Dispatch #68 May 16th 2020
Day 1283 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 1211 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings
That so many people will suffer so much in the richest country in the world reveals once again the stunning institutional inequities driven by white supremacy, misogyny, and unfettered capitalism. Movement leaders and public health activists are organizing to demand that this pandemic moment be wielded to tear down these structural intentional injustices and to call out these inequities as human rights violations. Dispatch #63 from the War on Women
This Dispatch from the War on Women offers notes for inspiration and out-raging.
On International Workers’ Day May 1st, Breaking the Chains pays tribute to women workers with this fabulous article by Claire Cook, Organizer with ONE DC– Organizing Neighborhood Equity www.onedconline.org. Noting that women represent more than 50% of workers deemed essential in this pandemic and that 77% of teachers and 94% of childcare workers in the US are women, Claire also comments that
powerful stories of women’s working class leadership are only a few historical examples that resonate with us in the movement for women’s liberation today. Throughout the history of the labor struggle, there are countless stories of women stepping up to defend their rights as workers, and the social and political rights of their communities. www.breakingthechainsmag.org/on-international-workers-day-breaking-the-chains-pays-tribute-to-the-women-workers/
As usual and on command, the mainstream media promotes and normalizes the narrative that religious liberty cannot possibly be compromised by women’s so-called rights. The Washington Post and the New York Times blandly and blithely report on the challenge of balancing religious liberty with women’s access to birth control. (I suppose it goes without saying that men don’t need to be troubled with birth control.)
The Washington Post reported that
The Supreme Court on Wednesday struggled with the question of how to ensure access to birth control at no cost for women while respecting the religious beliefs of employers who say providing contraceptive coverage violates their faith.
The case is the latest dispute over the expansion of health-care benefits for women under the Affordable Care Act and pits religious liberty against a woman’s right to health care. Wednesday’s arguments marked the third time the high court considered the contraceptive coverage requirement but the first since conservative justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh joined the bench. www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-birth-control-obamacare/2020/05/05/98c35dfe-8e36-11ea-9e23-6914ee410a5f_story.html
The New York Times, with the unmitigated gall to reference Justice (gag) Kavanaugh’s comments during oral argument, reported that
Even as the justices appeared deeply divided along the usual lines on Wednesday, there was broad agreement that the case, Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, No. 19-431, required the court to balance religious freedom against women’s health. www.nytimes.com/2020/05/06/us/politics/supreme-court-obamacare contraception.html
Yes, as we women are acutely aware, in the US the right/freedom of the individual to practice her religion of choice has morphed into state-sponsored Christian-Supremacism that is relentlessly and ruthlessly wielded to violate women’s human rights and civil rights. This casual acknowledgment and acceptance that the US is now a religious/Christian state able to violate the human rights of 50% of its residents without reproach should produce shock and out-rage. Oh well, Margaret Atwood is not shocked or amused, just sorrowful.
In her review of three books on women’s reproductive rights titled The Long Fight for Reproductive Rights is Only Getting Harder, Katha Pollitt concludes with this:
Policing the Womb” contains the best explanation I’ve read for the necessity of reproductive justice, not just reproductive rights. Focusing on the right to choose abortion doesn’t get at the full range of cruelty, unfairness and misogyny visited upon women in courtrooms, prisons, gynecologists’ offices and hospitals. It doesn’t explain why we are quick to imprison mothers for drug offenses, even though their children suffer greatly, or why the U.S. maternal mortality rate is the highest in the industrialized West, especially for black women, and rising. It doesn’t explain why, after making abortion so hard to get, we offer mothers so little help, even as we deplore the high child poverty rates in an affluent nation like ours.
If you thought the United States was becoming friendlier to women, a more equal and just place, this book will disabuse you of that illusion. In some ways, it is getting more hostile and punitive. For anyone interested in the American reality for many women, “Policing the Womb” is essential reading. www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/the-long-fight-for-reproductive-rights-is-only-getting-harder/2020/05/12/2fda9f2a-8326-11ea-878a-86477a724bdb_story.html
And OMG emerging data analyses show that the impact of COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately harms people of color!! How can we possibly be surprised given our 400 year legacy of slavery, genocide, and institutional White Supremacy? All too often, however, the race and class analytic lens leaves out gender…institutional Misogyny.
Not always… A recent story in The Guardian discusses why women dying in US prisons are among the less visible victims of Covid-19 and asserts that these gendered fatalities illuminate unique problems women face in prison, and the all-too-common gendered ways they get there in the first place. www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/14/women-prisons-coronavirus-victims
OK! You must read/learn about Cécile Rol-Tanguy one of the great figures of the French Resistance in World War II who recently died at age 101. How many women heroes are buried/intentionally forgotten, or as the New York Times so delicately puts it “overlooked.” Thank you to The Guardian for lifting up and celebrating Cécile Rol-Tanguy. www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/11/cecile-rol-tanguy-obituary
The widely acclaimed Irish poet Eavan Boland passed on April 27th. Revered for her craft and beloved by her students and colleagues, Eavan Boland’s courage and passion knocked aside the rules of the white patriarchy. Read her poetry and weep for voices lost and voices gained. www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/eavan-boland-who-redefined-irish-poetry-from-a-womans-point-of-view-dies-at-75/2020/04/29/99e253dc-8a23-11ea-8ac1-bfb250876b7a_story.html ; https://news.stanford.edu/2020/04/28/renowned-poet-professor-eavan-boland-dies-75/
When Eavan Boland published her first book in the early 1960s, few women’s voices contributed to Dublin’s vigorous literary arguments. Today, most of the influential works of Irish poetry, drama, and fiction are by women; Boland’s nearly 60 years of luminous, indefatigable writing made a place for them. Poet Mary O’Malley received the news of Boland’s sudden death “as if a pillar of the house had fallen,” then added: “It hasn’t, of course—she built a strong and lasting shelter.” https://www.thenation.com/article/culture/eavan-boland-irish-poetry/
And do learn about Barbara Babcock, a pioneering and relentless legal champion for women and the poor who helped Ruth Bader Ginsburg win a federal judgeship. During Jimmy Carter’s Administration Barbara Babcock lobbied successfully for many women and members of minorities, and by the end of his term, President Carter had appointed more such judges than all previous presidents combined. www.nytimes.com/2020/05/11/obituaries/barbara-babcock-dead.html