4/19/2008

MORATORIUM!

I'm declaring a moratorium on stupid radfems. No existing for a month.

In the mean time here's a time line:

22 june, 2006: I write a blog post pointing out that secret organisations never end well, in response to the revelation that Middle Managers like Kos and John Avarosis had been operating a little thing called "townhouse".

Quoth myself:
Now the thing that occurs to me is, WHY ON EARTH DO YOU NEED TO DO THIS THING IN SECRET!? Come on Kos, even you must be able to figure out that that was going to come back to bite you in the ass at some point, you’re coordinating and holding discussion with a group of left wing and democratic party supporting journalists, bloggers and activists via this mailing list, and you’ve sworn them to secrecy? Why on earth would you do that? Hell-fucking-lo Kos, did you not realize that a “new people-powered movement”, has to, you know, NOT involve an exclusive and secretive group of media peeps holding closed discussion that could effect the wider movement? Did you not understand that a freaking mystic oligarchy is probably not the best way to organize support for the democratic party? Are you not aware that you have justified any rightwinger who now calls you a “stalinist”? You’ve made a crazy right wing insult accurate for god’s sake, even Bill “I invented Gitmo for HIV+ Haitians” Clinton hasn’t done that.


Suffice to say that I am not a fan of secret oligarchies - if you can't run your conspiracy in plain view you probably shouldn't run it. transparency is an issue with such things, as is accountability.

And as with all things, knowing is half the battle. (The other half? Guitar Hero!)

Sometime in 2007: belle sets up a secret email list, for reasons that I can't help but call "abject laziness". From an outsider's POV it sounds pretty much like she just tricked some WOC into acting as gophers because she was too busy to bookmark some sites/type in their URL/follow links around herself - stuff that's neither time consuming or difficult basically, but which nonetheless was sold to the WOC as a sort of safe space for people who get crap thrown at them.

Of course the road to hell is paved with good intentions...

sometime in or around early december, 2007: flamefest erupts because of some stuff Amber starts by slapping people in the head with her racist parents (father or mother depending on what day you ask about it), leading to Donna and M leaving the secret email club, and thus depriving Belle of her two main gophers and thus causing the whole thing to devolve into a "we H8 Hrt" club...but *secret*, because otherwise bitching about Heart starting silly little (open) safe spaces wouldn't be ironic and fucked up.

God forbid someone take the higher ground and keep it for five fucking seconds....

Mid december 2007: Amber runs whining to Bitch|Lab, thus prompting this thread, which manages to make both BL and Amber look like complete assholes.

Some of the points BL makes are valid though, especially the ones about "wow, doesn't actually forming a little posse make everyone who scoffed at Marcotte accusing us of having a secret cabal, kinda look like idiots now huh?"

But Belle disagreed! And so calls BL and Amber self centered (presumably after fixing large brass rings around her head to stop it exploding from mental dissonance) in a post that neither mentions names nor links to anything, thus leaving anyone who didn't already know what the fuck she was talking about in the dark, and making a public post kinda...pointless, nonsensical? One can only assume following the advice she gives in her own post was too much for the poor little lambykins, aww.

Bonus Dilbert Points of course for complaining about how she doesn't have the time for the busy and complex business of moderating the groups she created primarily because she was too busy to just fucking read blogs in the first place.

And there's hte special honorable mention for how catbert there acts as though it's shocking, SHOCKING that BL might have been pissed off at the whole thing, "but we were BFF! I mean you've written a lot about how you object to those inner circle type cliques after having seen it tear apart so many other groups you've been involved with, and I did exclude you from the group, and insult your intelligence a bit when you did find out about it, but seriously why are you acting like such a jerk towards me, jeez..."

Skip ahead a bit, Belle has curled up into her email based womb (again), except the group is now a largely (upper-middle class) whites only affair, the blogosphere's not heard much about this because most of the people involved were hubbloggers - lots of the even smaller blogs tend to link into them, and they link into each other, so posts at BL or my blog don't really spread far because they would have to go through those blogs who have pinky sworn to silence on the matter... for the sake of group cohesion or something else that doesn't make any sense.

That's the slight problem with people who you think are smart, but who then go and set up secret white-only oligarchies; any assumptions you made about them being smart were clearly wrong, otherwise they wouldn't have thought that a secret whites-only oligarchy was a really neat idea.

During this period I'm a bit confuddled. Basically my life since july has gone:

- homeless.

- stay at friend's place.

- Start experiencing rage attacks along with massive stress based crying jags as a result of the homeless period.

- Anorexia goes into overdrive and my period disappears during late august, but fortunately it reappears when I get my eating pattern sorted out again

- Ren randomly insults me, her commenters go all borg-esque on me and join in. As the insults tend less towards "R is being stupid and btichy and needs to get a grip" and more towards "oh R is a terrible writer, everything she says is just wrong" and others that were basically their generic anti-heart comments with my name in place, even if that didn't make all that much sense.

- Due to the sheer randomness of the attacks and my general low self esteem, I flounce and do an impression of Zippy the pin-head. Admittedly not my finest hour.

- find new apartment, start moving in.

- I start blogging again. Amanda starts yet another round of bullshit.

- start new job.

- finally see BL's post about Belle's secret treehouse club and I'm pissed off, but not sure whether to really take it up because while it raises huge warning flags in my mind, just from the basic concept* of an inner circle like that developing, and regardless of the reasons for it, becuase I know from history that such things never stay true to their origins, no matter how noble. And then their's the issue of the massive empathy failier on Belle and Co's parts, I mean, anyone who's read BL's work during the sex wars or burkagate should have been able to tell that BL was going to have issues with such a thing, and for belle to turn around and pretend that it's totally invalid to have issues with such a thing...

And then as I'm starting to think that maybe I can just ignore it, let the whole thing be, Ren's brings the butt hurt.

Not just any butthurt though, we're talking prime A-grade racist butthurt.

With. Sprinkles.

I should point out that this came after another, almost as bad thread; where Ren let her commenter turn her place into a cesspit, and you remember how I accused Marc of humping his recently deceased dog to death? Well it turned out that I actually do have a standard of decency wrt rhetoric.

That level is reached at about the point where, in response to a relatively tame attack post for Ginmar, Ren commentariat suddenly decided that accusing Ginmar of being mentally ill as a way to dismiss what she was saying.

I think the fact that they were using Ginmar's PTSD, which she got from serving in Gulf War 1, as a way to dismiss her was as bad if not worse than the whole using a mental disorder someone suffers with to attack them, because it is ridiculously dehumanizing - and again this was from people, including Belle, who'd talked, previously, about the importance of empathy and how they stood against dehumanizing people and the violence that that leads to, who suddenly turned around and threw all that out of hte window.
So I wade in, as I am want...

Oh no, if Ginmar chose to join up... well it's what she deserved for helping american imperialism and she has no one to blame but herself...

Comment after comment like that. From Ren, from belle, from others who should know better.

And I'm looking around and I'm starting to get that odd prickling sensation on the back of my neck because I suddenly realise that all of her regular commenters are all, exclusively, upper middleclass, and spewing the most hateful classist bullshit imaginable, at women like me who are getting screwed over by the system they benefit from without the costs that we have to endure for their comfort.

Because anyone who pretends that the working class are not given three, equally evil, choices in life, to either join up with the military, turn to crime and get put in jail, or to be slowly killed by the soul destroying working that will, if we're really really Lucky, provide just enough to keep a roof over our heads and maybe put some instant ramen in our stomachs as well, is a fucking evil bastard themselves, who has decided to make themselves complicit in the oppression working class poeple like myself experience.

Because those rage attacks I've been suffering are due to both the way I got treated while out on the streets last year, and the first time I was homeless back in the 90's as well, by other people, and the little voice inside my head, that told me that it was all my fault and that I deserve that kind of treatment.

Because underlying all the oppression people face is erasure, both the willingness of the victims to accept the bullshit notion of some how deserving to be tortured by a system of Hate, and that willingness of seemingly rational human beings to, with out cause or seeming prompting, to suddenly declare that black people are just jealous when they complain, or Latin@s are just being lazy when they demand a human wage. Underlying oppression is a society that is willing to do any, ANYTHING, rather than admit that such oppression exists, let alone that We, that meta-textual Us, is in any way responsible for it.

And after witnessing that bullshit being thrown by Ren's pals with her tacit acceptance, after the shit with the email list, with Amanda's crap again and again...

That's when I saw this at ren's place.

Ren was told by Kate that a term she used made Ren's blog hostile to her. Kate is voicing how Ren's writing makes her feel, in a remarkably polite way, and asking Ren to do something that really doesn't cost Ren.

So obviously ren did what any Ally would do: she declared that she was asian and then started waffling about how she deosn't do Politically Correct while utterly dismissing Kate's expereince of racism, while dismissing the hurt that Ren's words can.

Because oppression of Ren is the One True Oppression, accept no substitute folks.

And the thing I have to ask, in retrospect, given the entire bushel of bullshit is basically this:

WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO THOSE PEOPLE!?

I mean because we discussed that sort of thing, I rememeber conversations involving how to be a better ally that dealt with just that sort of sitaution, and everyone being a racist asshole in that thread has called other white people on pulling that crap so...

I'm looking at the people who are supposedly anti-racist, and who've demonstrated intelligence in the past and who has demonstrated that they know better and yet...

And I've been shying away from this, because like a crap Ally myself I've been afraid, cowardly even, my lifes chaotic, and the amount of emotional investment required to, once again, completely write off people I'd thought "Got It", thought were true allies, not with myself, but with the people who need allies, the people who get it in the neck when people like us don't pull through and don't speak up, and let them come for their children because they ain't coming for us yet, and it turned out I was nieve, stupid, cowardly and blind.

I could stand being personally insulted, because there is nothing any of those scumbags could say that is worse than what I say to myself, and I could stand silliness that was probably going to lead to an epic, mind boggling blowout that would at least be fun to watch.

But then Amanda goes and out does herself, and I see another good writer, not one of the heartless sychophantic hacks who buzz around Ren, for obvious metaphorical reasons, but a good writer, and a strong women, and a good woman, and I see how it affects all those other beautiful and I see these silly little cliqueish types, buzzing around it all, saing not very much apart from a bit of empty posturing that makes promises their hearts can't cash, and I'm torn between vomiting and killing myself, because maybe I did something wrong? Maybe the degeneration of these people from actual allies into pathetic self absorbed racists.
Except I'm still blaming mysefl for other people's failings, and I'm suffering because of their problems, and causing suffering because I'm trying to accomadate the feelings of such losers, and staying silent not for any valid reason, but to maintain some fantastic notion I have that the group that we're all tied up in is worth more than actaully supporting those beautiful women who get silenced while the hacks keep chortling to themselves in their dirty little whites only club.

The hell with that.

You still reading this?

I'll be back on the 20th of next month, and you remember that R. Mildred from waaay back who was kinda awesome, back before everyone turned into jagoffs? She'll be back too. I'm gonna clear my head, sort my self out, make out those clear boundaries between myself and the bastard world that got destoryed at some point, see if I can't squeeze a little more free time for RL activism and then I shall return.

And one more thing:

After burkagate, I vowed to punch Amanda in the face should our paths ever accidentally cross.

After this Seal house explosion let me make this promise; should I happen to bump into Bfp, or BA, or M, or Donna or yes, even Nez, I promise to pick them up and mercilessly soak their feet.

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.

Peace out.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

"But then Amanda goes and out does herself, and I see another good writer, not one of the heartless sychophantic hacks who buzz around Ren, for obvious metaphorical reasons, but a good writer, and a strong women, and a good woman, and I see how it affects all those other beautiful and I see these silly little cliqueish types, buzzing around it all, saing not very much apart from a bit of empty posturing that makes promises their hearts can't cash, and I'm torn between vomiting and killing myself, because maybe I did something wrong? Maybe the degeneration of these people from actual allies into pathetic self absorbed racists."

me three.

i just caught up on the blow out. all i could think was that i wanted to take all the money i've saved for my retirement and start a foundation/ publishing house /whatever and fly to michigan with a lots of chocolate and epsom salts and aromatherapy and good books and that foot bubblebath thing the kids got me for mother's day and fire it up for bfp's feet.

kmittenz said...

Whoa...

Nancy said...

Thank you for being clear and for providing links to help tell your story. It's nice to read and understand what is going on for a change.

After reading this, I think I would have to agree with you about the surface allies. I get the feeling that some of them get involved to leave their link and create more traffic their way (and sometimes they just write posts in support and it feels very surface to me--and more about THEM than the primary topic at hand). So I agree with you. When you must create a drama to support a drama, I am questioning your motives.

Sorry you've had a bad spell in your life and hope things are better.

Renegade Evolution said...

Yeah RM, I'm such a racist. Woo, got me there. And classist too. What was that about reading again? From my oh so racist thread: "What you're missing here is I wanted to discuss the term in question, and gee, I even said I was open to hearing why or why not various folk did or did not have a problem with it. Min doesn't, Katie does. So on, so forth. I said I would think about it, because you know, I DON'T want to offend a whole slew of people because I like a term. So I wanted to hear what other people, yep, non-white ones even, had to say about it.

And it's fucking grand you defended me off blog or whatever, I think we've all done that from time to time for eachother. Always nice to know how much you're hated, by the way...keeps the soul warm at night and all.

Be that as it may, I am allowed to question why or how or when or in who's eyes various words are offensive...learning experience and all...chances are, I won't use the phrase in blogging any more. When I am hanging out with Min or my family or whatever, I will. Ah yes, a compromise!"

And gee, show where I ever made light of Gin's PTSD? Did I say that I feel often times pure savagery is then excused by claims of "insert mental illness here"? Yeah, I did. But you know, I have no doubt Gin went through hell, and I NEVER went off on her being crazy. Try and prove otherwise if you like.

Oh, and I insulted you? Only after being called an Idiot by you more or less HOW many times?

Poverty, rage...guess what, RM? Been there. Done that. Have the scars.

AS for Belle's list...guess what? Not all middle class white ladies, and the one place that a person like myself can actually speak without being threatened or trashed. Guess what? I value that. Really, when was the last time you ever said anything to me that wasn't a fucking insult?

I can't remember. So yeah, do what you need to do, whatever. Other people do things and learn things in ways other than you. That's the way the world works...but my suggestion previously made still stands.

Vanessa said...

(Just to let you know, there are some factual errors in that post. Just so you know)

kmittenz said...

Ren, no one here (that I know of) hates you. I think even with some factual errors / misunderstandings, R. Mildred has nicely spelled out her reasoning behind her response on that thread and I'm supposing various others.

I think you are a very good person, but are probably taking the criticism far too personally. Perhaps, it's not the questioning of why something is offensive, but how one goes about discussing; which can be problematic.

Renegade Evolution said...

km- enitrely possible. I'm having a rather shitty time here recently- so I won't rule that out (that I am taking things far too personally). However, I am sick of being accused of doing things i haven't (making fun of people with mental illnesses, using WoC for my own agenda) and really, the last several interactions I've had with RM generally start with her insulting the hell out of me. Hard not to take that personally. But yep, sure enough, we all have less than stellar moments, me and RM included....I'm just a little annoyed by being the person who generally admits that first and tries to work on it.

Daisy said...

Without the support of Belle's sooper seekrit cabal (which I guess ain't so seekrit after all!)--I would have stopped blogging long ago. These folks have been wonderfully supportive of a washed-up, working class 50-year-old hippie radfem ex-record/book reviewer, trying to learn about blogging and what it's all about. It might be easy for some of you, but it's taken me a long time to learn the ropes. I've enjoyed hanging out in a cozy space with people WHO ARE NICE and TOLERANT OF DIFFERENCE. It's honestly one of the most tolerant groups I've run across anywhere online. I think it's probably impossible to shock these people--and hey, I've tried! ;)

Do you think supporting nervous old ladies (or whoever it is) who speak with great trepidation is a good thing, or not? I think it's AWESOME, but you know, YMMV.

PS: As Vanessa said, not quite. Several glaring errors.

Daisy said...

And I'm looking around and I'm starting to get that odd prickling sensation on the back of my neck because I suddenly realise that all of her regular commenters are all, exclusively, upper middleclass, and spewing the most hateful classist bullshit imaginable, at women like me who are getting screwed over by the system they benefit from without the costs that we have to endure for their comfort.

ALL of her regular commenters?
Like, specifically, who? Including Anthony, black socialist revolutionary? And Vanessa, who just commented here?

And excuse me--but did you just call *me* UPPER CLASS?????!!!!???

By all that is holy and Leon Trotsky, can you back that shit up? Them's fightin words, babe. Where are you getting this assumption from?! Vocabulary or what? Because that's pretty fucking classist, too.

I think my blog makes clear exactly who I am. Stop insulting me by calling me UPPER CLASS, please.

(((whistles The Internationale, gets out guitar and plays it in several keys, also improv))

thene said...

Question from a stranger here, jumping off from this: "did you not realize that a “new people-powered movement”, has to, you know, NOT involve an exclusive and secretive group of media peeps holding closed discussion that could effect the wider movement?"

If private gatherings are always bad...do you always turn down house party invites? If you think all non-public communication=bad how can you bear to open your post in the morning? Your email?

Because that's what this is about; email. Just email. There are no secret plots fermenting; no one is giving anyone else book deals; nothing. There is not even any pinky-swearing.

I don't think that non-public discussion is always a bad thing; I think it's a bad thing if it's being used for bad ends. I'm confused as to how this is the case here. Who is suffering, and how are people like me gaining unfairly, because of the existence of an email group?

Ravenmn said...

Hey RM,

I'm sorry to hear things are difficult in your life right now. I check in pretty often and I admire your writing. I hope taking a break helps and that you'll be back soon.

As you can tell by reading B/L's post that you linked, I don't have a problem with private e-mail lists if they are not being used to further personal careers. For me, that differentiates Kos' list from Belle's list significantly.

Personally, I believe secrecy is a valuable political tactic: in union negotiations, in providing asylum for political refugees, in refusing to provide personal information to various governmental groups, and also for times when we just need to blow off steam.

One serious drawback to secret lists: allegations about them in public cannot be disproved by list members who are committed to privacy. It's a small sacrifice.

You have used this post to insult a whole lot of people I admire. Your argument is getting lost in all the vitriol. This one: "she [belle] just tricked some WOC into acting as gophers" is particularly disgusting. WOC bloggers are neither easily tricked nor prone to act as gophers for white people.

Still, I hope things are looking better for you. Homelessness sucks rocks and it takes way too long for anyone to get back on their feet.

I'll sign off by singing several versions of the internationale with Daisy.

Octogalore said...

I will simply add that oligarchy = a form of government where political power rests with a few, typically exercised through economic means.

Conspiracy theories anyone? If the email list in question is an oligarchy, a book club is as well.

belledame222 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
belledame222 said...

Yeah. Not even that much. Not worth it.

I hope things get better for you soon, RM. Take care of yourself.

kmittenz said...

RE, I'm going to apologize for opening saying something when I was not [and am still not] aware of your history with RM. And I'm sorry about what you're going through right now.

/end butting in

nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez said...

I'm gonna hold you to that, you crazy genius woman with thunder for a pen.