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The Feminist And Queer Unit has been formed!

The Japanese Foreign Ministry explains, “[the G8 Summit is] where world leaders come together to freely and privately exchange ideas around one table in order to reach consensus-based decisions on global issues – particularly those with regard to economic and social conditions – and effect change in a top-down manner.”

The G8’s origins lie in the oil crisis and global recession of the 1970s. It was formed by leaders of prominent developed nations as a forum where, amidst their insecurity, they could privately brainstorm on how to best protect their global interests and standing.

The G8 has been operating in the same secretive manner since its start. “Leading” nations have established a system for matching strengths and guaranteeing their maximum profit and advantage, while the rest of us – the non-represented – are busy working and doing what we can to stave off poverty. Leaders at the summit are not making decisions based in our realities – and the decisions they make effectively increase the hardships we face.

They weren’t kidding when they said ‘top-down’.

And yet, looking back over the last few decades, impromptu non-democratically formed organizations like the G8, the IMF, and the WTO have actually put themselves at the head of global developments. Their primary concern is to promote policies like free trade, and the privatization of water and other resources necessary for human survival. These policies often ignore the rights of local producers, workers, and consumers – i.e. people – to security in health, home and livelihood. In this way, they deeply affect our daily lives. In fact, the right to survival itself is more deeply affected the further ‘down the chain’ you go.

We are ready to stand together before this same force that insists on maintaining and expanding its own power and authority at the expense of others. As we see it, not only do these high-level deals injure the lives of countless women and queer persons, but they would readily erase our struggles and existence from the annals of history as well.

Unlike these self-professed “leaders of the free world”, we do not wish to take part in impassively making judgments of the value of other people’s lives. We won’t just stand by and watch as others are judged in this way and “put in their place” either.

Some friends have lost jobs because they refused to wear skirts to work – while others have lost jobs because they did indeed wear skirts to work. Friends who never knew where to turn when pregnant, face charges for murder after making misinformed choices alone in public restrooms. In India, women that police had refused to protect from a serial rapist were later arrested for his murder. In Bolivia, women in debt are seizing the banks, while in Brazil farming women are reclaiming the land taken from them after their husbands left for work and never returned. In Japan, a friend is suing a former employer for constant harassment, “Man or woman! Which is it? Which are you?!”

In each of the countries and towns we were born and raised in, there were different expectations of us – generally shaped by the political, economic, and cultural environment of the time. These expectations have affected our conscious and unconscious lives. And we have struggled with them at times. We have long resisted being boxed in – by sex, gender, sexuality, and so much more.

The Feminist and Queer Unit does believe that all our individual realities are linked upon a common stage. We believe that by listening to each other and seeing how our experiences intersect, we can carry each other past this current world’s wrongs. We can open a door to another world.

There is no better way to fight injustice in our social orders than to confront what is expected of us – in behaviors and values, in our actions, cultures, words, and even daily routines. By recognizing the workings of injustice embedded in our minds, we are empowered to overcome them. We can defy them, along with the political and economic imbalances they serve to maintain.

Try opening a door that leads you beyond your understanding of what’s obvious in reality.

This summer, with the G8 Summit in Hokkaido and activists gathering from around the world, the Feminist and Queer Unit has come together to prepare a guidebook for assuring women and queer persons will have safe spaces and open exchanges of information during the event.

Last year, the feminist and queer presence at the anti-G8 summit in Germany was extremely strong. Yet Japan cannot achieve the same. Why is this?

That’s one step that leads towards a door we believe needs to be opened.

The Feminist and Queer Unit will be getting involved in the following:

Contact us at noG8saferspace@gmail.com

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