Welfare Queens And Sovereignty Queens

April 5, 2015 — 9 Comments

trail broken

I’ve been a bit crazy busy lately, all with good stuff, but I haven’t been writing much here.

I’ve written elsewhere, though, including a piece on the Commodification of spiritual goods and services at The Wild Hunt. 

Gods&Radicals has been taking up a lot of (exciting) time.  Have you seen it yet?  The coolest people ever are writing there.

Also, the line-up for Many Gods West is about to be announced.  I’m stupidly excited.

I’ve been doing a lot of research on the early anti-Capitalist movements and their intersections with Paganism, and I’m beginning to think that they were less ‘intersections’ and more simultaneous outgrowths of the same urge.  Particularly of interest here are the many ‘sovereignty Queens’ invoked in anti-enclosure movements in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England.  I’ll have more on this later, but, yeah.  We’ve buried too much of our history by ignoring the gods and spirits of place.

Speaking of this, I’ll be working with several others to create rituals for ignored land- and crossroad- spirits in Seattle.  This excites the fuck out of me.  More on that later, too.

Also, the draft for the Pagan Statement on the Environment is out.  You may have known I was originally involved in it but withdrew voluntarily after an unfortunate statement was made by one of the other people involved regarding avoiding me “like the plague.”  I’ve no ill will towards the group, it just made no sense to continue on in the atmosphere lingering after such a statement.

That being said, I can’t support the statement yet.

There’s no mention of Capitalism’s effects on the environment.  At all.  Instead, the language urges ‘sustainability,’ which is precisely the language of what’s been called the ‘greenwashing’ of Capitalism.

Thing is–it’s open to public comment until April 21st.  I’ve added my concern about the omission of Capitalism from its language, as have others.  They could use some more comment, and I’d urge ye’ to do so.

A secondary matter within the statement concerns me, too–the mention of population control without any counterbalancing statement regarding the distribution of resources favoring whites in the world.  We should be urging that women always have the first and only say in how many children they bear (if any!); but population control has become a code for racialism for quite some time.

Consider the ‘welfare queen,‘ that ridiculous myth from the 80’s where a Black woman buys a car through having more children than she can afford and getting the government to subsidize her procreative activities.  Blaming poor women’s reproductive activities, especially those of poor Black women, for their economic problems is a favorite game of pro-Capitalist political movements.  Any Pagan Environmental Statement must beware of this language, but the statement doesn’t seem to address this at all.

Without addressing either of these matters, I won’t be signing it, and if it remains in its current form, I’ll be strongly urging people not to sign it.

But, like I said, it’s open for comment.  I suggest reading it and telling ’em what you think!

 

Be well!

 

 

9 responses to Welfare Queens And Sovereignty Queens

  1. 

    I’m looking forward to hearing your writing on ‘Sovereignty Queens.’ I noticed you’d got a Luddite quote up on G & R. Luddism was quite popular in Lancashire and Chartism grew out of it. Personally I’ve struggled to find any ‘Pagan intersections’ with these movements, although they’re an important part of our ancestral (and revolutionary) heritage.

  2. 

    Rhyd, Actually, they were using that obnoxious term even longer than that. I believe that it has been around since President Johnson’s (LBJ’s) administration. Remember, I am almost as old as dirt. 😉

    • 

      Oh! Didn’t realize that!
      Another interesting aspect is that most Western Capitalist countries have a variant of the Welfare Queen. In British Columbia, it’s the Asian Billionaire who’s collecting welfare; in France, the Imam with 18 wives (and welfare for each); Britain’s had Pakistani versions, the Germans have a Turkish version, etc, etc. It’s a really, really useful myth for the powerful…

    • 

      Do you remember when you had to make your own dirt by smashing rocks? Something to say in an old-codger voice–courtesy of the man I married.

  3. 

    I’m very very impressed by what you folks have put together so far at G&R. Your piece about commodification was especially clear and compelling. I can’t count how many texts I have read on that topic that were neither.

    You’re kicking a hornets’ nest, (probably more than one, come to think of it) but you know that already. You have quite an adventure ahead of you with this project.

  4. 

    Below is the current language from the draft statement regarding human population:

    “We must be clear about our agenda, which includes promoting sustainability, distributing resources in a more just and humane fashion, ensuring that our human populations are below the carrying capacity of our planet with voluntary approaches to birth control and equal access to education and work for women.”

    I think it actually does address your two concerns to some degree:

    (1) “… distributing resources in a more just and humane fashion” ~ a “counterbalancing statement regarding the distribution of resources favoring whites in the world”

    and

    (2) “… with voluntary approaches to birth control and equal access to education and work for women.” ~ “urging that women always have the first and only say in how many children they bear”

    We are currently discussing both the population issue and discussion of how capitalism is responsible for climate change. I encourage any and all to propose language to address these issues at ecopagan.com./

    (This is why we hoped you would stay involved in the group, Rhyd. 🙂 )

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