Rest In Peace

Rest in peace.

Past midnight when the sun is no where in sight
There lies the struggle to maintain the fight
Don’t give in don’t stop the try
Tears turn dry I can’t cry I won’t cry
Trying constantly to paint rainbows in the sky
Ghetto streets turn dry as blood spills in endless crime
I can try to paint the rainbows but the ghetto vibes will turn it dry & they will just cry

Borders borders

When I went through the border I heard a man
speak his name, speak for his freedom and the freedom of those around him
and I saw a soldier standing behind him
who was there to kill, disappeared, repress, impoverish, murder, steal, lie, thieve, die
sometimes too, everyday inside he died, that soldier, I saw it in his eyes
soldier funded to stand there, given money, by a government that I “have” somehow to call “my own”. 
… I Pledge Allegiance…
But I can’t I can’t I cant I cant I cant I cant I cant I cant
 
When I saw that man and heard his sweet voice and saw the look of recognition between the people, their hearts and their lives,
then I felt my spirit renew, I felt my heart come alive,
I felt the pains of the people, I saw the pains of the ages, and I saw all of Life speak together
and their song was beautiful,
and the deeper it went their lives intertwined with that of the suns’ life, the plants, the bats, jaguars, agua y oro tambien
 
…..
Borders borders
 
When I came through the border aiport security of the land called “US”, I felt screaming silently and erased
though not erased
 
That
I am not the murderer. 
Not the one who goes to other countries with paid boots and guns to [insert propaganda]
No not me
And I am not the one who thieves, who goes and pays for bullets to go into the bodies of children in lands maybe I’ve never seen.
Not me.  No not me.
I’ve seen the bodies of children afraid of bullets marked USA-made
I’ve seen those kids and I loved them, I laughed with them, I told them all I could,
I don’t believe they should be murdered, I don’t believe in the destruction of their bodies or Hearts or Minds
I believe they should live the depths of their lives, I believe they should live the magic of their childhood, and the magic potential of their lives.
 
And I am not the one thinking that raping lands and lives for money is worth the profit$, and fuck the deaths and fuck the depths of the losses.
Not me. Not me.  I feel that loss, I see it, I watch it as the earth has started to bleed onto our feet
While the rich line their pockets with forgotten denials that
they don’t have the right to thieve/profit of/f our communities, to thieve/invest themselves in the stealing of our lives, our dreams, our visions sometimes even too.  They don’t have the right to thieve/profit of/f the loss of another, off water, off the earth…
 
And I want to scream into the well that I see you liars
you thieves
you stupid capitalist imperialist bastards who forgot where home is
you jerks who took my water bottles and threw it in the trash, who made me take off my shoes, put my shit on a belt, open my bags for you, put my hands up inside a machine,  made me watch every foreigner get doubled fingerprinted and photographed, and told me You were “keeping the skies safe,”
I want to say to you that the border has long been reached. 
The Emperor with
No Clothes
has been spotted,
has been spotted,
spotted,
spotted,
and I’m screaming that I see you, and I don’t Pledge Allegiance
 
I don’t lie for you, my “US” government, I don’t excuse your behavior, I don’t cover for your forced and constant “mistakes,”
I won’t put my hand over my heart for the rulers/thieves/liars/murderers/sick capitalist imperialist bastards
I would rather give my allegiance to those of this life who are striving for Life
Because my heart still feels So Much Love
And Because I still do believe in the visions
 
I am not the one who behaves like my Rights obligates me above all others,
and my Right to profit, and my Right to lie in your face and make you behave like you’re the criminal.
That’s not me.  That’s not that man I saw standing in front of a soldier calling for the right of the people to live in peace.  That’s not her I saw striving with eyes so wide open, with heart open striving bent on the strength of her vision.
I don’t Pledge Allegiance.
I want Liberation.
I want Liberation.
 
The other week in Tucson I gave $5 to a man who looked like he could use it,
and he cried and hugged me and spoke of Robin Hood,
and we spoke about the idea of Robin Hood, (hey we need more Robin Hoods)
and when I told him I wished him the best
He gave me a depth of a look
and he told me, “Everyone says that to me.  I’ve just stopped listening.”
And my heart felt a fracture, felt to be precariously shackled to a depth opening beneath my feet.
And I felt like something slipped between us two and said “That’s just the way it is.  Somethings can never change.  That’s just the way it is.”  Came to haunt us two, and beg for our votes, and told us not to trust each other, and told us we could never be free of this Hell called U.S.
instead
instead of us two, three, all of us, us us us, we one.
 
I want this stupid Fucking “US” government to stop thinking it has the right to make the most money
Because I hate the costs of the deaths
And Because I love the
Depth of the Lives

Letters From the Palestinian Border

It would feel like if you ate
Gorged yourself in front of a hungry person.
But the starving one is the one who cooked the meal,
Grew the garden,
Nurtured the abundance
And then they just took it.
Ate from another’s plate.
For 63 years.
 
This is the border between Palestine and Lebanon
Between Palestine and us.
Between you and I.
This is what the border must look like
To the thirsty
To the hungry –
Dry, cracking Earth where I stand
Dying, withered weeds
Trash.
Zionist wrappers.
Empty
Bottles of water
And then-
My eyes feast on the overwhelming abundance just over the electric wall-
Rolling greens.
Fertile.
Plentiful
Life.
 
I feel numb.
I keep staring at the thirsty ground under my blistering feet.
Looking up and across
Creates a blocking in my throat.
She tells me when she was a little girl-
She wanted to be wealthy
Wealthy enough
Just enough
To buy her village back – she laughs a little.
I begin to sob so I carry my eyes to the ground again-
Weeping, parched, blowing plants
Struggling in the heat.
 
This time I look straight up.
Two flags
Scorched from the unbearable sun
I remember to wipe my brow.
 
I hear the UN solider behind me.
Questions.
Invading the past and present histories.
Memories.
And I can’t stop crying.
 
Thousands come to see their home-
A young woman yells in Arabic
“Palestine do you hear us?”
“We are here to see you”
“We are here to see you,”
“To love you,”
“To be with you,”
“To live you,”
“To live with you,”
“To live in you again.”
 
Then a little girl-
Running alongside the fence, happily chanting-
“Palestine”
“Palestine”
“Palestine”
She has known it her whole life.
Her grandmother looks up to the sky
“Ya Rab”
“My Lord”
“May we return to Palestine.”
 
Ya Allah-
May I return with healing hands and clear eyes
To see Palestine
To be Palestine.
 

malintZine Suggested Reading List (to be decent)

This list is probably going to grow (ALOT)- please feel free to comment and add your ideas for recommended reading or send your suggestions to malintzine@gmail.com

The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities – Ching-In Chen (Editor), Jai Dulani (Editor), and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Editor); Andrea Smith (preface)

Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide – Andrea Smith

Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism – Daisy Hernandez

Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center by bell hooks

Loose Woman: Poems – Sandra Cisneros

Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities John D’Emilio

Crip Theory Robert McRuer

The House on Mango Street – Sandra Cisneros

Reading Chican@ Like a Queer – Sandra Soto

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color – Cherie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua

This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation – Gloria Anzaldúa and AnaLouise Keating.

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza – Gloria Anzaldua

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches – Audre Lorde

The Black Unicorn: Poems – Audre Lorde

¡Chicana Power!: Contested Histories of Feminism in the Chicano Movement – Maylei Blackwell

A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness: Writings, 2000–2010 – Cherie Moraga

Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders – Alicia Gaspar de Alba

Chicana Feminist Thought: The Basic Historical Writings – Alma M. Garcia

Chicana Falsa and How to be a Chicana Role Model – Michelle Serros

Women, Race and Class – Angela Davis

Living Chicana Theory  Carla Trujillo

Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa Rigoberto Gonzalez

Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States  Joey L. Mogul, Andrea J. Ritchie, Kay Whitlock

MARIPOSAS: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry  Emanuel Xavier

For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly Yosimar Reyes

Before Night Falls: A Memoir Reinaldo Arenas

Tragic Bitches: An Experiment in Queer Performance Adelina Anthony and Lorenzo Herrera

Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue  Leslie Feinburg

Virgins, Guerrillas, and Locas: Gay Latinos Writing about Love Jaime Cortez

Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About Carla Trujillo

Chulito: A Novel Charles Rice-Gonzalez

Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader Michael Hames-Garcia

Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics, and Theory of LGBT Liberation Sherry Wolf

Blues Legacies and Black Feminism – Angela Davis

Methodology of the Oppressed – Chela Sandoval

The Decolonial Imaginary – Emma Perez

Infinite Divisions: An Anthology of Chicana Literature – Tey Diana Rebolledo and Eliana S. Rivero

Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity – Chandra Mohanty

Arab & Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence, & Belonging – Rabab Abdulhadi, Evelyn Alsultany, and Nadine Naber.

A fat girl’s guide to life – Wendy Shanker

Pedagogies of Crossing: meditations on feminism, sexual politics, memory, and the sacred – Jacqui Alexander

Racial Formation in the United States – Michael Omi and Howard Winant

Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures – Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Mohanty

Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968-1980 – Kimberly Springer

The Straight Mind – Monique Wittig

Color of Violence: The Incite! Anthology – INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence

Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment – Patricia Hill Collins

Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought – Beverly Guy-Sheftall

Entry Denied: Controlling Sexuality at the Border – Eithne Luibheid

Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law – Dean Spade

The Legacy of Conquest – Patricia Limerick

Race, Reform and Rebellion – Manning Marable

Autobiography of Angela Davis – Angela Davis

I too

I too know this rage of which my sisters speak
I too feel it burning inside of me
I too feel an explosion imminent because I.am.so.tired.of.this.shit.
 
Hey man,
You think your oppression is bad?
Imagine millennia of suffocation by idiots who can’t possibly imagine
that their wives/daughters/friends/sisters might know better than them
Might lead better than them
 
Imagine being suffocated from nearly beyond your depth of memory
And knowing
Truly
Completely
That your suffocation is the reason for the state of things today
 
Imagine trying to say it out loud to men
Who laugh at you
Call you a whore looking to get with the next “big” man
Who try to bed you and pretend they care
Who pretend to listen and then next thing you hear they’re out oppressing some other woman
 
Imagine the rage choking when watching your sisters
Suffocating on their self-hatred
Their insecurity
Their desires
Their attempts
Their fear
Their traumas
The denials
Imagine watching this for centuries, these blessings being trampled
This life being crushed
By men who truly don’t.give.a.shit
Imagine the depth of that rage
 
Imagine watching the world in flames
The oppression so deep
And knowing that the men still won’t give women a chance.
They’d rather sink the ship
Than admit
Let us all die for their vain arrogance
Kill the Mother rather than stop: love and honor her
 
Imagine trauma compounded by a woman’s love and nurturing
watching the earth, the animals, the birds, the air, the water, the blessed gifts
undergoing profound suffering the likes of which can barely be fathomed
And knowing that women are shackled, 
unable yet to break free to protect their Mother again 
and show her the worship they are missing,
that she is missing,
to have again that depth of love, that spiraling cycle of love that just gets deeper,
not from a man,
but from the Mother who gives it always, anyway, despite.
Who grew us all.  Despite.  Who gives us every breath.  Despite.  Who heals us and comforts us.  Despite.
Imagine that rage.
At being held back from that.
And being stuck in this Hell
With blind idiots who don’t understand the meaning of depth
Who think to become a man – to age into it – is all the growth they need
Who can’t see us choking on the lives we are forced to live
And who still won’t.admit.shit.
 
I too feel that rage
I too feel it burning inside of me
I too can barely take it anymore
I too need some options.  I need to catch my breath.
I’m tired of the suffocation
And being surrounded by jerks

From: The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House

“For women, the need and desire to nurture each other is not pathological but
redemptive, and it is within that knowledge that our real power is
rediscovered. It is this real connection which is so feared by a patriarchal
world. Only within a patriarchal structure is maternity the only social
power open to women.” ~ Audre Lorde
 
 
 
“Women of today are still being called upon to stretch across the gap of male
ignorance and to educate men as to our existence and our needs. This is an
old and primary tool of all oppressors to keep the oppressed occupied with
the master’s concerns. ” ~ Audre Lorde

Chicana Anger

People might not understand my anger, my rage. They see a white girl with vaguely dark features….she could be Hispanic or Greek. Well motherfuckers, I am both Chicana and Greek! And a mescla of some bastardized white bastard. The color of my skin doesn’t do me justice. I’ve assimilated into two cultures I was born into; I am a mutt, a mulatta. But to my gente, I am someone to look at cautiously, even when I’ve been vouched for. Then they realize I’m as dark as they, but still translate things to me. ¡Comprendo putos! Are you not listening to my Southside accent and vernacular? To his people, honky, liberally spoon-fed NAFTA corn by conservatives, I am the result of breeding with Mexicans. I am a defiant, loud, gender-smashing, animal loving stranger. A stranger. Una Malinche…eerr Maryanne.
 
I am angry because everyone paternalistically lied to me: teachers, police officers, my aunts and uncles, mis abuelos, my parents, my church, my government, my society, myself. I internalized, as we all internalize, values, morals, and beliefs set to be the status quo, docility reigns. I did what they told me to do and went to college. I wasn’t angry, I was scared. I did look like, act like, know like most of my “peers.” I spent $100 on a new phone so not to be so embarrassed by the Nokia Brick circa 2002. I hated myself. Ms. Powers told me my vanity is not vain. The contradictions should not freeze me—we all have them. Dismantle from within. Lie to those motherfuckers like they lied to you. Put on your smile, get the power, then dismantle. The Brooklyn Bridge and my best bud are my last memories of that Power. If she jumped off, the ripple of her powerful body hitting the cement water finally reached me. I am a warrior now too.
 
I am an angry Chicana Warrior. I know this now. The veil is gone.
I see the world how I see the world and not how I was told to see the world.
You do not see the world as I see the world. And that’s fine.
I will lift your veil if you want. I will expose the violences and you will hate me for it. And that’s fine.
And you will ache, cry, scream, laugh, and want to die without your veil, but your body, mind, and soul will not be docile.
Then you are free.

The Fight for Ethnic Studies Beyond Heteropatriarchy and Male Privilege: a Call to Address & End Violence in all its Forms

By Raúl Alcaraz Ochoa | Tucson, Arizona | http://www.antifronteras.com

“Gender violence must be understood within larger systems of capitalism, settler colonialism, white supremacy, and heteropatriarchy… One of the major contradictions in political mobilization is that we often replicate the same hierarchical systems we claim to be dismantling. Gender violence is prevalent within progressive movements as it is in society at large.”

(Andrea Smith. “Introduction” The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities, pp. xiv-xv)

As Mexicano/Chicano born men, we come from a long legacy of beauty, but also one of colonization, gender violence, and resistance. As working-class brown cis-males (non-transgender men), we are oppressed through class and race, and those of us that identify as GBTQ (gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer), are oppressed through sexuality and gender as well. Within white supremacy, capitalism, and colonialism, we have been abused and victimized, and through male privilege, and the system of heteropatriarchy, we are perpetrators and abusers.

Heteropatriarchy (straight male supremacy) is all around us—in our personal/political lives. Whether it is in our homes and neighborhoods, and in movement-building in the struggle to defend Ethnic Studies, or to resist anti-migrant attacks such as SB 1070, (In)Secure Communities, or mass incarceration and the prison industrial complex, patriarchy and sexism are widespread.

As men we receive privilege from this system of oppression. The list of examples of privilege include (but are not limited to) our parents granting us more socializing freedom than our sisters and expecting less household chores, using offensive, demeaning or sexist language, employing street harassment and sexualized body language that objectifies others, dominating a meeting, group or effort and cutting off, questioning, or undermining female or LGBTQ leadership, using body language, damaging property, and raising voice to intimidate and assert power and control, battering or sexually assaulting the feminine-identified body—these are all are symptoms of a masculine & heterosexual-based system based on domination and aggression that gives masculinity (in its social, political, and cultural forms) power and privilege over anything not perceived as masculine.

One of the most prevalent manifestations of a heteropatriarchal system is the perpetuity of sexual violence. Historically, European colonizers used sexual violence as a primary tool of genocide. As Andrea Smith documents in Conquest: Sexual Violence & American Indian Genocide, “Colonizers have long tried to crush the spirit of the peoples they colonize and blunt their will to resist colonization. One of the most devastating weapons of conquest has been sexual violence.” To successfully rob indigenous lands and maintain the institution of slavery, gender and sexual violence was a central strategy of the colonizers and slave masters. From this (specifically gendered) systematic violence, the United States nation was born, and its legacy still felt and manifested today in interpersonal and internalized ways among oppressed groups.

Today, when gender violence takes place within activist/organizing communities of color, silence, denial, and organizational and community self-protection are common responses. We may feel that it is a personal matter that isn’t any of our business, or feel pressured to not “harm” the movement by “making it bigger and more public than it needs to be”. However, as Meiver De la Cruz & Carol Gomez write, adopting these stances is “where our movement breaks down and community accountability fails. Our silence and inaction give permission for violence to continue. We must then turn the mirror on ourselves and take a hard look at our own internalized oppressions that act as barriers to responding to domestic and sexual violence, and ask ourselves the tough questions:

· What is our collective responsibility to tackle this private and public conundrum?

· How do we hold ourselves and offenders in our circle accountable for abusive behavior?

· How do we unravel the emotional entanglements and ties that can either cloud or enhance our judgment?

· How do we take a stand?

· [How do we support the growth and transformation of both the survivor and perpetrator of violence?]

· How can communities prioritize domestic and sexual violence as an integral part of the social justice struggle?

· How do we move intimate violence from the private sphere and into the public light without feeling as if we are ‘betraying the cause’ or exposing our communities of color to dangerous public scrutiny and further oppression?” (1)

The truth is that the personal is political and the political is personal. In other words, home and the movement are one and the same. The foundation of our movimiento is both our personal relationships and our lived experiences and traumas. “The trauma we experience in private (whether at home or work) spills over into our community work, and often it either drives us or paralyzes us. [Therefore], it is impossible to respond to sexual violence, domestic violence, sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, and classism as isolated entities.” (1)

It is critical that we connect gender violence to other forms of oppression. We speak out and rally to condemn the cultural and institutional violence of the white supremacy we face from the State of Arizona, but when it comes to addressing and holding ourselves accountable to instances of gender violence in our own families and community, we retreat to denial, avoidance, or explicit enabling. As long as our community is incapable or unwilling to address male privilege, gender violence, and heteropatriarchy, our movement will be one that lacks community accountability, is led by abusers and enablers, and has failed to respect, prioritize, or validate the experiences of women. We cannot fight for Ethnic Studies or Migrant Justice, and at the same time turn a blind eye to the struggle and experiences of our own mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters, comrades, and partners.

“This is not a depoliticized call to focus on personal self-development instead of building movements to dismantle white supremacy, capitalism, and imperialism… [for] our movements to be successful they must prefigure the societies we seek to build. Movements must dispense the idea that we can worry about gender violence ‘after the revolution’, because gender violence is a primary strategy for white supremacy, colonialism, and capitalism. Heteropatriarchy is the logic by which all other forms of social hierarchy become naturalized. The same logic underlying the belief that men should dominate women on the basis of biology (a logic that presupposes a gender binary system) underlies the belief that the elites of a society naturally dominate everyone else. Those who are having an interest in dismantling settler colonialism, white supremacy, and capitalism must by necessity have a stake in dismantling heteropatriarchy.” (2)

To conclude, I encourage our community to create a safe and open space to consider the following questions:

1. What would a movement against white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, colonialism, and imperialism look like, centered around a gender and LGBTQ consciousness?

2. How do we employ a community strategy to address violence abuse or harm that creates safety, justice, reparations and healing, without relying on police, prisons, criminal justice courts, childhood protective services, or any other state systems?

3. How do we put at the center the experiences of both the individuals and communities involved, and the larger social conditions at work? How do we support both the personal growth of the survivor and perpetrator and at the same time make strides towards community and political transformation?

This is a callout to respect and believe the voices and experiences of survivors of gender violence.

This is a callout to stand in solidarity with women, children, and LGBTQ people by challenging our own male privilege and the system of heteropatriarchy.

This is a callout to make it clear that we do not accept, perpetuate, or enable domestic or sexual violence.

This is a callout to find solutions and processes in community accountability and transformative justice models.

This is a callout to trusting that survivors of gender violence know best, and that others (especially men) not try to guide their process of healing and guide women’s process of liberation, and that men follow the guidance of women in this struggle.

This is a callout to build healthy communities and movements that are safe, empowering, and liberatory for women, children, and LGBTQ people, because if we struggle from below and center our movimiento on those most oppressed, only then do we fight for true liberation for all. Only then will a revolution be truly for everyone.

Just as the Ethnic Studies Movement of Tucson, Arizona demands an end to cultural genocide and violence, this too is a callout, essentially, to address and seek to end violence in all its forms and manifestations. There should be nothing revolutionary or mind-blowing about a revolution that includes and humanizes us all.

Sources:

(1) Meiver De la Cruz & Carol Gomez. “Ending Oppression. Building Solidarity. Creating Community Solutions.” The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities, pp. 27-28.

(2) Andrea Smith. “Introduction” The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities, pp. xv