Monday, February 7, 2011

Feminist Action Alert: Million Women Rise 2011 on March 5th: Celebrating 100 Years of International Women's Day!

image of poster is from here

The following is a news release, not written by me, but promoted by me, happily. I hope well over one million women gather and march for the occasion. To link to the website for this event, please go here: (This link and another also appear below in the text that follows.) Below this announcement is a related one, calling for assistance in the march.


Join The Million Women Rise Movement for an International All Women's March and Rally in Trafalgar Square, Central London

5th March 2011

Because male violence continues, so too does Million Women Rise.

Trusted friend – women will once again be rising on Sat 5th March demanding an end to male violence against women and children in all it's forms in the UK and Internationally. Last year approx 8,000 women marched through central London – lets join forces and spread the word.

Million Women Rise
By the time you have read this email thousands more women will be raped, beaten and murdered.


The Reality in the UK Today
Two women are murdered every week by their partner or ex partner.
Only 5% of rapes reported to the police result in the perpetrator being convicted in court.
250 cases of forced marriage are reported each year.
One woman a month is murdered in the name of ‘so called’ honour.
1 in 3 local authorities in the UK do not have rape crisis centres.
Fewer than 1 in 10 local authorities have specialised support services for ethnic minority women.
Over 20,000 girls could be at risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the UK.

It is estimated that a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read.
In Lithuania, 20 to 50 percent women sexually exploited through prostitution are believed to be minors.
Each year, 2 million girls between the age of 5-15 are coerced, abducted or trafficked into sexual exploitation.
It is estimated that 1 in every 3 women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime.
Among women aged 15-44 years, gender-based violence accounts for more death and disability than the combined effects of cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war.


Women Uncut

Million Women Rise is outraged about recent funding cuts have impacted the women’s sector with many vital women’s services losing their funding.
Cuts mean that there will be less protection for the most vulnerable of women from male violence.
The crisis in capitalism has led to these severe cuts in services for women and children from basic refuge provision to cuts in legal aid, all denying women and children safety and justice. The cuts are risking even more women's lives and the need to join together is as vital and urgent as ever
History has shown that Cuts will disproportionately affect black women, women in poverty, women with disabilities, and women with no recourse more than any other group of women.
We encourage women to wear red, and/or green.

The color red is most often associated with power and passion, with courage, loyalty, honor, success, fortune, fertility, and happiness,

For MWR it symbolizes the colour of Woman and her blood, which contains life, courage, respect, dignity and protection

Green is life. Abundant in nature, green signifies growth, renewal, health, and environment. Green is also associated with regeneration, fertility and rebirth, environmental protection and social justice
Saturday 5 March 2010

12pm Meet Hyde Park (Speakers Corner End Nearest Tube: Marble Arch)

1.30pm March Route set off - Marching through central London

3.30 – 5.30pm Rally and Celebration in Trafalgar Square (Nearest Tubes: Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, and Charing Cross)

5pm - 1am Food and Networking Party at The 52 Club,,

52 Gower Street WC1E6EB, please note this is a wheelchair accessible venue.
Food, performances, swimming pool, DJs and chill-out space. Entry fee on the door – donation if unwaged, £5 low-waged and £12 waged.
This is an All Women Event Only

If your organisation would like to book a stall for the rally at Trafalgar Square, please contact the Million Women Rise Info Line on 07727 419634 or email

Please go to to sign our statement of demands or to make a donation. We are a grassroots movement and so we rely on your help to make this march happen.

© Further information about Million Women Rise.

Million Women Rise
C/o WRC,
Ground Floor East,
33-41 Dallington St. East,

Mobile Contact No: 07727 419 634


*          *          *

Subject: Call out for stewards & volunteers for 5th March 2011

If you and/or your friends would like to steward on 5th March 2011 then please send an email containing name, mobile number, details of first aid experience to

Timing for stewarding on 5th March 2011 will be from 11am - 5pm


Dear Million Women Riser!

We hope this message finds you really well, safe and happy where you are.

As you know thousands of women plan to march again through London to mark 100 years of International Women's Day and call for an end to male violence against women and girls. See:; - 5th March 2011 - Million Women Rise UNCUT

Our past efforts have led to change - for example, the last government produced a cross departmental strategy to end violence against women and girls but we need to make sure the current government takes action to implement it and also ensure their cuts to public spending do not disproportianately harm women- lets stand together to especially protect our black, asian and disabled sisters at home and internationally as we know they are at greater risk of losing jobs, income support, homes, rights etc - lets stand together to protect our sisters one and all. Together we are the Million Women Rise.

2011 marks 100 years of International Womens Day - a day where women have traditionally mobilised for equality and against violence - lets together make sure that in 2011 and beyond all women can live free from the threat of being harmed. I hope you and your friends will join the march and rally on the day.

There is space for more women stewards to join the team as we're looking for 100 volunteers this time around - so if you want to take this opportunity to make new friends, support thousands of women to speak out and enable everyone to be safe on the day then please consider joining us.

There will be training sessions before the march for those of you that need a refresher both from 6.00 - 7.30pm on Thurs 17th Feb and Thurs 3rd March (location in London TBC)

If you and/or your friends would like to steward on 5th March 2011 then please send an email containing name, mobile number, details of first aid experience to

Timing for stewarding on 5th March 2011 will be from 11am - 5pm

We look forward to hearing from you -

One love
on behalf of Million Women Rise

For African Liberation Month: "History as a Weapon of Struggle" by Ajamu Nangwaya

this photograph of Ajamu Nangwaya is from here

I believe in supporting the voices of radicals who seek systemic social change, rooting out the evils of racism, genocide, and misogyny. What follows was found by me at Dissident Voice. You may link back to that site by clicking on the title of the essay. I thank Ajamu for his work.

African Liberation Month


History as a Weapon of Struggle

by Ajamu Nangwaya / February 5th, 2011

We are now in February and for Africans in North America it is a significant month. It is usually observed as Black History Month.

It is taken as an opportunity to acknowledge African people’s struggles, achievements and commemorate significant moments in the fight against white supremacy, capitalism, sexism and other forms of oppression.

Some of us use this month to reflect and rededicate ourselves to the revolutionary or radical African political tradition.

In the spirit of collective self-criticism, are we at the point where Black History Month is due for a name change and focus?

Names are quite important to resistance. It was no accident that the enslaved Africans who were taken across the Sahara Desert ended up with Arab names and those who went by way of the Atlantic Ocean had European names imposed on them.

Denying a people their name is a classic method of colonization and cultural imperialism. It is used to weaken collective consciousness, which is critical to building a resistance culture.

Black History Month started out as Negro History and Literature Week in 1920 by the fraternity Omega Psi Phi. Carter G. Woodson was the guiding influence behind this development and he changed the name to Negro History Week in 1926. That year is generally acknowledged as the official start of this political observance.

In 1976, Negro History Week was transformed into a month-long celebration and reborn as Black History Month.

Black History Month has since become more about cultural puffery than the politics of emancipation.

Trade unions, school boards, corporations and even government agencies are, for the most part, comfortable with the current toothless, non-challenging thrust of this month.

Essentially, they have been allowed to co-opt it and channel its potential for radical consciousness-raising and political involvement into celebrating “Black firsts” and “Black notables.”

Further, it serves as a platform to sell the virtues of integrating Africans into this racist, sexist and capitalist optical illusion that is the Canadian Dream.

One of the things that we have observed about the forces of exploitation is their wily manipulation and transformation of acts of resistance into harmless and empty symbols. That state of affairs is not possible without the participation of the oppressed.

Norman Otis Richmond, a Toronto-based journalist, is one of the main advocates in Canada for renaming of “Black History Month” as “African Liberation Month.”

I couldn’t agree more with this suggestion.

African Liberation Month would assert the name of the people whose struggle is being affirmed, while clearly communicating to the people that the mission of this celebration is the cultivation of a culture of resistance and liberation.

Let’s make the commitment to consistently use African Liberation Month and not the other outdated name. It has exceeded it’s “best before” date so we ought to send it to the “Museum of Outdated Social Contraptions.”

Of equal importance is doing the work to make African liberation and social transformation central issues on our activism agenda in Canada and beyond.

I am proposing the following endeavours which ought to be among the priorities of political militants and the socially engaged during this African Liberation Month and beyond. In essence, we would be signaling our commitment to the liberation ethic within the radical African political tradition.

Firstly, the community needs to devote the necessary resources to the reassertion of its radical, organized political voice. Since, the 1990s’ police repression, criminalization and surveillance of the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC) and the political and economic retaliation against Arnold Minors for speaking frankly about police containment of Africans, the community has gone into a sort of political dormancy.

We are at our political best when the politically advanced sectors in the community educate, organize and mobilize for justice. It should be noted that it was the combativeness of the largely African youth participants in the Yonge Street Uprising of May 1992 that forced the government of the Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP) to enact a slew of anti-racist initiatives.

Secondly, it is absolutely necessary to engage in a structured and systematic political education and skills-building programme for existing activists and prospective ones. It is necessary to draw lessons from our past on the effectiveness of the process used to prepare and develop our activist base.

Based on my experience, observation and reflection on community activism, we have to take a path that consciously and methodically equip our activists with the knowledge, skills and attitude to wage a consistent and principled struggle against sexism, racism, capitalism, homophobia and other forms of oppression. We cannot leave to chance the proper development of ideologically prepared and skilled activists.

Thirdly, we need to seriously operationalize the message within Kwame Ture’s (formerly Stokely Carmichael) dictum, “Organization is the weapon of the oppressed.” The radical and progressive forces in the community need to consolidate their ideas, efforts and resources in organizations, coalitions and/or alliances. We cannot continue to get by with fleeting committee-like entities that respond to an issue or organize a project and then wither away.

It is through durable organizations that we will be able to educate, organize and mobilize Africans in working-class communities and students in high schools, colleges and universities, work in coalitions and alliances with allies and address the issues prioritized by the oppressed and progressive sectors within the community.

Fourthly, we must educate and organize Africans to self-fund the resistance or liberation work so as to counter the corrosive impact of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex. The Non-Profit Industrial Complex is a kind of counterinsurgency-like pacification programme that has co-opted the community’s sense of agency; it’s can-do spirit. Community workers are not likely to risk their jobs by facilitating the radicalizing of consciousness and action of the people.

It is not political activism that is being used to challenge economic, social and educational exploitation. Instead, we see the tranquilizer of foundation and government funding patching up the wounds of social oppression and putting the people to sleep, politically. Social workers and social service workers have replaced political activists as the “organizers” within the community. It is not an encouraging development.

We do not need to remind you that the person who pays the piper is the one who calls the tune. Many of us do not think twice about giving money to our religious organizations. It is high time that you pony-up a portion of your income and put it into the coffers of progressive African human rights and activist organizations. They are the ones fighting for your material interests and not organizations that are focused on spiritual, otherworldly matters.

Fifthly, we need to explore the development of a labour self-management strategy to provide employment and promote economic democracy. It is critical for the left within the African community to counter the right-wing forces that see our liberation being adorned in the clothing of Black capitalism or mimicking the ethnic capitalist enclaves that are spread across Toronto.

We must stand opposed to white or African capital exploiting the labour of the working-class. Therefore, the anti-capitalist left ought to explore the development of a programme of labour controlled workplaces and enabling organizations.

Sixthly, priority must be given to creating independent labour organizations to organize and agitate around the workplaces issues that affect the unionized and non-unionized members of the African working-class. The racialized constituency groups or affirmative action elected positions that are officially part of the Canadian labour movement are too compromised and powerless to be of relevance to the racialized working-class, at this moment.

They can only become useful when we start to carry out critical educational and organizing work among unionized rank-and-file union members. The pressure and initiative must come from the base. The purpose of this work among racialized workers would be to radicalize consciousness and develop or expand the skills needed to advance their needs in union structures as well as in unionized and non-unionized workplaces. The Ontario Coalition of Black Trade Unionists of the 1980s and early 1990s could provide instructive lessons for us.

Lastly, the African community must develop the organizational structures to advance international solidarity work with sisters and brothers in other parts of the world. Imperialism, the patriarchy and racism are international in their respective characters. We need to provide moral and material support to the struggle of Africans and other exploited peoples across the globe.

Too often international solidarity activists and organizations do not give sufficient attention and resources to campaigns dealing with the suffering of African peoples. If we look at the massive rape of women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an estimated 250,000 women raped, and the relative indifference of international solidarity forces, it should be clear that Africans must step up and take the lead on this matter.

We do not need to mention the Darfur conflict in Sudan where reactionary forces in North America and elsewhere are exploiting this matter to score geo-political points in the Middle East. As anti-imperialists, we must support the struggle of Africans in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere in a spirit of Pan-African international solidarity. Martin Luther King’s declaration, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” should guide our solidarity work with all of oppressed humanity.

The radical political tradition of the Angela Davis, Walter Rodneys, Dionne Brands, George Jacksons, Assata Shakurs, C.L.R. James, Claudia Jones, Amilcar Cabrals, Paul Bogles, Ella Bakers, Mumia Abu Jamals, Malcolm Xs, Sherona Halls, Hubert Harrisons, Audre Lordes, among many others, may serve as a guide in our fight for the just, good and free society. We have no option but to use history and culture as weapons of struggle.

Ajamu Nangwaya is a trade union and community activist and a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto. Read other articles by Ajamu.

Calgary Peace Prize Going to Dr. Vandana Shiva, March 10, 2011 ECD

photograph of Dr. Vandana Shiva is from here

What follows is from Slow Food Calgary. You may link back by clicking on the title below.

Dr. Vandana Shiva to receive the Calgary Peace Prize

Filed February 6th, 2011, in Community, Events, Global.

On March 10th, the University of Calgary’s Consortium for Peace Studies will award Dr. Vandana Shiva, a world-renowned environmental activist from New Dehli, The Calgary Peace Prize.

The awards ceremony and banquet will be held at the Calgary Golf & Country Club.
Tickets are available via the U of C’s secure Net Community: TICKETS

About Vandana Shiva:

Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental “hero” in 2003 and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators in Asia. Dr. Shiva has pioneered the organic movement in India and established Navdanya, the country’s biggest network of seed keepers and organic producers. Dr. Shiva has authored many books including Soil Not Oil, Earth Democracy, Stolen Harvest, Staying Alive, Water Wars and Biopiracy. Her work has earned these distinctions: The Alternative Nobel Prize (Right Livelihood Award, 1993), Order of the Golden Ark, Global 500 Award of UN and Earth Day International Award, Lennon ONO grant for peace award by Yoko Ono, Yo Dona Award by Yo Dona Magazine, Spain and Sydney Peace Prize 2010.

On March 10th in Calgary, Dr Shiva will be receive the University of Calgary’s Consortium for Peace Studies’ $5,000 prize and will speak about her commitment to social justice, the empowerment of women in developing countries, human rights for small farming communities, and about her scientific analysis of environmental sustainability.

About the Calgary Peace Prize:

The Calgary Peace Prize was established by the Consortium for Peace Studies at the University of Calgary in 2006. The prize recognizes outstanding individuals from the global community, whose work has made the world a safer and less violent place. The Consortium for Peace Studies has established this prize to recognize outstanding contributions in peace work, and to highlight Calgary’s commitment to furthering global peace. Past recipients include: Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima, Japan, His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Madam Louise Arbour and journalist Sally Armstrong.

An Honest, Open Letter to the LGBTIQA Blogging Community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender /Transsexual, Intersex/Intergender, Queer/Questioning, and Asexual)

image is from here

Dear Queer Community,

It seems to me there's kind of a general culture online of throwing around of hateful and disrespectful speech, particularly if not uniquely in the queer blogosphere. I see this in many blogs which I won't name in part because there are too many to name. That said, the list isn't uncountable. It's a definite number--perhaps growing, perhaps not. But what I'm seeing is a rather nasty, almost compulsively snarky, and generally unconstructive way of engaging that seems to do little more than demonstrate that yes, we can insult each other and treat each other in emotionally harmful ways, while never really engaging in meaningful dialogue and respectfully agreeing to disagree.

I also find that our online blogging community both is and is not a voice for the offline community. After checking this out with several people in our community as citizens and activists, what I find is that many of the terms we use to divide ourselves up, to fuel tensions and deepen disagreements do not exist offline in general discourse. This means one of three things:

--the realities we discuss here are not relevant to the lives of people who do not blog, or
--what we discuss does not reflect actual lived life of most LBGTIQA people, or
--how we discuss things is elitist and removed from how people offline speak of their lives and their struggles

I think particular environments are likely to creating their own ways of being and doing things. And in the blogging world, it seems, being snarky, nasty, mean, and hateful is too often held as both acceptable and a worthwhile endeavor.While it may benefit a few individuals to write about other groups of people in demeaning and grossly stereotypical ways, I wonder what the effect is generally on our capacity to care about one another or at least see one another as full human beings.

I hold out little hope that white het men will "come around" and care about the concerns radical activists working to end male and white supremacy, and Western corporate tyranny, and U.S. militarism-as-foreign-policy. I want them to get it and challenge one another accordingly. But I don't have much hope for that. The levels of protections and privileges, the forms of power and the range of entitlements, that WHM possess and maintain, are so encouraging of living in denial about what everyone who isn't a WHM experiences. The denials is a consequence of not experiencing what most people around the world experience.

If you are not raped, or your body isn't socially targeted for rape, and your gender isn't targeted for rape, how are you to know what it feels like to hear that another woman has been raped? How are you to register "rape" as a form of gendered terrorism that men commit disproportionately and intentionally against women and girls? If  you are white, how are you to know the forms of invisibility and stigma people of color carry within them that are inflicted and maintained by white society?

What people raised with male privileges (however modified they might be by other factors), don't generally acknowledge, is the degree to which they shape the behavior of the people with them. I find the same dynamic operating among whites: willful denial of privileges based on race.

What I see in our community is men and males who (intentionally or not) disrespect and hurt women--lesbians and women who are not lesbian--without regard for the effect, except to take pleasure when the effect is damaging to women.What I have observed is gay men, bisexual men, trans men, and trans women raised with male privileges, discounting women's experience as not sufficiently real or valid to take seriously. Or to cause one to make changes in one's own male-privileged and/or misogynistic behavior.

I would say that white racism, male supremacy, and an attachment to the values of corporate capitalism are three forces that combine to make our community one more place where many women are not safe from abuse and harassment. I see this harassment and abuse online, on blogs that seem to think that radical feminists--the few they name--are able to inflict oppressive harm systematically against some in our community the way that men do. To me, that's utter nonsense. How, structurally, would that even be possible? How could that happen systemically, when radical feminists aren't in charge of any dominant systems? Men and males are in charge, not women, not females. And in the West, whites are in charge--not people of color.

Unowned and irresponsible use of white and male privileges are two things I see being acted out on blogs. Gay men disrespect women, lesbian or not, and male-privileged people, trans or not, disrespect radical lesbian feminists--the few they name or believe they know.

I have yet to see one book written by a radical lesbian feminist responsibly and respectfully engaged with. Not one. Why is that? I see writings by men engaged with as if the author was a person deserving of respect and regard. Whole academic disciplines are organised around the ideas and ideologies of men, too often white men. But when the author, the historian, the social and cultural critic, the activist, is a lesbian-identified woman who is not transgender or transsexual, there is not such engagement or care to understand the meaning of the work.

I welcome someone linking me to even one gay male-privileged, bi male-privileged, or trans male-privileged blogger who responsibly, thoughtfully, carefully, respectfully analyses and engages with just one book written by a radical lesbian feminist. Just one. Or with just one activist who is a radical lesbian feminist. Just one. Because I'm beginning to wonder whether anyone who is not a radical lesbian feminist is even capable of doing this. I mean emotionally and intellectually capable. I mean spiritually and politically capable. I have "virtually" no evidence of such engagement happening. And I believe that ought to be a concern for all of us. Because radical lesbian feminism is one of the most pro-liberatory and intentionally anti-status quo movements to rise out of our community, or one portion of it. I know many lesbians do not identify as queer or feel a part of queer community. But het male society does locate lesbians of any political affiliation or identity as "who is queer", and we are defined, often enough, by our oppressors.

Why won't non-lesbian, non-feminist, non-radical people engage responsible and respectfully with radical lesbian feminist authors and activists? I'd like someone to explain why without being anti-feminist, misogynistic, or arrogantly male supremacist when doing so.

Yours in the struggle,