October 13, 2012

Awardable Housing news: "Petition Calls for 'Shulamith Firestone Memorial Apartment' for Low-Income Feminists"

The New York Times reports:
Petition Calls For ‘Shulamith Firestone Memorial Apartment’ For Low-Income Feminists 
By MARY REINHOLZ 
Acquaintances of Shulamith Firestone want the rent-stabilized apartment where the author and activist died this summer to be preserved as a residence for a low-income feminist, according to a petition obtained by The Local.
The petition, which can be read below, outlines a plan to earmark her fifth-floor walk-up at 213 East 10th Street for tenants doing “important” feminist work, who cannot afford current market rates in the rapidly gentrifying East Village. The rent would be no more than $1,000 a month. 
Women’s liberation stalwarts like Kate Millett along with East Village literary agent Frances Goldin and Annette Averette, co-director of Sixth Street Community Center, are among those who have signed the petition directed at landlord Robert Perl, owner of Tower Brokerage. 
Written by Fran Luck, executive director of the WBAI radio program “Joy of Resistance: Multi-Cultural Feminist Radio,” it notes that owners and developers of housing in formerly working-class neighborhoods have for decades “set aside” affordable rentals. Ms. Firestone paid about $400 a month, according to Mr. Perl, who said he had been planning to increase the rent of the next tenant in order to offset rising taxes imposed by the Bloomberg administration. A one-bedroom in the building, between First and Second Avenues, was recently leased for $2,095, according to StreetEasy.

Ms. Firestone, who in the 1960s helped organize women’s liberation groups such as Redstockings, New York Radical Women and New York Radical Feminists, was found dead in her apartment in late August. She was 67 and had long been afflicted with mental illness in the years following the 1970 publication of her influential feminist treatise, “The Dialectic of Sex.” Her book embraced technology as a way of freeing women from “the tyranny of their biology.”
“I think she was a difficult tenant,” said Ms. Goldin. “She was a disturbed person and would leave the water on and flood other apartments. She didn’t mean to do this, but if we could persuade the landlord that we could guarantee him a reasonable tenant, maybe he could become a hero. It’s worth a shot.” 

For some reason, I'm reminded of Nick Lowe's 1978 song Marie Prevost
PETITION 
September 30, 2012 
Because…The Feminist world, the Art world and the Lower East Side/East Village Community have just lost one of our great visionaries–Shulamith Firestone–a woman who was able to remain, work and survive in her/our neighborhood for many years because she paid a relatively low rent…. 
Because…the average rent being charged new renters in our neighborhood is about $2,100., and had Shulamith tried to rent here today, it would have been impossible for her to find, live and work in an apartment she could afford…
Because… the Lower East Side/East Village environment is all the poorer for the loss, due to skyrocketing rents, of the kind of creative spirits that formerly gave the neighborhood its unique character–but who are now being priced out… 
Because… Shulamith’s sister feminists, friends and admirers would like to memorialize her by making it possible for a feminist(s) coming after her to be able to live in this neighborhood and do feminist work here–such work usually being either unpaid or poorly paid, and therefore requiring an affordable rent… 
Because.. it is well within “fair housing practices” developed over decades for developers/owners of housing in formerly working class neighborhoods to create “set-asides” of affordable rental units for those who cannot pay market rates… 
Therefore…We, the undersigned, do hereby Petition Robert Perl, owner of 213 East 10th Street, and do strongly urge him to work with us to create a “Shulamith Firestone Memorial Apartment” that would, in perpetuity, remain well below market rates and which rent would, at this time, not exceed $1,000. per month; this apartment would be reserved for a woman who is making an important contribution to the feminist movement that is not well remunerated. 
Candidates for residence in such an apartment would be vetted by a committee of feminists drawn from the list below and would meet the same standards as any other tenant–with the exception of paying a lower-than-market-rate rent. 
Signatures (so far)
Kate Millett, Feminist, Author: Sexual Politics
Frances Goldin, Co-Founder Cooper Square Committee, Literary Agent for Mumia Abu Jamal
Carol Giardina, Professor of Hisory, Queens College, CUNY, Author: Freedom for Women
Kathie Sarachild, Director, Redstockings Archives for Action
Ti-Grace Atkinson, radical feminist
Nellie Hester Bailey, Director, West Harlem Tenants Council
Annette Averette, Co-Director, Sixth Street Community Center
Howard Brandstein, Co-Director, Sixth Street Community Center
Rosalyn Baxandall, Distinguished Professor, SUNY-Old Westbury
Fran Luck, Executive Producer, Joy of Resistance Multicultural Feminist Radio @ WBAI
Erin Mahoney, National Women’s Liberation(NWL)
Allison Guttu, Organizer, NWL, Women of Color Caucus of NWL, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Amy Kesselman, Professor Emerita, SUNY-New Paltz
Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, Professor Emeriti, California State University
Ann Snitow, Network of East-West Women
Marisa Figuereido, Redstockings
Jennifer Sunderland, Redstockings
Pete Dolack, Former Editor, New York State Green Party Newspaper
Bill Koehnlein, Brecht Forum
Marie-Claire Picher, Co-Founder,Theater of the Oppressed Laboratory
Nancy Kogel, MNN TV Producer, Reaching Out for Animal Rights (ROAR)

46 comments:

DaveinHackensack said...

When I first read this headline, before I got to the body of the post, I really thought you were making this up. It's like you said once before, about how the NYT and the Onion are hard to tell apart sometimes.

If I were the landlord, I'd find an upper middle class African American to rent this apartment to. Then I'd ask the feminists why another privileged, eccentric white woman should get preference over a person of color.

DaveinHackensack said...

Also, love the organizations the signatories belong to: The Brecht Forum, ROAR, Theater of the Oppressed -- maybe they can get one of the members of Theater of Hate to sign on too.

IHTG said...

Oh god it's not the Onion

Rob said...

Steve, why don't you just put a link to the Onion at the top of your home page?

Anonymous said...

There are no low income feminists. Feminism is for rich bitches. It has nothing to offer the average woman.

slyboots said...

"Because… Shulamith’s sister feminists, friends and admirers would like to have someone else bear the expenses to memorialize her by making it possible for a feminist(s)..."

- fixed

Tom in VA said...

It would never occur in a million years to any of these august worthies that if they each kicked in just fifty bucks a month they could make up the difference between the market rate and what they want the owner to charge. It's so fun to be all high minded and generous with somebody else's money!

Anonymous said...

Academic spat about different math learning styles of different races

Probably more interesting than that stuff about some dimwit feminists.

Hunsdon said...

Man, what is it with feminists these days? Why, when I was a kid, feminists didn't have to go running, change purse in hand, to the Pale Penis Person, to beg a favor. Where's a feminist who's true to the revolution?

peterike said...

Dear heavenly father, please take unto thy bosom the list of names on that letter, seeketh them out, and smite them every one. Do this in the name of thy people.

Also, will the Left ever get over its romance with poverty? Why does living in a dump confer status? How does it indicate great creativity? If you had great creativity you'd be making money.

Anonymous said...

I guess this chick was at the tail end of the Marxist phase before the advent of the Mary Daly set that started the fetish for hyphenating and acronyming in every sentence in the Angry Gaia Troll phase. It got pretty fugly there for a while.

Podsnap said...

Instead of a Memorial Apartment why not a Memorial Cat Refuge ?

As all these feminist bag lady shut-ins die off, there will be a lot of spolit old cats who need somewhere to stay.

Anonymous said...

feminist bag lady shut-ins

Superb!

Anonymous said...

She paid $400 a month? Jesus wept.
At the start of my career, I worked briefly for the the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, which had taken over NYC rent control authority. Our offices were next to the old NYC Colosieum at Columbus Circle.
There were, at that time, people living in the Sutton Place area for as little as $260 per month on rent control. These people were not poor by any stretch of the imagination, they included a practising M.D. and at least one well-known Broadway producer. Then a local landlord (it may haver been Donald Trump, if I remember correctly)attempted to take back control of a building he owned in the area of Central Park South. This caused a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth in the local press. The tenants of this building, needless to say (I'll say it anyway) were pretty well fixed, they simply wanted to continue paying much less than market rent. Less by a factor of ten, I would guess.
After that, I resigned. I just did not want to have anything to do with such a racket (I also thought that rent control/stabilization was so unworkable that it would sson be abolished...guess I was wrong about that).Sometimes things which cannot continue, nevertheless do continue.

Stacy said...

Feminism is hardly about low-income (omega) and middle-income (beta) women. It's all about rich, high-status (alpha) women and their alpha males.

Like a commenter said here, it offers little to nothing in the long-run for average, everyday women. It also denigrates and offers nothing for the average male (beta and omega males). Average men are peter-pan manboys after all right? They're insecure little things right? They're all evil rapists who hate women right?

Feminism fears/hates the average man and that's why it can't stop criticizing them. These rich feminist women don't find average dudes attractive. Great. We get it. But do you have to call them names and get corporations/government to destroy them?!? Sheesh. Stop being hysterical.

Feminism is all about rich chicks and their oh-so oppresive upper-class male husbands. Yikes!

Nobody should be supporting these pampered Princesses.

Anonymous said...

Low-Income Feminist = Single Mother

There. I fixed it.

MaMu1977 said...

@DaveinHackensack

Believe me, there's a young gay professional who would stab a dozen feminists in their eyes in front of their mothers for that place. He might even be black.

Ian said...

Of she was a mentally ill nut. Of course the GynaPolitboro want someone else to foot the bill for a memorial to her. Of course one of the venom-sisters who signed this BS seems to think that "Literary Agent for Mumia Abu Jamal" is a credential (as opposed to something to be ashamed of). And of course "Shulamith Firestone" was born "Shulamith Bath Shmuel Ben Ari Feuerstein".

David said...

Instead of learning a life lesson from Firestone's miserable little trajectory, these loons are defiant.

Like a junkie who knows smack kills, but continues to initiate new friends into heroin use, so these harpies behave.

Every day is double-down day for these dingalings.

It's almost as if feminism were a religion a la the Shakers. (Interesting facts at that link.)

Anonymous said...

There are no low income feminists. Feminism is for rich bitches. It has nothing to offer the average woman.

I tend to agree. Nearly all the feminists are "rich bitches" or at least middle class, and really none of them had to earn a living with little or no support from family, i.e. Daddy.

And the most militant fembos are lesbians, who have no shortage of disposable income. Single motherhood and Child expenses? Not for lesbians.

Rents too Damn High! said...

These people are discriminating. I fail to see a Queer Rights activist, a Transgender activist, a Lesbian Mechanics for the Dali Lama activist, etc. in the entire list.


Chris James said...

These shining stars of self-righteous oppression have been coming up with gems like that one for quite a while. Try this one on for size:

"Vaginal orgasm as a mass hysterical survival response"


Anonymous said...

Regarding "the rapidly gentrifying East Village," rapidly meaning what, 25 years? Jeez, you couldn't rent on E 10th street for less than $1000 in 1995!

Aaron in Israel said...

Wow, Kate Millett and Ti-Grace Atkinson are still alive?

Anonymous said...

"Instead of learning a life lesson from Firestone's miserable little trajectory, these loons are defiant." - They are searching for meaning in their lives, and in hers. No one gets a do-over, though some are hit much harder than others.

Anonymous said...

The Redstocking's Manifesto

"Because we have lived so intimately with our oppressors, in isolation from each other, we have been kept from seeing our personal suffering as a political condition."

Sleeping with the enemy never worked out, or did it?

CJ said...

Kathy Shaidle wrote a good piece on Firestone's death over at Takimag, which of course also features writing by Steve.

Feminism's Rotting Corpse

Anonymous said...

Hello (other) Anonymous, I know plenty of single mothers, and you are mistaken. None of them are feminists. Why would they be? They have jobs, not careers; they are not rich. Feminism is irrelevant to their lives.

Steiner said...

Conspicuous by his absence from this petition is Reverend Bacon, founder of the Little Shepherd Day Care Center of Harlem.

Other guy said...

'“I think she was a difficult tenant,” said Ms. Goldin. “She was a disturbed person and would leave the water on and flood other apartments. She didn’t mean to do this, but if we could persuade the landlord that we could guarantee him a reasonable tenant, maybe he could become a hero. It’s worth a shot.” '

- I'm sure Mr. Perl, the landlord, is just gushing with the opportunity to have another radical feminist just like Shulamith in his apartment, f'ing it up, and pissing off the neighbors. So happy that he'll let her rent it for $400/mo. instead of the going rate of $2100/mo. if the feminists would only give him a shiny silver-colored star with the word 'hero' on it that he can put on his refrigerator at home! Yaaay!

They say she became mentally disturbed, but I bet the reality is that she was mentally disturbed long before she became a feminist. Feminism and rights activism in general attracts the mentally ill because it gives them an opportunity to hang all of their anger over their f'dup lives on a target regardless of any culpability in a tangible sense. Easier to deal with anger towards an outgroup than to contend with the tangled ball of emotions towards an abusive mother. Besides, you'd have to have a few screws loose to produce or believe most of what passes as intellectual output from these people.

Cranford said...

Turns out she had her own episode of 'Hoarders'


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JkK1JOzcDw

Anonymous said...

a room of one's own... to die alone in

United Squeaky Wheels said...

"Low-income feminist," have they added that protected class to the Census yet

Jake Featherston said...

"The petition, which can be read below, outlines a plan to earmark her fifth-floor walk-up at 213 East 10th Street for tenants doing 'important' feminist work..."

So, no one at all will be permitted to live there, then?

Nexin said...

What does the owner of the apt. need an extra $20k a year for, and why should he think this should override the needs of a young spoiled female who grew up in privilege? He's probably a man, and a doubleplusungood white man at that- he'd just use the money on patriarchial misogynistic heuristics of exploiting the ovarian epiphany of young impressionable females anyway; its not like he has bills to pay, children to put through college, or pay for his retirement.

Steve Sailer said...

So when was this episode of Hoarders? Firestone must have been in her 50s, but she looks 35. So, even in circles of celebrity feminist crazy intellectuals, looks matter. It's society's fault.

Art Deco said...

Evidently that episode of Hoarders was never broadcast. She must have been at least 64 when it was filmed. She is astonishingly well preserved. Her schizophreniform problems are apparently contained enough that they are not obvious.

Anonymous said...

Other guy said...

'“I think she was a difficult tenant,” said Ms. Goldin. “She was a disturbed person and would leave the water on and flood other apartments. She didn’t mean to do this, but if we could persuade the landlord that we could guarantee him a reasonable tenant, maybe he could become a hero. It’s worth a shot.” '

There are many male "difficult tenants", counterparts to Firestone. I don't see any masculist organization taking up their cause, nor any great outpouring of public sympathy, nor really any attention outside of certain mental health advocacy groups.

They say she became mentally disturbed, but I bet the reality is that she was mentally disturbed long before she became a feminist.

Living in a society with the concept of "mental illness" also does not help. In ancient times, Firestone and her brothers and sisters would have been oracles, gurus, wizards, healers, shamans, prophets. In other words, they would have been given some respect, and the space to follow their lifestyle. No institutions. No regimentation. And somehow they survived in their niches, maybe living in caves or huts away from tumultuous towns, and fed and looked after themselves. They never did the pre-modern equivalent of "leaving the water on" and wrecking their neighbours' homes. They never started massive forest fires with their candles and cookfires.

I'm not saying those were the "good old days", just that attitudes have changed. It's a slippery slope from being a wise wizard of otherworldly knowledge, to being demon-possessed and needing exorcism, to being insane and needing a lobotomy.

Feminism and rights activism in general attracts the mentally ill because it gives them an opportunity to hang all of their anger over their f'dup lives on a target regardless of any culpability in a tangible sense.

I see such activists more as poverty pimps than anything else, profitting from the misfortune of the Firestones of the world. Did feminists do anything to help Firestone while she was alive?

Easier to deal with anger towards an outgroup than to contend with the tangled ball of emotions towards an abusive mother.

And who is exploiting such anger for their own benefit?

Relt said...

I looked at the hoarders episode and I think it must be that some students put together a fake episode using the Hoarders intros.

Steve Sailer said...

"it must be that some students put together a fake episode using the Hoarders intros."

Yup. I fell for their prank. Good for them.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not saying those were the "good old days", just that attitudes have changed. It's a slippery slope from being a wise wizard of otherworldly knowledge, to being demon-possessed and needing exorcism, to being insane and needing a lobotomy."

Are you a Scientologist?

Art Deco said...

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1570270821/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

If you "Look Inside!" and page to the end, you see the jacket photo of her last book, which was taken around about 1998 (when she would have been 53). She looks about normal for that age.

The book jacket notes this of her life course: "refusing a career as a professional feminist". There is something rather appealing about that. She lived a private life and did not make a nuisance of herself in the public square (bar, perhaps, her immediate neighbors and her landlord). The great pity is that she had to live that life all alone.

DCS said...

It's impossible to make this stuff up. Comedy gold.

Anonymous said...

According to this 2000 Andrea Dworkin interview, Firestone was "poor and crazy. She rents a room in a house and fills it with junk, then gets kicked out and moves into another room and fills that with junk."

http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/politicsphilosophyandsociety/story/0,6000,220217,00.html


And according to this 1998 Guardian piece, Kate Millett was then in dire straits :

"I cannot get employment. I cannot earn money. Except by selling Christmas trees, one by one, in the cold in Poughkeepsie. I cannot teach and have nothing but farming now. And when physically I can no longer farm, what then? Nothing I write now has any prospect of seeing print. I have no saleable skill, for all my supposed accomplishments. I am unemployable. Frightening, this future. What poverty ahead, what mortification, what distant bag-lady horrors, when my savings are gone ?"

Marc B said...

The Lower East Side was still an exciting and dangerous place to venture as recently as the late 1980's. After spending an extended weekend there on sensory overload there in 1987, I understood how why so much angry and noisy music was made by it's most prominent residents (Foetus, Cop Shoot Cop SWANS, PG, UNSANE. It certainly didn't strike me as a paradise for 1970's structural feminists back then.

Anonymous said...

Cat women who get consumed in lefty politics don't seem to fare well after their expiration date:

Parker died on June 7, 1967 of a heart attack[3] at the age of 73. In her will, she bequeathed her estate to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. foundation. Following King's death, her estate was passed on to the NAACP.[56] Her executor, Lillian Hellman, bitterly but unsuccessfully contested this disposition.[57] Her ashes remained unclaimed in various places, including her attorney Paul O'Dwyer's filing cabinet, for approximately 17 years.[58] Wikipedia

Though the elite seemed more honest back then: These were no giants. Think who was writing in those days--Lardner, Fitzgerald, Faulkner and Hemingway. Those were the real giants. The Round Table was just a lot of people telling jokes and telling each other how good they were. Just a bunch of loudmouths showing off, saving their gags for days, waiting for a chance to spring them.... There was no truth in anything they said. It was the terrible day of the wisecrack, so there didn't have to be any truth....[54]

Few of us will ever be so honest about the futility of our lives.