A great and refreshing reminder, keeping me grounded, relevant, inspired, and thinking. Chock full of brilliant thought provoking knots. Relevant to rA great and refreshing reminder, keeping me grounded, relevant, inspired, and thinking. Chock full of brilliant thought provoking knots. Relevant to razor's edge of critical academia and to the children who grow up in refugee camps without any formal education whatsoever....more
"Roseannearchy is my attempt to weave my own revolutionary code into the mind of the reader."
Roseanne is my hero: a fat crazy Jewish mystic radical so"Roseannearchy is my attempt to weave my own revolutionary code into the mind of the reader."
Roseanne is my hero: a fat crazy Jewish mystic radical socialist feminist self-proclaimed fierce working-class domestic goddess. I was in the middle of reading this book when Roseanne came out in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement, dressed New Left guerilla-chic, proposing that everyone in a higher income bracket face the guillotine or put in a reeducation camp. This is when I fell in love!
I finished this book and now I'm wading through the 9 seasons of her groundbreaking television show. I watched it as a child, but never got the full weight of how profoundly working class and feminist it was. Roseanne is a longtime radical, having cut her standup teeth while also working at a radical feminist collective bookstore called Woman to Woman.
It was the story of Woman to Woman, where Roseanne became deeply embedded in a bulwark of feminist struggle for justice that I thought was most intriguing about the book. At the peak of that particular wave of radical feminism in the 80s, Roseanne offers a glimpse of the Reagan counterrevolution that I hadn't previously understood. The manufactured scarcity of social program resources caused local services to become overwhelmed and then shut down. Fractious infighting blossomed as people fought for the scraps left over and the people who relied on social services could no longer support revolutionary projects with as much fervor.
Roseanne seems to have consistently landed on the side of justice, favoring an interracial and revolutionary socialist feminism. Others spun off into priveleged new age paganism, single-issue identity neocolonialism (e.g. queer bookstores with no books about feminism or revolution), and refusing to acknowlege racial injustice within the movement. But Roseanne kept it as real as she could in a failing collective as the waves of counterrevolution spread from top to bottom. Sometimes Roseanne is stupid: though she engages with the white supremacy inherited from the culture at large, and comes around to admitting it, she takes a couple of transphobic pot shot jokes with no such self-criticism. But she is definitely real, and in these pages, she seems like a comrade who is familiar with struggle.
The book is a little over 10 hours long. The section on Women to Women books, made up about 25 minutes, or about 5% of the book. In my opinion, it was so good that it carries the rest of the book, and makes up about 80% of my recollection. There is certainly a lot more in there, especially about Judaism ("All of the holidays were about who killed our people, when and where, and what kind of food goes with each of those massacres."), grandmotherly love, personal spirituality, and politics ("Democracy is based on female freedom. Silencing old loudmouth pushy women is the first thing a smart despot tries to do.").
Lucky for us, Roseanne is coming back into public life, writing, appearing on TV, even perhaps running for president (???). I'm so excited. At the height of her popularity, Roseanne used her pulpit of a primetime show to do amazing things, showing the only honest working class family on television, for one. And from this perspective, Roseanne is incredulous that others don't do similarly envelope-pushing things. She can't stand Oprah's milquetoast bookclub: "Hey Oprah, tell your fans to read Das Kapital by Karl Marx. Talk about a good, relevant read. Oprah has never done one show on economics or capitalism, and that pisses me off. Not one show on how television advertising (which made Oprah a billionaire) makes money by keeping people in front of their TV sets while the guys at the top rob 'em blind! Are we supposed to ignore the elephant in the room? That yes, we need more socialism and less banksterism here in America?"...more
Emma Goldman was inspiring and almost superhuman. Her life contained an immeasurable amount of struggle for the liberation of humanity from capitalismEmma Goldman was inspiring and almost superhuman. Her life contained an immeasurable amount of struggle for the liberation of humanity from capitalism and the state.
The metastory of Emma Goldman is quite sad. Having lived a large portion of her life in the United States, she adopted it as a homeland, and was promptly deported. Because Russia was in the midst of revolution, she therefore considered that her homeland. But conditions became so malformed there that she was forced to sneak out. And she went from country to country, where no one would take her. Emma Goldman couldn't ever just go home.
But she never stopped struggling. When she was arrested, she organized inside US prisons for better working conditions for the prisoners. When Russia was in revolution, she tirelessly advocated for it. When she was deported, she radicalized the boat's crew, convincing them to go AWOL and join Russia in its revolution. When the revolution turned sour and Lenin began to put former capitalists in charge again, she was there, too, struggling to defend the Kronstadt sailors, and then going across the world to condemn the Bolshevik betrayal.
Something that I had never known about Emma Goldman was her infatuation with art, specifically theater. As an orator, she spent the majority of her time speaking about modern drama and social thought in theater. She was a public intellectual as well as a radical, and a self-taught cultural critic.
The unabridged version of this book is a thousand pages long, in two volumes: one roughly covering her experiences organizing in the United States, as she moves in the anarchist movement from margin to center, and then, in the second volume, her deportation to Russia, her disillusionment there, and her wandering around the globe. If I had known better I would have read the abridged version. At first, I thought it was an outrage to abridge such an incredibly important person's life. But there were plenty of pages that slowed the narrative arc, and therefore made the book more difficult to read, and explains why it took me almost six months to finish it.
Goldman defended Leon Czolgocz, and her lifelong love Sasha Berkman's attempts on the lives of both president McKinley and the capitalist Henry Clay Frick in an intriguing way. The way she described these acts of violence (terror, even) was not that the perpetraitors were callous to human suffering and that enabled them to commit the acts. In fact, quite the contrary. They were so sensitive to the suffering of people that they couldn't stand by and let these individuals perpetuate that suffering. They took such drastic action on behalf of those that suffered because they were so hypersensitive that they couldn't bring themselves to live with the suffering of others. She refused to condemn the men whose propaganda by the deed was condemned by nearly the entire anarchist movement of the day, because of the state repression that followed the actions. She, like Malcom X, though the focus should be on the social conditions that led to these reactions.
I was disappointed that the book had no ending. Until the very last page, Goldman rattled off the themes and locations of lectures, so there was no closure. Part of the problem was that there wasn't closure in Emma Goldman's life at that point, given that she would still live to see the Spanish Revolution/Civil War and much of World War II before dying. An afterward from a friend or admirer would have closed the book nicely, though perhaps that now I think of Emma as still alive and working for anarchist revolution, and perhaps thats the way I should be thinking about her.
A passionate lover, a revolutionary, a woman without a country. Emma Goldman was an amazing woman.
The edition I have of this book is beautiful, and I would be willing to let anyone who wants to borrow it. The books is cloth-bound with embossed gold foil titles. Printed on heavy weighted paper, the type looks hand placed. There are pictures of characters about every 100 pages, an illustration table of contents, and an index in the back. Every page has a sentence summary of the page's contents, something I've never seen before....more
Quiet Rumours seems like a work in progress, not a finished product. The essays inside are hit-or-miss. I loved some, and I was unimpressed by others.Quiet Rumours seems like a work in progress, not a finished product. The essays inside are hit-or-miss. I loved some, and I was unimpressed by others. Some challenged me, others didn't. Spanning a century and a globe, they are not consistent, and they are poorly organized: neither by chronology nor theme.
For the most part, the book includes anarchist writings about feminism, and feminist writings about anarchism. But the book failed to demonstrate a synthesis of the two, and instead contented itself on showing a symbiosis. Whereas I was reading the book to learn about the intersection of the two concepts, I came away with what I already brought: that they were paralell, and both necessary for a just society.
The essays in the beginning did a lot of insisting that anarchism and feminism were interrelated without explaining why or how. The two-essay debate about structure and tyranny were practical looks at trying to synthesize at least a practice of their intersection if not a theory, but when presented together, they merely contradicted one another. The most inspiring and wonderful articles that came close to this synthesis were written by those, such as the Bolivian Mujeres Creando ("I've said it and I'll say it again that we're not anarchists by Bakunin or the CNT, but rather by our grandmothers, and that's a beautiful school of anarchism"- FUCK YES.) who were not trying to self-consciously define their anarchism as exclusionary or individualist. But several of the articles uncompellingly emphasized, in order for the authors to self-consciously differentiate themselves from other Socialists, the individualist tendency of anarchism.
Emma Goldman's "A Woman Without a Country," though a great text, mentioned nothing of feminism, let alone anarchist feminism. It seems it was included because the author was both an anarchist and a feminist.
AK Press and Dark Star made matters far worse for this book. First of all, there were typos in the text, one unfortunate and notable one being the word "his" where it should have said "has." Secondly, The book felt more like 400 pages than 116 pages. The type was *way* too small, sans-serif, and divided into two columns per page. This made every page take an eternity to read, and I spent a good while after every time I put the book down trying to find where I was (4 columns and 47 lines to check!). No one could call this book a page-turner. Thirdly, the pages were so large that the binding broke apart while I was reading it, which distracted greatly from the final essays, which I read while gingerly holding the book so that the wind wouldn't carry them away.
Don't get me wrong, the topic is very worthy, and many of the articles within the book are really quite amazing. But I look forward to a more thoughtful collection of anarcha-feminist works in the future....more
This is a wonderful beginner's guide to Feminist thought and theories. It is really phenomenal for this purpose.
As a reader who already considers himsThis is a wonderful beginner's guide to Feminist thought and theories. It is really phenomenal for this purpose.
As a reader who already considers himself a feminist, I felt as if the book was an introduction: a thorough introduction, sure, but at the end only an introduction. bell hooks leaves the book at just over a hundred pages. Thus, if you aren't interested, it is over within a reasonable time; If you are interested, it ends way too soon. For this reason I will be picking up some other bell hooks books in the near future....more
This book really challenged my views on sexuality, sex, and radical feminist and queer thought. Theory, story, interview and case study blended togethThis book really challenged my views on sexuality, sex, and radical feminist and queer thought. Theory, story, interview and case study blended together to create a coherent radical queer agenda against assimilation into the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. The hot topics of the "gay rights" white gay male "movement" are Gay Marriage, Adoption, and the Right to Military Service. These all benefit the system more than they benefit queer liberation, so that even if you win, you lose.
One of the highlights of the book for me was the story of PISS, the campus movement to create gender-neutral and handicap accessable bathrooms. To have things as simple as being able to go to the bathroom be a serious complication with your body and identity is heartbreaking. It was inspiring to read about what I had previously thought of as disparate movements working together for a common goal and supporting one another.
Another highlight was the article stating that Gay Marriage is racist. Marriage is seen as the route to assimilation and acceptance from the hetero world. The interviewee made the case, however, that black families and mixed-race families often have the "foundation" of marriage. Black people have done the experiment of marrying for acceptance within the larger society, but the state sees them as "queer" (as in, part of the "other" that isn't white and wealthy). The state destroys their families by jailing the father, refusing welfare to the mother, and putting up children for adoption or foster care. Therefore, marriage is an ineffective route to acceptance, and even if it were effective, it would be selective acceptance based on race, as black people are systematically denied family and marriage.
After reading this book, I was embarassed that I put HRC stickers on my class binders in university to show that I was a queer ally....more