

February 26, 2013

Employment and housing have always worried people in Spain.

Housing has worried them to obsession, this is true — this explains why people in Spain do not follow the Western European trend of not buying a house. Grandparents own houses, their children had that priority and now their children in turn are beginning to wonder — should we or should we not get into a mortgage to buy a house? That’s the question.

Unemployment has led numerous families to depend on their hard-working finally-retired elderly — and please understand the term in the most progressist way, for families in Spain have widened to include more kinds of people who are willing to share their living together — without using the traditional notions of patriarchal systems, e.g. wife battering — psychological, sexual and/or physical assault by a man to “his” property and slave, the Wife — and the neglect of children, in the kindest scenario.

Society in Spain is much better than it was, more diverse than ever, more eager to take part in the construction of democracy, but we have to keep the spirits high — resilience is something we should keep in scope, but most importantly, I think, it is to keep strong our “alegría“, the ability to feel cheerful, vitally happy, in spite of hardship.

And in case it helps, in my view, we can survive all kinds of situations. I’d like to pose the idea that we have imagination and we are capable of solidarity and that life is about struggle, but this doesn’t mean it’s a Valley of Tears — it can be fucking cheerful, too! At least we should try our hardest to live as if life was joyful — we’ve got enough imagination for that, and well, imagining things is a way of creating things. Our spirits, what we call our “ánimo” are crucial for moments of hardship. We all know that. So we should take good care of our “ánimo” and support people around who help in doing that, keeping a vital spirit high, cheerful. This is the main battle! Because when your spirits sink, you lose your strength and energy…

Then, in case it can broaden the picture — I’ve never known the situation where you “always have the same job” or “the same house,” though it is true that in the 1980s, when I left my mum’s house, whenever I needed money I was able to find a job. Actually, I still remember that the flat I shared with two other students cost 24.000 pesetas a month and that I earned 90.000 pesetas a month — and I thought it was outrageous I should have to “waste” 8.000 pesetas a month in housing, when housing was a Constitutional right! 😀 In the 1990s, before I became a civil servant / public teacher, I was sharing a 65.000 and later 70.000 pesetas flat and still earning 100.000 pesetas! Back to my attempt of broadening the picture, I know I’ve always not followed the general plan that seems to have prevailed in the Spanish society for decades: after surviving the education system you get a job, marry and buy a house. !!! 0_0 !!! I’ve never found any sense for me, for my particular Self, in that! And although I’m about to be 50, I still wonder why that program is so popular! 😀 Anyway, life has more models, more potential, whichever options you actually pick. And choosing doesn’t mean, should never mean a life sentence. I mean, just look at Nature — it’s full of all kinds of variations, of combinations. Life plays all the games, like the CIA! 😀

About jobs, I’ve changed jobs all my life, always looking for something better (something I did not feel I was being strangled by — I’m rather sensitive to the joys of freedom), always eager to learn from any kind of work experience. About housing, I’ve always shared a flat/apartment, because I’ve never had enough money to rent a house on my own, far less to buy it! Actually, when everybody around me seemed to be possessed by the Buying a House Fever, I was always wondering how on earth could they manage it. But then — I’m not good with banks. I was more of the kind that would put away the little money saved in a sock under the mattress. I’m not proud of this, of course. I understand the need of banks. But there MUST be a better world of banks, too. Anyway, back to my story, for many years, I did not know if I was going to gather enough money to pay my rent. I lived on a daily basis. And I did survive. We survive all kinds of things. And something the worst thing is being eaten up by one’s own fears, not real life. I’ve even been a homeless at some point in my life, when things went very wrong. And I survived. I’m not saying this is an ideal situation, of course. I’m just saying life is not easy, it’s about working really hard, but also that it’s not all about money. We need much more than money, starting with our own ability to be able to relate with cheerfulness and kindness to others, because this is connected to how kind and cheerful a home we’ll give our struggle. Also, I just mean to say that not knowing if you’re going to be able to pay your rent is not different from what happens to people who get into mortgages. In both cases you can end up homeless. However, it is cheaper to rent, and safer, and you’re freer, too. And you do not have to involve others in your payments (your collaterals), because if you don’t pay they can actually lose their own house! (Thank goodness people are protesting this, the evictions.) And what’s wrong with sharing a house? If we are poor, we are poor. Being poor doesn’t mean not having options.

Well, gotta go to bed now. If you’re feeling down, because of unemployment or housing, try to be strong, psychologically strong, appreciate the good things around you, other people, make the most of what you can actually enjoy, and do tons of good constructive thinking. Our intelligence is much more intelligent than we think! Think, get informed, talk it over with people you love, think so more, sleep on it, but like a fucking merry peaceling!!! 😀

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Nonviolent Resistance (edited on the next day – in italics)

January 16, 2013

(Written with a feminist intelligence, this is, not like Gandhi or Martin Luther King would have.)

In the Avanzado 2 textbook, unit 4 is devoted to Warfare. Being a pacifist feminist, I suppose I should try to balance things a bit, posting here about nonviolent resistance, because History books, until the 20th century, like Science, and so many other areas of knowledge, have always been populated by men and wars, and men’s wars against other men. To make matters worse, they have always silenced Man’s war against women, for instance, never including in the description of casualties in war the fact that women were always raped – trophies or rubber dolls for the men that prevailed.

Humankind has been much kinder, throughout its History, but not until the 20th century did we start trying to find out evidence of this. Universities started setting up Women Studies and Peace Studies, both doing research to restore what was obliterated by men in power – kings, people with tons of money or richess, warriors, the clergy or religious reps. And then, we got the Internet, where zillions of people are leaving track of their existence, which makes it harder for manipulators to keep tricking us all. Consumerism is the new war to divert our attention from real life and real people, but it is obvious we have options, we have innumerable sources of information. We, the Jane Doe’s and the John Doe’s in/on the planet, have access to information and means of communication that allow us to travel around the world.

Nonviolent resistance is a method of social change that employs strategies such as strikes, sit-ins, boycotts and civil disobedience. In unit 4 we find some info on famous movie scenes and Spartacus is mentioned. This is an example of one of the most empowering and powerful actions human beings can undertake together without replicating the violence that tries to annihilate them. In class, I mentioned a similar example, much closer to our times: nonviolent resistance against the nazi occupation in Western Europe. People are so beautiful and powerful when they use their imagination and kindness, which is to say their intelligence, to learn to solve conflicts without generating more violence and more injustice!

Women have used nonviolent resistance constantly. But women have always been invisible in patriarchy, so they have not been acknowledged as rolemodels (and certainly not as “people who struggle”). (I don’t believe women are “natural” pacifists. The fact that women cannot use violence is part of the patriarchal rationale. I believe that if we overcome the patriarchal gender role system, we’ll develop our intelligence more, in a good way, and any kind of person will then tend to use nonviolence.)

Fortunately, the time has come when we are finally realizing that any human being is capable of using their intelligence, and that any of them should be treated with respect. Human rights is as new a notion as 1945, so it’s taken us far too long to get to this good idea. But we made it. And if we uproot the patriarchal dogmas that we have been brought up in, if we overcome them, we’ll have a chance of developing more civilized societies.

Here’s a video, “Women, War and Peace,” linked to in this Peaceful Protest Lesson Proposal. It’s just an example of all the nonviolent struggle going on that is not considered “struggle”, because patriarchy has taught us that only violent struggle is struggle, and honorable. And this is false.

564393_289129831196530_26175878_n(1)With our social movement on the streets in Spain, which we call 15M (mostly, I suppose, because “indignados” yet again just made men visible and this was unfair and feminist women and also less machista men protested — not necessary feminist, but some starting to understand or develop a feminist intelligence), and which is called the Occupy movement in English speaking countries, we have a very clear example of how good it feels, how right it feels, how intelligent it is, to use nonviolent struggle. The means should be an example of what we strive for, of the ends. Nonviolent struggle is non-hierarchical, every one can take part, from kids to the elderly, men, women, intersex people, hets, homos, bis, trans, all kinds of people, believers and people who do not believe in any kind of god (it’s not only believers like Gandhi or Luther King the ones fighting for justice through nonviolence)… not only what happens in armies around the world, right? Haven’t you seen how many things are happening where people are helping each other to protest home evictions, and also using nonviolent direct action?, this is, occupying the house, to defend the people being evicted? Or the street markets set in many neighbourhoods, where people are going back / rescuing “trueque”, bartering!

There’s the Arab Spring, too — and I know women were raped in some demos in Egypt, for instance, and we have to denounce that, but women were there fighting, too, they were taking part in this revolution, called nowadays social change, or the social movement.

On TV, have you noticed that when the demonstrations are just by young men, they’re full of violence and that when there are women, and other kinds of men (not only the Brute Force type), and all kinds of ages, from kids to old people, demonstrations are very definitely nonviolent, in spite of provocation?

Do you think there has ever been a time before where so many millions of people are demanding a better world, with less violence and injustice, to “their leaders”?

And there are people in Africa devoting their lives to nonviolent struggle, in the midst of brutal poverty and terrifying violence. And we should all learn to appreciate that, the best options we have if we want to survive as a species.

There’s much to learn from nonviolent struggle and I encourage you all to look for information, to discuss it on/in the street, at home, in bars, anywhere you can! The Franquist dictatorship taught people that we should never talk about politics or religion, and that is still operating, in spite of the fact that it is a crazy idea for democracies. It’s in our cultural unconcious memory, and we have to fight it, because it is not right. Politics is about us people living together and that should be built in cooperation, and via nonviolent struggle.

More hints:

  • Lysistrata
  • The nonviolent theory was developed by Henry David Thoreau in his essay, Civil Disobedience (1849). Thoreau’s argument that it was morally justified to peacefully resist unjust laws inspired Americans involved in the struggle against slavery and the fight for trade union rights and women’s suffrage (see also third wave feminism).
  • The Civil Rights Movement in the USA, with Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, thousands of students doing Nonviolent Direct Action, NVDA).
  • Gandhi and the Salt March. (If you are interested in more ideas about nonviolent struggle and today, you might want to read Por qué no soy gandhiana (Why I’m not a Gandhian), written from an anarchist pacifist feminist approach.)
  • The movement of Insumisión (by MOC people, who openly rejected violent action because they were/are pacifists — thought they call themselves “antimilitarists” because the term “pacifist” is not cool.
  • Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp and other pacifist feminist groups or networks, like Women in Black.
  • Indians in America (which is a continent, and not a country) have also used nonviolent struggle, against acculturization, too. And Mayan people were incredibly creative since the European invasions.
  • People’s demonstrations all over the world against the Iraq war in 2003. People all over telling their leaders: we don’t want more wars; solve conflicts differently!

There’s so much, people! Just look around you and learn to see it as valuable, empowering, powerful, intelligent! Because we’re extremely lucky to live in this extraordinary time, when people traditionally pushed to slavery and harship, like most women and a lot of men, have finally the chance to lead their own lives.

Oh my! I can’t possibly keep writing this! There are so many experiences, books, handbooks (how to do this and that), people, peoples… and I really got to relax now a bit! So mull over it! And if you’re interested, some other day I can keep posting on this! 😀

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A man walks to me and asks “Why are women so angry?”

December 20, 2012

I would have loved to answer with my Me Artist Self, but I behaved. I repressed my anger, my outrage at his blindness, or lack of empathy, and was generous to him: people are not aware of how the system operates in their understanding and feeling.

I took it as a question, not as condemnation. So I asked:

6368_116412211262_115675426262_2704501_1409767_n–I should say the question is, Why are men so angry?, don’t you think? [for Who’s done all the raping and murdering for centuries on this planet?, who’s invaded countries, established countries, destroyed countries, peoples? Who’s ruled over every human being for centuries, and why? Couldn’t He have understood there are other ways of living together in spite of people’s differences?]

You can’t feel threatened by angry women if you contemplate the state of the world. Contemplating the world with clear eyes, you can only have numerous reasons to fear your fellow men.

And I added the taboo word, in spite of how weary it all is — when people insist in not reasoning out relevant stuff:

Feminism has just finally begun liberating all human beings. Women being angry has helped us human beings to become more civilized, to achieve rights that enable us to relate as members of a same species, not as Men-Superior Women-Inferior. 

So my question is, “Are there any chances that men stop being so angry? [Can they learn to express their anger like feminists do, in nonviolent socially constructive ways?”]

I didn’t stay for the reply. Far too often replies are just about more violence, more injustice.

But I’m always hopeful. I tend to think that people — at least those with the capacity to feel curiosity — tend to awaken one day, and finally understand important ideas.

[I’ve written this little story because the other day a student asked me to tell them a story — I was surprised for I don’t know how to tell stories properly!! — and I actually didn’t but because we were all so busy! But the question by a man is true. Quite a few men are asking this question, though most don’t mean it as a question, but as condemnation.]

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An end-of-course monolog on a charity sale (Ethiopia)

December 3, 2012

In solidarity with Ethiopia (2010) – Asociación ABAY – We collected money in class for the construction of a hospital for mums and bay bees…

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This Is My Body

November 25, 2012

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Obama wins (Phew!) – edited (fixing typos and rewording some bits)

November 8, 2012

Fortunately, Obama has won the elections. Women had a clear idea of why he was the best option. Young men and women (mostly Hispanic), too. And there you have it — this is one of the reasons why he’s now won. Not that I am much into party politics, but I’m clearly relieved by this piece of news, because the other option was terrifyingly frightening. This is also why I vote, in spite of my anarchist ideals. I’m as pragmatic as Spanish anarchists were when they supported La República asking their people to vote for it. They didn’t form a political party for obvious reasons, but they accepted sending reps to the Republicano Parliament. After all, anarchism’s proposal is direct democracy (assemblies) and in my view direct democracy has much more to do with representative democracy than right-wing policies. Ideals should always be pursued, they should be our guiding star, but we should never forget where we are, what is happening, we should never lose touch with what occurs around us. (This is something we can also learn from what happened then.) Reality keeps testing our problem-solving skills and it’s never easy to deal with, less so if you care about everybody’s human rights being respected.

Obama, congratulations for getting people’s support. I’m really moved by the fact that women have voted you massively, exerting a right — and why should we ever renounce rights? (If I cannot exert the rights so many people fought for, that’s not my revolution! – to paraphrase Emma Goldman! 🙂

Obama, I know how very scary previous USA Administrations have been to their own population and abroad, and you’re certainly the safest option.
Actually, I think you’re the bravest president the USA has ever had. I do believe you care about justice, and wish with all my might that you keep working hard at justice-related issues, not forgetting women, in a country which is a Western Democracy but allows forcing them to unwanted pregnancies and unwanted mothering (that’s not protecting life, precisely), a country that also allows people to suffer and even die of preventable diseases because there is no public healthcare system (why don’t you take a bit of the galactic military budget the USA has and use it to allow everybody to have access to healthcare!), a country that is the only Democracy that has not abolished the death penalty, and a country that has frightening foreign policies designed to secure material gains knowing this is based on abusing other people’s human rights. And well, the strangest of all, a country that does not separate politics from religion. To my knowledge, no other Western Democracy blesses people in political speeches or has “God” in paper money. Freedom of religion should not mean imposing religion. Spiritual matters are private matters, that believers should simply share in their private world, and not impose to all via the State.

Sweet dreams of a better world for all of us!

PS: When Obama won the elections for the first time, in my Avanzado 2 groups we worked a bit on this issue. Here’s that. That year, the Reading Proposal included Obama’s autobio. I just read the first 100 pages or so, on his childhood and before he got into politics. I still recommend the book, of course. You can read 4 typed pages I copied here.

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Take 3 simple actions to help a child get a nutritious meal

October 17, 2012

Happy World Food Day – Learn about Molly, a 13-year-old girl in Kenya
http://cdn.wfp.org/2012/wfd/index.html?icn=wfd2012&ici=get-involved-r

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