RAG Open Meeting Monday 12th Jan: Feminism and Disability

Below is the event notice for our first open meeting in a while - now that the push to get the Rag #3 on your shelves is out of the way! Please forward it on to whoever you think might be interested. All welcome - just turn up - or drop us a line for more info. Updates regarding Seomra accessibility will be edited into this post.

7/1/09 - Update! There will be a ramp and meeting will be on the ground floor, but sadly, work on the toilet is behind schedule and it will not be accessible in time. But the good news is that the meeting has been the impetus to get work started on it! Apologies to all who this inconveniences.

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RAG Open Meeting: Feminism and Disability

The first RAG open meeting for 2009 will take place on Monday 12th Jan at 7-9pm in Seomra Spraoi (see below for location/access details). The purpose of our open meetings is to explore issues from different perspectives to contribute to the production of an article for the next issue of our magazine.

The title of this meeting is Feminism and Disability. With it we hope to open a dialogue between disabled and non-disabled feminist and queer activists. All are welcome to attend. Any further action arising from the meeting is up to those who participate.

If you would like to participate/ share your hopes/ideas but are unable to make the meeting, you are welcome to email us ragdublin@riseup.net.

For more information, email or ring 086 0794776.

*Seomra Spraoi* is a voluntarily-run social centre recently reopened at 10 Belvedere Court. Map and more info here: www.seomraspraoi.org. Room can be somewhat cold. Buses serving: 10, 10a, 121, 122, 145, 38, 41b/c, 46a/b/c/d/e, 63. Stop is on Mounjoy Square. Some parking available outside. If you need a lift or you intend to drive and can offer a lift, please email RAG. Work is ongoing to make building more accessible at the moment - there will be a wheelchair ramp and accessible toilet in the new year. Please make sure to check ragdublin.blogspot.com - we will confirm when building has been adapted. If you have childcare or other specific needs please email us in advance and we will attempt to help out.

seomra spraoi map

*RAG* is an anarchist feminist publishing collective. Issue 3 of our annual magazine "the Rag" is now available. See www.ragdublin.blogspot.com

Thanks to all who attended our launch


A massive thanks to all who attended the launch of The Rag no.3 on Saturday, we had a fantastic time. Thanks to Drunk Granny, Jakko's amazing karaoke, DJs Natalia and Eilis and everyone who danced.

A special mention to Seomra Spraoi we couldn't have had a better venue and greatly appreciate the serious work put in to get the building ready for the night. It was perfect. Thanks to those who worked for the night and also helped with the tidying up afterwards.

Feminism and disability

The next RAG open meeting will look at feminism and disability. All are welcome to attend.

***NB date for this meeting was to be on 5th but it is now 12th, watch this space for confirmation and further details ***

When: 7pm, Monday, 12th January 2009.
Where: Seomra Spraoi, 10 Belvedere Court, near Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1.

More details to follow.

Launch of the Rag 3 - Saturday 29th November


The Rag no. 3 magazine launch


The RAG Collective are launching issue 3 of our fantastic magazine 'the Rag'.

This Saturday, 29th November 2008 from 6pm til late.
Food, music, dancing. BYOB.


Aren't you excited?


The launch will be on Saturday 29th Novemeber from 6pm.
at the all new Seomra Spraoi social centre
(www.seomraspraoi.org)
10 Belvedere Court, off Mountjoy square.

Yummy veggie food from 6pm!
Child friendly events from 6-9pm!
Bands from 9pm, including Clodagh Kerley, Drunk Granny and more.
Funky DJ's and disco dancing (your input requested...)
BYOB

Only €6/€5 including a tasty vegetarian meal and your coveted copy of our new mag. An excellent chance to see the new Seomra Spraoi building.

The Rag 3!

Issue 3 of the Rag magazine is ready! We brought it to the anarchist bookfair in London over the weekend, sold heaps at our stall and got bundles off with some distributers - Housmans bookshop, Freedom Press, AK Press, Active Distribution, Natterjack Press, and Handmedown distro. (Handmedown in particular is a wonderful anarcha-feminist resource - do have a look at their website.)
We couldn't carry enough for everyone but will be posting more off to distibuters shortly.

Oddly enough we have yet to launch in Ireland - or get it to distributers here! We will have to get it the right way around next year. It may have been because we only managed to get it printed the day before we were due to go to the bookfair - last minute has never looked so good! So watch this space for details of Irish launch and international availability. We welcome new distributers - mail us if you want us to post you any in bulk (5+) .

We will also get this blog updated with the new cover etc over the next week, and hopefully get a whole new website together soon (we are actually working on this!)

On a side-note, it was gratifying to witness the (almost equal) gender balance at the anarchist bookfair this year. Just two years ago, the place was so empty of women, and the RAG table so ignored, that we were driven to sketch a little sign for our stall which read "Anarcha-Feminism is for men too!"

Hi and thanks to all the amazing anarchist feminists we met over the weekend.The time was too short for proper discussion but it was great to be able to check in at least.

RAG article in adbusters

In issue 1 of the Rag, I wrote an article called "Anger: Birthed and Transformed". We recently got a reprint request from Adbusters magazine, and I worked with them to edit it a bit for its readership. Here's a link to it on their website http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/80/industrial_childbirth.html - or search for it - it's now called "Industrial Childbirth".
Shonagh

Alliance for Choice - Belfast

Here is an update from Belfast Alliance for Choice:


Dear All,

A quick update of AfC events over the next few weeks. As you will be aware, this is a crucial period in our campaign to extend the Abortion Act 1967 to Northern Ireland. Next week parliament will reconvene and we should hopefully be given an indication of when the Human Fertilisation and Embryology will be debated.

In anticipation of this AfC will be organising a series of events over the next couple of weeks.
<http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=23645570204#/event.php?eid=76922995388>
EVENT: Pub Quiz Fundraiser
DATE: Wednesday, 8 October @ 8pm
PLACE: John Hewitt, Donegall Street
£3 fee! Come, test your astounding knowledge of trivia, bring your friends, family and colleagues. ALL WELCOME!
For further details see http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=23645570204#/event.php?eid=26766248947

EVENT: Public Meeting – Reproductive Rights are Human Rights
DATE: Monday, 13 October @ 7.30pm
PLACE: Holiday Inn, Ormeau Avenue
Public Meeting with Dr Wendy Savage, one of the first female obstetricians in the UK. ALL WELCOME!
For further details see
http://www.facebook.com/wall.php?id=38652341807#/event.php?eid=38652341807

EVENT: Public Rally – 40 Women Protest
DATE: Saturday, 18 October @ 2pm
PLACE: City Hall, Belfast
Rally to show publicise the current situation where 40 women a week travel to have abortions outside NI. WE NEED 40 WOMEN to wear t-shirts and others to come and show their support! ALL WELCOME
For further details see
http://www.facebook.com/wall.php?id=38652341807#/event.php?eid=27662523934

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Also a reminder that we have stalls outside Gap on Saturdays from 2-4pm to encourage people to sign our petition and letters. Come show your support.

Every Tuesday there are campaign meetings in the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre, Donegall Street at 7pm. Come and get involved.

------------------

Don’t forget to sign and circulate the ePetition at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/abortionNI/

Also check out the FPA campaign website at
http://www.fpa.org.uk/news/campaigns/current_campaigns/detail.cfm?contentid=993

------------------

Finally we urge you to get involved in any way you can to support this campaign at this crucial stage.


Thanks for your support

Claire
Alliance for Choice

London Anarchist Bookfair

We're still working very hard at getting The Rag no.3 together.

RAG will be attending the anarchist bookfair in London on 18th October. Be sure to drop by and say hello. The event will include lots and lots of stalls, workshops and meetings.

We'll be sharing our stall with Anna-Kaisa, and we're also looking forward to meeting women from the new anarcha-feminist groups which have been formed in London and Glasgow.

More details on the bookfair:

http://www.anarchistbookfair.org/

Thanks to all at the Belfast Anarchist Bookfair

We brought our RAG distro/shop to the Belfast Anarchist Bookfair last Saturday, 6th September. the event was hosted by the Just Books collective and was held in the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre. It was a great chance to meet some deadly new anarcha-feminists/anarchists and find out what others are up to. During the day, there was a range of interesting workshops and discussions.

Thanks to everyone in Belfast for the organising and the welcome.

More details available here:

http://belfastanarchistbookfair2008.blogspot.com/
http://belfastanarchistbookfair.blogspot.com/

Human Rights Watch in Ireland

Email message from Human Rights Watch:


Human Rights Watch are doing a country report on Ireland on the harm that the ban on abortion does to Irish women. I along with Marianne Mollmann will be in Ireland from August 25th-29th doing fieldwork.

I am also available in London to do phone interviews and background research from August 20th. I have already done fieldwork in the UK with abortion service providers on the experience of Irish women travelling to Britain to obtain an abortion.

If you might be in a position to help Human Rights Watch with this ground breaking report, you can contact me by phone at the number below from August 20th or email hrwireland@gmail.com

We are particularly interested in interviewing women who have had to travel to obtain an abortion. Confidentiality and anonymity are guaranteed to all women who may wish to be interviewed. During the week of 25 August, our priority will be to interview women about their experiences – and would ideally like to interview the following categories of women:

- Women with fetal abnormalities pregnancies

- Adolescents

-Rape survivors

- Immigrant women

- Traveller women


We are also interested in interviewing any woman who has had to travel for an abortion on their experiences.We would also like to be able to access any women who were not able to travel and who therefore continued with the pregnancies? I am not sure how easy it would be access this group and whether they would be willing to talk to us?

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Liesl Gerntholtz.


Director, Women's Rights Division

Human Rights Watch

2-12 Pentonville Road

London N1 9HP

United Kingdom

+44 (0)207 713 1995 (general)

+44 (0)207 713 2796 (direct line)

Updates from RAG

Just to let everyone know we've started to concentrate on getting The Rag no.3 together and will be working hard on it for the next few months. If anyone would like to submit images for the magazine or even ideas for the front cover please send them on to ragdubin at riseup.net

Also, check out the most recent editions for Women's News (a feminist magazine from Belfast) and the anarchist magazine Black Flag #227 for articles about RAG.

Choice Ireland demo again the WRC - Sat 26th July

Choice Ireland Calls on all Organisations to
Join their Big Demo Against the WRC

1pm Saturday, 26th July 2008, 50 Upper Dorset Street, Dublin 1.



Choice Ireland is finishing a month of action against the rogue pregnancy counselling agency the
WRC this Saturday July 26 2008. Choice Ireland has undertaken this month of action to raise local
awareness about the operation of the clinic in the area and to generate support for our upcoming
Oireachtas hearing where we will argue that legislation should be introduced to shut down rogue
agencies. Choice Ireland therefore asks all like minded organisations to come and show their support
for our campaign to shut down the WRC this Saturday July 26 2008 at 1pm at number 50 Upper
Dorset Street. Bring your banners and flags!

Some Background information: Choice Ireland is engaged in a campaign to shut down the WRC
because we believe that vulnerable women in crisis pregnancies deserve help and support in
coming to terms with the difficult choices they face in their situation – not the lies, bullying, and
manipulation of the WRC. For this reason we are campaigning to have this rogue agency shut
down and as part of this campaign we will be maintaining a presence outside it every Saturday
this month of July.

This protest raises awareness about the WRC's activities and prevents them from
traumatising more women for as long as we are there. Choice Ireland is preparing for an
Oireachtas committee meeting to have rogues agencies like this regulated and we will be
collecting signatures for a petition to support this. We hope that you can offer us your support and
help spread the word about what is going on. If you can't make it this Saturday then come along to
our big demo on Saturday the 26th of July.

A rogue agency is a fraudulent pregnancy counselling service set up with the sole aim of taking
advantage of the vulnerability of women experiencing a crisis pregnancy in order to bully them out
of considering the possibility of abortion.The WRC is located at number 50 on Upper Dorset Street.
The sign above the door reads “WRC” but this rogue agency has many aliases. It was known as
“Aadams” from 1995 until 1999 when that incarnation was shut down in the midst of an illegal
adoption scandal. It reopened as the “Women's Counselling Network” and was more recently calling
itself “Alpha” until a Newstalk exposé led it to change its name once more to the “WRC”.

This agency is also known to misleadingly advertise in the yellow pages as “British Alternative
Pregnancy Services” and “Choice for Women” in order to give the false impression that they will
discuss all the options available to women in crisis pregnancy when they have no intention of doing
so.The agency uses many names because it has a lot to hide. This agency specialises in
traumatising vulnerable women. They give medically incorrect information to women about abortion,
stating that abortion causes breast cancer, child abuse, depression, fridgitity, promiscuity and
infertility. They also have told women that have been raped that it is impossible to become pregnant
from rape. None of this is true and the only reason they tell women these lies is to try to impede their
abilitiy to make an informed decision.

They have also been known to breach the confidentiality of people seeking counselling – informing
family members without consent that a woman is pregnant and may be considering an abortion,
giving a woman's contact details to priests, and posing as a boyfriend to try and persuade a clinic
to cancel an appointment for abortion.The agency promises women that they will be given contact
details for abortion clinics in England as soon as they have had an unnecessary and expensive
ultrasound at a private clinic that may take several weeks to procure. When the woman returns with
her ultrasound scans the clinic then uses the images to try and talk her out of her decision once
more. The reason they engage in such a tactic is to try and cause a woman additional delay and
expense in the hope that this will prevent her from being able to procure an abortion.

http://choiceireland.blogspot.com/

RAG: Next open meeting - Men and Feminism

Men & Feminism:

What does it mean to be a man in a patriarchal society? How
can men participate and offer solidarity in the feminist struggle against
patriarchy?

RAG open discussion open to all genders.
Hosted by RAG & an embryonic pro-feminist men’s group…
We’re hoping this event will help kick-start a regular
discussion/action group for men to explore feminist & gender politics &
actions.
Come along & be a part of it…


Monday, July 7th

7.30pm

Eengo on Camden St.
(Beside the petshop (to the right), black door, bottom buzzer - press it and we shall buzz you in)

Email: ragdublin@riseup.net for more information.

Last Week's Gathering!

The first ever RAG feminist gathering took place last weekend and was a huge success. Around 120 people came along and participated in workshops and discussions in glorious sunshine. A proper report will follow here shortly - as you can imagine we are all still recouperating and catching up on all the other neglected areas of our lives! You can also send us any reports or photos to ragdublin@riseup.net. Thanks to everyone who came along and helped out. It was absolutely inspirational. xxx RAG

Feminist Gathering - this weekend!

The Feminist Gathering will be taking place this weekend May 2nd - 5th. An email will be sent out shortly to all those who have registered to attend the event, this will include more information, what to bring, what not to bring etc.

Below is the provisional workshop timetable - it shows the workshops and discussions for Saturday and Sunday.

If you have any questions please contact us on ragdublin at riseup dot net or contact 086 3097622.

Looking forward to meeting you all!

Provisional Timetable

With the exception of ‘female solidarity’ all the workshops are open to all genders.

FRIDAY

Time

Friday


9:00- 10:30am

Putting up marquee


10:30-

11:00am



11:00-12:00am



12:30-2:00pm


2:00- 3:30pm



3:30-

3:45pm


3:45- 5:15pm



5:30-7:00pm


7:00-8:30pm

Welcome Session



8:30pm-

Social




SATURDAY

Time

Saturday

9:00- 10:30am

10:30-

11:00am

Morning Circle

Marquee

11:00-12:00am

Choice Ireland, Ideas

The Fire in our Bellies- Why Food Matters

Feminists as trans allies

Big Shed

Marquee

Bender

12:30-2:00pm

2:00- 3:30pm

Capitalism & the exploitation of women

Personal Boundaries

Sustainable Living

Big Shed

Marquee

Bender

3:30-

3:45pm

3:45- 5:15pm

Feminism in Muslim countries today

Parenting

Discussion

Book

binding

Big Shed

Marquee

outside

5:30-7:00pm

7:00-8:30pm

What we’re at: contemporary feminist organising

Marquee

8:30pm-

Barndance…yee haw!

Barn

SUNDAY

Time

Sunday


9:00- 10:30am


10:30-

11:00am

Morning Circle


Marquee


11:00-12:00am

Family Structures

Cross stitch

and crochet

Choice Ireland, Action


Big Shed

Marquee

Bender


12:30-2:00pm


2:00- 3:30pm

Queer Feminism

Feminism and Women in Prisons

DIY publications


Big Shed

Marquee

Bender


3:30-

3:45pm


3:45- 5:15pm

Challenging our own privilege: why men should be pro feminist allies

Chakra Dancing*

Female Solidarity

(women only workshop)


Big Shed

Marquee

Bender


5:30-7:00pm


7:00-8:30pm

Free space…continue discussions,

chill out, go for a walk,

do the washing up



8:30pm-

Reggae and games night in Ballinmore

Cinema


Moo’s bar Ballinmore

Big Shed


This weekend - April 25th-27th

Volunteers welcome again this weekend or next week to help with last minute work for the gathering in Leitrim. If you want to help or have any questions email: ragdublin at riseup dot net

Also, some of us will be attending this deadly event in Cork - Ladyfest:
http://www.ladyfestcork.org/

The timetable for the Feminist Gathering will be out soon so check back here soon. It was decided at the last meeting that for those attending the gathering there is a requested donation of €20. If you can afford more or less that is also no problem.


REMEMBER REGISTER NOW:
http://ragdublin.blogspot.com/2008/04/registration-for-gathering-and-things.html

Volunteers needed this weekend

Rag are looking for volunteers for work weekend (this weekend 19th/20th April) in preparation for our May Feminist Gathering in Leitrim.



Work will include making paths, clearing sheds and building a bender. A number of us will be travelling to Leitrim on Friday night and Saturday morning. If you can lend a hand please get in contact with us asap. email ragdublin at riseup.net

REGISTER NOW FOR THE FEMINIST GATHERING MAY 2ND-5TH:
http://ragdublin.blogspot.com/2008/04/registration-for-gathering-and-things.html

Why Anarchafeminism?

Report on discussion hosted by RAG

RAG, the Revolutionary Anarchafeminist Group is now in its third year. The collective was set up in order to explore our ideas and produce a magazine, the Rag. Meetings are held weekly on Mondays, but the first Monday of every month is an open meeting, in which non-members are invited to a workshop or discussion.

On Monday 7th April, the open meeting was entitled “Why Anarchafeminism?” The purpose of the meeting was to encourage women outside of RAG to question and explore their ideas about feminism and anarchism and to draw links between the two. Also, it gave members of the group a chance to revisit the fundamental aspects of our beliefs. The following is a personal account by two of us of the discussion. It is limited by the quality of our notes and recollections. It does not present a RAG position on anything, but is simply an attempt to share some of the ideas that were touched upon with those who were unable to attend.

Introduction
The introductory round of the discussion invited the women present to state their general ideas about anarchism and feminism. All the RAG women present identified as anarchafeminist, although each had come to anarchafeminism from different perspectives. One member said that while feminism was a given for her, she realised that we can’t have meaningful liberation with capitalism intact. Thus her belief in anarchism.

Identity
Another held that it was easier for her to identify herself to others as a feminist than as an anarchist – or at least to defend her position. She felt that people who have not considered the concepts before tend to be more willing to accept the premise that women and men should have equality than to question the core of the economic and political systems in place.

Dirty Words
Others noted that they were unable or unwilling to identify as feminist for many years due in part to the negative connotations associated with “the F word!” (There was mention that perhaps Anarchism was also seen as a dirty word – the mis-association between anarchy and chaos etc.) There was discussion around the fact that the capitalist system in place is very effective in muddying the meaning of concepts which pose a clear threat to that system.

Coming to Consciousness/ Global Consciousness
We spoke about our experiences of becoming conscious as both feminists and as anarchists, and how surprising it is that we can live happily blind to the oppressive systems around us until this change in consciousness begins to take place. It was noted that it takes a certain level of understanding to find real conviction about feminist and anarchist ideas – as to do so we must expand our view of the world to look at the global systems of oppression in place. We have to identify our own somewhat limited struggles with the very struggle for existence of many of those in the global south for example. There was more talk of migration issues and how traditionally feminine economic roles, such as care, childrearing and even sex-work are being filled by a new generation of migrant women travelling to Ireland to escape poverty in other countries. Thus greater equality for western women does not mean greater equality for all.

The Radical Feminist Threat
While feminism seems to be a more accessible concept than anarchism – or less threatening for many, it is in fact multi-layered and multi-disciplined. Even though, in recent years there has been a growth in feminist academia, it is a ghettoised thing, and little in the way of truly radical feminist ideas have seeped out into the public consciousness. Yet real feminism requires complete social restructuring which can be equated with anarchism.

What is Anarchism?
There were some women present who were unfamiliar with the term anarchism. While no “definition” was offered, it came out during the discussion that the ultimate aim of anarchism is total democracy – that each person would have equal say in every aspect of their own lives. This requires the destruction of state, hierarchy and class society, and the construction of bottom-up systems to replace it. There was some discussion around the idea of Revolution, and the need for strong grassroots action and organisation in preparation for radical change. Ultimately this would lead to an ability to take control of our resources and the defend that right. While the site for this has often been the work-place in traditional anarchist dialogue, it was noted that from a feminist perspective, the family and the body are additional sites of conflict (our literal “means of production” which we determined to seize!)

There was an aside which noted that while as anarchists we attempt to be the change we wish to see, creating non-hierarchical structures and modes of working for example. As one participant noted, however, it is not enough to try to create a utopian present, but we must remain conscious of the broader political and worldwide struggle and attempt to engage with it, not ignore it in order to work on own small circle.

Equality not Sameness
It was pointed out that one of the misconceptions of the feminist movement so far has been that for women to be equal to men, we had to be the same. Thus we have joined the rush into the workplace to have, as one participant put it, “equal access to exploitation.” We also have the added bonus of the double day at work – both outside and inside the home. The value system of capitalism is profit-driven. Only that which produces profit is seen as productive, and women’s work in producing and caring for children, in keeping the home and in caring for the sick and the old, is not valued under capitalism.

The question was placed whether capitalism would ever be able to fully adapt to feminism. It was observed that although feminism has made progressive changes for some women in the west, it cannot succeed in creating global equality under capitalism: a complete overhaul is in order. While patriarchy (the system of male dominance over women) has existed thousands of years longer than capitalism has, capitalism has made effective use of it and in some ways it may be reliant on it – for example on the nuclear family. It was suggested that capitalism would never arrive at complete equality. For it, the perception of equality is as good as actual equality. It would only concede enough to give a convincingly muddied image of equality. As the nature of capitalism is exploitation, it would be naïve to chase an equality ideal within it.

Reformism
There was some debate around the value of “reformist” feminism. No-one doubted that very real changes had been made in women’s lives due to feminist efforts. These range from the right to vote to the right to work outside of the home, equal pay legislation, anti-domestic violence legislation, etc. Unlike anarchism, feminism can and has been accepted into capitalist reform. Yet it is the socialists and anarchists who have always been behind meaningful reform – through the trade union movements, anti-racism work, community work, and women’s liberation movements. It was questioned how much has been lost to the ultimate aims of those working to create these reforms. Their achievements have been co-opted into seeming like the achievements of “democracy” when in fact they are the small rights pulled back by those who have fought against the oppressive systems in place.

It was mainly agreed that while we would always fight for meaningful reform (for abortion rights and free childcare for example), we also want to remain completely clear about why we are fighting – due to a belief not just in women’s equality – but in absolute equality. For us, the ultimate endpoint of feminism is anarchism. Yet this endpoint would never be an endpoint in itself. Someone mentioned the need for a constant state of revolt – that the reality of anarchafeminism in action would be a continual striving to do better. There can be no hand-book on how life would be after the revolution!

Patriarchy and Men
Threatened systems of oppression have always been adept at misrepresenting that threat, or causing arguments to be framed in a certain way. Thus the fight for women’s equality has been framed as a “battle of the sexes”. Certainly, male privilege is a reality, and one which feminists have focussed on in the past. Yet abolishing male privilege is not the end-goal of feminism (and certainly not of anarchafeminism!) Feminism has led to a growing consciousness of male oppression under patriarchy. For example: strict adherence to masculine gender roles, duty to “provide” in the realm of work and lack of equal rights to active parenthood. Male-oppression has been misconstrued as either a product of the feminist movement, or an oversight of it. Yet it is through feminist dialogue that a space has opened up for discussing these aspects of men’s lives and experiences. At the moment, it is only anti-feminist “backlash” groups which are addressing these specifically male issues. It is only through pro-feminist solidarity between men and women that meaningful inroads into these issues can be made. This would be truly revolutionary anarchafeminism! Yet there seems to be an unwillingness, or unreadiness as yet for anarchist men to take this on.

Queer Feminism?
There was a question about the link between feminism and queer theory - or what anarchafeminism could offer queer people (queerness might be roughly defined as gender or sexuality non-conformism.) We talked about anarchism as the freedom to be yourself within only the confines of not harming others. The destruction of the systems of capitalism, state and patriarchy would lead to an explosion in different ways of being – sexualities, gender identities, family structures etc. Presently, although there has been some acceptance by wealthy capitalist countries of difference, ultimately difference is acceptable only as a lifestyle choice, not as a revolutionary force, which (with anarchafeminist analysis?) it should ultimately be.

The meeting finished with a closing circle where all acknowledged the value of the discussion, some professed to have found nothing new, and some everything! Yet most were somewhere in-between. Certainly it provided food for thought and opened the way for further debate.

The Next Step
RAG will hold their first ever weekend-long gathering on the Mayday bank holiday weekend May 2nd-5th. There will be workshops, discussions and entertainment. Feminists of all genders and ages are welcome to attend.

This Saturday (April 12th) there will be a fundraiser for the gathering in the Lower Deck, Portobello, with music from Truck, Party Weirdo, Zing and Clodagh Kerley. Doors 8pm. €6/ €5 unwaged.

Registration for Gathering and things you need to know

Below is the registration form. Cut and paste, fill in and email back to us. We are all very excited and will be working hard over the next two weeks to make this event as enjoyable as can be. If you can help out let us know! We will post preliminary details about workshops shortly.
x RAG


Registration for RAG Feminist Gathering Fri-Mon May 2nd-5th

(Please fill this in and return to ragdublin@riseup.net as soon as possible. Initial deadline for registration is Thurs 17th April, as we need to prepare for numbers. We need a decent estimate by this date. It is also especially important to register soon if you are hosting a discussion. However, if you have missed this date, let us know. Final date for registrations is Thurs 24th April.)

1. Name:

2. Address:

3. Email:

4. Phone No:

5. Date/ estimated time arriving to gathering:

6. How do you plan to travel to the gathering. Can you offer others a lift?

7. Is camping accommodation ok? Will you bring your own tent/ can you bring a spare tent?

8. Do you want to give a workshop/ facilitate a discussion? If yes give

Title:
Short Description:
Any Requirements for workshop?
If you would like to provide some “recommended reading” links for those planning to attend your workshop, let us know and we can put a link up on our site.

9. Do you have any special dietary needs?

10. Do you have any other special requirements/ allergies/ medical conditions/ anything we should know:

11. Are you bringing any children?
If yes, give details, name, age, any special requests/requirements:

12. Do you have any skills you can bring to the gathering? Can you bring a musical instrument?

13. Will you be able to come early or stay late for set-up/clean up?

14. Briefly, what aspect of feminism would you be most interested in exploring at the gathering, or in some other way explain why you wish to come along (for us to gauge people's expectations!) Would you like to suggest a workshop or topic for discussion?

15. Political views/affiliation (or leave blank):

16. Anything else?


Things you should know!
Please be aware that this Gathering has a DIY ethos. Everyone will be expected to help out in some way. There will be work rotas on which you can volunteer and fill in your name. Everyone can participate in workshops and discussions. Your initiative is also expected and welcomed. We are fundraising for the gathering but would also appreciate financial donations from participants.

The food provided for the weekend will be vegan. The land we are going to has a strict no-meat policy. Rubbish from the meat attracts a lot of wild animals (foxes and pine martins) that then might try to eat the hens. Similarly no dogs or other pets are allowed.

You must also be prepared to take special care with any rubbish. There is a recycling area and instructions will be provided. You will have to take any non-recyclable rubbish you produce away with you.

There will be a washing area – but no shower – so shower before you come. Since all will be going into the groundwater, we ask that you only bring biodegradable toothpaste and personal stuffs. The toilet facilities will be constructed outdoors. There will be separate areas for pee and poo - so – ahem - practice doing one at a time now!

The nearest bus and train station to the Gathering is at Carrick-on-Shannon. Search on www.irishrail.ie, www.buseireann.ie.
Decide which time you will arrive and let us know so we can get you collected.
If you are driving, contact us for map/directions.


To Bring!
Tent
Sleeping mat (some of the ground is quite uneven)
Warm Sleeping bag
Torch
Warm Clothes and change of clothes
Boots for ground which might get muddy
Wellies
Rain gear
Own plate or bowl, mug and cutlery
Biodegradable sun-cream/ toothpaste/toiletries
Note-taking material
Treats (we are far from shops)
Instruments (if you wish)
Talents
Enthusiasm
Open Mind!

Open Meeting Mon 7th April

Our next open meeting takes place on Mon 7th April at 7.30 pm in St Nicholas of Myra hall, off Francis St. All women (incl woman-identified / trans) are welcome. It is entitled "Why Anarchafeminism?". It is intended to explore our ideas about both feminism and anarchism and how/if they intersect. To explore what the term anarchafeminism means to us. For those who do not identify as anarcha-feminist, to learn more about the ideas behind feminism and anarchism in an open non-threatening environment. You are welcome, whether you feel you have a lot to say on this topic, or you just want to find out more. The discussion will be held again in the future for an open-gender group.

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Benefit Gig for RAG Feminist Gathering

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Sat 12th April, 8pm, Lower Deck, Portobello.
Benefit gig in aid of the RAG Feminist Gathering (Mayday weekend)

Truck: Deinm-clad taco-eatin' whiskey-drinkin' demon cobra rock!
Party Weirdo: Furiously melodic blob pop noize!
Zing: Electrifying alt-rockin' three-piece
Clodagh Kerley: Bjork-influenced folk rock

€6 min donation / €5 unwaged

Don't miss it!

RAG Feminist Gathering Fri 2nd- Mon 5th May

RAG are organising a feminist gathering to take place on the Mayday bank
holiday weekend in a rural setting in Leitrim. There will be workshops,
discussions, skill-sharing, music and fun.

Feminists of all persuasions (and all genders!) are welcome to attend.
Bring your enthusiasm and ideas. We also hope to make the gathering an
inclusive space for children.

Costs will be kept to a minimum. Accomodation is camping, though we will
help those with any special accomodation needs.

If you wish to attend, join the organising list asap to guarantee your space:

Send a blank email to: feministgathering-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk

(To Post message: feministgathering@yahoogroups.co.uk)

Any problems with that, or any questions before subscribing, just email us
here ragdublin@riseup.net.

Please forward this msg to anyone you think might be interested.

Solidarity

RAG

ps!
Sat 12th April, Lower Deck, Portobello - Fundraising gig for Gathering
Truck, Party Weirdo, Zing, Clodagh Kerley.
€6 min donation/ €5 unwaged

Report from Feminist Walking Tour

At half past two on a crisp, sunny Saturday, over 140 people, of all ages, gathered at St Stephen’s Green front arch – exceeding all expectations – to attend the a Feminist Walking Tour marking International Women's Day.

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Organisers with red screen-printed t-shirts (the image showing a high heel shoe and a boot – ready for walking!) mingled with the eager crowd, chatting, handing out information booklets, distributing green and purple suffragette ribbons and stickers to organise people into the two tours. There were activity sheets for the kids (and the big kids) and free lollipops for all!

The tour was organised by Choice Ireland and RAG, who came together to share their expertise and enthusiasm to promote a strong feminist message. “We didn’t want a protest march,” says one tour organiser, “but the walking tour was a fun way to get women out on the streets and celebrating feminism”.

The tour guides for the day were Carol Hunt – a history graduate and veteran tour guide – and Sinead Ahern, one of Choice Ireland’s finest spokespeople. Carol joked that she used to run a women’s history walking tour around Dublin, but that it was often not that well attended by men – until she changed the tour’s name to “A Sexual History of Dublin.” Same tour – different name – far better male attendance!

The tour meandered across town, tracing women’s history in the city – from the Brehon Laws, to the Ladies Land League of the 1880’s, through the suffragette movement, the women involved in workers and republican struggles, to the radical feminist movement of the 1970’s and the anti- domestic and sexual violence movements to present-day pro choice struggles.

There were also a number of guest speakers along the route. Edel Cribbin, of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre spoke about the organisation, its vital role, its lack of funding and reliance on volunteers. A community development worker, Amel Yacef, spoke about the particular difficulties facing migrant women in Ireland. Alan Mc Simoin, who was involved in the Contraception Action Programme in the 1970’s and is still active in pro-choice campaigning today, spoke about the X-case and the thousands of people who came out on the streets to support Miss X in 1992.

Helen Keyes from Choice Ireland spoke outside the “rogue” pregnancy-counselling agency on Dorset St. The so-called Women’s Resource Centre (WRC) is a fundamentalist Christian front which advertises, falsely claiming to provide information on all crisis-pregnancy options. However, once inside, it subjects vulnerable women to extreme anti-abortion propaganda. It was the existence of this agency and the fact that pregnancy counselling still goes unregulated in Ireland that first prompted Choice Ireland to form. Helen described how members of the group visited the agency to investigate what was really happening inside the WRC – even going as far as to source “pregnant pee” and conceal it on their persons! As she spoke during the tour on Saturday, a potato was thrown from a third floor window of the building, injuring one woman. The tour hastily reconvened around the corner, a safe distance from the WRC.

At the end of the tour, happy hungry walkers were invited back to the Teacher’s Club on Parnell Square, where free soup and sandwiches were well received by all. Two short, recently-made, feminist films were shown. These were “The Future of Feminism” by Cara Holmes and Breaking the Silence” by Katie Gillum – who also filmed the walking tour for Dublin Community Television. RAG had their distribution table at the back of the room selling their magazine as well as books, zines, moon cups, badges and more. There was information and leaflets from Choice Ireland. There was also music from the extremely talented young singer-songwriter duo Heathers.

There was a fun atmosphere with lots of lively discussion and reflection on the day. People chatted, old friends met and new ones were made. There was some struggling over dot-to-dot puzzles and word-searches from the kid’s activity sheet (though not only from the kids!) In the corner, some organisers were counting up donations to see if they had covered their costs. “We’re not sure,” one said, “the printing is the biggest cost, we don’t know exactly how much it will be yet, so we’ll see what happens!”

The booklet printed for the day is attractive and well put together - a mine of information to take away from the event. Its 24 colour pages include an introduction, map and background information on all the stops on the route; further sites of interest are also marked around the city. The booklet is interspersed with remarkable facts and stories of Irish women’s struggle down through the years. A listing of women’s and feminist organisations of interest are provided in the back pages. If you didn’t make the tour, but would like a copy of the booklet please email to request a copy: feministwalkingtour AT yahoo.ie. Information on the organisers is available at www.choiceireland.blogspot.com and www.ragdublin.blogspot.com.

The Walking Tour organisers would like to express their sincere thanks to everyone who came along and helped make the event such a great success.

Choice Ireland is a pro-choice group formed in 2007 with an explicitly feminist agenda. “Feminism is the focus which keeps the group on track,” says one member, “and the reason why we are fighting.” RAG is an anarcha-feminist group, formed two years ago, which publishes an annual magazine, “the Rag” and holds regular open discussions and workshops.

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The Rag, Issues 1 to 6

The Rag, Issues 1 to 6