There is much media attention on the 50 year Anniversary of Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique published in 1963. Friedan’s book is touted as the beginning of the “Feminist Movement.” However in the 1960s when second wave feminism was born there were two branches of Feminism. One, has been repressed. The other celebrated. One was Friedan’s and later Gloria Steinem’s. It was a gender only movement fighting for gender equality within the United States as it was, with its racial and class hierarchy. It was dominated by privileged educated women. The other branch of the women’s movement was the class conscious “Women’s Liberation Movement” which emerged from the radical Anti- War and Civil Rights movements.
The original Women’s Liberation Movement was a movement of both race and class integration, a vision of justice for all. It saw female liberation as the basis for social revolution. In fact, an article called “Female Liberation as the Basis for Social Revolution” appeared in one of the earliest publications of The Women’s Liberation Movement, “Notes From the Second Year,” issued by its founding group “Red Stockings” in 1970. Other statements of that period stressing the unity of race, class and gender oppression were issued by The Third World Women’s Alliance in 1969, and The Third World Gay Revolution (1969). These original documents are reprinted in Dear Sisters: Dispatches From The Women’s Liberation Movement (Baxandall & Gordon, Eds. 2000).
Occupy Wall street has inspired a wild level of creativity which comes from hope. Hope is so badly needed in America. For over 20 years, we have been passively enduring capitalist abuse and blaming ourselves for our suffering. Antidepressant pill use has increased 400% in the past 20 years during which the 99% sink into poverty, and precarity.
People have been savaging the most helpless of Americans, their children. Over the past ten years, 20,000 children have been killed by their families.
I believe that there can now be a change as people stop blaming themselves and their helpless dependents and start building a better America. I am including three examples of our creativity so that others can share my hope for OWS creativity and real change all over America.
Today was another triumph for Occupy Wall Street. It was so crowded with supporters and media at 5:00 a.m. and it was also immaculate so the excuse that it must be vacated for cleaning failed. The cops that began with batons raised and ready could not proceed.
This is a movement that captures America’s reality. Occupy Wall Street has no stated platform because particular measures passed within a corrupt system will be part of that corruption. The very words of democracy are corrupted in the mouths of our government. This powerful film emerges from occupy Wall Street and captures that truth.
Photo of Dominique Strauss-Kahn by Guillaume Paumier.
The case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a camera’s lens giving us a sharply focused picture of American justice.
We begin with the circumstances and the facts. I cite only corroborated information. Dominique Strauss Kahn was staying alone at the Sofitel, a luxury hotel in New York City. He was then the chairman of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He resigned because of the scandal I describe. The IMF decides whether and how to give desperate nations the economic aid they want in order to survive. The IMF is known for the conditions of “austerity”, i.e., economic suffering, it imposes on its debtor nations. Strauss-Kahn was in a suite. The price for such a suite at the Sofitel is $3,000 per night. No austerity for him.
A Guinean cleaning lady emerged from Strauss-Kahn’s suite crying. She had bruises on her neck and breasts. She reported to other maids that Strauss-Kahn had grabbed her breasts, thrown her on the floor and forced oral sex on her. Strauss-Kahn denied it.
Bail and Bond
Strauss-Kahn is photographed in his rumpled expensive suit as he did the “perp walk” to a police car off to Rikers Island.
Within days his wife, Anne Sinclair, arrived from France with over a million dollars to assure the bondsman a return of the six million dollars needed for Strauss-Kahn’s bail bond and his release. You may notice that his case is now looking, shall we say, atypical.
If this old stereotype of women had truth to it once, it doesn't now. Harriet Fraad writes, "Women now initiate most US divorces as well as refuse to marry in the first place." Why? Because men just aren't doing their share.
An important feature of our recent vote went unreported. The vast majority of Americans voted by staying home. Only 41.3% of eligible voters bothered to vote (national turnout rate among those eligible to vote (the voting-eligible population or VEP) of 41.3%). If we add to them the potential voters who did not even bother to register, very conservatively another 10%, we will see that about 70% of Americans virtually boycotted our elections. The youth stayed home in even greater numbers than older Americans. Only 20% of registered eligible young voters voted. More than 80% did not bother. Why?
I believe in democracy. If a vast majority of Americans do not vote, there must be a good reason for it. I believe that the vast majority of Americans understand that their voices are not heard. Their votes don’t count. They ask, “Should I vote for the party that brought on the disaster that took my security, and can, or did take my home, or should I vote for the party that promised hope and change and did not change my precarity or loss?” Neither seems worth it.
Most Americans feel powerless. An extreme right Tea Party alternative was possible. Most correctly perceived that although such a vote registered a protest, it represented a leap out of the frying pan and into the fire. Somewhere they knew that since the overwhelming number of layoffs were in private corporations, not government, cutting government would just let those capitalists at the top pay even less taxes and laugh even louder on the way to the bank which our taxes subsidized – that very same bank that won’t loan us the tax money we gave them. That is enough to get people discouraged.
What can people do? People need a left political formation that speaks for the majority.
Workers of Arcelor Mittal demonstrate and shout slogans during a demonstration in Marseille Photo: EPA
My crude and abbreviated translation is below:
On the 12th of October 2010, three and a half million people (the official French count) participated in demonstrations organized by the French trade unions. This is a record turnout. The media and the police recognizes that the demonstrations here are growing. There were 244 demonstrations around France this time as opposed to 230 on Sept 23. They kept up in spite of a huge effort by Sarcozy to sell raising the onset of early retirement for French retirees from 60 years old to 62. Sarcozy’s proposal raised the opposition higher. Students joined retirees and trade unionists. They closed schools around the nation. They are demonstrating against youth unemployment and the precariousness of their future. For many seniors new rules will prevent retirement until the age of 67. The transit sector unions are mobilized to strike. The government counted on the disaffection of masses of people inconvenienced by the demonstrations. However, 71% of the population is in full support of the demonstrations and strikes and 61% is in support of a continuing strike. Sarcozy’s ratings fell. 62% do not have confidence in Sarcozy as a leader. Bankers’ cheating and vast enrichment have been exposed in 2 high profile cases: one is of the owner of L’Oreal [the cosmetics company] who was caught bribing Sarcozy’s ministers and hiring a cabinet minister, Woerth, as her finance consultant. He advocated austerity for French workers while he counseled her to hide money off shore. The owner’s butler exposed the truth here. The next mobilizations are called for Oct. 16, 2010.
Psychohistorians believe in De Mause’s theory of the psychogenic pump. If children’s primary nurturers are given kindness, acknowledgement and support, they will usually treat their children well and the human race will flourish. When young brains and hearts are nurtured, children grow up without the terror that leads to pathologically frightened adults who dare not take the risks of inventing anything new or thinking outside of the strictures of their parent’s world. Petrified children become closed minded obedient, terrorized, and often pathologically uncreative adults. Support and respect for caretakers acts as a pump of progress improving the conditions for all of us.
If we look at the nations that most oppress women we will find that they bear this out. The norms of misogynistic societies are some or all of the following: early marriage and childbearing, rape, physical abuse, genital mutilation, HIV, infection gross inequality of educational opportunity for girls and the tight grip of orthodox fundamentalist religion. We also find on going wars. The most misogynistic nations currently are, according to UN statistics: Afghanistan, The Congo, Nepal, Sudan, Iraq, Guatemala Mali, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. Though many within these nations strive to make a better world they have been held back because they are stymied by appalling social conditions. In order to understand why people allow appalling social conditions to exist, we may look at a nation’s treatment of women and mothers and in turn mother’s treatment of their children which does yield clues. In studies of people who became rescuers of Jews rather than passive bystanders to Nazi atrocities, compassion and kind mothering were cited as reasons for compassion rather than conformity to cruelty. See here and here.
The global Catholic Church is confronting an extraordinary crisis not faced since the Reformation, which began with sharp criticisms of the Church and ended with a schism out of which emerged the establishment of a separate Protestant Church.
Today, sexual abuse allegations against priests are surging in a startling array of nations: the United States and Canada, New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy, Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, Bolivia, Mexico, Brazil and Chile. New abuse scandals erupt daily. The John Jay School of Criminal Justice estimates that, in the U.S. alone between 1950 and 2002 hundreds of thousands of children have been sexually abused by Catholic Clergy.
In fact, the Catholic Church has a 2,000 year history of sex abuse. In their acclaimed book, Sex, Priests and Secret Codes (2006), Father Thomas Doyle, with former monks Richard Sipes and Patrick Wall, used its own documents to confirm the Church’s 2,000-year problem with clerical sex abuse.
Why has the Church been plagued by so much pedophilia – predominantly homosexual? And why has a scandal regarding this situation erupted only now?
The newspapers are full of the latest priestly sex abuses. This is an on going story. Within the last year, mass scandals have erupted in Brazil, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria. and the United States. Figures from the John Jay School of Criminal Justice estimate that since 1950, an estimated 280,000 children have been sexually abused by Catholic Clergy and deacons.