Thursday, January 11, 2007

Prioritizing Kids in the Anarchist Community

Recently I attended the Permanent Autonomous Zone conference in Louisville, KY where I participated in my first parenting workshop. Even though I go to several conferences a year, this was the first time I saw a parenting workshop offered. Unfortunately, it wasn't even scheduled, but was a guerrilla workshop set up by a mama from Detroit. Why did it take so long for me to come upon a workshop like this? Why is it that a bunch of self proclaimed anarchists in this "movement" for social and political change are not prioritizing family and community?

I am the mother of a 3-year-old kid, miss Anaya Cassidy Kelly. Anaya goes with me almost everywhere. She is by my side at meetings, workshops, benefits, during volunteering, demos, consciousness raisings, protests and other events. You name it, and if I was there, chances are Anaya was too. That kid has sat through the most annoying and frustrating of consensus-based meetings where even I was whiny and tired by the end. Anaya has to put up with a lot having an activist as a mama.

This is complicated by the fact that she has a mama who is working within a "movement" that tends to marginalize both the parents and children within it. Often I am left with the feeling that, within the anarchist community, kids are seen as fun little things to have around as long as someone else takes care of them and they don't inconvenience people by taking them away from the "real work" they could be doing. The amount of cluelessness and hypocrisy that we, as parents, find ourselves surrounded by as we struggle to both work for change and raise our kids is astounding. We must do our work in a "movement" not inclusive of children.

Locally, this plays out in several ways, including how children are treated, how child care is handled and the unrelentless judgement passed on the hardworking folks who are parenting, I would like to think that these problems just apply to my local community, but in conversations with parents from different parts of the country there are definite patterns in the ways that children and families are looked at and treated in our supposedly "radical" communities...Read More...

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