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Recap: 12/8/11—12/16/11

"Feminism and Occupy Wall Street" from the Feminist Peace Network [podcast]

"Friday Action Highlights Intersections in #OWS" by Lori Adelman for Feministing

"Why Occupy Should Be an Inherently Safe Space" by Melissa Byrne for Role/Reboot

"Starhawk to Support Occupy Minnesota" by Nels Linde for PNC-Minnesota Bureau

"Feminism in the Kaleidoscopic OCCUPY Movement" from Feminist Magazine [podcast]

"How Feminist Is the Occupy Movement?" from KPFA.org [podcast]

"Miley Cyrus Supports Occupy Movement With New Music Video" by Maya Dusenbery for Feministing

"Occupy Wall Street’s Women Struggle to Make Their Voices Heard" by Karen McVeigh for The Guardian

"#OccupyBoston Women’s March Set for This Sunday" by Liz Pelly for the Boston Phoenix

"Solidarity, White (Male) Privilege and Occupation" by Andreana Clay for QueerBlackFeminist

"Occupy Wall Street’s Tragic Lack of Gender Analysis" by Gina Quattrochi for Gay City News

"From May ‘68 to Occupy Wall Street: Vive le Feminisme!" by Adriane Allan for Ms. Magazine

"Women in Occupy Denver" by Chad Kautzer for Progressive Democrats of America

"Occupy and Women’s Rights" by Leela Yellesetty for SocialistWorker.org

"Overcoming Male Supremacy (or White, or Wealth, or Hetero, etc)" from Occupy the Stack

"Occupy Movement Needs Equalism Not Marginalization" by Liz Abzug and Jonathan Greenberg for the Huffington Post

Economic News Release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

"Feminism, Finance, and the Future of #Occupy—an Interview with Sylvia Federici" by Max Haiven for Infoshop News

"A Message About Birth Control from the 71%" by Meghan Shalvoy for Ms. Magazine

"Gratitude for the Rad Women of OWS" by Melanie Butler for PinkTank

OWS Women’s Day of Action Rally and March 11/25/11 [video]

"Feminism and the Occupy Movement—an Interview with Robin Morgan" by The Feminist Peace Network for BlogTalkRadio [podcast]

"Occupy Wall Street, Faces of Zuccotti Park: The Woman in Pink" by Saki Knafo and Adam Kaufman for the Huffington Post

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I asked Liberty Shellman, also a member of Occupy Denver’s GA Procedures Committee, about how this movement can be made sustainable. She speaks of the “need to address the systemic problem of oppression.” Liberty says she is presently focused on “women and other gender marginalized communities of the movement,” because, she said, “numerous women speak to me about their experiences and feelings of marginalization. I don’t think that the dominant gender in our movement is being intentionally discriminatory,” she says, “I merely believe that they are the products of years of indoctrinated prejudice.”

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While there needs to be a wholesale examination of internal OWS politics, I am specifically limiting my observations to the role and treatment of young women. There has been plenty of media discussion of the young people at Zuccotti Park, but visualize what I witnessed: Many older men –– primarily white, many left over from ‘60s revolutionary groups like the Workers World Party –– hogging the “front line” on Broadway, pontificating about their “revolutionary” ideas and a so-called “new society” they envision.

All this goes on within and surrounding an encampment where the media center responsible for live streaming of OWS events is “manned” by 12-15 men –– each time I’ve been there I saw only one woman. A few days ago when I raised questions about OWS gender politics, one media “committee” guy told me, “We all have equal voice.” I was shocked. Do OWS participants in Zuccoti Park really think the social justice revolution is so far along that race, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic factors don’t still silence many? That, in fact, seemed to be the case with many I spoke with in the park.


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See, here’s the thing that I love about people of color and white women: we’re hopeful every time a new protest or movement comes along that, like Occupy, speaks to us. We get involved. We organize. We take on leadership. We fight. We stick around, even when racism, sexism, and homophobia become explicit. In other words—when white male dominance is challenged and subsequently, (and staunchly) defended—we hang in there.

Because it always happens.

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"White males are used to speaking and running things," said Holder. "You can’t expect them to abdicate the power they have just because they are in this movement."

One of the defining features of the leaderless Occupy movement – aside from the occupation itself – has been its horizontal decision-making in the form of its Arab spring-inspired general assembly. The simple idea behind it: that everyone has a voice.

But a quick glance through the paper, television and web coverage spawned since Occupy’s first march on Wall Street in September reveals that some voices are louder than others. While images of women as victims have endured, those who speak about the ideas and actions have been predominantly male.

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WHERE DOES FEMINISM FIT into the kaleidoscopic shape-shifting Occupy movement?

WHERE DOES THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT FIT into feminism? Sarah Seltzer from Alternet and Lucinda Marshall from Occupy Patriarchy provide differing national perspectives.

And local activists Dava Juno, Sheila Nicholls, Alex Banks, and Regina Quetzel Quinones, from Occupy L.A. provide an intersectional analysis and OPEN THE PHONES for your questions and comments.

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But when it comes to women, Occupy is really a microcosm of the greater culture at large. This should give comfort to those who find Occupy’s dynamics puzzling — and greatly embarrass those in the movement who see themselves as revolutionaries. America’s gender conflict fault-lines are making a familiar reappearance inside Occupy, with results both predictable and novel.

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What we used to do back in the day in college classes where male professors made sexist comments… we brought whistles to class, and every time the man said “girl” or made a demeaning “nice” comment about women, we literally blew the whistle.

In a theology class, every time the male professor used “he” as the pronoun for god, we blew our whistles. It took about a week for these men to stop the sexist words. No shouting needed, just 20 plus women with whistles, plus handing out leaflets explaining the use of the whistles.

Women need to participate in large groups (100 plus), with whistles and stop watches to time male vs. female speech. Women interrupted by other men — whistles could blow loudly while he talked.

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I have been the target of oppressive and patriarchal behaviors since I first entered the space of Occupy Denver. I have been pointed out and labeled as violent, though I have never even been involved in a physical confrontation with a participant or the police. I spoke out against the oppressive and aggressive behavior of one security guard/marshall and recommended that he be removed from those roles of power until he complete some kind of an accountability process. I was shut down as was anyone else who spoke against that individual, but more specifically the women who spoke out against him. This is only one example of the type of oppressive patriarchal behavior within #OD.

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Lori