Too much time spent defending

This enlightening look at what activists should spend their energy and time on was posted by sharkfu over at Feministing:

I spent this Independence Day catching up on sleep.

I know, I’ve heard…a body can’t really catch up on sleep, but the attempt was refreshing as hell.

Anyhoo, in between naps I started to ponder the state of the social justice movement.


Some people daydream about tropical getaways…

…I ponder the paradise of a just world!

Anyhoo, as I lay about sorta sleeping I pondered the forces making moves to appropriate the language and tactics of social justice movements.

These groups may or may not be acting together…but they have settled on a path that would take tools created to empower and use them to deny rights while inspiring fear, confusion and distrust.

From conservative politicians trying to lay claim to feminism to relatives of Civil Rights legends making the charge of black genocide…oh yes, something wicked this way comes.

‘Tis doubtful that progressives will fall for this mess and even more doubtful that conservatives want spent time and money trying to recruit the faithful to their side – I think these forces seek to muddy the waters for the undecideds and uncertain.

I suspect that their definition of success is not to convert …rather, it is to create a climate of distrust that turns down the volume of social justice, corrupts the image of reproductive health care and makes progressives spin in circles trying to defend everything from the pill to the physical location of health care centers.

I’ve spent more than my fair share of time in a defensive space because of this shit, but something about Independence Day inspired an Ah ha moment…and I’m done just defending.

Because I know and they know that the best defense of reproductive justice is reproductive justice…the actions, education and facts that made me join this movement in the first place.

There is power in focusing on the realities on the ground that these imposters prefer to ignore…

…and our unashamed unapologetic focus on and activism to address those realities defines what we who are the reproductive justice movement are really about.

Oh, I’m not going to abandoned the word war battlefield completely…an accusation unaddressed can too easily become truth.

But it hit me, as I pondered this situation, that it’s been a while since I got out and about…since I was present at a youth club, shelter or health care center. It’s been far too long since I dedicated a class to my student’s questions and concerns…since I listened instead of assuming that I already know what they are thinking about or worried about or need to know.

It’s time to get back to basics…to return to the grassroots, where reproductive justice is defined by what is done and who is doing it.

Oh hell yes, I’m done just defending.

As my Grandmother used to say…movements move – whether they move in the right direction depends on the participants.

You can check out more from sharkfu’s blog series, Notes from a bitch, here.

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