Open Threads

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by Nat Winn


1. A star football player who was caught on camera five months ago dragging his fiance from the elevator after allegedly punching her unconscious was recently suspended for TWO games.

2. A prominent sports analyst then says on ESPN that women should be careful not to “provoke” men to violence.

3. A Super Bowl winning football coach (in fact the first African American head coach to win the Super Bowl) says that he would not have drafted the first openly LGBT player in National Football League (NFL) history, Michael Sam. He then stands behind what he says in a later interview.

Many are now saying the N.F.L. actually stands for "Not For Ladies." It can also stand for "Not For LGBT."

This shit is fucked up! Plain and simple.

On college campuses women have been speaking out on rape culture both on their campuses and in society at large.

These recent events in professional sports and football I particular are strong examples of what these young women are talking about.

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Tagged in: LGBT NFL Ray Rice women

 by Nat Winn

ISH recently posted an article on the Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court which allowed certain businesses to deny covering birth control expenses to women workers. The article raised a few questions for me about what this decision might reflect.

ISH writes:

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The following article was written by the staff of Ang Bayan, organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the Maoist party leading a military insurgency in the Philippines since the 1960s. The CPP has welcomed queer people into its ranks, and indeed has proudly performed "gay marriage" ceremonies for its cadre, for over a decade. It's really exciting that this communist movement has so strongly embraced the liberation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, and called for them to share their experiences for the theoretical benefit of the whole movement.  —ISH



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It is often assumed that communism equates liberation for the whole of humanity from the shackles of oppression; this includes Persons of Color, Women, and, of course, Queer people. Yet is this set in stone? When a communist mode of production is realized and class society has disintegrated does this automatically entail equality for oppressed and minority groups? Just the same, is the inverse true: is a classless society which still oppresses Queer people (and others) “communist” even when classes have dissolved?

                If communism is defined as simply a classless society than it must be agreed upon that bigotry and communism are compatible. To efface such birthmarks more would need to be added to the definition. Yet, as it stands, this is a peculiar contradiction. Mostly for its “against the grain” attitude as communism is traditionally seen as liberation.

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Where does the revolutionary spark come from? How do some people come to transcend and challenge the crushing oppressions of the world? International Women's Day (IWD) has something to teach us. If the political theoreticians of the radical movements of the 19th and early 20th century were mostly men, it was radical women, close to the grinding brutality and poverty of industrialism's golden age, who encapsulated the personal rage and determination needed to transform suffering and oppression into resistance. It was female anarchist Emma Goldman who said succinctly and straightforwardly, "Ask for work. If they don't give you work, ask for bread. If they do not give you work or bread, then take bread.”

b2ap3_thumbnail_women-workers_opt.jpgThe IWD holiday was first carved out as a day for working women to celebrate their mutual solidarity and empowerment back in 1908, by striking women workers in Chicago. A few short years later in 1914, the world socialist movement adopted March 8 as a political holiday to demand political and social rights for women. The ideals of that socialist movement were promptly tested as the world plunged into war and much of the socialist movement betrayed internationalism, but brave women kept the holiday alive.

And then by 1917, this simple holiday showed its revolutionary potential: A women's day demonstration in Russia for peace and bread (shown above right) turned into a mass strike which quickly became the February Revolution that overthrew the centuries-old rule of the Tsars. Revolutionaries had been organizing against the Tsars for decades with increasing mass success. But it took a demonstration of women workers, of mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, lovers, making an urgent heartfelt plea for an end to death and hunger that captured the mass imagination and changed the once unthinkable into the possible.

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