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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels across country in my mobile billboard truck as I attempt to engage in dialogue with people in hopes to wake us up and inspire action to change our country and communities and selves. And it is froth with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society and life we want

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

"Inclusivity": then and now to be continued...

Womyn have ALWAYS been pressured to be "inclusive" and because as females we are kind and loving, we tend to strive to be "inclusive", as making sure no one feels left out, or no one's feelings are hurt, etc.etc.etc.

"Inclusive" has also become a 'pass' for white people, a softening of "anti-racism" or "white awareness to racism". "Inclusivity" and/or "valuing diversity" have failed miserably because it is not the treasuring of 'others' that is the problem, or even the goal but the identifying HOW whites or males are carefully taught to discriminate, identifying the ways in which we have taken in stereotypes and fears, figuring out the structures that are ensuring racism and misogyny thrive - these are 

I think we need to examine the term "inclusivity" and why it has so much power that it dominates 'liberal' thinking.
We don't have to be fuckin 'inclusive' - the reason 'inclusive' ever became a 'liberal' bent was because white male dominated institutions, etc., excluded womyn from participation as well as men of color.
In real racist & misogynist life, it is usually ONLY people who are in the discriminated-against class that are pressured to be fuckin 'inclusive'.
Men have ALWAYS had 'issues' with womyn spaces that excluded them - not that they have to be 'excluded' directly but just to say 'womyn's space' makes them feel excluded. Same with Black space or Native space, etc.
Fuck 'inclusive' as a force to dominate our spaces.. It is not our issue - we must maintain the right as an oppressed class of people to gather with our own.
Once we are no longer oppressed as lesbians and womyn, then we can worry about being 'inclusive' but until then, we can not allow liberal pressure to dominate us or our spaces.
My 2 cents. Sorry I'm so sporadically involved - as I'm traveling I don't have consistent internet access or even cell phone access.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

walmart

I do end up spending the night at walmart - Bryan, the gunslinging kiosk worker revealed he had lived in his truck in the parking lot of walmart and gave me very specific directions to the best place to park.

I found the quiet corner lot occupied with only one or two other campers and slept peacefully, despite trying to rouse myself in the middle of the night when I heard young excited voices praising the messages on my truck, one young womon saying seeing my truck made her whole day, no her whole month, no her whole life! Try as I did, I couldn't get out of bed but just listened to their passionate chatter.

This walmart closed at midnite but opened a 6am when I was out of bed and heading from the back parking lot to the front door and the bathroom. First I was concerned about the early hour and making myself too visible but when I rounded the corner, I saw the parking lot was at least half full of early morning shoppers! I had to count over 50 cars and trucks already in the lot. UFB And not one junker among what could have passed for a dealership lot.

I decide to take the short 1.2mile walk in the cool of the morning to the Hardscrabble storefront where my reading will be today or tomorrow - I'm hoping for today as I've reservation at Acadia National Park beginning tomorrow and I'm hoping to be able to flyer a little around Bangor on my way to Bar Harbor!


Friday, July 13, 2018

walmart and guns


I’m trying to avoid spending the night in the walmart parking lot which I’ve only had to do once over the past 16 years and that was when parking on the street in Wildwood NJ the police banged on the door at 2a.m. and told me to move. I had my grandson with me at the time so we shuffled off to the Walmart parking lot where dozens of campers were spending the night.

I considered parking in front of the venue where I’m to do a reading tomorrow or Sunday, but big “No Overnight Parking” signs dot the avenue. I decide to check out the state campground a couple miles down the road. I would especially like to plug in if it’s available to keep my fridge on all nite, something that is no longer happening. When I get a minute to troubleshoot, I’m going to have someone test my batteries and then my inverter.

I pull up to the kiosk at the campground and jump out my truck, batting away an avalanche of mosquitoes, and approach the tall, skinny white man in a long-sleeved ranger shirt and pants despite the lingering heat, a hat on his head and full long beard covering almost every inch of his face, neck plunging into his chest.

He tells me I have to pay $26 plus cents for a campsite as I’m out of state. I ask first for a senior discount and then an in-state rate, both he denies me claiming his job would be on the line. Before I can leave and get out of the cloud of mosquitoes, he first tells me he’s dyslexic (so he can’t really read my missives) but then brings up guns and how he’ll never give them up.

I silently thank the many folks that have provided me with love and support and energy so I can confront this young white man.

So before he can get too descriptive about gun control people, I tell him I don’t believe in gun control, I believe in gun elimination, which prevents him from launching into a disparaging attack on whimpy gun control peeps.

He states unequivocally that he will NEVER give up his guns and from his litany of AKs and ARs and pistols, I get that he has an arsenal. I tell him of course, he’s a white man and if white men didn’t have guns – plus the willingness to take human life – they would not have been able to wipe out almost all the indigenous people on this land, nor go to another continent and enslave African people nor keep people enslaved on this land. White men need their guns because their character is not strong enough, they are not human enough to go through life without using violence to dominate others and seize what they want.

My exit into my truck and from the park is delayed by many more minutes as he digests this while I urge him to look at guns a little differently. He wants me to understand he’s been raised here in northern Maine with a rifle over his shoulder and a sleeping bag tucked under his arm, going hunting to provide food for his family.

After bonding with him over  guns for food and not for sport, I attempt to then separate elimination of the guns for killing humans. He of course sneers as he repeats the ‘guns don’t kill people’ mantra that I scoff at and say sure, neither does poison or radiation or propane explosions. Puleeeeeeze. I think he gets the connection but then brings up his dad, the one who didn’t spare the rod.

His dad is a disabled Vietnam vet with a litany of injuries from agent orange to napalm to shrapnel.  And those are just the physical ones. He is also mentally and emotionally fucked, his 29 year old son claims. I can’t imagine what his life must have been like trying to embrace life while living under the same roof as a father fucked by his participation in war. But I see the impact of war decades after the fighting has ceased.

When I finally extricate myself from the conversation, Bryan grabs me in a bear hug as he exalts my courage, asking my permission to take photos of my truck and to post on facebook.  I’d like to be a cambridge analytica spy on his fb page but I jump in my truck and try to leave the mosquitoes and Bryan way behind.
 

What more is there to say?

Before entering walmart, I drive around a little trying to get a feel for this town. Neither my cell or text nor my mobile data works, leaving me without wifi unless I find a connection somewhere. I might have to resign myself to walmart tonite....grrrrr

I pick up another tail so I decide I better cut my exploring short - not that there's much here to explore, it becomes country very quickly - and head to walmart. When I park, another car pulls in right next to me.

Another womon and man jumps out their vehicle to rush over and give me joyous hugs. I realize after my previous conversation, I was prepared for some white rage but these are but two more Native people standing with me, united by my fiery messages against violence, against racism, against hatred.

Brenda is shorter than me but younger. This time I do understand when she declares she's Micmac as is her husband. She refers to a 'base' where they live and, at my ignorant stare, explains that it was previously Loring Air Force Base that is now housing for her people. I ask if it was built after WWII and she nods, 1947. I sigh, remembering when I first fled my husband, I landed for a brief moment in what were the projects - military housing thrown up quickly at the end of the war: small, flimsy structures that were condemned to be bulldozed until someone decided it was a good place to house the poor.

I ask her how folks are fairing these days, under this fascist regime and she looks deep into my eyes and asks if I really think there's been a difference. "We've always struggled. Womyn have always been disappeared. Potato farmers have always been destroying our land. What more is there to say?"

I nod, knowing how I want to prostrate myself weeping before every Native person, every Black person, every person of color, wanting to say something to acknowledge the vicious violence they have suffered and continue suffering by the hands and weapons of people who look like me, white people, to let people of color know I see them, I know what has been/is being done, I'm against what has been/is being done, and I will put my body between them and harm whenever I am able.

She beams at me, our eyes glistening, and thanks me for being the one to say more. We hug without me saying anything else, sharing our connection.


Enthusiastic welcome!

I've arrived in Presque Isle - which is not an island at all - which appears to be not just bigger than Houlton, the town I just left, but many more people of color are visible here.

I pull over on Main St in front of the place where I will be reading (hopefully tomorrow) but as I jump out of the truck to check it out, I see a very big, tall man is behind my truck, camera in front of his face, filming and a very short broadly smiling womon is rapidly approaching me.

"We've been following you" she exclaims. "We're so happy you stopped. We LOVE your truck!" and she proceeds to hug me.

They are both from Canada, crossing the border to join in ceremony with her Nation outside this town, Sharon waves her hand toward the river and woods on the other side of Main St. She tells me the name of her people and her husband's people, but I don't catch it and am too ashamed to admit my ignorance.

They must be in their 50's but when I ask them how they met, their smiles are still fond and loving as they describe the ceremony they both attended as teenagers. They've never left each other nor this land where their people first thrived for 10's of thousands of years and then figured out how to survive the assault of white men. They both talk about the racism they've experienced all their lives. They talk about the uptick in violence since tRump and caution me with how this is tRump territory.

Some white men on loud motorcycles roar by as we're speaking and Vern looks knowingly in my direction. I invite them to come to my book reading but they're heading home after ceremony.

I continue across the street to the empty storefront, leave my card in the door, and decide to head to check out the walmart situation just in case that's my only option for tonite. I would have parked in front of my reading venue but every 10 or 20 feet there's a sign declaring "No Overnite Parking" so I'll check out both walmart and the campground.




More love

I'm emerging from the walmart bathroom - the only thing I do in walmart - and a young man swiftly approaches me, his hand stiffly extended, head shaved, as he declares his intention to shake my hand.

I really don't know if he is seriously congratulating me or mocking me. I keep my phone in my right hand and grasp his with my left. I first thought he was short and chubby but I realize up close he is short and solid, he must work out.

He is nervous as if he doesn't normally talk to strangers, wide dark eyes glued to mine, but determined to get out what he wants to say. And he has plenty to say.

About every single one of my messages and his inability to find the words to express how much he agrees with everything, how much it meant to him to see my truck parked here, how much he wants me to stay in this town until everyone has painted their vehicles with the same messages.

He tells me his dad is from El Centro CA and I think maybe he's Chicano and he's never been to California, only as far south as Virginia and as far west as Illinois but one day, he's so wistful I assure him heartily he's gonna make, his deepest longing is to live in California.

He says he really doesn't have time to talk, he's on an errand for work, but he had to risk finding me and expressing his thoughts and appreciation.

We shake properly this time, and smile sincerely, tinged with sadness.

Houlton Peace Activists and Vigil

I enthusiastically approach the 6 white people, most standing but two sitting hunched over walkers in the middle, already holding banners and vigiling for peace. The two ancient-looking ones in the middle put their fingers to their lips, scolding my noise and I suddenly remember this is a silent vigil.

I apologize profusely and stand at the end of the line, determined to keep my mouth shut. I communicate with the sparsely passing vehicles by throwing up my arm topped with the peace symbol. I'm silently pleased with the number of white people passing - both men and womyn - who return the gesture, nodding in agreement.

We did not get one fuck you! Even the white male driver of the loudest old pickup truck racing by first frowns and stares, and then returns the peace symbol, almost begrudgingly, but he get's his arm in the window and into the air!

I learn that this vigil has been happening every single Friday - rain, shine, snow, sleet, minus 40 degree weather - since 9/11. And not only that, the womon who's the organizer declares, her and her husband have only been alone - she holds up crooked, swollen fingers in front of our faces - only three times! All the other times, they've been joined by more people.

I'm marveling at their commitment and tenaciousness. I challenge "even in the snow?" Another womon speaks up and points to the warm blue skies and grass under our feet and says they bring snow shovels and have to make a path so they can stand on frozen ground instead of in a snow drift.

They do admit that when it's 40 below zero, they cut their vigil short to 15 minutes...and I am chilled to the bone even though it must be in the 80's today.

I am sooooo glad I made it to this bastion of tRump supporters and met these white folks willing to stand and ensure their voice for peace is counted. No wonder most of their neighbors express support!

Wired in Houlton

If you ever get to Houlton, you must come 9:00 on a Friday so you can stop in at Wired Cafe on Market Square, Main St. Jim, a tall, very pale and welcoming white man has owned this cafe for only a year and is well on the way to making it a community treasure.

There's not only space for eating, drinking coffee (altho don't expect plain, hardy black coffee, it might even be flavored...yuck!) and connecting to the "best wifi" probably in a 100 mile radius, but he also has two other small rooms he makes available for meetings and conferences or conference calls!

And he would have hosted one of my readings had I gotten it together to let him know.

I park my truck in the middle of the square so I can keep an eye on it and attempt to engage with folks I see stopping to read. Several times, people flee into the opposite direction as they see me approach and even before I can reach them.

The couple people - most everyone seems to be white in this town - who do approach me are 'newbies' even though one man said he's lived here 37 years. And even better, are on my team, as my grandchild would say.

So come support Jim.

Plus there's a co-op in the next block in a beautiful old building with a variety of farmers offering their product as well as health-related items from small businesses, and even a few antiques and reproductions of farm merchandise. 

Smaller portions

I made the most delicious soup this morning after passing the entire night uneventfully at the rest area just outside of Houlton ME on I-95. I’m trying to make smaller portions instead of my usual huge pot of soup or large jars of blended veggies and fruit for my daily drinks intended to last several days. But because my solar is not running my fridge for the entire night and I end up dumping spoiled food, I’m trying to make just enuff for one day. This is very difficult, especially if you’re trying to make sure the veggies you buy don’t spoil before you cook them.

A white womon outside the bathroom smiles broadly at me and tells me she likes my shirt. I’m a little surprised as the road to Houlton has been filled with ‘fuck yous’, well as filled as lonely stretches of highway can be. It seemed like every pickup truck and car driven by whites felt moved to give me the finger.

I ask her where she’s from and she tells me Ontario to which I respond, “oh, no wonder!” to which she, looking puzzled asks me what I mean so I tell her that even with the ponderous numbers of whites here, there haven’t been many white people who have responded positively to “Death to Racism”.

The other thing I notice is that my phone keeps changing time: I get up, it says 6:00am. I start my 30 minute jog and it says 7:13a.m. I question my memory – did I just spend an hour doing something so rotely that I forgot?

But by the time I finish my jog and finish cooking, it’s back to 8:30 when it should be 9:30! I find out we’re on a time border: it’s an hour later in Canada! I guess that would be Newfoundland.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Kicked off FB..

I'm heading to Houlton where tomorrow they are having a Peace Vigil by the "Peace Pole". I've been trying to schedule a reading there with a coffee shop and with the UU people as well.

The UU people haven't returned my email or call but Jim, the owner of the cafe, has sent me a facebook message saying he's never hosted a reading there but he's open to doing it! I attempt to message him back and find out I've been axed from facebook for 24 hours!

UFB. I've expected to get censored because of my posts where I express my opinion that there is a difference between sex and gender: that sex is female and male, and that gender are the roles and conditions a patriarchal, racist, misogynist society places on sex. I believe womyn have yonis and men have penises.

This belief is deemed "transphobic" by the transdomination peeps, therefore grounds to silence me on facebook.

But that hasn't happened.

What did happen is that I (again) posted the truth about white male violence: I posted that 154 mass murders have been committed this year alone since January 2018. Not one of these murders was committed by a womon, nor have any of these murders been committed by a Black or brown man - but all have been committed by white men. White men are the MOST violent people in our country.

And I was cut off fb for pointing out this truth, saying my post was against the fb community! Weeeellll we know who is making up that 'community'!

Anyway, I was unable to respond to Jim who told me he'd be in his cafe until 2:30pm. I wanted to flyer some places in Bangor for my reading scheduled for the 17th so I knew I wasn't going to be able to make it to Houlton in time to meet him - but I couldn't tell him so because no facebook!

Plus I'm unable to make or receive neither phone calls nor texts. My mobile data rarely works to allow me internet access but the rest stops here in Maine have wifi which does allow me to get internet!

I do post and hand out a few flyers around Bangor before heading out for Houlton and cross fingers, folks - especially white folks - will show up! We'll see!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

I was one of those womyn...


An old white womon, her step determined, descends the steps of the rest stop and approaches me shyly in the parking lot, her head slightly bent as she gestures toward my “End Violence Against Womyn & Children” sign. Her round cheeks sport a glossy red glow as she quietly shares her secret with me: “I was one of those womyn,” she states. Then she rushes to explain “My first marriage, my first husband…”. I nod and reach out my arms as I share “Me too!”

Our hug is quick as she struggles to put her pain and maybe shame back into its container. She smiles weakly as she states hopefully “But it’s not the same anymore. Womyn are speaking up.”

I agree with her, but just conditionally. I remember the last few times I was in jail and the womyn there with bruises on bodies, swollen eyes, young but shuffling like old broken womyn. The ones who were “speaking up”, who told the story of calling 911 afraid for their lives, as they fought off boyfriends or husbands or exes and the police arresting her and the man who was attacking her. The ‘new’ policy of police departments especially and probably only in red states where blatant misogyny and racism rule: arrest them both because police cannot be the judge of who is at fault, the courts will decide.

I don’t want to share this with this womon already folded into herself. She smiles sadly and softly tells me “it never leaves you, does it?” I cautiously put my arm around her trembling shoulder and agree but add “when it’s not a secret anymore, when I could finally talk about it with other womyn, the sharing helps lighten the burden of that man’s violence.”

She agrees as her cheeks start to pale so I add “it also voids the shame to know I did nothing wrong, you did nothing wrong, we did not do a thing to deserve to be hit.”

She then confides that she never once hit her children and we marvel, as I also never hit my child, that maybe that was the best thing to come out of male abuse: you are determined to never be the abuser. But I am quick to point out that we probably would not have hit our children anyway.

We hug and I remember to be very soft as I feel how fragile her bony shoulders and back are, watching out for arthritis and old injuries. She smiles shyly again as she turns away and begins her walk down the sidewalk, away from me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

100% lesbian support...0% monetary support from the boys!

I have connected with a LGBT meet-up group tonight having a potluck at a UU church community room where I'm going to be speaking for a few minutes about my book.

There are all men attending the dinner gathering - all white men except one Black man - and one white lesbian.

The men are welcoming and mostly open to listening as I share briefly my book, even asking questions and participating in discussion.

The one and only other womon and lesbian in the room buys my book but not one man purchases it, even thought many verbally express their support for my work. Oh well.

I invite them to my reading in Buxton in a couple weeks but no one signs up to attend.


Saturday, July 07, 2018

The unsilencing of a radical feminist in dialogue with a transperson


The good news is my first biz cards are printed! The bad news is that I had my first awful reading today, in beautiful Vermont in a pretty ‘liberal’ city that probably boasts the most people of color in the state.

And it’s my fault, of course. The reading was actually going quite well until the young white lesbian womon started using the term “cis” several times. I felt I had to intervene and pre-empt her also using “terf”. I said I find those terms offensive and I hoped we could use other terms.

I then allowed the discussion to morph into a focus on transdomination politics vs radical feminism. In hindsight I realize I should have either brought the focus back to my book or I could have talked about the danger of being trapped into those moments of superiority we need to feel good about ourselves while we put others down.

Ranking privilege while ranking oppression: cis, trans, non-bionary, gender-fluid, queer etc.etc.etc. creating a bombardment of genders.

And I should have expressed my willingness even desire to dialogue about transdomination and radical feminism AFTER the reading was over and maybe even in another location and/or time (altho my time here is very limited.)

Instead these two young people – one a white lesbian the other a bi-racial (Black & white) man seeking to pass as a woman – attempted to explain to me why sex is a designation of the state and therefore should be abolished as it is laden with stereotypes (my word) and limitations.

The saddest thing to me is the fact that these young people who are bold and fierce in their challenging of gender boxes should be my dearest allies and bravest accomplices, and me theirs. Instead they label me as the enemy, me and my generation as the ones who are oppressing queer and trans people (notice how ‘queer’ is supposedly ‘inclusive’ but ‘trans’ often gets taken out of queer to accentuate it?), especially those of us they think of as “cis” radical lesbians – as if ANY lesbian can be “cis” in keeping with their definition.

The bottom line, the bulwark of transdomination is founded on the belief that biology doesn’t exist – or as these two young people rotely mimicked biology/science is a product of the state…i.e. the state is white “cis” men therefore is sexist, racist, and transphobic and needs to be abolished.

They told me that doctors – again, mostly white “cis” men – assign sex at birth. And again this belief is the ‘bedrock’ of the transdomination peeps, as if. I wanted to ask “okay, the sex-blind doc, what should he say when a baby is born – oh the baby's not an elephant or a bumble bee or tree stump so I'll assign it 'human'?”

I repeated the statement I had read earlier from a young womon whose sex WAS assigned at birth because she was one of the less than 1% of all human births where her sex was ambiguous and therefore the doctor assigned her female sex. She said that the trans notion that “sex is assigned” is an appropriation of her group of people whose sex IS assigned at birth; everyone else is born either female or male.

My two young people shake their heads vigorously and in unison as they both insist they are not appropriating anything. OK.

I tried to say it’s not the appearance of a yoni or a penis on a baby that is sexist or racist or transphobic – or misogynist – but the assigning of GENDER laid upon the child within minutes after birth (i.e. the pink for girls and blue for boys, etc.) that is oppressive. I tried to distinguish between sex and gender, but they weren’t having it. I tried to point out denying sex while also challenging gender is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, the baby being ‘sex’, the bathwater being ‘gender’. They weren’t having that either.

The male-to-trans young person claimed I was being hoodwinked by science to believe that there’s a male and female and I wanted but didn’t have time to say “no, I don’t need any science or man to tell me but I just look around Mother Earth and can see for myself 99.9% of all life has a male and a female.”

I boiled when this young man started dissing radical feminists. I asked him if he’s ever spoken with a radical feminist and he, shaking his head vigorously, claimed he didn’t have to in order to know who ‘they’ are. He even said his mom now calls herself a “feminist radical” because of who radical feminists are.

Really? Fuckin really? So transdomination (who believes womyn do not have the right to determine for ourselves who womyn are but males raised as boys and now living for a mere second as what they believe women are) get to change our definition and reality of radical feminists even in the eyes of womyn? Wow – internalized misogyny not to mention another rewriting of herstory.

When I (repeatedly) point out that I’ve worked my whole life to smash gender boxes so we all can be free to decide for ourselves what it means to be a womon, what it means to be a man, that I’m a gender abolitionist, he tells me radical feminist - including he points out, me! - have never fought for his liberation or the liberation of queer people that only transpeople have. Then he cites ‘facts’ that it was transpeople who were the ones who fought at Stonewall, transpeople who were the ones who fought for queer rights, transpeople who did everyfuckinthing.

I tried to say there wasn’t even such a notion as transgender during Stonewall and not even until the last 10 or 15 years and that he’s rewriting history: they were gays, lesbians, queens, transvestites and transexuals - communities working together.

He responded by saying he’s quoting someone “the revolution will be fought by the young” and I’m like bring it on, what the fuck ru waiting for but I ask him if he doesn’t think that might be an ageist statement. He stares at me intently and repeats the slogan even as I think we’re gonna need everyfuckinbody if we’re really gonna have a revolution in this country. But then he lectures me about how I really need to study misogyny (re-a-fuckin-ly) and how I’m perpetuating and the perpetrator of the isms and I need to listen to him and young people. I do listen to him for a good 3 minutes as he spews his youthful condemnation and ignorance. As he’s finishing he rises and begins to walk out.

I ask him if he’s really leaving after I listened so patiently to him is he not interested also in what I have to say or does he just want to dump his thoughts on me and leave? He claims he has no interest in what I have to say, he's leaving and I let him know he’s behaving like a typical male, overpowering/dominating the conversation, getting out his righteous point of view and then not bothering to allow anyone to reciprocate. How fuckin male.

How fuckin male.

And the young dyke murmurs her ‘thank you’ as she trails out behind her friend. I feel most badly for her, as I believe she really wanted to continue the conversation. Maybe one day we can all continue the conversation.