This groundbreaking collection interrogates protest camps as sites of gendered politics and feminist activism.
Drawing on case studies that range from Cold War women-only peace camps to more recent mixed-gender examples from around the world, diverse contributors reflect on the recurrence of gendered, racialised and heteronormative structures in protest camps, and their potency and politics as feminist spaces.
While developing an intersectional analysis of the possibilities and limitations of protest camps, this book also tells new and inspiring stories of feminist organising and agency. It will appeal to feminist theorists and activists, as well as to social movement scholars.
In 2018, Cornish feminist production hub Scary Little Girls, in partnership with online women’s history publication, The Heroine Collective, launched an ambitious project to record testimonies of women who formed the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp between 1981 and 2000. The aim was to retrieve a history of radical feminist peace activism in danger of being lost from public memory and from British protest culture, and to bring this heritage to new audiences. The work thus involved not only recording interview testimonies, but also creative outreach – an online archive, maintained by a non-profit organisation; theatrical events and concerts; a multimedia exhibition and interactive virtual reality website; and a book. This chapter takes the form of a conversation between Rebecca Mordan from Scary Little Girls, Kate Kerrow from The Heroine Collective, Vanessa Pini from Greenham Women Everywhere, and Greenham woman Jill (Ray) Raymond, facilitated by Alison Bartlett and Catherine Eschle. The conversation explores the processes and ethics of interviewing and digs into the multimedia and collaging techniques through which the lived experiences of campers were recreated years after the event. Finally, we discuss the politics of forgetting and remembering Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, and its legacies.
This Introduction establishes the empirical and theoretical context of our collective project on feminism and protest camps. We begin by exploring the recent history of protest camps and explaining why a feminist revisiting is necessary. We then establish the shared parameters of the feminist approach adopted by contributors, before explaining the organising themes of the book and highlighting some of the empirical and conceptual contributions of the chapters.
Drawing on empirical research on the movements of the squares, including Occupy and Nuit Debout, this chapter outlines the insights offered by feminist thought into the democratic practices of protest camps. The squares movements practised a kind of ‘project democracy’ by building an inclusive system of decision-making that facilitated the undertaking of projects. The chapter shows that, first, the squares movements operated with an expanded notion of civic duty that also included the reproduction of the civic body through activities of caring. Second, it demonstrates how care ethics, with their emphasis on dependence and vulnerability, informed the democratic practices of the movements of the squares. Third, it highlights how these movements challenged the connection between private property and democracy by operating with the logic of the commons, a framework of relationships based on the communal sharing of resources that places care and interdependence at the centre of democratic politics.
This chapter brings feminist literatures on domestic space and the gendered division of labour into dialogue with research into protest camps. It responds to a groundbreaking account of protest camps by Anna Feigenbaum and colleagues (2013), which argues that social reproduction is integral to the political effect of camps. Yet this point remains insufficiently interrogated in their framework; as a result, gendered and racialised inequalities and insecurities in protest camps are not fully explained, and continuities with the wider neoliberal capitalist context are downplayed. In this chapter, I draw on Marxist and Black/anti-racist feminist research to examine the ways in and extent to which social reproduction was reconstructed in two protest camps in my locality, Occupy Glasgow and Faslane Peace Camp. This allows for some wider lessons to be drawn about the structural limitations of protest camps as sites of resistance to neoliberal capitalism and austerity politics.
On 12 July 2019, Kanaka Maoli collectively birthed Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu on Mauna Kea, a refuge raised to provide shelter for Hawaiians as we defended the mountain from the Thirty Meter Telescope project. While Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu was a site for Hawaiian self-determination in the face of US settler colonial violence, a direct-action analysis by activists from the sanctuary has yet to be offered regarding issues of gendered and sexual harm experienced in camp. In this chapter, we tell our stories as Indigenous, feminist, abolitionist organisers from the Hale Mauna Wahine, the Hale Mauna Māhū, and the ʻAha Kiaʻi Aloha who struggled against cisheteropatriarchy at Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu. Refusing colonial cultures of silence that pressure survivors into conformity, we argue that honest confrontations with gendered and sexual violence in our movements is vital to cultivating trauma-informed cultures of care that can prefigure our collective healing and liberation.
This chapter asks (how) are feminist peace camps remembered? In a book premised on a lack of attention to feminist peace camps, this chapter explores why and how feminist peace camps enter, or fail to enter, feminist cultural memory. It treats ‘feminist amnesia’, the forgetting of certain moments and movements of feminism, as a social and political process, sometimes an intentional process, with profound consequences for feminism, and the world we inhabit. It takes an ecofeminist peace camp in Clayoquot Sound in the early 1990s as a site through which to intervene in mainstream narratives of feminism. The chapter recounts research in the mid-1990s, the publication of a book on the camp in the mid-2010s, and the subsequent creation of a digital archive of oral histories of activists in late 2010s. The chapter diffracts these moments through accounts of mainstream feminism and its forgetting and disavowal of eco/feminist peace camps, despite their critical importance as sites of a feminist prefigurative politics. Ultimately the chapter asks what contemporary feminism would look like if it was recast through a history of feminist peace camps.
Despite its unifying cry ‘We are the 99%’, the struggle for solidarity and inclusion in the US Occupy movement faced many obstacles, including allegations of sexual violence and harassment in the encampments. Internally groups grappled with how to respond to the allegations of gendered violence. While some participants dismissed or questioned the legitimacy of the claims, feminists organised to demand better. The approaches they took, however, varied within and across camps, with some taking a more intersectional approach than others. This chapter examines the various tactics deployed by feminists to address the violence occurring in protest camps, as well as the challenges they encountered both internally and externally. It concludes that failures to adequately address sexual violence and harassment threaten movement solidarity and success; however, efforts that ignore or even replicate intersecting forms of oppression can do the same.
US women and feminists’ contributions to the Occupy Movement protest camps in New York and San Francisco that began in 2011 were both significant and marginalised. To reveal the feminist tensions within the protest camps, an interdisciplinary and intergenerational team used feminist archiving methods to create the digital Occupy Archive, a repository of more than 400 items that circulated within and beyond Occupy encampments. As a community-based archive, the Occupy Archive became a space to recognise the complexities of contemporary feminism for a broad audience of scholars, students, activists and the general public. The digital Occupy Archive extends feminist archiving by prioritising reuse potential and open access. It also reveals minimal feminist discourse as well as substantial feminist critiques of the Occupy movement, mirroring the experiences of women and feminist activists in Occupy protest camps.
This chapter reflects on the key role played in the HoriZone Ecovillage – a protest camp set up during the July 2005 G8 meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland – by the well-known ecofeminist, Starhawk. I discuss the interweaving of my own path with Starhawk’s, and how my interest in her activism is rooted in my reading of her fiction. I explore the emergence of the Green Bloc from Starhawk’s Earth Activist Training course before focusing on how their vision was implemented in the Ecovillage camp. Finally, I situate Starhawk’s writing and permaculture practices in broader ecofeminist trans-spatial and trans-temporal movement lineages. In so doing, I provide an account of her distinctive contribution to movement capacity-building and to prefiguring alternative ways of living, and in particular to understanding the ways that compost toilets are ‘the political aspects of this’.