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Reject trusteeship, forget about “normal politics”

The basic cry of the [ANC Youth League] did not differ from the ANC’s first constitution in 1912. But we were reaffirming and underscoring those original concerns, many of which had gone by the wayside. African nationalism was our battle cry, and our creed was the creation of one nation out of many tribes, the overthrow of white supremacy, and the establishment of truly democratic form of government. Our manifesto stated: “We believe that the national liberation of Africans will be achieved by Africans themselves.

The manifesto utterly rejected trusteeship, the idea that the white government somehow had African interests at heart.

Nelson Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom, p.99.

Reject trusteeship. This is the smartest phrase I have read in a long time when it comes to a fight to ending supremacy of a minority that works against the interests of a majority. Although Nelson Mandela was writing about the liberation struggle he and his compatriots waged against white supremacy in South Africa, the idea of rejecting trusteeship is going to be critical in the long walk to full autonomy for women (and anybody who is not a straight male) in our country.

Women need to appreciate that their liberation will be achieved by women themselves.

Consider each of three great emancipation/liberation struggles of the twentieth century: the fight for civil rights for blacks in the United States; the effort to end colonial rule and caste-oppression in India; and, most significantly for the post, the fight to bring democracy to South Africa. In every case there came a turning point, when the leaders of these struggles realized that they could no longer operate within a  paradigm of “normal politics”. That is they realized that that for true social transformation to occur the emphasis had to be on transcendent politics, a willingness to fight from the outside, not from within.

None of these fights I just mentioned were fights directed toward ending misogyny or sexism ; women participated, but the struggles were not aimed at ending male supremacy; they were directed against other social ills and  led by men with some rather illiberal attitudes toward women. I’m not prepared to condemn these men – e.g. Martin Luther King, Jr., M.K. Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela – for their attitudes toward women. I prefer to learn from their experiences in bringing about major social change.

Mandela in particular is a source of knowledge and inspiration for anybody determined to see a vast social transformation, one in which an oppressed majority comes to the fore. Mandela’s own development as a social and political thinker is a lesson in coming to understand true politics. I intend to continue to share his insights as guideposts for those of us who have found 2008-09 a time in which we realize that we cannot entrust the interests of women to preexisting institutions. We are starting almost from scratch.

I cannot pinpoint a moment when I became politicized, when I knew I would spend my life in the liberation struggle. …

I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities, a thousand unremembered momements, produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned our people. There was no particular day on which I said, From henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead I found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.

Long Walk To Freedom, p. 95.

Do these words resonate with you? If so you are getting ready to move beyond normal politics – for Mandela’s “politicization” was in fact a rejection of the politics as usual of his time and place; he rejected tribalism in favor of African unification, he rejected incrementalism in favor of sweeping social reform; he demanded that the people whose oppression he sought to end become empowered as both a means and end of that goal.

Let us demand the same for women. We do not need breadcrumbs from either political party – we need not beg them to protect the already withered and watered down rights to reproductive freedom that are essential to women’s autonomy; we have seen the futility of supporting their favored sons in the vain hope that they will avoid employing and highlighting those who degrade and belittle women; we have seen that they will tolerate anything from a straight male regardless of the insult bestowed on women or gay men.

To be continued…

cross-posted at Heidi Li’s Potpourri and at Founder’s Blog, 51 Percent

120 Responses

  1. Amen sister.

  2. Heidi Li, this is one of the most important posts I have ever read. I am so inspired by these words:

    “…the idea of rejecting trusteeship is going to be critical in the long walk to full autonomy for women (and anybody who is not a straight male) in our country.

    Women need to appreciate that their liberation will be achieved by women themselves.”

    Truer words were never spoken. We do need to accept that only we can have our own best interests at heart. And our gay sisters and brothers are right there with us.

    Thank you for adding sanity, class and thoughtfulness to a most horrific day.

    {{{Heidi Li}}}

  3. Awesome post Heidi

  4. Women need to appreciate that their liberation will be achieved by women themselves

    We must repeat this mantra over and over and over.

  5. I agree, SOD.

    Would men accept being “granted” small scraps of autonomy by women?

    I think not.

  6. hey, madamab, when are you guys doing the next show?

  7. January 14th @ 9:30 EST!!

    Did anyone here me tonight on Sherri’s show? How’d I do? (I got a heap o’vanity, ya know).

  8. You were da’bomb of course angie!

  9. SOD — thanks! Sherri specifically called me out & asked me to call in — but I felt nervous because I wasn’t “prepared” like you make me be! LOL

  10. OH! Angie, I’m so excited! Is that going to be the show where madamamb and SOD and everyone is going to be on and talk about historical women? (btw, did not listen to tonights show, what was it about again?)

  11. littleisis — can you email me.

  12. oh, Angie, I will have to follow the link in the previous thread to hear your sexy southern voice again. It will make my evening, m’dear.
    *dreams naughty dreams of Angie*

  13. sure SOD. Anything.

  14. LI – yes – it will be on next Wednesday night at 9:30! Cannot wait…

    Sorry I couldn’t listen to the show…was hanging with hubby! I’m sure you were fab, Angie, as well as Sheri!

  15. Heidi Li,

    Nelson Mandela’s words, and your words, resonate with me. Thank you for a wonderful post.

  16. boomer — you’ve got mail!

  17. Angie was great, and she does have a wonderful voice. It’s the kind of voice that makes you feel welcome and comfortable.

  18. Time to go – see you all tomorrow. Pleasant dreams to you all, with no Wonktardian invasions!

  19. ahkay, SOD, I just emailed you! 🙂

  20. be good little isis!! LOL

  21. bb– thank you!

    It was great to talk to you tonight!

  22. night madamab!

  23. When I read about Mandela’s life work, I realize that we are indeed going to each suffer at least a thousand indignities in our walk to freedom. Some of them are particularly insulting and sting in the moment. We have to take each of those indignities and slurs, whether directed against oneself or against one of “ours” and using them to spur us toward action – speaking up, acting out, boycotting products that use misogyny to sell, writing about what matters to us.

  24. You too, Angie. I’m glad I called in.

  25. lol… wonktards… I wasn’t around for the Wonkette drama and have just caught up on all the action.
    Night Madamab! I am so excited about the show. I love listening to you gals!

  26. angie — you do fine!

  27. night MB!

  28. You are too, SOD.

  29. Boomer — someone once said angie’s voice is like warm grits on a cold winter morn…oh yeah! that was angie! 😉

    It’s true though

  30. Angie, I cannot be good! I am too naughty!
    SOD is right, you are a natural star. And you’re really pretty too!

  31. Hang in there, all. Angie – sounds like you are radio star among radio stars!

  32. Heidi, that was truly inspiring. I am reaching the Mandela point. Pretty soon I will be on a full rolling boil.

  33. Heidi — Add me to the chorus: wonderful, profound post.

  34. Thanks Heidi. Stellar as always.

    Angie, caught most of the show. Grrrreat!

  35. SOD-
    that is a perfect description of Angie’s voice

  36. Thank you GAgirl!

  37. riverdaughter, on January 7th, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    See you in jail, sister!

  38. Heidi — LOL! thanks!

  39. Angie:
    Have you been getting into wonktard spats? Going through previous threads… it looks like you have!

  40. Angie is my lady, she always comes out on top! 😀

  41. isis — I still haven’t received your email…hmmm.

  42. LittleIsis — I haven’t been getting into any “spats” — the wonktards & Ms. Prolly on RR seem to be obsessed with me — I chalk it up to “lust” (without hope) & “jealousy”

  43. Little Isis!! You are bad! 🙂

  44. SOD…
    kay. I will send again.

    They have lust for you dear. Who can blame them? They only wish they were as sexy and succesful and brilliant as you. They only wish they were models of intellect and behavior to young women (me)!
    So yes, it is also jealousy.

  45. heidili, on January 7th, 2009 at 10:11 pm Said:

    riverdaughter, on January 7th, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    See you in jail, sister!

    I’ve said since the day Obama “won” — there are only two possible outcomes — everyone will wake up & see that we have been right about him OR I’m going to gitmo. LOL!

  46. little isis — Hi!!

  47. I think the problem is women are so conditioned to put everyone else first to our own detriment and it”s considered seflish when we stand up for ourselves. We need to accept that if we wait for support or permission, we’ll be waiting forever. We can support these liberal men and work for their causes unil doomesday and it’s never ever going to be payback time.

  48. Yeppers~

  49. yep…isis — that’s it.

  50. BTW, Damages starts now. And it’s all about the politics but it’s Repubs this time. Oh and revenge and money. Glenn Close owns my life.

    This was a great post. And I agree with it. It will have to be women and LGBT who lift ourselves. Looking to others with their own agendas will never succeed. Not today, not like it did in the past.

  51. isis — got it!

    Boomer — you’ve got mail

  52. kay, I sent another email SOD. And yes, we are right. It drives them silly with rage. You know Angry/hopeful/happy black guy?
    Well, I was sick of his comments, and I was in a bad mood, so i left him a scathing comment in at TGW.
    Wonder if he replies?

  53. SOD — always seeing the bright side! LOL

    but at Gitmo at least you’ll have fully paid healthcare! Unlike anyone in Obamanation

  54. angry/hopeful/happy black guy is not worth your time little isis — consider the source!! If a moron “insults” you, why be insulted?

  55. I wonder if taggles is around. I’ve got a small beef with the new BTR format. I usually click on the ‘default to another window’ mode so I can listen and surf, but this time it went into a major sloooow download and I missed 10 minutes of the show and finally had to go back just to listen. Maybe she can let BTR know or someone can help me next time. I don’t have all the latest toys and prefer to use my older laptop so I can be mobile and still listen. (which mostly means go outside to smoke) I’ve never had a problem with it before.

    And if you’re around taggles, great show!

  56. GAgal — I agree about the beef with BTR’s new format but I don’t think there is much Sheri can do about it.

  57. isis — you’ve got mail.

  58. NOT dakinikat @ 10:24.

  59. Heidi — you’ve got mail!

  60. Regency:
    I have always loved Glenn Close. Specially when she was Cruella Devil!

    SOD. Good! Got my email, chikadeeta!

    oh, btw, yes Heidi, this was a great post. I think that was something I realized this year, among other things. We as women and LGBTs are selling ourselves short because the government does not represent us. If women were truly represented, than we would constitute fifty one percent of congress.
    And I don’t really consider Obama to be African American. Even though I think he has serious race issues. He is half black- I don’t know why people tend to ignore that fact, and I don’t think he has a firm understanding of the black experience in America. he was raised in suburbia, he went to a posh private school , and his Kenyan father was never around. His mother was white, but sometimes I think he feels resentment towards her because she was white.
    If African Americans were truly represented in this country, they would make up at least thirty percent of our government.

  61. You are right Angie. I just had to put my two cents in with the guy, because I usually ignored him but he stalks like you wouldn’t believe. I had to address him at least once.

  62. clean up — not me @ 10:29 or at 10:31 — I would never post without my avatar — and if those losers looked like me, neither would they.

    Oh, and fake mes: as per usual: GO FUCK YOURSELVES.

  63. angie, yeah you’re probably right. I just thought Sheri might let BTR know listeners are having problems.

  64. Clean up 10:36 — poor losers want me so bad they can’t help themselves.

  65. They best thing about these sick little fucks is they don’t even know what people who practice beastility use the peanut butter for!

    Clean up 10:37

  66. Evening

  67. Hi Afrocity

  68. SOD, just replied to your email!

  69. Too bad we can’t change the avatars of these imposters to what they really look like. That would be fun.

  70. Clean up fake me @ 10:37 & fake dakinikat @ 10:40

    These sociopaths think they can intimidate and/or offend me, but I got news for them: they can’t.

  71. Hi afrocity!!
    Secret Santa yet?

  72. If African Americans were truly represented in this country, they would make up at least thirty percent of our government.
    African Americans are ~ 13% of the US population. In several polls, however, when people were asked the % of AA in US, the answers were most common in the 25% range. I thought that was interesting.

  73. GAgal — that would be fun, but I have a strong feeling those little monster thingies are a lot better looking then the real things.

  74. Angie — they hate us.

  75. CAgal @10:44 — you are trying to be GAgal — don’t they teach geography any more?

  76. I see SOD. Someone should alert Kool Aid Mountain, Obama indoctrination starts in 15 minutes.

  77. sod — exactly — they are vampires & we are the sun.

  78. Angie,

    Santa came and guess what?

    We practically got each other the same gifts.

  79. I know it isn’t you Angie. OMG, these people are sick. What a bunch of losers. How much time do they have on their hands anyway?
    They are literally stalking you and harrassing you. They’re probably pedophiles and/or sex offenders.

  80. Evening Afrocity!

  81. no way!! Heidi did a good job pairing us up!! Did you like the little bonus present? (lipstick)?

  82. Angie, SOD= should we have a conference call soon about our radio show on the 14th???

  83. clean up fake SOD @ 10:48 — keep trying you sick little fucks.

    Oh, and in the meantime, as usual: GO FUCK YOURSELF

  84. littleisis, on January 7th, 2009 at 10:47 pm Said:

    They are literally stalking you and harrassing you.
    Angie has lulu, she will be OK.

  85. My Washington, DC interview is tomorrow by the way.

    (butterflies in stomach)

  86. Afrocity — check your mail!!

  87. Actually I’m laughing my a$$ off at these juvenile delinquents!! Wash my ass with a rag on a stick? What does that even mean? Seriously. Rag on a stick…hmmm. Okay, whatever.

  88. Hello littleisis!

  89. Little Isis — don’t worry — they can’t intimidate me, and I trust that all of you around here can see the impostors.

  90. angienc2, on January 7th, 2009 at 10:45 pm Said:

    CAgal @10:44 — you are trying to be GAgal — don’t they teach geography any more?

    I lol’d at that one.
    oh, look. Someone is trying to be SOD. It amuses me so.

  91. GAgal — it is quite humorous. I’m chuckling myself too.

  92. GAgal — I know! It is an insult to morons to call them morons. LOL!!

  93. good luck with the interview, afro.

  94. {{{{{ fingers crossed for afrocity }}}}}!!

  95. Heidi,

    Magnificent analogy. Yes, the struggle will be that long and that hard.

    Thank you for your always clear and elegant writing.

  96. sod — really, we shouldn’t even delete them — let them show their asses — it is all they are good at anywhere.

    No wonder we don’t hang out at cesspools like wankers & RR.

  97. oh, look. Someone is trying to be SOD. It amuses me so

    Ahhh…so many have tried….even more have failed. 🙂

  98. sod — thanks for reminding me! afrocity — I’m sending a prayer your way!

  99. Good luck, Afrocity!

  100. Ugsome I thought you got rid of that avatar?

  101. real SOD @ 10:54 — LOL!!

  102. look Angie: someone is trying to be myiq. Actually, this is really making me laugh. I know you aren’t offended. I’m not, You’d think they could at least come up with better insults.

  103. They should sue their brains for nonsupport.

  104. afrocity — wordpress is going crazy with the avatar things — that is why I changed my screen name to create an account with just one picture uploaded so it couldn’t do it to me.

  105. New post up above!

  106. LittleIsis — LOL! If they were smart enough to come up with better insults they would have been smart enough to see Obama for what he is.

    afrocity — LMAO!!

  107. hi ya’ll!

    are all these imposters the same person? I’m thinking threy’re all the same green avatar with an orange hat

  108. …is ugsome still ugsome? Because that is the avatar I see, looks like a garbage pail kid.

    Angie did you see my comment about your gift?

  109. Geez. These jokes sure have an obsession with penis’s. And they say PUMAs are the ones with Penis Envy. Tee hee!

  110. Kiki only the moderator could tell us that.

  111. Kiki – the imposters are all the same person. I’m cleaning up as fast as I can.

    Angienc2: I am so sorry this cyberstalker is targeting you. I know s/he has taken shots at myiq and GaGal too.

    This is reprehensible, unacceptable conduct.

  112. they’re definitely all the same avatar

  113. Heidi — don’t sweat it — I once represented a guy on death row (pro bono) & had to consult with him in Angola prison — little ole me, going to Angola to talk to my client — nothing these morons can say can offend/shock/intimidate me.

  114. angienc2, on January 7th, 2009 at 10:57 pm Said:

    LittleIsis — LOL! If they were smart enough to come up with better insults they would have been smart enough to see Obama for what he is.

    afrocity — LMAO!!

    LMAO! I find it amusing. The most action they ever get is probably jacking off their three inch d*ck’s in their mothers basements. Methinks someone has an edipus complex. They merely wish any female would come within ten feet of their fat, nasty, greasy $sses…

  115. Heidi, you’re doing fine. I don’t think anyone is being fooled, so you can relax.

  116. ooh ooh.. I finally got the rag on a stick joke. It takes awhile for those of us whose minds aren’t full of nasty gutter humor.

  117. afrocity — yes, I saw your comment! we are twins — Heidi did a good job pairing us up! LOL Did you like your little bonus gift (the lipstick). I love that stuff myself & you can wear that basic palette with almost anything.

  118. Heidi, no apologies necessary. We’re getting great laughs from these idiots.

  119. I intend to continue to share his insights as guideposts for those of us who have found 2008-09 a time in which we realize that we cannot entrust the interests of women to preexisting institutions. We are starting almost from scratch.

    Sad, but true.

  120. Heidi,

    This is your most powerful post yet! And may I say, your words are every bit as inspiring and full of truth as Mandela’s.

    Now all we need is a plan!

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