Thursday, March 25, 2010
I think that we forget that laws are written by people...so we actually get to define what is legal...
I found this last night while seeking...
the article is here...
The British Columbia government’s decision to test the legality of Canada’s 120-year-old polygamy law led to a shocking revelation for Karen and her two male partners. The 37-year-old Winnipeg-area mother, her husband of 15 years and a second male partner concede their arrangement is unconventional. She calls it a plural union based on equality, not religious ideas of male dominance. What she didn’t realize, until the B.C. court reference drew attention to the issue, was that they’re breaking the law by sharing a home. “This has been a real learning experience,” she says.
Karen, who doesn’t want her surname used in order to protect her children, is part of a constituency of polyamorists, one of many groups seeking standing in the B.C. Supreme Court. The case will determine if the polygamy law—Section 293 of the Criminal Code—is constitutional. It was triggered by the province’s failure to prosecute two polygamous bishops in the fundamentalist Mormon community of Bountiful, B.C., but its outcome could affect the rights of thousands.Some 16 groups have submitted affidavits seeking permission to argue for or against 293 when a trial date is set—proving, if nothing else, that polygamy creates strange bedfellows. Some groups see the polygamy law as the foundation of the traditional family and a defence against the exploitation of girls forced into multiple marriage, as the province alleged happened in Bountiful. Others argue the law is unenforceable, does nothing to help the women of Bountiful, and that it imposes a moral code out of step with Canada’s modern, multicultural society.
Affidavits filed by James Oler and Winston Blackmore, who each lead congregations of about 400 fundamentalist Mormons in Bountiful, claim the law violates their constitutional rights. Blackmore, alleged to have at least 19 wives and 100 children, calls the law an “unjustifiable infringement of my congregation’s and my religious freedom.”
Conversely, Nancy Mereska, coordinator of the Alberta-based Stop Polygamy in Canada, says, “Religious law must not trump civil law in a free and democratic society,” a view shared by its member group, the U.K.-based Women Living Under Muslim Laws. The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, in its filing, also states religious freedom “cannot be interpreted to allow for the abuse, exploitation or oppression of women and children.”
The secular B.C. Civil Liberties Association, on the other hand, says the “dominant morality” shouldn’t be imposed by law. “Criminal attacks on polygamy will simply drive it underground,” says an affidavit by executive director David Eby. His group calls the law too “vague and overbroad” to be enforced: the statute prohibits “any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time,” even if those in the relationship aren’t legally married. (Adultery, also a multi-partner relationship, isn’t illegal under the law.)
REAL Women—which promotes “the Judeo-Christian view of traditional marriage and family”—argues polygamy turns women into “chattels.” A minority of cultures have historically allowed plural marriages, its affidavit says. “These have, almost without exception, given rise to a hierarchy dominated by older men with multiple younger wives.” That leads to “over-aggressive” males competing for a limited number of women,” it says. “Hence, polygamous societies are often violence-prone.” The Christian Legal Fellowship, a group of Christian lawyers, also supports the law. At issue isn’t religious freedom but the threat that male-dominated polygamy presents to equality rights, it argues.
Opposing the law is Paul Fromm of the far-right Canadian Association for Free Expression. Courts have supported the right to same-sex marriage in Canada, he says. Polygamy, with historic roots in many religions, is “more consistent with harmonious social relations that is any experience with the concept of same-sex marriage.”
Fromm’s group is uncomfortably in the same camp as the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association, which includes many gay and lesbian multiple partnerships. Vancouver lawyer John Ince, legal counsel for the group, and in a polyamorous relationship himself, says the case will determine only if plural relationships are legal. What flows from that—the rights of multiple partners to pensions, adoption or immigration sponsorship—are issues for future rulings many years, and many appeals, down the road, he said.
From her home in Manitoba, Karen says she is offended that the law labels her and her partners criminals, yet it would have been legal, and more socially acceptable, to disrupt her family life by leaving her husband or having an adulterous affair. As much as she hates the attention, polyamorists have to take a stand in what promises to be a high-profile case, she says. “The irony is we’re really fighting for the right to be left alone.”
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
This site is temporary. We're working on replacing it with a "real" Web site.
Who are we?
We're your polyamorous neighbors in Canada.
We're also a nonprofit society, incorporated in BC. Our Constitution defines our purpose. We exist mainly to defend legal polyamory.
Our society includes people from across Canada. Many of our volunteers are well known in Canadian polyamorous communities. All of them respect the values of that community. Polyamory is pretty loose-knit, but, insofar as it has leaders, many of us are among them.
What is Polyamory?
"Polyamory" is one of several words for multi-partner intimate relationships and the people in them. The community that identifies with this term has certain core values. We believe in gender equality, self-determination, free choice for all involved, mutual trust, and equal respect among partners.
When speaking technically, we use Wikipedia's definition of the word "polyamory". We believe it's the most discussed, the most carefully considered, and thus the most legitimate.
"Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. "
Why are we here?
We're here because we have a right to live with the people we love, and the law doesn't seem to recognize that.
Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada purports to outlaw polyamorous people living together as families. It penalizes us as soon as we make a serious commitment to one another.
The BC Government has asked the BC Supreme Court to decide whether Section 293 is compatible with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This "reference" question arises from concern over alleged abuses, in the context of plural marriage, by religious polygynists in rural BC. In all probability, whichever side wins, this case will be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, and will set important precedents for the rights of everybody who has more than one intimate relationship.
We believe that Section 293 is completely incompatible with the Charter, and we are preparing to intervene in court to argue that.
We who choose the label "polyamory" represent our own cultural thread. Our attitudes, actions, and values are different, sometimes profoundly different, from those of the people who identify with the labels "polygamy" or "polygyny". However diverse self-identified "polyamorists" or "polygamists" may be, neither includes the other, even though the law itself makes no distinction. Polyamorists deserve our own voice in this debate, and the CPAA exists to provide that voice.
How can you help?
- Show your interest
If you're a polyamorous person, or if you just support our goals, put your email address on our supporter list, and if possible please let us know what province or country you're from. Drop a message to email@example.com. We'll use your address only for the following purposes:
- To let you know when our "real" Web site, our "real" blog(s), and our "real" mailing lists are set up, and to invite you to join them.
- Possibly to ask you to participate in surveys about our community, or to give us other information which will help in our work.
- Possibly to send you a very limited number of "calls to action" on critical issues. We don't expect to have to do this before the real lists are up, but you never know.
We may publish the total number of people on our supporter list, or information about its growth rate. We will not release any of the actual addresses, or any other information about people on the list, to anybody outside the CPAA's trusted working groups, unless legally forced to do so. The present interim supporter list will be destroyed once everybody has had enough chance to join the "real" lists. You may remove yourself from the list at any time.
- Give us evidence
If you're in a conjugal relationship with more than one person, we can use your perspective, either as a formal witness or as part of our background information. If you believe you have a special perspective on polyamory and the law, or special, relevant information, we may be able to use it. Please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Give time
Legal work is time consuming. Right now, we need the following:
- Pro-bono legal help, especially from BC bar members who can give us actual court time.
- Help from professional legal researchers and paralegals.
We're not yet organized to use too many lay volunteers, but we hope to have our working groups in order soon. When we do, we'll need help with:
- Clerical research support
- Technical support for our other volunteers
- Community relations: moderating forums, etc.
- Logistics: moving documents around, etc
If you can help with any of these, please send email to email@example.com.
Everyone is welcome to volunteer, but please understand that, because of confidentiality and other issues, there will be some roles which are only available to people we can verify as trustworthy members or "fellow travellers" of the polyamorous community.
- Give resources
Legal research is expensive. Right now, we need the following:
- Access to professional research databases
- Access to libraries
In the future, we may need:
- Travel (and lodging)
- Office, copying, and mailing services
- Send us money
Litigation costs money, even with volunteers. So do PR and lobbying. If you want to support us monetarily, send a Paypal payment to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send email for instruction on how to send a check.
What's our history?
CPAA started with ideas circulated by members and moderators of the Vanpoly group. The Vanpoly members circulated a "call for interveners", and were quickly joined by members and facilitators of the VanIsle-Poly group, and then by others. We now have active volunteers and potential witnesses in BC, Ontario, Québec, and Manitoba.
How can you contact us?
If you have any questions, please send email to email@example.com. This address works for both press and public inquiries.
What else have we said?
See our press release archive.
Last modified: Thu Jan 28 16:24:01 EST 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Who We Are:
Tin Can Comms Collective is a collection of communication rebels seeking to provide useful free tools for activists fighting the State and Capitalism. We are an anarchist group that has come together to help with the communication infrastructure for the the Anti-G-20 protests this September in Pittsburgh, because: People and Information want to be Free!
How Do I Participate:
Tin Can Comms invites anyone that wants to be part of providing up-to-date and relevant information to people on the streets to get involved. It’s very easy. All you need is a cell-phone (we strongly suggest a pre-paid that can get text/sms messages) and opposable thumbs.
How Do I Send Information to Tin Can? TXT or call 412-567-1420
Our system is only as good as the information we receive so it is crucial people on the streets (whether they are following a Tin Can group or not) send in timely and relevant information to be disseminated. You can do that by texting the twitter groups at 40404 (see below about how to sign-up) or calling a dispatch operator by any phone at 412-567-1420.
How Will It Work:
Tin Can will collect information from web-sites, media, scouts and participants on the street. These communications will be filtered and then sent to those who are subscribed to one of our lists. You will receive texts.
Getting Started with a cell-phone:
First you need to have a twitter account. If you do not have one, you can get one through your cell-phone by texting to the phone number: 40404 the message should be: follow NameofGroup
The names of the groups are:
* g20pgh General info
* g20pghlegal Legal and related updates
* g20pghmedic Medics and medical emergencies
* g20pghlite1 Only the most important highlights
* g20pghfood1 Feeding times and locations
If you do not have an account, you will receive a text back asking you for a user name. You can pick any name you wish and text it back to 40404.
That’s it! You should start receiving messages in no time. If you want to sign up to more than one group, just follow the same procedure, but be selective because the more groups you sign-up for the more messages you will receive and you risk being flooded with too many messages.
Getting Started by computer:
If you do not have an account you can go to twitter.com and click “sign up now”. Follow instructions and do not forget to “attach” a mobile device to receive messages or you will only get them when logged on a computer.
Which Group should I follow?
That is a good question. It is important you think through what kind (and how much) of information you want. G20pgh is the basic or general group that will have the most information and will include everything from meetings to events on the street. G20pgh will have much more limited texts, only the obviously important information, related to the streets mostly. G20pghlegal will have information about the legal situation and arrests. G20pghmedic will have information about any injuries or other medical concerns. G20pghfood will only have information related to meals and food preparation during the days of action. Obviously the more groups you follow the more information you will receive and some duplication. If you signed up for G20pgh there is absolutely no reason to sign up for G20pghlite since you will just get duplicated messages. Since you can follow and unfollow at any time it might be better to sign up for as few lists as possible to start.
How Useful and Timely is the Information and What about Rumors?
We did an analysis of the system used at the RNC and found that messages were usually received within 20 seconds of being reported. Though a few rumors slipped past our filtering system, all were retracted in no more than 5 minutes and the number of rumors were much smaller than in other mobilizations. Overall the system worked quite well at rumor control. There is no way to analyze the usefulness of the communications and since we are not organizing any action, just providing information, it is up to the participants to decide how they will use the information.
How Much Does It Cost:
Information of course wants to be free. There may be some associated costs if you buy a pre-paid phone (which we strongly recommend) or your phone charges for each text. If you have to pay for each text we strongly encourage you to sign up for g20pghlite and/or as fewer groups as possible and only subscribe prior to protesting and then unsubscribe when you are done.
You Guys Rock! How Can I Help?
That’s sweet. You can help most by sending in information during the protests and encouraging others to do so. The more information for us the better. You can also come to one of the trainings to see how you can plug into the communications project.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
In the meantime, thought I'd share some music...
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Monday, March 08, 2010
from "international women's day" to "international radical vuvlva bearers (and all allies) resist patriarchal and gender role oppression day"...hmmm...what would a catchy acronym be, i wonder...
in any case...
happy, happy, joy, joy...!
The first idea that the child must acquire, in order to be actively disciplined, is that of the difference between good and evil; and the task of the educator lies in seeing that the child does not confound good with immobility, and evil with activity.I guess of course her quote could be rendered more layered and complicated by talking about the fact that what is considered evil is often understood/defined/arrived at by those in positions of dominance and disseminated down to those whom they actively subjugate. Oh! And that hierarchies, dominance and control aren't usually considered evil. And of course that evil is also often defined in fairly simplistic ways based on the maintenance of societal morals, values and beliefs. So then it follows that bucking societal and/or group norms in and of itself is considered evidence of evilness supreme.
- Maria Montessori
Friday, March 05, 2010
Monday, April 9, 2007
I try not to respond because I've noticed that often blogging seems more about being social than about ideas and politics.
I've wanted people to come and read just because, not to get a shout out from me.
I can see that some people don't come back because I'm not following the rules of engagement. I have my own rules of engagement under which I will communicate. So, I'm not completely opposed...just really reticent.
I got a lot of comment from (name withheld) about one of my posts. I don't know who you are, (name withheld). When I followed your link back to what I thought would be your profile and a link to your blog/brain/thoughts/ideas, I found nada.
Nonetheless, I felt something, thought about lots of things when you wrote all that you did. So, I figure a response was in order.
This is some of what I wrote:
One of the things I've been trying to engage with wimmin around is what people mean when they say a woman is scary and intimidating._______________________________________________
In my experience, it's mostly wimmin not men who agonize over whether they'll be seen as, labelled as, received as scary and intimidating simply by virtue of having a take no prisoners politic...or more to the point for speaking clearly in a forthright manner rather than obscuring what they believe or think in circular/indirect conversation.
I go to anarchist websites and blogs by men and they're not over there wringing their hands over using no holds barred language, direct language, straight up language to get their points across.
They don't knock each other out of the politricks game over not being accomodating enough or courteous enough. They definitely don't get ostracized for being rude. I find they have a lot more leeway in terms of the kinds of personal narratives they can use. I call that unearned privilege associated with patriarchy.
When people want to talk about a woman, say a Black woman being scary and intimidating, they need to google racism, black wimmin, angry, scary. It's textbook oppressive stuff.
I think peace and love is necessary and definitely part of struggles for change. I share peace and love with my children. I speak to my counsellor in gentle tones, unless I'm dumping stuff in her presence (not on her). I speak to my partner gently...unless he insists on behaving in oppressive ways and won't process or claim his actions and keeps on going and invites me to participate in his denial in ways that harm. Then he gets hard baby mama...but I prefer to be smiling and friendly.
I think being smiling and friendly is really different than colluding with one's own oppression. If people behave in oppressive ways and won't engage and reflect and I'm experiencing harm because of their unwillingness to examine their ways, I get surly.
This puts me in mind of a longstanding feud I have with two wimmin of colour who are prominent in blogland. They did something I wasn't cool with. I emailed them and wrote in courteous language explaining my situation and asking for them to accomodate and consider making a change.
They said no, they would not. Futhermore, they said they would not write of what had transpired between us on their blogs, but that I was free to do so on mine. And so, I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote...on my blog...still writing.
They ignored what I wrote. From what I can tell from the fallout shit that hit me and this blog, they emailed each other and other people, MANY other people some of whom I was attempting to build alliances with. As a result I was labelled unforgiven, pariah, evil, not nice, irrelevant.
I lost a whole lot of (potential) allies trying desperately to get people to look carefully at what was happening. I was defined as scary and intimidating, while these wimmin of colour were my "victims", poor delicate, defenseless creatures who were just trying to do good political work. Why was I being so mean and angry and intimidating?
Loaded language designed with a particular outcome in mind. Mission accomplished.
(Of course this ability to go into denial when people perceived as leaders are challenged is at the root of why American's have the president they do. People who should know better make provisional, situational peace with bad situations because the people who are making the decisions are liked and followed by many.)
Now, how does one do peace, love and happiness with that, in that sort of situation?
So, I need to think carefully about what peace and love actually mean when I may just be stepping back from challenging someone because they have the power to oppress or exclude or ostracize if I don't use kid gloves on them, if I don't play along, don't play the game.
In that sort of situation, I need to ask myself: Who am I laying down with? When will they roll over on me? Should I wait until then? Can I afford to wait until then and try to process any perceived acts of oppression once their inability to understand who they are has finally touched my life?
If I choose to engage forthrightly, it is because I understand that a person has the ability to be a strong ally to me.
If I choose to level a critique, it's because I understand that someone has said they have the moxy to receive it and survive and think and transform and grow alongside me.
If I ask for accountability and for someone to apply a critique to their own actions, it's because I believe them when they say and write that they can.
This has been horribly disappointing. I understand myself as less of a scary, intimidating blogger and more as a fucking Polyanna who needs to stop taking people at face value.
Check, check: Rage and cussing not for you. It's just pain and a general state of frustration, disappointment, impatience.
This is me saying:
What if Morpheus had offered Neo not a choice between the blue pill or the red pill? What if Trinity had said to him: Now, Morpheus, don't you go getting yourself all worked up and scary looking. No one is going to want to listen to you if you're going to be unplugging them and taking them away from the nice shopping on Matrix Boulevard to eat oatmeal, wear rags and live underground. What if Morpheus had agreed out of worry over not being considered nice and gentle. What if he had simply shot Neo full of methadone and left him plugged in hoping he'd wean himself somewhere down the road? Hee, hee, hee.
For me the choice I make to be forthright is about being seen and recognized by perhaps one blessed, powerFULL person before I die who can stand (or sit) and face me power for power, word for word, intellect for intellect, truth for truth, vulnerability for vulnerability, courage for courage and not balk or back away or label me terrifying or see if they can shut me down.
Before I meet the Goddess or the Creator or whoever has been laughing at me all these years, I want to have done with people who offer themselves as allies, get close and then can't actually match me or watch my back because they don't even know who they are.
Feminists talk a lot about doing hard, uncomfortable work that takes courage. When people talk about themselves as freedom fighters who will go the extra mile to resist...I actually expect them to do what they say: resist like there is no tomorrow, struggle as if their lives depended on it, speak even if they get boxed across the mouth, stick to the path even if it's full of rock stones that hurt their feet, move even if no one will move with them.
Then I get people who look at me quizzically as if to say: Well, that's politics and academia and my NGO job...that's what I play at doing, that's what i get paid to do, that's what I get attention and popularity cred for doing.
But, c'mon dd, this is real life. You don't actually expect me to live like that. Do you? People won't like me and I don't want to end up like you headed for being a cat lady, no doubt about it.
Yeah, relationships are hard for me when I purposefully set ground between me and people who move like this on fire so they can't get closer. :)
They call it burning bridges. I call it saving my life and clinging to sanity for all I'm worth.
So...yeah...being able to speak to what amounts to a stoopid mess of perceptions, ideas and commonly held values that have caused no end of mess where alliances and possible alliances for darkdaughta are concerned? priceless...but still annoying. :)