The legendary Portland feminist bookstore and community space In Other Words, which has been satirized on the show Portlandia as the bookstore Women and Women First, has announced it will be closing at the end of June, after 25 years. They were founded after the closure of the feminist bookstore A Woman’s Place. The decision came about from a variety of factors.
In Other Words released a statement about their closing, which included the following:
“Some reasons for the closure are increased expenses and the lack of funds, volunteers, and board members. This is a cycle of In Other Words as an organization, and also the cycle of community spaces in capitalism. IOW periodically discusses closing because of a lack of money and people. This isn’t sustainable, especially emotionally, for the people who come here and work to provide this space as a resource to Portland Feminist communities. Even if funds poured in, and masses of people showed up in response to this announcement, we would not continue our tenure here.”
. . . .
“We cannot continue because we know reform does not work. The current volunteers and board members stepped into and took over a space that was founded on white, cis feminism (read: white supremacy). It’s really difficult, actually, impossible, for us to disentangle from that foundational ideology.”
Link to the rest at BookRiot
PG had not thought about a person’s or a group’s “privilege” preventing them from doing anything at all. You may be so privileged that all you can do is sit in a corner and eat gruel.
PG immediately thought of an Ouroboros.
This ancient symbol represents a variety of concepts, but most often, something like eternity or eternal life.
For PG, it has also represented self-destructive and self-hating thought and behavior, a creature turning on itself.
As many visitors to TPV know, during the first decades following the Soviet revolution in Russia, Stalin carried out a wide range of campaigns to wipe out disfavored groups – Kulaks, Jews, counterrevolutionaries, the intelligentsia, followers of Leon Trotsky and other previously-approved Communists.
PG suggests that many of the anti-privilege campaigns he sees today are reminiscent of the attacks on disfavored groups in the Soviet Union during the 1920’s and 30’s. If you were a Kulak, a peasant wealthy enough to own a farm and hire labor, you were irredeemable because of your identity and stripping you of your farm and money was not an adequate solution to the problems you presented to those in authority.
Stalin ordered the “liquidation of the kulaks as a class” in 1929.
“In order to oust the kulaks as a class, the resistance of this class must be smashed in open battle and it must be deprived of the productive sources of its existence and development (free use of land, instruments of production, land-renting, right to hire labor, etc.).That is a turn towards the policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class. Without it, talk about ousting the kulaks as a class is empty prattle, acceptable and profitable only to the Right deviators.”
Under later orders, all kulaks were assigned to receive one of three punishments:
- to be shot or imprisoned as decided by the local secret political police
- to be sent to Siberia, the North, the Urals or Kazakhstan, after confiscation of their property
- to be evicted from their houses and used in labor colonies within their own districts
Even if a Kulak was an enthusiastic communist, the taint of land ownership was too strong and employment of others was too great to save him from punishment.