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All posts for the month May, 2011

The Shed

Published May 30, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Men’s shed focus is on promoting men’s health and wellbeing through engaging them various actives including information provision, socialisation and handicraft.  All good and well, as I support the need for men to engage in men’s business however, I am not convinced that the men’s shed concept is the most appropriate vehicle for this to happen. My reservations come from the perspective culture of this organisation dominated by mainstream concepts of masculinity; it seems to be more about reinforcing stereotypes rather than starting a new conversation. This is no more evident than the men’s rights spectre you catch glimpses of in the language used.

Men need to have an open and frank conversation with each other, one about the very nature of masculinity at this time in history. Men have an opportunity to engage in a conversation using the Feminist critique to help them make sense of their experiences .It is time to stop smarting about the social changes of the past 60 years that shock the heteronormative Anglo-European model of masculinity to its core. This is about men acknowledging and celebrating the rich diversity of their gender identity rather than adhering blindly to some idealized model. It is time to come out of the shed and start that conversation with each other.

As a man I know the fear of social sanctions for those who do not conform to the model, as a queer I know the sanctuary of the closet. It seems heterosexual men also share these same fears and security as men confined to the shed. This might be the first challenge for men who find sanctuary in their shed or in their ways of knowing and doing masculinity to venture out. I never thought in my whole life that I would be offering words of encouragement to heterosexual men to come out of shed and claim their masculinity. However, that is exactly what my plea is here for your own health and wellbeing to join the conversation so boys can become healthy self-confident men without the anxiety and guilt of previous generations.

Masculinities

Published May 30, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Boy stands in front of mirror and asks what man am I

Mirror mists over and a voice responds

You are son, brother, father, uncle and grandfather

You are student, sometimes & teacher other times

You are friend, worker, professional, colleague, & team member

You are Black, Brown, White

You are bi, gay, straight, same sex attracted, pan & asexual

You are trans

You are leader sometimes & follower other times

You are athlete sometimes & spectator other times

You are Wise sometimes & foolish other times

You are brave sometimes & cowardly other times

You are caring sometimes & insensitive other times

You are giving sometimes & mean other times

You are committed sometimes & apathetic other times

You are joyous sometimes & sad other times

You are well sometimes & unwell other times

You are innocent sometimes & guilty

You are a dreamer sometimes & realist other times

You are friendly sometimes & violent other times

You are tolerant sometimes & narrow-minded other times

You are spontaneous sometimes & serious other times

Your creative sometimes & destructive other times

You are spiritual sometimes & secular other times

You are strong sometimes & weak other times

You are curious sometimes & indifferent other times

You are industrious sometimes & indolent other times

You are everyman & every human

You are you a man shaped through your life experiences

Hand in hand

Published May 29, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

“My father always used to say; don’t raise your voice, improve your argument” ~ Desmond Tutu

Why Gay Rights and the Greater Progressive Agenda Go Hand in Hand

Posted May 25th, 2011 by Evan Hurst @truthwinsout

No matter the brand, mainstream or main street politics does not deliver a truly progressive politics and any advances are limited. My argument if you are to advance Gay rights then it is by looking to Green politics in its embrace of universal diversity in moving forward. The article that inspired me provides a relatively interesting argument but is confusing in comparing and contrasting two conservative political philosophies. While I may or may not agree with the key points, it is nonsense to pretend that there is a difference between the two. Liberalism and Conservativism by their very nature are both cheeks of the same arsehole; in Australia, this is more evident.

 The Rainbow Nation is socially and politically progressive because traditional or conservative institutions question our very existence in taking every step possible to marginalise us. The idea of gay conservatives seems to be counterintuitive, when our culture stands in stark opposition to the worldview of conservatives.

This is where I become confused what is the point of argument here, as any political theory is a broad church of thought. Conservatives have a well-proven economic theory and often Liberals might be socially progressive while holding a conservative economic position. If you are talking economics, all mainstream politics worship capitalism on both sides of the aisle. If you are talking social then mainstream politics tends to sit somewhere around the centre of the political spectrum this is where you find legislation like DOMA, and  DADT  the right to be treated as an equal citizen is traded for maintaining the lie of the status quo. Please note both these pieces of legislation where signed off on during the Clinton Presidency. A social centralist and economic conservative from a supposedly Liberal-progressive party.

Amanda Marcotte  in tying together all the different arms of liberalism

Economic justice This is labour movements, anti-poverty initiatives, fair taxation, health care reform, social services, government that is functional, etc. Anything that helps secure the middle class, bolsters the economy, and lifts people out of poverty.

  • Strange proposition the example is a real ice cream sundae, socialist foundations with a liberal topping of no tax reform and a middle class cherry on top. Our lot is not with the middle class but the working/poor, to achieve true economic justice we need to seek tax reform. So those who can pay their share rather than gorging themselves on the tax returns of the worker.

Social justice. Feminism, anti-racism, gay rights, anti-colonialism, things like that—anything that divides people against each other on the basis of identity hierarchies.

  • The underpinning principle is fair however, poorly articulated the example, social justice is about social equity or fairness.

Environmentalism and rationalism. Preserving the planet, promoting science, using the now to work towards a better tomorrow

  • It is about sustainability, risk management and the application of the sciences to keep our home Earth viable in the face of rabid capitalism, which seeks profit for its own sake. Many philosophical perspectives and discourses go some way to explaining the interconnectedness of life including green politics, socialism and Black Feminism but neither Liberalism nor Conservatism.

Insightful

This seems like a good time to point out that gay conservatives tend to be upper-middle class white men, or those who dream of one day being so, and are willing to overlook where they actually are in service of who they might be, maybe one day, if things go well for them.

  • Here the author is talking about class and class conflict, where gay conservatives as members of an elite sell their cultural identity for perceived personal gain. This situation may lead to the individual being conflicted between their individualism and cultural root.

The Rainbow Nations rights might go hand in hand with a progressive politic however, can mainstream parties really deliver anything but a centralist agenda because of them trading off justice for maintaining their privilege.

Australia

Australia has an atheist unmarried woman PM who comes from a left- faction of her supposedly socially progressive party the contradiction lies in

Her defence of the Marriage Act 1961 as amended by  Marriage Amendment Act 2004 in which marriage not previously defined is stated as being between a man and woman. Hence, she is denying marriage equality in any form to same-sex couples for an institution she does not believe in herself.

Her support of rebranding and extension of  Northern Territory National Emergency Response or Intervention a package of changes to welfare provision, law enforcement, land tenure and other measures including exemption of NTI under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth)

Vote Radical not Progressive

The Rainbow Nation has no friends in mainstream political parties they are more interested in maintaining their privileged position or attaining a privileged position. .It is not our rights they campaign their aim to appeal to the majority with pie in the sky fairytales. Until we stand up and demand our rights by holding these politicians to account they will sit on their laurels and fat bank accounts believing they do not have to answer for their words and deeds.

Stop being nice become politically active

Reject the rhetoric of politicians filled with good intentions, hot air and bullshit

It is the 21st century it is now or now

Bibi does Washington

Published May 28, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Peace

We can achieve peace

I will not listen to you

I will not talk with you

I will not walk with you

We can achieve peace

You will listen to my words

You will do what I say

You will walk alone

We can achieve peace

Bibi does Washington

In this last week, Israel and President Obama have seemingly had a falling out over remarks made by the US President on 19 Mat during his US Middle Eastern policy (CSPAN Video) speech. These remarks related to terms relating to future negotiations on the Israeli – Palestinian peace process. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took exception to these remarks seemingly causing the President a few uncomfortable political moments.  However, what is strange is that the speech simply restated the existing US position on this matter with no obvious changes.

Then on May 20 Obama and Netanyahu met  at the White house after their bilateral meeting the pair posed for the obligatory photo op and give some commentary on the meeting. During this event, the President seemed perturbed by the whole experience, while the PM restated his oppositional position. The evident sticking point seemed about observation of the 1967 borders proposed by the President in his speech and Israel’s manic obsession with national security.

Subsequently, the President addressed  (CSPAN Video) the American Israel Public Affairs Committee ( AIPAC) 2011Policy Conference a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to government on May 22. Where he engaged in a major political fence-mending exercise, indicating that the meeting with the PM had bearing although he also restated his position of the 19/05/11 leaving no doubt, where he stood. This did not deter the PM from prosecuting his case both at AIPAC and in his address to a joint meeting of Congress (24/05) later in the week.

It sounded like Obama’s aim here to re-start the stalled Israeli – Palestinian negotiations by outlining some general principles in moving forward. The outcome for the President a definite diplomatic/political ‘slap on the wrist’ by Israel and its US allies, Netanyahu proved himself the consummate diplomat /politician. In achieving his goal to effectively, neutralise any threat to his plan from the administration with the support of allies. he Palestinian Authority shunned the PM’s position for its limited parameters for peace. Where to from here, the peace talks remain stalled, Netanyahu ensured that outcome by asserting such rigid terms that he knew the other stakeholders could or would not agree to a progression of this process.

Checkmate

Reconciliation Week

Published May 27, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Land.  I would also like to pay respect to the Elders both past, and present, and extend that respect to other Indigenous Australians.

From 27th May – 3 Jun we celebrate National Reconciliation Week , this year’s theme “Let’s Talk Recognition”, it is about proper recognition of  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In the history of modern Australia our first peoples of occupied a position on the margins of society aliens in their own lands. This is the story of a resilient people whose custom and lore disrupted over generations through waves of violence, persecution and subjugation whose living culture survives.

In 1991, the Commonwealth Parliament voted unanimously to establish the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and a formal reconciliation process. Parliament had noted that there had been no formal process of reconciliation and that it was “most desirable that there be such a reconciliation” by the year 2001, marking the centenary of Federation.  This process took place its success seems a matter for history, what it did do was give oxygen to a conversation around the injustice experienced by our first peoples at the hands of successive governments. Sadly, with the election of Howard this process lost all but token political support being bastardised by the re-authoring of history many conservatives engage in.

Then on February 13, 2008, Kevin Rudd, as the 26th Prime Minister of Australia rose in his place and moved the National Apology to the Stolen Generations motion. A moment many had waited a whole lifetime to hear their pain publicly acknowledged and validate. However, subsequently, little has progressed the issue of recognition has seemingly lost political impetus once more overshadowed by an extension of Howard era paternalism and protectionism. This journey towards reconciliation along a corrugated red track stained with the tears, fears and blood of generations continues towards home.

Sorry Day 2011

Published May 26, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Great white father  knows best Great white mother cares more

Hear the red heart’s tears

Hear the Mother’s tears

Hear the Child‘s tears

Lost to country feel my fear

I am slave feel my pain

I am the story feel my grief

I am lost feel my confusion

Yesterdays faded memories childhood lost

Today’s acknowledgement of injustice on the road home

Tomorrow’s hope Bring them home

Long journey begins towards healing

National Sorry Day 2011

The Question

Published May 25, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

I am here queer loud and proud

I ask nothing more than the respect due me.

However, Family, friend or foe you ask me to justify my self

When did you know you where gay?

Causing me to question my self.

Something you do not question, but I will.

When did you know you where heterosexual?

You give a ready response without due reflection.

I have always been heterosexual

How do you know this?