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Dragon Teeth

Dragon Teeth image
Parent Issue
Day
11
Month
June
Year
1971
OCR Text

I want to dedícate this week's column - along with my life itself--to my powerful partner and other half, comrade Leni Sinclair, because it was six years ago Saturday that we stood up together in our backyard in Detroit, totally blasted and feelingas good as two humans can feel, and made an intention to share each other's lives clear to our friends and neighbors in the Artists' Workshop community. We were married like that on June 12, 1965, in a ceremony we wrote for ourselves with our friends, in our own backyard, man and woman united in words as we were and are in the flesh. To m? we're closer now even than we were then, because we've got 6 years of shared work and experience to grow on, and even though we've been separated by the state for almost half of those six years our love is stronger than anv "law" can ever be, We spent our first anniversary together on the visiting grounds at the Detroit House of Correction, where I was doing a 6-month sentence for gettinc; high, and our 5th anniversary in the visiting room at Marquette Prison, and this year it'll be the visiting room at Jacksoi Prison where they keep me now You can imagine what that's like, so I won't take up your time with my pain - you know about separation and pain yourselves , and that wouldn't even be useful. But what 1 do want to talk about is what it's been like to be in prison during the past two years while the righteous women's movement has done its killer job of raising people's consciousness about sexism and male chauvinism, and what it's like to try to purge oneself of that shit without any contact with women at all. I mean it's really diffucult for any of us, brother cr_ sisters, to stomp out the brainwash that's been put on us about how "men" and "women" are supposed to act, what "roles" they're supposed to play in life and with each other, what their limitations are as "men" or as "women", and how women are supposed to be markedly inferior to men and incapable af functioning as full human beings. Because even if we don't believe all this shit consciously-- if we know how ridiculous it is to hold such belief -we still are influenced by it to some extent and it poisons our whole way of life in ways we don't even realize. Tve gone through a lot of changes in the past two years of being locked up, and in some ways it's the best thing that's ever happened to me, because I've had a chance to think and study intensively which I never would've had otherwise. And one of the things I think about most is sexism and what we can do about it--it's really one of the most vicious perver sions ever known, and it affects all of us because we live in an incredibly sexist society. The worst part about it, like I was trying to say before, is that we don't even understand what it is_ most of the time, or how we have been poisoned by it. The clearest and simplest definition of sexism and male chauvinism is the one Leni ran down a couple of issues ago--"Sexism simply means judging people by their sex first and as human beings second. . . Women are not only looked at as different f rom men, but also as their iors--that's male chauvinism. " ff you think about it for a minute you can see how much sexist thinking dominates even our own Rainbow culture --how brothers tend to consider sisters only as their "old ladies" or "someone to ball, " and the sisters even see themselves as limited to those roles (although there is a beautiiul movement among liberated sisters away from this dehumanizing scène, with the most conscious sisters demanding recognition as full human beings who can work with brothers and do everything the brothers can do, and just as well too!) What we have to understand is that these attitudes have been drilled into us even since we were little kids, by a social order (and an economie system) which greatly benefits by denying full humanity not only to women but to black people, red, brown and yellow people, young people, homosexuals, and other humans who aren't full-fledged adult male Euro-Amerikans. Our Rainbow culture is the opposite af honkoid culture, but since it has evolved out of honky culture and remains within the all-pervasive shell af the old death system it's still tainted by all the poisons which ferment in the cancerous belly of the beast. The only way we can make our Life culture into a totally healthy organism is by consciously and thoroughly purging ourselves af the filth that the death merchants have pumped into our bodies--whether it's sexism, racism, smack, competition, authoritarianism, death music, downers, control, greed or feaXo All of these things are poisons which help kill off the revolutionary spirit of our Rainbow culture and keep us enslaved. Sexism is really insidious because it's so deeply ingrained in our being that it's unconscious. Even when we think we're free of it we're still fucked up and don't realize it. It's only been in the last couple years that the powerful sisters in the women's movement have made a lot of us aware of our sickness, but even so there are still a whole lot of people who don't understand what it's all abouto I know I always thought of myself as being free of male chauvinism and sexism, in fact I considered myself "better" than a lot of other brothers because I was aware of the problem and tried to get more sisters involved in productive work. It took a lot of study and a lot of help f rom my sisters before I began to realize that I was just as fucked up as everybody else as far as being sexist was concerned, and now that I can understand what was wrong I can try to purge myself and make myself healthy at last. Let me give you some examples: I had always feit that Leni and I were totally equal - we shared our common work for years, and she was really my partner and not just " my old lady. " I knew as far back as 1964 that I wanted a partner who would work with me on an equal basis, and not just an ''old lady" I could boss around and manipúlate like a doll--I maan I knew that was where it was at, and I was always kind of proud of myself for having a relationship with my partner where we shared our work and she wasn't limited to the kitchen and the bedroom and the nursery, you know? In fact I really tried to encourage Leni to do more ereative work, to take her work as a photographer seriously because she took dynamite flicks but didn't think of herself as a real artist with a camera. We designed and printed books and magazines together, produced concerts together, helped run the Artists Workshop and then Love together, etc. But during all this time we worked together, I still took it for granted that she should do the housework, take care of the baby, cook my meals, do the laundry for both of us, and do all the traditional "women's work" just like in honky society. I never even gave this a second thought, I just took it for granted, on a completely unconscious level, that that was her job and not mine to do. And she never said anything about it either--she just did all the other work we shared plus taking care of me and our baby like there wasn't anything wrong with that kind of situation. It wasn't until I started reading and studying since Tve been locked up that I began to realize how bogue I had always been, and then Leni started telling me about it too. One of the most mindblowing things she ran on me was about taking care of the babies. which I hadn't even given a second thought to„ I used to think I was a pretty far out father and that I really helped take care of my daughter when I was out on the street (our second daughter was born since Tve been locked up--she's 17 months old now and doesn't even know who I am). But in reality I just stuck Leni with the whole job of taking care of Sunny and never even questioned the unstated assumption that it was her job and not mine to be responsible for our baby. It just didn't occur to me that I was just as responsible for changing her diapers, feeding her, washing her clothes, giving her baths, getting up to take care of her in the morning, and all of that stuff as Leni was, and since Leni never complained about it or told me any different, I just went along with it. These are just a couple of the things I'm beginning to under stand about sexism and how it works to keep us f rom being whole people-brothers as well as sisters--and one of the things I'm looking forward to most about maybe getting out of here and back home with my powerful partner is taking an equal share in all the work, and trying to make up for the way I used to be. Fm really excited about it, because it'll give me a chance to be more human than I was before, and to do things I haven't really even done, like helping take care of the babies, cook meáis, do the laundry, and all the stuff that's so important to our daily survival. A lot of people cali it "shit work," but it's not - it's the most basic productive work there is, and we simply can't survive without it. There's nothing liberating about being a slavemaster or being "waited on" by your partner, whether you're male or female. What is_ liberating is sharing everything with your partner and becoming truly one with him or her. Brothers and sisters have an overwhelming interest in the total liberation of women and all people, and if we don't work to make sure that everyone is equal on all levéis then we're just perpetrating the same sickness we all ourselves are trying to get away f rom when we reject the death culture of the honks. Sisters and brothers have to work with each other on every level to purify our culture and make sure that what we are building is a truly liberated culture for all people. FREE OUR SISTERSF RE E OURSELVES! REVOLUTION IS THE WAY TO LIFE ! !