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"Love is a perverted feeling...". An email interview with the anarcha-feminist LoveKills Collective, from Romania

Grassroots media in Europe
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Can you introduce yourself?

A.I.: I am A.I., 25 years old and I am part of the LoveKills Collective, an anarcha-feminist project from Romania. At the moment I am living in Berlin, Germany.

Mari: My name is Mari and I am living in Timisoara, Romania.

Can you tell us about the LoveKills collective?

A.I.: The LoveKills Collective, born and developed from the editorial group of the LoveKills zine a few years ago, periodically organizes info events and campaigns, and demonstrations and actions. Since four years we are also organizing a festival, or anarcha-feminist gathering in Romania, with international participation. The aim of such gatherings, as we envision it, is to establish and strengthen the bounds and links between activists involved and interested in anarcha-feminism, and to develop a network. So far, considering the outcome of our previous gatherings, we would say that it is working. This year we would like to organize the gathering as a week long summer camp, in a village from the mountains in Romania, between 27th July and 2nd of August 2009. We are also all involved, on a collective level, as well as individually, in different projects related to issues like anti-fa[cism], animal rights, anti-capitalist/militarism/repression struggle - on the local level (Romania) as well as internationally.

Another important activity for us is publishing articles and info brochures on different topics that come from our daily living circumstances, approached from an anarcha-feminist perspective. We are also translating and publishing articles, essays and books from the international anarchist literature, which is almost completely lacking in Romania, due to certain circumstances that this region has experienced throughout modern history. This work of translating will probably materialize in an archive of such writings; it is an emerging project, but there are already a few releases that are being distributed.

Can you tell our readers about your zines? What topics do you cover? How is the zine put together and distributed?

A.I.: Our zines are published in Romanian (LoveKills/ Dragostea Ucide) as well as in English (LoveKills special issue). The Romanian language version is addressed to the local context and in six years has reached [issue] number 17. It usually covers topics that are relevant for the actual Romanian reality, topics related from our personal experiences in such reality, as well as a great deal of fragments from international anarchist modern and classical literature translated into Romanian. The zine is put together by the collective itself, but we are also receiving articles from individuals interested in contributing.

The English version was started 3 years ago as part of the soli-compilation, which includes a c.d. This version of the zine has the aim of raising funds for our projects, but mostly for our festival. It includes some main articles written by the collective and published in the Romanian zine, translated into English, as well as other articles sent by collectives/individuals, or texts that were presented to previous editions of the festival in workshops or lectures. Both [zines] are distributed at local and international gatherings, concerts, book fairs and so on, events which are providing the space for sharing information and ideas. All of our publications can also be downloaded from our website.

What made you decide to start this project? How did you come up with the idea and the name?

I.N.: LoveKills fanzine was first published in 2003 as a sub-cultural magazine, addressing mostly the punk scene, which was 90% dominated by men, due to sexism and preconceived ideas imported from the society. The idea of the fanzine was to prove that women are also actively involved in the punk movement and that they had a contribution, just as important as men did, in the history of anarchism. At the same time the magazine wished to mobilize the girls in the scene, in order to create a movement in which women, alongside men, can freely express their opinions, can build together a relaxed atmosphere and can fight shoulder to shoulder in order to achieve a freedom, as extended as possible. A great part of these aims was achieved by setting up the LoveKills Collective, a collective that includes women and men working together. The fanzine also succeeded in achieving a radicalization of the punk scene, contributing to the emergence and development of the anarcho-punk counter-culture.

Why LoveKills? Love kills – it is the truth recognized around ourselves. Wherever love emerges, it is followed by hate, jealousy, constraint. A great part of restrictions of freedoms and liberties are done in the name of love. Most of the crimes are done out of love. Parents are beating up their children because they love them and they wish the best for them. The State is leading wars for the wellbeing of its people, to protect them. State and Church are enforcing laws against abortion for the continuation of the nation and out of love for the yet unborn ones. The patriarchal system, full of hate and revenge, has transformed love into the most terrible feeling, into a feeling of weakness. This way, the woman represents love – she is embodying love . The woman is urging her sons to go to war and to love their country. The woman is the one, who out of love for her daughter, urges her to marry in order to assure her future. The woman is the one who is scarifying her body for the State. The woman is the one who, out of too much love , is maintaining the status quo, although only she is able to change it. The woman can change the system, thinking of herself, wearing a fight for the individual freedom.

Love kills in a system based on hatred; love is a perverted feeling, that doesn’t belong in this world.

What do you hope to accomplish through DIY projects?

A.I.: We hope we can raise awareness and inspire other people - just like we were inspired by other DIY projects- and to see a growing community that will have freedom as a common cause, based on solidarity and friendship.

What do you love about zines? Are there any aspects you find challenging or limiting in the zine community?

A.I.: Zines, as a DIY practice, is the very visible expression of “everyone can do it”. It is a possibility of sharing and spreading information, ideas and knowledge and a means of self-teaching. It is also a way of connecting people and ideas. So it is up to each of us to overcome the challenging or limiting aspects of zines. It is up to us what sort of ideas we put forward and how we approach them, how we distribute the zines and how accessible we make them.

Do you consider feminist zines as part of a social movement? Do you think feminist zines can effect meaningful social and political change at large - or do they have significance mainly in individual lives?

A.I.: Yes, I think feminist zines are part of a social movement, as all other kinds of fanzines that bring up issues that reflect and question the existing oppressive patriarchy. We are always writing on the covers of our zines the prompts: “Education for Revolution, Culture of Resistance”. By urging for revolution, by raising awareness, by questioning authority, by breaking the silence, I think that zines can have a meaningful effect. And maybe it has to be first in the individual, the one who is holding the zines in her/his own hands and starts revolting her/him-self against the oppressors; later on you can find other individuals who are revolting and can “ally” and plot together.

We started, for example, by publishing a zine a few years ago; later on the editorial group shaped into an anarcha-feminist collective, and we were able, together, to put ideas into practice. Of course this is an example that reflects a small step, considering the fact that we are actually functioning and that our work is visible mostly in our own small “scene”/movement and not on a large social scale. But as we are aiming towards anarchism, and as we see anarchism like an on-going emerging occurrence, we strongly believe that even the slightest effort has its own meaningful importance and contribution.

Do you see yourself as part of “DIY” or “Third Wave Feminism” and if yes, what does it mean to you? Or, why not?

A.I.: LoveKills Collective is an anarcha-feminist project, so the direction would be more towards DIY and not so much towards third wave feminism, although DIY ethics is considered to be part of it. Theoretically we are feminists of course, but in our experience the feminism we came across, especially in Romania (a sort of second wave feminism), is something that we are actually opposing or rejecting, as we see it like something that re-enforces the gender binary and domination.

For example the feminism nowadays in Romania is much related to the Orthodox Church and goes hand in hand with orthodox-Christian morality. By this logic, it is obviously undermining women’s reproductive rights, rights that have been regained in the beginning of 90s, after decades of dictatorship. It is also urging the woman to piously submit to the patriarchal pattern of family (absolute value of Romanian society). The emancipated woman for these feminists is the manager / politician / president woman with a major focus on orthodox affinity. We are of course opposing such emancipation since we are calling for boycotting the elections and fighting against any sort of hierarchical structure. The third wave is very little represented in the Romanian context.

The main idea of our work and the main focus is anarchism. We attach feminism to anarchism as we see that there are still issues to deal with, regarding sexism and domination in the “free” and “friendly” environments, the so-called anarchist mediums. But anarchism is more stressed as we consider it to be the pertinent way to achieve the absolute freedom of all beings.

What are the most pressing issues for you in daily life?

Mari: The aspects of daily life most pressing for me are many; each of them differs regarding the situation you are finding yourself in. I would mention some which are more frequent, but are not the only ones bothering me, these would be any kind of discrimination (especially the ones based on class and gender), and the lack of solidarity between people. And something else that bothers me very much is the fact that many people trust the authorities and are still waiting for changes from the ones who are ruling.

What would a woman-friendly society look like in your view? How do you think society might be re-thought and transformed to be a safer, better place for women, grrrls, transgender and queer folks?

A.I.: A woman-friendly society would be a society free of exploitation and domination. Patriarchy is oppressing women as well as men and my vision of a society where women are safe is a society where we can all enjoy the absolute freedom of all individuals. I think the existing society can not be re-thought or changed in order to achieve such a freedom. The existing society must be abolished completely together with all its formal and informal oppressive structures. A new society has to be built from the base, and this base should consist of solidarity and mutual aid, friendship and love, trust.

Mari: I don’t want to divide people into gender categories, for me all human beings are just individuals. I don’t want to envision a society convenient just for women or for any other gender category. I want a better world for all the people. It is true that women and sexual minorities had much more to suffer, but the existing system is affecting everybody’s life. From my point of view a better society can not be rethought as long as there is a state, and there are authorities or any other sort of governing.

What are some of your personal wishes/visions/ideas/plans for the future, if you would like to share them?

Our plans for the future are to continue our projects and to start new ones. We wish to rejoice and enjoy solidarity together with other people, as we have so far. And we wish that whatever we were able to achieve in matters of relating with other people, can grow into something stronger and stronger.

Thank you for interviewing us. Another wish that we have for the future is that your projects goes well and turns into something really great, which will inspire thousands of other people.

(Thank you LoveKills collective for inspiring us!)

LoveKills Collective
Red Chidgey & Elke Zobl
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