Archives de Tag: Racisme

L’injonction d’…

L’injonction d’arrêter la prostitution adressée aux étrangères revient à raviver une vieille distinction que l’on espérait pourtant révolue : celle entre les pauvres (pauvresses) méritants, à qui sont compassionnellement octroyés quelques maigres subsides, et ceux qui, persévérant dans leur mauvaises inclinations, ne recueillent que ce qu’ils méritent – en l’occurrence le centre de rétention et l’expulsion. Qu’un tel mode de pensée puisse aujourd’hui se targuer du féminisme est un incontestable révélateur des régressions qu’a ces dernières années connu la pensée du social.

Lilian Mathieu, « Les pauvresses méritantes et les autres. A propos du renforcement de la lutte contre le système prostitutionnel »

A police raid i…

A police raid in the streets led to the arrest of an exploiter together with six Russian women: the exploiter was sentenced and the women were deported, in compliance with the law on foreigners that sentences to deportation all foreigners without permit or at least two years of residence in Sweden who engage in immoral activities, including prostitution.

Daniela Danna, « Report on the city of Stockholm », in Prostitution and Public life in Four European Capital, p. 33

Un raid de police dans les rues a mené à l’arrestation d’un exploiteur et de six femmes russes : l’exploiteur a été condamné, et les femmes expulsées, en accord avec la loi sur les étrangers, qui condamne à l’expulsion tous les étrangers qui n’ont pas de permis ou au moins deux ans de résidence en Suède et qui s’engagent dans des activités immorales, prostitution incluse. 

In 1999, the nu…

In 1999, the number of foreign women who were prostitutes in Sweden was growing, although it had not reached levels comparable to Italy or Spain, nor those of France in the past few years. A factor that contributed to this growth was that as of 1997, citizens of the Baltic countries were no longer required to have a visa to enter Sweden. In 1998, 50/70 foreign women had been identified among streetwalkers in Stockholm; they remained in Sweden each time for one to twenty-one days. In 1999, after the law against clients became effective, there were only about thirty foreign prostitutes identified, and the police expelled two Estonians and one Russian because they supported themselves by prostitution.
Foreign women who practise prostitution, are sentenced to deportation and are not allowed to return to Sweden for two years. Many women from Eastern Europe are rejected at the borders on the basis of the mere suspicion that they enter Sweden to engage in prostitution. Even those who have a residence permit lose it, because they do not support themselves honourably – unless the permit has been held for at least three years: in this case this rule does not apply.

Daniela Danna, « Report on the city of Stockholm », in Prostitution and Public life in Four European Capital, p. 44-45

En 1999, le nombre de femmes étrangères qui étaient prostituées en Suède était en augmentation, bien qu’il n’ait jamais atteint des niveaux comparables à ceux de l’Italie ou de l’Espagne, ni à ceux de la France ces dernières années. Un facteur qui contribua à cette augmentation est qu’en 1997, les citoyens des pays Baltiques n’avaient plus besoin de visa pour entrer en suède. En 1998, 50/70 femmes étrangères ont été identifiées parmi les travailleuses de rue de Stockholm; elles restaient en Suède, à chaque fois, entre un et 21 jours. En 1999, après la mise en place de la loi contre les clients, il n’y avait qu’environ trente prostituées identifiées, et la police a expulsé deux Estoniennes et une Russe parce qu’elles subvenaient à leurs besoins par la prostitution. 

Les femmes étrangères qui exercent la prostitution sont rejetées aux frontières, sur la base d’un simple suspicion qu’elles entrent en Suède pour se prostituer. Même celles qui ont un permis de résidence le perdent, parce qu’elles ne subviennent pas à leurs besoins honorablement – à moins que le permis ait été accordé depuis au moins trois ans : dans ce cas, la règle ne s’applique pas. 

the Whore insult

Because so long as there are women who are called whores, there will be women who are trained to believe it is next to death to be one or to be mistaken for one. And so long as that is, men will feel they can leave whores for dead with impunity. The fear of the whore, or of being the whore, is the engine that drives the whole thing. That engine could be called “misogyny,” but even that word misses something: the cheapness of the whore, how easily she might be discarded not only due to her gender but to her race, her class. Whore is maybe the original intersectional insult.

Melissa Gira Grant, Playing the Whore, Verso, 2014, p. 127-128

Capital’s use o…

Capital’s use of the wage also obscures who is the working class and keeps workers divided. Through the wage relation, capital organizes different labor markets (a labor market for blacks, youth, women and white males), and opposes a “working class” to a “non-working” proletariat, supposedly parasitic on the work of the former. Thus, as welfare recipients we are told we live off the taxes of the “working class,” as housewives we are pictured as the bottomless pits of our husbands’ paychecks.
But ultimately the social weakness of the wageless has been and is the weakness of the entire working class with respect to capital. As the history of the “runaway shop” demonstrates, the availability of unwaged labor, both in the “underdeveloped” countries and in the metropolis, has allowed capital to leave those areas where labor had made itself too expensive, thus undermining the power that workers there had reached. Whenever capital could not run to the “Third World,” it opened the gates of the factories to women, blacks, and youth in the metropolis or to mi-grants from the “Third World.” Thus it is no accident that while capitalism is presumably based on waged labor, more than half of the world’s population is unwaged. Wagelessness and underdevelopment are essential elements of capitalist planning, nationally and internationally. They are powerful means to make workers compete on the national and international labor market, and make us believe that our interests are different and contradictory.23
Here are the roots of sexism, racism and welfarism (contempt for the workers who have succeeded in getting some money from the State), which are the expressions of different labor markets and thus different ways of regulating and dividing the working class. If we ignore this use of capitalist ideology and its roots in the wage relation, we not only end up considering racism, sexism and welfarism as moral diseases, products of “false consciousness,” but we are confined to a strategy of “education” that leaves us with nothing but “moral imperatives to bolster our side.”24
[…] As the struggles of black people in the 1960s showed, it was not by good words, but by the organization of their power that they made their needs “understood.” In the case of women, trying to educate men has always meant that our struggle was privatized and fought in the solitude of our kitchens and bedrooms. Power educates. First men will fear, then they will learn because capital will fear. For we are not struggling for a more equal redistribution of the same work. We are struggling to put an end to this work and the first step is to put a price tag on it.

Silvia Federici, “counterplanning from the kitchen” (1975), in Revolution at point Zero : Housework Reproduction and Feminist Struggle, p. 36-37

Capital’s use of the wage also obscures who is the working class and keeps workers divided. Through the wage relation, capital organizes different labor markets (a labor market for blacks, youth, women and white males), and opposes a “working class” to a “non-working” proletariat, supposedly parasitic on the work of the former. Thus, as welfare recipients we are told we live off the taxes of the “working class,” as housewives we are pictured as the bottomless pits of our husbands’ paychecks.
But ultimately the social weakness of the wageless has been and is the weakness of the entire working class with respect to capital. As the history of the “runaway shop” demonstrates, the availability of unwaged labor, both in the “underdeveloped” countries and in the metropolis, has allowed capital to leave those areas where labor had made itself too expensive, thus undermining the power that workers there had reached. Whenever capital could not run to the “Third World,” it opened the gates of the factories to women, blacks, and youth in the metropolis or to mi-grants from the “Third World.” Thus it is no accident that while capitalism is presumably based on waged labor, more than half of the world’s population is unwaged. Wagelessness and underdevelopment are essential elements of capitalist planning, nationally and internationally. They are powerful means to make workers compete on the national and international labor market, and make us believe that our interests are different and contradictory.23
Here are the roots of sexism, racism and welfarism (contempt for the workers who have succeeded in getting some money from the State), which are the expressions of different labor markets and thus different ways of regulating and dividing the working class. If we ignore this use of capitalist ideology and its roots in the wage relation, we not only end up considering racism, sexism and welfarism as moral diseases, products of “false consciousness,” but we are confined to a strategy of “education” that leaves us with nothing but “moral imperatives to bolster our side.”24
[…] As the struggles of black people in the 1960s showed, it was not by good words, but by the organization of their power that they made their needs “understood.” In the case of women, trying to educate men has always meant that our struggle was privatized and fought in the solitude of our kitchens and bedrooms. Power educates. First men will fear, then they will learn because capital will fear. For we are not struggling for a more equal redistribution of the same work. We are struggling to put an end to this work and the first step is to put a price tag on it.

Silvia Federici, “counterplanning from the kitchen”, in Revolution at point Zero : Housework Reproduction and Feminist Struggle, p. 36-37

One of the most striking dimensions of the debate that occurred in Sweden in the early 1990s about whether or not to join the EU was the way that prostitution emerged as an argument for staying out of the EU. In the two years leading up to the referen- dum in November 1994, numerous articles were published in Swedish newspapers asserting that Sweden would be overrun with foreign prostitutes if the country entered the EU. I have already mentioned reports like the one that claimed that 100,000 ‘Eastern bloc’ women were gathering like storm clouds on the horizon, waiting to get into Sweden and spread HIV. The same year that that article appeared, the theme of threat was explic- itly enunciated by Karin Starrin, then the President of the Center party’s League of Women. In a public speech, Starrin announced that ‘The biggest threat is the outpour- ing of prostitution from the former communist countries. A Russian woman can earn half a yearly salary from a couple of acts of intercourse in Sweden. There are those who think that it’s OK to come here and sell themselves’ (Expressen, 93–06–18).

Don KULICK, “Sex in the New Europe, The Criminalization of Clients and Swedish Fear of Penetration, Anthropological Theory 2003 3: 199

Yet even when large numbers of feminist activists adopted a perspective which included race, gender, class, and nationality, the white “power feminists” continued to project an image of feminism that linked and links women’s equality with imperialism. Global women’s issues like forced female circumcision, sex clubs in Thai- land, the veiling of women in Africa, India, the Middle East, and Eu-
rope, the killing of female children in China, remain important concerns. However feminist women in the West are still struggling to decolonize feminist thinking and practice so that these issues can be addressed in a manner that does not reinscribe Western imperialism. Consider the way many Western women, white and black, have confronted the issue of female circumcision in Africa and the Middle East. Usually these countries are depicted as “barbaric and uncivilized,” the sexism there portrayed as more brutal and dangerous to women than the sexism here in the United States.
A decolonized feminist perspective would first and foremost examine how sexist practices in relation to women’s bodies globally are linked. For example: linking circumcision with life-threatening eating disorders (which are the direct consequence of a culture imposing thinness as a beauty ideal) or any life-threatening cosmetic surgery would emphasize that the sexism, the misogyny, underlying these practices globally mirror the sexism here in this country. When Issues are addressed in this manner Western imperialism is not reinscribed and feminism cannot be appropriated by transnational capitalism as yet another luxury product from the West women in other cultures must fight to have the right to consume.

bell hooks, Feminism is for everybody : passionate politics, South End Press, 2000, p. 47

While feminists in the United States were right to call attention to the need for global equality for women, problems arose as those individual feminists with class power projected imperialist fantasies onto women globally, the major fantasy being that women in the United States have more rights than any group of women globally, are “free” if they want to be, and therefore have the right to lead feminist movement and set feminist agendas for all the other women in the world, particularly women in third world countries. Such thinking merely mirrors the imperialist racism and sexism of ruling groups of Western men.

bell hooks, Feminism is for everybody : passionate politics, South End Press, 2000, p. 45

Mainstream patriarchy reinforced the idea that the concerns of women from privileged-class groups were the only ones worthy of receiving attention. Feminist reform aimed to gain social equality for women within the existing structure. Privileged women wanted equality with men of their class. Despite sexism among their class they would not have wanted to have the lot of working class men. Feminist efforts to grant women social equality with men of their
class neatly coincided with white supremacist capitalist patriarchal fears that white power would diminish if nonwhite people gained equal access to economic power and privilege. Supporting what in effect became white power reformist feminism enabled the main- stream white supremacist patriarchy to bolster its power while si- multaneously undermining the radical politics of feminism.

bell hooks, Feminism is for everybody : passionate politics, South End Press, 2000, p. 40-41