Feminist practice – Interviews with Antifaschistischer Frauenblock Leipzig, Feministisches Streetart Kollektiv: Wien and flit*z Salzburg

Feminism not only needs to be thought about, it also needs to be carried out. So we asked three feminist groups with different focus areas to talk about why they organise and what they’re up to.

 

Antifaschistischer Frauenblock Leipzig (Antifascist women’s block)

Who are you? What do you do as a group?

We see ourselves as a feminist, anti-German women’s group from Leipzig. We have lots of discussions and write texts about things that are important to us, publishing them in zines or leftist papers as well as on our homepage. We often get invited to do talks and workshops in other cities. We focus on many different topics, like: the national socialism and its continuities until today, racism, anti-Semitism, critique of religions and Islam in particular, feminist theory, and feminist language criticism. We choose the topics ourselves; we don’t only want to react to political events of the day but rather set our own focus areas.

We also take part in demonstrations, for example in the one protesting the Schweigemarsch in Annaberg-Buchholz. The Schweigemarsch is being organised by fundamentalist Christians who oppose the right to have an abortion. Furthermore we organise a huge brunch once a year as a contrast to the “Herrentag”1. The proceeds are then donated to initiatives we believe to be important.

 

What’s feminist practice for you?

Practice is sort of hard to nail down. We don’t think of theory and practice as separate. Instead, we consider writing texts as a form of practice too. Basically, for us feminism is when you add a feminist perspective when thinking about any given topic. That can be easy: for example, when we organise a series of events we pay attention to the gender ratio. The same goes for demonstrations and similar events. We not only deem it necessary to question individual gender roles but also to formulate a feminist critique of all of society. We pay special attention to feminist-materialist positions. That means we look at everything that bothers us from a feminist point of view.

 

Why did you choose your particular way of organising?

Our group has been in existence for a long time, as you may know; this year we’re celebrating our 20th birthday. It originally came to be because of people’s experiences with male dominance at demos and in antifascist circles. At that time, the women organised to have something on the general situation. They started feeling like they could do things they never thought they could do before, like walking in the first row at a demo or making a speech in front of a big crowd. That’s still the case. Taking your space to make your own politics is still important today.

 

You can find more infos on the activities of the Antifaschistischer Frauenblock Leipzig on their website afbl.org!

 

1 translator’s note: Herrentag (or Männertag in the West) is a German way of celebrating father’s day and it’s just as bad as it sounds. Drunk men* of all ages flock together and roam the streets celebrating their “manliness”. Women* are not allowed to come.

 

Feministisches Streetart Kollektiv: Wien (Feminist street art collective)

Who are you? What do you do as a group?

We are the Feministisches Streetart Kollektiv: Wien – a leftist, queer-feminist group. We work with street art and graffiti in public spaces, trying, on one hand, to show up and challenge the current circumstances of society and, on the other hand, to claim said spaces in the public realm. Furthermore we organise workshops in which we work with street art techniques like stencils and graffiti. Communication with other feminist groups is also important to us. And in the past we have (co-) organised several demonstrations, street parties and other leftist events.

 

What’s feminist practice for you?

Feminist practice can take on lots of different forms. However, it’s important to us that we discard concepts like heteronormativity and the gender binary. We consider sex and gender to be societal constructs and we think this should also be reflected by feminist practice. We also believe in the importance of an intersectional understanding of gender. Feminism that doesn’t take other hierarchies in society into account doesn’t work. This is why we also focus on realising how we ourselves are involved in existing power relations and reflect on our position.

 

Why did you choose your particular way of organising?

Our collective is open to women, lesbians, intersex*, non-binary, and trans people (Frauen, Lesben, Intersex*, nicht-binär and Trans – FLIN*T). The public realm as well as the graffiti scene that uses it are male dominated. We try to criticize these conditions, to claim the public realm for us and to give visibility to FLIN*T people within it. Our workshops are meant to encourage others to claim public space for themselves.

 

You’ll find more information on the Feministisches Streetart Kollektiv: Wien at femstreetartwien.wordpress.com!

 

FLIT*Z SALZBURG

Who are you? What do you do as a group?

The flit*z is a group that currently consists of cis women and trans people. New people can still join every so often. Cis women are people who were assigned female at birth and who now define themselves as such. Trans people are all people who don’t agree with the gender they were assigned. Some of us are lesbians and/or queer/pansexual/bisexual*. Pansexual means that a person can be attracted to anyone, regardless of gender. In our case, queer means basically the same. So F stands for Frauen which means women (cis or trans), L stands for lesbians and other queer people. T stands for trans people altogether. And the I stands for intersex people, that is people who the doctors could not put in either the male or the female category at birth.

We got together to found a centre (Z for Zentrum) for ourselves and for other F_L_I_T people, where we can meet up and build stuff, have parties, organise, be politically active and for everything else people might come up with.

 

What’s feminist practice for you?

For us, feminist practice means fighting oppression in every form. On one hand we struggle against sexism and homophobia in our daily lives. Some of us also have to struggle against transphobia and ableism. But we also fight against forms of violence that don’t oppress us personally.

Furthermore we organise demos, concerts, readings, and discussion events. Feminism needs to always evolve and be open to the experiences and thoughts of every oppressed person.

 

Why did you choose your particular way of organising?

A center for F_L_I_T people is necessary because having a space that’s always available makes feminist work a lot easier. A space that we will manage collectively and where everyone gets a say in what happens there. A space where we can try things that are usually harder to access for F_L_I_T people. And without macho cis guys barging in and thinking they’re better at everything. But even though we want a flit*z, we’re fighting for a world where gender/sex isn’t important anymore. Where no one will be oppressed anymore. In short: we’re fighting for a world where a flit*z will no longer be necessary!

 

*In this case, bisexual is meant as “attracted to people of the same gender as the person themselves and to people of (any) other gender(s).

You’ll find more information on the FLIT*Z Salzburg at https://flitzsalzburg.wordpress.com/

 

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