Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Who Says Leftists Can't Party? The SLLU Birthday Party, V 3.0

Well, so it's over. And what a wonderful time it was. Nearly six hours of partying, live music by three terrific acts, wonderful poetry, and great chat with friends. How successful was the party? Well, all of the events, from the beginning of the party to its conclusion five and three quarters hours later, were very well attended. The numbers of people enjoying the celebrations seldom fell below 30, and for much of the time, the sim was in fact full to capacity.

And no wonder. The party began with a Radical Poetry reading, hosted by Zoe Parness, and focussing upon poetry by women. I am biased, but in some ways, this was my favourite part of the evening: the readings, particularly of a number of poems by Margaret Atwood, were wonderful, and were well recieved by a gratifyingly large crowd. Thanks go out to Zoe for organizing and running this!

And then came the music. We began with the rough-edged and exciting rock of Zaphod Theas, who set the tone for much of what was to follow. As the sim began to reach capacity, the dance floor in front of the stage filled to overflowing. Zaphod has not, I think, played for SLLU before. My guess is that he will again, and is destined to become a favourite.
The Virtual Live Band followed, with Zaphod staying on stage as a guest performer. The VLB are old favourites of SLLU, and it's not hard to understand why: driving rock tunes powered by the playing of BlueTom Haller and Mambo Welles, and the soaring bluesy vocals of Foxyflwr Cure were the main reason that the sim was soon so full that it was inaccessible to latecomers. By this time, it was hard to move on the dance floor; strangely, no one seemed to mind very much!

The party ended with another perennial favourite of SLLU: Wildo Hofmann's sometimes eerie but always compellingly beautiful soundscapes worked wonderfully with her particle light show to bring a new and more meditative ambiance to the event. It was, really, a perfect way to end a party celebrating the anniversaries of two groups that are all about a thoughtful and imaginative contemplation of a future and more just world.

I say "two groups," because, of course, this party celebrated (belatedly) not merely the third birthday of the SLLU, but also the first anniversary of the SLLU Feminist Network, which was hosting the event in honour of its parent organization. I'd like to say something a bit more about both of these groups, and in particular about the generosity of the way in which they relate to each other because, for me, this is what this double-handled birthday party represented.

That we were celebrating both birthdays together was entirely appropriate, for the Feminist Network of course grew entirely out of the SLLU. It was a suggestion by Plot Tracer that led the SLLUFN's Ledoof Constantineau to form the feminist group; drawing on the membership of the SLLU, the Network's first meeting was held here almost exactly a year ago.

In that time, the SLLU Feminist Network has grown, in membership, and in maturity. From a small group of dedicated feminists who gathered to discuss women's issues as they pertained both to SL and to RL, the Feminist Network has developed into, I think it is safe to say, one of the most active of the many activist groups in Second Life.

From protesting at rape sims, providing online guidance for new women in SL, and documenting representations of violence against women in SL, all the way to the group's central role in last year's enormously successful 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence -- the Feminist Network has grown into a real force for positive change.

Although I was a member of the SLLU for some time before the founding of the Feminist Network, it was as a member of the latter that I really cut my teeth as an SLactivist. I owe a great deal to the women and men of the SLLUFN for helping to nurture that side of me, and I am even more grateful to them for the many strong friendships and collegial relations that I have developed with them over the past year. The Feminist Network is an activist group, but it is also much more than that: it is a group of remarkable and warmly supportive people whom I cherish as friends as well as comrades and colleagues.

I am also enormously grateful to the SLLU itself, which has never wavered in its strong support of what the Feminist Network has done, and that has also provided a broader context of Left activism that helps inform our own feminist work. I am immensely proud to be a member of both groups: proud of the way that both fight for social justice, and for inclusiveness.

The ongoing concern for both to these is apparent in the recent creation of the SLLU LGBTI Network, a new "child" of the SLLU whose birth we are also celebrating today, and which will grow strong and influential, I am sure, with the support of both SLLU and the SLLU Feminist Network.

Finally, it is only remains to me to thank the many people who have contributed their invaluable assistance to this party today: in particular, to Plot Tracer, Smoke Wijaya, Zoe Parness, Teachergirl Razor, Maggy Portello, LolaRennt Blanco, and Aeris Betsen. Most especially, however, I want to thank the musicians and poets who have donated their time to be there with us, showing their support for the causes the SLLU represents. I very much hope that they will all soon again celebrate with us the twin causes of socialism, and social justice.

And this time ... let's not wait a whole year before we party together again!

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Zoe Parness said...

As always Scylla you manage to encapsulate so much of what we all feel in words.
It was a great night and I am sure I speak for everyone when I say a HUGE thank you for all your hard work. dedication,energy and humour.
We love you Scylla xxx


Plot Tracer said...

I agree with all Scylla has said here about the party... and I agree with Zoe in what she says about Scylla!

With the hard workers we have in SLLU, April 24th should be very interesting :)

Scylla Rhiadra said...

Awwww . . .


Not sure what to say, except to point to that long list of "thank yous" at the end of the post, and note, once again, that this was very much a team effort, which benefited to no small degree from both of your efforts.

Yeah, bring on April 24th; I'm ready to go! Well, um, in a day or two, anyway ... ;)