Transcribed from the 30 May 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the full interview:
“These cases around women actually broaden our understanding of just how at risk black bodies are, and just how deep police authority has grown.”
Chuck Mertz: It’s not only black men who are victims of violence at the hands of police. Black women have been killed by cops, too. You may not know their names like you know Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Eric Garner. Maybe that’s the problem.
AntiNote: The following is an extended excerpt of a radio interview, edited for readability. Listen to it in its entirety:
On 24 April 2015, Chuck Mertz of This is Hell! Radio (Chicago) talked to author and educator Andrew Hartman about the ambiguous legacies of the concurrent but dissonant cultural and economic revolutions of the last fifty years in the US.
This has been a topic of reliable contention in the AWC: how much a focus on cultural struggle may distract from or even impede the ostensibly more pertinent material struggle against neoliberalism—or, put the other way, whether a purely material, structural economic struggle is worthwhile or even possible without a cultural dimension.
When it comes to specific issues and strategies, implicit disagreements about how to answer these questions divide many on the Left. We appreciate Hartman’s approving attention to cultural struggle and its successes, as well as his sober awareness of perhaps greater defeats in the political-economic sphere, and join him in encouraging us all to consider both together when organizing our struggles today.
“As more and more people have clawed their way into whatever this thing is that we call American identity, fewer and fewer people have been willing to commit to the collective good. That’s the paradox.”
Note from the LeftEast editors: The attempted rape, murder, and burning of 20-year-old university student Özgecan Aslan on Feb. 11th touched a nerve in a society where male-on-female violence has been a chronic problem. Massive demonstrations throughout Turkey followed soon after, but what will it take to stem the surge in femicide over the last decade or so?
(And an AntiNote: in a characteristic attempt to draw connections between issues and interests across movements and contexts, we would also like to emphasize evident ideological and geographical overlap between radical feminism in Turkey and the Kurdish women’s movement, which has found such striking expression in Rojava and the fight against ISIS in particular. We thus invite our hungrier readers to a second helping of Anatolian feminism, from Kurdish revolutionary scholar Dilar Dirik.)
“Women face the most extreme cases of violence when they attempt to become independent of men. The religious-conservative ideological imposition that women should behave according to their purpose of creation is the discourse that perpetuates violence against women because it encourages men to “punish” women who step outside the confines of patriarchal family.”
Mattia Gallo: Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan said that women are not equal to men. This public statement is only one piece of a policy pursued by his party of conservative neoliberalism, a policy that increases precarity and poverty for men and women, and which tries to control and subordinate the role of women. What have been the effects of this policy on Turkish society since 2002, the year that brought Erdoğan’s party, AKP, to power? What are the issues that feminists have faced?
Selin Cagatay: This is not the first time that Erdoğan has stated his disagreement with gender equality. In 2010, when he was prime minister, he said, “I do not believe in the equality of men and women. I believe in equal opportunities. Men and women are different and complementary.” More strikingly, he said this at a consultation meeting with women’s NGOs, which included long-standing feminist organizations, during which he addressed women exclusively as mothers.
Transcribed from the 21 February 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Although we have cut this transcript down significantly less than we generally do, we strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, to fully appreciate the emotional intensity of the conversation.
“The people of Kobanê were about to face a massacre, and the president of Turkey just wore his sunglasses and made macho statements. He exploited the desperate situation in Kobanê.”
Chuck Mertz: We’ve been talking about all the new challenges to the traditional seats of power around the world, from the Islamic State and how it challenges our notion of the modern state, to SYRIZA and how they’re standing up to the Eurozone’s austerity policies, to Spain’s Podemos, who have created a whole new form of democracy, even to the extra-statecraft of free trade zones that exist outside nations’ and a people’s laws.
But there’s something completely unique happening in Western Kurdistan, a new kind of democracy, and it’s led by women, and they are fighting and beating the Islamic State. Here to tell us about Rojava, Kurdish refugee Dilar Dirik is an activist of the Kurdish women’s movement, and a Ph.D. candidate in the sociology department of the University of Cambridge, where her research focuses on Kurdistan, the Kurdish Women’s Movement, and the PYD (Democratic Union Party) which has existed in the Rojava territories since 2004.