I’m delighted to announce the premiere episode of Feminism Now, a new podcast co-produced by Becca Wilkerson, Catherine Barbarits and myself. On this first episode Lucinda and I engage in a dialogue about Occupy Patriarchy. We also talk to a feminist activist at Occupy Houston who has a poignant and fiery story to tell about sexual politics at that site. We interview long-time Filipina feminist and transnational activist Ninotchka Rosca. Finally Becca Wilkerson introduces our regular feature The Feminist Commentator. Check out the web-site where Becca’s commentary and my own “Manifesto: installment 1” for the podcast is also published in print.
Upcoming episodes include an interview with Cynthia Enloe; interviews with historians of autonomous women’s movements here and internationally; an interview with Lee Lakeman, radical feminist founder of Rape Relief in Vancouver, Canada; an investigation of trafficking in NYC, and much more. Stay tuned for continuous experimentation with format, content, style.
Here is part I of The Manifesto Feminism Now: (I authored this installment)
Manifesto for a Revolutionary Feminist Media, Part 1: Introducing the new Podcast Feminism Now
We call for Feminism Now. It needs to be Now; it needs to be Feminist, Radically feminist. It needs to emerge as part of a new force of revolutionary women’s media.
We would have liked to have been born in flames. I quote the title of the only film on record about a women’s revolution in the United States. Imagined and directed by Lizzie Borden in 1984, Born in Flames, (excerpted on our first show) is part sci-fi, part cinema verite/mockumentary and fully critical, fully utopian vision of a revolutionary future in the here-and-now (it takes place in our own home city of New York City). Lizzie Borden projects the image of women rising up across and against and through cultural/racial differences to confront a male dominant, racist “socialist left”—this women’s revolution is a revolution within a revolution. (Does the scenario ring a bell in this Occupy Wall Street moment?). The film marks women-making-media—picture a mobile radio station in stolen U-haul vans, not to mention women taking over television station at gun-point—as central to movement-making.
The word “media” is defined as
1.The main means of mass communication regarded collectively: “the campaign won media attention”.
2. An intermediate layer, esp. in the wall of a blood vessel.
The two strands of meaning resonate with one another as I think about what Feminism Now! is aiming at: We aim to create media that acts as a living vessel through which new meanings flow in the interstices between dialogues with radical female thinkers around the world, political commentaries, news reportage, experimental audio-forms and some variation or mix of all of the above.
We want to create the media of what feminist movement(s) may already exist, to discover not only what has happened and what is already happening but in the process what has not-yet happened. Becca Wilkerson
We want our podcast-project to emulate the nomadic form of the pirated U-haul mobile radio station. Perhaps the image can be ripped too from the classic U-haul joke about lesbians, as in the what-does-a-lesbian-bring-to-a-first-lesbian-date?-answer: A U-haul. We want to turn the joke-image on its head with the image of the U-Haul in Born in Flames: we would like to steal a revolutionary sense of female “union” back from a state of Civil(ized) unions and political quiescence and re-infuse feminism with a more militant state of union real-ized as solidarity. We would like to project through the “radio” now podcast form renewed forms of feminist union by means of connecting radical female and feminist thinkers across the sound-waves crossing geographical boundaries.
We would have preferred for these floating transmissions to have been born in flames. We would have preferred to emerge from the combustive friction where women of the Left once burst the walls of male dominance, claiming their own revolutionary movement. Today instead of flames we are forced to sift through the ashes of a fried feminism, a feminism burned out from within by capitulations often posturing as “female agency,” leaving us with a dry husk of itself, a container deprived of once living, revolutionary content.
Any potentially revolutionary feminism pushes against the over-determined complacency of existing states of feminism. By “over-determined” we mean that causes of the current tamed state of feminism are irreducible to a single source but rather exist in a yet to be described matrix of power relations between patriarchy in its neoliberal form and capitalism in its neoliberal form. In this conjunction there is not only a race war against racialized women the world over, not only an imperial war against indigenous women everywhere, not only an economic war against the vast majority of women globally. There is not only a war against all women based on sexual politics. There is all that but there is also a massive cooptation of feminist politics as a central component of these wars, this war. We do not take the notion of “cooptation” likely; we are not black and white thinkers and do celebrate a diversity of tactics within a larger unity (unity of purpose if not of action). But this requires a vigilantly critical attitude with respect to the ways that forms of feminism have been made “one dimensional” as I have written about on this blog. This requires an expanded understanding of the war against women as it too often comes from within the ranks of contemporary mode of feminism.
Feminism Now aims to illuminate the players in this actual war, to illuminate the battles and give historical weight and connectedness to women in this context of struggle, to illuminate the connection of all women under a global neoliberal patriarchy.(Becca Wilkerson)
Our purpose is to expose the precise conditions under which feminist radicalism labors or must labor in order to be revived.