Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Problem of "Hate Crime" and Individualism
image above is from here
[An earlier version of this has been deleted.]

An argument in opposition to First Amendment absolutists is that hate speech is antithetical to free speech: the first exists to prevent or silence the second. I agree. Speech acts seeking the continued oppression or destruction of marginalized or subordinated peoples are oppressive and destructive.

My issue in this post is with the terms such as "Hate Speech" and "Hate Crime". Specifically, what the terms imply about how we understand and act to end oppression.

A crucial tool of White Male Supremacy--the straight kind especially--is the use of individualism to misname structural and systemic problems. One key aspect of individualism, as you may well know, is that oppression is reduced to how people feel about each other in the interpersonal realm. So, if only we loved one another; if only we treated each other as we'd have ourselves treated; if only there was no more hate... then we'd have world peace, or lack of conflict, justice. The problem is presented as "prejudice" or "lack of empathy": emotional or psychological dysfunction, problems of upbringing. We were raised with the wrong values. We had bigoted parents. Even if discussed in a more social way, we hear the problem is "bias" and "intolerance". How watered down and drowned is the language that far more accurately describes the maintenance of oppression as essentially political?

It's not that hate isn't present; it's that it is sometimes in service to class-based subordination--and not always. To whatever absurd level whites fear Black hatred aimed up, any speech used to communicate that 'hate' is not a systemic or institutional problem in the least. Political translation: there is no such thing as Black supremacy in the West. The same with an alleged preponderance of "man-hating" by women, particularly feminists.

The co-called good Christian whites who operated Boarding Schools thought they were being loving, as do many white colonialist Christian proselytisers--however ineffectively. Historically, so-called better treatment or a belief in moral motive is one tool of white male supremacy. One way white male supremacy thrives is by giving an appearance of treating people better on the individual front. The perversely over-quoted passage by King about children holding hands. In such a linguistic and social world, we assume a problem is over--or getting better--if oppressors are treating the oppressed in less overtly subordinating ways. In fact, looking at the systemic problem of het husbands and boyfriends battering women, when he moves into a stage of being remorseful and sorrowful, that is the precursor to another period of physical and emotional violence.

Calling someone a threatening and racist name ought not be framed only or primarily as a hate crime. It is an act of white supremacist subordination and destruction, rarely prosecuted as criminal. Rape is also normal, not 'mean-spirited' in the sense that many men would argue they have great affection for the women they rape. Missed is the comprehension, let alone the alleviation, of the structural-political nature of rape. And in fact, their committed rape(s), self-perceived and self-named as "love-making" are not, strictly speaking, acts of 'hate' as much as they are acts of subordination. This is to say, men lovingly rape. That's only a contradiction in terms if we make emotional states a prerequisite to or component of oppressive acts.

Even terms like 'crime' are misleading. The State uses the term 'crime' as an excuse to arrest and kill oppressed people disproportionately. What the status quo has never adequately understood or appreciated is how 'criminal' the criminal justice system is. That is to say, the system is grievously attached to political and economic hierarchies and won't function otherwise. 'Crime' is a political term in service to the status quo. Routinely, what is considered 'criminal' is effectively 'by definition' in practice, 'regular everyday acts by Black people' that wouldn't be 'criminal' if whites did them. Rape and men's sexual violence against women is not even considered a hate crime!

Stopping sexual harassment and other forms of work site threat and violence is an endemic problem requiring a structural solution. Ending capitalism is part of that. Some call it a need for 'culture change' and I'd agree it is that too, but it is also and far more importantly a permanent political rearrangement. The solution is not only an end to the interpersonal abuse.

Even terms like 'misogyny' and 'homophobia' make it sound like hate, fear, and bigotry are the problem. The corporate media will now occasionally use the term 'misogyny' but avoid the term 'male supremacy.' That says it all. If 'white supremacy' replaces 'racism' as the term used by such media, we may be that much closer to eradicating it. Not that such media has any interest in moving that effort along.

The heinous problems before us are not individualistic, or necessarily hateful or criminal. I support using language that reflects the systemic, historic, structural nature of oppression as the foundation of law-making and efforts to radically change society.

From here:
One of the most striking things I read in the book was how your pre-teenage brothers didn’t complain that it was unfair police had harassed and abused them for doing absolutely nothing. You write, “By the time they hit puberty, neither will my brothers have expected that things could be another way.” They internalized the devaluation of their lives at such a young age. Can you talk a bit about other ways in which young black children receive this message?

For many marginalized communities, we are told from birth that our lives are valueless. We are told that we don’t deserve things. That poverty is our fault. That our parents’ addictions and prison and inability to feed us is our fault. So if you internalize that, if you internalize the ways in which the world has literally shoved you out, then of course as you get older, you’re not going to believe in yourself. And that translates into not being able to do the things that are the most important and most healthy. We have to talk about changing systems first. We live in a culture that wants to talk about individual first, that tells people they need to take personal responsibility for their hardships. Let’s not do that. Let’s change the system that creates the hardships. That’s the work of Black Lives Matter, that’s the work of #MeToo, #TimesUp, the Women’s March, so many other important organizations that have come together in the past few years. [emphasis mine] -- Co-founder of BLM, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, in an interview about her brand new book, When They Call You a Terrorist

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Please Contribute to this Fundraiser for Girls Escaping Trafficking, War, and Genocide

I sincerely hope anyone able to send $10 or more dollars will generously support this excellent effort! Almost one half of $1500 has been raised! This is direct care to girls in need by hands-on activists, with trauma counseling and leadership training!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#NotMe[n]Too: men's invasion of women posting #MeToo

The #MeToo campaign initiated to show the true extent to which women are being subjected to sexual harassment and assault is really catching fire on social media.  Any #WLC care to share your thoughts about the effectiveness of this type of activity?  Are you participating why or why not? #OpeningConversations #OpenDialogue
I believe us. Women can be trusted. #MeToo #IBelieveYou #WomenCanBeTrusted
image is from here:

For anyone who doesn't know the history of the #MeToo campaign to challenge and put an men's sexual harassment against women and the climate which encourages it, you may find the story here:

"I have heard in the last several years a great deal 
about the suffering of men over sexism. 
Of course, I have heard a great deal 
about the suffering of men all my life. 
Needless to say, I have read Hamlet. 
I have read King Lear. 
I am an educated woman. 
I know that men suffer. 
This is a new wrinkle. 
Implicit in the idea that this is a different kind of suffering is the claim, I think, that in part you are actually suffering because of something that you know happens to someone else. 
That would indeed be new."

Andrea Dworkin,
"I Want a Twenty-Four-Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape" 
(1983, Letters From a War Zone)

Across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook this week, I've seen the courageous effort by women to come out to other women, and men, as yet another women who has experienced predation via sexual harassment by men, often men in positions of power above and beyond standard, run-of-the-mill male supremacist power. Whether in the workplace or home front, school or street, or anywhere else, sexual harassment of women is something men are learning is profoundly widespread and devastating. The women I know find the sharing of the hashtag as a public notice that, yes, me [another woman] too--it happened to her also, it happened again, here, to her, and to her, and her and her and her. No surprise. At all. Have not most women been harassed sexually at least once, if not dozens of times?

I heard today a story of a 14 year-old girl harassed by a boy in her grade at school. I will spare you the details, but what I also noticed was how 'normal' the whole thing was for her, like walking or talking. Oh, yeah, and by the way, he ..." Scary and disgusting. I see this happening as it has ages due to capitalist colonialist patriarchal norms and entitlements and privilege bestowed upon men. In part due to pornography--one of the most normalized forms of misogyny being passed off as what women and girls want. And in part due to men's refusal to see the world from women's point of view, however varied that is. And in part because it serves men well, on the collective political front, to keep quiet about the whole thing: what men do to women that is invasive and violating.

So what is deeply troubling to me is the fact that men are joining in posting or tweeting #me too. This infuriates me and I've already gotten into some heated arguments with guys about this--about how fucked up it is that men are turning this into a "Men's Lives Matter" kind of thing. Yeah, we get it. When did we not get that? As Andrea so clearly states: we know you suffer, men.

You inflict that suffering on women all the time.

I told one guy, #me too, when posted by a man, means only one thing: #men too. And at a groundbreaking--hopefully groundbreaking--time when women are coming out about this trauma, this utterly ubiquitous trauma, men want their/our pain to be front and center. There are so many things wrong with this but I'll identify two for now.

1. We know what the effect off this is: Men expect to be congratulated and empathised with far more energy than will women. Men expect to be told how brave they/we are and are eager to hear: "thank you for joining women, for standing with women" in the struggle for visibility about this form of predation. But honestly, that's not what I see men coming out about. I see men speaking of being sexually abused in other ways, thereby taking the focus off the issue at hand in yet another way. This week the story on the news is about a Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein*, a producer with extraordinary power within one industry acting like all the other men with structural power in the industry. He got called out for his blatantly criminal acts by enough women to get the public to believe he really did all these vile things.  See two links below for more. We all have learned what Harvey Weinstein did to them, against them, terrorising and/or seeking their further subordination to him, the prick. We learned it is still going on, rampantly and without stop. I hope this is more than a pause, but we know these fuckheads are doing it as I type this and later today and tomorrow ad nauseam. (*And before him, in 2017, Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly of FUX Women Over NEWS. And most notably and visibly, our new President, Donald "the predator/terrorist" Trump.
2. What is amazing to me is that this becomes a moment, a week, perhaps a much longer period of time, in which women are publicly supporting other women as they continue to come out with these horror stories, these utterly predictable and persistent horror stories. So men getting in on the act means they/we are leeching away from women that potential bonding and camaraderie through the various levels of pain, disgust, and/or triggering when revealing something so shameful--with all the shame belonging to the men.

 3. What women tell me is that a too common dynamic in men's misogyistic manipulation is to plead to women about how much pain THEY'RE in, while abusing those same and other women all the while. It becomes part of an abusive cycle that is intended to keep women's sympathies and guilt about realizing the guy is a predator flowing. It is designed to insist he is real, a full human being while making her less than, a kind of human who ought not take care of herself, against the interests of men, at all times.

I am saying NO. No men, DO NOT DO THIS. Do not make this about you too, again, as you/we always do. Do not egocentrically detract from the power of what is going on by throwing yourself into it as a victim no less! Why not post #IDidItToo on your walls and in your tweets? Now that would be courageous, potentially revolutionary, if you did so and then made sure you and your friends and colleagues and family members and men on the street never did it again.

I will leave the reader with the link to the rest of Dworkin's speech that I think stunningly describes what men SHOULD be doing in the face of such news:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Author and Activist Kate Millett (September 14, 1934 – September 6, 2017)

File:Kate millet 1.jpg 
Source of portrait of Kate Millett is from here
which also contains extensive biographical information

I will leave it to one of the feminists I most admire to describe the impact of Kate Millett, who died today. Above, within the caption to the image, is a link to a wiki page on her life and work.

Here is the opening paragraph of an article linked to just below:

The world was sleeping and Kate Millett woke it up. Betty Friedan had written about the problem that had no name. Kate Millett named it, illustrated it, exposed it, analysed it. In 1970 Kate Millett published the book Sexual Politics. The words were new. What was "sexual politics"? The concept was new. Millett meant to "prove that sex is a status category with political implications". She pointed to male dominance in sex, including intercourse. In challenging the status quo, she maintained: "However muted its present appearance may be, sexual domination obtains nevertheless as perhaps the most pervasive ideology of our culture and provides its most fundamental concept of power."

With condolences to her loved ones.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump and Comp (TM), Chistofascism, and Dominant Identity Politics

image is from here
Most but not all of my friends are being terrorised by the values and practices of January 2017 Immigration policies and Cabinet member approval. Public protest is reinvigorated in the U.S. due especially to police violence and murder of unarmed Black and Indigenous citizens. Tragically, whites view Blackness and darker skin as a dangerous weapon. The chess match Trump and Comp is playing is operating in 3D.

Those dimensions are:
Oligarchic and autocratic rule.
Patriarchal Christian rule.
White straight male supremacist rule.

Upon that tripod of tyranny we see playing out before and against us a more naked display of what we have seen over the last many decades, centuries, and millennia. The influence of wealth, the on-going consolidation of power among men, and the dominance of Christofascist colonialism. A weapon in one hand, a NT Bible in another, and the missionary position's physical and spiritual subordination of women preached around the world.

Trump and Comp (TM). has been empowered by electoral success in an election steeped in misogyny, racism, and the cultural dominance of white Christianity and Oligarchy.

What does that mean? It means whether with full intention or primarily by effect, he is working a few steps ahead corporate media's grasp of what is going down. Or, such media is in bed with Trump and Comp, making for a disturbing and messy coalition--rumors of his exploitation of Russian prostitutes by demanding water sports not withstanding.

What I am worried about is Trump and Comp (TM)'s success in tossing out hand grenades of over-the-top violations of the US Constitution while shoving into government institutions their long-term objectives.

Centering the appeal and influence of Mike Pence and Steve Bannon through less protested actions.

As a whole, the tyrannical and genocidal Western world is imperiled far more by Right-wing fascism and WHM supremacy than by Central Asian opposition to the West's warmongering and mass murder. What is also exposed is how 'white', 'heterosexual' and 'man' are identities at least as much as 'Black', 'LGBT', and 'woman'. WHM disdain for "identity politics" pretends that theirs are not the political identities most promoted and protected.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The White Political Spectrum: Far Right to Far Left
If the image doesn't appear above, it may be viewed here.

There is a myth among many along the white political spectrum that there are locations along it that are not white supremacist. Let's see...

--White Nationalists, white separatists, neo-Nazi, Klan members, or proud neofascists. Celebrated outcome: the bolstering of white male supremacy; the sexual and social subordination of women; white male led race warfare; a whites-only nation; genocide. Key concepts: Race is natural. Whites are the most advanced and supreme humans on Earth. Whites culture is seriously threatened and will soon become extinct. Patriarchy is God's plan.

--Right-wing Conservatives (Christian and secular) are against rights and equality for people of color, the weakening of patriarchal rule, meaningful democracy, 'racism' against whites, media diversification, and protect white male supremacist law and order, the maintenance of warfare against Black and Brown people globally, economic exploitation of the system by the wealthy. Maintained outcome: white supremacy, patriarchy, oligarchy, genocide, and ecocide. Key concepts: Reverse racism. Men are under attack. White women and men are in danger from Black people, immigrants, Muslims, and China.

--Libertarian Conservatives focus on government being too big, poor people getting a free ride, and advocate for the protection of private property, wealth inequality, and corporate capitalism. Desired outcome: blaming the victim (support of a bootstraps solution to economic woes); ignoring or decentering the conditions of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people across gender, white women, LGBT people; and the conservation of white, straight, and male supremacy, economic violence, and ecocide. Key concepts: Private property rights must be protected. There is no problem with racism or sexism. Government interventions into rich people's lives is worse than climate change.

--Conservative and Liberal Moderates oppose mass violence when it threatens the status quo, fair trade, the weakening of law and order, and believe white Republicans and Democrats should understand, get along, and work together, footnoting the experiences of people of color, tokenizing LGBT people, and ignoring women of color across sexuality and ethnicity. Planned outcome: the protection of corporate capitalism and warfare against Black and Brown people; poverty; and white, straight, and male supremacy. Key concepts: Reverse racism and sexism. Political correctness. Global warming exists.

--Liberals talk about the problems of bigotry and interpersonal racism, limits on women within the existing systems and institutions, the excesses of corporate capitalism, and the intensifying climate crisis. Usual outcome: the unconscious maintenance colonialism, capitalism, and patriarchy. General lack of activist participation in the liberation struggles led by people of color, especially women of color. Key concepts: Optimism without practice. Individualistic solutions. Climate change is a serious problem.

--Progressives talk about the problems of oppression, militarism, white supremacy, misogyny, racist institutions, rape culture, and economic injustice. Probable outcome: modest to radical adjustments to oppressive systems which can accommodate reforms; no plan to eradicate any core humanitarian and environmental atrocities. Modest attention paid to the struggles of people of color but less so to women of color. Key concepts: Privilege, oppression, progress is inevitable and good. Climate change is caused by corporate greed."

--Left-leaning Radicals talk about the problems of white and male privilege, entitlement, advantage, power, and supremacy; the inherent violence of the status quo and capitalism, heterosexism, and gendered and raced violence including masculinist warfare and Western colonialism. Ideal outcome: Collectivist action toward the liberation of oppressed people and transformation of the status quo. Still centering white experience, theories, and history. Hopefully less actively racist, hopefully more conscious of how being white effects all social relations, but in my experience that's not the case. Anti-racist while racist. Key concepts: White and male supremacy. Structural oppression. Allies. Liberation. Ecocide.

--Whites are racist, white supremacist, consciously or not, interpersonally or not. This is determined by ones location on a race hierarchy, not primarily by attitudes and thoughts. Attitudes, thoughts, and actions are shaped by ones structural position.
--Men are sexist, misogynistic, and patriarchal, consciously or not, interpersonally or not. This is determined by ones location on a race hierarchy, not primarily by attitudes and thoughts.
--White straight Christian men rule the West and have no intention of that being different--whether White Nationalists or Radical Liberationists.
--Any whites and men can choose to be anti-racist and anti-sexist but doing so doesn't shift one's location off the top of race and sex hierarchies.
--It is imperative that whites and men work against their own privileges, advantages, entitlements, and structural power, toward the liberation of all people from all systems of oppression and dehumanisation.