Fuck Partiarchy and the Prison Industrial Complex

A Feminist Account of the Events of November 30 in New Orleans

Handbill given out at the action about how the PIC hurts women and kids: Front | Back

On November 30, concerned residents of New Orleans took to Canal Street to demonstrate our ceaseless and vehement disappointment with the local police and judiciary. We took to the streets on this day to mark the 10th anniversary of the WTO Demonstrations in Seattle, celebrating our often suppressed History of Resistance and recognizing the long-term relationship that has blossomed between capitalists and prison industrialists. Additionally, as an act of solidarity, this demonstration decidedly took place just following the recent convictions of hometown artists, Lil Wayne and Lil Boosie, who are both facing years of jail time for reasonably minor infringements, exposing the inherent racism of law enforcement.

In New Orleans fashion, we drank and danced in the streets, accompanied by a mobile sound system (BIG UPS!), ‘fuck-tha-police’ confetti, streamers, balloons, and several banners. While we were setting up, two sickly-pale and bloated officers with shamefully tasteless haircuts stopped by to assess our soiree. They removed a streamer or two, and unsuccessfully attempted to ridicule us like a pair of insecure junior high bullies. As soon as they pulled away, we took our party off of the side walk and began transform the street into a revolutionary dance floor! Not long thereafter, a party-goer was hit by a motorist and taken across a 6-lane intersection on the hood of the car where they were met by an overzealous, and apparently confused, officer with gun drawn. Miraculously, no one was hurt, and we urged the crowd onward.

What a better place for a party than the French Quarter during a Saints game? 11-0, baby! To keep our dance floor uncluttered with cars and cops, we used whatever it was we found laying around to trail our path. To clue onlookers in on what was happening, we politely distributed flyers that detailed the link between capitalism, the penal system, racism, and how Lil Wayne and Lil Boosie fit in, and how women and children are affected as women and children by the abusive and callous prison industrial complex.

Supposedly some off-duty cops, who apparently have nothing better to do with their time, reported the spectacle. We proceeded through the Quarter before two wagons pulled up behind us, causing the party to end prematurely and the crowd to disperse. Unfortunately, six people were arrested. We are still awaiting the release of two of them.

Felicitously, we received a good amount of press. Disappointingly, although unsurprisingly, the party was invariably and explicitly gendered as male. Perhaps even more disappointing, our male allies, the first to respond to the media, found it unnecessary to take it upon themselves to correct this misconception, so allow me.

The party was well attended by several very active women, at least some of whom, view capitalism, police violence, and the PIC as not only issues of injustice and liberation, but also as issues that effect women as women in ways that are different and distinct from the ways that they might effect men. The invisibility of women’s participation reminds us of the multifarious struggles that women and all oppressed groups must fight. We take action against capitalism, but we also take action against patriarchy and sexism, whether it’s found within the dominant culture or our own radical community. Whatever the presiding topic at hand, every one of our actions is an attack on gender stereotypes as well.

No gods, no husbands, no masters.
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4 Comments

  1. G. Nightshade said,

    The action sounded nice and everything, and I enjoyed this article, but what I don’t understand is this:

    Fuck Lil Wayne. Not fuck him like “He deserves to go to the prison and the PIC isn’t an important thing to focus on” but like “Why glorify some fucking sexist queerbasher piece of shit who sings about ‘faggots getting aids in the ass’, has songs like ‘shut up bitch swallow’ and popularizes the phrase ‘no homo’ every chance that he fucking gets? ”

    Lil Wayne is a well known celebrity, he’s from New Orleans, and he’s going to prison for being a person of color. I get it, it’s fucked up and should not go overlooked. But why claim celebrities as heros when there are so many folx wrapped up in the PIC who go forgotten and uncared for? What makes him so popular among anarchists right now? Why do some insurrectionists defend him as someone who is targeted by the police for being a person of color yet condemn similar observations about non celebrities as “identity politics”?

    I consider myself to be an insurrectionist (whatever that means…) but feel disheartened when it seems like some of the insurrectionists are just a new milieu of ex lifestylists who think that they’re thug now cuz they listen to Lil Wayne and stopped going to meetings. Especially when they act like they’re down with Bash Back! but show little to no interest in actually giving a fuck about the shit that queer and trans people deal with day in and day out in this society.

    Why does this article critique the invisibility of women’s participation (which is some fucked up shit!) without critiquing that the anarchist movement is willing to look the other way when it comes to women’s, queer people’s and trans people’s liberation?

    I am not suggesting that people shouldn’t express their rage at the system for continuing to criminalize people of color because Lil Wayne is an asshole, but rather that the last thing that we need is to follow the trend of blindly idolizing someone who we should be in opposition with. Silence is complicity and it’s time that women, trannies and queers get some fucking respect.

  2. well said,

    Well, I think people were just using Lil Wayne as a symbol. If we said Free Renee (my neighbor in jail for writing bad checks), I don’t think people would hear it.

    People think of those in jail as faceless, nameless criminals. We were exploiting Lil Wayne’s celebrity to show that people who people don’t think of as “criminals” are going to prison, and that maybe everyone else in there is just like them, not some faceless “criminal” stereotype.

    Yes, lil wayne is totally fucked up. fuck him. everyone there knew that i think. if there was a well-known local celebrity who was an anarchist going to jail, it would be better to support them, and exploit their celebrity to talk about prisons. but their isn’t.

    we were trying to exploit the spectacle. lots of mainstream commenters have focused on how it is “stupid” to want to free lil wayne, and we agree. we want to free everyone. that was the point. and that point got heard in LA, new york, etc… because we exploited lil wayne by attaching his name to this. without his name on it, it wouldn’t have been noticed. i’m pretty sure the situationists have some word for this.

    do you only like the music of anarchist rappers? i listen to things with fucked up lyrics but i don’t agree with them, i just like the music.

    i think we both agree that there SHOULD be celebrity anarchist rappers who are really good to listen to, but there aren’t, and probably because the rich control the music industry…. so there probably never will be.

    so, yes, fuck lil wayne. we used him.
    smash prisons. liberation for all.

  3. G. Nightshade said,

    I understand what you’re saying about using him as a publicity move. I considered that point of view before I commented…

    “People think of those in jail as faceless, nameless criminals. We were exploiting Lil Wayne’s celebrity to show that people who people don’t think of as “criminals” are going to prison, and that maybe everyone else in there is just like them, not some faceless “criminal” stereotype.”

    I see the action as potentially having the opposite effect. Creating celebrities out of victims of oppression can backfire, suggesting that the oppression is an isolated incident or an exception (some queer and trans folx call this ‘The Brandon Teena Syndrome’) In my opinion, it seems like there might be a better chance of humanizing prisoners by portraying them as your neighbor Renee then as celebrities in the media spotlight.

    “do you only like the music of anarchist rappers? i listen to things with fucked up lyrics but i don’t agree with them, i just like the music.”

    No. I’m a huge Lil Kim fan. I even like some Mariah Carey and Britney Spears. Most of the music that I listen to is conscious, but not all of it. Although it has taken me awhile to get to this point, I think that there is a difference between ignoring something fucked up because you like the music and being aware that there are fucked up things about it and things that you like. There is complexity in life. I don’t deny that. But why praise these “guily pleasures” as anarchist heroes and try to make them something that they’re not, at the expense of sending the message that the anti PIC movement does not have queers backs, from LA to New York?

    Also, should we really be so explicit and entitled as to “use” someone the way that you are suggesting that LW is being “used” by us? For some reason that just sounds weird to me…

    It is not just this action that has bothered me but the seeming popularity of LW among @’s in general.

    In conclusion, I am not trying to shit on y’alls action or condemn it in it’s entirety. I am just sick of bearing the weight of those who are anti oppression when it is convenient for them, and hope to see us get serious about recognizing the entirety of the totality, and taking that shit fucking out, and from every angle.

  4. Fuck Queer Bashing Celebrities: Some thoughts on Lil Wayne, IA, and the Prison Industrial Complex « Bash Back! News said,

    […] This is a response to the article “Fuck Partiarchy and the Prison Industrial Complex A Feminist Account of the Events of November 30 in New Orleans” which can be viewed at: https://nolarts.wordpress.com/fuck-partiarchy-and-the-prison-industrial-complex/#comment-18. […]

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