Herstory, part 5 – by Dan Baker

A year before they declared war on the Mexican government Zapatista women banned alcohol in their communities. This was for security reasons, to combat addiction and colonialism and to reduce domestic abuse. This also improved family nutrition. When men stopped drinking women’s lives improved dramatically. Also, the Zapatistas would not be narco traffickers or accused of such things, because they were all sober.

The Zapatistas say that oppression and resistance are gendered. Any struggle against colonialism and its conditioning is a struggle for dignity against patriarchy and gender oppression. Marcos writes “Knowing that one is human implies knowing that one is woman and must struggle… If the transformation we seek does not include the radical transformation of gender relations between men and women, the generational relations between the old and the young, relations between homosexuals and the ‘to-each-his-own’, the culture relations between indigenous and non-indigenous people, the relations of life between humans and nature, then this transformation will be nothing more than one more caricature among those that abound in the great book of history.”

Many Zapatista women have paid a terrible price for their resistance. Counter revolutionary paramilitaries commit violent, symbolic acts of barbarism against Zapatista women. On 12/22/97, in Acteal, 32 out of 47 people killed in a gruesome massacre were women and girls. They were mutilated, their breasts cut off, fetuses cut out of their bellies and tossed from man to man, who were quoted by survivors as saying “Let’s do away with the seed.”

Shannon Speed, an anthropologist, said “The paramilitary violence waged against women in Acteal was not incidental- its motivation was the silencing of political opposition, and its logic and symbology was gendered in such a way that rendered women most vulnerable to attack.” Women have been on the front lines from the beginning, as can be seen in the Acteal massacre and the famous photo from ’98 of the small, unarmed women of Polho physically repelling a platoon of heavily armed soldiers.

Zapatista women fight against the false propaganda that “women are weak” and that “indigenous people are stupid”. It is a rebellion against patriarchy within the revolution and indigenous resistance movements. Native women with assault rifles are infinitely more dangerous to entrenched oppression than men with assault rifles. “Smash the patriarchy” means to abolish all the profit driven military and prison industrial complexes and the nation state governments based on these systems of slavery, domination and murder. This is why the Zapatistas are full of of strong women. Photos, t-shirts and graffiti of women fighting back highlight women’s leadership in this Rebellion.

12 years after 1/1/94 the Zapatistas celebrated the first encounter of the Zapatista women with the women of the world. This was the first Zapatista gathering devoted to women. A masked woman organizing the event asked a rhetorical question: “Why a Women’s Encounter? Because it is time.”

This event was inspiring, with transformative discussion and the realization that there is still a lot of work to be done. Hilary Klein, an international reporter who covered the event, said “Women recognized that creating their political participation is not something that can happen overnight… Rebecca, a member of the autonomous council, said “At first we didn’t participate much as women. Little by little we began to participate more.” Laura, a member of the Agrarian Commission, explained, “Before, they didn’t take us into consideration as women. Later they realized that we needed to have women authorities too, to strengthen our autonomy. Now, as women, we are conscious and we’re moving forward. We don’t know much, but as authorities we learn as we go, by doing the work.” And Daisy, a local authority said “A lot of times we’re still nervous and shy. There are still a lot of men who think we can’t do the work.” As they talked about the obstacles they have faced and how they have organized as women they were also telling the story of the Zapatista movement.”

This Women’s Encounter examined and evaluated the progress of feminism in a public space. Despite the influence of Zapatismo there has not been much progress. But progress is slow and it’s difficult to break old habits. Even the humorous, macho personality of Subcomandante Marcos has been an obstacle to women’s liberation in this movement, though he is learning, if slowly.

Women have been opening spaces of political participation just for women, in decision making, social change, and cultural perception. They have revealed oppression against women and worked to transform their conditions. Individuals now felt the collective support and resistance of organized women. Fundamentally patriarchal structures within the Zapatistas were criticized. Its not enough to put women in leadership positions in a structure that is a hierarchical patriarchy. The whole structure must be changed.

Having caught up to the Zapatista women I’ll move the focus to North America. First I’ll return to the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s and share insights from Ruth Kinna, Voltairine De Cleyre, Lucy Parsons and Emma Goldman, all found in “Classic Writings in Anarchist Criminology”. Then I’ll bring this work closer to the present, returning to “Abolition. Feminism. Now.” The purpose of these essays is to educate myself and other men, declare our support for women and women’s rage in the war against women and perhaps to encourage women who have been brainwashed by the patriarchy, such as the government agents forced to read these essays when they monitor my free speech. This work also seeks to answer the question “Why do Americans continue to allow the military and prison industrial complex to use, abuse, rape and kill women while other regions worldwide are actively fighting against this systematic violence?” This abuse is often carried out in the name of the church of a fictional white Jesus in the same way that the Iranian regime kills women who refuse to wear the head scarf. Amerikkkan cops target women who have little money, women who fight back against patriarchy, they take away all women’s bodily autonomy and lock them up where they are almost powerless to defend themselves against a culture of rape among prison guards. Women who do kill their rapists face deadly repercussions in prison and on the street, what cops call curbside justice.

Ruth Kinna invokes a self portrait of Kropotkin depicting a grim, poorly lit prison cell that highlights the isolation of prison. Kropotkin is one of many anarchists who used their prison time to think about the human condition under capitalist republics and that regime’s death squads, the police. As the lead singer of feminist band Pussy Riot said when she was recently released from Russian prison, often activists come out stronger than they went in, having had time to solidify their convictions, verify them by experience and study. I am proud to share this rich heritage, and I am determined to work towards abolishing police and prisons. Before going to prison this did not effect me personally so I was not concerned with these problems and doubted the stories of prisoners. But now I know they are all true. Anarchists are targeted because we make progress towards a better society where those who profit from other’s captivity are forced to get a real job that contributes to society. Anarchists like Alexander Berkman write about prison because we are deeply moved by our experiences in prisons. This gives us the tools to criticize punishment, discipline, obedience, power, domination, authority and the origins of crime, which are poverty and abuse.

There are volumes of anarchist critique of profit driven, competitive capitalism that creates crimes of desperation. We put our prosecutors on trial for their criminalization of poverty, free speech, race and creed. Each conviction of anarchists creates a chilling effect, sets a legal precedent that criminalizes all the poor working class, especially women and minorities. Just because a person is a judge, a prosecutor or a cop, does not mean that they are a good person. Amerikkkan courts are stacked against the majority, most judges are installed by corporations and monopolies. Many chief justices appointed to the supreme court were bought by railway magnates like J.P. Morgan and Standard Oil, robber barons. This is why justice is consistently denied to the poor and unemployed, it is an intentional strategy to keep people weak and hungry, to keep wages down and profits up. Cities are full of people intentionally kept unemployed as an example to the rest: “This will be you if you don’t obey and look the other way.” This is why employers discriminate against women, minorities and convicts, offering them lower wages than rich kids or no job at all.

Before I go on I’d like to note a few things. Today is the anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Derry, Ireland and the anniversary of the beginning of the Tet Offensive in the Vietnamese struggle of self defense. Recently my unarmed, pacifist friend Manny Teran was murdered in the Atlanta Welaunee Forest while protesting against the construction of a cop city facility where they are training to murder protestors and other civilians. On top of this last week the police were forced to release the body camera footage of the brutal murder of Tyre Nichols. Here in FCI Memphis we were locked down as a result of the cop’s fear of righteous retribution. Lucky for the cops the prisoners here have been tricked into caring more about football than the murder of our own by police. When I was in the army we trained in “crowd control” for inevitable riots and uprisings in the U$ based on anticipating self defense against police violence, lack of water, food, housing and healthcare due to climate change and class division. We were trained to kill unarmed American civilians in cold blood when ordered to do so. We who rightly questioned this were dismissed from the training. Those who raised their hands when asked if they would obey orders to kill unarmed civilians were taken to another unit for further “crowd control” training. This is the standard for Amerikkkan infantry units. I was in the 82nd Airborne Infantry, 2/504 Parachute Infantry Regiment at Ft. Bragg, NC in Fayetteville. This training included “MOUT city”, which stands for Military Operations in Urban Terrain. This is exactly what cop city in Atlanta Welaunee Forest is- a training facility for the wholesale slaughter of civilians. I refused to deploy with the 82nd and they went to Iraq and committed the Mahmoodia Gangrape Massacre, where they raped and murdered a teenage girl and killed her whole family and their neighbors. They usually aren’t caught and become cops at home. Things haven’t changed since the 1800’s, since I was in the army, or the George Floyd Uprisings. Apparently the cops still don’t respect us, our capabilities or our intelligence. This can be seen in the murders of Tyre Nichols and Manny Teran. Why are Tyre’s killer’s out on bail, but the activists who protest cop city are not? Why are environmental protestors being held on terrorism charges? Why isn’t Manny Teran’s killer being charged with murder? Where is that body cam footage? Why do multiple eyewitnesses at the scene of Manny Teran’s murder directly contradict the claims of the his killer? The reasons Tyre’s killers are being charged with murder right away is because they are black, they are not members of the corrupt police union, there was third party video footage exposing them and because the George Floyd Uprising showed what happens when cops are not held accountable for their crimes. But they are still out on bail and protestors are not. When I was arrested for pledging to defend the Florida capitol from a fascist coup I was not even given the option of bail. Tyre’s murderers and the “Oathkeepers” who fought to take over the government are out on bail. There is clear prejudice in the current government, which favors even murderers of civilians, and those who attempt to stage a coup to overthrow it, over those who defend the people from terrorists with ties to the police. If any 5 of us beat a cop to death would we be allowed to go home on bail? Would we even make it to the jail alive, much less trial? No, we would be killed by cops in another episode of their “curbside justice.” Injustice is their standard operating procedure. Drop weapons are their policy. Amerikkkan cops try to say other countries are worse but all cops are the same. There are only bad cops and cops who cover for bad cops, except when they throw each other under the bus. The cop who kidnapped me from my mother and tried to raise me in his image was one of these bad cops and he was the first to explain these things to me.



Dan Baker 25765-509
FCI Memphis
PO Box 34550
Memphis, TN 38184

Published by mongoosedistro

"Contains material solely for the purpose of achieving breakdown of prison through disruption" -Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice mailroom

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