Lenin statue in Fremont, Seattle, in drag during Pride
In processing my past experiences in the group I used to be a part of, one thing that stood out to me was the differential treatment I got as an outspoken woman leader, as opposed to the other outspoken male leaders.
I speak of 2 male comrades whom I love dearly and respect immensely, but the different treatment they received from their aggressive interventions in the organization, was vastly different from what I received.
For them, they were Lenin figures -- professional, perceptive, sharp, willing to make the necessary sharp interventions/breaks at their own personal expenses.
People may not LIKE their interventions, but they respected the directness, the firmness and engaged in the ideas and debated organization and politics.
When I had made those same interventions, what was read into it was instead was that the forthrightness and firmness I exhibited, was simply an extension of my personality. That I just wanted things a *certain* way. I was always up for debate -- I love it! But people read my desire to debate out the ideas as me wanting to bully them with my personality (note: not with my knowledge, but with my personality.)
Myself and the male comrades I reference, we were all part of an organization that did have an aggressive culture, for good and for bad. I do think some aspects of it ARE important! It was very empowering for me to learn how to debate firmly and strongly, but there were certain aspects of this culture that did also shut others down. We needed a re-evaluation of this culture, but what happened instead, was that I, my personality, was targeted, rather than a systematic, professional conversation about organizational culture.
I feel another layer of betrayal because the kind of woman political person I was when I first joined the organization, was not seen as empowering, was not seen as "leadership" material (explicitly I was told this) but in my desire for revolutionary politics, rather than leaving, I stuck it out to develop, to push myself to speak up, to push harder, to be louder, to study, to read, to practice public speaking etc etc. At times I got frustrated w this process and debated with other comrades how Malcolm X was not the only model of leadership, and we needed others! But I feel resentment now, because I was practising what us as an organization believed in, and in the absence of other woman revolutionaries in our organization in Seattle, I pushed myself super hard and now, am blamed for it. My individual personality was instead targetted.
These are the nuances of the patriarchy that I feel like women leaders have to go through. No, I dont hate my male comrades (in case some people are trying to box me into that male-hating feminist category to discredit my words). I love my male comrades dearly but this pain, this dilemma, this struggle, is mine to bear. They didnt have to experience this, maybe they did but I am sure not to the same extent.
How the fuck did woman militants like Lucy Parsons, Rosa Luxemburg, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn etc etc, deal with this?
I want to move forward from this. To heal and to think more deeply about, what is feminist practice in revolutionary organization that is rooted in libertarian marxist principles and values -- celebrating creativity, joy, passion (also in the form of debate!!!:) )
Last note is, I want to be humble and vulnerable and open to critiques. But I cant help noticing this double standard, which then makes it hard for me to know where the critiques are coming from!!! It is very confusing!!