Together we can’t!

A non-male or non-heteronormative politician has to go through all the closed gates, through windows, purify their intentions to serve the cause without attempting to question and subvert the political and societal structures, which were bread by the patriarchy. It is wildly feared that such politicians will turn the world into Babylon. Out of many fears, this particular one is the least irrational. Indeed, questioning systems that stink can and will amplify voices that were never heard, unravel the languages that we didn’t even know existed.

Politicized marginal groups have always looked up to progressive, leftist movements, which have accommodated many of us. Leftist movements have benefited from being inclusive, from being somewhat representative of minorities, but soon realized that within the modern over-simplified political milieu pluralism can confuse voters. With nationalism on its raise, the left decided to shift the paradigm from embracing diversity to dismissing it. Emerging popular movements claim the knowledge of what people are and what people want. Their policies are relying on post-material white-collar concerns and populist anti-establishment mobilization. This sometimes translates into abandoning very little progress that we’ve made in the battle against patriarchy in number of domains of our social and political life. The new popular approach is bizarrely post-gender, therefore, criticisms for single-man leadership are being instantaneously delegitimized. Guess what, we may have battles to win for working class and ones who are struggling, but sometimes it takes more than just a man with a fabulous long hair to represent us all.

This issue goes even farther than representation. Analyzing the rhetoric of these movements, it seems to me that the only identity they find really hard to let go is the national identity and when national flags are waved, all non-male and queer people see is dozens of cheap fabric tinted in monochromatic color of patriarchy. That color is very last decade and please, don’t try to make it happen again in 2016! Let it go!

We as Greens, who have strong affiliation with eco-socialist ideas and somehow contextualize ourselves within the history of leftist movements, have come a long way to understanding that sustainable future is not going to become a reality anytime soon, if we do not commit to gendering democracy. We understand that we are facing serious problems with representation and the measures need to be practiced heavily. Do we?

Green parties in some countries go in coalition with the popular leftist movements for the sake of electoral success. Fair enough. Now the question is, how do we ensure that these partnerships are not another Pandora’s box?

/Gio Megrelishvili

Project Manager at the Federation of Young European Greens

Gender Studies master programme graduate 

Who sanctions the political debates?

In our societies, men are brought up with phenomenal ignorance, reflected into whole spectrum of insecurities and whenever woman speaks of her experience, it is ultimately perceived as attempt of indoctrination.  This irrational fear tends to tone down or delegitimize the debate on gender equality. This amplification mechanism is embedded in our political practices too and is contributing to status quo.  As we are pretending to progress towards gender-aware governance, it is astonishing to see the revitalization of men-led popular movements. It’s becoming apparent that non-male voices are being appropriated by the cause of a political revolution and thus, combating modern day sexism is truly frustrating.

I’m a male strongly attached to the leftist identity. For a very long time, I was considering my body and mind completely liberated from sexism – I had no habit of intentional discriminatory behavior and was poked and punched by patriarchy myself not once or twice. Looking at myself and my fellow activists I realized that we were all staring at the heavily airbrushed image of feminist men. We have figured our ways to whole new domain of political power by marching for gender equality with a rainbow flag in our masculine hands. My point is that non-male voices are still severely underrepresented and this has something to do with the power dynamics in our societies: it keeps circulating within the hemisphere of the hegemonic masculinity. We successfully replicated smelly social systems only camouflaged with our preferable politicized green/red color filters. (This is a social media analogy)

My friend once said: “privilege is like herpes, you either have it or not”. Brilliant. In case you have them, you surely are aware! Your body can feel it. It’s too embarrassing to talk about and you are forced to abstain from particular behavior. Oh and avoid treatment unless it’s absolutely necessary. A few weeks back, our green family members were shockingly accused of sexual harassment by their own colleagues. What’s even more shocking is that this didn’t come as a surprise to many. This story still waits to be addressed by the rest of the family but no structural discussion is anywhere to be found yet, which gives me slightly uncomfortable feeling. Would openly addressing sexism in our movement compromise our image as the most inclusive and progressive? Who sanctions these debates?

In my next blogs I will elaborate on the issue of sexism within the progressive movements.

/Gio Megrelishvili

Project Manager at the Federation of Young European Greens

Gender Studies master programme graduate