Thursday, December 29, 2011

Action in Solidarity with Egyptian Women on Friday in Oakland!

Bay Area women action in solidarity with the struggle of Egyptian women

Event Description:
Hello everyone. As most of you might know I'm Shimaa, an Egyptian activist currently visiting the Bay area to learn about occupy, speak about the revolution and the situation in Egypt and to connect occupy and Egyptian activists together.
The revolutionary women and girls struggling with the revolution and the systemic assaulting by the military in Egypt need the support and solidarity of their fellow Americans.
I'm no longer in Tahrir so feel obligated to do something here ASAP.
I would like us to have a solidarity rally and march that I'm pretty sure will be so much significant and will send a powerful message to our sisters back in Egypt.

3 pm come join us Dec the 30th at Occupy Oakland, bring signs and print pictures!
"Oscar Grant Plaza, 14th and Broadway"
If you have the time I hope to see you there! Click the link at the top of this post for more information and to RSVP on the Facebook event page.

Edit: You can also go to this site for more information on upcoming Occupy/Decolonize actions for the month of January in the Bay area.

On This Day in 1890: Learn What Happened at Wounded Knee

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mattilda's Call For Submissions For Anthology on Queering #OWS

From Nobody Passes
Please forward far and wide…

Queering the Occupy Movement, Reimagining Resistance
Edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore


Ignited by the Arab Spring, uprisings in Greece and Spain, and protests in Wisconsin, Occupy Wall Street has brought corporate greed and structural inequality into the spotlight while claiming public space and refusing hierarchical models of resistance. "We are the 99%," the central slogan of the Occupy movement, has been crucial in rallying mass support. And yet, this slogan invokes a vision of sameness that stands in stark contrast to a queer analysis that foregrounds, cultivates, and nurtures difference. From Mortville, the queer camp at Occupy Baltimore, to the Feminists and Queers Against Capitalism bloc at the Oakland general strike, queers are playing central roles in Occupy spaces. But, what would it mean to bring a queer analysis to the forefront, going beyond the politics of inclusion to question the very terms of the debate?

For the first time in decades, perhaps there's a possibility for a mass movement demanding radical social change in the US. Still, most Occupy spaces remain straight, white, and male-dominated: how do we prevent the power imbalances intrinsic to previous movements? What about accountability within the 99%? How have Occupy spaces addressed (and failed to address) homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, racism, ableism, imperialism/patriotism, police brutality, anti-homeless territorialism, sexual assault, and other issues of structural, personal, and intimate violence? As struggles emerge to confront the colonial rhetoric of “occupying” indigenous land (and to address this history), what can a queer analysis bring to this challenge? What do queer struggles have to learn from Occupy/Decolonize movements, and what can Occupy/Decolonize movements learn from queer struggles?

I'm interested in missives from queers involved in Occupy/Decolonize movements, as well as from those veering between skeptical and inspired. I would love to hear about queer challenges within Occupy encampments large and small, across the country and around the world. Bring me your explosive analysis, your rants, your manifestoes, your journal entries, your rage and rigor and hope and heartbreak. In addition to written nonfiction work, I'm also interested in art, photography, posters, flyers, and other forms of visual documentation queering the Occupy movement – its goals and aspirations, its impact, its perils and possibilities.

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the editor of five nonfiction anthologies, most recently Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform (AK Press 2012), and the author of two novels, most recently So Many Ways to Sleep Badly (City Lights 2008). More info on Mattilda at

Please send essays or written materials of up to 5000 words, as Word or text file attachments only, to Include a brief bio. Please send a query before submitting visual work. The deadline is March 20, 2012, although the earlier the better. Any questions, send them my way!
Sounds like a book I will be very interested to read!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Solstice!

For my area of the world the winter solstice is tonight, according to my Google-fu at 9:30 pm PST.  The candles are lit and the house is about to be swept.  So Happy Yule, everyone!  If the light returns after tonight then it will do so earlier and earlier from now on.  Stand watch, and welcome the Sun!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

V For Vendetta: Why I Liked the Movie Better Than the Book

Over the last week I read the graphic novel V For Vendetta. And as I finished it today I could not help thinking that it was not what I expected. In fact, although I know this to be highly blasphemous, on first read: I liked the movie better. I don't know that I have ever liked a movie version better than the book, so I found this revelation rather disturbing. It probably didn't help that I have seen so many fans of the book trash the movie adaptation either.

But, as I did what I usually do when something particularly troubling is bothering me (take a shower and think about it) I realized what bothered me about the book. It wasn't the violence or the more morally convoluted energy of the story or even the blunt anarchist propaganda of some passages (nothing wrong with propaganda in theory, but there was something jarring to me about it's application here), it was the individualism.

What the movie did really well was to express how V served as a catalyst, but for the overall vision to succeed it took the mobilization of people. A large mass of people. It took the community working together. It took an uprising. Surely that vision should look familiar these days, right? From Egypt to Oakland large amounts of people streaming out into the streets to oppose the powerful?

Anyway. In contrast, the book really relied on V as a spokesperson, as a LEADER, to mobilize the people. And so for all of his preaching of anarchism, V looked much more conventional to my First World eyes: the charismatic leader rallying his troops to revolution rooted in chaos and violence. I don't want to downplay the fact that he certainly was individually heroic in the movie too (maybe even "super-heroic," managing to take all those bullets and remain standing...)....but in the end the "victory" didn't rely on that, whereas in the book, it did.

Fundamentally I just don't believe that is how anarchism can succeed. This is why I am a SOCIALIST libertarian/anarchist, because I believe it takes us working together to protect each other, because I believe it takes community accountability, because I believe it takes self-awareness and openness to the needs of other people that are different from our own, to make a vision like anarchism realistic, because I believe it takes solidarity, real solidarity. (Look to the EZLN for a model that seems to be working as far as I can tell.)

In addition, the book's V required a replacement. Evey had to take up the costume to continue the work. While I get there is a sort of poetry to that (we can be/are all V!) I think it is less effective than the movie's version of this, wherein everyone in the crowd took up the mask TOGETHER, and less effective than the movie's version of Evey: who rejects V even as she loves him. She does not take up the mask, she fulfills V's last wish and then goes to build the better world. Book-Evey's taking up of the mask means she steps into his legacy and is symbolically walking in his footsteps. The people on the ground don't know this person is different from the one who started it all, and, again, maybe there is a kind of poetry in that, the duality of humanity encapsulated in one person...but it didn't work as effectively for me, that's all I know.

Because as V says in both versions: this new world has no place for him, the Destroyer. Movie-Evey's turning away from him (and what he did to her, even as she moved forward changed because of that experience and seems comfortable in her new skin) is precisely what is necessary for the new world he envisions, because there is no place for that kind of destruction in the building of a new world from the ashes of the old.  In fact I found book-Evey's willingness to continue to live with and trust V after he tortured her to border on misogynistic writing.

I will say this though, I did like the book's villains better than the movie's. In the book the villains seem so average and regular, as leaders are at the end of the day: they are just people. In the movie the villains are larger than life and VERY evil. In the case of the Leader, "larger than life" is meant quite literally. Of course this is compromised by the end when he is killed, and we see that he is just human after all - so I get what the Wachowskis were doing here - but this humanity is clear all the time in the book, and that was more effective for me in showing how those in power can be worked against and overthrown. In the end, even evil people are just people, we have to come to terms with that both in the sense of realizing they are mortal, and in the fact that we are both human and that their evil might reside within us as well.

So yeah. I do know that it usually takes more than one read to absorb everything a book is doing, but this was my discomfort as I read through this first time, and I don't know that I will read it again anytime soon, but I think this was worth writing out.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Review: Shadoweyes, Volume One

Shadoweyes, Volume One
Shadoweyes, Volume One by Ross Campbell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this graphic novel, the content was interesting, the story was intriguing and the characters were amazing. Not to do any spoilers but this text deals with several social issues and oppressed identities in ways I rarely see and I was impressed. Yes, the story was quick, but it seemed kinda par for the course with comics to me, and totally met my expectations. Can't wait to read Vol. 2!

View all my reviews