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community building | gender & sexuality

Solidarity with IMC women

Hysteria Colletive fully endorses and supports the Global Indymedia Women's Proposal.
Proposal for New IMC Process Submitted by Global IMC Women's List Volunteer

The imc-women's-list has existed since summer 2001 and consists of women active in indymedias in Latin America, North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. For two years, we have discussed in many facets the depressing situation of patriarchal repression in society which unfortunately doesn't stop at the doorstep of leftist groups.

Many concrete situations came up, in which women were discriminated against in their local group. In most cases we were able to support the women emotionally and to give advice. But we feel that this is not enough.

Women are a small minorty within many indymedia groups, some groups consist only of men. This may be due to the fact that people perceive indymedia mainly as a website and don't realize how much work needs to be done concerning building politcal relationships, outreach, editorial work etc. Therefore indymedia attracts relatively more people who are interested in computing than people who are not. Accordingly, the underrepresentation of women within indymedia reflects the underrepresentation of women in Information Technology related fields.

However, only some incidents in which women were discriminated against within their groups were tech related. Several were silence in meetings, some had experienced openly sexist behavior, many state that there was a general atmosphere that made it hard for women to work within thier indymedia group.

This meanst that gender discrimination is not only due to the fact that techies have an important role within indymdia and techies tend to be male. It is apparent, that non-tech as well as tech males descriminate against women.

Many of our male co-activists have taken an active stance against gender discrimination within indymedia. And we hope they will keep up this stance as we don't perceive our struggle as females versus males but as a general cause.

However, the discrimination by individual men and the patriarchal atmoshpere in some groups has reached a degree that we believe action needs to be taken.

Furthermore we believe that similar mechanisms that minimize women's involvemtn also work against the participation of ethnic and sexual minorities and maintain a homogeneous class structure.

We talked about different measures to change the situation. As a result of our discussions, we would like to propost that these issues be addressed during the process of which new imc's undertake.

Proposal:
We propost that the following questions be incorporated in the application form:

A. How does the makeup of your collective reflect the diversity of the local community (e.g. in relation to gender-sexual-spiritual and/or cultural identity)?

B. If your group currently does not represent the diversity of the local community, particularly in relation to groups who are underrepresented in mainstream society and denied access to vehicles of expression, what steps will be taken to address this on an ongoing basis?

C. What steps will be taken to involve individuals in workfields new to them? What measure will be taken to overcome a gendered work division?


Hysteria Collective stands in complete solidarity with the proposal drawn up by the Global IMC Women's List. Patriarchy, mysogyny, sexism, sexual violence, tokenization and other forms of women's oppression are a daily reality for all women in the world. The radical/revolutionary left is not exception to these forms of oppression and in fact perfectly reflects the society we claim to be working to change. It is the responsibility of all men to critically analyze their actions, socializations, and privileges and actively work to destroy them. It is the responsibility of all radicals and revolutionaries to stand in solidarity with all women fighing oppression. All of the work we undertake must be done with a critically militant feminist analysis. Support the women in our communities, smash Patriarchy!

Solidarity,
Hysteria Collective
PDX IMC 20.Jan.2004 18:05

Victory! videoresistance@ziplip.com

I'm very greatful to be working in an IMC that actually celebrates womyn, takes the time to make sure we speak up, and works to empower us. I tend to be a little matriarchal at times and here I'm actually loved for it. To everybody thanks for your love, support, and patience!

It sucks that this is not the case all over the indymedia network. I hope that more cities can make empowerment of others more of a priority in the future.

Just a thought not necessarily my best 20.Jan.2004 21:54

jlii

In my ignorance I had assumed IndyMedia being developed by the next generation would not have permitted gender based decisions or reflexes. Not that the advice of a man is needed. But perhaps it would help if we all became a little more involved in our local IndyMedia, something like volunteering for a month on the month of our births, to spread the load. Outside eyes sometime see better and with a temporary person there are less games or clicks.

To be Anti-Authoritarian... 20.Jan.2004 22:12

means to confront oneself.

As a male feminist ally I find the widespread presence of sexism within IMCs very disappointing and unfortunate. These are the people who should know better, more so than most. I cannot say it is surprising though, since the issues of gender/race/class privelage have only begun to be addressed by the various movements we all are in, and only in certain sectors, those who are willing to withstand the continual process of self-examination and self-criticism which results in self-healing. Thank you to the Hysteria Collective and all those spreading the word on this. It affects all of us.

Why is it so hard for people to reach below themselves 20.Jan.2004 23:05

My message to fellow women

and recognize and confront the oppression of others? Men don't even realize their freedom as they walk around the streets at night, and feel security in their homes, free from rape. And women, how many of us are vegan? How many of us reach a hand down to the animals who suffer much worse than we ever will in labs and on factory farms? Most of us are contributing to their oppression and dire situation by eating them and defending their torture in labs because we still wrongly believe that their suffering may lead to cures for our loved ones. We need to fight for ourselves, but we need to look within too--especially as we confront the blindness in others to OUR worthy cause, for our liberation.

I consider it my duty... 20.Jan.2004 23:42

GRINGO STARS

...as a male, to confront sexist attitudes both within myself and in my male friends. I consider it very important for activists (and everyone) to work on themselves as people, asking themselves how their actions might possibly be oppressive. This is something sometimes lacking in activist communities. Sexism is real and truly oppressive and cannot be ignored by the activist community at the expense of so-called "more important" issues. I think incorporating the above proposals into the IMC application is a great idea, personally.

Reality 21.Jan.2004 07:27

Realist

How about a dose of reality.

One reason most activists are male is because (white) women are the biggest supporters of the current oppressive regime and the status quo. The media, retail offerings, and political decisions are made for middle-upper class white women, typically the "soccer moms".

Oppressed people are more likely to be activists, men are more oppressed, therefore men are more likely to be activists.

All men feel safe walking at night? What a blatent sexist remark against men, insinuating that the many actual rapes and muggings of male victims don't occur. Truth is a high percentage of actual rape victims are male. Gays raping straight men and pedophiles raping boys are two of the most common types of rape, and many men and boys are raped by women also. Because society "blames the victim" in male rape cases and often treats female rape victims like royalty, women are much likely to come forward in rape cases. Usually rapists of males are serial rapists; if one male testifies that he was raped by a priest, odds are the priest raped dozens of other males. An extremely high percentage of men convicted of "raping" women are innocent, then these innocent men are victims of actual rape in prison.

One reason some women don't want to participate in actions is the people who do the hard work organizing the protests tend to be men, and some women are hung up about not protesting unless at least half the leaders of the action are female.

While women sit at home safe from the horrors of combat they condone (most white women support the war), men are forced to register for the draft and fight and die in combat in wars they oppose. Gender equality must occur: draft women and throw them into combat!

Posting IMC articles anonymously allows people to make statements without being judged on their gender or appearance. As far as I know, there's no conspiracy to suppress comments by women who reveal their gender (because comments don't show up in the compost bin, I have no proof, but from what I've seen, the techs don't seem to censor posts just because a poster is female).

I don't know which posters are which gender and don't really care. However, many "indy" sites are obviously biased in another demographic: the vast majority of posts are white. Would like to see more participation from nonwhites. At group meetings, whites don't listen to the nonwhite voices. Whites try to dominate almost every event. If you replace "male" with "white" in the original post, and "female" with "nonwhite", you have a valid argument. Whites can walk around relatively safe from police and hate crimes. Nonwhites are constantly being attacked by police and racists.

you are an idiot 21.Jan.2004 11:23

girl

The topics you bring up around race and white supremacy in the Portland left are important issues that need to be addressed all the time. We must smash white supremacy and white folks must be working constantly to check their privilege, build alliances, work in solidarity and respect autonomy. That said, what the hell are you talking about? White women are single handedly responsible for the current occupation? Of course white women are part of the systems that have advocated and created the current occupation, which by the way is being completely lead and mostly funded by cracker men. It's race and class privilege at it's finest. To blame "american women's culture" for consumption and war endorsement might be accurate if you paid attention and more appropriately named it "american capitalist culture." And to blantantly state that the movement is made up mostly of men because women don't know how to or want to do the work involved in organizing shows how far your head is shoved up your ass. Ever heard the term Men Lead, Women Organize? In other words we do the bitch work (pun intended) while men pull their dicks out and wave 'um at each other during demo's, teachins, DA's and other political campaigns. You think there would be a goddamned left without the work of all women. Mysogyny is out, women are not taking it anymore. And the comment about gay men raping straight men. Get your facts right you homophobic fuck. The vast majority of male on male adult rapes are hetero's raping queer men as 'punishment' for being queer. Pedophiles aren't queers, they are sick fucks who have no association or roots in our queer communities. Queers bash back. You're an idiot.

"Realist" (how inaccurate could your name be)...your 21.Jan.2004 15:22

My message to fellow...

ridiculous post provides an example of why some women are tired of working with some "activist" men.

You really think that women cry rape and lots of innocent guys are sitting in jail? All legitimate crime statistics reveal that only a small fraction of rapists ever make it into the court system, and the majority go unpunished. Men may fear rape (in prison), and yet it's still at the "hands" of other men. The (non)issue with females raping males is generally one of strength and anatomy. How many males cross the street at night because they see a female headed their way? Yet it is generally the case in reverse. You really don't know a damn thing about violence against women and how it affects their lives.

There is much you clearly need to be educated about, but I'm not going to waste the energy.

I didn't realize Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the others were women. Although you've got a token in Rice.

IMC Sexism 22.Jan.2004 00:20

a (former?) imcsta

I'm really glad to see this.

I was a member of the NYC Indymedia print team from March 2001 to September 2003. During that time, I dated another IMC member for a little over a year. Near the end of our relationship, he became bullying and manipulative and dishonest. He pressured me to leave the paper, and repeatedly called and harassed me when I was there doing work. He made working at the paper so stressful and draining for me that I ended up leaving. Additionally, I am at least the third woman who was pressured to leave the paper due to this man's efforts.

I tried to talk to a number of folks at the IMC about this, and though some tried to be helpful, no one, in the end, was willing to expend the kind of energy that dealing with this would have required. Many expressed the concern that addressing it would take away from the project. I understand this concern, and share it to a degree, but I ask myself, and you: How much energy is being taken away from IMCs all over the globe, when women are pushed off or made to leave, discouraged from making full use of their talents, appraised for sex appeal rather than skill?

I don't know where to go from here. I don't want this to turn into the same kind of stinkbombing and potshot-throwing fracas I see happening over the SF split. That won't help make independent media. And my own mental seesaw is that I still feel connected to NYC IMC, and committed to our (their) work; if they can function despite this crippling sexism, maybe that's enough. Maybe product trumps process. But I've never quite been able to convince myself of that...

So I'm taking this small, terrifying step, of putting this out there. And for now leaving it at that.

Up 22.Jan.2004 03:01

Bill

About thirty-five years ago, women in the movements began to ask out loud why they were expected put out and put up, and stop interrupting the real activists.

Up until then the movement had been merely squabbling over the sizes of slices.
It became an critical examination of the pie.