What we see through social media is a generation of ignorant social activists. Young men and women all too willing to care about and defend something they don’t truly understand and refuse to educate themselves further on because they assume the limited information they receive has been vetted by someone more knowledgeable than themselves. This happens on both sides of the fence, with both conservatives and liberals.
I’ve seen arguably intelligent young men and women stand up at banquets and rallies, demanding answers about things like healthcare, DOMA, federal military actions. Asking questions about things they’ve seen on Facebook, on twitter, things that they’ve taken little to no time to research for themselves, and they look like fools. No matter their age, they paint themselves with a red mark that announces ‘I’m not mature enough to be here, to discuss these issues’.
But even so, it isn’t truly about age. It’s about social awareness. You are not discounted until you make a mistake. Say the wrong thing or quote the wrong statistic. Until then, your legitimacy remains intact.
Tumblr is like this.
I’ve seen people furious over gay rights legislation that doesn’t actually exist. Wars that haven’t happened. Most recently text posts with tens of thousands of notes alleging that China and Russia are going to go to war with the US over Syria.
Blogs relaying damaging misinformation written by individuals who can’t seem to be bothered to read a newspaper or use google properly. This is a crippling trend, and no one sees it.
These people get untold attention and affirmation until one person with a large enough follower count points out the flaw in their argument. Corrects the mistake, and shifts the tide. But this doesn’t fix the thousands of people who liked and reblogged the original post. The damage is done.
If there is one thing I’ve learned from working on political campaigns, very little is more damaging than an activist who argues only one side of the story without recognizing the existence of the other; because your opinion, no matter how solid and seemingly factually based, is invalid the second your audience realizes they know more than you.
And the result of all of this is a generation of young activists who don’t understand why they aren’t being taken seriously.
a recent conversation with a colleague regarding social media (via onawingandaswear)
"A generation of young activists who don’t understand why they aren’t being taken seriously” fuck I want to make that the title of my blog
i do not understand this liberal obsession with nonviolent resistance, but neither do i understand this leftist glorification of armed resistance. we do not bear arms in struggle because we’re too hot headed to give peace a chance as liberals think, but neither do we bear arms because it is cool to do so. armed resistance isn’t fun, it is not sexy like deeq says, it’s about survival. there is nothing glamorous about violent struggle when you and the people you love are in danger and the country you are from is on fire.
“Sylvia Rivera kicking ass on stage after some radfems & transphobes tried to refuse her the right to speak at the 1973 Christopher Street Liberation Day rally. Said radfems then had their own march in part protesting trans participation in Pride. A precursor to today’s Dyke March.”
It is women like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson who started the Stonewall riots and queer liberation. 43 years later, trans women of color, the people who started the movement, are the people maligned and left behind by it.
In Sylvia’s words, “What the FUCK is wrong with you all?”
[[Trigger warning: suicide]]
Sylvia went home that night and attempted suicide.
Marsha Johnson came home and found her in time to save her life.
Sylvia left the movement after that day and didn’t come back for twenty years.
this is incredible, she is incredible, I highly recommend watching it
but I think the addendum re: the effect of this day on sylvia is really important
so often we valorise decontextualised moments of tough, articulate resistance and rage
and the suffering of the people who embodied them is not acknowledged, it’s uncomfortable, it’s not inspiring, we want them to stay tough and cool and stylish forever
which is particularly terrible when I think about how sylvia felt like that because of women like me — women who are now watching this video and feeling inspired and impressed and maybe a bit pleased with ourselves for finally having watched a speech by the famous and really cool to name-drop sylvia rivera
rebloggin for the true as fuck commentary (bolding mine)
n like, on one hand this moment is decontextualized as fuck, but on the other hand a lot of ppl try to hyper-contextualize it to make it “history” and a very specific historical moment, so we (cis women) can be like “oh so sad that’s how it was in the 1970s, radfems were so awful, but it was only the whole second-wave scene that was the problem, glad that’s over.”
Like have we forgotten the fact that Sylvia only died in 2002? And she died young, if she were still alive she wouldn’t even be 65 yet. I know hella older ppl in NYC who knew her personally, and hella “leaders” of the NYC queer scene pulled horrific shit on her constantly in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, like literally until the day she died (ppl from Empire State Pride agenda literally went to St. Vincents to beef with her on her death bed) Where are the video tapes/memorializing of that shit?
N now the Manhattan LGBT center on 13th st has a room dedicated to her memory, despite the fact that very center permanently banned her in 1995 for daring to suggest they should let homeless QTPOC sleep there in sub-zero weather.
N now there’s a whole homeless trans youth shelter on 36th st named after her, Sylvia’s Place, that kicked my TWOC friend out on the streets for testing positive for marijuana; failing to recognize how fucked up that is in a shelter named after a woman who struggled with addiction all her life, and was very vocal about the relationship between drug use and the stress of living under constant threats of violence.
N from the late 90s onward rich gays and lesbians openly fought against Sylvia to try to shut down 24/7 access to the piers that she n hella other QTPOC cruised and lived on bc they were bringing down the property values of their multi-million west village apartments.
N like 90% of the individual people who perpetuated fucked up violence against Sylvia are still alive and high-profile leaders in the NYC LGBT “community” today.
So like yes, good, remember the oppressive weight of our history of transmisogyny…but also remember that this shit specifically ain’t even history, it’s the current reality of the NYC queer/trans hierarchy today—like not even figuratively, literally the same people who pulled shit like this on Sylvia are still alive n well n all over NYC cutting the ribbons to the newest Sylvia Rivera memorial n eulogizing her like they never tried to fucking kill her themselves.
Incredible commentary all over this post
i know i reblogged this before, but check out all this on point commentary
"N now there’s a whole homeless trans youth shelter on 36th st named after her, Sylvia’s Place, that kicked my TWOC friend out on the streets for testing positive for marijuana; failing to recognize how fucked up that is in a shelter named after a woman who struggled with addiction all her life, and was very vocal about the relationship between drug use and the stress of living under constant threats of violence."
I lived at Sylvia’s place for two years. Two years. And many of the people who work and lived there are friends of mine to this day. I want to make it extremely clear that my own first person knowledge of the way the shelter operated ends in 2008, but I also worked there as a volunteer throughout last winter. However I want to make something else very clear. Sylvia’s Place, located on the ground floor of Metropolitan Community Church where Sylvia was a member of the clergy, does not and has not ever had the money to afford to drug test their clients. The shelter is not funded by the city/state/gov’t in any way and all funds that are used by the shelter are donated by private donors. Why does it not receive any gov’t funding? Several reasons, the most important being that Sylvia’s is a shelter for homeless and at-risk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender youth between the ages of 18-24. This would classify the housing arrangements as co-ed. Now you probably feel like that shouldn’t matter since programs like The Covenant House, The Ali Forney Center, and Street Works also offer co-ed housing. Here’s the reason, Sylvia’s place is one room. The ground floor of MCC is just one large space with a kitchen area, two bathrooms, a three stall shower room, and a food pantry. Their is an open space of about 15x20 or so feet (not an expert on the measurements, but it is not that big) and that is where the youth sleep. That is where I slept. On the floor. Why don’t they have better facilities? Because they don’t have the money. And if they did file for government funding, they’d have to decide which side of the LGBT community to house, AMAB or AFAB and they won’t do that because that is just FUBAR.
Also, trans women are the priority at Sylvia’s. Always have been, always will be. TWOC especially. The staff there are two WOC and a TWOC who also runs the HIV Testing clinic they have and also runs their drop in time. These three women are dedicated to making sure that poc, especially twoc, are safe and housed, not left on the streets of NYC. And when it comes to drugs, Sylvia’s has always practiced a policy of Harm Reduction. The only time a client would be denied entry while intoxicated would be when they could no longer control themselves and had become a danger to the other clients. Translation? If you are stoned off your ass, you will not be kicked out because most likely you are going to be vegging the fuck out chowing down on canned veggies (because thats usually the best thing they have unless LaDedra has used her own money/foodstamps to do groceries and then cooked dinner and then you are in for the best fucking food you’ve ever tasted in your life). However if you are drunk as fuck, and an angry drunk, and you start swinging at folks, you’re going to be booted out because you are now making what should be a safe space into a place where people are feeling like they could be in danger.
So this claim that a twoc was booted out after testing positive for marijuana strikes me as extremely false. Even the drug tests you can buy ffor $30 at duane reade have a $150+ processing fee, and Sylvia’s can’t afford that. They can’t afford new cots for the youth. They can barely afford what they currently provide, so how are they going to add extra shit?
Word to the wise, do a little research on a place before you condemn it off the words of a friend. Sylvia’s Place is a valuable resource for twoc in NYC who need a place to stay and have nowhere else to go. Spreading rumors like the one quoted above is not only sloppy, it’s dangerous and can be seen as an act of violence against twoc who need a safe place to be because they will then feel like the one place they thought they could go was taken away from them. Don’t you dare take one more place away from twoc. Especially if it’s the last place we have.
btw, Sylvia’s place has been around since 2006, so it’s not something “brand new” like the quoted commenter tried to make it seem.
reblogging for the added commentary
There’s nowhere near enough of a support system for activists dealing with anxiety and depression that actually focuses on the reasons for that and not just within a general mental health context. Especially for those just starting to read articles and pick up books who are having to take in all this new information, much of it bloody and horrific, and then being expected to just get on with it as if it’s the same as watching the 10 o’clock news every night. I know no one should get special credits for educating themselves, but I can’t even imagine how many good activists have been lost through the damage to their mental health simply because of a lack of solidarity that could otherwise have reached out and offered them a hand. Actually making that distinction between simply keeping up with ‘current events’ and trying to understand them and deal with them on a personal level.
Something I’d like to get involved in I think.
Agreed, this is a real ‘elephant in the room’ when it comes to mental health here, especially when ‘the norm’ in the Western world is a harsh distraction from a lot of brutal realities that people in other parts of the world face daily. I’m always surprised how few NGOs there are to support activists as activists (impartial to cause), but then I realize that only activists would start such an organization and they’re either in the same place themselves or so deeply committed to another cause already.
There’s people who do this work: they’re the people who would (and do) dedicate energy in empowering their communit(ies) rather than arguing (fighting?) people with privilege. Both work is hard, both work is honorable. But there’s definitely this image of activism being work that is out on the battlefields, fighting. There isn’t much said about the healers. Or when there is, it’s on a level of appreciation, but just appreciation doesn’t open this bigger: into larger, perhaps professional?? fields that dedicate energy SPECIFICALLY healing and dealing with mental health issues and providing support around that.
There’s a guy I know who confessed that he fell out of activist work after his best friend died: they’d been protesting class inequalities and here in Philly that’s very racialized too, but throw in police brutality, gentrification, etc. And healing that comes from grief of a loved one has its support (and you’re sent back to college, you’re pushed to get a job), but there is no support given for going back and working in a space that was not only exhausting to begin with, but is now PAINFUL too, on a very, very personal note.
So when you don’t happen to be lucky enough to have a support system that will help buffer the pain, or at least give support through the daily ins and outs, and the mental breakdowns that come with working in something so emotionally exhausting— it’s hard. It’s ridiculously hard. And it pushes people away.
all im sayin is in any radical community, whether leftist or sjw or whatever the fuck, the main functioning of the community are typically the maintenance of power thru the control of discourse and the policing of expression, which is no different than any other manifestation of capital/social relations, just a different method of approaching it.
but yea, discourse/ways of speaking/false principles of radicalism are what is used to maintain power structures that already exist in all avenues of capital, and its no different because those false principles APPEAR to be “good” ones.
1. Kids don’t drop out of school, they’re pushed out because the knowledge is not meaningful.
2. Activism is not about convenience. I cannot be antiracist all day and then go home at 5 o’clock, put my feet up and be a bigot.
3. As a white person you can walk away when you get tired about talking about white privilege. A person of colour cannot walk away.
4. I can speak English. The gift of 200 years of colonialism: you come out of your mother’s womb speaking English.
5. I had an arranged marriage. I arranged it myself.
6. Language is not neutral. Language is political.
7. The Sharia Hysteria: if you want it you’re a Neanderthal, if you don’t want it you are a liberal.
8. Muslims do not have a monopoly on oppressing women.
9. I don’t get offended anymore. If I’m continually insulted I am frozen into inaction.
10. If I am the standard and you are different from me then I have the power.
11. When you get tired of anti-racism and social justice, remember those who cannot walk away. You’ve got to stand with them.
12. I don’t mind being an immigrant. But my children were born here — their imagination of home begins and end in Canada. I can go home to Pakistan but this is home to my children.
13. Pakistan has been colonized for 200 years but the colonizers went home. They left behind their cronies to watch over us.
14. I didn’t know I was being a feminist until I came here a week ago. I thought I was just a woman who liked to fight.
15. We have to fight together. We have been marginalized and oppressed and if we’re not careful we’re going to marginalize and oppress someone else.
16. Everyone wants to save the muslim woman. Some want to put the hijab on me and save me; some want to take hijab off me and save me; some want to bomb us and save me. Just give me a break man! I can save myself! I don’t need Western imperialism to save me or Western feminism riding on the coattails of Western imperialism to save me. I can save myself.
17. Just because we are doing social justice does not mean we are socially just.
18. We [immigrants and refugees] don’t come here to live in poverty. We don’t come for the weather and we don’t come for the food – we bring the food! We come for the democracy.
19. To hurt someone is to sin. To watch someone else get hurt and do nothing is a greater sin.
20. If you are a man you can be a feminist – if you are a man you
must be a feminist because if you’re not, you’re part of the problem.
21. I wish all I had to worry about was [my son’s] baggy pants and who he dates. I have to worry if he’s going to get arrested, if he’s playing basketball, out with his Black and Arab friends. This is part of mothering for black mothers, aboriginal mothers, and now it is true for Muslim mothers.
— Quotes by Uzma Shakir - Muslim woman and feminist. (via khoaahish)
We have to let go of treating each other like not knowing, making mistakes, and saying the wrong thing make it impossible for us to ever do the right things.
And we have to remind ourselves that we once didn’t know. There are infinitely many more things we have yet to know and may never know.
We have to let go of a politic of disposability. We are what we’ve got. No one can be left to their fuck ups and the shame that comes with them because ultimately we’ll be leaving ourselves behind.
I want us to use love, compassion, and patience as tools for critical dialogue, fearless visioning, and transformation. I want us to use shared values and visions as proactive measures for securing our future freedom. I want us to be present and alive to see each other change in all of the intimate ways that we experience and enact violence.
I want our movements sustainable, angry, gentle, critical, loving — kicking ass and calling each other back in when we stray.
— Ngọc Loan Trần, "Calling IN: A Less Disposable Way of Holding Each Other Accountable" (via conradtao)
tbh I’m really glad this post is taking over my dash. more ppl need to have this concept on their radar… if I had a quarter for every time I had to listen to some brogressive or manarchist or Feminist talk about how to steal groceries or whatever while throwing the low-wage workers held responsible for product loss under the bus and straight up saying they “didn’t care” bc “punishing corporations” and “refusing to pay for resources” that they COULD pay for, in order to make a point, was more important to them than low wage workers who are collateral damage.
When a great man like Nelson Mandela passes, it’s also common to wonder if we’ll ever see his kind again. But there’s no doubt that the Nelson Mandelas and Martin Luther Kings and Václav Havels of the 21st Century are stridng among us. But you can’t see it, because if he or she was shaking hands with world leaders and greeted by adoring throngs and serenaded by children’s choirs, then they wouldn’t be the next true Mandela or King or Havel.
No, the next Nelson Mandela of the world is rotting in a jail cell tonight, just like Mandela nearly withered for 27 years on Robben Island. Or he is on someone’s terrorist watch list, or she is segregated and searched every time she travels through an international airport. Somewhere, government spies are reading the emails of the next Nelson Mandela. They are tracking his cell phone and listening to his calls, or monitoring her meetings with their undercover cops.
Many of the other people who today are uttering bland platitudes about the dead Mandela will go back tomorrow to heaping scorns on the living ones. They are the shameless radio hosts and TV pundits and their army of dittoheads who see an advocate for justice and call him a “Communist,” who look at someone who wants to liberate her people and brand her a “terrorist,” who find someone willing to live in a tent city to call attention to inequality and call them a urine soaked rapist, who lash out at someone who dares to believe in peace as “naive,” or a “dirty (bleep)ing hippie.”
The next Martin Luther King or Aung San Suu Kyi could be anywhere right now — advocating for gay rights in Putin’s repressive Russia, playing the piano in front of a line of riot police in Kiev, getting arrested in Raleigh to fight for the voting rights of minorities and young people or growing up in a small village in Pakistan, dreaming of peace even after a flying robot has killed his neighbors.
Today’s Václav Havel is fighting for the unspeakable today, so that the unspeakable will be normal by the time that he or she is old or dead. Gay rights are his segregated water fountains, economic inequality is her apartheid, fracking is his mercury poisoning.
The Nelson Mandela of the 21st Century is right here, right now. We just can’t see it. We’re too busy spitting on him and calling him a terrorist.
Other than that, this whole thing is on point.