Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Robin Morgan on feminists occupying Occupy

Hat tip to Elaine Barton for the link to this fascinating post by Robin Morgan on the Women's Media Center blog. Here's just a sampling of Morgan's analysis:
Having caught the world’s imagination with an admirable energy, seemingly spontaneous and seemingly grassroots, the Occupy movement is now poised at a crossroads. It has enormous potential—but lasting change will require consciousness that doesn’t ignore the majority of humanity. It needs to break free of being “a guy thing” or risk drowning in its own rhetorical generalities.

It’s not as if certain models aren’t there. The women of England’s Greenham Common “occupied” turf decades before OWS—they endured, and won. Irish women barred doors to keep men from storming out of Northern Ireland peace talks. Women in Liberia sat singing for months in a soccer field to birth a revolution. Market women in Ghana brought down a government. Gandhi acknowledged copying the concept of satyagraha—nonviolent resistance—from India’s 19th century women’s suffrage movement. These are different—and long-lasting—techniques of protest, by which at first it seemed the Occupy movement was influenced. (At the risk of offending anarchists, I’ll paraphrase two of the Women’s Media Center slogans: “You have to name it to change it,” and “You have to see it to be it.” As a woman who once agreed “Level everything, then we’ll talk politics,” I recommend examples and clearly articulated demands as pretty good stuff.)
What Morgan is calling for is necessary, but not sufficient. Making the movement less of a guy thing--and less of a white thing--is a very good starting place, however. Do yourself a favor and read her entire post.

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