the theory that people
are always searching for
their other half is
don’t let anyone, not
even a god, tell you
you are anything less
A New York University research team is using hallucinogenic experiences to help patients come to terms with their mortality.
i have no problem with pointing out that anyone of any gender can be an abuser, rapist, pedophile etc because that’s absolutely true.
but the problem with always emphasizing “yes but it happens to everyone, not just women (or people of colour, or trans* people, etc)!” is that it depoliticizes the issue.
violence is not an accident, it is reflective of social power relations that permeate society at every level
Building on the mass hunger strike of prisoners in Pelican Bay State Prison in July of last year, several hundred prisoners across Alabama have declared that, beginning Easter Sunday, they will stop prison-mandated labor in protest of detestable living conditions.
The conditions in Alabama prisons are horrendous, packing twice as many people as the 16,000 that can be housed “humanely”, with everything from black mold, brown water, cancer causing foods, insect infestations, and general disrepair. They are also run by free slave labor, with 10,000 incarcerated people working to maintain the prisons daily, adding up to $600,000 dollars a day, or $219,000,000 a year of slave labor if inmates were paid federal minimum wage, with tens of thousands more receiving pennies a day making products for the state or private corporations.
Unpaid labor includes cooking and cleaning, production of license plates, furniture, chemicals, and linens, and farming. The slavery analogy is more than metaphorical: African-Americans comprise only 26% of Alabama’s population, but make up more than 60% of the prison population due to reactionary legislation and racist targeting of communities of color. Reports of beatings and systemic rape and sexual abuse of women inmates by guards at Tutwiler State Prison have surfaced in the media over the last year.
On the outside, labor unions and prisoners’ advocacy groups have been instrumental in helping prisoners organize themselves. The Free Alabama Movement is pushing an “Education, Rehabilitation, and Re-entry Preparedness Bill” to the Alabama legislature, while the Industrial Workers of the World labor union has vowed to provide support and assistance to the incarcerated laborers.
Melvin Ray, spokesperson for the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) said:
When we look at our situations inside of the Alabama Department of Corrections, we have no choice but to engage in this nonviolent and peaceful protest for civil and human rights. We sleep with rats and roaches. We work for free and eat slop unfit for human consumption. We serve decades in prison solely to provide free labor and without any real prospect for parole, and without any recourse to the courts for justice or redress of grievances. Our mothers, wives, and daughters must expose their breasts and panties just to visit us. This should not be acceptable to anyone. Prison is supposed to be a place where people go to work out issues and return to society. But when there is no focus on education or rehab but solely on profit margins, human suffering is inevitable. ADOC is about free labor and the new slavery no one wants to talk about. That is no longer going to work for the 30,000 of us who suffer because of it.
The Industrial Workers of the World was involved in a similar campaign in 1987, in which they organized 400 incarcerated laborers in an Ohio state prison, before the government ruled that prisoners are not legally entitled to the right to form a union - a right which all other workers enjoy.
More on the Free Alabama Movement’s strike
Feminist Parenting: A Conference Panel Presentation
As someone who is dedicated to feminism, dedicated to the eradication of systems of oppression and relationships of domination, and as a mother who is dedicated to my children, I look around and think
- Does my practice reflect my theory?
- How can I make a difference in my corner of the world?
- In what ways am I complicit in the oppression of others?
- How can I consciously incorporate my values into my everyday actions?
I’m going to begin with a quote from Patty Lather that summarizes my particular approach to feminist research:
"The research process is a powerful place to go for praxis to the extent we can formulate research designs that change people by encouraging self-reflection and a deeper understand of their situations in the world."
In addition to the necessities of attending to the power relations between researcher and researched, placing the researcher’s subjectivity within the research process and creating research that is relevant to our everyday lives, my feminism - my particular ethics - leads me to emphasize the transformative possibilities of feminist research. Transformation can occur at various levels: individual consciousness, individual behavior and social transformation, and my research assumes a synthesis between personal and social change. In particular, I want to begin a conversation with those who have experienced a transformation of consciousness and wish to apply their principles to their behavior.
My research question originates from my personal experiences. As a mother to five year old twins, a partner, a daughter, a sister, a worker, I experience a variety of positions of domination and subordination throughout any given day. Although it’s much easier to recognize those situations in which I am subordinate, it is in the situations in which I hold power that I have the obligation not to abuse it. It’s very easy to discern that the relationship in my life that confers the most power upon me is that of parent/child. It is within this relationship that I can, then, make a significant political impact.
My feminism leads me to be critical of power dynamics in all situations, and reflections led me to the understanding that my parenting practices do not always align with my professed values. Recognizing that I rely on traditional parenting practices that reinforce the domination and subordination of parent/child interactions, I decided to embark on an autoethnography to help me explore why this is and to find ways to alter these patterns in pursuit of more democratic relationships with my children.
Autoethnography, as used here, means simply an autobiographical narrative. In blog form, I compiled journal entries for approximately 4-5 months, which detailed my observations and reflections of my everyday parenting practices. This was interspersed with inspiration from literature and an online parenting course. In addition, I invited a small number of interested, self-identified feminist parents to act as outside observers who read my blog and dialogued with me regarding what aspects of my journaling resonated with them and related to their parenting practices in a variety of contexts.
The key findings of my research are as follows:Read more
The first-ever scientific study that analyzes whether the US is a democracy, rather than an oligarchy, found the majority of the American public has a “minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy” compared to the wealthy.
The study, due out in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, sets out to answer elusive questions about who really rules in the United States. The researchers measured key variables for 1,779 policy issues within a single statistical model in an unprecedented attempt “to test these contrasting theoretical predictions” – i.e. whether the US sets policy democratically or the process is dominated by economic elites, or some combination of both.
"Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts,” the researchers from Princeton University and Northwestern University wrote.
This series is GREAT. Holy moly. Here’s Vaughn:
I wanted to write about parenthood, but I wanted to Trojan-horse it inside some sort of interesting genre story, to explore the overlap between artistic creation and the creation of a child.
And about the comic’s debt to Star Wars:
I’m part of the generation that all we do is complain about the prequels and how they let us down…And if every one of us who complained about how the prequels didn’t live up to our expectations just would make our own sci-fi fantasy, then it would be a much better use of our time.”
Seriously, if you’ve never been interested or if you’ve lost interest in comics, check this series out. (And keep tissues nearby if you’re a parent.)
Filed under: my reading year 2014
If you have an opinion, please share it with me.
Long story short, my brother recently blew up at me at a family function by calling me a socialist loudly and repeatedly. My guesses as to what set him off are 1) I suggested to my young cousin that she read Marx and/or 2) I don’t necessarily want to move to Phoenix bc they’re one of only two metropolitan areas that still vote Republican. Now, he’s clearly the kind that can’t define socialism and generally shuns the expansion of ideas that he doesn’t understand, so I’ve decided to respond by sending his newborn a little Marxist onesie. The point is to be a bitch — a funny bitch. Considering the type of person I’m dealing with, which one do you like better?