I know it wasn't assigned reading for this week, but I thought I would like to bring the Lehr assigned for next week into conversation with the Feminist Family Values Panel, as this is where many of my questions arise.
The Lehr piece talks extensively about white male alienation and victimization in a time when social roles are dramatically changing and established measures of masculinity are more and more difficult to attain. This issue very much has to do with the rise of the Men's Rights Movement, which I have discussed on the blog before.
In Davis' presentation to the Feminist Family Values Forum, she discusses the need for new radical political activism to put the issues of women, people of color, and queers at the fore, which I don't disagree with. However, the Lehr piece brings up a good point. White male visions of their own oppression are real and present real challenges. Davis points out that we need to think very deeply about who and what are friends and enemies, and I think this pairs nicely with my suggestion that we need to dismantle the stereotype that feminism is a "woman's" thing. I am not suggesting that fantastical notions of white men as an oppressed minority be pandered to, however, they are, and have always been, part of the struggle for the liberation of all people. Is it that new radical activism should simply dismiss the complaints of some of the empire's more privileged citizens and their inevitably neo-con agendas because they work to maintain their privilege? I would have liked to hear Davis talk about this, about how to combat neo-con rhetoric and promote a broader way of thinking about things that does not simply seek to bash perceived "enemies" over the head, thus conflating rights with a violent masculinity. And how do we address this issue without falling into the trap of simply refocusing attention on privileged people who get uncomfortable when they are not the perpetual center of attention? Radical activists must accept that people will not always agree with us, and that we must function on our own council. However, how do radical activists function effectively in a time when the vast majority of political action and thought in the US is violently conservative? Activists who destroy chemical labs that destroy the planet are legally classified as terrorists. Why then are people who bomb abortion clinics and gay bars not categorized this way? What is the process by which radical activists can seek to depolarize political issues away from a black/white, male/female, queer/straight dichotomy while also realizing that we cannot address everything at once and cannot speak for everyone? What would this kind of structurally altering activity and thought look like in comparison to traditional single issue or single constituency activism?