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Dispatch #19 Day 122 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

March 8th 2017 Dispatch #19 

Day 122 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)

Day 47 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

 

International Women’s Day inspires and requires a return to calling out Misogyny and the War on Women. Misogyny is the indispensable partner, the necessary foundation for White Supremacy and White Nationalism and Fascism and Christian Supremacy.

 

Over the millienia, the basic tool of oppression has involved treating one-half of the world’s human beings as the Other, the less-than-human, the not-as-human. Objectified, sexualized, treated as property, degraded as source of filth, cut-up and mutilated, repository for all male rage, source of everything dangerous, and the (barely) living testimony to the consequences as well as requirements of misogyny. Once this treatment of women is learned/accepted/practiced, how easy it becomes to join with all other atrocities of oppression. Once objectification of another human being is felt and believed as normal, no constraints are too horrible to breach. [From PAWSM Dispatch #4 November 17th 2016]

 

LOOK and SEE! We must realize how important the liberation of women from Misogyny is to achieving equitable and just communities. Misogyny illuminates how the oppression of women is essential to building and maintaining all structural oppressions. Indeed, death-dealing/brutality-affirming Misogyny exemplifies the fear and hatred of the other that support oppression in all forms.

For example, while James Baldwin didn’t specifically consider Misogyny, he saw oppression growing from conception of masculinity premised on hyper-heterosexuality and misogyny that required hatred of any challenge to this norm. Thus homophobia is rooted in the definition of masculinity built on misogyny.

In Four Days That Changed the World’: Unintended Consequences of a Women’s Rights Conference, Gillian Thomas reviews DIVIDED WE STAND: The Battle Over Women’s Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics by Marjorie J. Spruill and recounts compelling recent history. Thomas says Spruill persuasively argues that events surrounding the four-day National Women’s Conference in 1977 created the conditions for entrenching intransigent misogyny.  

The Conference had an unintended, equally revolutionary consequence, though: the unleashing of a women-led “family values” coalition that cast feminism not just as erroneous policy but as moral transgression. Led by Phyllis Schlafly, a small but savvy coalition of foot soldiers mobilized against the Conference’s aims. These activists found common cause in their deep religiosity and opposition to feminism’s perceived diminishment of “real” womanhood. And although their leadership denied it, the group also had ties to white supremacists. “Divided We Stand” argues that the potency of these advocates and their successors reshaped not just the nation’s gender politics, but the politics of the Democratic and Republican Parties as well.

The chapters detailing these competing events are the best in “Divided We Stand.” The feminists’ conference was steeped in symbolism, starting with the lighting of a “torch of freedom” in Seneca Falls, N.Y. — site of the 1848 women’s conference marking the beginning of first-wave feminism — that over the next six weeks was carried to Houston by a relay of runners including icons like Billie Jean King. Speakers included three first ladies — Rosalynn Carter, Betty Ford and Lady Bird Johnson — as well as Coretta Scott King, the Texas representative Barbara Jordan, the anthropologist Margaret Mead, and fiery political newcomers like Ann Richards and Maxine Waters.

In contrast, the family values rally was as much a religious revival as a political event. A sign placed next to the podium said it all: “Women’s Libbers, E.R.A. LESBIANS, REPENT. Read the BIBLE while YOUR [sic] ABLE.” Many of the attendees — who were nearly all white — were men. Among them was the archconservative California representative Robert Dornan, who exhorted the audience to let their members of Congress know, as one attendee put it, that “the great silent majority is on the move to take the nation under God’s guidance.”

After Houston, that contingent was more successful in making political inroads than its feminist counterparts. The difference, as documented by Spruill, was in its single-minded pursuit of those power brokers Dornan had commended to it. Most notably, it won over the Republican Party leadership. At the time of the commission’s formation, Republicans were moderate when it came to feminism; the 1976 party platform, for instance, included support for the E.R.A. But by the 1980 presidential election, that had changed; the “family values” coalition co-opted the party platform, won conversions on abortion from Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and propelled them — along with numerous other state and federal candidates — to victory.

www.nytimes.com/2017/03/06/books/review/divided-we-stand-marjorie-j-spruill.html 

 

In declaring Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute, the “Racial Integrity Act of 1924”, unconstitutional in 1962, the Supreme Court essentially decided that religion would no longer legally be a defense/tool for White Supremacy.   But, religion continues to serve as a legal tool to control female bodies and shore up Misogyny’s institutionalization. Yup, the majority of white so-called evangelicals/Christians voted in 2016 for a man who seemed to be the antithesis of their values in every way except one – apparently the most important one — control of women’s bodies.  They are certain that God’s work includes Misogyny.

I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is. www.azquotes.com/author/18501-Joan_D_Chittister

Aileen Hernandez, a life-long hero and tireless champion for justice, recently died. Her obituary recounted her observation as she looked back over a lifetime of struggle. We have not made it. We have not made it by any way,” she said in 2013. “So we have a lot of work to do and we need the young people to know the history.” www.washingtonpost.com/national/aileen-hernandez-former-now-president-who-fought-for-womens-and-minority-rights-dies-at-90/2017/03/01/

 

Yes, just as with dismantling White Supremacy, we need to know history deeply and incisively to dismantle Misogyny.

Anti-choice-self-described-pro-life women who have the audacity to claim that they are also feminists are nothing more than misogynist shills for Christian Supremacists and White Supremacists. Feminism, not surprisingly, has become a meaningless, almost insulting word when we recognize/acknowledge what is at stake. The War on Women threatens all women and the future of the planet. Misogyny works insidiously every day to deaden and disable women – women who can lead the revolution to dismantle all structural oppressions.

 

Feminists have to question, not just all of Western culture, but the organization of culture itself, and further, even the very organization of nature. Many women give up in despair: if that’s how deep it goes they don’t want to know. www.azquotes.com/author/4834-Shulamith_Firestone

Jessa Crispin’s new book, Why I’m Not a Feminist, A Feminist Manifesto, challenges women to understand how Feminism in the early 21st Century came to be about the experiences of individual women making it within White Supremacy and Capitalism.  

It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those other identified as outside the structures, in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make the strengths. For we have built into all of us, old blueprints of expectation and response, old structures of oppression and these must be altered at the same time that we alter the living condition which are the result of those structures. For the master’s tool will never dismantle the master’s house. www.azquotes.com/author/9041-Audre_Lorde

 

Madeleine Davies, Senior Writer for Jezebel, recently posted a piece she calls “A Frank Talk with Jessa Crispin About Why Modern-Day Feminism Is Full of Shit.”

Crispin does not seek to be controversial. Instead, she strives to expose just how far feminism has gotten from its original goal—to rebuild a society based on equality and fairness—and how incredibly diluted the word “feminist” has become. There’s nothing dry or boring about Why I’m Not a Feminist, A Feminist Manifesto but it still finds ways to chafe—particularly in its unflinching and convincing condemnation of just how retrograde and blind we’ve become to how our self-empowerment disenfranchises others, and the ways we reward performative victimhood over tried and true activism.

By denouncing feminism, Crispin does not fault it. Rather she illuminates how the cause itself has deteriorated over time. I do agree with Crispin’s assertion that many feminists, in all our eagerness to get ahead and go mainstream, have lost any sense of radicalism—and philosophy—along the way.

“We’ve forgotten,” to quote Crispin,that for something to be universally accepted, it must become as banal, as non-threatening and ineffective as possible.” Similar to a lot of current day political discourse, we now shy away from intellectualism, perhaps even spurning it in favor of poorly researched, poorly written personal essays and girl power platitudes. Rather than focus on women who are actually disenfranchised, she poses that many of us would rather inflate our own victimhood—a time-honored tactic to avoid responsibility—and make excuses for our greed and lack of empathy. “We keep losing women to participation in the system, instead of where they should be, which is insubordination. The idea that you can make the strongest impact by influencing culture from the inside is naive at best, disingenuous at worst.”

“Once assimilation became a possibility—and I feel like this happens with pretty much every marginalized group that’s fighting for equality—once assimilation becomes a possibility, you kind of abandon your principles because it’s much easier to just enter the system than destroy it. The more radical thinkers in the second wave make contemporary feminists really uncomfortable. I’ve seen a lot of people working really hard to say, “Oh, well, I’ve never read Andrea Dworkin, but here’s my opinion on her” and, “Oh, you don’t have to read Firestone. You don’t have to read any of that stuff. You can understand feminism within your own self and experiences.”

And that’s the new thing. You don’t have to understand history, you don’t have to understand the philosophy. It’s just, “your experience is the only thing that’s valid.” So understanding the second wave feminist stance that the whole system is broken and gross and has to be destroyed—that’s gonna make someone who thinks that it’s only their experiences that are necessary feel uncomfortable.” http://themuse.jezebel.com/a-frank-talk-with-jessa-crispin-about-why-modern-day-fe-1792367458

 

Reparations for African Americans recognizes that comprehensively addressing the systemic consequences of White Supremacy must be the foundation for creating a just and equitable America. Similarly for women, equity and reparations for the systemic consequences of Misogyny demand a multi-dimensional accounting and accountability.

 

We need to imagine a world in which every woman is the presiding genius of her own body. In such a world women will truly create new life, bringing forth not only children if and as we choose but the visions, and the thinking, necessary to sustain, console and alter human existence-a new relationship to the universe. Sexuality, politics, intelligence, power, motherhood, work, community, intimacy will develop new meanings; thinking itself will be transformed. This is where we have to begin. www.azquotes.com/author/12289-Adrienne_Rich

 

Two organizations that are imagining and doing the dismantlement of Misogyny’s toxic consequences:

National Domestic Workers Alliance        www.domesticworkers.org

The National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, most of whom are women.

Founded in 2007, NDWA works for the respect, recognition, and inclusion in labor protections for domestic workers. The national alliance is powered by over 60 affiliate organizations—plus our first local chapter in Atlanta—of over 20,000 nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers for the elderly in 36 cities and 17 states.

NDWA is winning improved working conditions while building a powerful movement rooted in the human rights and dignity of domestic workers, immigrants, women, and their families by: Changing how we value care, women, families, and our communities; Developing women of color leaders and investing in grassroots organizations; Building powerful state, regional, and national campaigns for concrete change.

Domestic workers care for the things we value the most: our families and our homes. They care for our children, provide essential support for seniors and people with disabilities to live with dignity at home, and perform the home care work that makes all other work possible. They are skilled and caring professionals, but for many years, they have labored in the shadows, and their work has not been valued. These workers deserve respect, dignity and basic labor protections.

Domestic work is the work that makes all other work possible. Together, we can win the protections and recognition that this vital American workforce needs.

   DNWA We Dream In Black

From the Atlanta washerwoman’s strike in 1881 to the original National Domestic Workers’ Union of America in the 1960s and 70s led by Dorothy Bolden, the National Domestic Workers Alliance is proud to carry on the tradition of organizing with Black women and Black communities. 

We Dream In Black aims to strengthen and expand our base of Black domestic workers and amplify their historical and current contributions to the broader domestic worker movement.  Given the legacy of Black women in domestic work, and the ongoing ways in which race shapes the conditions and experiences of workers, NDWA has prioritized building strong organizing projects rooted in Black communities.

NDWA’s vision for a healthy multi-racial democracy, one that includes real opportunity and equity for Black communities, takes into account the particular histories of Black women in the US. To this end, we are investing in developing effective strategies and models for organizing Black domestic workers. Building upon the work of NDWA’s Atlanta-based chapter, as well as the organizing of Afro-Caribbean workers in New York City, we now seek to further develop our organizing of Black domestic workers, support the leadership of Black members, and implement strategies that are culturally relevant and authentic to Black domestic workers.

SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collaborative www.sistersong.net

SisterSong’s mission is to strengthen and amplify the collective voices of indigenous women and women of color to achieve reproductive justice by eradicating reproductive oppression and securing human rights. SisterSong defines Reproductive Justice as the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.

Do read the Herstory of Reproductive Justice at www.sistersong.net/reproductivejustice

 

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Dispatch #18 Day 116 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

Dispatch #18   March 2nd 2017

Day 116 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)

Day 41 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

Well Geez….Are you Fucking Kidding me?!?!?
Yes, this would be my Reactive Outrage with no purpose other than hurling contempt at the pundits, journalists, and self-styled political leaders (C’mon Van Jones, what the hell is going on with you??!) who are breathlessly reporting that the Illegitimate PeeOTUS met the lowest comportment standard possible by managing to read a teleprompter for 60 minutes with only a few errors. Suddenly we have a ‘presidential’ Illegitimate PeeOTUS. Despite the de rigueur condemnations of his strong-man-autocratic-leadership-style, we are suddenly supposed to be reassured that the country isn’t going to the dark side because this Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Ignorant-Narcissist managed a brief time-out?! (And no scotch tape on his tie either.)
So a brief review of who/what the Illegitimate-PeeOTUS represents and why we need to pay more attention to his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings seems in order. OK, just how reprehensible are these Republicans?

 

Jessica Valenti offers a great take-down of CPAC dis-inviting Mil Yiannopoulos:

Those who canceled his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference and pulled his book because they found what he said about children abhorrent are essentially conceding that everything he said previously was tolerable. That the racism, misogyny, xenophobia were just fine. That they could live with Yiannapoulos outing trans students – putting them at risk of violence – and emboldening online mobs to attack women and people of color.

And make no mistake, the conservative posturing on child sex abuse falls especially flat considering their tolerance for racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric: children of color and kids from marginalized communities are far more likely to be abused because predators target those who are unprotected. Their policies make certain children much more vulnerable to abuse, so I’m quite over hearing how much they care about kids.

Conservatives show us who they are every day – they dehumanize vast swaths of people, disempower the most marginalized, and tolerate discrimination and bile from their own politicians and president.

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/21/milo-yiannopoulos-republican-bigotry-alt-right

 

Another Guardian Columnist Trevor Timm writes:

Nearly all the oxygen and outrage in DC is being sucked up by Donald Trump and his outrageous executive orders. But let’s not forget about the man without whom Trump could not accomplish his larger agenda: the spineless speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, Trump’s mainstream defender and apologist at every turn.

Ryan, who has cultivated a sham image as the “reasonable” Republican for years, has backed virtually all of Trump’s most controversial and cruel policies. Ryan manages to never buck Trump on anything of significance, while getting publicity for meaningless, quasi-critical statements. He is the biggest fraud in American politics.

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/27/paul-ryan-donald-trump-enabler

 

And of course the most courageous and outrageous late night TV host Samantha Bee of Full Frontal skewers the so-called “conscience of the Republican Party” as the worst of the worst.  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oAEJsE-TUvQ&ebc=ANyPxKphleh4zsVzxoT57J3GJSJV1FcX4fHQ21rzTsmLoeeqS6iZQpEHbXTURnPgcQoPNmlVIhrUXQQf81ZrXQRDTfFipufyVg

Paul Ryan (despite his baby blues, or perhaps because of them) embodies priorities for American that include: getting as much as you can with unrestrained capitalism; demonizing the others of color(s); tearing down any and all government program that promotes health, welfare, environment, education and opportunity for all; ensuring the ascendance of ravenous capitalists and white nationalists; and normalizing hatred and bigotry-driven brutal actions.

For another recent and overlooked example of Republican depravity as well as a reminder of America’s brutal past under Reagan, how about the consideration of Elliot Abrams for Deputy Secretary of State. SO UNFAIR that he lost his chance to be Deputy Secretary of State because he had criticized the Illegitimate PeeOTUS during the campaign. L

It didn’t matter that he is guilty of crimes against humanity due to his cover-up and protection of death squads in El Salvador and Guatemala where indigenous women and their families were raped and murdered by the thousands during the Reagan administration’s support for murderous right-wing dictators across Central America during the 1980s. Somehow Abrams was only charged with, and convicted of, lying about his role to Congress. Yup, not what he did, but lying about it.

Eric Alterman discusses this in the February 2nd 2017 issue of The Nation:

I don’t know about you, but intentionally helping the US government to aid and abet the commission of genocide, while attacking the character and reputation of those trying to expose it, strikes me as securely within the definition of “war criminal.” But since Abrams’s 1991 conviction for his Iran-contra lies (and subsequent pardon by George H.W. Bush), the course of his failing-upward career has repeatedly revealed the moral rot at the heart of our political establishment.

www.thenation.com/article/an-actual-american-war-criminal-may-become-our-second-ranking-diplomat/

http://mondoweiss.net/2013/05/guatemalan-genocide-christian/

The conviction of Rios Montt for genocide in Guatemala during his short rule (1982-1983) has brought that episode back into the news. The death toll during the Guatemalan civil war was estimated at 200,000 by a UN commission, with the overwhelming majority of these casualties (93 percent) committed by the army, though only a portion during the reign of Rios Montt. The record is one of mass slaughter, mass rape, and possibly the worst human rights violation in the Western Hemisphere in the last 50 years.

As anyone who followed human rights issues back then knows, the Reagan Administration supported the Guatemalan regime, with Reagan personally defending the dictator, claiming that he had “great personal integrity and commitment.” Elliott Abrams also claimed that the human rights situation was improving–precisely when it was at its worst. The Guatemalan regime had many supporters–the Reagan Administration, the Christian Right, and several other countries, including Israel, Taiwan, and the fascist regimes in Argentina and Chile.

 

See also Eric Alterman in July 8-15 2013 issue of The Nation:

www.thenation.com/article/upside-genocide/ The Upside of Genocide The reputations of Reagan-era officials who enabled the Guatemalan genocide have not been tarnished.

And lest we think that American crimes against humanity have ended in Central America, we must think again. The grinding poverty and relentless drug-related violence that have driven so many residents of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to seek better lives in the US are directly the consequence of US imperialism in Central America during most of the 20th Century. America continues to send money and arms to repressive regimes.

www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/opinion/an-idealists-martyrdom-fails-to-move-honduras.html

A year after the killing [of Berta Cáceres], the situation in Honduras has become only worse. Activists and journalists critical of the government continue to be targets of violence. The public prosecutor’s office consistently fails to conduct proper investigations into the killings of activists. Yet the office receives full-throated backing from the United States’ ambassador and its State Department. A recent report by the human rights group Global Witness notes that the United States gives Honduras tens of millions of aid dollars “directed to the police and military, both of which are heavily implicated in violence against land and environmental activists.”

www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/28/berta-caceres-honduras-military-intelligence-us-trained-special-forces

Berta Cáceres court papers show murder suspects’ links to US-trained elite troops

The internationally-recognized Honduran environmental activist’s killing a year ago bears the hallmarks of a ‘well-planned operation designed by military intelligence’ says legal source.

 

Besides virulent racist rhetoric, Republicans relentlessly attacked Obama for the Affordable Care Act. ‘ObamaCare decried as America’s horror and nightmare that will destroy the healthcare system.’ Referring to enactment of ACA, which expanded access to public and private health insurance, Ted Cruz declared this to be the worst event in American history since….well, since slavery. Wow….
Of course America has stood alone for more than 100 years as the only high-income country without universal health insurance or universal access to personal healthcare services. Despite ‘ObamaCare’, the richest country in the world still does not guarantee access to health insurance or to personal healthcare services. Exceptionalism one imagines.
So this news flash doesn’t come as a surprise, although you probably didn’t see it.

 

US Life Expectancy Expected to Fall further Behind Other Countries!

Life expectancy in the United States is already much lower than most other high-income countries and is expected to fall even further behind by 2030, new research published today [February 21 2017] predicts. The USA has the highest child and maternal mortality, homicide rate, and body-mass index of any high-income country, and was the first of high-income countries to experience a halt or possibly reversal of increase in height in adulthood, which is associated with higher longevity,” the authors write. The United States also lacks universal health coverage available in other high-income countries and has the largest share of unmet health care needs due to financial costs. www.cbsnews.com/news/us-life-expectancy-expected-to-fall-further-behind-other-countries/

The USA is also the only country in the OECD without universal health coverage, and has the largest share of unmet health-care needs due to financial costs. Not only does the USA have high and rising health inequalities, but also life expectancy has stagnated or even declined in some population subgroups. Therefore, the poor recent and projected US performance is at least partly due to high and inequitable mortality from chronic diseases and violence, and insufficient and inequitable health care. www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)32381-9/fulltext

“None of this is news to anyone who has been paying attention. But it is nevertheless disappointing to see the major press organs in the US ignore this important report.” Yves Smith observes in her February 23rd post.

https://macro.economicblogs.org/naked-capitalism/2017/02/smith-lancet-study-expectancy-2030-confirms US Performance/

 

Well, as Mike Pence recently reassured us, we should all take heart because the Frightful Era of the ‘ObamaCare Horror’ will soon be coming to an end.  

 

 

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Dispatch #17 Day 114 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

February 28 2017 Dispatch #17

Day 114 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)

Day 39 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy- Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

 

I have just finished reading Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Searing. Devastating. Heart-piercing. Speaking to the virulently toxic legacy of structural White Supremacy which structure stands as the foundation for America. Revealing how these evils nourished ravenous and unrestrained capitalism that is the prized “right” above all other values. The Irish girl who turns in her white employers for hiding a runaway slave — knowing that the older couple will be stoned to death – instructs/explains to her sister immigrants: “A girl’s got to look after her interests if she’s going to get ahead in this country.” Michiko Kakutami’s review is incisive:

In his dynamic new novel, Colson Whitehead takes the Underground Railroad — the loosely interlocking network of black and white activists who helped slaves escape to freedom in the decades before the Civil War — and turns it from a metaphor into an actual train that ferries fugitives northward. The result is a potent, almost hallucinatory novel that leaves the reader with a devastating understanding of the terrible human costs of slavery.

One of the remarkable things about this novel is how Mr. Whitehead found an elastic voice that accommodates both brute realism and fable-like allegory, the plain-spoken and the poetic — a voice that enables him to convey the historical horrors of slavery with raw, shocking power. He conveys its emotional fallout: the fear, the humiliation, the loss of dignity and control. And he conveys the daily brutality of life on the plantation, where Cora is gang-raped, and where whippings (accompanied by scrubbings in pepper water to intensify the pain) are routine. Over the years, Mr. Whitehead writes, Cora “had seen men hung from trees and left for buzzards and crows. Women carved open to the bones with the cat-o’-nine-tails. Bodies alive and dead roasted on pyres. Feet cut off to prevent escape and hands cut off to stop theft.

In North Carolina, slave patrollers “required no reason to stop a person apart from color,” Mr. Whitehead writes. Defending the need for night riders, one senator tells an angry mob that their “Southern heritage lay defenseless and imperiled” from the “colored miscreants” who lurked in the dark, threatening “to violate the citizens’ wives and daughters.”

Such passages resonate today: the police killings of unarmed black men and boys, the stop-and-frisk policies that often target minorities, and the anti-immigrant language used by politicians to ramp up prejudice and fear. Mr. Whitehead does not italicize such parallels. He does not need to. The harrowing tale he tells here is the back story to the injustices African-Americans and immigrants continue to suffer, but a back story only in the sense, as Faulkner put it, that “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

www.nytimes.com/2016/08/03/books/review-the-underground-railroad-colson-whitehead.html

 
I have stood in front of my computer several times during the past 3 weeks, searching for some coherent train of thoughts upon which I might construct a dispatch. I don’t want to think I have grown weary just a few weeks after the flowering of unbridled fascism here. I do understand that RESISTANCE language, organizing, and actions will require years of work – the breadth of the ground lost recently recounted by the New York Times:

Republicans have top-to-bottom control in 25 states now (ID, WY, UT, AZ, TX, SD, ND, NB, IA, MO, AR, KS, OK, WI, MI, IN, OH, KY, TN, MS, AL, GA, FL, SC, NH) holding both the governorship and the entire legislature, and Republican lawmakers are acting with lightning speed to enact longstanding conservative priorities. In states from New England to the Midwest and across the South, conservative lawmakers have introduced or enacted legislation to erode union powers and abortion rights, loosen gun regulations, expand school-choice programs and slash taxes and spending. Republicans have gained power rapidly in the states since the 2008 presidential election, winning 33 governorships and in many instances entrenching themselves in power through legislative redistricting.

www.nytimes.com/2017/02/11/us/state-republican-leaders-move-swiftly.html

 

State legislators and legislatures, encouraged and enabled by the ascension of fascism are likely to create more immediate and deadly threats to human rights and civil rights than the White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings.

Yeah, guns for everyone complete with silencers; a ramped up war on women; utter disdain for poor and vulnerable people; unrestrained and unrepentant destruction of immigrant families; a robust return to polluting our water and air. http://ktla.com/2017/02/23/ice-agents-move-hospitalized-salvadoran-woman-awaiting-emergency-surgery-to-detention-facility-in-texas/ this young mother of two transported in a wheelchair with hands and feet bound.

 

How can we make sense of these brutal behaviors carried out for centuries by American leaders?

Well, I deliberately chose Ascendancy and NOT Emergence of White Supremacy. Isn’t it OBVIOUS that Republican gains based on playing the race card accelerated during Obama’s Presidency?! (Perhaps this could be called ‘hiding in plain post-racist-sight.’) Are we white people that desperately determined to avoid facing our legacy of White Supremacy?! James Baldwin would say yes. Did the emergence of the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements mid-20th-century spark the strategically-planned growth of the ultra-conservative White Supremacist-wing of the Republican Party to take back their country from the others? Angela Davis would say yes.

Many progressive/social justice movements are engaged in critically important work essential to the possibility of America becoming a country that can be truer to its founding mythologies. White Supremacy remains a foundational poison, however, yet to be exorcized, reconciled, and atoned.   Many Americans alive today either witnessed or heard first-hand accounts of unspeakable lynchings of black people (including WW2 veterans), lynchings where white people cheered, had picnics, and took pieces of human flesh as souvenirs. We have all witnessed the apartheid/genocide by drugs, guns and prisons of urban-dwelling blacks. Such events, framed by 400 years of slavery and Jim Crow, leave indelible marks on the country’s psyche and DNA.  How else to explain the depth of viciousness, cruelty, and rejection of any semblance of common/public good cultivated by politicians, ramping up since the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, and brought to a firestorm since Obama’s election in 2008.

Liberal and progressive pundits are regularly sounding this call to arms – how we can reclaim American values and democracy by rejecting the Illegitimate-PeeOTUS. Really?! These assertions ring hollow and reflect a deep ignorance of America’s past and present. Like Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca, we are ‘shocked, shocked’ to find our country wielding White Supremacy/Nationalism in response to the deep anxieties and anger provoked by this Era of Post-Industrial Global Capitalism. Uh-Huh…  

 

Perhaps I sound too angry? Too dark and too outraged? Nah, although wearying, I like my anger and out-rage.  

“Anger is not bad. Anger can be a very positive thing, the thing that moves us beyond the acceptance of evil.” Thank you Joan Chittister. http://www.joanchittister.org/ See also https://cpsglobal.org/content/anger-energy-can-be-asset

 

Sophia A. McClennen, in Salon article, notes the optimism of James Baldwin’s anger:

One clip in the film shows Baldwin when he appeared in a TV documentary called “The Negro and the American Promise.” Baldwin points out that the problem of race in America is the problem of America itself, of its inability to come to terms with a system that depends on marginalizing large classes of people.

“What white people have to do, is try and find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place because I’m not a nigger. I’m a man, but if you think I’m a nigger, it means you need it,” Baldwin says. “If I’m not a nigger here and you invented him — you, the white people, invented him — then you’ve got to find out why. And the future of the country depends on that, whether or not it’s able to ask that question

At one point in the film Baldwin explains that even though he refuses to whitewash the brutality of U.S. race relations, he remains an optimist. He is an optimist, he tells the viewer, because he is alive and refuses to give up. In this way, decades after his death, Baldwin offers viewers a model of optimism for the Trump era. It’s an optimism that’s rooted in reality, in seeing things as they are, and in asking the hard questions no one wants to hear.

As Baldwin wrote. “American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.”  It is hard to suppress the feeling that if we don’t heed his words, things could get a whole lot more terrible.  www.alternet.org/culture/why-great-writer-james-baldwins-insights-about-america-are-more-relevant-ever

 

As we focus on immigrants, labor rights, environmental degradation, privatization of everything, criminalization of poverty, economic inequities, and militarization of everything, we must also face the structural oppression that continues to nurture a country unable to grow up. We are crippled and paralyzed by the discord between our American mythologies and our American history past and present. Is reconciliation and atonement possible in America? James Baldwin believed in this possibility.

For more practical instruction for how to act on your own belief in this possibility, Go To The Movement for Black Lives Platform. https://policy.m4bl.org/platform/ 

And Check out http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/

 

Racism [White Supremacy] is still present throughout all of our contemporary institutions and structures. Racism is devastating to people of color and is closely intertwined with all systems of oppression. It robs all of us- white people and people of color- of our humanity. We honor and learn from the long history of people of color and white people who have been unrelenting in their struggles for racial justice, and ending all systems of oppression. We are showing up to take our responsibility as white people to act collectively and publicly to challenge the manipulation of racist fear by the ruling class and corporate elite. We know that to transform this country we must be part of building a powerful multiracial majority to challenge racism [White Supremacy] in all its forms.

Will Racism Ever End? Will I Ever Stop Being A Nigger?

www.utne.com/community/kevin-powell-will-racism-ever-end-zl0z16szsau

Kevin Powell’s long piece in Utne details the work necessary to approach this possibility and, as these excerpts suggest, we White Americans MUST know our history.

I can hear my White sisters and brothers say now, as many often declare to me when this uncomfortable dialogue occurs, “But I did not own slaves, I had nothing to do with that” or “My relatives did not do that.” It does not matter if you or your long-gone relatives were directly involved or not, or if you believe that “that is in the past.” The past, tragically, is the present, because we’ve been too terrified to confront our whole history and our whole selves as Americans. Furthermore what matters is that a system was put in place, rooted in slavery, based on White skin privilege and White skin color, that revolved around power, land, property, status, shared values born of oppression and discrimination and marginalization, and that has never changed in America. Never. That system and its values have been passed generation to generation as effortlessly as we pass plates at the family dinner table. So it does not matter if you never openly refer to a Black person as a nigger or not.  It does not matter if your college fraternity puts on Blackface and mocks Black culture on Halloween or not. It does not matter if you are a practicing racist or not. It does not matter if you call yourself a Democrat or a Republican or an independent.

As soon as Dr. King’s blood was scrubbed and washed from that Memphis motel balcony, America, our America, under the guise of taking the country back, began an all-out assault on those very minimal triumphs that occurred during the Civil Rights era. We have witnessed Nixon, the Reagan Revolution, the crack epidemic, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, mass incarceration and the prison-industrial complex; we have seen record numbers of poor Black folks thrown off welfare and locked in jails during the era of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton; we survived the administration of George W. Bush, his infamous wars and his failed “no child left behind,” and that hideous stain on America’s face called Hurricane Katrina.

And so, you see, that is why this is also so much bigger than a Donald Trump, although we know that Trump represents everything that is wrong with America, not just because he is an angry, foul-mouthed, disrespectful, opportunistic, racist, sexist, and classist heterosexual White male, but because he knows he has power and privilege, and uses it to injure others, without any remorse whatsoever. Trump’s racism is the same racism of Barry Goldwater, of Nixon, of Reagan, of George W., of Paul Ryan, of Rudy Giuliani, of Chris Christie, of certain kinds of straight White men of means and access, who couldn’t care less about middle class and working-class White Americans, but who have conveniently created and spread a lie, in thinly veiled racial tones, that the enemy of these White folks in middle America, in the American South, are the Black folks and other people of color who threaten their freedoms, their jobs, their security, and their rights. Whether Trump really means what he is saying or if he is simply being highly opportunistic is inconsequential. Fact is he is saying those things, people feel and believe him, and he continues a storyline that has brought great harm to America for centuries now. Because the greatest trick of a racist is getting folks to believe that racism doesn’t exist in the first place or that the people with no power and no privilege are the real racists, the real oppressors.

But we also must be conscious of how this racism cancer eats at us, how it destroys us from the inside out, how we must learn the difference between proactive anger and reactionary anger. Proactive anger builds bridges, possibilities, alliances, movements, and, ultimately, love. Reactive anger destroys bridges, breeds dysfunction, and spreads more madness and confusion. Yes, passion is necessary, and we should be angry because of what I have described in this essay, for it is a natural human emotion. But that anger must not become the very hate we say we are against.

For White Americans this means you’ve got to re-invent yourselves if you are serious about ridding our society of racism. You’ve got to ask yourself who and what was I before I became White? What does it mean to me to be human, to be a human being, and what, again, am I willing to do, willing to sacrifice, and willing to give up to be a part of this necessary healing process? You must learn to listen to the voices of Black people and other people of color, you must not feel the need, through arrogance or insecurity, to tell us who we are, what we should be thinking or feeling or doing, and you must, with love and respect, understand when we may be hyper-sensitive to race, to racism, given the history and present-day realities of our America. Shutting us down or ignoring us or un-friending us says you do not truly want a conversation, as equals, especially if that conversation makes you uncomfortable.

 

Categories
Dispatches

Dispatch #16 Day 91 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

February 5 2017 Dispatch #16  

Day 91 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)

Day 16 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-POTUS and his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

 

Just two weeks and we have seen quite a roll-out of fascism, demagoguery, and the constant sensationalist and petty lying of the self-styled autocrat and his quislings. We have also witnessed the moral courage and willingness to act of many resistors.

 

Beware of commentators and opinion makers who are urging the resistance and resistors to make efforts to reconcile and empathize with the Illegitimate-POTUS voters/supporters. They plead: “Really, these folks are not all haters and bigots, if we just talked to these folks, they share similar concerns with us about the economy and their future. Can’t you calm down?” These normalizers of all stripes and political persuasions are already tired, confused, and frightened by emergence of and resistance to Illegitimate-POTUS.

 

But the point is NOT whether we might share concerns with these voters, or that these voters might be understandably frightened and anxious about the future. The point is what we DO NOT share with them: their willingness to support (or overlook which is the same) the vicious and naked appeal to white supremacy/white nationalism, misogyny and christian supremacy promoted by the White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-POTUS.

 

We reject and condemn their desire that the Others (black people, brown people, Muslim people, certain mis-behaving women) must suffer because they angry at their own suffering. We say NO to the purveyors of class analysis who are participating in the denial of 400+ years of American brutality, slavery, genocide and unrestrained exploitation.

 

For a searing assessment of why white people in America have/continue to brutalize black people, go immediately to I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary recently in wide release directed by Raoul Peck with James Baldwin’s words entirely comprising the narrative.

 

His published and unpublished words — some of the most powerful and penetrating ever assembled on the tortured subject of American identity — accompany images from old talk shows and news reports, from classic movies and from our own decidedly non-post-racial present. Baldwin could not have known about Ferguson and Black Lives Matter, about the presidency of Barack Obama and the recrudescence of white nationalism in its wake, but in a sense he explained it all in advance. He understood the deep, contradictory patterns of our history, and articulated, with a passion and clarity that few others have matched, the psychological dimensions of racial conflict: the suppression of black humanity under slavery and Jim Crow and the insistence on it in African-American politics and art; the dialectic of guilt and rage, forgiveness and denial that distorts relations between black and white citizens in the North as well as the South; the lengths that white people will go to wash themselves clean of their complicity in oppression.www.nytimes.com/2017/02/02/movies/review-i-am-not-your-negro-review-james-baldwin.html/

 

Direct anyone you know who is having trouble “getting” White Supremacy to see this film.

 

 

So we must measure out our passion, out-rage, and energy for resistance and actions by having in mind that there will be no quick fixes. We are in an Iron-Woman Marathon that will likely go on for years and decades. The emergence of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-POTUS and his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings represents the natural evolution of Republican strategies built on White Supremacy, Misogyny, and Christian Supremacy.

 

Resistance to normalization of evil in Early 21st Century American Fascism involves a balance between (1) always calling out and disrupting the language and behavior of Illegitimate-POTUS and his Quislings because we understand that lying undermines morality and enables the demagogue, while (2) always acknowledging that White Supremacy and Misogyny are foundational to America and extend far beyond the current Illegitimate-POTUS.

 

 

Resistance in America has been acting for decades by Grass-roots organizations and national political organizations such as: NAACP, SNCC, Black Panthers, ACLU, NARAL, NOW, Black Lives Matters, National Lawyers Guild, American Indian Movement, SDS, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Jobs with Justice, Fight for Fifteen, just to name just a few. Acts of resistance that empower and unite are always informed (1) by popular education (i.e., Paulo Freire; see also https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_education and (2) by analyses that show the institutionalized oppressions and the strategies for dismantling these oppressions.

 

Organizing Neighborhood Equity District of Columbia (ONE DC) www.onedconline.org centers its organizing work on popular education, community organizing and alternative economic development projects. A recent post addressed the question of resistance actions.

 

However, there are two broad tendencies on the left that, if unresolved, threaten to stifle the revolutionary potential of the moment. One desires a world free from the systems of oppression that constitute the American political system. The other merely wants to return to a less tumultuous time. It is this second tendency that refuses to acknowledge the violent core of American politics. They refuse to acknowledge the rising tide of fascism beyond the figure of Donald Trump.

 

So what is to be done? It is not enough to only engage in critique or to be anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, anti-racist, or anti-Trump. Negative concepts have never been strong enough to hold together revolutionary movements. The general strike, mass protest, and other forms of direct action are all useful tactics for waging revolution. However, their use is secondary to the community and values that drive them. We must refuse the call for a return to American politics and the white subjectivity it privileges. We cannot content ourselves with only pushing fascism back underground, back to only policing low-income communities, back to only terrorizing our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and beyond. We must begin to practice a politics of solidarity, inclusion, and radical egalitarianism. We must center the struggles of marginalized people and listen to their voices. We must prioritize political education. We must build alternative institutions. We must remember, “The essence of politics is dissensus.” Our enemies will try to convince us that “we are insufficient, scarce, waiting in pockets of resistance, in stairwells, in alleys, in vain” but the demonstrations this past week have proven the contrary: “We’re already here, moving.” www.onedconline.org/what_is_to_be_done

 

 

If you haven’t gone to The Movement for Black Lives Platform yet for hundreds of examples/teaching moments for resistance actions, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?! https://policy.m4bl.org/platform/

 

 

A shout out to Suzanne Moore, Guardian online columnist, and her furious prose:

 

I care not for these delusional men crawling out like woodlice from under a rotting log. In turn, they each tell us they support feminism while doing it down. There is a slew of them everywhere you look.

 

The online equivalent are the young guys, pumped on inchoate rage, semi-literate, radicalised by the “alt-right”, spewing hatred at women. These guys don’t say they love women; they don’t even pretend to like them. They are at least honest. Indeed, one of the reasons that the establishment/Republican party failed to challenge Trump was because of its own dishonesty. It has legitimised a level of woman-hating and racism that it pretends is not there. It kids itself that it is decent, while knowing that what festers underneath are expressions of white supremacy and rage against women that it does not want to name and cannot control. To identify all this as the rage of the left-behinds, as simple class war, too often becomes a way of justifying it.

 

The dismantling of this power cannot possibly come from those who won’t name it and spend the entire time shoring it up, largely reaping its benefits: that is, much of the liberal establishment. By assuming the culture war had been won, the myths of impartiality and neutrality have allowed far–right voices to go unchallenged. The assumption that we all believe in equality, are anti-racist, love an art gallery and some heated debate turned out to be wrong.

 

Patriarchal power asserts itself through cultural as well as economic resentment. And that is everywhere. The oft-repeated sentiment that feminism is itself an extreme movement is evidence of how liberalism bows down to authoritarianism.

 

So much more important now than whether dullards profess their allegiance to women’s rights while refusing to listen to women is understanding who will get down on their knees to service the new man-child patriarchy. And those of us who won’t. The power of telling it like it is is ours. www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2017/jan/25/patriarchy-is-the-sea-in-which-trump-and-his-sharks-gather

 

 

Still sorting out how you think about/understand the different perspectives from women of color about the Women’s March on Washington (WMW)? Wondering about next steps? Check out this piece by Cinzia Arruzza: http://novaramedia.com/2017/02/01/from-the-womens-march-to-the-international-womens-strike/

 

In the days following the march, a number of criticisms have been leveraged against it [WMW], focusing mostly on three issues. The first was the march’s self-representation as ‘well-behaved’ and ‘peaceful’, which obscured the fact that it was not respectability that explained the absence of arrests compared with the #DisruptJ20 demonstrations of the day before, but rather the massive presence of white women, who are much less likely to be harassed by the police than women of color.

 

The second issue was the liberal narrative surrounding the march, which exclusively focused on Trump’s reactionary policy announcements and made little mention of class, obfuscating the fact that women’s rights and living conditions, especially those of migrants and women of color, working class and unemployed women, as well as trans and queer women, have been under attack for years, including under Obama’s administration.

 

A third concern was more of an expression of resentment against the mass of people who felt motivated enough to take to the streets to protest against Trump, but did not feel motivated enough to take part in Black Lives Matter demonstrations and in protests against police brutality against people of color of the last few years.

 

Even taking into account all of pitfalls and contradictions, however, it would be a mistake to think that there is no connection whatsoever between the Women’s March and the mobilizations of recent years, from Occupy to Fight for Fifteen, from Black Lives Matter to the struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline. In fact, while Trump’s election has triggered an increase in the scale of mobilization, the various struggles of recent years have been key in shifting popular perceptions concerning protests, their legitimacy, and their efficacy.

 

The International Women’s Strike network has called for a strike on March 8th. So far, feminist collectives and coalitions from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ireland and Northern Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Russia, Scotland, South Korea Sweden, Turkey, and Uruguay have joined the call and are making preparations.

 

The various coalitions working on this are articulating their own platforms and demands, which in most cases combine together opposition to male and sexist violence against women and LGBT people, social demands such as the minimum wage, labor rights, equal pay, public services and health care, opposition to racism and xenophobia and defense of migrant women, environmental issues and reproductive rights.

 

Against Trump, but also beyond Trump.

 

 

At the WMW, Ashley Judd delivered an out-raged and out-rageous performance of this poem written by Nina Donovan, a 19-year-old woman from Tennessee. Yeah, talk about the power of telling it like it is!!!!

 

I am a nasty woman.

 

I’m as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheetos dust. A man whose words are a deathtrap to America. Electoral college-sanctioned, hate-speech contaminating this national anthem.

 

I’m not as nasty as Confederate flags being tattooed across my city. Maybe the South actually is going to rise again. Maybe for some it never really fell. Blacks are still in shackles and graves, just for being black. Slavery has been reinterpreted as the prison system in front of people who see melanin as animal skin.

 

I am not as nasty as a swastika painted on a pride flag, and I didn’t know devils could be resurrected but I feel Hitler in these streets. A mustache traded for a toupee. Nazis renamed the Cabinet Electoral Conversion Therapy, the new gas chambers shaming the gay out of America, turning rainbows into suicide.

 

I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege … your daughter being your favorite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes.

 

Yeah, I’m a nasty woman — a loud, vulgar, proud woman.

 

I am not nasty like the combo of Trump and Pence being served up to me in my voting booths. I’m nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth. I’m nasty like the fight for wage equality. Scarlett Johansson, why were the female actors paid less than half of what the male actors earned last year. See, even when we do go into higher paying jobs our wages are still cut with blades sharpened by testosterone.

 

Why is the work of a black woman and a hispanic woman worth only 63 and 54 cents of a white man’s privileged daughter? This is not a feminist myth. This is inequality. So we are not here to be debunked. We are here to be respected. We are here to be nasty.

 

I am nasty like my bloodstains on my bed sheets. We don’t actually choose if and when to have our periods. Believe me if we could some of us would. We do not like throwing away our favorite pairs of underpants. Tell me, why are pads and tampons still taxed when Viagra and Rogaine are not? Is your erection really more than protecting the sacred messy part of my womanhood? Is the bloodstain on my jeans more embarrassing than the thinning of your hair?

 

I know it is hard to look at your own entitlement and privilege. You may be afraid of the truth. I am unafraid to be honest. It may sound petty bringing up a few extra cents. It adds up to the pile of change I have yet to see in my country. I can’t see. My eyes are too busy praying to my feet hoping you don’t mistake eye contact for wanting physical contact. Half my life I have been zipping up my smile hoping you don’t think I want to unzip your jeans. I am unafraid to be nasty because I am nasty like Susan, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Amelia, Rosa, Gloria, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle, Hillary!

 

And our pussies ain’t for grabbing. They’re for reminding you that our walls are stronger than America’s ever will be. Our pussies are for our pleasure. They are for birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, you name it, for new generations of nasty women.

 

So if you a nasty woman, or you love one who is, let me hear you say, hell yeah.

 

HELL YEAH!!!!

 

HELL YEAH!!!!

Categories
Dispatches

Dispatch #15 Day 86 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

January 31 2017 Dispatch #15 

Day 86 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)

Day 11 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy- Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-POTUS and his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings

 

So, YEAH, MILLIONS of women and allies marching across the globe was pretty fucking spectacular. YUP….it was exhilarating….for a day or two.
Now we must understand that our fight will be long and demanding, and the outcome uncertain. The BIG March represents just one step/event in the long struggle ahead.
I admit to having some difficulty with this dispatch….how to consider this moment, and all of the moments to come for the next four years. Despite the shock and disbelief in many (mostly white liberal quarters), this new regime is a natural evolution/expression of our country’s foundation built on slavery of black people and ensuing apartheid/white supremacy; genocide of indigenous North American peoples; illegal appropriation (theft) of land and resources; accrual of land’s riches and resources to a few white men. All of these actions supported and financed by our government for 250 years.
 
For 55 years, the Ayn Rand-inspired Republican right** has worked steadily, stealthily and strategically to arrive at this moment – Republican-controlled federal executive and legislative branches; gerrymandered districts in many states that ensure election of extreme right legislators; majority of state governed by extreme right legislatures; Supreme Court striking down the heart of the 1965 Voting Rights Act enabling voter suppression for black and brown citizens; and likelihood that Supreme Court will be majority extreme right and fully legalize control of women’s bodies. And yes, it is critical to call out Democratic as well as Republican complicity in allowing Christian Supremacy to hold women in its deadly thrall. Sparked by the election of a black man to the White House, eight years of virulent toxicity nourished by White Supremacy, Misogyny and Christian Supremacy accelerated the arrival of this moment.
 
What is my Point?!?! White Supremacy remains imbedded in America’s DNA. Until we exorcise this founding original sin, we will not achieve a just and equitable society. The oppression of White Supremacy and Misogyny supports/justifies the cruel brutal ethos of unrestrained capitalism. Despite moments of grace, American behavior, both at home and abroad, has been deeply flawed for generations. Howard Zinn has documented this history.

 

To achieve fundamental change, our work must be framed by these demands/analyses: (1) how are we dismantling White Supremacy and White Nationalism, (2) how are we dismantling Misogyny, (3) how are we creating economic equity, (4) how are we making reparations, (5) how are we removing Christian Supremacy from our secular government. Work imbued with Anger and Out-Rage uses bold fierce and plain language to describe the institutionalized systems of oppression and violence that operate in our country and leads to actions built on inclusion, equity, and solidarity.

 

Angela Davis’s remarks at the Women’s March on Washington are instructive:

 

At a challenging moment in our history, let us remind ourselves that we the hundreds of thousands, the millions of women, trans-people, men and youth who are here at the Women’s March, we represent the powerful forces of change that are determined to prevent the dying cultures of racism, hetero-patriarchy from rising again.

“We recognize that we are collective agents of history and that history cannot be deleted like web pages. We know that we gather this afternoon on indigenous land and we follow the lead of the first peoples who despite massive genocidal violence have never relinquished the struggle for land, water, culture, their people. We especially salute today the Standing Rock Sioux.

“The freedom struggles of black people that have shaped the very nature of this country’s history cannot be deleted with the sweep of a hand. We cannot be made to forget that black lives do matter. This is a country anchored in slavery and colonialism, which means for better or for worse the very history of the United States is a history of immigration and enslavement. Spreading xenophobia, hurling accusations of murder and rape and building walls will not erase history. “No human being is illegal.

“The struggle to save the planet, to stop climate change, to guarantee the accessibility of water from the lands of the Standing Rock Sioux, to Flint, Michigan, to the West Bank and Gaza. The struggle to save our flora and fauna, to save the air—this is ground zero of the struggle for social justice.

“This is a women’s march and this women’s march represents the promise of feminism as against the pernicious powers of state violence. And inclusive and intersectional feminism that calls upon all of us to join the resistance to racism, to Islamophobia, to anti-Semitism, to misogyny, to capitalist exploitation.

“Yes, we salute the fight for 15. We dedicate ourselves to collective resistance. Resistance to the billionaire mortgage profiteers and gentrifiers. Resistance to the health care privateers. Resistance to the attacks on Muslims and on immigrants. Resistance to attacks on disabled people. Resistance to state violence perpetrated by the police and through the prison industrial complex. Resistance to institutional and intimate gender violence, especially against trans women of color.

“Women’s rights are human rights all over the planet and that is why we say freedom and justice for Palestine. We celebrate the impending release of Chelsea Manning. And Oscar López Rivera. But we also say free Leonard Peltier. Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Free Assata Shakur. “Over the next months and years we will be called upon to intensify our demands for social justice to become more militant in our defense of vulnerable populations. Those who still defend the supremacy of white male hetero-patriarchy had better watch out.

“The next 1,459 days of the Trump administration will be 1,459 days of resistance: Resistance on the ground, resistance in the classrooms, resistance on the job, resistance in our art and in our music.

 

“This is just the beginning and in the words of the inimitable Ella Baker, ‘We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.’ Thank you.”

 

Yes, it is soul-challenging for white people to give up the American foundational mythologies (aka freedom for all, equal opportunities for all, work hard and anything is possible, melting-pot bastion of democracy, shining light of goodness) and be willing to learn/see about White Supremacy.

Trust and coalitions between white women and black women have foundered for years on the shoals of White Supremacy. While anger and out-rage are necessary tools for women, White women have bargained their anger away for their spot on the White Supremacy hierarchy thereby accepting Misogyny as the price of some privilege.

 

In The Radical Uses of Anger: All White Women Aren’t the Enemy, but White Supremacy Always Is Kirsten West Savali writes powerfully:

It is critical that white women understand that solidarity will not happen on their terms, which too often includes a pre-emptive softening of anger. And women of color should understand that if it does, it will not last. Black women and white women can—and often do—stand together when there is acknowledgment that whiteness comes with structural privileges and power, but there must be relentless efforts to dismantle it brick by brick.

Of the women who voted in the presidential election, 94 percent of black women voted for Hillary Clinton, some with great trepidation. They deserve space to say that they feel betrayed by the 53 percent of white women who voted for Trump—and the silent accomplices smiling in their faces. Further, the estimated 1 to 2 percent of black women on the left who did not vote for Clinton deserve space to say that a frantic return to the neoliberal politics that Clinton embodies cannot be the goal, or we will continue this ceaseless cycle through different iterations of white American evil.

And we have the right, indeed, the duty, to express anger while we say it. We have the right, indeed, the duty, to question whether or not this new resistance will outlast the white supremacist and misogynist regime we now find ourselves under.

We have the right, indeed, the duty, to call out the racism embedded in time itself. We lose time with loved ones to the prison-industrial complex. We lose time with our children because many of us have to work tirelessly to make ends meet. We lose years of our lives because of the stress of navigating a world that hates us for our freedom.

And we are constantly told by some white women to just hold on because progress is slow but assured, while they reap the benefits of their whiteness. That is not what sisterhood looks like.

We may have reached a juncture where progress is measured by liberal white urgency, but their sudden sense of urgency alone is not a sufficient exchange for more of our time—neither is cosmetic diversity. If multiracial, multicultural, queer-led, feminist coalitions rooted in a working-class, anti-imperialist politic is the endgame, then we must not dismiss the transformative and clarifying power of anger because it makes some white women uncomfortable.

In a nation where blackness is often considered a threat punishable by death, anger can be the catharsis that leads to revolutionary action. Indeed, where black folks have been told to be grateful, patient, forgiving, kind and obedient in the face of relentless white supremacist violence, openly and unapologetically embracing anger can be revolutionary. And that anger should not be diluted for a whitewashed progress that has no room or desire to hold it.

It is a fire that needs to be nurtured, not extinguished—and may intersectional and intentional solidarity be forged in the flames.

I urge those white women who are angry in response to black women’s anger to be angry. I urge those white women who are hurt to be hurt. I urge those white women who are frustrated to be frustrated. They need to own their discomfort, become familiar with it, trace its patterns and discover its origin, then decide what they want to do with it. And they need to do so clear in the knowledge that time does not solely belong to them.

 

They need to be clear that not all white women are the enemy, but whiteness always is.

www.theroot.com/the-radical-uses-of-anger-all-white-women-are-not-the-1791727529

 

The War on Women Is Not New, But Now It Is Being Fired Up. Jessica Valenti points out that one of the first acts of the Illegitimate-POTUS included:

“…surrounded by white men, reinstating the global gag rule. The policy, which bans funding any international organization that dares to even talk about abortion, has contributed to thousands of women’s deaths across the globe. [this gag order is more expansive and includes HIV/AIDS programs that were previously excluded under prior Republican Presidents]

The executive order was just the beginning. In the short time Trump has been president, his administration has set a disastrous course for women’s health and rights. On Tuesday, days after historic marches that put millions of women on the street globally, Republican congressmen introduced the first ever federal ‘heartbeat bill’ – a policy that would ban abortions after six weeks, well before most women even know they’re pregnant.

That same day, the House passed a bill that would make the dangerous and discriminatory Hyde Amendment – which prevents federal funds from covering abortion, even in cases of fetal abnormalities and maternal health issues – permanent. The bill, which targets poor women, would also impact abortion coverage for women with private insurance. Congressional Republicans have even introduced a federal ‘personhood’ bill that would define life as beginning at conception.

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/26/war-on-abortion-donald-trump/

 

If you haven’t gone to The Movement for Black Lives Platform yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?! https://policy.m4bl.org/platform/ You will learn how we can work together to dismantle the War on Women.

 

Liar Liar Pants On Fire!!! Yes, our White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy- Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-POTUS is also our Lying Whining Lying Liar-in-Chief. As Charles Blow says:

Donald Trump is a proven liar. He lies often and effortlessly. He lies about the profound and the trivial. He lies to avoid guilt and invite glory. He lies when his pride is injured and when his pomposity is challenged. Indeed, one of the greatest threats Trump poses is that he corrupts and corrodes the absoluteness of truth, facts and science. It is no coincidence that the rise of Trump is concurrent with the rise of “fake news.” It is no coincidence that his rise comes during an age of severely damaged faith in institutions. And now that he has been elected, Trump wants absolute control over the flow of information, to dictate his own version of facts rather than live with the reality of accepted facts. Trump is in a battle to bend the truth to his benefit.

www.nytimes.com/2017/01/26/opinion/a-lie-by-any-other-name.html/

Yeah, but should we keep calling out these lies? Cogent arguments are made that we must pay attention to what is DONE and not what is SAID, and that the lies function as a strategy to distract our attention/focus from actions.

 

In an article titled Hannah Arendt Explains How Propaganda Uses Lies to Erode All Truth and Morality, Josh Jones discusses the relevance of Arendt’s 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism to our current moment. He notes that Arendt identified lying as a highly salient characteristic of totalitarianism.

Why the constant, often blatant lying? For one thing, it functioned as a means of fully dominating subordinates, who would have to cast aside all their integrity to repeat outrageous falsehoods and would then be bound to the leader by shame and complicity.

Arendt also recognized the function of an avalanche of lies to render a populace powerless to resist, the phenomenon we now refer to as “gaslighting”: The result of a consistent and total substitution of lies for factual truth is not that the lie will now be accepted as truth and truth be defamed as a lie, but that the sense by which we take our bearings in the real world—and the category of truth versus falsehood is among the mental means to this end—is being destroyed. The epistemological ground thus pulled out from under them, most would depend on whatever the leader said, no matter its relation to truth.

Arendt’s analysis of propaganda and the function of lies seems particularly relevant at this moment. The kinds of blatant lies she wrote of might become so commonplace as to become banal. We might begin to think they are an irrelevant sideshow. This, she suggests, would be a mistake.

www.openculture.com/2017/01/hannah-arendt-explains-how-propaganda-uses-lies-to-erode-all-truth-morality.html

 

In a column titled How Hannah Arendt’s classic work on totalitarianism illuminates today’s America, Jeffrey C. Isaac writes:

A subtheme of “Origins” is that by the 1930s, there was throughout Europe a generalized crisis of legitimacy. Large numbers of people felt dispossessed, disenfranchised, disconnected from dominant social institutions. The political party system, and parliamentary government more generally, were regarded as corrupt and oligarchic. Such an environment was fertile ground for a “mob mentality,” in which outsiders — Jews, Roma, Slavs, gays, “cosmopolitan intellectuals” — could be scapegoated and a savior could be craved: “The mob always will shout for ‘the strong man,’ the ‘great leader.’ For the mob hates the society from which it is excluded, as well as Parliament where it is not represented.”

And a society suffused with resentment, according to Arendt, is ripe for manipulation by the propaganda of sensationalist demagogues: “What convinces masses are not facts, and not even invented facts, but only the consistency of the system of which they are presumably part . . . Totalitarian propaganda thrives on this escape from reality into fiction . . . [and] can outrageously insult common sense only where common sense has lost its validity.” Cynicism. Contempt for truth. Appeal to the craving of the masses for simple stories of malevolent conspiracy. Stephen K. Bannon of Breitbart News may not have read “Origins,” but it is clear he has taken a page from the movements Arendt analyzes.

www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/17/how-hannah-arendts-classic-work/

 

**If you are interested, a few readings on Ayn Rand and Republican Party

www.alternet.org/economy/ayn-rand-and-republicans www.salon.com/2016/12/11/media-morality-and-the-neighbors-cow-when-did-ayn-rand-become-the-republican-partys-bible_partner/  

www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-johnson/concern-over-republican-e_b_875233.html   https://newrepublic.com/article/106176/ayn-rands-long-journey-heart-american-politics

 

Howard Zinn A People’s History of the United States 1492 – Present Published 2005 HarperCollins https://zinnedproject.org/materials/a-peoples-history-of-the-united-states/

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Dispatches

Dispatch #14 Day 71 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

January 16 2017 Dispatch #14  Day 71 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)

Well, I had settled on Cockroach TURD, but then I felt this insulting to cockroaches.  So Naked Mole-Rat TURD seems an apropos opprobrium for the White Supremacist Misogynist Pussy Grabbing Non-Legitimate PEE-PEOTUS — especially since the only living being uglier than the Tangerine Tyrant might be the Naked Mole-Rat. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naked_mole-rat.

Yup, the Naked Mole-Rat Turd White Supremacist Misogynist Pussy Grabbing Non- Legitimate PEE-PEOTUS decided to tweet-attack Representative John Lewis on the eve of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday.

 

Kudos to Charles Blow for a somewhat more erudite condemnation:

Stop and think about what you just read [PEE-PEOTUS tweet]: A lecher attacking a legend; a man of moral depravity attacking a man of moral certitude; an intellectual weakling attacking a warrior for justice. This on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, no less.

Let’s be clear: Donald Trump doesn’t even deserve to stand in John Lewis’s shadow. The spectacular obscenity of Trump’s comment is incomparable and deeply repulsive.

www.nytimes.com/2017/01/16/opinion/johns-gospel-of-trumps-illegitimacy.html

THANK YOU Honorable John Lewis for showing us/US what it means to have courage, then during the Civil Rights Struggle, and now at the time of Early 21st Century Fascism.

“I met Rosa Parks when I was 17. I met Dr. [Martin Luther] King when I was 18. These two individuals inspired me to find a way to get in the way, to get in trouble. So I got in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

“Our struggle is a struggle to redeem the soul of America. It’s not a struggle that lasts for a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or a few years. It is the struggle of a lifetime, more than one lifetime.”

 

Dr. King urges us to take courage and act:

“Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the fires of justice. Let us be dissatisfied until they who live on the outskirts of Hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security. Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heap of history and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home. Let us be dissatisfied until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into the bright tomorrows of quality integrated education.” 

“When you cut facilities, slash jobs, abuse power, discriminate, drive people into deeper poverty and shoot people dead whilst refusing to provide answers or justice, the people will rise up and express their anger and frustration if you refuse to hear their cries. A riot is the language of the unheard.” 

 

A shout out to BLACK WOMEN and their centuries of powerful, unyielding, courageous, and ethical leadership about preserving families and communities, and caring for the most vulnerable. Looking forward to the WMW, recognize and celebrate these women:

 

 

Black Lives Matter was founded by three women of color—Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi. Black Lives Matter, in collaboration with other movement organizations, insists on a broad and complex vision about what justice and equity might look like in America.

 

Alicia Garza: I would describe this moment for the movement as a real paradigm shift. It is a indicator of what is to come. But it also, I think, points to the agency that we have, collectively, to change our conditions. I think if we demonstrate a collective commitment and a collective practice to changing not just how police and policing happens in this country, but certainly to changing the conditions that black communities are living and existing in, then we have a real shot for living in a world that is more just, more equitable — in a world where black lives actually do matter.

http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/07/13/485895828/black-lives-matter-founders-describe-paradigm-shift-in-the-movement

 

BLM claims inspiration from the African-American Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power movement, the 1980s Black feminist movement, Pan-Africanism, the Anti-Apartheid Movement, hip hop, LGBTQ social movements, and Occupy Wall Street. Black Lives Matter incorporates those traditionally on the margins of black freedom movements. The organization’s website, for instance, states that Black Lives Matter is “a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes” and, embracing intersectionality, that “Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Lives_Matter

 

Angela Davis: “Feminism involves so much more than gender equality and it involves so much more than gender. Feminism must involve consciousness of capitalism (I mean the feminism that I relate to, and there are multiple feminisms, right). So it has to involve a consciousness of capitalism and racism and colonialism and post-colonialities, and ability and more genders than we can even imagine and more sexualities than we ever thought we could name.”

 

In Dispatch #11 December 20th, I shouted out to Sister Song for their articulation of Reproductive Justice, a comprehensive approach that calls out and challenges the intersectionality of white supremacy, misogyny, classism/economic inequities, and ruthless capitalism and its crippling impacts on women.

Reproductive Justice is the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. Reproductive Justice is about access, not choice. Reproductive Justice is not just about abortion but instead includes access to comprehensive healthcare services, adequate prenatal and pregnancy care, domestic violence assistance, adequate wages to support our families, safe homes, quality childcare. [you know, like, basic Human Rights] www.sistersong.org

 

Like John Lewis, we will be brave with our language knowing that strong fierce language reveals the truth, promotes disruption and inspires action. We women will be loud and disruptive and fierce. We will not be well-behaved. We will find ways every day to support our sisters, call out misogyny, and demand that economic equity and human rights for women be the foundation for legislation and policy.

During this week that begins with MLK Day, check out  www.disruptj20.org for trouble, riot, and rabble rousing at a location near you. 

This completes Part 2 of two-part meditation on Misogyny and Resistance in the Time of Early 21st Century Fascism.
Categories
Dispatches

Dispatch #13 Day 68 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

 

January 13 2017 Dispatch #13 Day 68 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)

 

The January 21st Women’s March on Washington (WMW) and in sister cities across the country (www.womensmarch.com ) will launch our collective disgust, disdain and rejection of the White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-PEOTUS and his collaborators and quislings on the first full day of their regime.

 

My Fourth Dispatch 17 November argues that Misogyny must be wielded as a universal word/thought weapon in resistance and concludes:

Right now we women must support each other in our demand that calling out Misogyny be foundational to the strategic analyses that will inform resistance and action. We will NOT apologize for this non-negotiable demand. If you believe that you “get” White Supremacy, then you cannot fail to “get” Misogyny.

So yeah, when considering the grievously poisonous environment nourished by Misogyny that women must struggle to survive every minute of every day, we can see how feminism and sexism have been intentionally “enfeebled” by institutionalized Misogyny. Oh and let’s not forget the latest insult to human intelligence and rights everywhere: identity politics! WTF?! Wielding Misogyny means we insist on analyses and language that are powerful and incendiary when we talk about the status of women in America. Consider these inspirational and enraging/out-raging observations for starters:

 

Andrea Dworkin: “Being female in this world means having been robbed of the potential for human choice by men who love to hate us. One does not make choices in freedom. Instead, one conforms in body type and behavior and values to become an object of male sexual desire, which requires an abandonment of a wide-ranging capacity for choice…”

Ursula Le Guin: “Civilized Man says: I am Self, I am Master, all the rest is other–outside, below, underneath, subservient. I own, I use, I explore, I exploit, I control. What I do is what matters. What I want is what matter is for. I am that I am, and the rest is women & wilderness, to be used as I see fit.”

 

Mary Daly: “This universal religion of Phallocracy is the basis of the sexual cast system, and under its rapist reign women of all nations, races, and classes on this planet are touchable”

Adrienne Rich: The repossession by women of our bodies will bring far more essential change to human society than the seizing of the means of production by workers.”

 

Yvonne Aburrow: “The patriarchal/kyriarchal/hegemonic culture seeks to regulate and control the body – especially women’s bodies, and especially black women’s bodies – because women, especially black women, are constructed as the Other, the site of resistance to the kyriarchy. Because our existence provokes fear of the Other, fear of wildness, fear of sexuality, fear of controlled, groomed, reduced, covered, suppressed.”

 

Kyriarchy — What a Fabulous Thought Instigator and Word Weapon!!

Kyriarchy is a social system or set of connecting social systems built around domination, oppression, and submission. The word was coined by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza in 1992 to describe her theory of interconnected, interacting, and self-extending systems of domination and submission, in which a single individual might be oppressed in some relationships and privileged in others. It is an intersectional extension of the idea of patriarchy beyond gender. Kyriarchy encompasses sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, economic injustice, colonialism, militarism, ethnocentrism, anthropocentrism, and other forms of dominating hierarchies in which the subordination of one person or group to another is internalized and institutionalized.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyriarchy

Explaining and identifying the omnipresence of institutionalized Misogyny means that freeing and celebrating women’s lives must be the core of resistance; when one-half of the population is shackled, denigrated, and disabled, oppression thrives unrestrained.

To begin to uproot Misogyny and start to define and implement Equity (not equality) for women, what is the starting point? What are we for? What are we against? Who controls our bodies? What are our choices? How do we stand with our sisters and allies?

We White Women, have a particular responsibility to educate ourselves about White Supremacy and Misogyny in America. We need to understand how these institutionalized frameworks of oppression worked to 1) promote divisions between white women and women of color due to white women’s ignorance about White Supremacy, 2) define and patronize women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s as primarily sexual liberation – this led to much greater sexual access by men with no responsibility and the prevalence of sexualized images of women, and 3) confound and short-cut efforts to find common collaborative ground between white women and women of color. We need to understand how women of color must struggle with White Supremacy and Misogyny, and how mainstream feminism has failed/fails to account for White Supremacy and Misogyny. (Yup this is how intersecting systems of oppression work.)

 

Audre Lorde Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You [white women] fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you; we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs on the reasons they are dying.

 

Pauli Murray: “Black women, historically, have been doubly victimized by the twin immoralities of Jim Crow and Jane Crow. … Black women, faced with these dual barriers, have often found that sex bias is more formidable than racial bias.”

 

Shirley Chisholm Of my two handicaps, being female put many more obstacles in my path than being black….. The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: It’s a girl.”

 

Angela Davis: “Black women have had to develop a larger vision of our society than perhaps any other group. They have had to understand white men, white women, and black men. And they have had to understand themselves. When black women win victories, it is a boost for virtually every segment of society.

 

In a January 4th 2017 post, Ashley Farmer reviews the history of black women’s exclusion in marches in Washington and concludes:

The upcoming women’s march is largely a response to the recent election, contentious in no small part due to the fact that white women tipped the scales in favor of Trump. The WMW has the potential to be a unifying event if organizers and participants fully recognize that calls for solidarity often ring hollow for black women and that many black women see the recent election as the latest iteration of white feminists’ betrayal. Balanced representation is an important step in the right direction, but it must be followed up by concrete efforts to hear and address the concerns of all women. After all, true representation requires more than simply a prominent seat on the stage.

www.aaihs.org/the-long-history-of-black-womens-exclusion-in-historic-marches-in-washington/

 

Controversy about the inclusiveness (aka the whiteness) of the WMW has been noted in the press and by opinionistas. Sadly, this familiar dynamic is often attached to activism on women’s rights, and the apparent/perceived disconnect between how white women and women of color identify gender-related issues. (Do check-out the WMW Mission/Vision and Unity Principles (www.womensmarch.com), the language is impressive and inspiring.)

 

Our particular American brand of misogyny does not involve imprisoning women at home, making women invisible in their dress, making physical and sexual women slaves, giving girls to men for their pleasure.  No, in our slightly more civilized misogynist world, women simply know that they are in danger of being sexualized and sexually attacked, being forced to bear/raise children in economically inequitable circumstances, being made available as the repository for male rage/denigration and oppression, constantly intimidated in the public square, being always aware of the threat of male aggression and violence, must always be worried about appearance, and always self-conscious about how much space.

 

Despite the mounting evidence that women are targets of sex-based discrimination and abuse online, the narrative that there is no issue of gender here persists in some quarters, as does the refrain that this is all just a bit of a laugh. But as law Professor Danielle Keats Citron argues:

The trivialization of phenomena that profoundly impact women’s basic freedoms is nothing new. No term even existed to describe sexual harassment of women in the workplace until the 1970s. The refusal to recognize harms uniquely impacting women has an important social meaning – it conveys the message that abusive behavior towards women is acceptable and should be tolerated.

The online abuse of women may be a 21st Century issue but it has its roots in much older forms of sex-based harassment and misogyny. Labelling the problem as one of trolling overlooks and trivialises the harm it causes. Let’s just call it what it is – vilification – however and wherever it occurs. www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-14/tyler-the-perils-of-being-a-woman-online/4369562

 

We can also consider Madonna’s recent statement about living through 34 years of misogyny. http://jezebel.com/watch-madonna-open-up-about-facing-relentless-sexism-an-1789975195

 

Adrienne Rich: “The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet… We need to imagine a world in which every woman is the presiding genius of her own body. In such a world women will truly create new life, bringing forth not only children if and as we choose but the visions, and the thinking, necessary to sustain, console and alter human existence-a new relationship to the universe. Sexuality, politics, intelligence, power, motherhood, work, community, intimacy will develop new meanings; thinking itself will be transformed. This is where we have to begin.”

 

Dispatch #14 will conclude this meditation on Misogyny and Resistance in the Time of Early 21st Century Fascism.

 

Categories
Dispatches

Dispatch #12 Day 62 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

 

January 7th 2017 Dispatch #12 Day 62 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)

 

Two months since the Ascendency of White Supremacy and Misogyny, I do admit to Manchurian Candidate fantasies.

Instead, Mother Jones reminds “You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.”  

 

New Year Strategies/Admonitions for RESISTANCE and FIGHTING

 

    • ALWAYS refer to incoming POTUS as the White Supremacist, Misogynist, Pussy-Grabbing Liar-in-Chief.  He gleefully sold his campaign by embracing these qualities…and continues his despicable narcissistic behavior. Just say NO (or perhaps NYET) to words such as ‘provocative’ or ‘unpredictable’ being offered as camouflage.
    • ALWAYS challenge anyone — pundit, opinion-maker, politician, government official, journalist, friends and colleagues — who says or suggests that now we must be civil and work together for the good of the country.  HELL NO!!  The Republicans spent the last 8 years blocking Obama at every turn and fomenting vicious racist PR. The White Supremacist, Misogynist, Pussy-Grabbing Liar-in-Chief promoted the “Obama was not born in America” birther racism for years. This behavior shall not be rewarded with cooperation.
    • DEMAND that Democrats behave like an Opposition Party.  This is no longer about an individual (you know, the White Supremacist, Misogynist, Pussy-Grabbing Liar-in-Chief).  A proposed administration led by white men whose defining qualities include white supremacy, right-wing Christian supremacy, misogyny, unrestrained capitalism and individual greed, rejection of government as a force for public good, and privatization of basic rights such as education and justice MUST be challenged, harassed and blocked at EVERY opportunity.  NO compromises with people committed to the aggrandizement of rich white men and to hell with everyone else.
    • REJECT loudly the false narratives (i.e., identity politics excluded white people; working class white people were angry about the economy; HRC did not have an appealing or persuasive economic message) intended to cover up the dog whistle politics that have been successfully used by Republican politicians since Nixon.  INSIST that these false narratives not be used as the basis for political or movement strategies.
    • DEMAND and INSIST that the threats to women’s fundamental rights and freedoms be front and center to all political and movement work.  Already poor and working class women have been suffering terribly due to state actions restricting access to reproductive health services and due to the political failure to redress economic inequities.  Women are also disproportionately affected by low-wage employment, no access to childcare, lack of affordable housing, limited public transportation, few educational opportunities. We live and breathe Misogyny every moment of every day.  Men do not get this and we women know this. WOMEN must REFUSE to be polite.  
  •       COMMUNICATE with your local media often and INSIST that the White Supremacist, Misogynist, Pussy-Grabbing Liar-in-Chief (aka PEOTUS) be held accountable for lying
  •       most of the time.  INSIST that  journalists do their job and do not continue with such a low bar. DEMAND that journalists and Media stop treating every ridiculous tweet as a
  •       major event and pay attention to what Congress and cabinet appointees are doing.

 

New Year Strategies/Encouragements for RESILIANCE and HELL-RAISING 

 

  • BE with Kindred Spirits, either in person or online as often as possible, voicing, seeing and sharing your concerns. Find the caring and active communities committed to justice and equity, notice their victories, celebrate their work, and be reminded that most people want to make the world a better place for everyone.

 

While this guide draws on staffers’ experiences with Tea Party activism, these effective tactics for speaking truth and demanding justice directly to elected officials will be familiar to grass-roots community-based activists. No politeness or civility allowed.

 

  • READ and LEARN about the Institutionalized Oppressions and Structural Frameworks of White Supremacy and Misogyny in America. I have discussed these in earlier dispatches and provided resources. For another spectacular learning resource check out African American Intellectual Historical Society www.aaihs.org looking in particular at the syllabi under Resources and the Blog.

 

  • Learn How to Work at the Local Level to Promote and Protect Civil Rights and Human Rights and Economic Equity. The absolute best place to begin is at The Movement for Black Lives Platform https://policy.m4bl.org/platform/ . Be prepared to be educated, awed, informed and instructed by the breadth and depth of this peerless accomplishment.

 

  • Women’s March on Washington (WMW) Participate in any way you can on January 21st. It is just as important to have Marches all over the country. Insist that message is about more than abortion/choice. Use powerful words — Reproductive Justice (see my last dispatch), Economic Equity, Decry Violence Against Women, Decry the Ubiquity of Sexualized and Degrading Images of Women, Decry Misogyny & White Supremacy.
  •  
  • Reach Out To Journalists and other public speakers when you appreciate their work, especially in your local papers!! We need journalists to cover the incoming administration with a high bar of criticism. E.g. www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/01/06/what-trump-got-wrong-on-twitter-this-week/ a great piece by Michelle Lee. Tell the Washington Post to make this a daily feature, TRUMP LIES or TRUMP LIES TODAY.

Many are familiar with the Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times.” These times give us the opportunity to step forward to fight for what is just and equitable. We will be able to look back, no matter what the outcome, and know that we did the right thing.

 

Below are a few resources that can give you courage, inspiration, out-rage, knowledge for hell-raising, insights for action and sanity, despair and optimism.

Jessica Valenti is a columnist with The Guardian www.theguardian.com/us  

“In this sort of political climate, where the president-elect targets individual citizens and hate crimes have skyrocketed across the country, calls for reconciliation feel more like a demand for acquiescence: unify, or else. But people can’t be expected to be gracious losers when what we’re losing is our healthcare, safety, families and rights. In a time like this, being disagreeable is necessary. Instead, let’s do something both effective and enjoyable: become big, sharp, nasty thorns in Trump’s side. Get under his skin and reside there for four years”……. “It’s also strategic. Vann Newkirk II pointed out in the Atlantic, in a piece about the expectation that people of color reach out to bigots with empathy, that “abandoning civility” has its upsides: “The labels of racism and bigotry can impose a social cost on bigoted actions, policy preferences, or speech, regardless of whether hearts or minds are changed. Stigma can be useful.”” www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/09/american-unity-calls-trump-presidency-fight-on-equality-rights

 

Because when we don’t continually remind them, people devolve into self-delusion. It’s why people who are against same-sex marriage say they’re simply “traditional”, or how a Republican party official can make a racist remark about the first lady and then claim he’s just not “politically correct.” Even the KKK now says that they’re not white supremacists!

These people think if they can distance themselves from labels, their behavior ceases to be awful. But words like “misogynist”, “racist”, and “homophobe” are not just accurate – they also have power. That’s why we can’t stop using them, whether in the media, in politics or around the dinner table.

It’s true that telling these uncomfortable truths may not result in people changing their politics. But there’s no sense in appealing to the “better natures” of those who have shown themselves willing to stand with hate. They’ve made their decision already, now it’s time for us to make ours.

Instead of bending over backwards to bolster the self-esteem of bigots, we can make clear that the country we want is unapologetically progressive. We can refuse to normalize bigotry, shaming those who stand with Trump. That is how we build a more just society – not with kowtowing or equivocations, but with strength and truth.”

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/05/progressive-american-values-no-compromise-trump-presidency

 

www.jezebel.com/love-is-not-the-answer-1789753903  Kara Brown is always good. In her column commenting on activist Van Jones argument that love can “trump” hate, she says “We can no longer fight solely for harmony; we must fight to win—the safety of the vulnerable depends on it. Be the opposition your opposition deserves. Be the opposition that can defeat them.”

 

Here is the reference for the Atlantic piece by Vann R Newkirk II

www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/12/discussing-racism-white-voters/

Sometimes There Are More Important Goals Than Civility Confronting racism can be crucial, even when it’s not persuasive.

 

www.nytimes.com/2016/11/11/magazine/a-time-for-refusal.html  An essay by Teju Cole, NYT Photography editor, where he uses the play Rhinoceros written by Eugene Ionesco to reflect on the Presidential election results. Ionesco wrote Rhinoceros to explore how and why people give in to poisonous ideologies; he was particularly concerned about fascism in Romania in the 1930s. Cole concludes his essay with this:

 

“In the early hours of Nov. 9, 2016, the winner of the presidential election was declared. As the day unfolded, the extent to which a moral rhinoceritis had taken hold was apparent. People magazine had a giddy piece about the president-elect’s daughter and her family, a sequence of photos that they headlined “way too cute.” In The New York Times, one opinion piece suggested that the belligerent bigot’s supporters ought not be shamed. Another asked whether this president-elect could be a good president and found cause for optimism. Cable news anchors were able to express their surprise at the outcome of the election, but not in any way vocalize their fury. All around were the unmistakable signs of normalization in progress. So many were falling into line without being pushed. It was happening at tremendous speed, like a contagion. And it was catching even those whose plan was, like Dudard’s in “Rhinoceros,” to criticize “from the inside.”

Evil settles into everyday life when people are unable or unwilling to recognize it. It makes its home among us when we are keen to minimize it or describe it as something else. This is not a process that began a week or month or year ago. It did not begin with drone assassinations, or with the war on Iraq. Evil has always been here. But now it has taken on a totalitarian tone.”

www.nytimes.com/2016/11/14/opinion/the-incendiary-appeal-of-demagoguery-in-our-time.html  

 

Author and political essayist Pankaj Mishra considers the parallels between India and US. These excerpts give a flavor:

“The stink first became unmistakable in India in May 2014, when Narendra Modi, a member of an alt-right Hindu organization inspired by fascists and Nazis, was elected prime minister. Like Donald Trump, Mr. Modi rose to power demonizing ethnic-religious minorities, immigrants and the establishment media, and boasting about the size of a body part.

In the case of India, the role of institutional rot — venal legislators, a mendacious media — and the elites’ moral and intellectual truancy is clear. To see it one only has to remember that Mr. Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, was accused of supervising mass murder and gang rapes of Muslims — and consequently was barred from travel to the United States for nearly a decade — and that none of that prevented him from being elected to India’s highest office….

“The fervent rhetoric about private wealth-creation and its trickle-down benefits openly mocked, and eventually stigmatized, India’s founding ideals of egalitarian and collective welfare. It is this extraordinary historical reversal, and its slick agents, that must be investigated in order to understand the incendiary appeal of demagoguery in our time.

Writing after its explosion in 20th-century Europe, Karl Polanyi described in his 1944 book “The Great Transformation” how civil society and individual liberty are threatened as never before when a society has to reconfigure itself to serve the “utopian experiment of a self-regulating market.” Social and political life in India, America and Europe was drastically remade by neoliberal economism in recent decades, under, as the legal scholar David Kennedy has argued, the administration of a professional global class of hidden persuaders and status-seekers….

For all his humblebragging, Mr. Modi, like Mr. Trump, illustrated perfectly how money talks, power seduces and success eclipses morality. One of Mr. Modi’s most loyal fan bases was rich Indian-American businesspeople, who were naturally attracted to the promise of a wealthy India allied with the United States. And conversely. At a charity event in New Jersey last month, Mr. Trump sought their support, and hailing India’s prime minister as a “great man,” declared, “I am a big fan of Hindu.” “Big, big fan.”

Drawing a cautionary tale from this blood-stained history, Polanyi assumed that the catastrophic triumph of economism over social and political necessities would be reversed. The three decades after World War II proved him right. Social-welfare policies underpinned national reconstruction in war-ravaged Europe, as well as in postcolonial Asia and Africa after decades of imperialism.

In our own time, a global network of elites has tried to restart the discredited utopian experiment of a self-regulating market. The experiment failed, and again the rage of cheated masses has spawned demagogues who simultaneously promise to avenge the left-behinds and to rewire their alliances with the elites. Any attempt to rebuild democracy must reckon with the deeper reasons for its great and drastic transformation — above all in India, where Hindu supremacism, in its cruelty and callousness, anticipated the big, big American fan of Hindu.”

For a longer version of this article, www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/dec/08/welcome-age-anger-brexit-trump/

 

Lastly, my favorite NYT columnist Charles Blow reflecting on how to begin 2017 with specific plans to reject the incoming administration – his anti-inauguration declaration. He offers an instructive list of strategies for action along with advice.

Exclaiming your resistance, while necessary, is insufficient. Resistance is a negative position. While negativity in the face of this menace is justified and admirable, negativity alone is a fractional response. As with most things in a fully articulated life, balance is required. You need to augment your outrage with actions that are affirming, behaviors that reinforce principles and values.

When politics seem out of your control, remember that community and culture are very much in your control. We help shape the world we inhabit every day. A life is a collection of thousands of decisions, large and small, made every day. Make those decisions with purpose and conviction, especially for Jan. 20.

You have the power to make anti-inauguration day an enormously effective first step on the path forward through an arduous four years, which promise to be difficult to navigate. Affirmative actions must be as much your guide and solace as resistance is your fuel and fire.

www.nytimes.com/2017/01/05/opinion/the-anti-inauguration.html

 

Categories
Dispatches

Dispatch #11 Day 42 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

 

December 20 2016 Dispatch #11 Day 42 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)

 

So I MUST return to the subject of my Fourth Dispatch, calling-out Misogyny.

This word/issue is increasingly excluded in reporting about the Pussy-Grabbing President-Select. Charles Blow’s otherwise excellent piece decrying as not normal an “unstable, unqualified, undignified demagogue” surrounding “himself with a rogue’s gallery of white supremacy sympathizers, anti-Muslim extremists, devout conspiracy theorists, anti-science doctrinaires and climate-change deniers”. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/19/opinion/donald-trump-this-is-not-normal.html. C’mon Charles man!! How could you leave out misogynists?!

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/03/donald_trump_has_one_core_philosophy_misogyny.html

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/three-key-members-trumps-team-have-been-accused-physical-and-sexual-violence-against

 

Katha Pollitt writes: “Trump will change the country for women in ways that won’t be easy to reverse. His Supreme Court nominees will shape our laws for decades; the coming gerrymandering of districts in 2020 will make statehouses and Congress even more favorable to Republicans. Abortion rights, access to affordable birth control, Title IX, equal pay—it’s hard to imagine any of them faring well under the new regime. Why do you think Trump chose Mike Pence? We now have as vice president a man who tried to shut the federal government down over funding for Planned Parenthood; who, as governor of Indiana, pushed through a bill permitting discrimination against LGBTQ people; who tried to force women to hold funerals for aborted or miscarried embryos, who declared that Roe v. Wade needs to be consigned to the ash-heap of history. Conditions will be worst for the women already most disadvantaged: women of color, Muslim and immigrant women, low-income women, the disabled (did you know that Trump has promised to slash funding for services for people with disabilities?). If Roe v. Wade is overturned, or if the Supreme Court reverses itself and allows restrictions like the ones recently struck down in Texas, then getting a safe abortion will be hardest for women who can’t afford to travel to states where it remains legal. If social services are gutted, low-income women—disproportionately women of color—will be the ones with no place to go if they’re abused or homeless. If Obamacare is repealed, there goes medical care—including no-co-pay birth control and mammograms—for millions of women.” https://www.thenation.com/article/an-unabashed-misogynist-is-in-charge-of-our-country-now-what/

 

Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept, says Pence’s ascendance to the second most powerful position in the U.S. government is a “tremendous coup for the radical religious right. Pence—and his fellow Christian supremacist militants—would not have been able to win the White House on their own. For them, Donald Trump was a godsend….Their primary agenda, on a social level, is basically taking us back to medieval times when it comes to the rights of women, the rights of immigrants, the rights of the poor, the humanhood of all of these sort of vulnerable, targeted groups. https://www.democracynow.org/2016/11/21/jeremy_scahill_mike_pence_has_militant

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/15/mike-pence-will-be-the-most-powerful-christian-supremacist-in-us-history/

 

We must stop letting Misogyny get a pass. We will unapologetically insist that liberals, progressives, movement activists, SEE the toxic fertilizer that Misogyny offers for all forms of hatred and oppression. Without relentless resistance to Misogyny, White Supremacy and other bigotries in America will continue to thrive. Misogyny cuts (literally) across race, class, religion, ethnicity. Misogyny works to deaden, disable, depress, destroy all women — depriving our work of our most potent weapon – the power of women out-raged and united.

 

Misogyny must always be part of the analysis for fighting for equity and justice.

The repossession by women of our bodies will bring far more essential change to human society than the seizing of the means of production by workers……The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.  Adrienne Rich

 

As Republicans have increased their control of state legislatures and governorships, and Republican gerrymandering has led to Tea Party Republicans controlling the House of Representatives, the War on Women has intensified in America during the last decade. While abortion/choice garners most attention, women face retrenchment in many areas such as employment opportunities, pay equity, insurance coverage, anti-violence legislation, financial support for low-income families, education funding. If you don’t realize the breadth of the War on Women, then you must learn.

http://www.politicususa.com/proof-war-women-2

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_Women

http://www.pfaw.org/media-center/publications/war-women

http://www.alternet.org/story/154832/the_root_of_the_conservative_war_on_contraception_comes_from_a_deep-seated_anxiety

 

One of the worst elements of misogyny and war on women is the ongoing normalization of treating/defining reproductive health rights as an issue of religious beliefs. Republicans have peddled this aggressively for decades and Democrats have been complicit. Uh-huh, men making decisions about controlling women’s bodies and God is on their side. American is becoming a Christian supremacist country and misogyny has been and continues to be the leading edge. (And we dare to point fingers at Islam?!)

 

The white Christian right represented a substantial voting bloc for Trump who played to their fear and loathing for Hillary Clinton and her public presence as a powerful woman. She was not just pro-choice but seen as pro-abortion, she was seen as pro-marriage equality, she was seen as pro-gay rights, she was seen as anti-family. She represented the kind of demonized feminism that has animated their movement for a couple of decades now. http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/christian-right-donald-trump 

 

And I am SICK of the term “culture war” used to describe struggle over women’s right to choose. These words hide that fact that religious beliefs are driving fundamental social and political decision in our ostensibly secular country – specifically evangelical christian beliefs. And I am ANGRY when articles about the “culture wars” frequently appear in the Style or Entertainment section of newspapers…REALLY?! Are we talking about wallpaper or women’s lives!?!?!

 

We must insist on new language/words/rhetoric that can inspire and catalyze actions necessary to take back control over women and their bodies. Choice, anti-choice, pro-life, pro-abortion — these words deliberately require a focus on choosing to end a life, and limits the discussion of women’s rights to an issue defined by religion.

 

SISTERSONG www.sistersong.org: This spectacular and inspiring group shows the way forward. Their incisive analyses for action build on their deep understanding of how institutionalized white supremacy, misogyny and economic inequity work together every moment to ensure the degradation of women. To wit:
Reproductive Justice is the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. Reproductive Justice is about access, not choice. Reproductive Justice is not just about abortion but instead includes access to comprehensive healthcare services, adequate prenatal and pregnancy care, domestic violence assistance, adequate wages to support our families, safe homes, quality childcare…you understand, basic Human Rights.
 
Reproductive Justice!! This is the Leadership and Language we need & must use.

 

We are relieved for a “less restrictive law” in Ohio because the other option was so grim. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/us/kasich-ohio-heartbeat-abortion-bill.html

This is how it works folks, when fascism and institutionalized oppression are normalized. When the man beating his wife agrees to only break one arm instead of two, are we grateful!?!?! Matter of fact reporting about women with health insurance rushing to get long-lasting contraception before they lose coverage as if this is normal!?!? http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/opinion/rolling-back-abortion-rights-after-donald-trumps-election.html And of course, working class, low income and poor women are cruelly left to fend for themselves, as usual.

 

“Right to Life” by Marge Piercy

A woman is not a pear tree thrusting her fruit in mindless fecundity into the world. Even pear trees bear heavily in one year and rest and grow the next. An orchid gone wild drops few warm rotting fruit in the grass but the trees stretch high and wiry gifting the birds forty feet up among inch long thorns broken atavistically from the smooth wood.  

A woman is not a basket you place your buns in to keep them warm. Not a brood hen you can slip duck eggs under. Not the purse holding the coins of your descendants till you spend them in wars. Not a bank where your genes gather interest and interesting mutations in the tainted rain, any more than you are.  

You plant corn and you harvest it to eat or sell. You put the lamb in the pasture to fatten and haul it in to butcher for chops. You slice the mountain in two for a road and gouge the high plains for coal and the waters run muddy for miles and years. Fish die but you do not call them yours unless you wished to eat them.  

Now you legislate mineral rights in a woman. You lay claim to her pastures for grazing, fields for growing babies like iceberg lettuce. You value children so dearly that none ever go hungry, none weep with no one to tend them when mothers work, none lack fresh fruit, none chew lead or cough to death and your orphanages are empty. Every noon the best restaurants serve poor children steaks.

At this moment at nine o’clock a partera is performing a table top abortion on an unwed mother in Texas who can’t get Medicaid any longer. In five days she will die of tetanus and her little daughter will cry and be taken away. Next door a husband and wife are sticking pins in the son they did not want. They will explain for hours how wicked he is, how he wants discipline.  

We are all born of woman, in the rose of the womb we suckled our mother’s blood and every baby born has a right to love like a seedling to sun. Every baby born unloved, unwanted, is a bill that will come due in twenty years with interest, an anger that must find a target, a pain that will beget pain.

A decade downstream a child screams, a woman falls, a synagogue is torched, a firing squad is summoned, a button is pushed and the world burns.  

I will choose what enters me, what becomes of my flesh. Without choice, no politics, no ethics lives. I am not your cornfield, not your uranium mine, not your calf for fattening, not your cow for milking.

You may not use me as your factory. Priests and legislators do not hold shares in my womb or my mind.

This is my body. If I give it to you I want it back. My life is a non-negotiable demand.”

 

Circles on the Water: The Selected Poems of Marge Piercy

Published 1982 Alfred A. Knopf, NY

 

 

Categories
Dispatches

Dispatch #10 Day 37 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

December 15 2016 Dispatch #10 Day 37 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny

 

Maria Popovich – check out www.Brainpickings.org – drew attention to Toni Morrison and the importance of language in her December 10th post. Toni Morrison in her 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature Acceptance Speech declared “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

 

Resisting normalization of fascism, cultivating revolution, insisting on justice and equity, finding our comrades who also insist on justice and equity, fighting the cruelty of America’s obeisance to capitalism…all these ACTIONS depend upon language and how words are used.

Now, a shout out for the Ascendency of Rhetoric!!   How many time have you heard activists, outspoken women, grassroots organizations, disruptive protesters chastised for their “rhetoric”? As if there is something inherently bad about rhetoric. Yeah, well, perhaps for those abusing power who don’t want unrest.

Rhetoric is the art of discourse, wherein a writer or speaker strives to inform, persuade or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. Its best known definition comes from Aristotle, who considers it a counterpart of both logic and politics, and calls it “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion. Rhetoric typically provides heuristics for understanding, discovering, and developing arguments for particular situations, such as Aristotle’s three persuasive audience appeals, logos, pathos, and ethos. From Ancient Greece to the late 19th century, rhetoric was a central part of Western education, filling the need to train public speakers and writers to move audiences to action with arguments. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetoric

 

You write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you probably can’t, but also knowing that literature is indispensable to the world… The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way … people look at reality, then you can change it. James A. Baldwin

 

Responding to extremism and divisiveness of this election, political leaders, the community leaders, religious leaders, pundits and public figures are calling for words of reconciliation and understanding, language to find common ground. Calling out the naked appeal to White Supremacy and Misogyny by the Trump campaign is thus seen as antagonizing and demonizing Trump supporters. By creating an equivalence between demonizing people and calling out what happened during the election, these leaders help normalize the ascendency of American Fascism. Love, compassion, and “finding common ground” will NEVER EVER defeat the vicious death-grip of White Supremacy, Misogyny, Islamophobia, and hate.

 

Language from Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, is instructive:

 

“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

 

White People!! We have the moral duty to become people of good will who are armed with DEEP understanding. We must educate ourselves deeply about 1) why it matters that White Supremacy instead of racism is the oppression, 2) how White Supremacy is STRUCTURAL and not about whether we are personally white supremacists. Our obligation and work involves educating/persuading every white person we know that the structure of White Supremacy must be completely dismantled. Rhetoric will come in handy in this endeavor!

 

Here are a few readings with thanks to Washington Peace Center Activist Alert www.washingtonpeacecenter.org compilation distributed on November 11th.

 

http://www.salon.com/2014/02/07/the_history_white_people_need_to_learn/

https://www.propublica.org/article/living-apart-how-the-government-betrayed-a-landmark-civil-rights-law

http://www.racismreview.com/blog/2009/07/20/the-white-racial-frame-a-reprise/

Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class Ian Haney López 2014

 

Become acutely aware of how news, media, and journalists are framing issues, and obfuscating reality in our unapologetically post-truth moment. For example this http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/15/us/politics/democrats-joe-biden-hillary-clinton.html headlined Democrats at Crossroads: Win Back Working-Class Whites, or Let Them Go? VP Biden laments that blue collar whites are written off as racists and other Democratic leaders call for winning back whites of modest means. As we know, Hillary decisively beat Trump among whites with incomes below $30,000 and also won among whites with incomes below $50,000. The flawed analysis based on false narrative ignores the dog whistle Republican tactics and will be unlikely to yield election strategies that grapple with equity, justice, and diversity.

 

We remain woefully, indeed wretchedly, ignorant of our country’s history, a country built on the genocide of indigenous people, the enslavement of black people, and the Ayn Rand values that promote unrestrained capitalism and degradation of the common good. As we now witness the ascendency of fascism, the costs of ignorance and amnesia are evident.

 

In Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation (2016) author Nicholas Guyatt documents how the country’s founders were the original and most ardent supporters of racial separation and were deeply bigoted about race. Jefferson proposed that emancipation of slaves should be accompanied by the deportation of blacks because of deep-rooted prejudice, innate racial differences, and the probable extermination of the one of the other race that integration would case. Segregation was a founding principle of America, not a Southern reaction to emancipation. Lincoln initially called for separation of the races to avoid the problems of an integrated society. Guyatt shows that racial separation (with regard to both Blacks and Indians) resulted from the failure of whites to consider even the possibility of integration and coexistence; at the close of the Civil War, four million freed slaves found themselves among a white population that had spent decades imagining that they would live somewhere else. See book review http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/12/22/our-ruinous-betrayal-of-indians-and-black-americans/

 

 

In closing, a shout out to the DC area marching bands who are rejecting the inauguration of fascism http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2016/12/dc-area-marching-bands-did-not-apply-to-march-at-trumps-inaugural-parade/ and thereby acting on Thurgood Marshall’s admonition: “We must dissent from a nation that has buried its head in the sand, waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away. We must dissent from a government that has left its young without jobs, education or hope. We must dissent from the poverty of vision and the absence of moral leadership.”