The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism (Audre Lorde, 1981)

1946-1989, Black, Consciousness Raising, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, Women

In this piece from Audre Lorde, a renowned intersectional feminist/activist, she offers the use of anger as a unifying force for women across the lines of race. White women struggled to understand the consequences of racism, even in their own activism. Lorde suggests that this divide can be lessened when women empathize with each other and use their divergent experiences to come together against the patriarchy. Anger can be a powerful tool instead of a divisive force.

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. And I am not free as long as one person of Color remains chained. Nor is any one of you.”

Silent Protests (1917)

1840-1945, Black, Date, Defining the Enemy, Occupation, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, White Supremacy

These newspaper articles discuss East St. Louis, where there was massive amounts of violence against the African American community because the white workers believed that they were ruining the effectiveness of their strike. After the riots, silent protests took place all over the country. They demanded more awareness and action for issues such as anti – lynching legislation. As the above image suggests, Americans needed to wake up to the plight that African American groups were facing instead of trying to protect “democracy” elsewhere. There is also a newspaper source that provides background on the details of the East St. Louis Massacre below.

Bicycling Program (1972)

1946-1989, Black, Date, Defining the Enemy, Self Institution, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, White Supremacy

Two community members in Oakland, California recognized the need for reliable modes of transportation in their community. In the newspaper article, they are introducing a program that would fix bicycles so that the community can receive them for free. This is also partially in response to institutions, such as the police, taking advantage of this inaccessibility and trying to entrap community members. The overarching program of this goal is to disrupt the system of reliance on the government and other state actors in order to foster self – sustainability.

Panther Sisters (Black Panther Party, 1969)

1946-1989, Black, Date, Defining the Enemy, History/Theory, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, Theory, White Supremacy, Women

This is part of an interview where a group of women in the Black Panther Party discuss how the struggle for women’s rights intersected with their experiences in the Party. Many of them recall how they were expected to fill “women’s roles,” such as secretary positions. This pattern of misogyny and lack of awareness about women’s liberation was disrupted through efforts from women in the party. They assert that freedom can’t be achieved without the full and active participation of women.

“A revolution cannot be successful simply with the efforts of the men, because a woman plays such an integral role in society even though she is relegated to smaller, seemingly insignificant positions.”

Women’s Liberation Aims to Free Men Too (Gloria Steinem, 1970)

1946-1989, Consciousness Raising, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, Women

There is a common misconception that the struggle for women’s rights is solely beneficial for women. This narrative is oftentimes pushed by institutions and key actors that know if the everyday man is vehemently opposed to women’s struggle for rights, they will never succeed. Steinem attempts to disrupt that thinking by pointing out that if the institutions of patriarchy are collectively dismantled, then everyone benefits. Men will also be free from certain boundaries that restrict them, but it must be a collective disruptive effort.

Barbarous Rituals: 84 Ways To Feminize Humans (1972)

1990-2010, Consciousness Raising, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, Women

This anonymous collection of statements cuts straight to the core of gender as a social construct and the ways in which women are brought up to act/think in a specific manner. Through these descriptions, perhaps women can bring themselves out of their confines and utilize consciousness raising to realize the extent to which they have been controlled by society.

There Was A Young Woman Who Swallowed a Lie (Meredith Tax, 1972)

1946-1989, Consciousness Raising, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, White Supremacy, Women

This series of cartoons produced by the Women’s Liberation Movement holds a deeper meaning and purpose of consciousness raising. It illustrates the standards that women were forced to adhere to and how natural those standards can become in everyday life. As it nears the end, the protagonist’s solution to escape these stifling restrictions is to join liberation movements and push for women’s rights to choose in all aspects of life. Let go of all of the expectations and just exist freely!

Abortion Protest (Redstockings, 1969)

1990-2010, Blockade/Barricade, Date, Defining the Enemy, Occupation, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, White Supremacy, Women

This collection of documents illustrates an abortion protest held by the Redstockings group, a feminist organization. Their two main goals were to first, disrupt the mainstream legislative principles of male “experts” convening to determine laws that primarily affect women and their autonomy. They also physically disrupted the meeting of experts by verbally interrupting and trying to infiltrate the meeting space.

Protest the Infirmary! (Gainesville Women’s Liberation, 1997)

1990-2010, Date, Defining the Enemy, Occupation, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, Women

This protest leaflet is from the Gainesville Women’s Liberation movement and is part of a wider effort at the University of Florida to increase women’s sexual autonomy through disrupting the mainstream tactics of the healthcare system to dissuade women from receiving the morning after pill. Female students were asked invasive questions, forced to admit to some fault of their own, or even flat out denied the medication. The students came together at the infirmary and disrupted the movements of those who work at the university infirmary, bringing attention to their goals.

The Sixties Speak to the Eighties (Redstockings, 1983)

1946-1989, Black, Consciousness Raising, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, White Supremacy, Women

The Redstockings are a radical feminist group that emerged partly out of the Women’s Liberation Movement. In this speech, Kathie Sarachild, a prominent activist and leader within the Redstockings, reflects on her time spent with the Civil Rights Movement. Specifically, she focuses on how white feminists need to reflect on who their cause benefits the most and how people in power have intentionally created splits in ideologies so in – fighting remains a constant issue for groups trying to work together. She aims to disrupt the established patterns of thinking and create more opportunities for a collective group working together to disrupt the patriarchy and white supremacy.

The Construction of Lay Expertise (1995)

1946-1989, 1990-2010, Consciousness Raising, Date, Disruptive Spaces, History, History/Theory, Institutions, Occupation, Tactics of Disruption, The Workplace, Theory, Uncategorized

In the 1980s, the AIDs epidemic began to wreak havoc across the country, specifically amongst gay men. These affected communities felt that the government and other facets of society were not addressing the epidemic properly and so, they were dying in massive proportions. A group of committed activists formed an organization called ACTUP and used disruptive tactics to create more awareness about their issue. One of the most provocative techniques they used was to gather in large amounts and play dead with signs that suggested who was responsible for their death, like the CDC. This paper by Steven Epstein details other such tactics that disrupted people’s every-day movements and oftentimes, forced them to reckon with the AIDs epidemic and its victims.