On Not Throwing Anyone Away


This workshop took place on April 24, 2021, presented by Tina Minkowitz.

Description:

“This workshop brings together concerns and interests of mine in the areas of disability human rights (abolition of forced psychiatry, guardianship and institutionalization), restorative justice, and how lesbians and feminists create community.

“I am interested in our politics towards the world outside our lesbian communities – which impacts us and in which we also play active roles as leaders, activists, workers, etc. – and in our internal community practices and relationships.

“I am committed to feminism that is relevant to all women (female human beings) as liberation from male domination and all other forms of oppression. I am also committed to the abolition of forced psychiatry and similar practices, and have shaped international human rights law to uphold this position.

“I have more questions than answers, regarding some big and little issues where disability, restorative justice and feminism intersect. Two of these are the question of women’s relationship to the state, and whether calls for inclusion – ‘everybody in, nobody out’ – end up exploiting women, or if we can envision and create practices that make this work. (By inclusion, I am not referring to males in female-only spaces, but such things as the right of all adults and children to live in the community and not be institutionalized.)”

Recording can be accessed here: https://soundcloud.com/user-855766643/on-not-throwing-anyone-away-1

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On not throwing anyone away 

Tina Minkowitz 

What does it mean? 

Societyʼs garbage cans – prisons, psychiatric institutions, other institutions – what else? 

ʻThrow it (them?) away where? The world is roundʼ People arenʼt fungible – relationships not commodities 

Challenges 

Freedom to separate and set boundaries Freedom to refuse care and attention Kinship-based societies vs market-based 

State as both oppressor enforcing hierarchies/exploitative relations, and guarantor of safety and basic needs 

What has been your experience? 

Have you ever experienced one or more of societyʼs garbage cans? Been threatened with one? 

How does that affect your relationship with the world? 

Do you have good experiences with caring and attending in times of crisis? 

How do we deal with each otherʼs needs, flaws and limitations, without being overwhelmed or making outcast? 

Large-scale and small 

On small scale, we can all develop personal resilience and collective resilience – I mean that in the sense of, over time, learning enough from ups and downs to not be harmed by them 

Separation for a period of time or forever, is always possible – there are no guarantees 

We give each other slack as imperfect people relating to imperfect people – enter into honesty to create structures, values, practices that reflect who we are separately and together 

… and large scale? 

On large scale itʼs harder, isnʼt it? 

State and the big wide world that is defined by racial capitalist patriarchy, but in which we all move and act nevertheless – in resistance and in ordinary creativity and agency 

Defund the police/ decarceration/ transformative justice/ community safety – how do these relate to women? 

Do police and prisons stop rapists/rape? Do they stop/prevent femicides? (Is there anything that does?) 

Caring isnʼt actually optional 

Letʼs pick apart the patriarchal overlay
Mothers and infants canʼt separate from each other without harm 

We often have ongoing relationships that are not entirely our own choice – not because anyone is forcing us but because they involve complex obligations, interrelationships, needs – we canʼt make everything to our liking 

On the larger scale, we have duties to one another – we are all connected – women originally have public role but how do we claim it now? 

Matriarchies, gift economy, the earth 

Do matriarchies allow for societal garbage cans? 

Can we guarantee universal caring/attending without corresponding control? 

Speech and gift – ʻhearing into speechʼ, incipient speech/communication, can everyone be ʻheardʼ? 

ʻSitting with discomfortʼ – prescription or description – (why/when) is it worth it to listen? 

ʻFractal binary of the giftʼ – circles connecting with circles 

Law, politics 

Dismantling the features of law that maintain hierarchy and oppression 

(including targeted paternalistic control such as guardianship, psychiatric commitment, juvenile PINS, economic policies that result in disability-related institutionalization) 

State as organizer of resources? 

Does community safety/ transformative justice work stop rape and femicide? Can it? What would it take for that work to deeply be accountable to women as women, along with all the other dimensions it needs to be accountable to (race, class, disability)? 

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