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Member since: Tue Oct 28, 2003, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 47,450

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a very interesting fb post from (hopefully) chicago's next mayor. amara enyia.

On Culture, Feminism, the State, and Resistance
One of the most significant acts against the British Empire was launched in 1929 by a group of women from my father's village, Oloko in Southeastern Nigeria: The Igbo Women's War (Ogu Umunwanyi). The war was in opposition to unfair taxation, the exploitation of women's labor, and British rule, and it exemplifies the role African women have played in understanding that their solidarity with each other enhanced their power as a collective.
To be clear, Igbo women (and African women generally) had ALWAYS had significant, powerful roles in society. In addition to their nurturing roles in the home, African women were critical to the economy playing major roles in the production and agricultural sectors. African women had always been a significant part of the labor pool and most African cultures are based on the premise of balance and harmony. In traditional Igbo culture, women exercised direct political power through organizations like women’s courts, market authorities, secret societies and age-grade institutions. They wielded collective and individual power both as members and as heads of these organizations. Igbo women understood solidarity deeply, and because of this, the men were hesitant to do anything that would anger women or cause discord. If a man did do something to offend the women and the women joined against him, the other men left him to his own devices because he "should have known better" than to incite the women's wrath. Therefore, Igbo women never felt the need to "compete" against men. Instead, women and their institutions served as the direct parallel to men to create the balance that fostered harmony in society.
Modern understandings of feminism are focused largely on gender roles and equality. Igbo women had no problem with gender roles or equality. Issues specific to one's gentalia did not dominate discourse around a woman's role or power (as an aside, this presents a full analysis for those who are gender non-conforming). Reproductive concerns were, by default, the purview of women. Power lay, not in one's genitalia, but on women's ability to fully fulfill their role as the necessary balance for a harmonious society. Because the collective society was based upon harmony, individual behavior as it relates to relationships (sexual or otherwise) were tightly guided by cultural practices that emphasized the good of the whole and perpetuation of families and lineage.
Solidarity for Igbo women was never symbolic. One of the most powerful proverbs in Igbo language is "Igwe bu Ike" - Unity is strength. When Igbo women stood together to protest some action or activity that displeased them, they operated as a unit. When they stood against the British, they sacrificed their lives for the collective. The way Igbo society was set up, they didn't have to wonder if 53% of the women in the protest secretly sided with British colonial rule.
Moreover, Igbo societies did not have highly stratified hierarchies. The Igbo are the epitome of 'democratic'. Power was diffused across small groups or clans that served as checks and balances on each other.
So what happened? Western Capitalism, Western religion and Racism, and the creation of racist institutions, as a justifier for exploitation. Capitalism - based on exploiting labor - lead to policies (like the British attempt to tax Igbo women) that harmed and ultimately led to the pillaging and destruction of the African continent. Europeans' own religious and social norms at that time mainly subjugated women and diminished their role and importance to society. Through colonization, these norms were introduced, which destroyed the harmonious balance of traditional Igbo society and that of many other African cultures affected by European colonialism (also Arabic/Islamic influence in other parts of the Continent).
The Igbo recognized the difference in men and women, but that this difference did not place higher importance of one over the other. The real issue is exploitation, which typically involves the benefit of one at the expense of the other. Economic, religious and cultural norms that exploit lie at the root of the destruction of truly democratic, truly harmonious, and truly balanced societies. A clear example of this exists right here in the United States with the destruction of Native populations and their lands for western "manifest destiny" based on a sense of ownership and a desire to subjugate another group for the purposes of amassing wealth.
(As an aside, balanced societies had hardly a need for a state apparatus to maintain "law and order" - i.e. "police", which typically exist to protect profits and property (often ill-gotten through capitalistic exploitative practices). But there DID exist deeply interwoven mechanisms by which to deal with 'aberrations' - criminals, trouble-makers, etc.)
In the U.S. and right here in Chicago, we live in an unbalanced society - dominated by warped masculinity and masculine energy without the appropriate counterbalance of feminine energy and power that creates harmony. Rampant greed driven by hypercapitalism and the attempted privatization and commodification of every aspect of the public, has created a Hobbesian society in which wealth gotten through exploitation is worshipped and where power is concentrated in the hands of the wealthy. There is no democracy - only influence that can be bought and sold.
We live in a city where we prize leaders for being "tough" and "a fighter" even as we lament the fact that our city is deeply divided with equally oppressed groups fighting each other for the crumbs that may fall from the table of the privileged elite. All too often, women in leadership (or those running for office) are afraid to own their feminine characteristics lest they be called 'weak'. Women are pressured to adopt and prioritize masculine traits thus nullifying the unique characteristics that make women incredibly fit to lead (albeit, perhaps differently). Difference does not diminish value.
We sneer at talk of the role of love in leadership and the need to nurture the spirit - even as we wring our hands at the number of shootings and killings often carried out by those who did not experience enough love in their formative years. We prize combative posturing and competition - even as it cannabilizes our schools (school 'choice' and charter proliferation) or creates a gridlock in government. We give credence to egomaniacal symbolism, driven by outsized egos only interested in the appearance of being functional so long as they are able to siphon the lifeblood of the public for private gain. The typically feminine characteristics of empathy, nurturing, listening, and problem-solving have all but vanished; replaced with cold hard statistics, budget fights, hard line stances, and corruption as the means to an end.
There exists a serious imbalance in our city, State and Country.
In 1929 Nigeria, it wasn't until the Igbo women stood up and said "Enough!" that policies by British colonial rulers were forced to change. It appears that there may be a lesson playing out now in the aftermath of the national election and what's happening in Chicago and in cities across the country.
Scientific research has shown that there is a direct correlation between babies being held, hugged and spoken to lovingly, and their weight gain and healthy development. I argue that this is the case in our cities and countries. We want to 'fight' poverty, 'fight' crime, 'fight' corruption. We're doing a lot of fighting but perhaps not enough loving and nurturing. Our challenged neighborhoods evidence this. We must resist economic policies that exploit, public policies that drive toward privatization of public goods, environmental practices that destroy the very earth from which we derive our sustenance, and political practices that give power and influence only to the wealthy.
The need for a change in course is the evidence of the power women wield, the need for women in leadership, and the necessity for us to understand what our role could be in this capitalistic society. It's not our genitalia that gives us power. It's unapologetically embracing our entire roles as complimentary to men and ESSENTIAL to a properly functioning, harmonious society, starting from our own families, our neighborhoods, our cities, States, and country. Our power and our strength (which has always been the hallmark of African women) lies in our embrace of the fullness of who we are.
If we're going to solve the significant problems we face, we would do well to recognize the power of love as a baseline, nurturing as the means, and a focus on our collective good as the outcome. That doesn't make us "weak". It moves us toward a more balanced society where we recognize that we need each other to survive, and to thrive.

copied in it's entirety, but go like her, and see the pic that goes w this.

local coverage of chicago march.

want to add that 250k is low ball. you can fit about 150k in grant park. this spilled all over downtown, and train platforms all throughout the region were packed w disappointed marchers.
considering that the transit agencies geared up for 150k, and were overwhelmed, and considering how many people that system is capable of carrying, i am saying bare minimum half a million. more like a million, even.


turn off the teevee. turn off the news. turn on cspan. watch the speakers.

just stream it on your teevee, like it was really the news on the teevee.
cut the cable recently and miss the background box. till today.

after watching the live stream of the chicago march (and they did march. when they were told they couldnt, they calmly walked through the barricades and spilled out into the streets.)
i went to cspan and hit the stream. i couldnt get the live, so i hit the taped part, and it has been running ever since.
seems live to me.
i cant not do any audience participation bits.
right now sayin her name.

so many couldnt get to any of the marches, just physically. left on the train platform.
then so many infirm.
then so many just, ya know.

but how many are watching the cspan feed now?
my dogs are sure i have lost my mind.
sayin her name.

trayvon martin's mom.
fem the future
hell you talkin bout?

now it has looped back to where i started, and i have no desire to shut it off.
angela davis.

turn it on. let it loop in around and wrap you up.

hey dems. you know that dearth of young blood you are all so worried about?

go to cspan, and listen to the speeches.

i think the revolution just might be televised after all.
i think it might have started today.

chicago will be kickin it today. eta, w live comment

i wont be there, tho my little sis will.
reports that all the commuter trains from the burbs and all the cta trains in the city are packed w demonstrators.

pussy hats everywhere.

will update if i come across pics.

eta- live link-

direct live link-

march portion of the event cancelled because the crowd is too big.

from my sis-
Largest March outside of DC! 150000 and the city is shut down with marchers with more waiting for trains in the burbs. Take that Trump!

will keep this updated.

i swear it to you on my common woman's head,

the common woman is as common as a common loaf of bread,


(old chestnut, but a warm and toasty one.)

one of these days i'm gonna lay this hammer down.

ladies and gentlemen, steve earle

steve's hammer (for pete)



turn it ALL.THE.WAY.UP.

sing along.

eta- washington square serenade version-

i am sick and tired of "you didnt like it when people did it to your president"

what a disgusting false equivalency.
you did it to my president because his skin is brown. we arent doing it to cheeto because his skin is orange.
we are doing it because he is a fucking menace of the highest order.

heard on npr today. nearly threw my radio through the window.

Question submitted by mopinko

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sit back and listen to this. it will make you feel better.

it is a parable of who we are that we should all remember.

eta- even if you have heard it before, listen again. it's worth it.
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