April 25th, in NYC for Stop Patriarchy’s International Student Day of Action! We went to college campuses and high schools all over the city and got a great response and huge support from students. People spoke out about the attacks on abortion rights and were excited to show their support by wearing stickers and posing for pictures with our loud ABORTION ON DEMAND signs!
At the festival yesterday after the SF Walk Against Rape. Cards: If you can’t imagine sex without porn… you’re fucked. Sign: FUCK RAPE CULTURE.
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Stop Patriarchy! went to the 27th annual conference at Hampshire College, hosted by CLPP (Civil Liberties and Public Policy): “From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom” and on the second day, we were escorted out by police.
How did this happen??
Hampshire College, Amherst, MA: At CLPP* Conference:
From Abortion Rights to Social Justice; Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom
CLPP Called on Police to escort StopPatriarchy.org
organizers out of conference under threat of arrest.
THIS DECISION MUST BE REVERSED AND REPUDIATED!
On the evening of Saturday, April 13 at the CLPP (Civil Liberties & Public Policy ) conference, several conference attendees approached the StopPatriarchy.org table with our Call to Action in hand to argue against our condemnation of the sex industry and pornography. We welcomed this argument and got into a lively debate. However, instead of engaging our critique of the social harm caused by pornography and the selling of women’s bodies for sex (how reducing women to sex objects through porn is the “mirror opposite” of reducing women to breeders through denying abortion), these people took offense to the fact that we dared to make this analysis.
If they didn’t want to hear this critique, they were free to leave our table. They chose not to simply do this. Instead, they went to the CLPP organizers and complained that they felt the conference was no longer a “safe space” for them – merely because a table existed putting forward (and advocating to those who visited it), the position that the sex industry and pornography are horrifically harmful to women and humanity as a whole.
Outrageously, CLPP organizers did not investigate or ask a single organizer from StopPatriarchy.org – or others who had witnessed the debate – about what had happened. Nor did they attempt to facilitate principled participation and dialogue between people with divergent viewpoints. Instead, they showed up within minutes with campus police and insisted that StopPatriarchy.org immediately leave the campus under threat of arrest.
In any serious movement against oppression, it is essential that there be the broadest unity among people from different understandings, backgrounds and perspectives. This requires space for principled and substantive debate over the source of the problems and the necessary solutions.
As a basic and bedrock principle: IT IS ALWAYS WRONG FOR PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO BE FIGHTERS AGAINST OPPRESSION TO RELY ON THE POLICE AND OTHER FORCES OF THE STATE TO REPRESS AND PHYSICALLY THREATEN OTHERS WHO ARE FIGHTING FOR LIBERATION.
This decision by CLPP organizers must be broadly and widely condemned by conference-goers and others, and it must be reversed by conference organizers. (Contact us at email below.) It is an unacceptable precedent for a conference which is looked to as – and which claims to be – a space of inclusivity in the fight against oppression and injustice to render a critique of the sex industry “beyond the pale” and to utilize the repressive organs of the state to enforce this policing.
Any movement that is serious about ending the enslavement and degradation of women must confront – or at minimum engage and include a critique of – the horrifically violent, degrading, enslaving and oppressive institutions of pornography and the sex industry and their devastating effects on women. Every person who takes seriously both the liberation of women and the maintaining of basic standards in movements of opposition must take the time to read for themselves the Call to Action from StopPatriarchy.org which CLPP has officially censored. It is attached.
I am not a follower of the television show Law & Order: SVU (Special Victims Unit.) There’s something about the glorified police brutality and the idea of people’s trauma as entertainment that turns my stomach. Then I heard they did an episode called “Legitimate Rape.” The title is a play on the outrageous comments made by Todd Akin, a Republican candidate for a Senate seat in Missouri last August claiming victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant. I became curious about how they took this on, and figured it was worth watching, just this once.
International Women’s Day: Take Back the Night! Calling bullshit on patriarchy all up in the strip clubs, porn stores, and in the faces of pimps, bouncers, and strip club owners. Then, to St Peter & Paul Church, activist patriarchs who legislate slavery and organize for and support the Catholic March for “Life.” Then, back to the strip clubs.
Confronting the owners and bouncers at the strip clubs on IWD 2013 in North Beach. It’s bullshit! Get off it! Women aren’t for profit!
More photos from International Women’s Day 2013 in Seattle. Many of these are outside the Deja Vu/Showgirls porn shop/strip club. A favorite chant: “The church preaches ‘virgin’/Porn screams ‘whore’/Both call women objects/we say NO MORE!”
Some photos from International Women’s Day 2013 in Seattle. Right on to all the courageous FIGHTERS who hit the streets with us. Some favorite chants were “Mars Hill/Get real/Women are rebelling!”, “It’s bullshit! Get off it! Women aren’t for profit!” and “We won’t bow down/We won’t submit/We won’t stand for/ woman-hating shit!”
Earlier this week someone I know was talking about how she was hearing International Women’s Day being covered on the radio and in the mainstream this year. She was astonished at how this day has slid into the background, as something to be “observed,” as if it was a birthday or a funeral. Today, March 8, International Women’s Day, has it’s roots in REVOLUTION; it is a day to FIGHT for the liberation of women, and in the midst of a whole society that has been saturated with the normalization of patriarchy, most of what we will hear throughout today and tomorrow will be anything BUT that.
Let’s unite tomorrow to DEFY that normalization, that forced and falsely justified numbness to the crimes committed against women every day, in every corner of the world. It is true today as it has been for too long: No place in the world is it safe to be a woman! Compare the women in Pakistan and Afghanistan who live with the very real fear of having acid thrown in their faces as a result of their parents rejecting a marriage proposal or even as a result of trying to go to school, to the women in Ireland, or Mississippi - whose last abortion clinic was just informed of impending closure - who have and will be left to bleed to death, or have their futures foreclosed, if they need an abortion. What is the resounding reality that connects these women together across the globe? The message being blasted at all of us, and actively lobbied for, defended, legislated, enforced, and validated all around the world: There is a very well-defined place for women in society. It is on a leash. Your worth is calculated the same way as the worth of a slave. Your ability and desire to bear children, and to “please your master” and be subordinate to your husband or father, decides your value as a commodity.
This is the same value calculation being done in the minds of young men and women being “educated” by the most violent and degrading pornography ever to be accepted widely as fun, sexy and normal. Where better to find women on their knees, in literal chains, being forced to perform such degrading acts as sucking their own shit off of some guy’s dick right after he fucks her in the ass? Telling girls before they hit their teens, before they even really understand what sex is, that their worth is based on their ability to serve, to succumb, to sell themselves and humiliate themselves for the pleasure of men. And what about the boys? Encouraging them to take on the mentality of the slavemaster, the dominator, the oppressor, at every turn. To be in control of the bodies of women, glamorizing rape, and celebrating slavery. Even porn that is produced by women, even porn where the actors are paid well, even gay porn, trains the minds of the people that watch it to be either dominant or submissive, there is an actor and an object, whether it is acted out in traditional ways, or ways that sell themselves as more “progressive.” This patriarchal system that promotes the domination of men over women is the same system that shames, threatens, demonizes, and attacks LGBT people for refusing to conform to their “proper” traditional gender roles. If you can’t imagine sex without porn, you’re fucked. Where does that leave the majority of us in society today??
For these reasons and more, it is imperative that women and men take a stand, to call BULLSHIT on this very loud, very well-funded message, and the monster of a system that feeds and then congratulates it, while it continues to enslave women, and steal away the humanity of men. We can and must FIGHT THE POWER, and challenge the terms that were set a long time ago - the terms that are limiting people’s very ability to imagine a world without these horrific, outdated realities. We actually CAN ultimately create a world where this message would be laughable if it wasn’t so horrible: Your value as a woman is equal to your ability to SUBMIT. FUCK THAT.
Let’s go out tomorrow and FIGHT.
Let’s call BULLSHIT on the porn stores and strip clubs that profit every single day on the the saturation of society by that multi-billion dollar lie about what a woman’s life, mind, and body is “worth.” Let’s call BULLSHIT on religious fundamentalisms of every shape and size, that claim moral high ground while at the same time it is selling the same lie as the porn industry: Your value as a woman is equal to your ability to SUBMIT. Let’s go straight to the right-wing activist churches, and to the Vatican itself, and call BULLSHIT on their blatant hatred and oppression, their calculation of the worthlessness of any woman who would choose NOT to be subservient, or NOT to be a mother. Women are HUMAN BEINGS, not some product, some toy, some commodity, whose worth needs to be calculated and dictated to all of us by this capitalist system and its bullshit institutions.
Bring a fighting spirit, a spirit of DEFIANCE against this patriarchal system, and against the biggest lie it promotes - that this is the only way the world can function! That this is somehow OK or the natural order of things! That we can’t unite and resist and ultimately fight all the way through to put an END to this system, these institutions, this bullshit message that is so essential to their existence and their prosperity, and to the fear and silence of women everywhere we go.
End Pornography & Patriarchy, The Enslavement & Degradation of Women.
IWD2013 Flier (Bay Area) - View or Download
Thanks to Cyanescentinel for making this great video of Seattle’s One Billion Rising event and thanks to Tim for sending it to us!
And by the way…Into the Streets tomorrow, Saturday, for International Women’s Day! In Seattle, meet at Westlake Park at 12 Noon.
Cienna Madrid from The Stranger doesn’t like Stop Patriarchy’s call to protest both a Christian fascist church and a porn shop/strip club on International Women’s Day because she doesn’t get that both are expressions of patriarchy and manifestations of the war on women. She blogged about it here.
What follows is Stop Patriarchy Seattle’s response:
“It feels like the instigators chose popular targets for controversy and then manufactured their rage, rather than launching a protest with the goal of a specific change.”
From the instigators of Stop Patriarchy:
We’ve been on the streets in Seattle talking to hundreds of women in the past few weeks who not only get what we’re saying, but start pouring out their stories of abuse by repressive religious institutions, by the global sex industry, and by men growing up in a pornified culture. When we say the institutions of Mars Hill and Deja Vu/Showgirls both want women on their knees, just in different ways, it resonates with them. They’ve been waiting for a vehicle that calls it all out and makes the connections and they understand our specific goal: To END the enslavement and degradation of women in all its forms.
We didn’t “manufacture” the fact that Deja Vu/Showgirls sells women and that their shop’s videos sexualize violence against women and treat women’s bodies as things to be used for the sexual pleasure of men. We didn’t manufacture that pornography has become increasingly violent and degrading towards women with popular themes such as gang rape, racist bigotry, and incest (such as “Chester Molest Her” - a film sold at this porn shop) We didn’t manufacture the fact that this is all intertwined with and fuels sex trafficking and a global epidemic of rape. So we ask you, where is YOUR rage? This shit isn’t society becoming more comfortable with sex. This is society becoming saturated with the sexualized degradation of women. As our surprisingly popular sticker says, “If You Can’t Imagine Sex Without Porn, You’re Fucked.”
Saturday, March 9, 12 noon @ Westlake Park (4th & Pine, downtown Seattle) RALLY & SPEAK-OUT followed by a MARCH to protest the global epidemic of rape and politically confront two Seattle institutions that reinforce the enslavement and degradation of women: Mars Hill Church and Deja Vu/Showgirls.
RSVP and share on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/141795155984443/