War on Women Gets Racheted Up

 The following article appeared on the Huffington Post website.

Aspirin as the New Birth Control: The GOP War on Women Reaches New Lows

We all heard about the War on Women's Health last year, when Tea Party-empowered state legislatures passed a record slew of anti-choice laws -- including deluded bills such as Arizona's ban on "race-based abortions" and dangerous ones like Virginia's attempt to shut down most abortion clinics in the state. These unhinged state legislatures were joined by an enthusiastic right-wing Congress that attempted to defund the entire $317 million federal family program, tried to redefine "rape," and ate up lies about their favorite bogeyman, Planned Parenthood.

 

Well, the War on Women's Health is back -- and now it's a flat-out, all-out War on Women.

Just this week, we have seen not just the stunning spectacle of major presidential candidates coming out against birth control coverage, but Republicans in the Senate holding up domestic violence protections because they protect too many people; a potential vice presidential candidate pick poised to sign a law requiring women to receive medically unnecessary vaginal probes without their consent; a leading presidential candidate claiming that "emotions" will get in the way of women serving in combat; and a House committee holding a hearing on birth control access -- with a panel consisting entirely of men.

And it seems that in the lead-up to 2012, the War on Women isn't going to die down.

The two Republican presidential front-runners, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, have signaled that they are 100 percent on board with the anti-woman agenda of their party's farthest-right element.

For Santorum, this isn't news. As a U.S. senator, he championed the so-called "partial birth abortion" ban, which prevented women from making difficult choices after complications late in a pregnancy. But that was just what he could convince others to do. He not only thinks abortion should always be a crime -- even in cases of even rape, incest and danger to the pregnant woman -- he thinks states should be allowed to ban birth control. Why? Never mind that birth control is the best way to lower the number of abortions, he's against it because birth control "is not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

In a stunning statement, major Santorum supporter billionaire Foster Friess put it even more bluntly on MSNBC yesterday, saying he didn't see why women need insurance coverage for birth control: "Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly."

But when it comes to reproductive rights, there's not much daylight between Santorum's policy positions and Romney's. Romney wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, and has signaled that he'll appoint federal judges with the same priority. He told Mike Huckabee that he "absolutely" supports so-called "personhood" laws that grant zygotes the rights of human beings -- and outlaw the most common type of birth control. This puts Romney far to the right of voters in deep-red Mississippi, who rejected such a plan by double digits last year.

What's more, one of the frequently talked-about picks for the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, is poised to sign into law some of the most extreme anti-woman measures in the country. This week, Virginia passed a bill that would require all women seeking abortions to first undergo an ultrasound. But not just any ultrasound. The roughly 88 percent of women seeking abortions in the early days of pregnancy would be subject to a medically unnecessary vaginal probe -- and they won't be asked for their consent.

It's the kind of government intrusion that you'd think would leave people of all political persuasions aghast. But Gov. McDonnell has spoken in favor of it, and is expected to sign it.

Gov. McDonnell hasn't said whether he'll sign the anti-birth control "personhood" bill that also passed his state house this week. If he does, his state will have the most restrictive anti-choice laws in the country.

The right is staging an all-out assault on women's rights while they have control of the majority of state legislatures, the House and a determined minority in the Senate. The GOP's presidential candidates are promising to join it if they get elected.

We can't let them succeed.

Dig in.

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  • Guest (Carl Davidson)

    Work to defeat all Republicans in 2012. This post is a very good argument for it. Take out a few Blue Dog Dems along the way, if you can. As a positive good, work to elect PDA's 12 Congressional candidates.

  • The article does call for defeating the Republicans, though that does not infer that should be the position or reaction of revolutionaries. The article gives a sense of a barage of initiatives taken against women in the past week or two spearheaded by Republicans on both the federal and state levels of government. This needs to be called out by revolutionaries and diverted into a direction where the systemic nature of the oppression of women is what gets put front and center and a movement emerges that seeks to attack this oppression at its roots. Already there have been protests at the Virginia capital and it is that resistance that needs to be strenghtened and expanded. The vicious attack on women on a nationwide basis has certainly created the basis for mass resistance that can go far beyond electing Democrats especially given the global and national political climate currently in force (ie. Occupy, etc.).

  • Guest (Ghan Buri Ghan)

    "Work to defeat all Republicans in 2012."

    As someone who lives in Virginia, I think that's incredibly dangerous advice. Here, the reactionary misogynistic proposals of Bob McDonnell and Bob Marshall have galvanized and mobilized thousands of women. We need to raise the bucket, not let the Democrats use it as a spittoon.

    BTW by my estimate, probably around 75-90 percent of the Democratic leadership, at least outside of the northern districts, are "blue dogs". For example, a couple of years back, here in the 26th district, a Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates who ran on a platform that was officially anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage was still too "far-left" to be electable.

    Look at Tim Kaine (D), whose stance on the 2005 gubernatorial campaign "reducing the number of abortions", "promoting abstinence-focused education", "passing an enforceable ban on partial-birth abortion", etc.

    Or Mark Warner (D), who may be more progressive than Kaine on the abortion issue, but in 2008 received the endorsement of Virginia Police Benevolent Association, the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police, and Shannon Zeman, the Republican sheriff of Floyd County. In his 2004 budget as Governor, Warner ramped up funding for the police, and hired over 100 new Virginia State Troopers. Warner is anti-parole and pro-death penalty. We can't pretend like these aren't issues that also effect working-class women in Virginia. Did you know Virginia has at least four (to my knowledge) all-female state correctional institutions? The Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women alone has over 1000 female prisoners.

    Another interesting fact, Mark Warner made it against the law in Virginia for undocumented workers to Medicaid and welfare benefits. In 1996 he also wanted to restrict the number of DOCUMENTED immigrants who were eligible for food stamps and housing benefits. (And here in Virginia, the "left" still gets really mad if you try to go beyond pressuring Democratic politicians to vote for the DREAM Act, which gives undocumented youth the choice between military service or student debt on their path to citizenship)

    I sometimes think Carl Davidson doesn't appreciate the scope of the crisis we're facing. Yes, it's wrong that Virginia Republicans want doctors to rape women as punishment for getting an abortion, yes, thousands of middle-class women in Virginia are mobilized against this issue. Is the answer simply to say "well golly, let's all vote for the Warner-Kaine mafia and put our stamp of approval on their terrorism of working-class American Indian, Black and Latina women in Virginia"? Will that help raise those sisters' class-consciousness at all? Or help them build a revolutionary movement?

  • Guest (Ghan Buri Ghan)

    "Work to defeat all Republicans in 2012."

    As someone who lives in Virginia, I think that's incredibly dangerous advice. Here, the reactionary misogynistic proposals of Bob McDonnell and Bob Marshall have galvanized and mobilized thousands of women. We need to raise the bucket, not let the Democrats use it as a spittoon.

    BTW by my estimate, probably around 75-90 percent of the Democratic leadership, at least outside of the northern districts, are "blue dogs". For example, a couple of years back, here in the 26th district, a Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates who ran on a platform that was officially anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage was still too "far-left" to be electable.

    Look at Tim Kaine (D), whose stance on the 2005 gubernatorial campaign "reducing the number of abortions", "promoting abstinence-focused education", "passing an enforceable ban on partial-birth abortion", etc.

    Or Mark Warner (D), who may be more progressive than Kaine on the abortion issue, but in 2008 received the endorsement of Virginia Police Benevolent Association, the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police, and Shannon Zeman, the Republican sheriff of Floyd County. In his 2004 budget as Governor, Warner ramped up funding for the police, and hired over 100 new Virginia State Troopers. Warner is anti-parole and pro-death penalty. We can't pretend like these aren't issues that also effect working-class women in Virginia. Did you know Virginia has at least four (to my knowledge) all-female state correctional institutions? The Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women alone has over 1000 female prisoners.

    Another interesting fact, Mark Warner made it against the law in Virginia for undocumented workers to Medicaid and welfare benefits. In 1996 he also wanted to restrict the number of DOCUMENTED immigrants who were eligible for food stamps and housing benefits. (And here in Virginia, the "left" still gets really mad if you try to go beyond pressuring Democratic politicians to vote for the DREAM Act, which gives undocumented youth the choice between military service or student debt on their path to citizenship)

    I sometimes think Carl Davidson doesn't appreciate the scope of the crisis we're facing. Yes, it's wrong that Virginia Republicans want doctors to rape women as punishment for getting an abortion, yes, in addition to working-class women, there are thousands of middle-class women in Virginia who are mobilized on this issue. Is the answer simply to say "well golly, let's all vote for the Warner-Kaine mafia and put our stamp of approval on their terrorism of working-class American Indian, Black and Latina women in Virginia"? Will that help raise those sisters' class-consciousness at all? Or help them build a revolutionary movement? No, it will simply drive a stake between them and their working-class sisters (the ones who will be predominately effected by this anti-abortion legislation) and bring them back into the obedient fold of the Virginia Democrats...

  • Guest (Carl Davidson)

    Sometimes I don't think 'Ghan' gets a handle on the scope of the crisis we're in.

    He says:

    <blockquote>Is the answer simply to say “well golly, let’s all vote for the Warner-Kaine mafia and put our stamp of approval on their terrorism of working-class American Indian, Black and Latina women in Virginia”? Will that help raise those sisters’ class-consciousness at all? Or help them build a revolutionary movement?</blockquote>

    This is just being silly. It makes no distinction between 'voting for' and 'voting against,' something almost all regular voters understand. And no one claims a vote is going to raise revolutionary consciousness or promote an insurrection. Nor will it block anyone from trying to do so. Under a real 'diversity of tactics', it's simply one way among many to unite and work together, even briefly, with millions of women who will be working AGAINST the GOP in droves, then getting to know them, talk with them, invite them to meetings. going to their meetings, and find common ground. And if we can defeat some Republicans by mobilizing women's outrage, and the outrage of their allies as well, so much the better.

    It's simply old-fashioned organizing at the base. Or doesn't such mundane things matter to some anymore?

  • @Carl

    It is organizing at the base around a specific action, namely, voting for a democrat. It is mobilizing women's outrage effectively to quell it. It's going to meetings as you suggest and creating a plan of (in)action around electoral campaigns essentially.

    There are ways to "organize at the base" at a distance from the state, supporting resistance and developing a movement and culture that aims at radical transformation of all that currently is. And in the situation we find ourselves in there is increasingly a positive basis to accomplish this effectively.

    You mention a "diversity of tactics", yet you constantly see voting as the sole tactic of significance. But it is a tactic devoid of strategy as the idea that "without a communist movement there can be no communism" holds good when communists are not in power and when they have it.

    You can have meetings with people that may even talk about socialism for instance, but if all your asking people to do is vote for progressive democrats and there is no popularization of a different order and no public politcal activity acting on an independent basis creating a specifically revolutionary pole of attraction, than essentially, as has been stated by many others many times, you are just submitting your organization and those it organizes to the will and politics of those progressive democrats. It is ultimately a strategy for reform regardless of its intentions.

  • Guest (Ghan)

    "It makes no distinction between ‘voting for’ and ‘voting against,’ something almost all regular voters understand"

    You yourself have admitted on numerous times that the political structure USA resembles less of a European-style bourgeois parliamentary representative democracy and more of a bi-partisan joint-autocracy of wealthy slaveowners.(And for those who don't know, Virginia is the blueprint that the rest of the USA was built on)

    We can talk about casting a vote every election year. This takes about 30 minutes of your time, less physical energy than it takes to jog down to the mailbox, and only uses up the monetary resources it takes to purchase the gas to drive to the nearest voting booth. At the same time it is completely meaningless. As you yourself have emphasized numerous times, the USA is not a bourgeois parliamentary democracy. Just today, you said;

    "The difference is that the parliamentary systems in Europe include some measure of proportional representation, as well as the largest plurality designated the winner, ie, ‘first past the post.’ Without the proportional measures, here we simply call it ‘winner take all, and the effect is rather different [...]

    This is how Die Linke can win 5-to-15 percent of the votes, and still get assigned seats in the parliament–and also a portion of public funding for their educational efforts, according to their vote percentages. This is true for all parties, across the spectrum.

    This is impossible in the US system, which the Electoral College also skewers in a racist way. For instance, if every Black voter in the South had not voted in recent elections, it would not have made any difference in the national outcome.

    Likewise, we see the ‘spoiler effect.’ Ross Perot’s Reform Party split the vote largely hurting the center-right and the right, giving the election to Clinton even with a minority of the popular vote. We all know about 2000 and Al Gore–the margin was so slim, Bush’s victory could be attributed, variously, to Nader or even Monica Morehead of the Workers World party. I attribute it to the GOP purging more than 10,000 Black voters in Florida. In any case, you could say Bush won by one Black vote, Clarence Thomas’s on the Supreme Court.

    But one key difference with the US and Europe, is that European Parties tend to have defined platforms that matter to some degree–then they form ruling majorities that pick Prime Ministers and such, and small parties can often decide whether one bloc or another has a majority. No such thing here. Our parties are mainly based on selling candidates like toothpaste, with competing ads and sound bites as spectacle (mis-named ‘debates’), and the one who can pour the most millions in ads most often wins."

    You name it right there in red; lack of proportional representation, lack of coalitions, de facto racial voter disenfranchisement via the electoral college, explicit racial voter disenfranchisement in many cases, (as in 2000 and 2004) and the skullduggery of the third parties in providing the "spoiler effect" for one of the two major parties. (As Clinton and Bush have both relied on third party "spoiler effects" to win elections in the past)

    I do not point this out to excuse the parliamentary democracies of Europe, which are bourgeois democracies, but to illustrate the difference in terms of political organizing within the US.

    As I said, you can cast a vote, it doesn't take very much time, energy, or money. But organizing voter-drives, voter-registrations, campaigning for Democratic candidates, etc. feeds the ideology of the US bourgeois and is a waste of significant amounts of time, energy, and money.

  • Guest (Carl Davidson)

    The actual going to the polls to cast a ballot is the least important part of an electoral organizing effort that take advantage of the increased activity of the masses in the process during these periods. Everything that goes on leading up to that point, and even to a degree what happens afterwards, is far more productive. Those who have done it will know what I mean.

    And elections are hardly my sole tactic. It's one of many. It only sounds that way in this forum, because I am one of the few voices for it here among many opponents. I find many things far more interesting than elections, but here I find I have 'bend the stick' a bit.

    But in the context of the post at the top here, I am truly puzzled by the willingness of some to give all these GOP reactionaries a pass when it comes to voting, and to struggle to find arguments for keeping your distance from the efforts of a huge number of working women likely to emerge to take them on.

    As for the quote from me about how backward our conditions are, all that means is that it's a tough road. You can say the same about organizing in factories or stores like Walmart. The degree of democracy and openings in those venues is even less, by far, but we do it anyway, or at least we should even in the face of more ruthless and more unfair conditions of domination.

    If you think there is 'an easier, softer path' to revolution than passing through all these venues where the bourgeoisie has hegemony, it's time to wake up. Our job is to be wherever the people are stirring, and work forward from there. If that means working with masses to women who will want to defeat these creeps at the polls, just get on with it, and see where you can go from there.

    If you don't want to, fine, that's your business. Stay away. In some ways, that'll just clear the decks for those of us who do see an opening, and will make the most of it,

  • Guest (Ghan)

    "The actual going to the polls to cast a ballot is the least important part of an electoral organizing effort that take advantage of the increased activity of the masses in the process during these periods. Everything that goes on leading up to that point, and even to a degree what happens afterwards, is far more productive."

    While I agree, what we should focus on in that respect is not "defeating the GOP" per se, but educating people on the bourgeois class-nature of both parties in the US, the extent to which they collaborate, and the extent to which both parties' platforms are explicitly exploitative and repressive.

    For example, regarding the specific issues in Virginia, we need to raise awareness by connecting the issue of state-sponsored clinical rape, attacks on the legality of abortion, and cuts to women's health, to other issues, such as the sexual abuse of female prisoners and female detained undocumented workers in Virginia. (To name one of many) We must illustrate how both parties are complicit in this regard. We also need to put pressure on Republican voters to abandon crusades against the legal rights of women beyond electoral action, given the high level of voter disenfranchisement in its many forms in the US.

  • Guest (Carl Davidson)

    Good. I agree with your points here

  • There's nothing that prevents revolutionaries from working with women who are going to vote even while we don't promote this as a viable solution for ending women's oppression. Women who are appalled at the current course of events may work in electoral campaigns and they will also come out into the streets. They may do any number of things, some that revolutionaries should support and help to develop and push further, and others that can be accepted in the course of resistance and worked out through the process of unity-struggle-transformation. Voting should not be discounted as a possible tactic, though if there is no consciously revolutionary movement contending with the ruling powers or at least such a movement developing, then the purpose for voting becomes an end in itself to the people who are being mobilized by would be socialists and communists to do so. Voting and electoral politics then become a strategy, essentially a strategy for working for the left wing of the democrats.

  • Guest (Voting, Race in America, Black)

    Greate pieces. Keep writing such kind of info on your page. Im really impressed by it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Civil Rights. Regards

  • Guest (Zen Eiguntum)

    You know my dear leftists it's time you stop this silly language of 'war on women' it's pretty obvious the abortion phenomena is not fueled by this in any obvious manichean sense, on the anti side the women make up arguably the engine of the movement due to the fact that its a personal register for them, if there really was a unified female species against abortion the antis would be in the minority bin at this point clearly it hasn't happened, it also doesn't help that contemporary pro-choice discourse and propaganda sucks, it just lacks an internally coherent and consistent message, the antis at least have the former in that they carry the whole living/included/excluded rights bullshit to what they see as logical conclusions, now I don't believe in rights or any bourgeois derivative discourse so I'm prepared to deliver a proper rebuttal, I can't say the same for the lot of post 68 left-overs who cling to silly ill-founded identity political mantras.

    Whatever the issue is here stop using melodramatic terms like 'war on women', most women in the us are into their spectacles just as the boys are, if there was a war on them they would have let us know, and if it is a war a fair amount of them are in the 'enemy's' uniform.

  • Guest (Carl Davidson)

    @Zen, who says:

    <blockquote>I don’t believe in rights or any bourgeois derivative discourse so I’m prepared to deliver a proper rebuttal, I can’t say the same for the lot of post 68 left-overs who cling to silly ill-founded identity political mantras.</blockquote>

    This is called the 'left' liquidation of the woman question, and the wider liquidation of democracy as well.

    I plead guilty to being a 'post 68 leftover.' The fight for democratic rights, especially those being denied to Blacks in the South, was my entry into politics as a youth. I still find it important. And I'm one who argues that we all have natural rights as part of our species being, going back to our origins as humans, along with language and rituals. They are part of who we are, ie, unalienable, whether any government of any sort wants to deny them, ignore them or otherwise distort them.

    It's easy to build a rightwing movement that denies rights or restricts them to a privileged few, But a socialist movement of the revolutionary left will do best to defend and expand our rights.

    But we have been through this matter before on another thread. The practice of consistent democracy, which is vital to the workers movement, is often measured by how well one does in defending the rights of women.

  • Guest (PatrickSMcNally)

    ZE has used some forceful language which obscures the point here. The point is that campaigns against abortion, although they should be opposed bo socialists of any stripe, are really not best understood as an attempt by "sexist males" to enforce "male domination" or some such. All of the most rabid attacks on abortion which I've encountered in real life have come from women, not men. Furthermore, most of these women have not been stay-at-home-moms leading a stereotypical prefeminist existence. They have more often come from women who hold multiple jobs.

    That does not mean that socialists should suddenly start to support the reversal of Roe vs. Wade simply out of deferment to such women's opinions. But it does mean that hyping phrases such as "war on women" in such a context can lead to a fundamental disconnect with the relevant audiences. It's analogous to screaming "Uncle Tom!" at every black cop in the neighborhood. It doesn't register the way that is intended.

  • Guest (Carl Davidson)

    Patrick, I suggest you do a little study on the origins of the rise of the 'pro-life' movement in the 1970s. You'll find a cabal of male preachers, priests, and other far right males, well-funded by major right-wing foundations, behind them, not to mention the male bombers and killers of abortion clinics and those who work in them. There are certainly any number of pro-life women, but to discuss them outside this context misses a great deal. In fact, it misses the substance of the matter.

  • Guest (PatrickSMcNally)

    Most positions within major organizations at the time of the 1970s would have been held by men, so that doesn't really say much. Of course the most rabidly Right-wing males of that time were immediately hostile towards Roe vs. Wade and jumped on it. But the real living world is a dynamic place that is in motion, and simply trying to understand the anti-abortion forces of today through the lense of male sexism doesn't really reflect what is out there today.

    Again, it would be analogous to researching early ties between the Ku Klux Klan and police departments across the South, and attempting to invoke this as an argument that all of the black cops that I see here in central Florida are really "sellouts" of some kind. It just doesn't hit the mark the way that is desired.

  • Guest (Sks)

    PatrickSMcNally,

    I don't get your point.

    I mean, a black cop is, in the USA, a sell-out and a comprador. Period.

    So what is your point?

  • Guest (Carl Davidson)

    @Patrick

    <blockquote>But the real living world is a dynamic place that is in motion, and simply trying to understand the anti-abortion forces of today through the lense of male sexism doesn’t really reflect what is out there today.</blockquote>

    The world is indeed in motion, but why in the world do you want to diminish the key role of rightwing religious patriarchism in building the 'pro-life' movement against women's reproductive options and freedoms is beyond me. True, there are progressive Catholic nuns and lay women who hold to the 'seamless garment' view opposing not only abortion, but also capital punishment and wars. But they are only a fringe to the main force of this movement, centered in the rightwing churches as a mass base, which are very open about the need to restore a weakened patriarchy over women. Listen to Limbaugh carry on about 'FemiNazis' any day of the week--and he's one of the milder of those inflicted with the 'white male entitlement disorder' (diagnosed by Carl Bell at the University of Illinois.)

  • Guest (PatrickSMcNally)

    "I mean, a black cop is, in the USA, a sell-out and a comprador. Period."

    You're welcome to that as an ideological framework. But it really doesn't bear much resemblance to how the ordinary black employees around here at places like Walmart, Pizza Hut or Kentucky Fried Chicken actually see the world. For the majority of them the fact that we now can have black cops (when such would have been impossible under Jim Crow) is similar in significance to having Obama as POTUS. It's a partial advance in their view. Whether such an advance is really what socialists should make as their main focus today is a different issue. But it doesn't really help to fool oneself about public perceptions.

  • Guest (bobh)

    SKS says: "I mean, a black cop is, in the USA, a sell-out and a comprador. Period."

    It's my understanding that there are contradictions everywhere, even amongst the police and army. I've read that black police officers have played a role in stopping some of the worst police excesses -- is it the case that the National Black Police Association has always played completely reactionary role? (Note: I would distinguish between completely reactionary and mostly reactionary, although you might not).

    I think Patrick's point is that if a police department is dominated by racist white supremacists, it does not necessarily follow that Blacks and Latinos trying to join the force aspire to be white supremacists. They may in fact objectively buttress that, or they may serve to actually undermine white supremacy and tend towards a more "pure" class domination. At least that's what my understanding is.

    On a personal note, an undocumented friend of mine had a traffic accident some time back and called me to help translate. The white guy who hit him wanted to settle with some money, but my friend wanted a police report since he had insurance and wanted to file a claim. Against my advice we called the cops. The cop who showed up was Black and told me by law he was supposed to arrest my friend because he didn't have a US drivers license; but he understood the situation and filed the report as if I was driving (he knew I was not there at the time of the accident) to avoid immigration. He also told us that most of cops in that town were white and any of them would have sent my friend to jail. That was one contradiction I'm glad was there

  • Guest (Zen Eiguntum)

    "And I’m one who argues that we all have natural rights as part of our species being, going back to our origins as humans, along with language and rituals. They are part of who we are, ie, unalienable, whether any government of any sort wants to deny them, ignore them or otherwise distort them."

    Carl that old feurbachian liberal position was 'liquidated' by stirner and there's no going back from his analysis for those that are internally consistent, all discussion of rights operate on a roman binary of inclusion/exclusion notionality, the pro choice v life argument is ultimately inevitable. I don't think you have to worry about the 'right' talking away rights, they've actually taken up a lot of classical leftist positions ironically given the the contemporary left has adjusted its values to the identity model(and ironically taken up some conservative positions which show you how grey and cyclical things are as opposed to flat earth directional) , I don't know who said it but he said 'the left turned to identity politics the right stuck to politics' the right which is inherently dumber then the left on aggregate(even today)has actually caught up over the last 40 years or so because of the lefts degeneration on certain brute facts in the ongoing appeasement of identity.

    Patrick is also right about women being being a big part of the lifers, just because men happen to hold leadership positions and play the active propagating role doesn't say anything about the base structure of what props them up, there are a lot of women even today who believe in traditional patriarchal roles, increasingly you're seeing the rise of the Bachman types who while still believing in those old time religious values are given the leadership role as active agents. Fundamentalism in the west is increasingly becoming more egalitarian in their active figureheads in case you've missed it. The whole male head thing at this point is becoming more symbolic then anything, fact is women in the fundy side of things are increasing as active in roles of support as they are passive, needless to say you have a whole female tendency that does not see their sex being attacked in the least.

    And on a final point, there is not set role for a given species being to be in terms of self construction and propagation, there is nothing inherently wrong with a black dude who settles into the settler side of ideology, there is as much wrong with a woman identifying with patriarchy as a man identifying with matriarchy, the fact that you would rob the species being of its ability to make these choices says a lot about you.

  • Guest (Carl Davidson)

    Feuerbach and Stirner are beside the point here.

    Both Marx and Hegel take law and divide it into two, natural law and positive law (ie, 'posited' as in adopted and written down.) Along with tracing natural law back to our species being, Marx unfolds its evolution both historically and in the context of the prevailing modes of production. We are are social species. We have both rights and obligations to one another going back to our origins, much as we have language. And just as government doesn't give us language, neither does it give us rights. Governments can deny them, thwart them or even uphold them--but it can neither give them nor take them away. Humanity had the social practice of both right and obligation before governments or classes came into being. If it matters to you, you can read Marx on Hegel's Philosophy of Right, as well as other sources.

    But it's a deep and very important question. It shapes what you think we are, as people, as human beings. And the kind of socialism and communism you're being and advocate for will be shaped accordingly.

    As for this...

    <blockquote>there are a lot of women even today who believe in traditional patriarchal role</blockquote>

    So what? And what is 'a lot of women'? A majority? A large by shrinking minority? In what country? It doesn't alter the reactionary male supremacist and patriarchal nature of the current GOP onslaught against women one bit.

  • Guest (Zen Eiguntum)

    Carl if you want me to play by logical rules then its 'some' in either direction which would make your whole spiel of war on women quite obviously illogical considering that 'some' women who do not uphold the reified identity that leftists want to see do not consider this a war.

    And we do have something from birth that no one can take away, its called might, that in congruence with rhetoric is what makes right, end of story. As long as governments have primary rhetoric and secondary might on their side they can do whatever the fuck they want including holocausts, I'm sorry if this troubles you, but that's how it is.

  • Guest (Carl Davidson)

    Sigh...Once again, 'might makes right' is a fascist idea--it's neither socialist nor communist. And don't quote Mao saying power comes from the barrel of a gun. That's 'power', not 'right', and in any case, the party controls the gun.

    And the 'whole spiel of the war on women' hardly belongs to me. In our current circumstances, it's almost a commonplace.

    Are we social creatures or not? If so, do we have obligations and rights regarding one another? Would you want a socialism or communism where we didn't?

  • Guest (Sks)

    @PatrickSMcNally

    That is a crap argument. The majority of people think capitalism and democracy is the best of all possible worlds. That doesn't mean they are right.

    To transform a reality, the first step is to identify it as nakedly as possible. The next, dirtier, task is how to engage the different contradictions - but your method is about avoiding the identification of actual reality and tail whatever "most people" believe.

    This is confusing two needed things:

    1) The scientific understanding of reality

    2) How, based on these understanding, develop strategies of engagement.

    Certainly, there are contradictions within the police forces. Yet these contradictions are the matter of strategy, not of understanding reality.

    The role of all police under capitalism is to protect and enforce capitalist property relations. In the USA, race and class are interwined and inseparable, so non-white police officers

    And for every happy story of liberal cops, black, queer etc, I give you the multiple instances of the opposite. I mean, I have never been stopped and frisked by white cops - IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A BROWN OR A BLACK COP.

    This is the difference between an identitarian critique and a Marxist critique: the treason of cops is not to their identity, but to their class. They are scabs, no two ways about it.

  • Guest (Miles Ahead)

    What I am finding disturbing about this thread is—where is the outcry against the blatant war on women (and as some have said, “violence against women”—some likening the invasive and unnecessary ultrasound procedure pre-abortion to rape)?

    And why aren’t we asking—why <i> now</i> (as opposed to NOW who is asking this question) have the mainly Right-wing crusaders stepped up their all-out attacks and war? Instead some are focusing on some of the backward elements—like women who call themselves “pro-lifers”; “pro-life”—there’s a misnomer if there ever was one. Are we basing our summations on the Phyllis Schlafly’s of the world?

    The following are just <i> some</i> examples of the “MEGA outcries” from the majority of mainly women in the U.S., with a huge and swelling backlash against the war on women:

    I.e.:

    Susan G. Komen Foundation’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood—a total backlash and misfire. One example, within 24-hours of the initial flap-- “Thousands of women rushed to support Planned Parenthood. The organization received $650,000 in 24 hours.” (Washington <i> Post</i>;)

    Immediately in Virginia—“Between 1000 and 1500 women stood arm-in-arm yesterday at the Virginia state Capitol in Richmond to <i> protest </i> two anti-abortion bills …” both the invasive ultrasound as well as the “personhood” bill (which bill was defeated in of all places, Mississippi.)

    Concerning the “mandate” in Obama’s healthcare bill, that birth control be covered at no cost to women employees, by…etc. etc. and the Right (and Bishops) trying to twist women’s right to healthcare into a “war against religion,” it has been said by some that 98% of Catholic women use birth control. After more studies appeared, what has been summarized is that “sexually active Catholic women use birth control at the same rate as non-Catholic women” –which is the majority of women. But from all the polls, 98% of women were in favor of using birth control…with some more vocal than others, they voiced their opinion—online, in the streets, etc. The Obama administration somewhat back-peddled, but the overwhelming majority of the people supported this mandate in the first place. In fact, this mandate has already been in place in at least 20 U.S. states. Check the polls…

    There was a panel called in Washington to discuss women’s healthcare, except the panel consisted of all men, and women were not allowed to participate—including banning testimony as to why a lot of women take hormonal birth control for health reasons—such as endrometriosis, and not for contraception. This definitely brought an outcry from various quarters.

    Part of my theory as to why now is—with all that is going on in the world, and in the realm of public opinion—the Right is trying to plant their own pole (thinking they can get away with this trash, while they have a majority in Congress); the Democrats are scrambling to plant their own pole—posing as the great defenders of “democracy” and women’s rights; while communist revolutionaries (or even the Occupy movement) talk of planting another kind of pole. The fight to overturn Roe vs. Wade isn’t a new one—in fact attempts at the reversal of that decision started up before the ink was dry upon its signing in 1973.

    It is not hyperbole, and clearly the war against women (the oppression of women an integral part of all existing societies) is escalating. And this also dovetails with homophobia and attacks on the LGBT community.

    What timing, as International Women’s Day approaches. Are we going to talk about how “women hold up half the sky” on that day, but then what? I think it is safe to say, that a humongous amount of women already know they hold up half the sky—even if they still live under the tutelage of a patriarchal society. And the majority of women feel under attack with these latest attempts to reverse any gains made through their potent struggle.

    <blockquote> Atwood was at one time offended at the suggestion that <i> The Handmaid's Tale </i> or Oryx and Crake were science fiction, insisting to The Guardian that they were speculative fiction instead: "Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen." (Wikipedia on Margaret Atwood) </blockquote>

    I picked that quote from Margaret Atwood to illustrate what the hell <i> is </i> happening in the real world; <i> The Handmaid’s Tale </i> not far-fetched, nor are we living in the world of science fiction. If we wanna go the electoral politics route, maybe we should put Margaret Atwood up as the candidate of choice. Then again, she is Canadian…(but not Kenyan), so there goes that idea.

  • Guest (Zen Eiguntum)

    Might makes right is a descriptive fact Carl though I said in my post that rhetoric is the slight prime mover first and foremost, look you still are stuck in christianized sensibilities on the question of might, for someone like a martial artist or anyone who doesn't rely on ghost dances for protection(rights and constitutions are the white mans ghost dance) this isn't controversial, you're all about a prior hegemony being in place to order mores, how the fuck do you think hegomonies happen, primary rhetoric and 2ndary might gets the goods, not sappy moral sentiments, because the fascists told half truths and had this bizarre position between rejecting and appropriating roman ideology does not render might/rhetoric=right incorrect.

    Where btw are all these ordinary women asking for help in this 'war' on issues like planned parenthood there are just as much women who will use the usual line of attack against PPh as there are men if not slightly more. As for being social creatures, we are no different inherently then the other creatures that roam the world, when they take care of each other and their young they do so based on a habitual compulsion of survival in the biological world, you don't have to back it up with extra ghosts and phantoms.

  • Guest (Carl Davidson)

    Zen, my 'sense of right' is universal to all the major world religions, not just the Christian one, although Jesus got to the core of it in his parable of the 'Good Samaritan' Read the whole thing, and note that he starts debating a lawyer. Gandhi added to it when he reminded us that right is also centered in our duty to one another. But you'll find in the Koran, The Tao, Confucius, Mencius, all of them You'll also find it in societies without a written language and among modern secular thinkers as well.

    That should suggest something to you, ie, there is such a thing as natural law, that it evolves over time in various ways, and that positive law often arises from it, not the other way around.

    'Might makes right' is indeed a descriptor--but of what? It's not universal, as there are many societies without states that have a developed formation of natural laws. But to put this 'descriptor' in advocacy form is indeed, in modern history, a fascist idea. Before that, it was a descriptor of the core of tyranny.

    As to women's rights, in 1791 the French revolutionary heroine, Olympe de Gouges, wrote the 'The Declaration of the Rights of Women and the Citizeness.' As an example of 'might makes right,' she had her head cut off on the guillotine for her efforts.

    So with whom do you stand, de Gouges or her executioners, on the matter of asserting rights?

    Marx and Engels in the 'Origin of the Family,' relying on the historical materialist studies of Lewis Henry Morgan, an American who looked deeply into the tribes of native peoples, reveal women did indeed originally have similar rights to men, until the emergence of patriarchy much later, which Marx and Engels described as the 'world-historic defeat of the female sex.' I would argue that women retained their rights a humans nonetheless, which are unalienable, even if those who ruled over them, under 'might makes right,' treated them as chattel.

    It seems this current GOP onslaught against women is indeed a 'teachable moment.' But as Marx notes in Theses on Feurerbach, sometimes the would-be educators themselves must be educated.

  • Guest (Zen Eiguntum)

    As a famous russian prince once said, mutual aid exists throughout all biosphereical species to some degree and it is beyond good and evil, the good Samaritan story is about an impulsion toward the other that is beyond societal mores, that is receptive to bare life, something no roman logic(where your silly rights come from)can comprehend. The Tao among your examples is actually an anti prescriptive prescription for humanity, its why it rules. There is no law in nature, only emergence and complexity and the situational decisions made by a species either in receptive or non receptive direction toward a given attraction, there is no inherent good or bad that can be weened from this situational decisions, only descriptive preferences.

    As for ms Gouges, her antecedents have thankfully kept their heads, that should tell you something about my point, its good that the heads are intact, but I'm afraid back then the people with power were in the right, that's just how it is, I have my own anarchistic ways of dealing with power, but believe you me, might plays a part, the fact that women had to retain what they had lost suggest that what they had was very much alienable, lets be intellectually honest and mature and admit this and prefigure accordingly, for me the anti-authoritarian assault on power is the preferable way to keep things like patriarchy(and matriarchy) in check, it's all about balance. Also it might be a good idea to alienate some people, the psychopathic one percent come to mind, including the 1 of the 1 who turn out like your bundys and dahmers, and by alienation I mean the physical kind where you tie hands and legs to moving objects in opposing directions and vroom vroom...make a wish.

  • Guest (Carl Davidson)

    @Zen

    This reveals a lot, mainly about your anarchism--and why I'm not one.

    <blockquote>There is no law in nature, only emergence and complexity and the situational decisions made by a species either in receptive or non receptive direction toward a given attraction, there is no inherent good or bad that can be weened from this situational decisions, only descriptive preferences.</blockquote>

    Then what is the Dharma? And is not the Tao another word for 'The Good?' And as the universe unfolds, doesn't it do so in patterns that repeat themselves, and did so long before self-conscious beings arose? What does Marx unfold and describe in Capital? Emergent Arbitrary Happenings?

    <blockquote>As for ms Gouges, her antecedents have thankfully kept their heads, that should tell you something about my point, its good that the heads are intact, but I’m afraid back then the people with power were in the right, that’s just how it is, I have my own anarchistic ways of dealing with power, but believe you me, might plays a part, the fact that women had to retain what they had lost suggest that what they had was very much alienable</blockquote>

    Her executioners 'were in the right?' How about those of Troy Davis? Or Oscar Grant? Where they 'in the right, too?' Is 'that just how it is', too? Do you see the swamp you're in?

    You've got yourself twisted up into a fine mess here. Hopefully, you'll see the flaws in your positions, and find a path to untangle yourself.

  • Guest (Zen Eiguntum)

    grant and davis are an expression of an still present institutional logic against black people by a dominant settled set of cultures, if you have a problem with that(which I most certainly do) then destroy the institution, the davis case was something of a bureaucratic failing of administered justice(all justice is bureaucratically managed-which is why it should be dispensed with) combined with biases of behalf of the settled culture working themselves out the administration, grant was killed by cops-species of being that should not exist in the first place and who happen to also express institutional biases for and against certain cultures, really just admit you have a preference like I do.

    As for what the dharma and tao is, these represent older hermetic assumptions of unity of above and below, they are discourses of compatibility with light and darkness, good and bad whatever, most species on this planet are on the side of being receptive including humans, Laozi and other saw this and concluded there was no need for further prescriptions, only compatibility and doing nothing(which is something) there is no need for the middle eastern manichean method of enclosed attitudes and orientations toward darkness and evil considering that they feed into what is light/good/receptive and vice verse.

  • Guest (Carl Davidson)

    What can I say? This is just bizarre. We lack a common universe of discourse, as some philosophers might put it. Good luck.

  • Guest (Miles Ahead)

    As most of you know, International Women’s Day (March 8th) is on the immediate horizon. And it seems that if this latest battle against the war on women is taken seriously, that that should be some (if not a lot) of the focus this IWD. Talk about “unleash the fury of women…”

    IMO it would be helpful if people reported on the groundswell of the thousands of women who are taking a stand (and taking to the streets) for women’s rights—including healthcare, birth control, et al. in opposition to the more than reactionary forces waging this war. Birth control, for one, has been a source of helping liberate women—almost taken for granted by newer generations—while the total reactionaries would like to return to keeping women “barefoot &amp; pregnant.”

    IWD should also be inspiring regarding some of our new heroes (aka heroines) who have emerged from the Arab Spring, etc. IWD shouldn’t just be a day to commemorate our shining past examples, nor should we simply commemorate women internationally on that particular day.

    Obviamente, la lucha continua, siempre.

  • Guest (Carl Davidson)

    A good number of women took their fury to the Virgina statehouse, causing the right to back down temporarily. Fan the flames!

  • Guest (Miles Ahead)

    Carl...while I don't want to take anything away from the mostly women who did express their fury at the VA statehouse, think the key word in your statement of support is "temporarily." On the invasive procedure, they changed the wording to abdominal, and as far as the "personhood" bill goes, the "legislature" has postponed that until supposedly next year (and conveniently after the elections.) Think VA is just one tip of the iceberg...and the majority of women, plus progressive men, see it that way.

  • Guest (Carl Davidson)

    I agree. You've noted the substance behind my 'temporarily' caveat.

  • Guest (Miles Ahead)

    I think for any person with an ounce of sanity, these latest diatribes and all-out attacks defy all logic.

    The most recent foray coming out of the Santorum and Gingrich camps (with nods of agreement from the other fossils) is—i.e., birth control is “immoral,” of course forget abortion, while at the very same time, their spokes-people are up in arms, and blaming “single mother’s” and mother’s out of wedlock, for the decline in “civilized” (and “moral”) society. It should be clear who their arrows are aimed at, and think it safe to say, they’re not including Angelina Jolie in the mix.

  • Guest (Miles Ahead)

    Well, here we are, 2 days after International Women’s Day, and 20 days after Nat W. had the wherewithal to post “War on Women Ratched Up.”

    I just have to ask, do people in and around Kasama think that this war, and latest escalated onslaught, is over? Is it still relevant? (even though am sure we can all agree that women’s oppression didn’t start with, nor will it stop with, the current war on women.)

    Are people thinking about, or plugging into the fury unleashed, primarily among women, all across the U.S.?

    Are we standing shoulder to shoulder with all those who have been jarred to their very core, and are we joining the outcry or war-front, and actual continued battle being waged—on different levels—or what?

    The escalated war on women is real. And just as real, as well as inspiring, is the backlash and groundswell, the raising of consciousness and awareness of women’s overall oppression, on a grand scale. It is like a huge tidal wave, and one that is uniting women across class, national, even religious lines, into something very powerful.

    The above is what I’m seeing, hearing, and participating in. So what do y’all think? What are you hearing, witnessing, doing, et al.?