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.

The Mandate for 1992: Resistance – Bobby Castillo (1992)

1990-2010, Date, Indigenous, Self Institution, Subjectives of Refusal, Subjects Redefined, Tactics of Disruption

This piece was published in the 1992 program of the International Tribunal of Indigenous Peoples and Oppressed Nations in the USA. Bobby Castillo, the author of the mandate as well as the coordinator of the International Tribunal, challenged the 500th anniversary of the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus, demanding that myth be destroyed. Furthermore, he demanded the release of political prisoners/prisoners of war and the ability of oppressed national movements to exercise their rights to self-determination. This document serves to raise awareness to the new resistance of the American Indian Movement and to reaffirm the basic human rights of indigenous groups to determine their own destiny. Additionally, both the document and the tribunal are evidence of efforts by indigenous groups to redefine themselves within the current system.

What’s Really Happening at Gustafsen Lake and Why (1995)

1990-2010, Capitalism, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Indigenous, Occupation, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, The 'Natural World'

This piece describes the conflict between sundancers of the Shuswap First Nation and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) during August and September of 1995. Members of the Shuswap Nation were engaging in their annual sundance ceremonies when individuals from the RCMP SWAT team began encircling the camp. More Shuswap sundancers as well as other nations soon arrived to defend those already there from violence. Throughout the coming weeks, the RCMP began painting these individuals as “terrorists,” blaming them for recent shootings in the area, and cutting off all communication to and from the camp, including that of the media. Those in the camp demand that an impartial third party tribunal be set up to decide on the question of jurisdiction over unceded Native American territories. They have refused to leave their defensive position until their petition has been forwarded from the Governor General of Canada to the British Privy Council and the Queen, as stipulated in the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The piece includes information on how to contact the various governments, lawyers, and other groups involved in the situation to apply pressure in support of the Shuswap, Mohawk, and all other indigenous nations.

An Excerpt From an Interview With Earl Livermore About the Indians of All Tribes (Ioat) Occupation of Alcatraz – 1970

1946-1989, Capitalism, Date, Defining the Enemy, Indigenous, Occupation, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption

This is a transcript of an interview with Earl Livermore, a leader of the American Indian Movement. He describes the thought behind occupying Alcatraz, the organization of various committees, schools, medical centers, and transportation methods on the island, as well as the outside support the activists have been receiving in support of their occupation. Additionally, he reads a part of the Alcatraz Proclamation (1969) to give listeners a clearer sense of what specifically the Indian activists desire of Alcatraz.

This is a poster created by Earl Livermore. In addition to serving as a leader of the American Indian Movement, Livermore was also an artist. The proceeds from this poster went directly into the Alcatraz fund.

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.”

The Young Lords Party: 13-Point Program and Platform

1946-1989, Capitalism, Date, Defining the Enemy, God, Country, Property, Subjectives of Refusal, The Police, White Supremacy

In a 13-Point Program and Platform, the Young Lords Party declared their fight for self-determination for Puerto Ricans inside and outside the United States. This program highlights the Young Lords’ dedication to an interconnected liberation of Black, Indians, Indigenous, Asian, and Latinos. Additionally, they demand community control of institutions, land, and education. They reject the American military and capitalism and urge the creation of a socialist society.

The Alcatraz Proclamation (1969)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Indigenous, Occupation, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, The 'Natural World', White Supremacy

This was a proclamation issued by the group of indigenous peoples who occupied Alcatraz Island beginning on November 20, 1969 and lasting until June 11, 1971. In the proclamation, Natives demanded the reclamation of the land based on historical precedents and called attention to the poor conditions of Indian Reservations across the country. The proclamation was addressed to the “Great White Father and All His People” with the intended audience being both the US government and the American people.

“We, the native Americans, re-claim the land known as Alcatraz Island in the name of all American Indians by right of discovery.”

Five Centuries of Resistance in Argentina – Kendra Fehrer and Brad Will (2004)

1990-2010, Capitalism, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Indigenous, Occupation, Sabotage/Ecotage, Subjectives of Refusal, Subjects Redefined, Tactics of Disruption, The 'Natural World', The Workplace

This piece describes the direct action tactics used by the Ava Guaraní indigenous peoples of Argentina and their allies against Tabacal Sugar, a subsidiary of the Seaboard Corporation. Tabacal Sugar owns the ancestral land of the Ava Guaraní, which is found in Salta, a northern province of Argentina. Despite being displaced from their land over five decades ago, members of the Ava Guaraní community have occupied the land in their ancestral homeland to harvest native fruits, vegetables, and medicinal herbs. In addition to the actions taken by the indigenous community themselves, activists from the Worcester Global Action Network, on behalf of the Ava Guaraní, disrupted Seaboard Corporation’s annual shareholders meeting to demand the corporation address the displacement of the indigenous peoples in Salta.

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!

Creation of the Malcolm X Center for Black Youth

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

The Black Panther Party created the Malcolm X Center to counter drug abuse, dropout, and illiteracy rates among Black teenagers. In a specific example, one teenager was ready to join ROTC until the Center taught this man about “the relationships of the US Armed forces to Black people.” After visiting the center, the young man rejected the military services and chose to change his name to an African name. The Center served as a place for consciousness-raising for young Black folks to collectively realize their potential outside of white supremacist institutions.

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.

AIDS Activism- “By Any Means Necessary”

1990-2010, Consciousness Raising, Date, Defining the Enemy, God, Country, Property, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, The Police

Kiki Mason, an ActUP activist, wrote “Manifesto Destiny, By Any Means Necessary” to raise consciousness among his LGBTQ+ community to refuse the negligence of the United States Healthcare system and continue to live by “any means necessary.” Mason defines his disruption as continuing to live despite the government’s refusal to act rigorously in fighting the AIDS epidemic.

 “This is my message to everyone with AIDS: If you think the end is near, take someone with you. Hold the president of a drug company hostage. Splatter your blood across the desk of a politician. Trash an AIDS researcher’s home. When some silly-assed, blow-dried, brain-dead TV reporter asks you a stupid question about living with AIDS, spit in his face. Call the police and tell them you’ve put LSD in the water supply in retaliation for our genocide. Do it so they’ll know what it’s like to have your life ripped apart”

Kirk Mason (1996)

President of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Letter to the Chairman of the Town of Lac du Flambeau – John Johnson Sr. (2023)

2011-Present, Date, Disruptive Spaces, Indigenous, Subjectives of Refusal, The 'Natural World', Uncategorized

This letter, written in December of 2023 by the President of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, John Johnson Sr., to the Chairman of the Town of Lac du Flambeau, Matt Gaulke, communicated that the tribe would be enacting a Road Access Permitting Ordinance applying to all roads that cross tribal land. This would allow legal access to the roads in exchange for a fee, and came after months of contentious dispute over road access on the reservation. In January of 2023, the northern Wisconsin tribe barricaded four reservation roadways they argued were being illegally used. In this letter, the tribe president demanded nearly $10 million to resolve past trespass violations, and required payment of these damages before issuance of any road permits under this new ordinance.

Black Panther Party’s Free Medical Clinic

1946-1989, Black, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, The Police, White Supremacy

The Black Panther Party created the Mark Clark Free Medical Clinic to assist Black families with gaining access to proper medical facilities. The newspaper article argues Philadelphia’s state-provided medical care is haphazard at best, often resulting in the death and slaughter of Black folks. Those who work at the Clinic are volunteers dedicated to serving the people. The Free Medical Clinic is an example of space redefined- medical care created for Black folks by Black folks, intending to redefine the healthcare system on the terms of the Black Panther Party.

“The federal and local governments are long overdue in recognizing the needs of the people and moving to eliminate the problems. People in ameriKKKa have been sick and broken continuously”

Mark Clark

Building Resistance & Self-Reliance in Detroit

1946-1989, Alternative Spaces, Black, Disruptive Spaces, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption

The Black Panther Party organized a self-run, community-based institution to mitigate the devastating impacts of Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” where healthcare services previously provided to Black families became non-existent. The Malcom-X Center for Black Survival created Black-controlled institutions to improve living conditions and create new opportunities for Black folks to be reliant on their own communities rather than falling victim to the negligence of the white government.

FLARE UP! Niger Delta Women Take on Oil Companies – (2002)

1990-2010, Blockade/Barricade, Capitalism, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Indigenous, Occupation, Sabotage/Ecotage, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, The 'Natural World', The Workplace, Time Interrupted, Women

This article, written by an American journalist under a pseudonym, details the actions taken by indigenous intertribal women of Nigeria against US oil companies ChevronTexaco and Shell. These oil companies, among others, have exploited the oil supply in Nigeria for decades, causing massive environmental degradation and destroying the lands needed for indigenous groups to maintain their livelihoods. Indigenous women of the Urhobo, Itsekiri, Ijaw, Ogoni, and Ilaje tribes united during the summer of 2002 by occupying operational headquarters, barricading the gates, threatening to commit acts of public nudity, as well as seizing control of four oil flow stations. Work was temporarily halted, and the actions taken at the oil flow stations resulted in a ChevronTexaco revenue loss of three million dollars.

“All will not be well for the oil companies in our areas until they start treating us as human beings that deserve a good life.” – IIaje leader B.I. Ugbasanin

OCCUPY EVERYTHING!: California Valley Miwok Tribe Occupies Foreclosed House in Stockton – Modesto Anarcho (2009)

1990-2010, Date, Indigenous, Occupation, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, We're Not Paying That

An interview with the California Valley Miwok Tribe in response to their occupation of their foreclosed home in Stockton, California. The group had planned to stand their ground and barricade themselves in the house until their problems were addressed by the Department of the Interior.

“We had to make our point clear that we were no longer going to be pushed out and forgotten like yesterday’s trash! We are human beings. We are not just names and/or numbers on a piece of paper.” 

Declaration of Interdependence (1895)

1840-1945, Capitalism, Date, Defining the Enemy, Subjectives of Refusal, Workers

This document was written by Daniel DeLeon, a prominent leader of the Socialist Labor Party, in 1895. The Socialist Labor Party sought to turn labor movements and unrest into more radical socialist revolutions. In this declaration, DeLeon explores the shortcomings and oppressive nature of capitalism. He then encourages his readers to join the struggle.

“Under that system the toiling masses, hungry and despised, turned the wilderness into a garden, the stones, the clay, the trees into resplendent cities, the ore and the coal into new organs of motion, through which human strength, speed and skill were multiplied a thousandfold, the lightning itself into an obedient messenger; they built factories, ships, docks and warehouses; constructed railroads, bridged rivers and pierced mountains; then descended into their nameless graves, leaving all in the hands of their despoilers, to further oppress and degrade the inheritors of their misery… But throughout the civilized world the wage workers are asserting their interdependence— the natural dependence of every man upon his fellows, of every nation upon all other nations; and under the banner of International Socialism millions of them are now marching to the conquest of the public powers.”

“I incite this meeting to rebellion…” (1912)

1840-1945, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

This document was a speech given by Emmeline Pankhurst on October 17, 1912 at Royal Albert Hall in London. Pankhurst was an active militant suffragist and a founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union. In this speech, Pankhurst speaks of the critics of militancy and gives her response.

“We disregard your laws, gentlemen, we set the liberty and the dignity and the welfare of women above all such considerations, and we shall continue this war, as we have done in the past; and what sacrifice of property, or what injury to property accrues will not be our fault. It will be the fault of that Government who admit the justice of our demands, but refuses to concede them without the evidence, so they have told us, afforded to governments of the past, that those who asked for liberty were in earnest in their demands!”

Proclamation of the Striking Textile Workers of Lawrence (1912)

1840-1945, Date, Disruptive Spaces, Strike, Subjectives of Refusal, Tactics of Disruption, The Workplace, Workers

This document is the proclamation of the striking textile workers of Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912 – known as the Bread and Roses Strike. The workers went on strike due to the low wages and long hours. This proclamation elaborates on the reasons for their strike and the challenges they have faced at the hands of people in power.

“We, the 20,000 textile workers of Lawrence, are out on strike for the right to live free from slavery and starvation; free from overwork and underpay; free from a state of affairs that had become so unbearable and beyond our control, that we were compelled to march out of the slave pens of Lawrence in united resistance against the wrongs and injustice of years and years of wage slavery.”

The Manukan Declaration (2004)

1990-2010, Date, Disruptive Spaces, Indigenous, Subjectives of Refusal, The 'Natural World', Women

The Manukan Declaration was signed by seventeen different organizations across North America, South America, Asia, and Africa that make up the Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network in 2004. Generally, it advocates for indigenous voices. It highlights the importance of indigenous women in particular to indigenous culture, tradition, and environmental biodiversity.

“As Indigenous women, we have a fundamental role in environmental conservation and preservation throughout the history of our Peoples. We are the guardians of Indigenous knowledge and it is our main responsibility to protect and perpetuate this knowledge. Our weavings, music, songs, costumes, and our knowledge of agriculture, hunting or fishing are all examples of some of our contributions to the world. We are daughters of Mother Earth and to her we are obliged. Our ceremonies recognize her and we return to her the placentas of our children. She also safeguards the remains of our ancestors.”

Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex (2001)

1990-2010, Black, Date, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

This document was written by Incite!, a group of radical feminists who work to end violence against all women, in 2001. This document makes a connection between state, interpersonal, and domestic violence and strives to address said violence outside of the criminal justice system. It attempts to provides more inclusive and community based solutions in hopes to create violence-free lives for all women.

“It is critical that we develop responses to gender violence that do not depend on a sexist, racist, classist, and homophobic criminal justice system. It is also important that we develop strategies that challenge the criminal justice system and that also provide safety for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. To live violence-free lives, we must develop holistic strategies for addressing violence that speak to the intersection of all forms of oppression.”

Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female (1971)

1946-1989, Black, Capitalism, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, White Supremacy, Women

This document was written by Frances M. Beal in 1971. “Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female” links the anti-capitalist struggle, women’s liberation, and black liberation.

“It must also be pointed out at this time that black women are not resentful of the rise to power of black men. We welcome it. We see in it the eventual liberation of all black people from this corrupt system of capitalism. However, it is fallacious to think that in order for the black man to be strong, the black woman must be weak. Those who are exerting their “manhood” by telling black women to step back into a domestic, submissive role are assuming a counterrevolutionary position.”

The Enemy Within (1970)

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

This document was written by Susan Brownmiller in 1970. She discusses the ways in which women have internalized sexism and patriarchal expectations – for themselves and for other women. She explores this partly through her own personal experiences and observations.

“It was men who made the arbitrary rules of masculine/feminine that we suffer under, but it is women who continue to buy the stereotypes.”

“We are an honorable people – can you say the same?” (1973)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, God, Country, Property, Indigenous, Subjectives of Refusal

This document was written by the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy in 1973. It states their solidarity with the occupation of Wounded Knee. It is written for the United States government. It addresses the destruction and violence that indigenous people face at the hands of the United States government.

“We have not asked you to give up your religions and beliefs for ours. We have not asked you to give up your language for ours. We have not asked you to give up your ways of life for ours. We have not asked you to give up your government for ours. We have not asked that you give up your territories to us. Why can you not accord us the same respect?”

The Longest Walk Statement (1978)

1946-1989, Date, Indigenous, Subjectives of Refusal

In 1978, a group of about 2,000 marchers – indigenous and not -, marched from Alcatraz Island, California to Washington, D.C. to protest bills that threatened indigenous rights. This document was their statement.

“Today we address you in the language of the oppressor, but the con- cepts predate the coming of the invaders. The injustice we speak of is centuries old, and has been spoken against in many tongues. We are still the original people of this land. We are the people of The Longest Walk.”

“Call Me Human” (2015)

2011-Present, Date, Indigenous, Subjectives of Refusal

This poem was written by Lyla June Johnston, a Diné activist, in 2015. It explores the meaning of “America” through a reflection of history. It can be found below and as a PDF.


“from birth we etch these lines

engrave them inside your mind

by the rockets red glare

the bombs bursting in the air

the war it begins 

to make the imaginary country

as real as your skin.

America doesn’t exist

it’s an idea men have obsessed over since 1776.

an excuse we use to manifest a reality that

destroyed the destiny of Native civilization.

they always told me I was an American

and so I said to them, 

“can you show me America?”

can you tell me where it is?

I’ve been looking for it all my life!

looking for the reason why my people had to die.

but the only place I can find America is inside of your mind. 

they said, no don’t worry… just

stand up

put your hand right there on your heart

now turn just a little bit towards the flag.

there it is. Right there. Don’t you see it?

there you go.

okay ready?

Go

I pledge allegiance to an illusion

called the United States of America

and to the non-existent boundaries

for which it stands

one deception

under a Christian god

with which we legitimize the genocide 

of its indigenous peoples

America doesn’t exist 

but it is a psychological sickness we catch with years

of exposure to our public schools to baseball games

and once we believe that America is real we believe that we have a 

reason to steal a reason to kill.

the Long Walk 1965

9,000 Navajo are marched with barrels at their backs

herded like sheep for over 400 miles 

to their own special concentration camp. 

in the name of America

Wounded Knee Massacre 1890

U.S. Calvary descend on a Lakota camp

with 530 women and children

and with “America” in their minds

and red and white stripes blinding their sight

they sunk bullets into the chests of children

that could have been their own

in the name of America

look on the twenty dollar bill my friends, see the man who

marched 15,000 Cherokee– 

pregnant women, their children, the elderly– 

marched from Georgia to Oklahoma 

in the name of America.

do we remember what has been done in the name of an abstract nation

or has it all been buried along with our hearts and our tongues.

and I should not hate fireworks on warm summer nights

and I should not hate a combination of colors

and I should not hate dead men on paper money

and I should not hate. 

so let me tell you that I love you

dear soldiers

dear president of the imaginary states of America

dear school teachers

dear man behind the curtain

let me tell you that I love you

and that I am leaving it in the past

let me tell you that I too am in love with my motherland

but know that this Earth is the foremother of your forefathers

she existed before Hancock and before Nixon

before money before America

and that she will exist long after America is forgotten.

raising hands to our hearts for a fairytale

that America is anything more than a word

we’ve drawn so many maps, we’ve put so many flags in the ground

we’ve labeled all the land

we’ve drawn imaginary lines all around the sand

but people hear me and separate your fact from fabrication

this is the projection of our imagination onto 

the holy earth.

and today we unite to remember what is real

to remember that humanity is real

a beating heart is real

the earth beneath us is real

but America is a thought that

has turned us against ourselves

history into myth

entire cultures into forgotten languages

and the free mind into a society, deceived

so please do not call me an American

please do not even call me a Native American

please, I beg you, call me human

and do not call this land America

if you listen hard she will tell you her true name

as the nighthawks dive at twilight

as the wolves howl at midnight

as the waterfalls rage cascading

when the avalanches fracture breaking

she WILL tell us her true name with earthquakes

that split states and break fences to 

remind us she does 

not belong to us.

but that we belong to her.”

Lynching: A Weapon of National Oppression (1932)

1840-1945, Black, Capitalism, Date, Defining the Enemy, Subjectives of Refusal, White Supremacy, Workers

This pamphlet was written by Harry Haywood and Milton Howard in 1932 under the direction of the Labor Research Association. The pamphlet states the causes and purposes of lynching, the organization of lynching, laws and resistance against lynching, and more. This document also makes a connection between the class struggle, the exploitation of black workers, and lynching.

“Every one of these Negro workers was murdered as a direct result of the class struggle as expressed in his demand for wages or better conditions from the white landlords who exploit the Negro masses with even greater intensity than they rob the white workers…”

Letter to President Washington (1790)

1700-1830s, Date, Defining the Enemy, God, Country, Property, Indigenous, Subjectives of Refusal

This document is a letter to President George Washington from Chiefs and Counsellors of the Seneca Nation – Big Tree, Cornplanter, and Half-Town. In this letter, the Chiefs and Counsellors address violence and deceit from the government.

“We could bear this confusion no longer and determined to press through every difficulty, and lift up our voice so that you might hear us, and to claim that security in the possession of our lands, which your commissioners so solemnly promised us; and we now entreat you to inquire into our complaints, and to redress our wrongs.”

Political Prisoners, Prisons, and Black Liberation (May 1971)

1946-1989, Black, Date, Subjectives of Refusal

In this document, Angela Y. Davis begins with a discussion of unjust laws and black resistance. After historical analysis, Davis begins to discuss the judicial system and the political prisoner. This document ends with an examination of the struggle against fascism and racism.

“As the black liberation movement and other progressive struggles increase in magnitude and intensity, the judicial system and its extension, the penal system, consequently become key weapons in the state’s fight to preserve the existing conditions of class domination, therefore racism, poverty and war.”

Females and Welfare (undated)

Capitalism, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, The Home, Women

This essay identifies poor women who serve as heads of their families as the ideal engine for the Women’s Radical Movement: as author Betsy Warrior notes, poor women have both the knowledge of the oppressive system, and the instinct to protect that allows them to be both educated and motivated to create change. Unlike rich women–who lack the critique of the system–and poor men,–who Warrior notes do not have the protective instincts of mothers–poor women are uniquely situated to be revolutionaries.

The Women’s Rights Movement in the US: A New View (1968)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

In this article, author Shulamith Firestone looks to analyze the perception of the Women’s Rights Movement in the United States by tracing its development across generations. Mainly, she wants to answer the question of why intelligent and successful young girls are hesitant to identify with the feminist movement. In her exploration, Firestone finds that a major obstacle for the Women’s Rights Movement is that it has habitually sacrificed its interests and objectives in order to entertain “more worthy” causes. As a way of guaranteeing the success of the movement in the future, Firestone pushes radical feminists to stop this practice.

Feminism Old Wave and New Wave (1971)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

This article explores the similarities and differences between the Old and New Waves of the Feminist Movement, from the sources and origins of each movement, to the ways that they have been perceived by the rest of society, to the aims of each respective group. Following a mainly historical chronology of events, author Ellen DuBois traces the progress of the movements and the way that one has affected the other. Her hope, as she expresses at the conclusion of the essay, is that two waves will suffice in liberating all women.

What is Socialist Feminism? (1970)

1946-1989, Capitalism, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Institutions, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, The Home, The Workplace, Women

By coining the term “socialist feminism,” members of the group aimed to encompass the way that capitalist realities negatively impacted women–rather than aiming to demolish the family structures that oppressed women and identifying those structures as the source of oppression. Rather, socialist feminism aimed to acknowledge that this negative impact within family structures actually stemmed from the way that capitalism formulated roles for both men and women. The end goal of this acknowledgement would be to merge socialist and feminist interests into the same ideology.

Tyranny of Structurelessness (1970)

1946-1989, Date, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

This essay by Jo Freeman represents an evolution of the Radical Feminist Movement, as thinkers such as Freeman moved away from a rigid idea about the intrinsic and necessary natures of the movement, and towards a more flexible and practical way of thinking that allowed change to occur fluidly and naturally. Rather than lacking a structure as a sort of rule within the movement, Freeman suggests something more “concrete” that is ironically less of a rule.

Poor White Women (1970)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, The Home, Women

In this 1970 essay, author Roxanne Dunbar includes an intersectional analysis of the oppression of women, focusing on both gendered and class-based issues. Drawing on her own experience growing up in a poor farming community, Dunbar observes the way that women in socioeconomically challenged positions face additional obstacles in their fight for liberation, as they are not awarded the same privileges as wealthy women are. She notes that these challenges are again multiplied when race is also considered, but chooses to specifically focus on poor white women in this analysis.

Covert Sex Discrimination Against Women as Medical Patients (1972)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Institutions, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

In this speech originally given to the American Psychological Association, activist Carol Downer described her analysis of the medical field in the United States, and the way that male dominance within the field effectively inhibited doctors from catering to women, whose correct care was dependent on a deep understanding of the way that women conceive of their own bodies. At the basis of this argument is the implication that women’s bodies cannot be understood from an outside perspective, and that medical care is necessarily linked to psychological understandings of one’s self.

The Vagina on Trial (1971)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

Kathleen Barry’s essay unpacks both the physical consequences that a woman faces when she endures rape, and the psychological effects that are the result of every woman’s knowledge of the threat of rape. She includes an analysis of the “myth of female promiscuity” to describe the ways in which rape cases effectively put women on trial for their sexuality, not men on trial for their actions.

The BITCH Manifesto (1972)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

In this Manifesto by Jo Freeman, the author reclaims the title of “bitch” in a way that establishes the term as a description of a woman who does not conform to traditional social roles designated for women, and who exists as a subject, not an object. She describes the characteristics of a bitch in a way that makes her a threat to social structures that uphold misogyny.

Why I Want a Wife (1971)

1946-1989, Date, Disruptive Spaces, Subjectives of Refusal, The Home, Women

This piece of feminist satire by Judy Syfers is not purely comical; rather, it serves to prompt a wife’s male counterpart to consider the value that his wife brings to him, in the sense that she is a loyal and uncomplaining servant. As a heterosexual woman, Syfers explaining why she wants a wife effectively separates the status of being a wife from the romantic relationship that society thinks it is. In other words, you don’t have to be a man or a lesbian to want a wife: you only have to want a servant.

The Politics of Housework (1970)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, The Home, Women

Written by Pat Mainardi in 1970, this essay is an analysis of the conversations that commonly arise between women and men, as women try to illuminate the political nature of their social statuses. Specifically, Mainardi analyzes the debate over housework, and the arguments that men make as to why they cannot or should not participate in the upkeep of the home. In this format, Mainardi’s arguments are clear and easy to follow: she interprets the underlying sentiments of the male argument explicitly.

The Jeannette Rankin Brigade: Woman Power? (1968)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

As a critique of the feminist movement’s protest against the Southeast Asian war, Shulamith Firestone wrote this essay, which articulated that a gathering of women should be used to create more productive gains for women. In her critique, Firestone notes the way in which women in this protest used their traditional roles as mothers, wives, and mourners to protest the war. Rather than gather in a way that capitalized on the traditional roles of women, Firestone concludes that dramatic action by women would be the most productive and least offensive. Broadly, this is a critique of the tactics previously used by women, which ironically worked within an oppressive system in order to change it.

Funeral Oration for the Burial of Traditional Womanhood (1968)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

During a protest against the war in Southeast Asia, radical feminists staged a mock funeral for the end of traditional womanhood in the United States, which they deemed forced women to accept an unsatisfactory hand in life, and blame themselves for their inability to adapt to these conditions. Author Kathy Amatniek wrote this oration to read at the mock service, articulating the motives behind the death of traditional womanhood.

The Grand Coolie Damn (1969)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Institutions, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

Marge Piercy was an American novelist and activist who wrote this 1969 expose in order to expose the inherent sexism of the American left at the time. Following the chronological order of events and the general acceleration of the New Left Movement in the United States, Piercy notes how the treatment and attitude towards women within the movement has been largely tied to the state of the movement as a whole: during the 1967 “Summer of Love,” it seemed as though Movement people held an interest in one another as human beings as opposed to gendered ones.