words

Leslie Feinberg was an activist, an organizer, a theorist and a writer. All of hir words and works carry out hir goal as a Marxist:
The point is not simply to understand the world, but to change it.
Besides Stone Butch Blues, Feinberg wrote five books that embody this concept:
  • Transgender Liberation: A Movement Whose Time Has Come (1992)
  • Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue (1996)
  • Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman (1997)
  • Drag King Dreams (2006)
  • Rainbow Solidarity In Defense of Cuba (2009)

A note from Minnie Bruce Pratt:
As Leslie Feinberg’s literary executor, I am adhering faithfully to hir wishes as zie/she gives those below. I ask that you honor her life and her work by respecting her rights and requests. Leslie also explains in this section hir decision as a communist to make Stone Butch Blues available free to all, and writes briefly about on some of hir decisions about how to narrate the novel.
— Minnie Bruce Pratt

AUTHOR RIGHTS & REQUESTS 

from STONE BUTCH BLUES  20th Anniversary Author’s Edition 2014

I HAD TO WORK TO RECOVER my rights to Stone Butch Blues. When the first publisher went into Chapter 11 court, I had to spend thousands of dollars of my wages on legal fees to recover the right to this novel, and to Minnie Bruce Pratt’s book of poems, Crime Against Nature.

While very ill in Spring 2012, I recovered my rights again.

Once and for all, I hold the author copyright— by law and by labor—to Stone Butch Blues. The novel is not represented by a literary agency. I hold all digital rights.

I am receiving messages from readers, teachers, bookstore owners, publishers and translators asking me:

Where can copies of Stone Butch Blues be ordered, or permissions be gotten for reprint rights, translation agreements, etc.?

Those who are seeking commercial contracts are persistent, and sometimes don’t take “no” for an answer.

I am too ill to respond to inquiries about contracts or permissions.

So I have taken Stone Butch Blues off the capitalist market. I will not be signing any new commercial contracts for this novel or renewing existing contracts when they expire.

No further commercial or permission inquiries, please! 

I’ve written the following regarding author’s rights and requests, in as clear a way as I can, to answer the questions I am asked most frequently in individual inquiries.

I give this novel back to the workers and oppressed of the world.

The revolutionary and anti-capitalist movements for social and economic justice have given me so much in life. I give this novel back, as a tiny handmade gift, flaws and all, to the workers and oppressed of the world.

I have retained full Author Copyright to Stone Butch Blues, rather than license this 20th Anniversary Edition through Creative Commons.

The reason is not out of a fetish for ownership of property but rather to protect my work from being exploited commercially by corporations.

Marxism has never been opposed to private ownership of personal property or products of one’s own labor—and, in fact, holds that everyone should be able to have these things. Instead, Marxists say that the 1% banks and corporations have seized the giant worker-built apparatus of production and the distribution of production as their own—they claim they own it all.

As a communist, I am for abolishing ownership by the 1% of the socially-built apparatus of production.

Workers and oppressed people—already doing the work of the world every day—can run that productive apparatus to make historically overdue reparations and to meet the needs and wants of the 99%.

While Stone Butch Blues is fiction, it speaks truth.

But the capitalist deeds of ownership that say the 1% owns everything that has been produced by collective labor, both enslaved and waged—those deeds are fiction and should be torn up.

And on the day those paper deeds of ownership are torn up, it won’t matter about protecting Stone Butch Blues anymore from commercial exploitation.

Hurry that day!

The law locks up the man or woman

Who steals the goose off the common

But leaves the greater villain loose

Who steals the common from the goose.

 

The law demands that we atone

When we take things we do not own

But leaves the lords and ladies fine

Who take things that are yours and mine.

 The law locks up the man or woman

Who steals the goose from off the common

And geese will still a common lack

Till they go and steal it back.

From the 1600s through the early 1700s, this was a popular protest rhyme against English capitalist-class foreclosure of commonly-held land.

AUTHOR RIGHTS

In the meantime, here I assert my author rights to Stone Butch Blues in this 20th Anniversary Edition:

No permissions, no contracts, no commercial use, no derivative use, no digital rights.

No derivative uses

No adaptations:

Don’t tell me you’re honoring me by saying you can tell this story better than I did.

No movie version:

I worked briefly on a movie version of Stone Butch Blues until I discovered that the producer’s prospectus was trying to raise capital from investors by offering a sexual fantasy: an invitation to watch butches being raped by police. I requested that no movie be made; I don’t believe any movie can be made true to the intention of the book.

No permission for derivative use:

A cartoonist was trying to parlay her comic book drafts of Stone Butch Blues into a book deal. She contacted me about this and I denied permission. She then put her version of Stone Butch Blues up on the web.

Her cover was an interracial butch/femme couple slow-dancing, a white butch and an African- American femme with a gardenia in her hair.

This was the artist’s fantasy. This couple and this scene is nowhere to be found in Stone Butch Blues. I repeatedly asked the artist to take her comic book version off the web, but was only able to get her to take down this derivative work after repeated efforts and great exertion on my part.

I had never given permission for her derivative/digital use of Stone Butch Blues.

Respect begins with asking and receiving permission. I do not give permission for any derivative use of Stone Butch Blues, and not just because of illness.

When I was a child, I made my own crystal radio set from a block of wood, orange juice cans, some wires and transistors, and I discovered the world of narrative dramas I couldn’t see—not like the movies and TV. These were stories I could only hear, and imagine in my mind what the characters looked like.

That’s how I wrote Stone Butch Blues. A lot of people say it’s cinematic, but they are seeing it projected on the screen of their own imagination.

I made a decision in writing Stone Butch Blues based on my anger at seeing how many white writers used whiteness as a default and only described a character if they were of color. Based on my anger at writers who only used thinness as the default and only identified characters as being fat, at writers who didn’t name a character if they were able-bodied or didn’t have a disability, but did label them if they did.

I decided I wasn’t going to do that. In Stone Butch Blues we discover the characters through their reactions to racism and other bigotries. I don’t name who the characters are. I don’t tell, I show.

That means that different people who read this book may have different views about the sizes, and shapes, and abilities, and so forth of these characters. And as readers those are all valid experiences.

But for derivative artists, intent on making derivative art using a narrative I have written, this means that they take their individual idea of who is Black or white, fat or thin, able-bodied or disabled— and the derivative artist flattens and concretizes their own interpretation for all time, as if that’s the truth ofStone Butch Blues for all time and all readers. It’s their imagination re-writing the entire book for all readers.

I do not give permission for Stone Butch Blues to be re-written based on someone else’s imagination.

As a white communist, I am responsible for the book’s strengths and weaknesses.

Stone Butch Blues is not merely a “working class” novel—it is a novel that embodies class struggle.

No digital rights. I’m sticking with the union!

I do not assign any digital rights.

Stone Butch Blues lives on the digital page here at http://www.lesliefeinberg.net/.

Please do not digitally remove Stone Butch Blues from the digital page where it lives; please do not repost the book or parts of the book.

As an author, I have always retained my digital rights. My union—the National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981—educated me to fight for those rights in publishing contracts. I’m with the union to defend the digital rights of workers.

Here are excerpts from the National Writers Union Digital Bill of Rights: www.nwubook.org/DBOR.pdf