American Friends Service Committee
Sara Burke, Managing Editor
Sam Diener, Editor
Pat Farren, Founding Editor
2161 Massachusetts Ave.
Peacework has been published monthly since 1972, intended to serve as a source of dependable information to those who strive for peace and justice and are committed to furthering the nonviolent social change necessary to achieve them. Rooted in Quaker values and informed by AFSC experience and initiatives, Peacework offers a forum for organizers, fostering coalition-building and teaching the methods and strategies that work in the global and local community. Peacework seeks to serve as an incubator for social transformation, introducing a younger generation to a deeper analysis of problems and issues, reminding and re-inspiring long-term activists, encouraging the generations to listen to each other, and creating space for the voices of the disenfranchised.
Views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily of the AFSC.
For the Women: the Life and Work of Kady
We recently received notice of the passing of Kady, a lesbian feminist peace activist who lived, for the last several years of her life, in Western Mass. (As part of her political journey of self-discovery, Kady dropped her father's surname, sometimes using the name "Kady, daughter of Ann.") Arrested and imprisoned several times for peace actions, Kady helped to weave the political tapestry of our times, especially the radical feminist and anti-nuclear movements of the 1970s and '80s.
The artwork and writings she left offer a singularly important perspective on these movements: that of a poor, self-supporting, unfamous radical lesbian feminist activist. The intertwined movements for women's liberation and for nuclear disarmament continue to grow and change, part of our recent past and of our best hopes for the future.
From The Notebooks that Emma Gave Me: A Lesbian Autobiography
It was so much easier to be "for the children" than it is now to be "for the women." Everybody was "for the children." And yet, they are treated like property, too, and neglected, and "battered." The really outrageous "battering" that wives and children receive is the non-physical, psychological, social, all the time and all of our lives and everywhere battering that each woman and child receives. We are not things. We are not pieces of property. We must free ourselves because those property holders sure aren't going to do it for us.
The century moves on and there have been small changes in the half century I have seen. Too small. Too slow. too few. It is still so much easier to be rich than poor, so much easier to be white than black, so much easier to be a man than a woman, so much easier to be a woman than a lesbian. There is still a Ku Klux Klan in upper New York State and a woman was the head of it. I read it in the newspaper. I read everything about women in the newspaper. There isn't much.
From "Finishing The Walk: The Women's Peace Camp at Seneca, New York" (first published in The New Woman's Times, July 1984)
I first heard about the Seneca women's peace encampment on the radio. I thought, "That's a great idea!" I was excited about the women's peace encampment at Greenham common, England. I had heard that women had been living out in the open in mud for 2 or 3 years, trying to stop the missiles from coming to England. I thought, "Those women need some help. And we could do it!" I saw all the women in the United States rising up and going to the Seneca Army Depot - waves and waves of us by the thousands, by the millions - and we would lean on the fence and the fence would fall down and we would sit on the airfield and there would be so many of us that the planes would be unable to take off. We would make it impossible for the United States to send missiles anywhere.
That was about a year ago. Oh, how I wanted to go! I tried to get one of the jobs there so I could stay all summer. I gave an application to a woman on a committee in NYC. I never heard from them. I went anyway. I stayed a month and a day. I spent 5 days in jail. I didn't have any money. Pagan and I dreamed the boardwalk - knew there just had to be a boardwalk for women in wheelchairs and blind women and tired old women like me.
We worked on it with more than a hundred women. The hundred women from Minnesota helped on their last day. We managed to get some lumber just before they left. I lay in front of their buses so they wouldn't leave. They lifted me up and carried me into their bus. Oh, that felt so good!
But not all the women in Amerika came. Only hundreds - a few thousands - not thousands and millions. Only the gate fell when we leaned on it. It fell several times. We did what we could. Some prayed and fasted, believing, "It's the most powerful thing I know to do." Some leapt to the top of the fence beside the main gate and sat there, wearing scarves that glittered, and singing... A few climbed over the fence or crawled under and got to the airfield. Only a few.
So the United States government sent the missiles. We could have stopped them but not everybody came. Only some of the women. I wish all the women had come.
From A Lesbian at Alderson Prison: The Women's Pentagon Action, 1980 (originally published in Off Our Backs, New Women's Times, Lesbian Inciter, Big Mama Rag, & Aradia's Innerviews)
The thing that hit me hardest was that almost all the other prisoners were black. Obviously, white women are not punished as constantly as black women. We white women must be more often able to buy our way out of trouble. I am out because I got 10 days and black women are still in because they got months, years. On some other equally true level, I am out because I am white and they are in because they are black.
From US Government Sadism: 1981 Women's Pentagon Action (originally published in New Women's Times, February 1982)
I saw women flinging bags and bundles into a big rented truck. I asked if I could ride in the front of the truck as hundreds of women swirled around me, on our way to the pentagon. I leaned out the window and yelled: "YOU ARE STRONG! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! WE ARE POWERFUL!"
For copies of Kady's books, including Panhandling Papers (from which these excerpts are taken), write to Kady & Friends, 11 Graves Ave., Northampton MA 01060.
To learn more and to celebrate Kady's life, attend Kadyfest:
A participatory festival with drumming, drawing, storytelling,
vegan food, and an exhibit of Kady's work. June 5, 2004, noon-4
pm. All Souls Church, 399 Main Street, Greenfield, MA.