A CODE RED Statement

We want to articulate a politics that is larger than our immediate interests and larger than our immediate environment. Yes, the personal is political but we are defining the personal to include our responsibility to community. What a student feminist organisation can do is put feminist knowledge in a form that is accessible beyond the academic community using social media, supporting relevant causes and building networks within and across Caribbean societies and supporting each other here on campus through informal networks. As students we recognise tertiary education to be privilege and not a universal right. The recent IMF-recommended freeze on subsidies for tertiary education in Jamaica serves to remind us of the privileges and responsibilities that come with access to tertiary education.

One of our responsibilities as Caribbean students ought to be the refusal to be seduced by patriarchal pleasures. By patriarchal pleasures I refer to the system of rewards and privileges for being a “good” woman or a “good” man—middle class, upwardly mobile, heterosexual, conformist, consumerist, serviceable. When we allow ourselves to be seduced by patriarchal pleasures we are really reinforcing the very system which creates geographies of exclusion and which excludes many Caribbean people from the right to a good life— a system which by its very nature must have a large number of drop-outs—bodies, people, places which do not fit. Anxiety over Caribbean women making gains in education is energy wasted and misdirected. Attempting to lure men to university with rewards of masculinity, to discipline women university students with threats of being unable to find a man is energy misdirected from the urgent task of building a Caribbean with less drop-outs and ensuring that the Caribbean itself is not “dropped out” of global significance.

Rejecting patriarchal pleasures does not mean a rejection of pleasure. As a student organisation we see ourselves as inciting students to change through the embodiment of an erotic feminist ethic. If we understand ourselves as having the capacity to experience bodies, knowledge and learning in radically different ways we can begin to do the work that is necessary for us to realise a loving freedom.

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