Sunday, May 2, 2010

permitted actions

I attended Take Back the Night in eugene oregon this past thursday night.
thanks for all the energy that went into putting together the event. the speakers and radical cheerleaders and community theater group in the beginning were all really great.

the march however, left me with really overwhelmingly conflicted feelings. I abondoned it after a few blocks.

After supporting an event focused on raising awareness about sexual assault & violence, to then be led on a march by a motorcycle cop smiling as though he was the front line of our march was far too insulting for me to deal with. I understand that permits were gotten for this event, which some organizers choose to do, and so the cops knew about it and had strategically shut down traffic for us on our route and led the march... from the view of onlookers looking at the approaching march, they'd see a motorcycle cop waiving with a big banner behind him saying 'Take Back the Night'. This was so over the top for me i have to raise some questions.

First off, i just don't feel right inside when walking behind a cop leading me on march during an action. Thats a personal thing and so i won't really address it.

This event in particular is about sexual assault awareness. One of the biggest rape convictions i can think of in recent eugene oregon was of a eugene police officer. so how can we let a member of his crew lead us on our march? let to rapists lead the way? what?

Beyond that, police officers are municipal soliders hired to enforce hegemony. Hegemony, being the root of alot of issues, leads to hierchy and to patriarchy. Patriarchy being the root of the issue that this action is about... womens rights and sexual violence... how can we let the muscle hired to enforce hegemony in our community... thus hiarchy... thus patriarchy... lead us on our walk?

So this all led me on a spiral of anger and resentment and frustration, which ultimately has led me to question the concept of permitting an action.
What is the point of marching down the streets shouting and holding signs? Raising awareness may be a part of the point, but it can't be much because we aren't actually accomplishing providing education or information... so it must go deeper than that, right?
Is it to show the systems of control that lie above us on the hierchy chain that they don't have control over us? That we can gather in numbers bigger than them at any given moment and shut down intersections, traffic, and corporate enterprise for the purpose of defending ourselves and our rights? If so, then why would we tell them about it get a permit? Are we trading the effectiveness and point of the action for a bit of protection so we don't get beaten and arrested? Do we want their protection? I know i don't.

I don't want to be represented, protected, or helped in anyway by the systems that govorn and monitor us. I am capable of providing for my family. Food, clothes, and shelter... i don't need anyone to help me with this except my community and family. We can provide for ourselves... well, we would be able to if we weren't forced to 'pay' to exist. Being forced to pay for space, pay for services i don't believe in, pay for agencies that tyrranize me and my way of life, pay for the right to be treated humanly, etc is not a form of violence commited upon my family everyday that i take lightly. I will not accept the help or guidance or protection of the forces that instill, enforce, and contribute to this. And when i feel like standing in the face of these forces, and making enough noise to let them know that we are angry, in control of ourselves, and that there is a lot of us... i sure as hell don't want any paperwork filed in advance telling them when and where I am deciding to do it. Lets think past our physical bodies, and imagine the symbolic nature of this. Symbols are aguably one of the most powerful tools accessible to anyone, as they are weapons against the very psyche and unconscious of not just individual humans, but entire communities. What sort of symbols are we choosing to send?

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