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 na├»ve 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.

Photobucket

The Rag, Issues 1 to 6

The Rag, Issues 1 to 6