Thursday, December 17, 2009

How will Indigenous People be "Counted" in the U.S. 2010 Census?

Invisibilisation is one dimension of genocide. If Indigenous people are not "Counted" AS Indigenous, how will the U.S. and other governments even pretend to care about Indigenous people of the Americas? You first have to be regarded as existing in your own right,  not under the label a government wants to give you to make you disappear even more.

I think this is a VERY serious issue for the coming white Christian Calendar year (ECD). This is a time when Indigenous people in the Americas need to be recognised, respected, and counted as human beings--Indigenous ones!

Murders of Women Ignite Outrage [post from Workers World]

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Murders of women ignite outrage

Published Dec 3, 2009 9:58 PM

Coalitions are forming in several Cleveland communities to address the murders of 11 Black women whose bodies were found in and around a house on Imperial Avenue in late October. Activists are holding rallies and vigils, meeting with public officials to present demands, developing better resources for women and the families of missing persons, and taking care of all the funeral arrangements for the 10 women whose remains have been identified.

Neighbors in the Imperial Avenue area had filed complaints about odors since 2007, but the sausage factory on the corner was blamed. Even women who battled alleged serial killer Anthony Sowell and escaped were not taken seriously by the authorities.

One such woman was Gladys Wade, who was bleeding and screaming in torn clothing when she fled Sowell's home in December 2008. The case was brought to Cleveland Chief Prosecutor Victor Perez. "Not credible" was handwritten on the prosecutor's review. (Plain Dealer, Nov. 14) Sowell, a convicted rapist, had been arrested and released without being charged. No attempt was made to collect blood from Sowell's steps or elsewhere in his house.

According to the coroner's office, five of the women whose bodies were recovered from Sowell's house died after December 2008: Kim Yvette Smith, Nancy Cobbs, Amelda Hunter, Janice Webb and Telacia Fortson. The fact that their deaths could have been prevented had Wade been treated as "credible" is a source of widespread outrage.

Only two of the 10 identified victims were officially reported missing. Media and blog commentaries against the families have been widespread, but the police department will frequently refuse to take a missing persons report without evidence that a missing adult is "endangered." This practice often means several days' delay in collecting crucial evidence.

The women who encountered horrendous deaths on Imperial Avenue were similar to many other missing persons in having histories of drug use or criminal records. (Plain Dealer, Nov. 15) These histories increased their vulnerability and their families' silence due to the fear that their loved ones may end up with a prison sentence.

Wall Street's economic Katrina has left Cleveland with high job losses and foreclosure rates and created abandoned neighborhoods and vulnerable people. Resources go to wars, prisons and bailouts, not drug treatment, homeless shelters, rape crisis centers and mental health.

Deaths spur anger, activism
A group at the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center is pressing Cuyahoga County Sheriff Bob Reid to set up a missing persons department and is writing a guide for women of resources that are outside the justice system.

A march on Nov. 21 dedicated to the 11 murdered women drew nearly 200 people, mostly young. It was the second of a series of marches initiated by media personality Basheer Jones to bring attention to the neglected neighborhoods and call for an end to violence. With the red, black and green Black liberation flag at the head, the march stepped briskly down East 79th Street to Hough Avenue, the site of major rebellion 40 years ago.

On Nov. 16, Black and white women activists from Imperial Women, a newly formed group, met with representatives from Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's office to demand an investigation of Chief Prosecutor Perez, Cleveland Law Director Robert Triozzi, Chief of Police Michael McGrath, and Safety Director Martin Flask. They also insist an "Imperial Alert" be set up, similar to the "Amber Alert" system but encompassing missing adults as well as children.

Journalist Kathy Wray Coleman, an organizer of the group, told WW: "At least five of those women died in vain because authorities ignored reports of alleged rape or other violent crimes reported prior to the time they went missing. We believe they did so because of a disrespect of both women and the Black community. That's unacceptable and somebody should and will be held accountable."

A rally sponsored by Imperial Women on Nov. 24 brought together people from a variety of organizations at the house where the bodies were found. Imperial Women is calling for a review of all police reports marked "not credible" over the past 10 years and taking the position that no reports of rape should be deemed "not credible."

Women revealed their rape experiences for the first time in decades and spoke of being "raped a second time when reporting it to the police." The high-energy chants were "Woman power!" and "We're in the streets!"

Another group is sponsoring a march on Nov. 30 to arrive at Cleveland City Hall, where each marcher will sign in and write "Sowell 11" next to their name.  The march is calling for a missing persons unit in the Cleveland Police Department and an increase of officers in the sexual offenders department.

All across Cleveland the words "racism" and "sexism" are being spoken loud and clear in relation to the neglect of poor Black women. Everywhere people are standing up and saying, "We are not throw-away people!"

Articles copyright 1995-2009 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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The Myth of the Level Playing Field

 [image is from here]

According to some white conservatives and moderate liberals, we've either reached or tipped beyond the point of there being a level playing field in "the war between the sexes" and with regard to racism in The United Rapes of Amerikkka.

First, bullshit. Second, let's assess what that might actually look like.

What "the level playing field" would look like is WOC cops, military officers, and FBI and CIA agents tapping phones, bugging homes, pulling over vehicles with privileged white men in them as often as they wish, to profile them for being white male supremacists, including sexual exploiters of women, girls, and boys, rapists, batterers, sexual harassers, procureres or pimps of women and girls, and genocidalists. And should any white man, through any level of investigation and collection of "information" be found to be in any way financing the pornography industry, the military industrial complex, corporate capitalism including mortgage banks and businesses, including racist/misogynist lawyers and their legal system, including patriarchal and racist religions and the practices that make them so, including not giving back stolen land, including destroying stolen land and poisoning land near or on Indian reservations, including causing women to "disappear" to be contolled in any way, including causing Native cultures to disappear in any way, including being part of institutions that contribute to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, including abiding by laws that allow for white men to rule in any way, any where, then white men would be under arrest and face felony charges, held without bail until such time a hearing could be arranged, or, on occasion, using brutal and sometimes lethal force to apprehend such men.

If women of color are approached to be harmed by any man, whether white or of color, why can't women lawfully take him out as an act of self-defense, and how would doing so make a playing field less level? Why does the rape or the next beating have to happen first?

I think one thing that would facilitate the end of patriarchy is to decriminalise any act of self-protection and self-defense--however lethal to men, according to anti-patriarchal understandings of what constitutes self-defense, not a white male supremacist State's understanding of it. The white male supremacist State is clearly going to oppose women taking systematic direct action against perpetrators of sexual violence against them. If this society want to pretend we have a level playing field, why are women not allowed to aggress against men at least as often as men aggress against women? Wouldn't that be a sign there's a level playing field? Wouldn't a level playing field imply that women of color control institutions in every sector of society, the way white men do now? Because if what we have NOW is "a level playing field" re: racist and sexist discrimination and violence, why would it cease to be level if WOC ruled?

When whites are considered dangerous and people of color clutch their children's hands when one of those people gets on an elevator, when white Christo-fascism, Christian fundamentalist terrorism, men's war against women, white's war against people of color, the U.S. government's war against the world, and white male god-worshipping white men are understood as devil-worshiping cult-leaders and cult-followers, will the playing field be level? Not quite.

When white men do not know what presiding over and contolling institutions feels like; when there are no white men serving on any boards of trustees; when the Academy has a White Atrocity Remembrance Month, and a Male Atrocity Remembrance Month, because those atrocities are all in the past; when people's identities are not named for them by a government; when male heterosexuality is, from time to time tolerated, but most of the time made illegal and shameful by queer-dominant society--because it (not the person) is a sin that'll send you STRAIGHT to hell; when white men are in no positions of power over anyone or anything; when every law supporting white male supremacy is wiped off the books; when angry white men are stigmatised as criminally insane or just plain crazy; when white men's stories of bravery and heroism are called out for what they are: savagery, massacre, plunder, murder; when anarchy is seen as peaceful, when gangs are defined only by how many white men are in them; when corporate capitalists and Western imperialists are seen as a the most dangerous bunch of out-of-control lunatics with no moral and no laws they live by; when white U.S. men are deemed illegal aliens who can and ought to be sent back to where they originally came from; when formerly rich white men are the ones walking miles every day to get unclean water; when formerly rich white areas are where all the nuclear and other toxic, cancer-causing waste is stored; when all women get away with doing to men what men get away with doing to women, with no social, legal, or punitive consequences; when lesbian women of color operate ALL the institutions that men now control, when today's predators become tomorrow's prey, THEN maybe, we might consider our playing field level.

Until then, the oppressed ought to officially and legally declare war against their terrorists: white Westerners, Christian whites, heterosexual men, and the rich who ARE THE GANG-BANGERS, PIMPS, AND TERRORISTS perpetrating their evil on the rest of us.

Because if you say the playing field is level NOW--or favors those of us who are marginalised and stigmatised in atrocious ways, with white men in charge of everything in and beyond the West, then surely it will still be level when women of color are in charge of everything, right?

A Definition of RADICAL FEMINIST that I LOVE: WOMEN who feel ENTITLED to be ANGRY; WOMEN who want to be HEARD more than they want to be LIKED

In this blogpost is a bit of a piece of writing by an antifeminist man, Rudra Bhaumik from Kolkata, India. He is a system engineer (working in a private company) and states that he is "popular for my peculiar but effective thinking".

Peculiar thinking? Not really--it's rather normal (and annoying). Effective thinking? I hope not. Patriarchal thinking? Definitely. And if only it was just "thinking"... but no, he has to speak his patriarchal mind out loud.

The issue for the women in the image, assuming he posted an image that goes with his rant, is WOMEN SPEAKING OUT LOUDLY about a matter called "men's violence against women" which he sees as myopic and anti-male, because, well, you know, "What about all the violence against men?" (That men do.) When women speak out, there will always be at least one man to demonstrate public derision for such speech. (If it were just one man, that would help.) At least one man has to speak up, because, well, men are supposed to have the microphone and the bullhorn 24/7. Message to Rudra: SHUT UP!!

India :
Pointless activities of indian women organisation
 [image of feminist protesters is from here]
"Unnecessary agitation is going to be created on 8th march on eve of women’s day by some women organization in India. The radical feminists planned to block the roads and give some serious exercise of loudspeakers around India. We are already get so much irritation from rallies and ‘lectures’ of our politicians…now women organization are ready to flex their muscles. They will present some information based on their assumption and try to fool women." -- Rudra Bhaumik

Rudra goes on with his misogynist blather, but you get the idea. The title of his post is "Pointless activities of indian women organisation" and it was posted on 5 March 2009 ECD. He's so obnoxious I don't want to link to the rest of what he says. But if you must read it, the page is linked to below the image above of OUTSPOKEN, ANGRY feminist protesters.

*     *     *

It is a policy here at A.R.P. that I won't print misogynist terms without altering them in some way. Many radical feminist women I know find them personally triggering, and also not worth appropriating. Every woman (I hope) gets to decide how and when to use the terms that are used against women by men. These are also used by women against women for the benefit of patriarchy. And sometimes they are used by womanist and feminist women to reclaim power and diffuse the harm of some woman-hating terms.

I won't use 'em, and I won't let them appear here in ways that are visually intact. I've decided, due to one white lesbian separatist's input, to also do the same with the word "f*ck" from now on here. All of which explains the asterisks to follow.

For me the discussion below is also about men's systemic violence against women and centers around who ought to control law and bodies: U.S. women's bodies, in this case, in a context of white men's laws. I say, unequivocally, WOMEN. I believe WOMEN ought to control not only their bodies, but that radical feminist women ought to be in charge of societies where women life. And should there be societies where women don't live, I support women running those too. F*ck male supremacy, f*ck men's domination of women, in law and in life.

The political topic of focus in the blogpost below by B*tch Phd is abortion. And the issue here is men controlling women. And the issue here is RADICAL feminism, feminists who refuses to cater to men's needs, men's wishes, men's wills, men's power, and men's pre- and post-modern definitions of WOMEN. What follows are excerpts from a wonderful piece of writing by B*tch PhD. (Rather significant snippets, actually.) Her full post can be found here, and, imo, ought to be read by every man who reads English, including you up there, Rudra.

Do You Trust Women?

By B*tch Phd
This article was written in 2005 after the death of radical feminist, anarchist and spokesperson for the anti-pornography movement, Andrea Dworkin.

"Recently, elsewhere, there was a very long discussion in which someone argued that I had said men had no right to an opinion about abortion, and that men who object to abortion do so only out of a desire to control women. Now, I never said either of those things, but the beliefs I dohave could be interpreted that way, by an unsubtle or defensive auditor."

"The bottom line about abortion is this. Do you trust women to make their own moral judgments? If you are anti-abortion, then no. You do not. You have an absolute moral position that you don't trust anyone to question, and therefore you think that abortion should be illegal. But the second you start making exceptions for rape or incest, you are indicating that your moral position is not absolute. That moral judgment is involved. And that right there is where I start to get angry and frustrated, because unless you have an absolute position that all human life (arguably, all life period, but that isn't the argument I'm engaging with right now) are equally valuable (in which case, no exceptions for the death penalty, and I expect you to agonize over women who die trying to abort, and I also expect you to work your ass off making this a more just world in which women don't have to choose abortions, but this is also not the argument I'm engaging right now), then there is no ground whatsoever for saying that there should be laws or limitations on abortion other than that you do not trust women. I am completely serious about this."

(Julian's note: the first bracketed bit in this sentence is mine. The second more extensive one is the author's:)

"When [people] say things like, "I'm pro-choice, but I am uncomfortable with... [third-trimester abortion / sex-selection / women who have multiple abortions / women who have abortions for "convenience" / etc.]" then what you are saying is that your discomfort matters more than an individual woman's ability to assess her own circumstances. That you don't think that women who have abortions think through the very questions that you, sitting there in your easy chair, can come up with. That a woman who is contemplating an invasive, expensive, and uncomfortable medical procedure doesn't think it through first. In short, that your judgment is better than hers.

"Think about the hubris of that. Your judgment of some hypothetical scenario is more reliable than some woman's judgment about her own, very real, life situation?

"And you think that's not sexist? That that doesn't demonstrate, at bottom, a distrust of women? A blindness to their equality? A reluctance to give up control over someone else's decision?"

"I've found that Dworkin's death has crystallized a lot of things. As B*tch has gotten bigger--and particularly because a lot of its recent growth has come about because of some pretty pissed-off ranting directed at supposedly well-meaning men--I've started getting more troll behavior, more nasty emails, and I've seen some fair to serious b*tch-bashing. This, of course, is the price of fame, even ridiculous bloggy fame. It's not like I didn't know that there were people out there who hate feminism, feminists, children, and so on. And it's not like I didn't know--and this is more important--that there are people out there who don't hate women, but who do feel acutely uncomfortable around "b*tchy" women. That is, women who don't ask for permission before speaking; women who don't just state their opinion and then back off to let you decide if you want to hear it or not, but who insist on having their arguments acknowledged; women who feel entitled to be angry; women who want to be heard more than they want to be liked. Hell, one reason this blog is anonymous is because I have a hard time with that myself, sometimes: I can be just as ranty in person, but no, I don't generally take people on to their face. Here, though, I can and do.
[That portion in bold was emboldened by me, JR]

"In some ways, this Dworkin/anger/b*tch thing is, like abortion, a bottom-line issue. How do you react to women's political anger? Is it okay for a woman to have strong opinions as long as she doesn't make anyone uncomfortable? If she sounds angry, does that automatically invalidate what she's saying? Do you think that feminists would be more effective if they were nicer? If there's a disagreement between a woman and a man, do you instinctiively see "his side"? Do you mistake strong convinctions for personal attacks? Do you value civility over fairness? Because if so, then that, too, is a kind of distrust, hubris, a reluctance to cede control.
[Again, what's in bold was put in bold by me, JR.]

"I am not advocating a free-for-all; and I think that considering the rhetorical effect of one's words matters; and I value good manners as much as anyone. There is an important difference between private anger and public anger, and it is the latter I am talking about. It is important to recognize that the ability to remain "civil" about injustice is a demonstration of power, and, arguably, is itself a kind of violence--more subtle than yelling, and for that reason, far more damaging. Because it is easy to isolate the angry woman, to shun her because of her anger. Many people will not see past the anger, and therefore many people will find it justified; she is, after all, being "unreasonable." After all, just as with abortion, women are not supposed to make people "uncomfortable." But when that happens, that amounts to denying women the right to public speech: the angry woman's anger is taken personally, as an indictment of her character, rather than as a legitimate political expression. (And then, of course, men say things like "women don't feel comfortable arguing.")"

"If you're pro-choice, you have to give up the right to have a "say" in someone else's choice. If you're pro-feminist, you have to give up the right to expect your personal feelings to be more important than women's public rights--including the right to be unpleasant, if, in her judgement, unpleasantness is called for."