On this day in 1972, 4,000 garment workers (mostly Chicana workers) go on strike at Farah Manufacturing Co. in El Paso, Texas. They demanded union recognition and better working conditions. At the time they were making $1.70/hour starting pay with no maternity benefits.
I recently began an working with a few EP social justice orgs, such as La Mujer Obrera, Sin Fronteras, SURCO community farms & El Centro de los Trabajadores Fronterizos, which all have involvement from Farah strikers, who are have continued to organize workers along the borderland. They’ve created crucial organizations that have come to be the backbone of a lot of neighborhoods in south El Paso, as they have produced quality jobs, community resource centers, cultural libraries & workers cooperatives, along with a network of community farms that are working to provide food sovereignty for the area.
+ fun fact: The city is opening the Fountains at Farah, a luxury shopping area where the factory used to be this October.
[Image: from the Black Community Survival Conference, DeFremery (locally known as Lil’ Bobby Hutton) Park, Oakland, CA, March 29, 1972. I first encountered this image via Alondra Nelson’s brilliant book Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination.]
“If I were president, I would solve this so-called welfare crisis in a minute and go a long way toward liberating every woman. I’d just issue a proclamation that ‘women’s’ work is real work.”
- Johnnie Tillmon, “Welfare as a Women’s Issue.”
”The modern world hates to see black folks resting.”
- Lewis Gordon, “African American Philosophy, Race, and the Geography of Reason.”
This post is an experiment. It attempts to find a new route to the question of what it means to politicize Audre Lorde’s legacy. Its search is partly in response to what I described in part 1 as the tendency in some cases to deify Lorde by extracting her from the political context in which she lived, or by reducing her to a set of pithy (if brilliant) quotations, or by invoking her as an unqualified paragon of black women’s resilience. In attempting to route the conversation differently, my strategy is to try and glimpse Lorde through an archive that is not of her published writings but of a set of struggles and contexts that affirm dimensions of her humanity and her work that are too rarely emphasized—her struggles with health and wellness, her status as worker, her vulnerability to the very discourses that demand that she be seen as powerful. Doing this means following a route that may, to some, seem rather circuitous. I can only hope that by the end, those divergences will make some sense.
[Please do not be that ass who reblogs this image and deletes the text below.]
Update: Part Two here.
We’re still learning to read Audre Lorde, who should have been 79 today. We’re still learning to become the collectivity, the “we,” that would make reading Audre Lorde possible. The Audre Lorde that I think is especially worth reading is not the Audre Lorde that reads like a bumper sticker. Nor is it the Audre Lorde that settles the score, once and for all, the Audre Lorde who puts the full stop on the conversations we’ve needed to have before we’ve had them. The Audre Lorde I’m interested in is perhaps too queer to set things straight for us politically. Which also means that it’s also not the Audre Lorde who exists as an alibi. The Audre Lorde that’s most interesting to me is the Audre Lorde who is a complex, often contradictory historical figure, a figure whose brilliance resides not in her individual insight but in her capacity to creatively animate and inhabit the very contradictions in which she lived. It is that kind of brilliance that makes her A. Lorde and not, well, a Lord; that is, not a god-like figure whose authority is to be deferred to once and for all, but someone whose life and work provide an rich world of problems, questions, and ideas worth thinking with, borrowing from, confronting, and, of course, disagreeing with. I’m interested in claiming Audre Lorde as a human. Which is to say that in many ways, she was not, ultimately, that much unlike you or me. Even in her radical difference. Even because of it.
tw: for abuse, sexual assault (nothing graphic)
1) that the ppl who hurt me probably never think about me what what they did. and even if they did, it is a completely different version of events. in the case of the people that assaulted me, if i’m to take what they told me at face value, both…
Always falling into a hole, then saying “ok, this is not your grave, get out of this hole,” getting out of the hole which is not the grave, falling into a hole again, saying “ok, this is also not your grave, get out of this hole,” getting out of that hole, falling into another…
seen in oakland february 2013
40-Year-Old American Bombs from the Laotian Secret War Still Cause Two Casualties a Week
Every day, Manixia Thor and her team of 20 women wake up knowing the jobs they have to go to could get them blown to smithereens. Unexploded American cluster bombs could detonate at any moment as they excavate dangerous areas of Laos with their metal detectors. Since the Laotian “Secret War” ended some 40 years ago, millions of these unexploded bombs lay dormant across the country, regularly maiming children and ruining or ending the lives of the thousands who accidentally set them off.
Due to Western involvement in foreign coup d’états, alleged third-party funding of rebel uprisings, and diplomatic meetings behind closed doors, history has seen many wars fought in a way that could be considered secret. Few secret wars, however, laid and continue to lay siege to a native population like the Secret War in Laos—an undeclared state of conflict so brutal that it gave Laos the official title of being history’s most bombed country.
For nine years, from 1964 to 1973, the US government dropped over two million tons of cluster bombs and other heavy artillery on Laos. They did all this to help the Royal Lao Government (RLG) combat the far-left communist rebel group Pathet Lao, whose members were trying to, and eventually succeeded in, overthrowing them and taking control of the country.
there’s a really good documentary from a few years back about this called “bomb harvest”
LIES for sale today at London Radical Bookfair!!
£5-10 sliding scale
today is the deadline for proposals and abstracts for LIES vol II.
we look forward to seeing yours, please send it along to here: liesjournal (at) gmail.
“When Alan Blueford was murdered by a cop, they held a police community meeting in a church because the cops thought they would be safe there, that no one would protest or say anything about the lies that the police tried to give us about Alan Blueford. When Police Chief Jordan came in, he explained what the different agencies in the police department that played a part in the investigation of the death of Alan Blueford. In other words, he had a bunch of his flunkies speak, all of whom tried to tell us that this young man’s murder is being thoroughly investigated. We know this is a lie. Then they had the nerve to tell everyone to write questions down to ask the Chief. With about a hundred people in the room writing questions down, we thought we would get some answers. But it was a lie and a waste of time, because he only ended up answering three questions…
A lot of us in that audience got irritated because we knew he was lying — in the Church of all places! Still he felt comfortable because he had already aligned with the Pastor of the church in this evil plot to cover up information and to protect the police. At that point, we stood up and turned our backs to the Chief with our fists in the air. Then the police chief conveniently decided the meeting was over and started to exit with his goons surrounding him. That’s when a lot of us started yelling “Justice for Alan Blueford” as loud as we could. We marched him out of the church to his car, chanting “Liar! Why are you protecting these bastards?” and letting him know that he was just as guilty as the police who shot Blueford. Confrontations got heated between some of the officers and comrades. The Church Pastor escorted the police chief to his car, trying to protect him from the protesters and telling us to go home. We continued to chant in front of the church, then another Church member gave us a go-home speech.
We decided to leave because we were told that the family of Alan Blueford did not want this kind of action at a church. I am really confused now. I don’t know what kind of justice his family is looking for. What kind of justice are they hoping to gain through the Church? I believe the police had a meeting there because they knew the pastor would protect them and keep the meeting under their control.
On the way home, the police arrested a young man who was particularly vocal at the Church. They waited until he left the Church to arrest him. The fucking cowards didn’t have the guts to do it while everyone was around. Why did they arrest him? Because he had the courage to speak up in front of everyone and they were humiliated. They charged him with 6 counts of assault on an officer, though he didn’t touch anyone. He spent two nights in jail although the charges were dropped, and charged him instead with disturbing the peace.
The Alan Blueford event sparked me to write these thoughts down, but it made me think back on my whole life. Back when I was a kid my grandfather was always telling us to be quiet, to be quiet in church. So I’m writing this because I’m tired of being quiet and keeping silent about how fucked up the Church’s practices are.”
We’ve extended the deadline for submission of abstracts/proposals (the more detailed the better!) on the following topics to April 15th:
militant, anti-statist analysis of: struggles (past + present) for and against abortion and/or state/capital control over reproduction, in the US and/or beyond. especially interested in explorations into the experiences of trans*/gender-non-conforming people, people of color, queer people, poor people.
narrative or analysis about recent uprisings against rape in India - we are most interested in hearing from someone who was there, or has direct ties with people there.
engagements with transfeminist theory and struggle; explorations of the horizon of anti-essentialist gender struggle - what’s new, what’s old, what’s happening?
work on indigenous struggles, theory, praxis, from a feminist, militant, anti-capitalist perspective.
thoughts on race and gender from a communizationist perspective; or communizationist approaches to recent struggles that center gender and race as well as class; and/or queering communization.
email them to us at: liesjournal (at) gmail.com