Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thinking About Radical Democracy, Pt. 3

(Radical in reflective reworking involving going back to the origins of the concept and pushing our supposed democracy to live up to its founding concepts. For my students working on social/collective memory projects--the links are all updated. Suggestions for this list are appreciated and needed--please help me to keep up-to-date and to catch up on newly uncovered/ignored histories.)

U.S. Section of Women's International League for Peace

Orion: Environmental Discourse and Dissent

Green Social Thought

Radical Democracy: A Contested Terrain

Rules for Radicals

The Democratic Promise: Saul Alinsky and His Legacy

Fast Food Nation and McDonaldization

History of Radicalism in the U.S.

Abolitionist Movement

Civil Rights Movement

Marxist Internet Archive

Eugene Debs, Labor Organizer

Feminist Movement

Marcus Garvey, Black Nationalist Leader

Labor Movement

Abbie Hoffman



Utopian Communities

The Student as Nigger

John Taylor Gatto: Challenging the Myths of Modern Schooling

Raoul Vaneigem: The Revolution of Everyday Life

Resources for Studying Propaganda

The Memory Hole: Freeing of Information in Action

On the Poverty of Student Life

Language of the War on Terror

Independent Media in a Time of War

Indy Media

Nancy Snow: Rebranding of America

Poet/Performer Saul Williams

Politics of University Teaching in Post 9/11 America

Socialist Equality Party Presidential Candidate Bill Van Auken: "An American Tragedy"

Douglas Rushkoff's Open Source Democracy

Chris Hedges: The Meaning of War

Stonewall Riot and Its Aftermath

Wikipedia: Stonewall Riots

Stonewall Riots, 1969

Nickle and Dimed: On (not) Getting By in America

Barbara Ehrenreich

Crucial Texts of Radical Democracy

Thomas Frank: Architecture of a New Consensus

Culture-Trafficking for the 21st Century

Terry Tempest Williams: Open Spaces of Democracy

Terry Tempest Williams: Ground Truthing

BBC Documentary: The Power of Nightmares

Paul Kivel: Are You Mentoring For Social Justice

Skidmark Bob, Musical Activist

Stokely Carmichael: Architect of Black Power

George Soros: The Bubble of American Supremacy

Race and Collective Memory Bibliography

Without Sanctuary: America's Dark History of Racialized Violence (caution)

Ron Strickland's Marxist Cultural Theory

Tony Kushner: Radical Pragmatist

Race: The Power of an Illusion

Ubu Web: Freedom as Creativity

Martin Luther King's Radical Message

Michael Moore: White Frights

Remembering Johnny Cash

U.S. Prison Boom

How the Other Half Banks

Hakim Bey: Poetic Terrorism

Situationist International: Resisting the Society of the Spectacle

Bureau of Publis Secrets

Howard Zinn: Our War on Terrorism

The Nation: Our Debt to Bill Moyers

Arundhati Roy: Instant Mix, Imperial Democracy (Buy One, Get One Free)

Project Censored Annual Reports of Year's Top Censored News Stories

Guy Debord: Society of the Spectacle

Slavoj Zizek: The Passion

Raymond Federman: The Real Begins Where the Spectacle Ends

Emma Goldman: Minorities vs. Majorities

Emma Goldman Archives

Anarchist Archives

Mary Wolstoncraft: Vindication of the Rights of Women

Elizabeth Cady Stanton: The Solitude of Self

National Women's History Project

Gloria Steinem

Angela Davis: Radical Activist/Black Feminist

Combahee River Collective Statement: Genesis of Black Feminism

Feminist Writing Space

bell hooks: writing and resistance

The Beautiful Enigma of Radical Democracy

Women's International League for Peace

Peace Women

Extreme Democracy

American Indian Movement

Alcatraz Is Not an Island: Reclaiming Native Land

Alice Paul

Iron Jawed Angels (Katjia von Garnier) Warner, 2004: 125 minutes.

Alice Paul

We discussed the Seneca Falls 1848 Convention as a landmark event in the women's movement.

Seneca Falls Declaration

I mentioned Ida B. Wells the African American activist in the movie who refuses to get in the back of the parade--for more on this important democratic civil rights activist:

Ida B. Wells

Wikipedia: Ida B. Wells

Think about Ida B. Wells argument in the film and then read this important statement from Black Feminists:

Excerpts from the Combahee River Collective Statement

Other women activists of the time that are not featured in the movie, but are very important to know (they are often ignored because they fought for the rights of workers--something a capitalist society rarely honors). These women were as courageous and passionate as Alice Paul and Lucy Burns (have you heard of them?):

Mother Jones: the Angel of the Mines

Wikipedia: Mother Jones

Emma Goldman

Wikipedia: Emma Goldman

Helen Keller is also mentioned many times during the movie. How many of you knew that Helen Keller was an civil rights activist who was pursued by the FBI?

Helen Keller and the FBI

Helen Keller

I mentioned stereotypes about "feminism" and just wanted to post other opinions on the issue:

North Carolina College Student: Stereotypes About Feminism Are Unfounded and Damaging (also click on the only comment at the end of the essay)

The Guerilla Girls a performative activist group has long been fighting stereotypes of women and for equal representation in the arts (if you have taken an art history class you will understand the disparity between the representation of male and female artists):

University of North Texas website on feminism:

What is Feminism?

Public displays, marches and protests are an effective non-violent method for bringing attention to political issues (that are being ignored by mainstream society):

NOW: History of Marches and Mass Actions

Wikipedia: Social Movements

Wikipedia: Protests

Also check out the imagistic critiques of the conceptual artist Barbara Krueger--who questions how stereotypes and behaviors are reproduced through visual media:

Barbara Krueger

And courtesy of Melissa Purdue, an English Studies and Women Studies instructor at the University of Kentucky, an outline of the three waves of feminism (I added the links):

First Wave Feminism-

This term refers to the first concerted movement working for the reform of women's social and legal inequalities in the nineteenth century. Although individual feminist such as Mary Wollstonecraft had already argued against the injustices suffered by women, it was not until the 1850's that something like an organized feminist movement evolved in Britain. Its headquarters was at Langham Place in London, where a group of middle-class women, led by Barbara Bodichon (1827-91) and Bessie Rayner Parkes (1829-1925), met to discuss topical issues and publish the English Woman's Journal (1858-64).

The key concerns of First Wave Feminists were education, employment, the marriage laws, and the plight of intelligent middle-class single women. They were not primarily concerned with the problems of working-class women, nor did they necessarily see themselves as feminists in the modern sense (the term was not coined until 1895). First Wave Feminists largely responded to specific injustices they had themselves experienced.

Their major achievements were the opening of higher education for women; reform of the girls' secondary-school system, including participation in formal national examinations: the widening of access to the professions, especially medicine; married women's property rights, recognized in the Married Women's Property Act of 1870; and some improvement in divorced and separated women's child custody rights.

Second Wave Feminism-

The term 'Second Wave' was coined by Marsha Lear, and refers to the increase in feminist activity which occurred in America, Britain, and Europe from the late sixties onwards. In America, second wave feminism rose out of the Civil Rights and anti-war movements in which women, disillusioned with their second-class status even in the activist environment of student politics, began to band together to contend against discrimination. The second wave was concerned with reproductive rights and the fight against sexual and domestic violence.

The tactics employed by Second Wave Feminists varied from highly-published activism, such as the protest against the Miss America beauty contest in 1968, to the establishment of small consciousness-raising groups. However, it was obvious early on that the movement was not a unified one, with differences emerging between black feminism, lesbian feminism, liberal feminism, and social feminism.

Second Wave Feminism in Britain was similarly multiple in focus, although it was based more strongly in working-class socialism, as demonstrated by the strike of women workers at the Ford car plant for equal pay in 1968. The slogan 'the personal is political' sums up the way in which Second Wave Feminism did not just strive to extend the range of social opportunities open to women, but also, through intervention within the spheres of reproduction, sexuality and cultural representation, to change their domestic and private lives. Second Wave Feminism did not just make an impact upon western societies, but has also continued to inspire the struggle for women's rights across the world.

Third Wave Feminism -

Loosely defined movement starting around late 1990’s with texts like Manifesta, Listen Up, To Be Real, and Body Outlaws. Third Wave Feminism, the movement of feminism beyond the sexual revolution of the 1960's, is focused on young women and men perpetuating and improving upon those rights gained in the past. It is hard to define because the Third Wave is characterized by individualism and a lack of desire to conform to a definition. Third Wavers have never lived in a world without the women's movement.

The front page of the Third Wave Foundation web site explains that the organization strives to combat inequalities that [women] face as a result of [their] age, gender, race, sexual orientation, economic status or level of education. By empowering young women, Third Wave is building a lasting foundation for social activism around the country.

Wikipedia: Feminism

Wikipedia: Suffrage Movement

Wikipedia: Alice Paul

Wikipedia: Lucy Burns


Anonymous said...

"Third Wavers have never lived in a world without the women's movement."

Though it can certainly be argued that a large number of "us" grew up completely unaware that the women's movement survived the 80's. It appears that so many women of my generation, were reared "between" the defining qualities of the "2nd and 3rd Wave". The impact of this (as strange as it sounds) cannot be summarized, but is now being studied by feminists at length. (Just do a search with "3rd Wave Feminists / Feminism" for a span of reading material).

Unfortunately, there are young women (especially) and men whom sincerely believe the feminism did not survive. It seems that I meet them everyday....

Anonymous said...

So many links, so little time. This is an awesome list, Thivai. I will bookmark it and visit it often. Thank you!

C.J. Minster said...

Just an FYI - WILPF is Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, not the International Women's League for Peace and Freedom.

Two other WILPF sites maintained by the US Section:
US WILPF Member's blog and US WILPF website.

We're celebrating our 90th year as the oldest women's peace organization in the world. I'm often told to emphasize our new ideas (like our stance on radical democracy, which US WILPF includes in its mission statement); but, personally I'm involved because of the connection WILPF provides to all waves of feminism and peace/justice movements.

Michael Benton said...


I do believe in and support the need for a feminist politics that recognizes continuing inequalities in opportunity and power. I live in Kentucky one of the worst American states for women's health and opportunity (if anyone doubts me on this I can dig up source for this).

Part of the problem is that young people are interpellated to believe that opportunity is equal for everyone and that if you fail it is always solely the defect of the individual (not denying individual responsibility here or the character of the individual).

This causes them to reject collectivist identity movements... I'm currently working on a course on the history of "social movements" in the hope of increasing awareness of the importance of these actiions/collectives in the development of all our basic democratic rights.

Michael Benton said...


Happy Trails--glad you are enjoying them!

Michael Benton said...


Thanks for the correction!

I'll check out the other sources.