On December the 7th we will be holding a special Christmasy DIY Discussion to help raise money for The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) a women’s group who have been active in many amazing and inspiring ways since the ’70′s. We will be making crafts together to be sold at a Christmas Fayre in Tollcross on the 17th to raise money for the group. We’ll also be talking about ‘Feminism in the Middle East’ with a special focus on RAWA.
Please join us for what is sure to be a fun evening!
Where to find us:
We normally hold DIY Discussions in somebodies house, but tomorrow we will be holding the event in “The People’s Cafe” 3 Bristo Place Edinburgh, in support of the recent occupation of this important community space. You will find us in the front room (first right as you enter through the cafe) in the old ‘snip and sip’ room of the ex-Forest cafe.
Here’s what we’ll be up to:
6.00pm – 8.00pm Film Showing “View From a Grain of Sand” Read the synopsis of the film here
8.00pm – 9.30pm Creative Craft making and skill sharing
9.30pm – 11.00pm Discussion
Please bring any materials you would like to use to make things with. It could be wool, wood, thread, cardboard, fabric, you name it! The sky’s the limit! If you can’t think of anything to make, don’t worry! Part of the point of the evening is to share ideas and skills and learn to make things we haven’t tried before.
Snacks! We’ll definitely get hungry so bring along some food to share. A constant supply of tea will be provided!
As this event will take place at someone’s house, please email us at edinburghanarchafeminist[at]noflag.org.uk and we will send you the address.
More about the Christmas Fayre
All of your amazing donations will be sold at the “Tollcross Mini Christmas Fayre” which is taking place at the Tollcross Community Centre, 117 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh from 1.00pm – 3.30pm on the 17th of December. Come along! The fayre is a great place to find home made Christmas presents, and will have homemade bread, christmas gift cakes, hand quilted bags, winter chutneys, hand felted scalves, botanical art, books, food and many more things on sale.
Let’s end our reliance on corporations and avoid souless high street consumerism by supporting little initiatives like this one!
More about RAWA Solidarity Scotland
RAWA Solidarity Scotland is a grassroots group based in Edinburgh that actively supports the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). If you can’t come along to DIY Discussions, but would still like to donate something to the stall for RAWA, please email the Edinburgh Anarcha Feminist Collective and let them know. Your donations are hugely appreciated! Thank you.
Sabrina Chap and The Zorras
Friday, November 18
7:30pm – 10:30pm
The Third Door
45-47 Lothian Street
We are ecstatic Sabrina is coming to Edinburgh again as part of a wider european tour. Come out and give her a huge welcome back.
Sabrina Chap’s got classical piano skills, the ballad lyrics of Tom Waits, the onstage antics of Phyllis Diller and the voice of a whiskey angel. Her sets are a ragtime stompin’ good time, full of laughs, heartbreaks, and just plain good songwriting.
“Don’t let the picture fool you–Sabrina Chap’s forlorn album cover of Oompa! doesn’t reflect what inside: bouncing rhythms, complex instrumentation, and intelligent lyrics covering everything from heartache to performing femininity.” – Bitch Magazine
Zorras performances floor me so it with equal zeal that we welcome them.
“In Spanish their name translates to ‘female fox’ or ‘vixen,’ but for alt art group Zorras, the meaning is pure performance magic. Whether it’s the words of Sandra Alland, the intricate guitar work of Y Josephine, or the mesmerizing video images created by Alland and Ariadna Battich, Zorras lives up to its foxy namesake with stories ripe with sexuality, gender and sly humour.”
– Serafin LaRiviere, Xtra!, Toronto/Ottawa, October 2011
The next DIY Discussion is happening on the 9th of November from 7.30pm. Please come!
We will be chatting about pornography and making things with wool.
There are so many different things you can do with wool – knitting, crocheting and felting to name just a few! And wool crafts aren’t just for a certain section of society – anyone can enjoy wool regardless of gender or age, and it can be put to many creative uses such as “yarn bombing“ an art form involving the pairing of activism…and knitting!
Please bring anything you’d like to share, such as interesting things to read, craft bits and bobs, or simply your thoughts, feelings and ideas.
We hope to see you there!
For more information click here or email us at edinburghanarchafeminist[at]noflag.org.uk
This workshop addresses issues of marginalised voices within the Occupy Edinburgh movement, and seeks constructively to discuss the possibilities for creating a more inclusive environment and for creating space for “feminist voices”. Running for not more than 60 minutes, the workshop will start with a quick nod to some of the feeling that the Edinburgh Camp could be more inclusive. We’ll then move to a facilitated conversation about which methods to employ in order to move towards an inclusive movement, in which all genders can feel safe, comfortable, and valued. While the organizers recognize that the recent events which occurred in Glasgow may have affected some of the participants of the workshop, the purpose of this workshop is not to address issues of sexism in various protest camps, but to keep discussion focused on practical ways to affect positive change and create a safe welcoming atmosphere within this particular site of the de-centralised Occupy movement.
Topics in the workshop might include:
- Personal experiences of exclusion within Occupy Edinburgh
- The effect of autonomous organising on marginalised voices
- Potentiality of greater inclusion
- Women’s outreach – getting more women involved in the movement
- Feminist support networks within the camp
- Moving forward and creating an inclusive feminist space
The workshop organizers will conduct the workshop under a “safer spaces” policy which encourages positive and constructive discussion and debate, and asks all participants to recognize that this workshop is not the place for violent or hateful speech, intolerance, or aggressive language.
A post which appeared on Scotland Indymedia entitled “Open letter from Glasgow Women’s Activist Forum to Occupy Glasgow” is the latest addition to an increasing number of articles which draw attention to incidences of sexual assault and harassment experienced by women participating in the Occupy protests around the world.
In the letter, Glasgow Women Activist’s Forum state that “We, the undersigned, are writing to those involved in the Occupy Glasgow protest because our voices have hitherto been marginalised and our concerns systematically ignored in the days following the rape that occurred at the protest on Tuesday.”
This is a message that is being echoed on blogs and websites across the world in response to an alarming number of attacks on women. To date there have been at least four reports of rape at Occupying protests. In Glasgow, Scotland, a woman was raped in her tent as she was spending the night at an occupy protest taking place George Square. In the U.S.A women in Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas and Portland have also been raped while participating in occupy protests. On the 10th of October a man was arrested at Occupy Wall Street for groping a woman, while at the Occupy Denver protest, a man was arrested for groping a reporter.
Equally disturbing have been the misogynist responses to these attacks from supposed activists involved in the protests. As Danielle Binks writes “What really makes a mockery of the Occupy movement is the response to these claims of sexual abuse amongst the protestors. When news broke of the Cleveland rape claim, one protestor even queried whether the abused woman was a ‘plant’, attempting to discredit the rally.”
“Occupy Baltimore released a ‘security statement’ pamphlet to their protestors which discouraged police involvement if any such crimes were committed. The Baltimore occupiers were heavily criticized for this ‘speak no evil’ stance, and have since revised their policies.”
The recurring description of the women who have been attacked as “transient, run-aways, or homeless women” (in drawing attention to their social status, is the suggestion being made that lower class women are less deserving of justice?) as well as the distancing of occupy protesters from them (claims that these women “were not part of the protest”) serves only to perpetuate inequality, the very thing the movement claims to be fighting against.
Online and on the street women are asking the question “Are Women Safe at Occupy Protests?” In her blog, Lola-at-large comments “It’s a fair question to ask, considering the continuous reports of rape and sexual assault, as well as sexual harassment coming from the Occupy protests. Rapes and sexual assaults are happening, 12 by my latest count, with the movement barely six weeks old. That’s a pretty abysmal track record”
In an article from People of Colour Organise the comment is made that: “A lot of women, queers, and trans people—along with many people of color and undocumented immigrants—do not feel comfortable sleeping in an open space with a lot of men, surrounded by police. Police presence ensures that protestors could, at any time, be risking arrest; and a racist police system ensures that people of color will be targeted. Unrestricted male presence in all sleeping areas ensures that protestors could, at any time, be exposing themselves to molestation and/or rape; and patriarchy ensures that women, queers, and trans people will be targeted.”
The presence of Julian Assange, a man facing allegations of rape and sexual violence, at an Occupy London rally, further reinforces that age old tendency to put women’s issues to one side in the name of so-called social justice “When will we start to understand that any movement which asks women to put up with sexism as a sacrifice for the group, as if sexism isn’t part of the problem, is doomed to fail? It’s no accident – or secret – that women make up the majority of the world’s poor and that women are being hardest hit by the financial crisis” laments Philippa Wilitts on the F-word blog.
Perhaps the misogynist attitudes seemingly dominating the Occupy protests is best summed up by the YouTube video ‘Hot Chicks on Wall Street” an amateur documentary that the maker claims is “Pics of hot chicks being all protesty.” While many within the movement, including the maker himself have defended the film, Rebecca Traister sums up the crux of the argument “This video is sexist. It’s an example of women participating in public life — political, professional, social — and having their participation reduced to sexual objectification. That’s what happened here, nothing more, nothing less.”
In response to this full spectrum of attacks on women, websites like “Occupy Patriarchy” have sprung up. The aim being to “provide a supportive, global space for feminist analysis, response and organizing and networking within the world-wide Occupy movement.”
“It is our observation that institutions such as Wall Street are manifestations of the far deeper and greater problem of patriarchy which depends in large measure on the exploitation, disempowerment, and subjugation of women, yet (as is all too often the case in progressive movements) the analysis of issues presented so far has shown little effort in looking at the various issues discussed from a feminist vantage point, including but not limited to the following:
*Women make up the overwhelming majority of people living in poverty and do the overwhelming majority of unpaid work on which everyone’s lives depend.
*Our reproductive rights and agency are continually under siege.
*The overwhelming number of victims of sexual exploitation and violence are women and this exploitation intensifies under conditions of economic devastation.
*While these issues impact all women, women of color are far more likely to suffer the consequences of patriarchal domination.”
It is sad, but perhaps not unusual, that a movement which is supposed to stand for egalitarian aims has in fact perpetuated many of the inequalities which exist in society. Real social change can only occur when those that are most marginalized and oppressed, the real 99% of society, are empowered by a movement. However in the case of occupy it seems that once again the status quo is being maintained and it is still the privileged few whose voices are being heard. Until this is seriously addressed, no radical system change can occur as a product of this movement.
“Every organization, every movement, struggles with acknowledging systematic oppression. Movements that deny racism, movements that deny sexism; movements that are completely unaccountable to the very people they claim to be liberating; these movements will fail. Again and again, we have witnessed their failure.”
Are Women Safe at Occupy Protests?
Dichotomy of Ideals
The F-Word – We are the 49%?