Beyond Despair

By pattrice | 26th May 2009 | Filed under Essay

Originally published in June/July 2007 issue of Satya Magazine.

It was a typical winter night at the Eastern Shore Sanctuary, meaning I was sitting on the couch brooding about big problems while dogs chewed carrot sticks on the carpet and catnip-fueled felines chased each other around the chaotic kitchen. Some new piece of wretched information—probably something about polar bears—had punched me in the stomach. “Why aren’t people doing more about global warming?” I muttered angrily. Elder dog Zami regarded me levelly until it hit me: I am people. Why aren’t I doing more about global warming?

Feeling a bit abashed, I decided to ask the question really rather than rhetorically: Why aren’t people doing more about global warming?

Since I am people, I asked myself first.

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Re-Membering Thanksgiving

By pattrice | 27th Nov 2008 | Filed under Feature

Gloating and Gluttony Then and Now
by pattrice jones
Originally published 2004 on various IndyMedia sites.
Revises 2003 essay originally published by Press Action.

Thanksgiving, 2003 — Bush the executioner grins and pardons a turkey before flying to Iraq. He’s earned that self-satisfied smirk. All over his United States, citizens celebrate conquest over platters of flesh. Too full of turkey to think and too full of themselves to question, they let out their belts and watch TV. Tomorrow they go shopping!

November, 2004 – Homophobia hands GWB four more years. Seizing the day, he orders his Conquistadors to take Falluja. US troops blockade the city, announcing that any man under 45 who remains will be presumed hostile and that no man under 45 will be permitted to leave. Any man having the audacity to have been born in a city the Americans want to occupy is about to discover what the original inhabitants of the Americas learned long ago.

***

“Body parts are everywhere!” That’s what one US soldier had to say about the saddest city in Iraq, according to an AFP report. It’s also an apt description of the state of US dinner tables during the festival of gloating and gluttony known as Thanksgiving.

This year, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving in the wake of the taking of Falluja. Waving “drumsticks” and fighting for “wishbones,” complacent Christians will gorge themselves without fear, safe from the threats of gay marriage and Iraqi self-determination. Stuffing themselves beyond satiation, they and their children will partake of the proud Puritanical tradition of ruthless, reckless expansion.

Colonization is nothing to crow about. When Columbus blundered into a hemisphere populated by 70-100 million people and countless unique species of flora and fauna, he set into motion a chain reaction of repression and rebellion that continues to this day.

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Conquistadors of the Senses

By pattrice | 27th Nov 2008 | Filed under Essay

by pattrice jones

First published 28 November 2006 by FreezerBox Magazine.

Throwing the homosexuals to the hounds sounds like a metaphor for the Republican Party’s electoral strategy of recent years, but it actually happened back in 1513 in what is now Panama. Then, governor Vasco Nunez de Balboa condemned 50 homosexual Indians to be torn apart by dogs.Seen by both Catholic Conquistadors and Protestant Pilgrims as a sign of godless animality, same-sex pleasure was ruthlessly suppressed throughout the process of the subjugation of the Americas. Today, the conquest of the senses continues, as billions of people and animals are forced to forgo all kinds of natural happiness so that a privileged few can enjoy the empty gluttony that has brought us to the brink of planetary catastrophe.

When Columbus blundered into the Caribbean, sexual freedom — including full acceptance of homosexuality — was the norm in the region.

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Trickle-Down Environmentalism versus Ecosystemic Empathy

By pattrice | 12th Oct 2008 | Filed under Essay

Trickle-Down Environmentalism versus Ecosystemic Empathy
A Meditation on the Occasion of the World Social Forum
28 & 29 January 2003
Porto Alegre, Brazil

pattrice jones

“No, the waters and the mountains do not belong to the mens. But how do we tell that to Bush and Blair?”

I’m at the Fórum Social Mundial and have no answer for the Brazilian musician who earnestly poses that question after admiring the Alice Walker quotation on my t-shirt. How indeed, I wonder, when even the people who are talking back to Bush and Blair do not understand that basic fact.

These days, most progressive environmentalists endorse what might be called the ‘trickle-down’ theory of environmental justice. Just as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have asserted that the self-interested choices of rich people ultimately help all of the other economic classes, today’s global justice advocates assert that the self-interested choices of “the people” will ultimately help all of the other species on earth. Both theories amount to little more than wishful thinking.

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Personality Complex: Eli Clare Dives Deep Into the Muddy Waters of Identity Politics

By pattrice | 18th Jul 2008 | Filed under Book Review, Interview

by pattrice jones

This interview and book review was originally published in the December, 1999 edition of LesbiaNation.

In her recently released book Exile & Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation (South End Press), lesbian feminist and disability rights activist Eli Clare explores the political and emotional terrain of disability, class and sexual orientation by means of personal narratives. In sometimes surprising ways, Clare brings together issues that on the surface seem separate but which she sees as parts of a devastating unified field: environmental destruction and the sexual exploitation of children, homophobic violence and the economic exploitation of workers, cultural bigotry and the exploitation of natural resources.

Some of us, Clare maintains, are more scarred by these things than others, but none of us are unscathed. As she points out, our bodies can be and are “stolen, fed lies and poison, torn away from us…. Stereotypes and lies lodge in our bodies as surely as bullets.” But Clare is not content to simply catalog the damage; she insists that “the stolen body can be reclaimed.”

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