oncejadedtwicesnarked: Spivak is looking disgruntled and pissed. (Default)
Jaded ([personal profile] oncejadedtwicesnarked) wrote2012-03-18 20:27

On contexts and conflicts


[TRIGGER WARNING]


Thing # 1: 


Most progressive movements get their sense of "edge" and "radicality" by critiquing their predecessors. The feminists talk of the New Left, accusing them of sexism and silencing, the queer movements talk of feminists saying feminists have too much of a moral tone, they are too queasy when it comes to matters of sex and the body -- as if each movement can fully disengage with the legacy they have. Feminists have methodological tools from the New Left (especially the socialist feminisms of the 80's), queer movements owe their beginnings in feminist interrogation of the body within public and private spaces. I am not saying the problems within and between these movements don't exist, or even saying "infighting" is "distracting us". But the truth remains, we're too caught up in carving out the newest radical niche for our movements by critiquing (and never engaging) with the histor(ies) of other movements. It's a series of non-conversations that have consequences, that we are not quite ready to talk about. 


Thing # 2 :


Bombay High Court Justice H Bhatia goes on record to say, "[...] children, after becoming adults need their parents' permission to stay in their personal property", where the subtext of his statement means, in a patriarchal and kinship-network societal structure as ours, women shouldn't assume their parents house will support/put up with them after their marriage. Corroborate that with the new stats on increasing rates of domestic violence (just when the domestic violence bill is being debated on in the legislation), he believes women have no stake in the natal families -- material, emotional and otherwise. 


Thing # 3 :


Earlier this month, a woman in Kolkata was gang raped at gun point, the Chief Minister of the State (West Bengal) Mamta Banerjee has made various statements, ranging from calling the gang raped as "staged", (as is customary) made some comments on the "way the woman was dressed" and then even went on to say, the woman's husband (or ex, or deceased husband, it's quite unclear whom was she addressing) was a member of the CPI(M) [Communist party of India, {Marxist}] and thus such "promiscuous" behaviour is to be expected. The CPI(M), being the opposition party at this point, made some statements saying she is being insensitive to women, among other things. 


Thing # 4 :


Two days ago, a woman working in a pub in Gurgaon, Delhi was gang raped and the questions du jour range from, "Are there no "respectable" jobs left for women in this country that they have to do this job?", "Pub going girls deserve this" and "maybe she was a prostitute and the men refused to pay her the amount she was charging, that's why she's crying rape". One of the 'solutions' the Delhi Police Force is steering towards is pressuring pub owners to install CCTV's in pubs, to 'monitor' such "grey areas". 


Thing # 5


All of these instances happened in late February, early March -- I'm not even trailing back to see what other such simultaneous events have gone on. Here are three issues the New Left, feminists and queers have a stake in. The CPI(M) could ally with feminists in Kolkata as the first hearing of the gang-rape is going to be soon, work together against the control and moral policing of the State, as it manifests in Banerjee's statements. Feminists could engage with the queer movement for both the Bombay High Court statements as well as the Gurgaon rape case, as both deal in extremely overt ways of marking what is "private", what part of "private" can one be a part of, and which parts of the "private" can be unmonitored. 


I'm not calling for a naive "why can't we just be happy together", but why is there such little dialogue between the three progressive movements -- especially where there is so much naming and shaming, so clearly *some* networks of communication are in place. 


We could be talking about safer work spaces, safer roads, safe access to work and roads, instead of tackling the State just from the framework of our movement(s). 


Meanwhile, there is increased violence, moral, sexual policing and monitoring by the State -- I fail to see how these two are not connected. 

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ETA: A friend pointed me towards Sanhati, spoke to a couple of people on the organisation. Seems like this lack of communication between the progressive movements concerns them too,