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(en) US, Minneapolis, MN, radical /anarchist parenting by RAMBL (Revolutionary Anarchist Mom and Baby League)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 9 Apr 2003 18:20:56 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

> rambl@yahoogroups.com
The radical environmental movement in the US is losing the next generation
of families by labeling family issues as irrelevant and failing to see how
parenting is a part of the revolution and kids are the next revolutionaries.
We're frustrated when the movement for social justice steals our ability as
mothers to continue to work as organizers and artists, while whining that
not enough parents care about social reforms. We're tired of activists
wondering where all the parents are when we're sitting at home with no
money, no transportation and no childcare. That is why we have formed the
Revolutionary Anarchist Mom and Baby League (RAMBL) to address these issues.

While many of us are struggling for daily survival--looking for living wage
jobs, affordable housing, quality childcare and healthcare for our
families--the indignity from people who should be our allies has been
particularly difficult. We expect to struggle against the world; we don't
expect to struggle in our own community. This article is just a baby step in
creating a community that is actively pro-family, pro-kid and pro-woman. In
turn, we believe that we are crawling toward creating a more humane and just

While the issues raised below impact all moms, moms who are women of color,
queer, young, disabled and/or poor face disproportionately more oppression.
Our collective voice in this article reflects experiences of individual
RAMBL mothers. Our intent is not to provide your affinity group with a
connect-the-dots solution. Rather, our intent is to open your eyes to our
experiences. It is your responsibility to analyze and change privileged
assumptions and exclusionary behavior.

Parenting in Our Scene

When we became mothers, our lifestyle options are were reduced. At times
members of our activist community criticized us for utilizing the very few
resources available (like welfare), while doing nothing to broaden options
for activist mothers or create alternatives that are transformative and
empowering for both parents and society as a whole.

It bothers us that people have offered support but have never bothered to
follow up. We don't want to have to beg people for help, but we do want
offers of support to be real. We're tired of seeing other parents as the
only people interested in baby-sitting or childcare.

We also have a major problem with someone who doesn't have kids judging our
parenting or methods of discipline, especially while failing to recognize
the narrow bandwidth of "acceptable" parenting. A mom is called too lenient
if she doesn't publicly castigate her child for "misbehaving" (i.e. talks at
a meeting). However, this same mom is called too strict when she "makes" the
child say please and thank you.

Sure it's great to use cloth diapers, but as a stressed out single mama, it
isn't always possible. Holier-than-thou purist advice about things like
diapers is something we can't stand. Instead of commenting on how gross you
think it is that a mom uses disposable diapers, why don't you help her get a
washing machine so that she can wash reusable diapers. Instead of judging,
try taking the burden off of her shoulders.

Responsibilities and Relationships

Being proactive and investing in women before a child is born seems like a
good idea. Why isn't equal financial support from a baby's daddy an issue of
social justice? Why is a father praised for doing anything with his child,
but when a mom spends the same amount of time with her kid, she's criticized
for not doing enough?

Our scene fails to hold deadbeat dads in the movement accountable. The
unpaid organizing work done by a baby's daddy is viewed by him and our scene
as being more important than caring for his own kid. People have said that
because a baby's daddy is an activist, he shouldn't be made to pay child
support. Because many don't think of the work that a mother does--the
invisible work of caring for another person and the wage work she does to
survive--as important, no one thinks how the father's not paying child
support oppresses the mother and her child. Many of us would love to be able
to have the privilege of continuing unpaid work as an organizer, too. But
most don't have the time or the money to pay for babysitting.

We're tired of our community not recognizing emotional abuse or a partner's
drug or alcohol abuse as valid reasons for ending a relationship. We
continually fight against this idea that tf we're really anarchists, we
should stay in a bad relationship in order to make ends meet.

Birth Control and Reproductive Freedom

We wish that there was more information about effective birth control and
that the responsibility to pay for and use birth control fell equally on men
and women. We feel that the community as a whole needs to respect individual
choices about birth control, from Depro Provera and birth control pills to
natural family planning methods.

Especially, when there is so much pressure for women to use the natural
family planning method because it's "natural" and it doesn't support
pharmaceutical companies. At the same time, everyone we know who got
pregnant was using this method. This method fails as a reliable birth
control. It is specifically contraindicated for women who are very young and
have unpredictable and stressful lives--like every woman in the
scene--because these factors affect the regularity of our menstrual cycles.
I wish that the risks of the natural planning method were talked about more
openly because this misinformation disproportionately impacts us grrrls.

Men need to take an active role in lobbying for male birth control. Where's
the goddamn male birth control pill? It's not okay that men are pro-choice,
as long as it's pro-their choice. We want the community to support women who
chose to be parents and women who chose abortion.

RAMBL is working to engage our communities in a deep conversation about what
it means to build a sustainable and accessible movement. RAMBL strives to be
an actively pro-mama, pro-women, pro-kid organization in a world that is
decidedly not. A revolutionary movement in a society that pushes down moms
and kids should actively build a safe place for mamas.

RAMBL women include: young, poor, queer, in recovery, on welfare, sex
workers, going to school, working outside of the home, working at home,
dropouts, pro-choice, trying to conceive and those who are in your face.

We offer workshops and facilitated discussions on creating family-friendly
spaces and organizations. We are a political organization fighting for
freedom, autonomy and respect for all mothers. Recognizing that our daily
survival is critical to our ability to fight for social justice, we are also
organizing toy shares, homework and tutoring nights, childcare collectives,
family friendly affordable homes and slumber parties. In the future we will
be focusing on increasing support for incarcerated mamas. We'd love to hear
from you! For more information, contact RAMBL C/O ARISE! 2441 Lyndale Ave,
Minneapolis, MN 55405; rambl@yahoogroups.com

And if you're a mama, give a kiss to your kiddo(s) from us.

mama revolution
to be published by the Earth First! Journal in the next press.

spread the joy, mamas. anti-copywrite.

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