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".
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:
- 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.
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.