Tag Archives: transnational feminism

Thandisizwe Chimurenga on Women’s Theory-Building and Transnational Feminism

Speech by Thandisizwe Chimurenga, shared at AF3IRM’s Women on the Wave and 25th Anniversary National Summit on October 11, 2014 in Los Angeles.

It is an honor to be here today at AF3IRM’s national summit, and I would like to thank my sisters Jollene Levid and the women of AF3IRM-LA for extending the invitation to speak to you all.

When we examine the question of “What is the importance of women’s theory-building today, in this political climate?”, we should do, at minimum, two things – one look at our particular social location. And secondly, the ground we have already covered.

What is our social location? Where are we? Women, all women, are on the bottom and when u are on the bottom you have a better view; Our location tells us who is left out, and who is here with us. As the beneficiaries of sexual, racial, national and economic exploitation, as we stand in the intersection that Kimberle Crenshaw describes, gettin’ hit by it all, we are the best equipped to determine what it is we need in order to get out of harm’s way, how to heal from harm’s way, and how to keep others from taking our places in the intersection.

All women are on the bottom, but even on the bottom, there is room to wiggle around. In other words, there are spaces in which privilege exists. How does that privilege exist? What does it look like? As revolutionaries, it is one of our many tasks to examine those questions.

Andrea Smith, co-founder of Incite women of color against violence, argues that women of color’s shared victimization by white supremacy does not necessarily mean we have been impacted in the same way by white supremacy; and consequently, strategies for survival under white supremacy, let alone liberation, for one community may in actuality be oppressive to another community. Many Black and Brown youths, male and female, look to the US military as a means of economic advancement to escape from poverty, which is understandable, but is hardly liberating or an act of solidarity for Pilipinos, or Afghanis, or Iraqis, or Syrians, or any other people where US imperialism currently has its fangs or has its bloodthirsty eyes set on.

And those countries where US imperialism has wrought economic havoc on the inhabitants [such as Nicaragua and El Salvador], citizens of those countries oftentimes find a measure of economic relief by moving to the US and obtaining citizenship. Again that is understandable – that is out of economic necessity and not a true choice, but it is also complicitous in the theft and conquest of this land from its original landowners. Not to mention the fact that many attempts to craft narratives that show the “worthiness” of this or that immigrant population for citizenship are sometimes predicated on the erasure of the descendants of those Afrikans who absolutely did not have a choice to come here, who simultaneously were the wealth and created the wealth that built this country; the black bodies upon which white supremacy currently satisfies is monstrous appetite on.

Y’all still wit me?

Such examples represent a bump in the road; not necessarily a mountain, but something to be maneuvered around nonetheless. How do we do that? Well, what ground have we covered already?

The best tradition of Black feminism has always been anti-imperialist and in solidarity with the exploited the world over. Claudia Jones told us that when she railed against capitalism and war in Korea as she was being sentenced to prison for being a communist in the 1950s.

The best tradition of the politics of Black feminism, both articulated and not, have been not just progressive but absolutely revolutionary, understanding that social change divorced from economic change still leads to exploitation. Frances Beale and the sisters of the Third World Womens’ Alliance told us that in 1969 when they declared that Black women face a triple jeopardy, as women, as workers and as members of the Black nation. Our sisters in the Combahee River Collective reiterated that in the mid 70s.

bell hooks’ labeling of “white supremacist heterosexist patriarchal capitalism” – a name as ugly as the system it identifies – and Patricia Hill Collins’ labeling of what we endure as a “matrix of dominations,” laid it out for us again. They reminded us. Again.

Going back over the ground that we have already covered, we go back to Claudia Jones, who said Black women are super exploited. Our roles as mothers, as caretakers and fighters for our families, as crucial, sometimes, sole earners in our families, we possess the greatest potential for militancy, for revolutionary consciousness, for organizing. We are the caretakers, the fighters for our families. A crucial component we bring to the table [along with fighting] is that of nurturing and that is sorely missing from our movements today in the form of healing.

We are under assault daily, every few minutes. We are consistently being traumatized and we need to address this trauma. We have to be more intentional in our organizing work, recognizing the concept of healing as an integral piece of organizing – healing is needed in our personal lives, in our communities, in our movements for liberation and must be incorporated into our organizing work.

This includes grieving. We need the space to grieve – to give voice to that aching, understanding that it is not a weakness in the way that patriarchy dismisses anything that is not hypermasculine. Understanding that, as one of my elders taught me, “sometimes you can see farther thru a tear than you can through a telescope.”

This brings me to my second premise, that of Why is it important to have transnational, women of color take leadership in ideology-building within our movements?

Our work is creating the new society, the new nation, both here, in the belly of the beast, and in those spaces and places we come from originally. We seek to free those spaces from imperialist, foreign domination, and so it is important that our work mirror our end goal as closely as possible, if we say that we are against all forms of oppression, if we are for the freedom of humans to develop and live their lives, then we must mirror that. We have to see it being done. Transnational, women of color must take leadership, not wait for it to be offered or divided up in a will at death. Take it. Now.

We must set the tone, we must define the work, we must put the work into practice, we must make sure the work stays on point. And we need male allies in this. We always need male allies. But we can’t wait on them. I remember a book written on the Civil Rights Movement called “Men Lead, Women Organize.” We know this. That’s not necessarily essentialist, history bares it out. Of course it could change, but it ain’t thus far …

These are some of my thoughts. Thank you for allowing me to share them with you.

[Text provided by Thandisizwe Chimurenga]



Internationally Renowned Author and Former Marcos Political Prisoner Ninotchka Rosca Addresses Feminist Theories at AF3IRM Summit

For Immediate Release
Barbra Ramos, National Communications Director
[email protected] | (323) 813-4272

NATIONAL — Multi-award-winning author Ninotchka Rosca joins a growing list of guest speakers for AF3IRM’s National Summit “Women on the Wave.”  The transnational feminist organization is proud to have Rosca, an active member of its New York chapter, share her analysis of the struggle for women’s liberation. She will join journalist Thandisizwe Chimurenga and others on the Five-Continents Feminism plenary that will set the thematic framework for the two-day gathering in October.

Rosca’s commitment to justice and human rights is undeniable. As the 42nd anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines nears, it is especially notable that Rosca’s personal history as a political prisoner of the Marcos dictatorship marks just one instance of her steadfast dissent against oppression. She has especially been engaged with women’s organizing, advocacy and theory-building and has worked with AF3IRM from its inception – including during its former formation as GABNet.  She was elected GABNet’s first Chairperson at its founding on September 4, 1989.  For many women, she has laid the foundations of both theory and practice for uncompromising feminism.

Rosca’s work as an author and journalist has revolved around the twin issues of women’s liberation and class liberation. She has authored/co-authored 9 books, including Sugar and Salt and Twice Blessed, and about 700 by-lined articles. Her bestseller State of War was recently reprinted.

AF3IRM is pleased to present Ninotchka Rosca in conversation with other amazing women-identified activists and theorists at “Women on the Wave.” AF3IRM’s National Summit and 25th Anniversary takes place on October 11-12th, 2014 in Los Angeles at the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex. The summit celebrates AF3IRM and its history of over 25 years of women’s organizing, including their current work as a transnational feminist women’s organization and former work as a women’s solidarity organization. AF3IRM welcomes all woman-identified individuals to join in the dialogue, celebration, and resistance.

To learn more about the summit and to register, please visit http://af3irm.org/summit2014. The event is wheelchair accessible and childcare is provided. Space is limited!

summit2WHAT: AF3IRM 25th Anniversary and Women’s Summit
WHEN: Saturday through Sunday, October 11-12, 2014
WHERE: Miguel Contreras Learning Complex
ADDRESS: 322 S Lucas Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017
REGISTRATION: http://af3irm.org/summit2014/
MORE ABOUT AF3IRM: http://af3irm.org


For Immediate Release
Barbra Ramos, National Communications Director
[email protected] | (323) 813-4272

NATIONAL — Deliberations on Five-Continent Feminism, featuring boots-on-the-ground political analysts, will open the AF3IRM National Summit and 25th anniversary celebrations on October 11-12, in Los Angeles.   Some 300 women-identified participants are expected to attend the summit, entitled “Women on the Wave,” and wrestle with major aspects of constructing the next wave of the struggle for women’s liberation.  This historic event will encompass the theoretical basis, current practices, and revolutionary vision necessary for the future of feminism and the survival of womankind.

The “Five-Continent Feminism” panel is expected to underscore the common bedrock of the women’s liberation struggle the world over, its historical antecedents in women-centered societies supplanted by patriarchy and class, by racism and sexism, and by colonialism and imperialism.  It will set the thematic framework for the two-day discourse, as participants search for the unifying threads of women’s struggles at this time when Capital roosts in and exacerbates every possible division of humanity, toward profitable conflict and war for the Corporatocracy.

This panel will be followed by one on “The New Wave of Feminist Leadership.”  The panel will feature the already mighty young women/women-identified leaders and their work in various communities and movements.  It will examine the commonality of the struggle between US national politics and young people of color and propose strategies to enable a horizontal cooperation between youth and adults to bring down the hierarchical structures of oppression.

“Transnational Feminism” will be the subject of the third panel, which will define a “decolonized, post-identity politics” to create a truly transformational next wave of feminism.  The goal is to codify current feminist activism by women of color and transnational women so as to ensure that a focus-shift in terms of both constituency and targets takes place with the next cresting of the women’s movement in the US.

Day Two of the Summit is designed to focus on actual practice by transnational women in various fields and around different issues to advance our collective movement. It will take up certain principles that sum up how women and the women-identified hammered out from lessons learned on the ground.  This spans such issues as the resurgence of aboriginal activism, violence against women including rape culture, prostitution and sex positivism, wage inequalities and unpaid women’s labor, re-focusing the struggle against Capital and imperialism to its home base and tackling the issue of the US government’s enslavement by Capital.

Because women invented literature and art, the National Summit will feature art, music, poetry, and other forms of cultural resistance from all over the country and the world. Grammy-nominated Chilean emcee Ana Tijoux will present a special keynote and performance during the Summit. Zapoteca emcee Mare will also grace the Summit with a special lunchtime performance.  All people are invited to the “Women on the Wave” Solidarity Night on Saturday, October 11th after the end of Day One in a celebration of women’s creativity, existence, and resistance with an art exhibit and performances. The event will be headlined by Australian musician and hip hop artist Maya Jupiter. Throughout the Summit, a visual exhibit of AF3IRM’s 25 years will also be on view, in the tradition of revolutionary feminist art.

The two days are meant to be discourse and journey, in quest and celebration of women’s humanity, of the women’s paradigm and vision.  Considering the common neglect by visions for the future by various political factions of the gestalt of women’s knowledge and capabilities, this Summit is urgently needed. All attendees will be active participants and will be pushed to challenge and be challenged.

As AF3IRM chairperson Jollene Levid said, “we reject invisibility; we are not going to be invisible women  — whether in the women’s movement or any social transformation movement.  We are fully capable of leading and pushing the struggle for liberation way beyond what it has reached thus far.  We only need to be aware of our historical and current experience and have confidence in our capability.”


summit2AF3IRM’s 25th Anniversary and National Summit: “Women on the Wave” takes place October 11-12th, 2014 in Los Angeles at the Social Justice Academy at the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex. The summit celebrates AF3IRM and its history of over 25 years of women’s organizing, including their current work as a transnational feminist women’s organization and former work as a women’s solidarity organization. AF3IRM welcomes all woman-identified individuals to join in the dialogue, celebration, and resistance. The event is wheelchair-accessible and childcare can be provided. Space is limited!

WHAT: AF3IRM 25th Anniversary and Women’s Summit “Women on the Wave”
WHEN: Saturday through Sunday, October 11-12, 2014
WHERE: Social Justice Academy at the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex
ADDRESS: 322 S Lucas Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

REGISTRATION: http://af3irmsummit.eventbrite.com
SUMMIT INFORMATION: http://af3irm.org/summit2014/
MORE ABOUT AF3IRM: http://af3irm.org