“What remains of the radical left now operates largely outside of any institutional or organized oppositional channels, in the hope that small-scale actions and local activism can ultimately add up to some kind of satisfactory macro alternative. This left, which strangely echoes a libertarian and even neoliberal ethic of anti-statism, is nurtured intellectually by thinkers such as Michel Foucault and all those who have reassembled postmodern fragmentations under the banner of a largely incomprehensible post-structuralism that favors identity politics and eschews class analysis. Autonomist, anarchist and localist perspectives are everywhere in evidence. But to the degree that this left seeks to change the world without taking power, so an increasingly consolidated capitalist class remains unchallenged in its ability to dominate the world without constraint.”
David Harvey, Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism (via apoliticalnonsense)

The Fifty-Year Ridicule (from The Dialectic of Sex, by Shulamith Firestone)

I find this part of the text to be particularly poignant as it encapsulates the contradictory nature of the present period in which feminism is only tentatively emerging amidst a two-decade-long backlash, but within the confines of mass media institutions and neoliberal social relations and social media sequestered away from any major organs of collective organising and genuine community. It is not a movement at present, inasmuch as it is currently a set of behavioural exhortations and taboos on critical and systemic thought, as the very question of women’s liberation is unfortunately mediated via an accepted rendition of radical-liberalism and the neoliberal notion of choice.

More on that from me some other time. Here’s Firestone’s brilliance:

How did the Myth of Emancipation operate culturally over a fifty-year period to anaesthetise women’s political consciousness?

In the twenties eroticism came in big. The gradual blurring together of romance with the institution of marriage began … serving to repopularise and reinforce the falling institution, weakened by the late feminist attack. But the convalescence didn’t last long: women were soon reprivatised, their new class solidarity diffused. The conservative feminists, who at least had viewed their problems as social, had been co-opted, while the radical feminists were openly and effectively ridiculed; eventually even the innocuous committee-women of other movements came to appear ridiculous. The cultural campaign had begun: emancipation was one’s private responsibility; salvation was personal not political. Women took off on a long search for “fulfilment”.

Here, in the twenties, is the beginning of that obsessive modern cultivation of “style”, the search for glamour (You too can be Theda Bara), a cultural disease still dissipating women today — fanned by women’s magazines of the Vogue, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Cosmopolitan variety. The search for a “different”, personal, style with which to “express” oneself replaced the old feminist emphasis on character development through responsibility and learning experience.

In the thirties, after the Depression, women sobered. Flapperism was obviously noot the answer: tey felt more hung up and neurotic than ever before. But with the myth of emancipation going full blast, women dared not complain. If they had gotten what they wanted, and were still dissatisfied, then something must be wrong with them. Secretly they suspected that maybe they really were inferior after all. Or maybe it was just the social order. They joined the Communist party, where once again they empathised mightily with the underdog, unable to acknowledge that the strong identification they felt with the exploited working class came directly from their own experience of oppression.

In the forties there was another world war to think about. Personal hangups were temporarily overshadowed by the spirit of the War Effort — patriotism and self-righteousness, intensified by a uniquitous military propaganda, were their own kind of high. Besides, the cats were away. Better yet, their thrones of power were vacant. Women had substantial jobs for the first time in several decades. Genuinely needed by society to their fullest capacity, they were temporarily granted human, as opposed to female, status. (In fact, feminists are forced to welcome wars as their only chance.)

The first long stretch of peace and aflluence in some time occurred in the late forties and the fifties. But instead of the predictable resurgence of feminism, after so many blind alleys, there was only “The Feminine Mystique”, which Betty Friedan has documented so well. This sophisticated cultural apparatus was hauled out for a specific purpose: women had been hired during the war, and now had to be made to quit. Their new employment gains had come only because they had been found to make a convenient surplus labour force, for use in just such time of crisis — and yet, one couldn’t now just openly fire them. That would give the lie to the whole carefully cultivated myth of emancipation. A better idea was to have them quit of their own volition. The Feminine Mystique suited the purpose admirably. Women, still frantic, still searching (after all, a factory job is no man’s idea of heaven either, even if it is preferable to women’s caged hell), took yet another false road.

This one was perhaps worse than any of the others. It offered neither the (shallow) sensuality of the twenties, the commitment to a (false) idea of the thirties, nor the collective spirit (propaganda) of the forties. What it did offer women was respectability and upward mobility — along with Disillusioned Romance, plenty of diapers and PTA meetings (Margaret Mead’s Mother Nurture), family arguments, endless and ineffective diets, TV soap operas and commercials to kill the boredom, and, if the pain still persisted, psychotherapy. Good Housekeeping and Parents’ Magazine spoke for every woman of the middle class, just as True Confessions did for the working class. The fifties was the bleakest decade of all, perhaps the bleakest in some centuries for women. According to the 1950 version of the Myth, women’s emancipation had already been tried and found wanting (by women themselves, no doubt). The first attempt to break away from a stifling Creative Motherhood seemed to have failed utterly. All authentic knowledge of the old feminist movement by this time had been buried, and with it the knowledge that woman’s present misery was the product of a still-virulent backlash.

lehaaz:

I don’t get any type of celebrity stanning especially if the celebrity supports war criminals. people are willing to excuse people like gaga beyonce katy etc. but want to drag a 14 year old on tumblr dot com. and that’s scary and mind boggling.

“The bourgeois want art voluptuous and life ascetic; the reverse would be better.”
Theodor Adorno, Aesthetic Theory (1968)

Woman appears as a conquered sex: conquered by the myth of man. Woman suffers from the privilege of man who is above her, but she suffers it in the obedience which inspires he who has imposed himself as a subject. The victorious sex says to woman: “Make yourself worthy of me. Absorb, through the knowledge of the Subject, the thought which is completely human and universal. Under my guidance you will reach the dimension of the Subject.”

In such a way man not only justifies the control that he exercises over the personality of woman – which must be for the entire good of her, every little bad mistake can be fatal – but he becomes the arbiter of her consciousness, and finally, the reservoir of her inferiority: promising her redemption from her mind, in obedience. In fact, she who obeys does not deserve to be known because obedience is irreconcilable with autonomy and it is autonomy that creates in man the stimulus towards knowledge. Thus man does not know woman, he knows himself, and her only inasmuch as she serves him […]

Carla Lonzi, Significato della autocoscienza nei gruppi femministi (The significance of autocoscienza (loosely translated as consciousness-raising) in feminist groups)
“Bourgeois ideology is an ideology which refuses to allow itself to be identified as an ideology by presenting itself as neutral, impartial, universal, objective and value-free.”
Roland Barthes, Criticism and Truth (via alfagamma)

(Source: roboclaws)

from ‘On Prostitution: Two Broadsheets and a Statement’ - Movimento Femminista Romano, 1973

The following is the text of the leaflet that Turin’s Feminist Alternative Group has tried to distribute outside the daily La Stampa (newspaper) where, in recent days, the newspaper has been trying to collect 50,000 signatures for the proposal by popular initiative to reform the Merlin law, alongside the similar proposed bill put forward by 29 Christian Democratic deputies:
'Prostitution exists.It's not a matter of hiding the prostitutes.
It’s a matter of eliminating prostitution.
As women, we are against a society where any man can buy a woman. As women we have never been disturbed by prostitutes. Instead it is their clients who, in public places, accost us ‘intentionally’, ‘continually’ and ‘unequivocally’, offering us their sexual services and preventing us from walking through the streets in peace. Will 50,000 signatures really be enough to ensure that women are no longer bothered when they go out at night? Is it not perhaps the first step towards reopening brothels? Let us not forget that in Turin prostitution brings in 150 billion lire a year. Will you sign? Then you agree that prostitution should continue to exist but behind closed doors. Your signature would be better used supporting a campaign for courses of sex education in all schools, for the establishment of family planning clinics in all quarters of the city, for making abortion available and free to all women.
The Roman Feminist Movement shares the Feminist Alternative group’s initiative and invites women to meet at 9 p.m. on Wednesday 3rd January 1973 at the movement’s base in Via Pompeo Magno no. 94 (Prati), tel. 386503, in order to discuss the possibility of opposing the proposals for the reform of the Merlin law.
(Only women are invited to attend)’

Let’s save morality. Let’s preserve children from scandal. Let’s protect public health and women’s dignity. Under these banners Christian Democratic deputies, supported by a campaign led by the Turin newspaper La Stampa to collect 50,000 signatures for an analogous bill by popular initiative, have presented a bill to the chamber. This bill, with the pretext of attacking prostitution, actually leads to the limitation of personal freedom and freedom of movement for all us women. In fact every woman who finds herself on the street, especially at night, will be subjected to a personal evaluation by those (that is, the police) in charge of enforcing its norms. They will be able to decide at their own discretion whether or not they are dealing with a prostitute. And this suspicion, with a police warrant, could lead to an arrest of up to ninety-six hours with no means of defence.

As regards prostitution itself, it is significant yet again an attempt is made to lay all the weight and moral blame on the woman rather than on the clients who allow themselves to pay a human being to graify their own sexual pleasures.

Prostitution is a product of the patriarchal society, which invented the double standard, and in particular of the patriarchal-capitalist society that excludes women from the work market, pushes them into consumerism and forces them to various forms of prostitution in order to survive.

Prostitution is a male problem. If the ‘sad spectacle of accosting’, the invitation to ‘sexual intercourse, and to illicit trading of the body’ exists, then it is offered by men who attempt to accost, invite and offend any woman who happens to be passing by in the street. And for the umpteenth time we women are forced to hide in the ghettos of our houses.

Do they wish to apply repressive laws? In that case let them start by stopping men who molest and hassle women. They want sanitary control on venereal diseases? Every car that slows down near a woman is a threat. Enough false moralism!

“of all the controversial shit i’ve said on tumblr and the shitstorm that ensued, probably the worst thing was when i said something negative about disney corporation”