re: wikileaks

brownfemipower of flip flopping joy is back with two guest posts on Wikileaks, state sexual violence, & infowars.  The second installment is above. Originally posted here.


the fact that there has been no thoughtful *F*eminist analysis of wikileaks that does NOT focus on Julian Assange (i.e. the point/method of wikileaks rather than Assange’s rape charges) says to me that *F*eminists have no vested interest in the concepts that wikileaks is dealing with.

A simple “I support wikileaks” or “I don’t support wikileaks” would be interesting–but what I’m looking for more is a detailed analysis in the *stakes* gendered human beings have in the nation/state’s interactions with transparency or the lack thereof. Why should we *care* about what wikileaks is doing? More importantly and more to the point–why should we care about what the nation/state is doing right now to *deal* with the “threat” of transparency? Including: using corporations as a tool against it’s own citizens (a tactic we all supported when used against “the terrorists” if you will remember), shutting down mail routes, imprisoning and threatening whistle blowers and silencing dissent through loss of employment?

Why should people who care about a gender care about the “info war”? Or about the fact that 4chan has inserted itself into the middle of it all?

The fact that the Feminist Movement can’t seem to form any opinion on any of these things and, in fact, seems as heavily invested in the idea of Assange as a singular charismatic leader rather than the issues springing up in the *wake* of what *wikileaks* has done (or: Assange is what is at stake here rather than the “threat” of transparency) speaks to the terrible singular hyper focus the *F*eminist agenda has on “liberal reform.”

I care that we all understand that Assange can actually be a rapist and an amazing organizer all at the same time. I have long held Ana Mae Aquash’s story to my heart–I know the all too terrible reality of how women are used in a fight between men.

But as Zuky said earlier today, Assange is a side note. He’s almost not even important anymore. What’s important is what actions are being taken–not even so much against Assange–but against wikileaks. Against supporters of wikileaks. Even against those who have no idea who the fuck wikileaks is or what it’s done.

Because indeed–those of us who care about gender liberation must, absolutely MUST, be aware of and understand that the nation/state that *F*eminists have entrusted to mete out “justice” for violated women–is using “justice” to criminalize all of us. It is up to us to understand that this isn’t a simple case of did he do it or didn’t he or “stand in solidarity with rape victims.” This is a case of our own tools being used against us. Not against Julian Assange. Against us. Because all of us who have been there understand on some gut level–how likely is it that these women will actually receive justice? What horrific price will they have to pay (in testifying, getting their names dragged through the mud, etc) to “get justice”? At the same time, how many of our lives will be dramatically affected by the “threat” we all now present to the nation/state? Even those who aren’t like me, a firm disbeliever in the nation/state, will be expected to pay the consequences–and in fact, already are in the form of guilty until proven innocent full body checks at the airport.

“Justice” has never been about justice, it’s *always* been about how *punishment* can service the needs of the nation/state. And right now, punishment is servicing the needs of the nation/state by infringing upon the rights of and silencing the voices of anybody who disagrees with the nation/state. It is solidifying alliances between the nation/state and corporations. And anybody who thinks that will not have repercussions for every single one of us is sitting on a cloud of privilege.

Do we all remember what happened to the woman in Durham who accused the lacrosse team of rape? Do you all know that after all this time, I *still* get emails/comments/links from *F*eminists saying that she “cried rape”?

Just as Ana Mae Aquash is in my heart and will be until the day I die–that woman in Durham will be as well. And the actions that came out of the murder of Ana and violence against the woman in Durham will always be an inspiration to me, and guide me in everything I do. Native feminists and black feminists created a critique of how women were used, destroyed, by forces claiming “justice,” but were in fact, invested in punishment and the reinforcement of classism, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and even nationalism. They learned from the incredibly tragic situations that those of us who care about how gender is shoved down the throats of particularly feminine people and particularly colored people and particularly poor people–That “justice” itself must be a site of contention and analysis. That “justice” must come in different forms. In ending rape to begin with, rather than punishing after the fact. In supporting women in their choices, no matter what those choices are. In creating community accountability. In asking the woman what she wants first and foremost. In understanding the multiple and spider web like ways that power plays out. In sucking the blood out of the nation/state so that it dies up and withers away, rather than supporting and reinforcing it. Rather than *depending* on it.

It doesn’t surprise me one bit that so many *F*eminists can point with confidence at the history of radical men being abusive and violent towards women in their private lives. It surprises me even less that so few of those same *F*eminists are talking now about the work that the same groups of women that were abused and violated by radical men are doing and have done in *response* to the violence. And all I can do is shake my head at the fact that in *F*eminist circles, this is quickly turning into an argument over what the menz are saying–rather than a detailed critical conversation about what *F*eminists can do to both support the women who are claiming assault AND make sure that our “justice” is not and can not be used against us.

If we all know this is a chronic problem, why aren’t we talking about it? When it’s affecting the internet community that we are all part, don’t we have a stake in what this all means? What can the internet community that cares about gender justice do when “justice” is being used against us?

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8 thoughts on “re: wikileaks

  1. JJ says:

    Many, many thanks for this much-needed analysis. And fyi, are you aware that Crystal Mangum- the woman in Durham – is currently (this very week) on trial for felony charges stemming from a domestic violence incident? I have not seen coverage beyond the local mainstream media (which I am sure does not have/report the full story)- still, see:

    http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/10699652/article-Mangum-jury-seeks-instructions–adjourns-for-day?

    http://blogs.newsobserver.com/bullseye/crystal-mangum-trial-day-5-closing-arguments

  2. Excellent points. It is entirely disturbing that feminists rarely engage a critique of state power from a specifically feminist perspective–this is largely because of the degree to which feminism has been incorporated into the state in an implicitly ancillary wing. There’s a lot going on with this Assange issue. Feminism is of course threatened since the forces of the state have been increasingly criminalizing freedom of association and protest. But it’s even more complicated than what feminists have in common with other activists as activists– since feminism is trivialized and vilified by the same contingents who on this issue we have to have some solidarity with. And at the same time, the way that the state coopts feminism– which I know Incite works on in various ways- has still not become a serious concern for most feminists. Hence the Democrat and Obama bandwagon for feminists and the left (before Obama, Clinton). It seems to me that feminists and leftists are having *enormous* difficulty separating the media vilification of feminist issues and rape and the issue of the real crimes by the state against Wikileaks and admitting that both issues are real and horrendous. So much to say here. But thanks.

  3. soyafly says:

    thank uuuuu!!!

    meanwhile there’s this… http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-12-13/the-bogus-julian-assange-rape-case-hurts-women/2/
    does that count as a mainstream feminist-lefty critique? feeling it leaves a bit to …be desired.

    and then this…

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/08/wikileaks-reveals-that-mi_n_793816.html

    real important but framed in a way that’s potentially orientalizing, etc

    so yes i wish more peeps were out there connecting the dots… but i do think ‘feminists of color’ out and about and around somewhere have the analysis, and we need to put it out there more.

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