Tuesday, November 20, 2007

WVC Interview: Kady Ax Maker to the Queen aka Van Deurs

     Kady being interviewed at the Peace Camp by the Women's Video Collective, August 5, 1983.  Kady had just been released from jail after being arrested with 53 other women while attempting to peacefully march through the nearby town of Waterloo.

     Kady at the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice, 1983. Photo by Lynn Marie.

Excerpt from Kady's 1989 book, Panhandling Papers: Finishing the Walk: The Women’s Peace Camp at Seneca, New York
The New Women’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.
  Kady, drawing by Paula Gottlieb,  1981
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 the day before they left. I lay in front of their busses 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. Men had to bring a big machine – a giant power drill – to drill a new hole for the gatepost. Only a few of us were there, sitting in a circle on the grass, watching the men and the machine. One of us said, “Wouldn’t it be nice if that machine would break.” We sat there silently thinking about that and then, to our delight, flames and smoke came out of the machine. 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: “Sitting in the saddle down in Washington. They call him Ron with the neutron bomb…” 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.”

We Write Letters, March 22, 1985
“I write because I am hungry poor angry heart-broken
because most of the women on the planet
spend all of our lives as unpaid servants.
And now the criminally insane men who run the government
are about to kill all life on the planet
and we must stop them.

Our pens are dangerous weapons.
We speak. We listen.
We tell each other what we know
any way we can.

I just found out that multi-national corporations
have broken most of the paid work into little pieces
and have sprinkled the pieces all over the globe
wherever wages are lowest
and young Third World women are going blind
soldering wires that are one-tenth of an inch long
at prison wages.
The corporations have put 450 factories just over the Mexican
border where wages are one-fifth of what they would be on this
side of the line.

We are going to get rid of the multi-national corporations, and the governments they have bought, and everything nuclear, and all the arms and armies. We are going to stop giving them all our energy in exchange for room and board. We are going to use ourselves and our earth’s resources to do the things that seem to us worth doing. We are going to get rid of rape and racism and mutilation and murder and domination and starvation. Millions of obscure women are breaking out of silence and we are saying we are poor and tired and hungry and sick and angry. We produce 100% of the people and we are going to go on strike and change almost everything.”

 ~ Kady Ax Maker to the Queen


  1. I met Kady in '78 at the MWMF in Hesperia and she called me Daughter, showed me foxfire under old wood, and sent me to Northwoods outside of Ithaka. I'm old now and thought of her this May Day morning when I woke up from a dream, reassured that since I've been such a good womyn in this life I've owned, I'll get to swing back right away, with memories and a singing voice. I hadn't known she had already gone ahead, until I googled her, but now it doesn't scare me so much to think about dying, knowing that she remembers me.
    Blessed Be,

  2. I was there. i just discovered the blog and spent an hour in my own herstoy...tears came when i saw
    Kady Ax maker to the Queen, just as i remember her, a queen herself! i have still the little silver circle with it's negative space double edged ax...and I have two slide trays full of documentation, and some old VHS tapes too. It's a long story, and I am too screen-fried tonight to tell it...I hope someone is still looking and will connect back to me either by email or through my blog http//mscomfortzone.blogspot.com/

    1. Hello- I just came across this post. Do you still have this material? Are you looking for a home for it? I was a good friend of Kady's for many years and can commit to care taking of the materials if that is what you are seeking.

  3. AnonymousJuly 26, 2013

    Hi All Kindred Spirits, I have come to that (mid?) point in life where one must divest of many things and was going through some memories of the past days and with it I found my "little axe" earring which I bought from Kady at Michigan sometime in the early eighties. After re-reading part of her a"Pan-handling Papers" the other day I decided in these days of increased war and universal terror I would wear Kady's little axe in love and rememberance of her and the other powerful "wimnen" as Kady liked ti write it....so that when people (esp. the young folks) ask me "what is that?" I can retell something about Kady and so many others who always have lived the struggle ti bring about awareness and change so others can live freely. Wherever you are gteat lady, I'm thinking of you and feeling your love, goodnight. I'm grateful our paths crossed on this small planet. MStG