Life in this society being, in the best of cases, a total bore, and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, it remains to civic-minded, responsible and thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, install complete automation and destroy compulsive heterosexuality.
(SCUMmanifesto, Valerie Solanas 1967, freely interpreted)
The image of the queers, the freaks, the wild ones, the cyborgs, the hysterics, the truck-drivers, the frigid ones and the loose ones, the ones in broken high-heels and the barefoot ones assaulting the supermarket of the world, the privatized garden and the wedding ceremony is our most cherished dream. To be divine is always to push the limits, to lose composure, to expose the sexual discipline of Home and Crust; it is to disorganize anew all the categories.
Rights are a useful but insufficient charity, perverse in their disciplinary capacity. Now that capital has been embodied in us with hushed and persistent violence: (re)productive body, consumer body, clean and disinfected body which has repressed the ghost of stigma and death, versatile and accelerated body, it is time to ask: Is a different body possible?
It must be, because here we are.
Times and spaces. The space, in this case, the middle of Lavapies, Madrid. The time, open and changing, that which runs against our desires and our projects. The occupied social center Eskalera Karakola has been a part of our neighborhood for six years now. A women’s project arising from the necessity to experience ourselves, relate and invent ourselves, to communicate and to sabotage the mechanisms of production and reproduction, heterosexual normalization and rigid demarcation of gender roles imposed upon us.
A women’s project which undertakes continually to pose questions and to propose from a feminist position, confronting the world with an analysis criss-crossed by the complexity of structures: those same structures which compose us, never innocent, always complex, the same structures which place us in tension and which demand us to understand ourselves as subjects rooted in a particular sex-gender-desire system, in a particular class, in a particular ethnic group, of a particular age. . . in a particular, always pressing space and time.
Thus we occupy and inhabit the Eskalera Karakola. Occupation as a reappropriation of physical space and occupation as a reappropriation of our own living time, of our own desires and affections, our own bodies.
Always diverse and transforming, always different, we have undertaken to open a space for political intervention, an invitation to create a space of participation in all sorts of activities by, for, and with women. A photography workshop, a school for feminisms, the discussions and screenings of ‘the House of Difference’, the bar as a space to meet ourselves, to take our own pulse, to explode contradictions and collect their creative energy. Energy for interaction and intervention, because the house is not isolated, is not alone, because to understand the it is to take it with you into your own spaces, because the Karakola invites us to step out, critical, political and feminist. Always intervening, always, that is, coming and going. Finding limits, fighting them, daring ourselves with sometimes greater and sometimes lesser luck: harboring doubts, fragmenting ourselves, recomposing ourselves. And so, between goings and comings, we participate in the coordinating table of the 8th of March , or in the protest actions together with Women in Black, or in the Transatlantic Social Forum, or in the campaign against aggressions in our neighborhood, or in the state-wide gathering of the feminist movement held in Cordoba, or in our jolting and shocking annual presence on the 28th of July. . .
A project which is also indespensable in a neighborhood like Lavapies, submitted for years to an ‘urban recovery’ plan which has not responded to the needs of those of us who live here, which has put aside our opinions and concerns. A neighborhood which lacks public facilities, acceptable housing conditions, social resources, spaces for meeting and socializing. . . and which faces policies of exclusion and privatization, of ever greater limitation of people’s basic rights. And it is here that the Karakola erupts as a more than necessary space, a collective undertaking for relating, encountering, and communicating among women up against this dusty, suffocating, bleached out, fat-free, canned and vacuum packed life.
Spaces and times which press us on in our need to restore the house, an initiative which may at any moment be interrupted. Space which must be rebuilt; time which has us captive. . . We break this waiting by acting, anticipating, pressuring so that the importance of our project be recognized. Counting on your support.