In October 2014, while we were at the Anarchafeminist Conference in London, we visited Feminist Fightback during one of there meetings at the Common House. A lot of interesting things take place there. In the same building, you can e.g. find London’s Plan C. So we took one of their bamn magazines, in which Tanya Serisier’s article ‘Is Consent Sexy?’ was published, with us.
German (queer)feminism often combines the fight against sexual violence with the ideal of ‘consensual’ sex. We even have a banner that says ‘We love consent’ 😉 Apparently, this is the case in English-speaking contexts, as well and those debates also have an impact on ours. Serisier criticises ‘the’ concept of ‘consent’ from a feminist point of view.
Reading her article, our wish to ‘import’ such debates (this also applies to articles about safer spaces,…) grew. Perhaps this can help to stop German debates from going round in circles or getting stuck in the same discussions over and over again – which is why we translated Serisier’s article.
Translating texts is, however, quite a lot of work and often one of the first things to be left undone, when there’s a lot going on (just have a look at the things that have been going on in Dresden over the last months…). This article took us half a year. If you speak German and English (or any other languages) and are keen on helping us with translations, let us know. Anyway, here‘s the German translation and this is the English original:
Is Consent Sexy? (Tanya Serisier)
‘Consent is sexy. Sex without consent is rape.’ This slogan comes from a US-based campaign (consentissexy.org) targeted at university students and aimed at promoting a ‘culture of consent’ on university campuses. But the slogan could easily come from any number of campaigns aimed at reducing sexual violence and changing sexual behaviour. The political logic of this campaign is so commonplace in countries such as the US and the UK that it is essentially a form of ‘common sense knowledge’ or even a hegemonic truth, broadly shared across the political spectrum. This logic is, mainly speaking, that rape – defined as sexual activities that one of the parties does not consent to -is a terrible thing and should not occur. Therefore, what we need to do is promote, socially and culturally, sex that is the opposite of this illegal, harmful and unethical sex. Following from legal definitions of non-consent, consent becomes the primary criterion for judging good, ethical and even ‘sexy’ sex.
Reply from Feminist Fightback London: After we had wished them a successful action on May 19th, this answer fluttered into our letterbox:
We were very happy to receive your letter in solidarity with our action. The pro-choice action in Stratford, London against “Helpers of God’s Precious Infants” on Sat 9th of May 2015 was vibrant and loud. Feminist protestors –both from Feminist Fightback and other allies that came for the action- blocked the anti-choice religious group as they tried to march from a church to the abortion clinic. The action took place outside the church –with the intention of not interfering nearby the abortion clinic- and attracted passer-bys who stopped and engaged with us. The group ranged from women to children to male allies around colourful handcrafted banners. We made noise with pots and pans, whistles and the stereo that was playing punk songs as well as feminist classics. There was a brilliant moment where we sang along to Aretha Franklin’s Respect, summed up why we were there: RESPECT women’s choices! The feminist presence managed to delay the anti-choice group for over two hours until we were pushed back by the police (who escorted the procession), though the anti-choice demonstration only had ten minutes in front of the clinic. A great achievement!
We would also wish to express our solidarity with your action on the 1st of June in Annaberg-Buchholz in Germany. It is great to make connections with and be inspired by comrades working on similar issues elsewhere. Attempts by religious groups to make regressive demands in terms of reproductive rights and harassing women against making choices regarding their own bodies, are merely the last desperate acts of a dilapidated dogma. We will continue to engage in action to stand against fundamentalist religious attempts to control and dictate women’s lives. We very much appreciate engaging in on-going conversations with comrades around the world on this issue!
We look forward to hearing about your experience and in combining efforts to overcome the challenges to our reproductive rights!
The workshop will describe the history of Women in Exile and Friends. In a power point presentation and a short film clip from our raft tour last summer, this was joined by refugee women and supporters without refugee background nation wide.
We will tell a story that started from personal problems, which made us organize ourselves politically and friends supporting our political fight. After that, we will discuss together about general refugee issues, from a woman’s perspective such as isolation, exclusion, sexist and racist discrimination.
Women in Exile‘is an initiative of refugee women founded in Brandenburg in 2002 to fight for their rights. We decided to organize ourselves as a refugee women’s group because we have made the experience that refugee women are doubly discriminated against, not only by the racist and discriminative refugee laws in general, but also as women.
Women in Exile & Friends‘ was formed in 2011 by Women in Exile & activists in solidarity without refugee background. We focus on the abolition of Lagers, all laws governing the life of asylum seekers and migrants, and on the intersection of racism and sexism. In our group we experience that women can relate to each other, regardless of their differences in age, origin, religion, status, sexual orientation or other factors. And that together we can make an impact. We develop strategies to achieve political change and take our protest against the inhuman living conditions of refugee women to the public.
Wednesday May 13th
6.30pm // Martin Luther Str. 13 (kosmotique)
The option to choose abortion is part of the human rights. In Germany since 1871 the §218 considers abortion a crime. The following paragraphs state the conditions that have to be met to legally carry out an abortion. One of those conditions is the so called „Zwangsberatung“, an obligatory counselling. This is opposing (queer) feminist demands for bodily autonomy. In addition abortion is still a taboo in societey. Womyn*, who have had an abortion, are still being stygmatized. Also increasingly loud voices coming from fundamentally christian groups as well as right wing groups are calling for a prohibition of abortion in general. So we think it’s time to put the discussions about abortion back on (queer)feminist agendas, to discuss old answers and to pose new questions!
We are happy to announce that Katja Krolzik-Matthei will be our guest in the cafém on May 17th. She will talk about her recently published book „§218 – Feministische Perspektiven auf die Abtreibungsdebatte in Deutschland“ (Unrast Verlag). After her talk there will be the opportunity to discuss the upcoming protests against the „Schweigemarsch“ of the CDL on June 1st in Annaberg-Buchholz (more information on: schweigemarsch-stoppen.de) . You can also purchase bustickets and we can talk about actions that could take place against the event.
As usual the cafém will open at 2pm. There will be a small brunch buffet and we are happy if people contribute and bring along some stuff (like cake or salads, or whatever vegan) Just hang out with us, read some zines or have a cup of coffee!
The event is organized in cooperation with the Stura of the TU Dresden.
cafém: 2 – 8pm
talk: 4 – 5.30pm
Information on the protest in Annaberg-Buchholz: 6pm Facebook
Today, Feminist Fightback is protesting in London against a fundamentalist right-wing procession from their church to a nearby abortion clinic (we wrote about it in this post). Since we face a very similar problem with the “march of silence” in Annaberg-Buchholz, we sent them this adress of solidarity:
We want to express our solidarity to your struggle in London against the religious right-wing movement and their anti women* views.
Even if the situation differs in the various regions of the world, we are united by many common interests and similar challenges in our fight for the right of pregnant people to decide!
In Saxony, we have to face a silent march which advocates for abolishing – the already very restricted – legal options for abortion. At the 1st of June, evangelicalists will try to spread their regressive demands demonstrating in Annaberg-Buchholz, a small saxon town – but we will be there, too. We want to protest for the right to choose and we are ready to intervene when they try to influence public opinion and political discussions!
In Latin America as in the US, in Germany like in UK, all over the world emancipatory movements have to face fundamentalist religious attempts to control and dictate the life of women*! All over the world, reactionary forces try to ensure their influence on society. One of their tools is the control over reproductive rights. They do this at the expense of oppressed and underprivileged people.
Our strength when fighting those repressive actions lies in connecting emancipatory struggles throughout the world. When we share our experiences, our analyses and our critique, when we combine our efforts for a liberated and solidary society, when we stand united in hard times as well as when celebrating our victories – we will overcome the patriarchal and capitalist structures which constantly deteriorate our lifes and impair our freedom.
So we wish you good luck with your Pro-Choice Action. Our thoughts are with you, we’ll keep our fingers crossed for a successful day in London!
When they try to take our rights – we don’t step back, we start to fight!
We want to do a short input about christian antifeminism and fundamentalism and discuss together about what it means to us individually, for our social life and our political struggles. Why do we even have to deal with christian fundamentalism and how can this work? We also want to focus on reproductional rights and analyse how they became one of the main battlefields of fundamentalist movements (s. „Schweigemärsche“). Annaberg-Buchholz is on the 1st of June, christian fundamentalism, unfortunately, is all the year…
P.S.: half of the talk will be in English and half in German
In the end we will give some information about the action planned in Annaberg-Buchholz.