Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Too Cool For Kids – How Anarchist bigotry supports the nuclear family.

Superb article I dug up thru a back-link from New Zealand's Anarchist Forums. Kudos to Kakariki at BlogGreen!

This article was first published in The State Adversary (Aotearoa Anarchist Mag, Winter 1996

By Billie Clayton.

" This is a rant born of my frustration, some of these views are personal – no apologies.

It seems anarchists in general consider that children suck and people who have them are boring dickheads. It is quite acceptable in anarchist circles to slag off children in a way that would be condemned if it were any other group. Jokes about mutilating babies generally find favour. So do jibes about people who chose to stay home with children “not having a life” or “selling-out”. Comments such as “Oh God, I would never have children” are delivered with a scoffing snideness. I’m sure most of my readers are in amused agreement about my observations so far. Before you get too comfortable I have a few revelations about the origin and implications of the anti-child view.

Firstly, being anti-children and anti-parenthood is not rebellious or unique. It seems many anarchists express these views as part of a rejection of the parents values. Just because you can’t understand your parents doesn’t mean the values of any person choosing to become a parent are incomprehensible. As anarchists we have many criticisms of mainstream society, including such concepts as “family values”. However, dismissing children and parents all together is throwing out the baby with the bath water.

There is nothing unique about having no respect for children or parents. This is not only the attitude of many anarchists, but of New Zealand capitalist society. Children, like any other unwanted minority are institutionalised – in their case in schools. There is no place for children and babies in a capitalist society. Buses and public transport are difficult to use with babies and children. Cities and buildings are designed for adults, children are seldom considered. Many people object to women breast-feeding in public. Babies and children are not welcome in workplaces. What’s more, babies take women out of the work force, where capitalism wants them, because women are cheap to employ. Women also look nice round the office and besides, who else would do some of the work that women do?

Mainstream views on children and parenthood have changed since the fifties. The world is now considered overpopulated and the need to reproduce the workforce has diminished. Industry can now depend on third world and immigrant labour. Pressure is put on young people in our society not to settle down and have children, but to “succeed”. Young women who want to be mothers are looked down upon, young women who want to be lawyers are applauded. Rather than challenge these values, anarchists have swallowed them hook, line and sinker. The disdain for children and parents expressed by many anarchists is typical of the individualist grab-what-you-can-and-fuck-everyone-else values fostered by capitalism today. Good one Generation X.

While the anti-children view is not rebellious or unique, it is bigoted and oppressive.

I define bigotry as the belief that someone is inferior to you simply because they are different. Many of you will have experienced bigotry as vegetarians, punks, queers, feminists, Maori, anarchists, women and as many other things. Bigotry against children is no different.

When you discriminate against children, you also discriminate against the people who care for those children, mothers, fathers and other caregivers. This again is nothing new. Anarchists are repeating the exact dynamic which patriarchy uses to discriminate against women, who are more likely to be primary caregivers. Children and parents are so underrated by mainstream society that they are pushed out of public places, into dormitory suburbs or sub-standard urban housing. Many, as punishment for procreating, live on, or just below, the breadline. Women (and some men) who fall victim to the stress of raising children with no money, no support and no recognition of the value of their work, are written off as “hormonally unstable” and treated for “post natal depression”.

Yes the nuclear family sucks, I’m sure almost all anarchists agree. But the nuclear family does not exist because people who want children prefer to live that way. The nuclear family exists because children and parents have been pushed into a corner by industrialisation. Post-industrial western society has been divided into public (work) and private (home) worlds. Work done in the private sphere is not recognised, financially or otherwise.

The last thing you need when you are trying to raise children in this environment is to be scoffed at by the I-want-to-be-a-rebel-and-get-in-the-paper young people with too much leisure time on their hands to appreciate the reality of working class existence.

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, I want to offer some suggestions of the implications for the anarchist movement of these anti-child views, and some ideas of how a change of attitude might be beneficial.

I see anarchist ideas as a haven and anarchist activities as the first building blocks of a new society based on cooperation and egalitarianism. I believe anarchists should be able to offer alternatives to institutions that are oppressive and alienating, such as the nuclear family. Anarchists further entrench the nuclear family in their attitudes and in practice. Anarchist ideology offers a new vision of work, love and sexuality, evolution and revolution. Yet there is no new vision of family and what family might mean in an anarchist society.

The reality is that people have children, and having children today is a difficult task. Parents and children do not deserve to be discriminated against. Discriminating against children and parents alienates against people who may potentially be involved in the movement.

Anarchists can avoid discriminating against parents and children and further the idea of collective responsibility in the following ways:

* If you chose to be childless, remember this is a personal choice that should be valued and respected as much as choosing to have children. When you voice your preference try to do it without denigrating other peoples choices. The choice not to have children is as influenced by socialisation and mainstream as the choice to have children.

* Start seeing yourself as responsible for children around you. If a child is doing something dangerous or disruptive at a gathering don’t just expect the parents to deal with it. Be involved, offer to help.

* If you are planning an anarchist gathering consider the needs of children and parents as you would any other group. Provide a crèche if necessary, toys and a quiet place for parents and children. Offer pregnant and breastfeeding women the comfortable seats. When there is food, offer to hold babies or mind children while parents or caregivers eat. People with babies have to wait to eat most nights; you could wait for your meal once in a while.

* Be prepared to have children present at any anarchist event including meetings. Remember, excluding children, means parents are also excluded. Children and babies are often noisy – tough shit – their parents have a right to be there and anarchists should learn to cope with children. If a child is proving too disruptive to a meeting offer to look after them while the parent or caregiver attends.

Most importantly, anarchists need to understand and appreciate the work of parents and caregivers. If looking after children was valued by society, more men would be involved with the children they are happy to help conceive, but not take responsibility for, and more people would take on support person and co-parent roles for children in their community. This would be the most effective way to break down the nuclear family."

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Thanks Maeve!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Hitting Bottom: Why America Should Outlaw Spanking

Judge for yourself... thanks Human Iterations

"Sally Lieber, the California assemblywoman who proposed a ban on spanking last week, must be sorry she ever opened her mouth. Before Lieber could introduce her bill, a poll showed that only 23 percent of respondents supported it. Some pediatricians disparaged the idea of outlawing spanking, and her fellow politicians called her crazy. Anyone with the slightest libertarian streak seems to believe that outlawing corporal punishment is silly. More government intrusion, and for what—to spare kids a few swats? Or, if you're pro-spanking, a spanking ban represents a sinister effort to take a crucial disciplinary tool out of the hands of good mothers and fathers—and to encourage the sort of permissive parenting that turns kids ratty and rotten...Read More...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Online Parent-Lit Writing Workshop to Start in January

This is interesting, even though it started two weeks ago...via Literary Mama

Starting January 7, 2007

Anyone who has had a child knows that parenting is one of life's most exhilarating, awesome, maddening, humbling, crazymaking, joyful and wrenching experiences--which is what also makes it excellent inspiration for writing. This past decade has shown an explosion in "Parent-Lit," or the literature of parenthood, in all forms: creative nonfiction, poetry and fiction.

This workshop is for anyone who wants to tap that rich vein in their writing. It's for new parents, prospective parents, grandparents, stepparents, adoptive parents and birth parents. It's for people all over who want to come together and share their stories and their words, to learn something about the craft of writing.

It's not easy for some parents who want to write to get out of the house for a writing workshop. So this workshop will allow parents to participate while breastfeeding, sitting at home in a robe and pajamas, hanging out at the playground (with wireless internet, that is) or in the wee hours of the morning.

About the class:

The class will run for 10 weeks, starting January 7, 2007. Fee for the class is $350. Participants will learn the fundamentals of both creative nonfiction and fiction writing, using parenthood as a theme. We will read and discuss published examples of great parent-lit, and write some of our own. Assignments will consist of a combination of short exercises and more developed projects. Class size is limited to ten.

Workshop topics will include (more to come, based on class requests):

* Turning Life Into Fiction
* The Parent Pantoum: the Poetry of Repetition
* The Many Faces of Creative Nonfiction
* Writing Columns: the Slice of Life
* Taking a Stand: Writing Op-Ed and Opinion Pieces
* Flash Fiction: writing short-shorts
* My Family, My Material: How to be intimate, yet not invasive when writing about relatives
* Fun with Research

About the instructor:

Susan Ito is fiction co-editor and columnist (starting December 2006)at Literary Mama. She co-edited the anthology A Ghost At Heart's Edge: Stories & Poems of Adoption. Her work has appeared in The Essential Hip Mama: Writing from the Cutting Edge of Parenting, Growing Up Asian American, Making More Waves: New Writing By Asian American Women and many other journals and anthologies. She is the mother of two daughters, a preteen and a teen.

Email for more detailed information, or to enroll.

Friday, January 26, 2007

paternagoraphobia, the fear of being a father in public beacuse, for some reason or another, your society eschews your right to paternity

It’s an all-thumbs mix of shun and sun when I take my girls out in public. Depending on my mood alone the stares of strangers alternately fill me with pride and make me want to hide in a dark hole. And they do stare, let me tell you. The only times they don’t is when I am with a woman, then they just stare at my gorgeous kids.

Last August Lyli and Scarleht and I went on a road trip with my friends Brendan and Eamon. Three mid-twenties young men driving around the San Juan Islands with two little toe-headed twin two year olds? A sight unseen by most eyes, judging by the variety of reactions we received, especially at ferry landings where the nuclear gape of families in air-conditioned SUVs permeated us with its fallout of fascination. I must admit, at times I find it entertaining when someone looks at my girls, then at me, then around their field of vision for someone approximating a mother.

It’s especially strange when I’m out with my girls with a lady friend and everyone thinks that she’s their ma. Usually they pick up on this phenomenon and mention something about how “awkward” or “interesting” it feels. Sometimes this makes me smile and look away. Sometimes it makes me sink into my shell. Rarely it makes me hold eye contact and blush and sweat.

On Olympia’s streets even, some of the most diverse I’ve wandered in my sheltered Pacific Northwest existence, my little rag-tag group of thrift-clad toddlers and hairy hippy papa me garners gazes from all ages, genders, classes, ethnicities, etcetera. Personally I find it unnerving to be the needle in the haystack but, as my roommate Eamon wisely put it: “better than a needle in a box of needles.”

No surprise then I seek solace and solitude instead with my girls in the woods around our farmhouse outside the city of Olympia. Most of my social tendencies are counterfeit anyway, set in place to compensate for the quietudes of my youth, having grown up detached from general society in the foothills of the blue mountains amidst ponderosa pines and stacks of books instead of televisions and those scrapers of the sky. Plus I enjoy the time I get utterly alone with my children in a

For the most part, I can trace the qualities I like about myself back to that secluded, natural setting, and can only wish something of the sort for my progeny. Hence why I jumped at the chance to live on an old farm in Mason County, only slightly removed from the main drag of Western Wash where I get my urban fixes, society style and business done.

As I slowly force myself to broach my shyness and begin to hang out at public playgrounds with my kids every now and then (I try for twice a month) I begin to realize that I’m not alone, even in my own community, and meeting fathers I haven’t met before bolsters those emotions. Most of my papa parties have been mostly close to failures, though I suppose I should give myself and us a bit more credit than that and admit that “these things take time” as folks are so apt to aphorize.

But gradually I come around, learning to deal with these nervous bouts that strike at the most inopportune of moments. I fondly dub it paternagoraphobia, the fear of being a father in public beacuse, for some reason or another, your society eschews your right to paternity. Solve this problem and we solve so many myriad problems by ripple effect that it will make the politicians smile for once and the philosophers and poets drink and make love (as usual).

Babble: A Magazine and Community for the New Urban Parent

Okay, so I found this via my vicarious friend Sarah of Sarah and the Goon Squad and it is hands down the coolest site I've come across in the last while. So here, have some highlights:

Strollerderby- the blog at Babble for which Sarah writes.

Is Wall-Mart Too Evil for Parents?

Parent Blogosphere Focus: Meet the GLBT Parents

Angsty is the New Happy: Parents Eschew Therapy for Blogging

Junk Food Ads Contribute to Childhood Obesity. In Other News, Pope is Catholic.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Little Yogi kit gives kids an early start at calming down

Thanks Baby Gadget! Even though this is mostly made from petroleum products, the intention is pure.

One of the biggest challenges with children can be trying to teach them to calm down. Sometimes Luke and Ivy can get so excited about something they just flip out and lose control. Yoga is good for this sort of thing, but how does one get the little ones interested in something that may at first seem boring? I was excited to see someone actually has a product for this: the Little Yogis Kit gives them a sense of ownership over their yoga experience, and everything is easily understood and attractive to children.

The kit comes with stickers, a mat, a poster, a video, and also a tote bag so the kids can carry the whole thing with them. I like the idea of getting them interested in yoga at a young age, and this package is well-rounded and includes a lot of stuff to get the kids jazzed about their new activity. This is a hobby that could last for the rest of their lives, and it's also something you can do together.

Just some old laundry I found lying around...

Baby Gadget

scarleht crying and wanting mama to come back to papa’s home

“becca and papa, owie” – lyl

a day of easy lines elliciting hard thoughts

“goodnight fire in the book” – s, referring to the fireplace in Goodnight Moon

they care more about their pillows than they do which side of the bed they’re on

“papa hurt inside”

“papa no read books” - goddamn, this one made me run in the laundry room and cry while pretending to turn the dryer on.

there’s nobody that wouldn’t hurt you if it helped them

funny how yer smile opens the parentheses

the tuba is the only instrument which can approximate a distress call

“As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don't hate nothing at all
Except hatred.

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much
Is really sacred.” – Bobby D.

D.I.Y. Herbal Abortions

I posted on this apparently taboo topic awhile ago and just dug up some more stuff:

Blogger publishes D.I.Y. Abortion Manual - although the original blog appears to have just gone down this month. South Dakota Conspiracy?

Here's Boing Boing's rather disappointing coverage.

Herbal Fertility Control: Contraception and Abortion - An Ancient but Practical Approach for Women Who Want to Take Charge of Their Reproduction and Fertility, and Make Every Child a Wanted, Loved, and Planned-For Child! - an excellent article including recipes.

What Sister Zeus has to say

Saturday, January 20, 2007

what my friend crystal does

Yeah, so this is what my awesome friend is busy doing while we're whittling away in our little corners... please support her in her amazing endeavors and visit these sites. Screw the Red Cross, find a real charity and stick by it.

"the world is a vastly fucked up place. anyone with at least one brain cell knows that. but it takes a few more to realize that WE can change it. so that's what i do.

i have the privledge to save the world. and i get paid to do it. i am part of the most fortunate group of people on this planet, and i am thankful for that everyday.

developing counrties need some dire assistance right now. and i am not talking about a hand out, or something else that just ends up perpetuating the problem. i am talking about giving to SOUND charities that are empowering to these people and are souly focused on sustainability. and almost everyone can be that aide, and if you ask me, everyone has the responsibility to. and yes, this means you.

check out these organizations. and if you haven't yet, sponsor a child. and not from the guy with the white beard on the infomercials. do it through me. do it because it is our duty and our joy as human-fucking-beings.

Lamentations of the Father

This is so cool I had to steal the whole thing! Thanks Honky Tonk Dragon!

by Ian Frazier

Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the hoofed animals, broiled or ground into burgers, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of the wheat and of the oats, and of all the cereals that are of bright color and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the quiescently frozen dessert and of all frozen after-meal treats you may eat, but absolutely not in the living room. Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in sippy-cups, you may drink, but not in the living room, neither may you carry such therein. Indeed, when you reach the place where the living room carpet begins, of any food or beverage there you may not eat, neither may you drink.

But if you are sick, and are lying down and watching something, then may you eat in the living room.

Laws When at Table

And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they were. Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke. Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you will dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away. When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do not bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in order to make noises in it sounding like a duck; for you will be sent away.

When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister what is within; I say to you, do not so, even if your brother or your sister has done the same to you. Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither seize the table between your jaws, nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is. And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why. And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that, that is why. Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.

Laws Pertaining to Dessert

For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that is clean, saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have dessert. But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten most of your meat, and two bites of your peas with each bite consisting of not less than three peas each, or in total six peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert. But if you eat a lesser number of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes, still you shall not have dessert; and if you eat the peas, yet leave the potatoes uneaten, you shall not have dessert, no, not even a small portion thereof. And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes or peas around with a fork, that it may appear you have eaten what you have not, you will fall into iniquity. And I will know, and you shall have no dessert.
On Screaming

Do not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time. If you are given a plate on which two foods you do not wish to touch each other are touching each other, your voice rises up even to the ceiling, while you point to the offense with the finger of your right hand; but I say to you, scream not, only remonstrate gently with the server, that the server may correct the fault. Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal seasoning has not been scraped off, and the herbal seasoning is loathsome to you, and steeped in vileness, again I say, refrain from screaming. Though the vileness overwhelm you, and cause you a faint unto death, make not that sound from within your throat, neither cover your face, nor press your fingers to your nose. For even now I have made the fish as it should be; behold, I eat of it myself, yet do not die.

Concerning Face and Hands

Cast your countenance upward to the light, and lift your eyes to the hills, that I may more easily wash you off. For the stains are upon you; even to the very back of your head, there is rice thereon. And in the breast pocket of your garment, and upon the tie of your shoe, rice and other fragments are distributed in a manner wonderful to see. Only hold yourself still; hold still, I say. Give each finger in its turn for my examination thereof, and also each thumb. Lo, how iniquitous they appear. What I do is as it must be; and you shall not go hence until I have done.

Various Other Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances

Bite not, lest you be cast into quiet time. Neither drink of your own bath water, nor of bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on bread, even if it be in the package; nor rub yourself against cars, nor against any building; nor eat sand.

Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? And hum not that humming in your nose as I read, nor stand between the light and the book. Indeed, you will drive me to madness. Nor forget what I said about the tape.

Complaints and Lamentations

O my children, you are disobedient. For when I tell you what you must do, you argue and dispute hotly even to the littlest detail; and when I do not accede, you cry out, and hit and kick. Yes, and even sometimes do you spit, and shout "stupid-head" and other blasphemies, and hit and kick the wall and the molding thereof when you are sent to the corner. And though the law teaches that no one shall be sent to the corner for more minutes than he has years of age, yet I would leave you there all day, so mighty am I in anger. But upon being sent to the corner you ask straightaway, "Can I come out?" and I reply, "No, you may not come out." And again you ask, and again I give the same reply. But when you ask again a third time, then you may come out.

Hear me, O my children, for the bills they kill me. I pay and pay again, even to the twelfth time in a year, and yet again they mount higher than before. For our health, that we may be covered, I give six hundred and twenty talents twelve times in a year; but even this covers not the fifteen hundred deductible for each member of the family within a calendar year. And yet for ordinary visits we still are not covered, nor for many medicines, nor for the teeth within our mouths. Guess not at what rage is in my mind, for surely you cannot know.

For I will come to you at the first of the month and at the fifteenth of the month with the bills and a great whining and moan. And when the month of taxes comes, I will decry the wrong and unfairness of it, and mourn with wine and ashtrays, and rend my receipts. And you shall remember that I am that I am: before, after, and until you are twenty-one. Hear me then, and avoid me in my wrath, O children of me.

The Atlantic Monthly; February 1997; Volume 279, No. 2; pages 89-90

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Raising Children of Color in White Anarchist Circles

Written by Victoria Law
Sunday, 19 September 2004

Siu Loong means "Little Dragon" in Cantonese.

But Siu Loong herself isn't Cantonese. She isn't even one hundred percent Chinese. Through me, she can claim to be Hakka, Suzhonese and Shanghainese. From her father, she can claim to be Finnish, Hungarian and Jewish. But she is also an American living among American anarchists, where none of this supposedly matters.

Before motherhood became a consideration, I paid little attention to the lack of color in the New York City anarchist "scene." So what if no one looked like me? Weren't we all struggling for the same thing?

Pregnancy made me sit up and look around at the demographics of the anarchists around me. Yes, I had followed (but not participated) in the short-lived discussion on white privilege in Seattle's protests against the WTO. Yes, I would confront my fellow anarchists about their internalized racism. But I never really went further and questioned why there were so few people of color-never mind people of color like me-in the anarchist movement.

Motherhood forced me to open my eyes. Before the recommended six weeks of postpartum rest were up, I was up and about on my various projects. Virtually everyone was supportive of my new role as mother and on-call cow. However, I started noticing small things that bothered me about my (mostly white) activist circles.

For starters, no one could pronounce my daughter's name correctly...Read More...

Link via:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Links and Crap

Neal Pollack's Alternadad

Modern Tots - Cool, but ridiculously overpriced. I spit on anyone who spends this much money on this kind of junk. Get a hammer and grow some balls.

Diversity, Culture & Parenting - a study by the University of California's Cooperative Extension

My Little Cthulhu vinyl doll

Spain Dad's Blog

Daddy Zine

Wooden Toys from the UK

Babies go green: Parents thinking organic when it comes to infant food, clothes

The Parenting Manifesto Project

Thanks Embassy of Arcturus!

"One of the more interesting bloggers out there is Hugh MacLeod from (occasionally NSFW). Lately, he's been calling for manifestos of 500 words or less on any topic and posting some of the more interesting ones. It's a fascinating effort, and a wonderful way to spread wisdom.

I'd love to reproduce some of that wisdom-sharing. While my stab at a parenting manifesto is below, it should be pretty obvious to all of you that I don't have the market cornered on parenting advice. So I'd like to tap into the wisdom of all of you: e-mail me (at a manifesto of no more than 500 words (on any parenting/balance topic you can think of), and I'll post them all at"

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A note from David Steinberg!

Hi Sky,

I happened across your blog post about Fatherjournal and thought I'd drop you a line. Glad to hear you're finding the book interesting.

You ask about times Change Press which is more or less defunct, was bought by Michael Sherick in Sebastopol, CA some years ago. I think they've run out of copies of Fatherjournal, but I have copies on hand if you know anyone who's interested in getting a copy.

For the record, Dylan is now 35, married, living in Philadelphia, starting a second career as a lawyer. My life has moved in many directions since I wrote Fatherjournal so long ago, mostly related these days to sex as a political issue. I have written a column on sex and gender issues for 15 years, and am now involved in what I have dubbed fine art sexual photography. More on all that, if you're interested, at my website --

Good luck with your blog. I certainly like the topic...

take care,

Thanks for the words David, I am honored that you like this site and look forward to corresponding with you in the future.

This note is in reference to a series of posts of mine from about a year ago. My dad had just given me a copy of David's book Fatherjournal and it pretty much saved me. Peruse said past posts here:

Fatherjournal: Five Years of Awakening

When Susan Was Pregnant I Imagined...

Most of Our Friends Don't Have Babies

Taking Children Seriously and Anarchy

One of the greatest breakthroughs in anarchist theory and practice first appeared six years ago, and hardly any anarchists even know of its existence. Not only that, but most of the anarchists who do know of its existence either disregard it or dismiss it with comments containing hierarchical and authoritarian language. I am referring to the philosophy and practice known as Taking Children Seriously or TCS.

Taking Children Seriously is an educational and parenting philosophy which uses Karl Popper's views on epistemology, critical rationalism and a belief in fallibilism to reach a conclusion that coercion of any form is bad for the growth of knowledge and psychologically damaging to people, especially children. From this conclusion, Taking Children Seriously creates the framework for a methodology through which parents can cooperate with their children to find mutually preferable solutions to problems and disagreements that arise between them.Read More...

Radical Caroling from the Boston Anarchist Collective, BAAM

For the third year running, local Boston holiday shoppers have been entertained by selections from the Radical Carols Songbook, from favorites like 'away in a sweatshop' to 'song for the one percent.' BAAM began the caroling season by going out Friday, December 12th. The group was in high spirits and was even able to convince a few passerbys to join in the festivities. Then a week later, two representatives of the BAAM Radical Choir stepped into a studio at MIT's WMBR 88.1 FM to record an hour long set for Dave Goodman from the Independent Broadcast Information Service. Segments will be played on the air and a CD copy will be available soon! Look for it on our information table. Everyone is encouraged to print out the songbook and head off to make their own radical caroling adventure!
Radical Caroling Songbook

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...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Years Revolution

Lifted from Peanut Gallery.

i have been reconnectingwith myself
and the earth
and so many of the thoughtst
hat have been careening
in my being for the past
three years
i roll my hair in my fingers
thick and matty
while i re-watch michael richards
for the 23rd time
talk about lynchingin 2006.
i wonder if mel gibson called himto commiserate?
moving my fingers to the root, i circle clockwise with my left hand
surf the web with my right hand
and read about little girls in cars
in my hometown, threatened at gunpoint
by policemen, and women on planes
who are asked to cover nursing breasts
because it is offensive
(but didn't i just see brittneys coot over on TMZ two clicks back?)

i have high hopes for this new year,
for my family,
for my daughter, of course
for my hair, and my ability to nurture it into self-sustainable locks

and for the world, becauseif we taunt saddam, when he is dying
if we excuse bigotry with alcohol
if we accept gitmo, and homeland security
if we just
and watch it all on foxhow can we hope to stop it?

so i am fomenting a new years revolutionand it won't have cammo, or boots
but i'mma rock my dreds proud
i'mma nurse my kid proud
i'mma protest the war loud
i'm gonna question why gerald ford got three days of press
and the only reason i knew james brown died
was cuz i got a text message on christmas
i'm not gonna be quiet when intolerance is otherwise accepted

this is my new years revolution
wanna join me?

Tiny Resolutions

Lifted from The Tiny Revolution

Here we are in another new year. I know because I lay in bed the other night and listened to the annual barrage of gunfire that traditionally marks the start of the New Year in south St. Louis and I guess in most other parts of the city as well urban areas around the nation. Crime is something that I rarely ever think about and I feel very safe in my neighborhood and in the surrounding area. I feel sorry for those pathetic people whose lives are controlled by the racism and fear that are perpetuated by the nightly news and other media but at the same time I think everybody must think to themselves on New Years Eve “holy shit there are lot of guns out there”.

The other way that I know that it is a new year is that there are all kinds of people running around town in new jogging suits trying to shave off a few pounds. I guess they have New Years resolutions. I have never done this before and generally go 180 degrees the other way from popular conventional thinking like this especially when I am sure most resolutions have a pretty poor track record of success. I think I am going to give it a try though. Why not, there are some things I would like to work on and why wait, the start of the year seems like a good enough natural beginning point for a few basic life changes.

I have decided instead of traditional stuff like loosing weight, saving money, or watching fewer episodes of Judge Judy I am going to focus on some broader areas of change.

Here are my resolutions:

1. Be more creative. I want to remember 2007 as the year of creativity. I have totally eliminated almost every creative aspect from my life and I want that to change. I want to work on some writing projects (zines etc.), I plan to get more into crafts and I would also love to learn how to draw. We will see how it all goes.

2. Focus on Food. I am sure I have talked about this here in the past but we plan to give it another go. This is a multi-pronged approach with the hope of accomplishing a few different things. We want to reduce our food cost while at the same time eating more locally grown, organic produce and meat. I know these things seem at odds but I am sure we can do it with more use of huge garden, using our CSA more effectively and continuing to get free produce from some of my farmer friends. These things combined with good meal planning and less eating out will definitely reduce our food cost and waste. It is very important to us that Atom understands where his food comes from...Read More

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Toddler & Parent Creative Dance Class in Olympia!

some dark underbelly...

Lifted from Maeve's myspace blog, a fellow radical parent in this South of Sounds.

... of fantasy catches my eye. A small craving before I sleep, a whisper of nightmare softly written, hidden beneath frolicking faeries, and fantastical landscape, it awaits. No Cthullu here, just a rolling eyeball, a crested helm, an appointment with the nothing that stands behind the door, one drink too many, one heart too hard, a sad and pregnant silence that catches in your throat and hurts when you swallow. This is the remnant of a heavy dinner, spurring your stomach on to mutiny, keeping you levitated in the sleep of dreams that don't die upon waking. I count on this to be my muse, my warrior, my hard heart that shelters within my soft and open one, and also my memory of what my soul has glimpsed in those dark times and places in my past.

We all wear red, and keep ourselves holy. We all dance to music that can only be heard in graveyards and in alleys of the nightways, while pretending it is unfamiliar, lost, and unknown to our complacent ears. When you are a child, you hear it clearly, and fear the dark righteously and with utmost attention placed where it should be. Most of us grow deaf to the suggestions that come out of closets, covered over by organized intentions, and summonings that conjure only mundane mutterings, only tame tears.

But a child knows the fear that is felt in the face of nothingness, her tattered hem tickling our panic source, her whispers gentle and hinting of white beings that have no faces, only mouths with which to scream.

In some small, unmentionable (yet I do) way, it comforts, and promises to those of us who Wonder great doings and goings on beneath what we wish to view of the world in sunlight. A secret place that may be filled with horrors unimaginable, a dark underbelly, written, for those would run screaming at the thought of Everything Explained and Ordinary. I'll take the fear with the fantastic, I'm afraid, I'll wait here with my mind opened, a million stories untold, my tongue tingling in antici pation.