June Terpstra: Revolutionary Women Today – The Wind Beneath My Wings
On International Women’s Day, 2014 this article is dedicated to women who are fighting imperialism. This is a call for more brave women who will stand with men to resist and defend the people against tyrannical governments posing as democracies such as the USA, UK and Israel. This is a call to us all, women and men, to end the oppression of globalized debt based economics, AKA capitalism, that funds all wars, profiting from state terror while fomenting all states of terror in the ugly show of cultural imperialism. There are courageous women around the world that are educating, inspiring, agitating and organizing against greed, wars, invasions, occupations, environmental devastation, supremacy and patriarchy in the New World Order. As such, they should be honored and if you do not know them I am honored to introduce some of them to you.
The women I write about today represent the revolutionary women’s demand for a radical reordering of society towards real liberation and self-determination for all people. They have been on the front lines in the agenda to save the people and the planet. They are brilliant and brave women from around the world, young and old fighting against oppression. Research their names and you will see, hear and feel their passion: Sally Auger, Harsha Walia, Amal Saad, Cynthia McKinney, Zaynab Mahamud, Diana Berek, Chris Geovanis, Heather Cottin, Suzella Palmer, Felicity Arbuthnot, Deborah Cayedito, Tracy Marshall, Esther Stanford-Xosei, Ajanta Sinha Ghosh, Mairi Ann Lowry, Lizzie Phelan, Brenda Pearson, Yasmin Nair, Cyrstal Vance Guerra, Francesca Contreras, Stephanie Noelle Davern, Hannah Arbizanni, Gayle Austin, Rania Masri, Sarah Gallespie, Farah Minh, Sarah Abdallah, BK Kumbi, Cheri Honkala, Gabi Weber, Brooke Heagerty, Cindy Sheehan, Angela Jansen, Lah Tere, Suheir Hammad and Sandra Reid. These women manifest revolution in protest, art, writing, teaching, brigades, seminars, birthing, video, rescue, radio, music, politics, community and care daily. Some you will find immediately and others you must search for but all are making a difference by the way they live.
I begin with some you may have heard of such as Cynthia McKinney, Cindy Sheehan, Cheri Honkala and Harsha Walia. While ideologically diverse, these women leaders have put themselves in the frontlines politically in countless ways to end oppression in war, homelessness, poverty, and for indigenous people across the globe. They represent the push for dramatic historic shifts against capitalism and imperialism, colonialism and globalism. They are a former congress woman, a mother decrying wars who abhorred sending her son to battle, a woman once homeless running for president, and an Indigenous wisdom woman leading her people with the spirit of her ancestors guiding her way.
Next, there are women in media and cultural works not featured in prime time lame stream media. These are the revolutionary experts to call. They refuse to be used as assets on the subject of women’s oppression to stir up consent for war against the people. Amal Saad, Chris Geovanis, Suzella Palmer, Felicity Arbuthnot, Esther Stanford-Xosei, Lizzie Phelan, Yasmin Nair, and Brooke Heagerty are women’s whose writing educates and produces knoweldge. Read what they say as these are women to whom we must listen.
Brilliant Amal Saad:
As an a Arab woman and a Marxist “Critical Feminist”, I have to ask bourgeois liberal feminists the following: Who says this is YOUR debate in the first place? And by you, I mean you American and European “experts”. Women asides, what gives your universities, think tanks and media the right to be debating and determining the destiny of our region? Why do we never question the colonial mentality that underlies your Middle East departments and bureaus, your “centers for democracy” and “peace” for the Middle East initiatives? Who the hell are you to be studying us and issuing us Euro-American directives on “good governance” and “conflict resolution”? …What gives privileged white women the right to be pursuing their supposed “emancipation” on the backs of our oppressed people? And why are the needs of this “debate” greater than the need of Syria and its people? http://resistance-episteme.tumblr.com/
Courageous Chris Geovanis:
The state’s scheme to effectively ban the public from a public — and publicly funded — trial is part of a long-standing official pattern to harass, arrest and undermine those who dissent in Chicago. For years, activists in Chicago had to fight in court for permission to rally and march against the Iraq war, and protesters have routinely been subject to arrest simply for attempting to exercise their First Amendment rights. More broadly, the restrictions that local government overlords have imposed on public access and public oversight in the NATO trial are part of a national effort to rebrand dissent as inherently dangerous.
Compassionate Suzella Palmer:
Therefore when trying to understand what gangs are, why they exist, why young people get involved in gangs, and just as importantly, how to prevent and respond to (victims and perpetrators of) gang crime and violence, we should not forget to factor in the: ‘the inherent dissonance between capitalism’s heady and seductive cultural aspirations and its structured socio- economic reality of unequal opportunities, which engendered an anomic and therefore criminogenic cultural climate.’ (Hall and Mclean, 2009) http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/Palmer%20Suzella.pdf
Fearless Felicity Arbuthnot:
…the US and UK are seemingly remarkably selective when it comes to tyrants who “kill their own people”, and not only have failed to censure their tyrannical Iraqi puppet, Nuri al-Maliki, but are arming him to the teeth with the same weapons which are linked to the horrific birth defects, and cancers throughout Iraq, which he is now using on “his own people.” Moreover, if allegations from very well informed sources that he holds an Iranian passport are correct, to say that US-UK’s despot of choice appears in a whole new political light would be to massively understate. https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/us-and-uk-continues-arming-a-tyrant-in-iraq/
Powerhouse Esther Stanford-Xosei:
Reparations means to repair the harm, restore, transform a people or a group who have been disposed and lost status and standing in the world community as a result of historical and contemporary injustice. To put a figure on it is banal. Some have put the cost at trillions but we are still accounting for the damage done and losses suffered but how do you account for the loss of land, destruction of our environment loss of citizenship, heritage, wealth and self worth? http://www.thebritishblacklist.com/kunga-dred-talks-esther-stanford-xosei-founder-member-parcoe-pan-african-reparation-coalition-europe/
Front-line Lizzie Phalen:
And in the months after I said goodbye to Mohammad just before I went through immigration in Damascus airport, for what I never expected to be the last time I would see him, the threat of Mohamad's and potentially the world's worst nightmare has only become graver. While he continued to hold on to his conviction that Syria would defeat imperialism’s conspiracy to destroy it, every time we spoke, up until our last conversation about a week ago, the ever increasing horrors wreaked by that conspiracy haunted him. His living torment is now over, but his conviction lives on through the friendships and love he nurtured in so many people. And as my headache that started on Saturday morning morphs into the agonising acceptance that he is gone, I am deeply thankful to Mohamad that through our short friendship I have learnt and will continue to learn life long lessons from his limitless capacity to not just value love for humanity above all else, but to practise that love. http://lizzie-phelan.blogspot.com/
Daring Yasmin Nair
I came out as queer among gays and lesbians who made it clear that sluts like me were to shut up so that the straight world might believe that we deserved our “rights.” Gays and lesbians, who surely had the most reasons to be suspicious of the prison industrial complex, were now clamouring for hate crimes laws that would increase penalties and put more people in jail. It may seem like a huge burden to place on the black and white inked shoulders of a woman who only existed on paper, but in that moment it seemed like I had recovered my balance in the world. http://nomorepotlucks.org/site/my-modesty/
Heroic Brooke Heagerty:
It is clear that before “capitalism” enslavement could be the fate of any person, no matter his or her color. Whites enslaved whites by the millions. Divisions in society were not related to color. Who ruled society and who was considered a part of society had nothing to do with race. Such status was instead defined by wealth or by force. With Nelson Peery in “Moving Onward: From Racial Division to Class Division.”
Last but not at all least, I name artists, activists, organizers, editors, teachers, musicians, engaging the world daily whose work inspires me:
Sally Auger of the Inidgenous Dream a Wild Seed project, teacher and Somali women’s rights activist Zaynab Mahamud, artist activist Diana Berek, activist educator historian Heather Cottin, Navajo commissioner and health advocate Deborah Cayedito, organizer for the League of Revolutionaries for a New America, Sandra Reid, India organizer and activist Ajanta Sinha Ghosh, Irish activist Mairi Ann Lowry, artist activist Brenda Pearson, midwife Stephanie Noelle Davern, animal rights activist Hannah Arbizanni, radio activist Gayle Austin, organizer and activist for Arab human rights Rania Masri, singers Sarah Gallespie and Lah Tere, activist poet, actress and film director Suheir Hammad, social media activists Tracy Marshall, Farah Minh, Sarah Abdallah, educators BK Kumbi and Gabi Weber, and fellow protest activists and organizers Cyrstal Vance Guerra, Francesca Contreras and Angela Jansen.
These are some of the women around the world whom I know are standing with the oppressed creating strategies and tactics to deal with the dangerous realities of imperialism. They are dedicated to ending the terrorism of US/UK/Israeli military aggression as it manifests across the globe. I am honored to know these women and celebrate their lives today.
June Terpstra, Ph.D. is an activist educator and university lecturer in Justice Studies, Criminal Justice and Sociology. She has founded numerous programs for homeless, abused, youth and oppressed people in the USA. She is presently teaching courses on Law and Terrorism, Social Justice, Resistance, Criminology, and Juvenile Justice. She is a former Community Research Fellow and doctoral graduate of Loyola University Chicago