Letter to Miss Bird
I did not go with you on the women’s march in London town on Saturday.
I know that you are disappointed in my decision.
We have worked together for four years now creating the vehicle we call the Sisters of Perpetual Resistance … Something that started out as a mythical group for an art exhibition became a small gang of disparate angry women enjoying our own rowdiness while investigating the movement from all angles. Making shit, talking shit… Continuously pushing the boundaries of our own thinking on feminism and politics…. We encouraged disorganised dissent and collective and collaborative work.
We held the dirty uncomfortable bits of our own assumptions and behaviour up to the light to see how we could change things. We attempted to marry our privilege with our protest and be always conscious that we were not the only ones at the party. We tried not to get hobbled by academic theories because instinct is best and argument should always be on the table. We encouraged trouble making and glorious dissent. We were loud and lippy and tried to keep things moving.
In the end we all agreed that feminism was not enough.
The political landscape is wider than gender and left thinking needs to go beyond social liberalism and encompass a huge system change if we are to see real social global justice.
At first glance it makes sense we should be on the march. A fun days outing… Solidarity with other women… More pics for instagram… Encouragement to girls… A strong message that every middle class mother rolls out to her daughters… You can be whoever you want, be strong, feel the love, you have the power.
But we know that is bullshit.
The truth is we do not have the power.
We have no fucking power at all.
And I will not continue to lie to my daughters.
Behind closed doors, in our small cliques perhaps yes, head down pursuing and cultivating our own interests ..Sometimes. In the ever decreasing social networking systems the algorithms allow us yes we do have voice and sometimes that voice creates change for the better. But in terms of real social and political and economic power we are as powerless today as we were forty years ago when I first became a feminist. To think otherwise is to be entirely and utterly deluded. And marching just plays into the pretence that we live in a real, open and fair democracy where our demands are heard and then acted upon.
Democracy my ass!
Our governmental system is dead in the water and needs to be ripped apart and rebuilt.
We can be decorative. We can be colourful we can be quirky and we might even get away with being eccentric now we are older. But step over the line and you are ostracised. Step a little further and you will be arrested. Go to the max and they will lock you up. A contained and well behaved parade full of self appointed prefects and nodding policewomen who will tolerate and patronise our behaviour to a point but as soon as we step beyond the boundaries of what is perceived to be right and proper behaviour for women protesting we will be shunned. You know this. It happened at the Bridges Not Walls protest on Friday. As soon as you adopt language that expresses the true rage that you feel.. The moment you decide not to wear the pink pussy hat but instead don a black balaclava and wave a red flag… As soon as you say fuck the fucking fuckers instead of joining in with ‘love with heal the world’ platitudes you will be shut down.
I treasure and nurture my rage because its the fuel that fires everything I do.
I will not have it framed and contained for a public parade.
And I will no longer be compliant in the ‘women can be anything they want’ bullshit.
Feminism/gender equality is just a small part of it all.
What we need now is more…much much more than that.