Monday, May 7, 2007

punk, anarchism, feminism part 1

punk, anarchism, feminism.

I have a sort of mythology about how I became a punk. It's not exactly the true story but it goes sort of like this - I didn't become a punk until after punk died -- when Green Day first signed to a major label, and I didn't even know who they were. In Berkeley, where I'd just moved to, there were people sitting on curbsides, taking up public space, making invisible places theirs. They said they weren't punks any more, that punk had betrayed them, that punk was not going to change the world. They were ex-punks I guess, but I don't know. They seemed like punks to me. What I loved about punk was the way we actually lived in the world, walking everywhere and exploring every abandoned building. I liked the hope behind the desperation, and I liked the desperation. I was tired of pretending. Although, honestly, that was something that was hard to unlearn.
What I liked about the music was the songs about real things. Songs about tearing down the capitalist system and building a new world in it's ashes. Songs about the real life of growing up girl in this fucked up society. Songs about killing rapists and songs about loving our friends. What I loved was the drama and the sticking together. The way it encompassed everything and made it possible to forget. I loved the shacks built in forgotten places, and figuring out how to live on almost no money at all, and how life became so much fuller when time was spent living instead of just going along. I still love these things, except not the forgetting.

There were things I was glad that I had before my punkness, like the strong poltical belief that we had to change the world and that there were a million ways that it needed to be done, that ridgid dogma and pure lifestyle weren't the answers. I wanted collectives and alternative schools and alternative health care, small farms and deep thinking, organizing work and cultural work and that if you thought you knew the 100% true answer, that meant it was time to really rethink your assumptions. I was glad I came in to punk with a love of intellectualism and the way theory could push my brain and help me think of things I hadn't had the framework for, and also a hate for the ways intellectualism made some people into pretentious, unliving robots, cut off from the realities of life.

I am glad I came into it with a strong background in feminism, because there was a lot of friends I made who were really reactionary against it, and who refused to see their complicity in perpetuating the values of patriarchy. There was a lot of "we are all just people" and a lot of blindness to the real things that silenced me and so many people I knew. There was a lot of fucked up sexual dynamics, same as with the rest of the world. A lot of unaknowledged sexism and a lot of the attitude that we had to laugh it off or tough it up.
What I loved was the punk girls who looked insane. Who wore blue eyeshadow around their eyes like a raccoon, and prom-dresses and whatever else. Who grew out their mustaches and screamed on stage and also cried in public and organized. Girls doing bike repair for girls classes, and self-defense, and teaching other girls how to play guitar.

This is a little mini introduction into what this stuff has meant to me. This is the kind of things I'll be writing about. Punk and feminism and anarchism, and also about healing and abuse.

If you want, you should check out my there's a speech I gave recently about these things that a lot of people have told me was useful to them and you can read it there. thanks.

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