In the following piece MAS member, Luz Sierra, reveals the hardship of being pressured to fulfill gender expectations within her household and culture while being politically involved in Miami. She shares some strong insights of her analysis of such oppression and how it affected women she have met throughout her life. Yet, as a firm believer in direct action, she demonstrates and encourage revolutionary women to share their tribulations with one another and end their fears and doubts. Therefore, in honor of Women’s History Month, we provide you this amazing piece and insist you to read it.
By Luz Sierra
This past year I became politically active. I went from being completely unaware of the existence of radical politics to doing organizing work in Miami with an anarchist perspective. It has been both a rewarding and difficult journey, yet gender seems to haunt me wherever I go. I am probably not the first woman to experience this, but I believe that I should demonstrate how this is a real issue and provide my personal insight for other women to have a reference point for their own struggles.
Being raised by Nicaraguan parents and growing up in Miami’s Latin community, I have firsthand experience with the sexist culture in South Florida. Many families that migrated from South and Central America and the Caribbean arrived to the United States carrying traditions from the 1970s and 1980s. Daughters are raised by women who were taught that their goal in life is to be an obedient wife and to devote their time to raising children and making their husbands happy. Latin women are supposed to be modest, self-reserved, have the ability to fulfill domestic roles and be overall submissive. Some Hispanic families might not follow this social construction, but there are still a large number of them who insert this moral into their households. For instance, this social construct is apparent in the previous three generations of my father’s and mother’s families. My great grandmothers, grandmothers, mother and aunts never completed their education and spend the majority of their life taking care of their husbands and children. Meanwhile, various male members of my current and extended family had the opportunity to finish their education, some even received college degrees, and went on to become dominant figures in their households. The male family members also had the chance to do as they pleased for they left all household and childcare responsibilities to their wives. As the cycle continued, my mother and grandmothers attempted to socialize me to fulfill my expected female role. I was taught not to engage in masculine activities such as sports, academia, politics, and other fields where men are present. Unfortunately for them, I refused to obey their standards of femininity. I have played sports since I was 10 years old; I grew a deep interest in history, sociology and political science; and I am currently part of three political projects. Such behavior has frustrated my parents to the point that I am insulted daily. My mother will claim that I am manly, selfish for devoting more time to organizing and promiscuous because the political groups I am involved with consist mostly of men. My father will state that I am senseless for wasting my time in politics and should devote more time in preparing myself to become a decent wife and mother.
We are posting a link of a mid-December 2013 interview by One Struggle of militants in Batay Ouvriye concerning the ongoing minimum wage struggle in Haiti including mass protests of hundreds of thousands of workers in the streets. In the interview, Batay Ouvriye militant, Yanik, calls on those who want to stand in solidarity with these struggles to: 1) spread information about their struggle and 2) pressure particular businesses resisting workers demands. For more information on specific actions to pressure businesses, check out the webpages of Batay Ouvriye (Haiti):http://batayouvriye.wordpress.com/ and One Struggle (South Florida): http://onestruggle.net/
Here is the link to the interview: Talk with Batay Ouvriye
Miami Community Event Today at Veye-Yo, Saturday, January 11th: https://www.facebook.com/events/492633257518625/
Miami Student Event Monday at FIU South, January 13th: https://www.facebook.com/events/190047431196540/
Tour Website: http://chilespeakingtour.wordpress.com/
Please help and support the Anarchist Speaking Tour on Popular Power in Chile. They currently need assistance with tour expenses (about $5,000 dollars) and are seeking for contributions. Therefore, we would appreciate it if you provide donations of any amount in order to help create a successful tour.
* We are reposting one of the web pages of STRUGGLING TO WIN: ANARCHISTS BUILDING POPULAR POWER IN CHILE in order to provide more information of the US Tour and share the biographies of the speakers. We hope this will encourage individuals, not only in Miami, but all over the country to attend the various events being held in different cities. Tour dates and contact information are also provided in the website as well.
STRUGGLING TO WIN: ANARCHISTS BUILDING POPULAR POWER IN CHILE US Tour
We are hosting an event for STRUGGLING TO WIN: ANARCHISTS BUILDING POPULAR POWER IN CHILE US Tour in Miami,FL. It will be held at Veye-Yo in January 11, 2014 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Chilean Anarchist speakers, Pablo and Gabriel, will discuss about their experience in building popular power in Chile such as being involved in student, education, feminist, and labor movements. The speakers will present on their political experience and current social movements in Chile as well as do a Q&A session for attendees.
After a five year plus process of engagement there is currently underway an effort to merge a number of the existing mostly regionally based class struggle Anarchist groups into a single national organization. Following up on the piece “Fighting for the Future: The Necessity and Possibility of National Political Organization for Our Time” which attempted to lay out both the arguments for as well as speak to the limitations that exist at the current political moment, one of the authors offers their thoughts on the current process as well as sentiments within the larger class struggle milieu that have came about since the publication of that piece.
In the piece “Fighting for the Future: The Necessity and Possibility of National Political Organization for Our Time” that I co-authored with SN Nappalos we took up themes related to political organization in the current moment. The piece described political organization as meeting immediate and practical needs such as creating a ‘political home’, creating a space for the collective as opposed to isolated development of new political militants and served a role in building a common set of references and conversations among wider layers around theory, practices and methods of organization. In terms of broader political vision and strategy, we discussed organization as a method to develop a new base, cohere a clear libertarian voice within struggles, build a common set of reference points, and act as a pole of ideas and action.