lunes, 22 de febrero de 2010
Presentacion Postuma de Proyectil Fetal en Leeds
Articulo postumo en ingles para congreso de Sexualidades y Anarquismo en Leeds-
PF is dead long live King Ludd
correcciones: Helena Torres & Dariush Sakolov
Para mis versos escritos tan temprano,
Que ni yo sabía que era poeta,
Brotados como gotas de la fuente,
Como chispas de cohetes
Como pequeños diablos irrumpiendo
En el templo, donde rige el sueño y el incienso;
Para mis versos sobre la juventud y la muerte,
Para mis no leídos versos
Dispersos, llenos de polvo, en librerías
Donde nadie los compra, ni los compraba…
Para mis versos, como para nobles vinos,
Su turno llegará
Estimo a aquel que aprueba la conjuración y no conjura; pero no siento nada más que desprecio por esos que no sólo no quieren hacer nada sino que se complacen en criticar y maldecir a aquellos que hacen.
El amor, el amor libre, exige aquello que otras formas de amor no pueden comprender. Y nosotros dos, rebeldes divinos (jamás nadie podrá llegar a nuestras cumbres), tenemos derecho a desagotar el pantano de la moral corriente y cultivar allí el inmenso jardín donde mariposas y abejas puedan satisfacer su sed de placer, de trabajo y de amor.
Severino Di Giovanni
Los hombres de mi vida han tenido tres características:
fueron inteligentes, anarquistas y muy guapos
Argentina, 1931: the last of the Argentinian anarchists of action died with Severino Di Giovanni and his affinity group. His partner, América Scarfó, was not allowed to witness the execution of her lover and her brother by the Police Force of the Uriburu Goverment.
Three years before that tragic event, she herself defended the cause of Free Love and Amatory Comradeship in a letter to the French individualist anarchist E. Armand. Young but mature, America was sickened by the gossiping and accusations leveled against her lover, Di Giovannni, who was 10 years older than her and married to another woman. This harsh criticism was mainly carried out by anarchists who were opposed to the tactics of direct action and expropriation. Once again, as in the Berkman/Most/Goldman affair, a woman’s sexuality was used to make an ideological criticism.
However, and despite America’s own ideas, and her development in her own right, and amidst incessant work on Women’s History within anarchism -- is America Scarfo now being read as an activist? What is being reproduced when the agency of a (female) individual is still read either as in terms of a victim or a girlfriend? America’s categorisation is simple: abused by, or dating with ...
In this brief intervention we aim to track back the Scarfó/Di Giovanni love story in order to vindicate the ideas of an activist hidden to the official records of feminism and anarchism. Furthermore, we would like to make a point about the sexual autonomy of the subject and the heteronormative intelligibility matrix. If we analyze unbridled sexualities as breaking points that can result in a revolutionary praxis, we are able to read the individual sexual agency of a particular woman outside the limits set by the State (age, and the free use of the body).
We aim to create a brief anarchist intervention in order to re-appropriate América Scarfó as an autonomous figure within the anarchism of Buenos Aires, and to analyze the connection between sexuality and gender. This is a necessary gesture since until now she has been posed as “a helpless girl, an abused victim” by the slanders directed against Severino. For instance, the Argentine-Spanish writer Álvaro Abós condemned Di Giovanni because he “left” his “wife and three children” and started a relationship with Scarfó . He described the relationship as a “narcissist fixation typical of an immature personality”, despite the fact that the relationship with his wife, Teresina, ended in good terms, and his relationship with América took off three years after meeting her. Even today, every time Severino is mentioned, someone is ready to make a point about pedophilia or some other moral accusation based on the social imaginary. And America? Abused by, or dating with ...
“I’m not asking for anything, I’m going to get back something that’s mine”, these were the words Josefa América Scarfó at 86 aimed at the Argentinian Current Affair Minister Carlos Corach when she got back her love letters, 60 years after they were written to her by Severino Di Giovanni. These letters, kept by the police force as evidence, give an account of their relationship based on affinity, anarchist comradeship and sex.
Already chased by the Police, Di Giovanni agreed to rent a room at Scarfo’s family house. Severino arrived there with his wife, Teresa Mascullo, and their children. He was 24 when he met and fell in love with America, the youngest sister of 15, who was already an anarchist herself under the influence of her Brothers. America and Severino’s relationship was affected by the times the anarchists had to undergo: hard repression that usually ended in executions. However, at the same time, hard criticism was aimed at them by supposed comrades, especially by the newspaper La Protesta.
In this unfriendly context, América sent a letter to Emile Armand, famous for his theories on free love and anarchist amatory comradeship. The letter, dated December 3rd 1928, is in itself a reply to all the accusations and an elegant, solid rant against the invisibilization of her capacity to discern for herself -- an argument in favor of her sexual-affective maturity. She expresses herself in this way :
"We have to act, in all moments of our lives, in accord with our own manner of seeing and thinking, in such a way that the reproaches and criticisms of other people find our individuality protected by the healthiest concepts of responsibility and liberty, which form a solid wall weakening their attacks. For this reason we should act consistently with our ideas ... I am a young student who believes in the new life. I believe that, thanks to our free actions, individual or collective, we can arrive at a future of love, fraternity and equality. I desire for all just what I desire for myself: the freedom to act, to love, to think. That is, I desire anarchy for all humanity. I believe that in order to achieve this we should make a social revolution. But I am also of the opinion that in order to arrive at this revolution it is necessary to free ourselves from all kinds of prejudices, conventionalisms, false moralities and absurd codes. And, while we wait for this great revolution to break out, we have to carry out this work in all the actions of our existence. And indeed in order to make this revolution come about, we can't just content ourselves with waiting but need to take action in our daily lives. Wherever possible, we should act from the point of view of an anarchist, that is, of a human being. In love, for example, we will not wait for the revolution, we will unite ourselves freely ... I have come to know a man, a comrade of ideas. According to the laws of the bourgeoisie he is married. He united himself with a woman as a consequence of a childish circumstance, without love. At that time he didn't know our ideas. However, he lived with this woman for a number of years, and they had children. He didn't experience the satisfaction that he should have felt with a loved one. Life became tedious, the only thing that united these two beings were the children. Still an adolescent, this man came to know our ideas, and a new consciousness was born in him. He turned into a brave militant ... It happened that circumstances brought us together, at first as companions of ideas. We talked, we sympathised with each other, and we learned to know each other. Thus our love was born. ... His wife also -- despite her relative knowledge -- sympathises with our ideas. When it came to it she gave proofs of her contempt for the hired killers of the bourgeois order as the police began to pursue my friend. That was how the wife of my comrade and I have become friends. She is fully aware of what the man who lived at her side represents to me. The feeling of fraternal affection that existed between them permitted him to confide in her. And he gave her freedom to act as she desired ... Some people here have turned into judges. And these are not to be found so much amongst common people but in fact amongst comrades of ideas who see themselves as free of prejudices but who, at bottom, are intolerant. One of these says that our love is a madness; another indicates that the wife of my friend is playing the role of "martyr", despite the fact that she is aware of everything that concerns us, is the ruler of her own person, and enjoys her freedom. A third raises the ridiculous economic obstacle. I am independent, just as is my friend ... Here, in Buenos Aires, certain comrades have a truly meager idea of free love. They imagine that it consists only in cohabiting without being legally married and, meanwhile, in their own homes they carry on practicing all the stupidities and prejudices of ignorant people. This type of union that ignores the civil registrar and the priest also exists in bourgeois society. Is that free love? Finally, they criticise our difference in age. Just because I am 16 and my friend is 26. Some accuse me of running a commercial operation; others qualify me as unwitting. Ah these pontiffs of anarchism! Making the question of age interfere with love! As if it the fact a brain reasons is not enough for a person to be responsible for their actions! On the other hand, it is my own problem, and if the difference in age means nothing to me, why should it matter to anyone else? That which I cherish and love is youth of the spirit, which is eternal. There are also those who treat us as degenerates or sick people and other labels of this kind. To all these I say: why? Because we live life in its true sense, because we recognise a free cult of love? Because, just like the birds that bring joy to walkways and gardens, we love without paying any attention to codes or false morals? Because we are faithful to our ideas? ... I know very well what I am doing and I don't need to be approved or applauded. ..."
Historically, one of the fundamental topics of reflection for anarchism has been sexuality and free love. For example, Emma Goldman published in 1917 : “Free love? As if love is anything but free! …Yes, love is free; it can dwell in no other atmosphere. In freedom it gives itself unreservedly, abundantly, completely… Love needs no protection; it is its own protection.” Of course Goldman was referring only to heterosexual bonding in a time where it was almost impossible that a woman or even a man avoid marriage.
Bonds of amatory comradeship as thought by Goldman were opposed to the system of capitalist production and reproduction and, of course, to monogamy, a contingent institution so dear to capitalism. Following this line, Armand stated that loving might mean loving, above all, the happiness of the person you love, which was the solution to jealousy, a productive counter-concept to set aside sad passions. With his idea of abundance as solution he considered, together with other anarchists, monogamy, the couple and the family as antithetical to developing an anarchist way of living. All these anarchists approaches were an attempt to break the ideological linkage of reproduction and sexuality. For instance, Giovanni Rossi, an anarchist journalist for La Comuna Socialista at the end of the nineteenth century, and founder of the free love community Colonia Cecilia in Brazil, expressed himself like this: “We can change the rites, the names all we want… as long as we have a man, a woman, some children, a house, we will have a family, that is an authoritarian society, jealous of its prerogatives”.
In this environment, with Emile Armand as a support of her undeniable sexual desire, how can América Scarfó still be seen as non- autonomous, dependant sexually abused girl? She was certainly not a victim abused by an evil insurrectionalist taking advantage of her immaturity. On the contrary, we believe she was a committed anarchist who was making her own decisions on sexuality and affinity, and trying to sort out the contradictions of family bonds.
Law, Order and Progress
“Pedophilia” comes from the Greek παiς, παιδóς, child, and the verb fileo, to love. It is usually defined as the sexual attraction of an adult to children and is usually described as a sexual perversion by traditional psychological currents.
The Argentine Penal code states in its article number 120 the crime mentioned above. According to our Law, it implies certain sexual behavior usually comprehended as sexual abuse of a minor (16 or less), taking advantage of “their sexual immaturity”.
Until 1999 sexual crimes were part of the Penal Code listed as “crimes against modesty”. Modesty was defined as good manners within sexual relationships. In that year, Law 25087/99 replaced this name with “Crimes against sexual integrity”. By doing so the law tries to sort out gender prejudice and moral values underlying the notion of “modesty” which 1) condemn any sexual exercise different from the norm and 2) criminalize the victims.
However, assessing when this integrity is damaged is blurry in the text of the law. To make matters worse, while the notion of modesty is no longer legally used, it still works within the social imaginary that determines emotions, practices, and ways of thinking. Thus it’s not surprising that in this case we are working on, a lot of individuals, mainly among the local anarcha-feminists, dconsider that Scarfó’s modesty was at stake and that Severino abused her.
Intervening in the name of change means precisely to burst into fixed knowledge and reality. As seems to be the case with América Scarfó, if we are not perceived in our achievements, our elections, and our desires, then it’s impossible to keep on being: we become impossible beings, excluded from existence, worse than oppressed beings since to be oppressed we must, in a way, exist.
It’s necessary to struggle against norms within which bodies are experienced (and their sexual imperative – in this case, the cliche of being a helpless victim of an older man) in order to undo the gender policy of well-intentioned feminism and in order to respond to the impositions of the intelligibility norms which determine what is human and what can be acknowledged.
On the other hand, as Katherine Frankle points out, reducing sexism to something men do to women means missing the system that produces sexism, where the subordination of those bodies biopolitically assigned as women is part of a wider social practice that creates gendered bodies: feminine women, masculine men .
Within the debate on sexual power, the question on sexual autonomy emerges: is (sexual) autonomy an individual state a priori, separate to all bonds of passion and dependence with others? Or is it a heteronomy which enables us to set affinity, affection and kinship bonds not based on marriage and family, those institutions that so far have ruled our sexuality/intelligibility? Is this alternative a way to re-deem friendship and bonds?
Anarchism, according to our point of view, is an existence against domination, which cannot be grasped without an ethic of doing. This ethic aspires, among other things, on the one hand to shorten the gap between doing and saying -- i.e., to act coherently. On the other hand, it can enable us to behave differently if every time we say “I am (a woman)” doesn’t really mean “I behave … (in this certain way)”. Within a radical criticism of sexualities, anarchism also has the capacity, if we follow Scarfo’s words in her letter, to create counter-hegemonic bonds beyond the status quo of progressive thought.
After Severino and Paulino’s execution in 1930, young América was given shelter by other comrades. Later she published articles for European anarchist journals on women’s rights which can hardly be found today. She also went on studying, and never stopped even in old age. After the tragedy, América met a new anarchist love partner with whom she founded Américalee. This was for decades the most complete libertarian library in Buenos Aires and a publishing house which edited many libertarian thinkers.
In Spanish “Alegría” (happiness) rhymes with Anarquía (anarchy). Anarchy implies an internalised ethics of love and desire, of sex and passion, and the free circulation of desires. So, what’s wrong with today’s anarchism which still thinks in terms of “good” and bad”, “sin” and “crime”? Or maybe we are still, as in Emma’s times, dancing at the wrong revolution.