Sex, Class, and Occupy Wall Street   19 comments

I’ve been following the Occupy movement with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it’s the first thing in a very long time that’s given me any hope for this country. It’s high time that we start focusing on economic injustice and the damage done by the greed of the mega rich and the corruption of those who do their bidding. The system is badly broken, as evidenced by the fact that politicians of both major parties are talking austerity and cuts to safety net programs at a time of record unemployment, growing poverty, and economic inequality comparable to the developing world. Clearly there’s a desperate need for a movement that raises awareness of the class war the wealthy have been waging on the rest of us.

Which brings me to my first issue with Occupy Wall Street. Who exactly are “the rest of us”? From a branding perspective, the 99% versus the 1% is very appealing. But is it accurate? Clearly not. If your household income is half a million a year, I’d say the system has been working very well for you. You may even be part of the problem if you outsource jobs or pay workers less than a living wage. But you’re still part of the 99%.

At the same time, “the 99%” has become synonymous with the downtrodden, debt-ridden, and dispossessed. I remember a Tumblr entry written from the perspective of a small child who’d witnessed her mom cry because she was unable to buy her kid a birthday present. It ended with the words, “My mom doesn’t know that I know we’re part of the 99%.” Huh? The mom doesn’t realize her kid knows she makes less than $590,000 a year? No wonder people are confused. I’ve seen numerous blog posts and comments by individuals with low six-figure incomes stating that they “stand with the 99%.” No, actually, if you have a low six-figure income, you are the 99%. In fact, if your household income totals $190,000, it could triple and you would still be part of the 99%.

So. Not very useful, is it? The bottom 90%, on the other hand, have an average household income of $31,244, which is probably more like what people have in mind when discussing the economic difficulties experienced by “the 99%.”

Okay, so maybe the focus is on the top 1% because they’ve been gobbling up a disproportionate share of income and productivity gains and wield a toxic amount of political influence. But then, why stop at the 1% mark (average annual income $1,137,684)? The top 0.1% (average annual income $3,238,386) are even more culpable and the top 0.01% (average annual income $27,342,212) are the most culpable of all.

Ultimately the 99% is more about branding than reality. Which, I suppose, is okay, as long as we don’t forget that there are HUGE differences among the 99% and that we are NOT all in the same boat. Even if we ignore the 99 percenters with household incomes topping $200k, there’s an enormous difference between a family making $160,000 and a family making $60,000 a year. And there’s an even bigger difference between a $60,000 household and a $16,000 household.

If the power elites had half a brain, they would have been content with exploiting and oppressing the people at the bottom, while continuing to provide economic opportunities for those in the middle. Most 99 percenters were just fine with a system in which the disproportionately black, brown, and female folks at the bottom of the income pyramid were paid so little for their labor that an entire lifetime of hard work was insufficient to escape poverty. And even the ones who saw the injustice and had a problem with it weren’t about to take to the streets to protest the exploitation of the working poor.

Alas, the greed of the power elites knows no bounds and they began outsourcing middle class jobs and cutting middle class pay and benefits. So here we are. We’ve now got the beginnings of an economic justice movement. People are starting to wake up to what those of us at the bottom of the pile have known for a long time: The system is rigged. Hard work and skill are not enough. The rules that apply to most of us don’t apply to the people at the top. And these people have been waging war on workers for over three decades. Their greed commodifies and destroys everything in its path.

So, yeah, I realize that this newfound solidarity with workers came about only because those who grew up expecting to live a middle class life with decent pay, home ownership, vacation time, health care access, and savings accounts are seeing their prospects evaporate. But you know what? I’ll take it.

As for the much-discussed demographics of the Occupy movement, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that white dudes with middle class upbringings are disproportionately represented among the “full-time” occupiers. With the exception of those currently unemployed, the working poor are typically too busy working two or three jobs to keep a roof over their head to occupy stuff. If we don’t show up for work, we don’t get paid, and if we don’t get paid, we can’t make the rent. The Occupy movement doesn’t just protest the economic realities in this country, it also reflects them.

Women are not only more likely to be poor and underpaid (roughly two-thirds of all minimum wage workers are women), but with all the unpaid domestic work and caretaking we are saddled with, we’re going to have far less time to join protests. On top of that, the ever-present threat of rape serves as a powerful deterrent against overnight stays in tents surrounded by dudes.

It’s absolutely critical that the white male protesters who are in the majority at every “occupation” understand *why* they outnumber female activists. I’ve seen some pretty disturbing statements from dudes who clearly don’t. Suggesting that those present 24/7 at Occupied sites are more committed to the movement’s goals than those who are able to stay only a short time demonstrates a stunning lack of awareness of male, white, ableist, and class privilege.

Unfortunately there seems to be quite a bit of that going around. There have been reports of general sexism (lots of it), sexual harassment, and even a couple of sexual assaults. While that’s no different than what happens outside of the Occupy movement’s encampments every minute of every day (don’t get me started on the hypocrisy of right-wing blogs who have seized on these incidents as supposed evidence that OWS represents the end of Western civilization), male OWS protesters are supposedly trying to fight injustice and inequality. That, my brothers, will require tearing down patriarchy, male privilege, as well as porn and rape culture.

It probably won’t come as a shock that many lefty men have no intention of abandoning male supremacy. That became, once again, abundantly clear during the Occupy Wall Street Perv Project fiasco (otherwise known as “Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street”). Women can be objectified, dehumanized, and used as perv bait without their knowledge or consent, and, judging from blog comments, about half the pro-Occupy dudes think that’s a-okay. Oh, and feminists are overreacting, of course. Perv project creator Steven Greenstreet is actually helping the movement by getting more people dudes to show up at the protest, so it’s all good! Who cares that he’s creating an unsafe and oppressive environment for women in the process.

The absolute lowest point, however, came when Occupy London Stock Exchange invited probable rapist and definite sexist sleazoid Julian Assange to speak at the LSX protest. While there were some boos and a few people left, the vast majority of the crowd cheered for this piece of shit. I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. LSX sent a clear message that day to women and rape survivors that we’re not part of their “justice” movement.

So I understand why most radfem blogs have concluded that Occupy Wall Street is a men’s movement in which dudes set the agenda and women clean, cook, and look pretty. Same as it ever was.

And yet. Linking to right-wing blogs that claim to be outraged about sexual assaults occurring at OWS encampments while they support candidates and policies that make women even more vulnerable to sexual assault and harassment? If you must link to them, it would be nice to at least call out their breathtaking hypocrisy. But then, just like left-wing dude politics have a blind spot where women’s oppression is concerned, feminism can be amazingly oblivious to class-based (and race-based) oppression.

While pointing out that “we” are not the 99%, that the 99% are made up of predominantly women and children, all women are presumed to be in the same boat. In fact, I’ve even seen statements to the effect that low income women have more in common with women in the 1% than with low income men. There are indeed experiences women share across class or race. But there are also important differences, and in some instances, poor women and women of color are going to have more in common with men of their class or race than with rich white women. The point is, we shouldn’t have to choose. We shouldn’t have to ignore one form of oppression to focus on another.

Some of the most troubling comments I’ve seen on feminist blogs question the Occupy movement’s legitimacy because “worldwide, the 99% are the 1%.” Apart from the fact that this statement is untrue (Western industrialized nations are home to substantially more than 1% of the world’s population, and not everyone in the so-called developing world is poor), it comes perilously close to the right-wing talking point that poor people in the US have nothing to complain about because we have it so much better than poor people in the developing world. Sort of like feminists have no business complaining about sexism and misogyny in the US, because, hey, women here are so much better off than women in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan.

Let me be clear. Being poor in the US of A is not just about not being able to “buy stuff.” Being poor frequently means going to bed hungry. It means watching your partner collapse after a day of hard physical labor in 100+ degree heat for which he was paid $5 an hour. It means walking home seven miles in icy cold wind and rain because you can’t afford a car and public transportation is extremely limited. It means cops automatically regarding you with suspicion, and courts locking you up for minor offenses. Most of all, being poor in the US means suffering, and possibly dying, because you can’t afford medical, dental, or psychiatric care–and being forced to stand by helplessly as your friends and loved ones suffer.

For women, being poor also means that you are more likely to be raped and less likely to see your rapist brought to justice. It means you are more likely to be sexually harassed on the street and at work, and less likely to have recourse against employment-based harassment and exploitation because you really need that job. It means you’re more likely to become a victim of domestic violence and less likely to be able to escape because you’re not paid enough to live alone. And yes, being a poor woman also means that you’re more likely to turn to prostitution or other sex work–either as a “career choice” because that’s the one form of employment open to you that pays enough to possibly escape poverty, or as something you do occasionally to make ends meet.

This is why, despite all the problems, I support the Occupy movement. No, it’s not a radical movement (at this point), and yes, it’s far from perfect, but it’s still the best thing that has happened in this country in a long time. Unfettered capitalism is killing us and the planet. Hell, it may already be too late. But maybe, just maybe, we can still turn this thing around. People are finally waking up and figuring out that something has gone very, very wrong. Our elected representatives don’t represent us; they’re on the payroll of massive corporations intent on devouring everything they can turn into profits–human beings, animals, natural resources, social programs. I’m not going to turn my back on the first (and possibly the last) inkling of a chance to change course because some of the dudes involved are fauxgressive douchenozzles.

Get involved in the Occupy movement and point out how unbridled capitalism, environmental destruction, and patriarchy are inextricably linked? I’m all for it. But not support the movement at all? I don’t have that luxury. I need this movement to succeed. And, really, so do you.

19 responses to “Sex, Class, and Occupy Wall Street

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  1. Pingback: In Support of Chancellor Katehi « peacocks and lilies

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  3. Sasha, so glad to have found your blog!

    I’ve been going to Occupy Tucson for the past three weeks to volunteer and participate in workshops and GA’s. It has been a mix of
    that high feeling of people working together and disgust of male supremacy, male idiocracy, and plain, blatant misogyny.
    Most of the GA’s are facilitated by women, some who openly identify as radical feminists, and to me they are the reason I keep going. We had an open discussion for two hours about sexism, w/ more men present than women, and it was amazing. But then the very next night, the police were called due to a fight at the far end of the park. I went to discreetly do Cop Watch and found out that it was not a fight but domestic violence, the man and woman are African American and homeless, and the cops arrested them both.

    If the Occupy movement were a feminist movement, the ‘peacekeepers’ (occupiers on security) would be trained in how to support the woman in
    domestic violence, and not just call the cops and act as if it were “a couple fighting”. All women know that when a woman hits back, she’s defending herself. I left disgusted and sad. What was the point of that workshop on sexism the night before, if we did not help that woman?

    I don’t know if the Occupy movement will do much of anything for women. You’re absolutely correct that most lefty men
    just like their Democrat and Republican brothers, will never give up their power. I’m tired of getting the leftover crumbs after the men take more than their share.

    The only real change will come from a feminist movement led by women.

    • I just saw this article linked on tumblr and I wanted to thank you for your comment – I’m one of Occupy Tucson’s anarcha-feminist facilitators. So often it’s only the presence of other women and fellow radicals that keeps me there so much, and I’m really glad I could help be part of that reason for someone else. Solidarity! <3

  4. I think you bring up some excellent points. In my local Occupation we’ve had some tremendous problems with people feeling marginalized for patriarchal, gender normative, etc. reasons. The problems for us have always been, (1) people who feel marginalized tend to leave before letting us know what’s going on, (2) a lack of actionable suggestions on how to address these issues. Both are intensely frustrating situations, and I’m just starting to realize that one of the reasons I as a white male am frustrated by them is that I cannot just “solve them and move on”. These constructs of privilege are not dislodged with any ease whatsoever, and I despair that the Occupy movement can do much about them, at least without losing the focus that brings us together. Having to deal with these issues consistently without much in the way of education on the matter leads us to stumble about when crises emerge. It’s quite unfortunate since, as you say, the economic justice issues largely unite us.

    Do you have any suggestions for how people involved in the Occupy movement can address issues of, say, gender inequality without arresting the organizing that brings us all together? Thanks.

  5. Hey Julia,

    Good to see you here! I’m always heartened to hear about radical feminists involved in the Occupy movement, because it’s clear that our influence is badly needed. I do think some of the guys involved want to do the right thing. Unfortunately there are also those who aren’t just oblivious to the oppression of women and the link between unfettered capitalism and patriarchy but actively hostile to feminism. I was horrified to learn that Occupy Baltimore’s sexual assault policy initially included a lengthy statement about the seriousness of false accusations! I mean, WTF?!? The women at Occupy Baltimore got this MRA crap removed, but that anyone thought it was a good idea in the first place is deeply troubling. And then, of course, there was the Julian Assange invite (what was Occupy LSX thinking?!?), the “hot chicks” travesty, the countless reports of sexual harassment, etc., etc.

    Regarding the domestic violence incident you describe, given that the movement has come under fire for not immediately calling the cops and trying to handle things internally when women are victimized by men, it’s possible, I suppose, that they thought they were acting responsibly by calling police. Of course, where domestic violence is concerned, calling the cops often has very bad consequences for the victim–especially when, as in this case, the victim is poor and/or a woman of color.

    Where I live, cops routinely arrest women who call 911 for help. They have this Lifetime movie idea of what a victim of domestic violence looks like: white, middle class, passive, and so terrified that she wouldn’t dare hit back or even talk back to her abuser. Poor and working class women, however, are far less likely to be socialized to be passive, and when they try to defend themselves, they end up getting arrested. This happens with such frequency around here that I’d be extremely reluctant to call the cops if I was abused.

  6. I was horrified to learn that Occupy Baltimore’s sexual assault policy initially included a lengthy statement about the seriousness of false accusations!

    Horrified? Really? It’s horrifying?

  7. Yes, because it speaks volumes about the mindset of those responsible. We have an epidemic of rape in this country, and the vast majority of rape victims don’t report the crime, leaving rapists to claim more victims and destroy more lives. And one of the big reasons victims don’t come forward? We think no one will believe us. Why? Because there’s a persistent myth that women routinely lie about having been raped, when, in actuality, false rape accusations are extremely rare.

    So the patriarchy defenders at Occupy Baltimore decided it was a good idea to include a long ass statement about false rape accusations, just to send an extra clear message that any woman coming forward will be suspected of being a lying bitch out to ruin an innocent man’s life. Huge number of unreported rapes; tiny number of false accusations. But, by all means, let’s focus on the latter. Even pretending that the two are somehow equivalent is incredibly fucked up. They are NOT equivalents and perpetuating the false accusations meme perpetuates rape.

    Also note the absence of lengthy warnings about wrongful theft accusations. Why do you think that is? Why do you think they singled out sexual assault as the one crime requiring a warning about false accusations? I’m sure it’s just coincidence that a crime primarily committed by men against women because they are women requires such a warning.

  8. So the patriarchy defenders at Occupy Baltimore decided it was a good idea to include a long ass statement about false rape accusations, just to send an extra clear message that any woman coming forward will be suspected of being a lying bitch out to ruin an innocent man’s life.

    One of the ground rules of the Occupy movement is that we assume competency and good intentions of others until proved otherwise. I understand it is difficult to trust strangers who tend to reproduce many aspects of the dominant culture in their political movements, especially when one has been exposed to just how dark that dominant culture can be. But why should I trust you as an ally with whom I supposedly have solidarity if at every turn, every action I’m going to get psychoanalyzed about my mindset? There’s no way read the statement in question about false accusations at face value — we *have* to speculate on states of mind?

    And I really, really would appreciate an answer to my first comment, Sasha. These are issues that, whether or not I agree with you, I need to be able to find common ground with you on in order to make the Occupy project successful. We’re not going to be on the same page about every single issue, but there needs to be some way folks like you and folks like me can establish a working trust. Right?

    • Dude, I’m a white male and I questioned your mindset as I was reading through the thread right now. Your initial post seemed sincere and the only reason I didn’t type some of my own ideas right away was’ because I wanted to see how Sasha or any other women commenters responded, then I got to “what was wrong with a statement warning about false rape accusations” and I immediately changed my entire picture of you.

      I’m not sure I’m the most qulaified person to answer this question (see the whole “white male” description, but since I’ve never had problems dealing with women, people of color or people of varying sexual orientations in my own life, I think the most obvious first place to start is to respect them and take them seriously. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from women or non-whites that in environments dominated by white men, no one takes them seriously. They will make suggestions only to see them ignored, then suddenly praised or adopted when teh same suggestion is later made by a white male. (or, in cases where they were ignored and no one made their suggestion, but subsequent events later proved them right, no one acknolwedged this, and it resulted in no change in status or being taken more seriously in teh future, and bringing it up was considered to be bad form or even lying). I also think you have to take into account that you have this history to overcome, and if there’s a gap in participation, it’s up to you to solicit their interaction, anc convince them you are genuinely on their side, not just looking for economic justice for yourself without concern for the problems of non-white-men, and to convince them you want full justice for them, and won’t put their concerns on the backburner as soon as you have changes that will improve your personal circumstances. I’m not saying you are like that, I don’t think most of the occupy protesters are, but surely you can see how the few who do act very much like this (see examples in the orginal post) can make everyone a little skeptical?

      I have also read women and POC bloggers who were on the ground at the Occupy rallies (not limited to Julia above) say this exact attitutde is prevalent in many Occupy encampments and/or General Assemblies. I read a post from a Hispanic guy who, like Sasha, believes in the Occupy movement but thinks it is no surprise that decades or centuries of marginalization have left many non-whites a bit leery about joining with people who mostly seem to look down on them when they interact in person.

      So to answer your question about why should trust women and other oppressed groups as allies when they don’t trust us, well, first, why not? I don’t see how their concerns indicate bad faith or untrustworthiness. OTOH, starting out by addressing women with “don’t make false rape allegations” DOES indicate untrustworthiness on the part of whowever wrote that in; there’s no reason to give a default presumption of good faith after that.

      Second, we’re the ones coming from a position of relative privilge. It’s up to us to extend the olive branch.

      Third, do you want to succeed? Without women and people of color, you won’t. Or rather, we won’t, since I’m very much in favor of the Occupy movement myself.

      I don’t think having workshops and stuff is really the key, the key is about attitude. And making sure your attitude (assuming it’s good) is known. Tho the tents and workshops might not be a bad idea for those who do seem to have problems, I think the General Assembly would be the ideal place for women and other groups to air their conerns, and that way it assures these issues are being addressed and heard by everyone there.

  9. Also note the absence of lengthy warnings about wrongful theft accusations. Why do you think that is?

    The generous reading would be: because theft accusations are not as serious, nor are the facts so ambiguous and contested, nor is the process so loosely understood on how to deal with it.

    I don’t want to get into an argument about whether or not patriarchal oppression of women and other marginalized peoples exists. Clearly it does. What I’m looking for — privileged, white male that I am — is actionable strategies at the organizational level to address these concerns. This gives people who are sympathetic something _discrete_ to do instead of just “being against” oppression with no investment or risk and, therefore, no opportunity to demonstrate solidarity (it has to be more than simply agreeing with you. Doing so when I’m unconvinced is neither honest nor genuinely helpful).

    One of the things in talking with our women/LGBTQ caucus in Occupy Richmond that I realized would be really helpful would be well attended workshops, where these issues could be discussed. One of the reasons our caucus feels marginalized is because when instances of oppression and discrimination arise, they are not only often left unaddressed, but attempts to address them get shut down, and educational workshops to raise awareness are not attended. This to me seems like exactly the kind of thing that is tangible and doable to help address these kinds of problems.

    I’m looking for more of that. I can’t reveal my mind and soul to you and make you trust me, but I can try to take sincere steps to build trust among people who can see and experience my actions and words. And that’s what we need, because ultimately, the kinds of changes in mind needed to crush these oppressive constructs are going to need to be adopted willingly by all parties, and that requires getting the dialogue and inner thought processes started.

  10. Ah yes, another myth. The one where rape accusations are taken so very seriously that when a guy is accused of rape the entire community turns against him and his life is ruined; hence, extra special care is required when speaking out about having been raped. The reality, of course, is a little different. Most people are completely unwilling to believe that someone they know and like could possibly be a rapist. Hell, most people are unwilling to believe that someone they don’t know but like could be a rapist (see Julian Assange, DSK, Kobe Bryant, etc.). Therefore it’s usually the victim who is presumed to be lying and who ends up ostracized and receiving threats. That certainly has been my experience.

    There *is* a generous explanation for what happened at Occupy Baltimore, but it’s not the one you provide. The charitable explanation would be that those who were in favor of adding language that supports rape culture had absorbed the rape narratives of mainstream society and were completely and utterly clueless about the realities of rape (how defensible such cluelessness is given the work anti-rape activists have been doing for decades is debatable; I guess it would depend on the ages and activism backgrounds of those responsible), but after the women at Occupy Baltimore enlightened them, they realized they were wrong and removed the harmful text. THAT would be the generous reading of what went down. But trying to justify rape culture narratives? No.

    I can’t assume good intentions when someone does that because I have a whole lifetime of experience to the contrary. This is why I didn’t answer your question. I had, in fact, just started typing a reply when I saw your comment defending the false accusations crap and figured anything I said would be a waste of time and effort.

    But okay. I’ll give you one thing you can do. When you encounter sexism or misogyny at Occupy (or anywhere, really), speak up. Tell those responsible that sexism and the subjugation of women are in direct opposition to the movement’s justice and equality objectives and that their speech/sign/behavior is creating a hostile environment for women. I am so incredibly tired of women always having to be the ones to complain about anti-woman bigotry, making it appear that we’re the only ones who give a damn.

    It also puts us in a terrible position. Imagine me standing with a bunch of people. There’s an awesome feeling of solidarity, like we’re all in this together, like a better world is possible. Then one of the guys makes a rape joke, or calls a Republican woman the c-word, or praises a misogynist who happens to have endorsed the Occupy movement, or makes some other sexist or misogynist remark, and I’m instantly jolted back to reality. I now have a choice. I can say something about the sexism and instantly become the evil feminist buzzkill, ruining everybody’s great mood and feeling of togetherness and potentially risking verbal attacks and accusations of being “hypersensitive” and much worse. Or I can remain quiet.

    If I remain quiet, everybody gets to continue feeling awesome (except for me, and any other woman present who may be silently deliberating whether she should say something), but I find myself getting angrier and feeling more alienated by the second. Only now, my anger is not reserved for the one guy who made the bigoted comment. I am now pissed at everyone who didn’t object to the comment–including myself. As for the men who heard the sexism but said nothing, I can’t help but wonder if they agree with the comment. In any event, the guy who made the sexist/misogynist statement and the other guys who remained silent have managed to kill all feelings of solidarity.

    Don’t be one of those guys. Speak up! Take a stand against sexism and misogyny–regardless of whether women are present to see/hear the bigotry or not. The same, of course, goes for other forms of bigotry as well. If you tolerate bigotry against us, women and minorities have no reason to think of you as an ally.

  11. Thank you for writing this piece.

    This line in particular struck me: Suggesting that those present 24/7 at Occupied sites are more committed to the movement’s goals than those who are able to stay only a short time demonstrates a stunning lack of awareness of male, white, ableist, and class privilege.

    I haven’t yet made it to an Occupy event. One of the primary reasons is that I have a disability that makes things like driving, sleeping without a lot of cushioning, walking long distances, and a number of other things extremely painful if I do too much of any of the above. I’m also working class and going to college. I don’t have the time to take out of my job and schoolwork to go to these things.

    Many of the things you write about class resonate with me, as well. I’m a white woman, and I go to an elite university, but on a lot of levels I find it easier to connect with other first-generation college students, and others of different ages from similar backgrounds, than I do with my (upper middle class to extremely affluent) friends sometimes. Or a lot. I’m not surprised that the dynamics you describe play out in the #occupy movement. I hope people start paying attention to these kinds of articles.

  12. Hello, Sasha, glad to have found this.

    First off you are dead on about poverty meaning much more severe consequences for women. This is something I know about all too well.

    As for the main part of my thoughts….

    I was sick for the first week of Occupy Seattle. Had I not been I would have not found it until much later. I am a busy man.

    On the tail end of my sick leave I found out about the movement. It had me intrigued. So intrigued in fact that I continued for a full two work days, while perfectly able to go back to my labors, instead studying the movement, trying to wrap my brain around the enormity of the concepts ‘greed’ and ‘corruption’. In the end a simple statement from some hick town GA had me heading downtown to see for myself. In the middle of 5th and Pine, a busy downtown intersection, I voted to vacate the intersection in order to hold the GA in the park. Or to say it another way, I joined, heart and soul.

    What this meant to me was that I would put down my petty grievances against such interests as held by the loggers and miners. I wanted them down there too. I believe that if we all stand together we can stop deforestation acted on by greedy self interests in cooperation with the department of natural resources. Tar sands, Mountaintop Removal, all can be ended and our loggers and miners put happily to work on more progressive technologies. All by treating the cause and not the symptoms. By fighting corruption, not logging or mining.

    Now I want you to know that I am not a bad man. I am not a rapist, abusive or a groper of crowded spaces.

    I have a message for you from the other side. Please stand with us (men). There are many over here, too, that while shamed out of speaking out against certain feminist values have indeed put down our grievances in order to create a more sustainable conversation. If you happen to encounter me or mine in the crowds I hope you will take the time to openly discuss the problems that plague our heterosexual relations. Please try not to shame us. Our hearts are opening once again, we are ready to discuss the problems and it would be a shame to have to close them again.

    That being said I had no idea that Julian Assange was a sleaze. Now I have an idea of it. Oh and here in Seattle we have many women, I would never have thought to even count for a difference.

    While I am here I will hope to advertise my own blog a bit (actually found you through facebook, that was a first). Funny that if you choose to visit the top blog post will be entitled ‘Demolition Woman’. Not very insightful, just a memory I had of my youth that I thought could be well written lol. There are three articles I was asked to write for a small town newspaper on the subject of Occupy Seattle. Also some poetry, some boat stuff, a letter to myself that I really like lol.

    Anyways have a nice day!

    -Arif
    svmountainindex.wordpress.com

  13. Stormageddon, nice to read you! We probably know each other:0 One hint: I’m new to Tucson and have the same name as one of the very talented facilitators.

    It bohters me to read a man who does not seem profeminist taking up so much space in these comments. This is typical of men who have not really examined their own internalized misogyny:

    First, by assuming that it’s OK to do this on a feminist blog run by a woman, second, assuming that women will want to educate him or have the time to,,
    third by addressing women as ‘Dude’. It reiterates to me once more that I will not work with any man who isn’t actively working on his own internalized sexism. You can always tell. I’m tired of ‘Movement’ men who don’t have a clue about the sexism going on around them
    and in their own behavior and attitudes. The only change that men like this will bring about will not be real change, just the same thing for women with a few perks.

    • I’m pretty sure I’m the one that has the same name as you. :) I just came back after taking a week off to go up to protest ALEC and work on finals – I look forward to running into you again!

  14. This is a brilliant essay, one of the best things I’ve seen on the net in some time. What a tragedy that you should have to struggle with survival. I hate my culture.

  15. The rich should stop exploiting workers and fire them immediately.

  16. Quit whining.

    Women are not participating in OWS because they fear rape? Perhaps. But then why is women’s participation in OWS twitter activity (see http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/10/occupy-wall-street-twitter-mentions-reveal-gender-disparity.php) similarly low, hmmm?

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