[Breakingthesilence] Polemic about gender reader

paki.tv at cyber-rights.net paki.tv at cyber-rights.net
Dim 10 Oct 18:40:55 CEST 2004

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Perhaps we are turning a corner to find a better way of working together.

The use of the PGA reader in the context of the Belfast Grassroots Gathering
later this month underlines the importance of sorting this out. Whether
this can be done in time or not is hard to assess. But my feeling is
that it should be with held until we find a way forward which everyone
agrees with. We have already been confronted with the not only the three
readers being made available at the Dissent meeting in Edinbrugh last
month, but also the first text on masculinity being put up, with out
the response.

At the London preparatory meeting Joyce warned that it might be a bad
idea to have any PGA reader, and we certainly agreed with her. This is
precisely because the terms of how such a publication would be produced.
However we accepted that one should be produced, but that texts shoudkl
appear in English, Serbian and Russian. This latter did not happen.

After coming back from Belgrade I attended the Rendez-Vous of Victory
meeting celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Haitian revolution.
There was also someone from Undercurrents who had been at Belgrade. The
discussion went on to heierarchy and DIY culture, where people stressed
the importance of accountability.

We have been posting material on the wiki set up for the conference:
see http://www.ourmayday.org/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?Gender_Discussion.
As can be seen from the "view other versions" most of this material was
made available well before the conference, however most of it was ignored
by Kev. This list (breakingthesilence) was e-mailed with the information
that the wiki was being developed to help take the discussion forward.
If Kev was unaware of this through some oversight, that would be good
to know.

I would also like to make it clear that we NEVER objected to "Thoughts
on Masculinity" being included, but rather said that we wanted our response
to accompany it. Our understanding of a reader is that it would present
different, perhaps conflicting viewpoints, because in a network we cannot
conclude uniformity of opinion. We had no desire to ban "Thoughts on
Masculinity", but rather use criticism to take the issues forward. I
must admit that whilst Kev's approach might be appropriate for a political
party structure, I can't help wondering why they should be useful for
a network.

We were informed by Kev that he had discussed "Thoughts on Masculinity"
with so other unnamed people who had concluded that it should not be
included for reasons quite separate from the criticisms we had made.
It does not create a trusting atmosphere when it is suggested that we
in any way colluded with the banning of that text. It would be useful
if Kev could clarify this point.

I think if we can clarify these issues, we shall be moving to developing
a better process rather than getting embroiled in personalising disputes.
(I feel that one of the negative sides is the tendency of people involved
in the PGA process to personalise things: in a discussion at a London
PGA meeting problems on the gender debate were treated as if it was a
personal difference between us and Nico, rather than finding a way in
which the issues could be highlighted rather than the personalities.)

Perhaps we can end up with an inclusive reader in which Fin can also
explain the problems she has with the Oshun text. This would better reflect
the diversity involved within the discussion rather than the inhibited
process previously used.

Fabian and Asim,
W.Essex Zapatista
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