Sexism Class Violence is now Anne Bonny Pirate

We have changed the name of our blog from Sexism Class Violence to Anne Bonny Pirate. We will still be writing about sexism, class, and violence, but the blog also celebrates resistance and love, and we want our title to reflect that.

Anne Bonny has been a symbol of resistance for a long time. Born in Ireland, raised in South Carolina, she became a pirate in the Bahamas between 1714 and 1720.  In the Bahamas in those years working class pirates ran their ships as radical democracies. They elected the captain and decided policy – one vote each. They shared the takings – one share each, and two for the captain. They were of all races and all nations. It was a world turned upside down, and the pirates became legends [See Markus Rediker, 2004, Villains of all Nations].

Anne Bonny was a legend of gender resistance too. She was born illegitimate and chose her own lovers. Like other women pirates, Bonny wore men’s clothes at work. Three centuries ago, and now, that cross dressing is part of her transgression, and her appeal.

We have also chosen our new title because  when Nancy was nine she wanted to be Anne Bonny, and Jonathan wrote his PhD on eighteenth century naval mutinies.

 

 

Rida Hus-Hus – Holding onto beauty under the Assad regime

 

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Rida Hus-Hus 1939-2016

Nancy Lindisfarne writes:

The Syrian painter and printmaker, Rida Hus-Hus, died in Mannheim, Germany on the 30 July 2016 at the age of 77. His courage, uncomplicated generosity and celebration of all that was beautiful is to be remembered and cherished. His life drawings and portraits reflected his affection and interest in other people. Through still-life drawing and flower pictures he celebrated the joy of quotidian detail, while his vibrant pastels captured the sweeping landscapes outside of Damasus, and literally painted Syria in a most beautiful light. Yet Rida was also intensely political in the dangerous environment of the Assad dictatorship, and to keep himself sane, and preserve the independence of his art, he lived an extremely modest and cleverly managed life. Continue reading

Vote Thursday

medThis was posted just before the UK referendum on leaving the European Union.

Jonathan Neale: Please vote against borders on Thursday.

I was born in New York just after the Second World War, and now I live in Britain.  I was six years old when my family first went to India. We lived in Ludhiana, a small industrial city in Punjab. Six years before India and Pakistan had been partitioned. Hindus and Sikhs had killed Muslims, and Muslims had killed Hindus and Sikhs, until three quarters of a million were dead. One evening my father’s best friend, Mister Dillon, played caroms with me and told me that his family had sheltered a Muslim under their house to save his life. I understood he was telling me that there were good people in the world.

When I grew up, I understood that no one else in Punjab had ever told me a story like that, and that was part of what Mister Dillon was telling me too. But so many of our older neighbours told me that I must see Lahore, in Pakistan, once before I died. They could never go back.

Forty-six years later I was on a train from Delhi to Gorakhpur, a poor city in the north of UP. Several people in second class told me there was a man on the train from Pakistan. He had got a visa, and he was travelling to a village near the end of the line, where he had lived as a child. He was first man any of us had met who could return. Someone took me to see him. I looked at him, and I began to cry, and he cried, and the whole train carriage cried. We all thought maybe the border was opening. We were wrong.  Continue reading

Oil Empires and Resistance in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria

 

Afghan Resistance, 1842

Afghan Resistance, 1842

Nancy Lindisfarne and Jonathan Neale

This article is about three intersecting wars in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.[1] The bombings in Paris occurred just as we were finishing the piece, and give our arguments here further tragic relevance.

This piece is 25,000 words long, and readers may find it easier to read by downloading the version here: Oil Empires 16Nov2015 FIN5.

It will help the reader to know from the outset where we stand. We want the mass resistance to the Assad regime in Syria to win, and the Russian armed forces and their allies to leave. We want the Americans and their allies to leave Afghanistan, now, completely. We want Assad and the American, British, French and Russian military to stop bombing the Syrian resistance and the Islamic State.[2] Continue reading

Night of Power: A Ramadan Story

Nancy Lindisfarne writes: The lunar month which began in mid-June this year is the Islamic month of Ramadan, the month of fasting and charity. This is a story to mark Ramadan, and one day in the life of Basima. At forty five, she is still unmarried, on the shelf, and as the youngest daughter of a large Syrian family, she has become the sole carer of her elderly, difficult mother.

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This short story  is set in Damascus in the 1990s, where I did a year’s anthropological fieldwork among well-to-do Damascenes. For me, unlearning academic writing and writing fiction was a lengthy and salutary experience. The impetus came from my anger and exhaustion at countering simplistic, popular stereotypes of Arab or Muslim women and men as fundamentalists, terrorists, or both. My hope then was that the stories might be a way to reach an audience beyond the academy.

During Ramadan, observant Muslims fast each day of from dawn to dusk, preparing themselves for the day without food or water with an early breakfast before daylight, and breaking the fast at sundown, with, if they can manage it, a lavish, sociable meal. Leylat el-qadr, the Night of Power, at the end of the month is a night of prayer, a night when Mohammad received the revelation of the Quran from God.

[A collection of stories, Dancing in Damascus, was published by SUNY Press in 2000. Al raqs fi dimasq, an Arabic translation of Dancing in Damascus by the Syrian poet and playwright Mamdouh Adwan, appeared earlier, published by Dar al Mada in Damascus in 1997. Şam’da Raks, a Turkish translation by H. Ash Kőksal, was published by İmge, Ankara, in 2002. And for a Valentine’s Day Story click here]

Continue reading

Why Radical Academics Often Find it Hard to Write, and What to Do about It

blank piece of paperJonathan Neale

This post will be of interest to only some of our readers. But we hope it will be very useful for them.

It is not easy to be both an academic and an activist. The values, the audiences and the constraints are different. Sitting down to write, you can feel yourself pulled in two different ways. The result is often muddled thinking and murky prose. There is too much ranting for an academic audience, and too much gobbledygook for the movement. In many cases, there is no prose at all, only silence, and pages crumpled in the wastebasket or erased on the screen.

The first half of this post offers some advice that can make writing easier, faster and more useful. The second half explains why universities make activists feel stupid, how they do it, and how you can cope. Continue reading