Saturday, April 30, 2011

Abusive Husbands? Are you listening? "Wife-beating is unacceptable", says Dora Byamukama. So, men: stop beating women already!!!!

image is from here

It's not that hard to get, men. If you think women believing in their own inferiority entitles you to beat them, then you need to be removed from the home, permanently.

What follows is from NewVision: a leading feminist website. Click on the title to link back.

Wife-beating is unacceptable

Wednesday, 27th April, 2011

By Dora Byamukama

ACCORDING to the World's Women and Girls 2011 Data Sheet, Uganda records the highest percentage of women internationally who agree that wife-beating is acceptable if a wife argues with her husband. This state of affairs is totally unacceptable.

Sadly more women than men find wife-beating acceptable! One wonders why this is so. India was ranked second with 30% and Ghana came third at 21%.

In the East African region Ugandan women are considered gentle and submissive. Whether this is a positive or negative trait is a subject for debate. This notwithstanding, when gentility and submission have the potential to contribute to self-hate then this attitude calls for change. Change can only be effective when the causes are known otherwise whatever action is taken may be like mopping a wet floor, when the tap is left open.

Causes of acceptance of violence against women are several. These are basically beliefs and practices that treat women as inferior human beings and thus undermine their self-esteem. These beliefs and practices perpetuate an attitude that makes men and women believe that women are inferior and less intelligent--thus the need to punish them for arguing with their husbands.

Beliefs and practices permeate the human soul to the extent that women who are likely to be harmed by such a negative attitude internalize it and thus not only accept the degradation but also pass on the same to their children over time.

It is, therefore, not uncommon for a woman to be told to endure violence in a marriage by her mother on the basis that this is the wear and tear of marriage. While growing up, I heard of a story of a woman who reported such violence several times to her parents who kept sending her back to the marriage until their daughter was sent back to them in a coffin! In fact the coffins were two because the woman had been eight months pregnant.

Beliefs and practices that wife-beating is acceptable are rooted in several factors which include religion, culture, social pressure as a result of war, poverty and alcoholism. Most religions emphasise that women are inferior to men. Christianity, however, categorically states that all human beings are made in the image of God.

When some religions read texts to support oppression of women out of context then the resultant effect is to misinterpret and misapply the very same religion that is fundamentally based on respecting the person created in the creator's very image.

Religion shapes attitudes fundamentally because it is personal and the frequency with which one is exposed to it on a daily and weekly basis ensures that the belief is sustained and that is enforced through social pressure.

Culture is another aspect that shapes attitude that may promote women's tolerance to wife-beating. Culture is a form of religion because it dictates a person's way of life, and shapes what is socially acceptable. In fact most cultures do not condone wife-beating but because domestic matters are considered private, this privacy is abused and used to commit crimes.

Culture is dynamic and is also shaped and influenced by globalization through internet interaction, videos and films. Globalization has introduced what is termed as modern culture, which has large doses of violence and in some instances is spiced with witchcraft. One such good example is the growing consumption of Nigerian films in Uganda.

When one is exposed to such films over and over again, the resultant effect is that they will copy and put into practice what they see.

The World's Women and Girls Data Sheet also indicates that 31% of Ugandan women and 19% of Ugandan men said that it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife if she refuses to have sex with him. This indeed is an interesting and deeply disturbing finding. The question is, if after a beating the woman agrees to sex, does it make the man feel any better?

Apart from wife-beating being a human right abuse and a crime it also has the potential to spread HIV/AIDS and other venereal diseases.

In most cases when one talks about wife-beating people imagine that it is a mere slap. A mere slap has the potential to cause the destruction of an eye. More importantly no one has capacity to pre-determine the kind of beating that may be meted on a woman in any given circumstance.

The anger of a spouse can lead to grievous harm and even murder! Wife-beating also has the potential to turn the victim into a violent person with the potential to avenge the torture any time.

Uganda has set the trend in the East African region for the empowerment of women significantly since the NRM came to power in 1986. The law is clear. Wife-beating is a crime prohibited by the Constitution, the Penal Code Act and the Domestic Violence Act. All people have a right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The fact that less men than women find wife-beating acceptable is cause to celebrate. However, more work needs to be done in order to make wife-beating totally unacceptable by religious and cultural leaders and the media.

Champions that promote and practise respect for the dignity of the person are needed at all levels of society--beginning with you.

From CODE RED: Struggles for Children's and Women's Rights Must Challenge Men's Rights and Fathers' Wrongs

image is from here

What follows is from CODE RED, reprinted here with permission.
CODE RED is a feminist collective of Caribbean women and men. 

Our wordpress blog is an archive of some of our lively discussions and feature articles originally posted on facebook and tumblr. Follow us on twitter and tell your friends about us.

Join the conversation. All voices welcome!
   Twitter: @redforgender

Spotlight on Paternity Testing During Child Month

In Barbados between April 1, 2010, and February 28 this year there were 737 cases of child abuse involving 1,061 children. Of that number 199 children suffered physical abuse, 151 sexual abuse, 612 neglect, 97 emotional abuse and two were abandoned.   Of course these figures do not reflect the countless other cases of child abuse that go unreported and the other institutionalized and normalized practices of child abuse that are not even considered such.

May is child month.  I learn today that the activities for Child Month include: the launch of a campaign against child abuse, a men’s forum to discuss DNA Testing And Implications For Men And Children, in addition to a forum for the youth on the topic Teenage Pregnancy: Life Before, Life After.

Just who is setting the children’s rights agenda in Barbados? With 1000+ children reported to have been abused  and the countless other cases which go unreported, how is a “a men’s forum to discuss DNA Testing And Implications For Men And Children” a legitimate child month activity? Just how do men’s rights and responsibilities with regards to paternity and paternity testing fall within the remit of an organisation set up to respond to the needs of children? Where are the children’s voices?

I’m not dismissing the relevance or usefulness of paternity testing.  Neither am I dismissing the premise of a men’s forum to discuss it.  Yes, men and women, mothers and fathers have a key in ensuring that children’s rights are not denied.  But theirs interests and agendas cannot be assumed to be the same.  I just think that child month should be about the issues which deny our children their right to a good life and also about the issues which our children define as important to them.

The UNICEF report on “Perceptions of, Attitudes to, and Opinions on Child Sexual Abuse in the Eastern Caribbean” revealed that:
a significant number of people consider that childhood ends at 13 years. This may help to explain why, in the focus group discussions, some men indicated that they considered girls to be legitimate sexual targets once girls have gone through puberty (this phrase was taken to mean that a girl had begun menstruating);
The bible says that when a woman goes through puberty she is ready, so if it happens at 11 she is ready (Male Focus Group Participant).
It also revealed that the majority of respondents agreed that ‘girls draw men’s sexual attention by the way they dress’.  While respondents may have been stating that they believe this to be a fact or that they in fact believed that girls actively seek men’s attention through their choice of dress, it is a belief that ultimately relieves men of their responsibility for their own behaviour and contributes to victim-blaming in cases of rape and sexual abuse.

Another key finding is that the majority of respondents said that if an adult in their family was sexually abusing a child within the family, they would always report it to the police.  However, when asked a related question, a significant number of people said they would try to sort out such a problem without informing the police.   Men were twice as likely as women respondents to state that they would sort it out without going to the police (34% of male respondents said this as compared to 17% of female respondents).

Clearly we have a long way to go towards recognising the right of all children to a good life. This includes moving away from viewing children as the property of their parents, a view that is very much prevalent in the Caribbean.  We also need to recognise that children’s rights must be addressed on their own terms. We cannot allow the children’s rights agenda to be hijacked by groups whose aims are often inimical to the rights of children.

We need children’s voices on the Children’s Rights agenda.  

Indigenist Event and Action Alert: Mining Corporations vs. the Oglala Lakota Oyate and the Earth. Who will win? See this for more...

image is from here
Genocide and ecocide are all around. But few people wish to see it who aren't experiencing the devastation, such as in Alabama and Mississippi--due to ferocious hurricanes directly caused by Global Warming by the White Man. Even fewer wish to do anything about it. That's a tragedy and a failure of white humanity to be humane--again.

Please support Indigenous activism and anti-genocide and pro-Earth events and organising. What follows is from Censored News, with thanks to Brenda. Please click on the links just below to visit to that website about this and many other Indeginist actions taking place that need support.

Wounded Knee, SD Environmental Film and Forum
Environmental Awareness Film Presentation and Forum

Location Wounded Knee District School Gym
Saturday, May 7, 1 pm to 7 pm

"The condition of Mother Earth is approaching a crisis for all human beings. Sacred water has been under attack for generations now and only in isolated pockets around the world are people fighting to preserve water. This is especially true in Indigenous communities where sources for clean, safe drinking water are under threat by mining. On the Pine Ridge reservation on the Northern Plains of North America, the Lakota people are taking a stand against uranium......"

All people are invited to participate in this event which includes the presentation of three short films, dialogue on the condition of sacred water and health, a live performance by the band SCATTER THEIR OWN whose performance will include their latest song about Mother Earth, and presentations by environmental activists as well as tribal officials regarding environmental impacts by mining corporations to the Oglala Lakota Oyate and all human beings, water, air, land, and all of sacred life.

Open microphone for participants to voice their concerns and comments about protecting our sacred Mother Earth.

Refreshments will be provided at the conclusion of the event.
Sponsors include Owe Aku, Vic Camp, 407-7808; Lakota Media Project, Rosebud White Plume 319-1367; H.E.L.P. Autumn Two Bulls, 441-7369; Looks For Buffalo Foundation, Floyd and Natalie Hand, 867-5762.

An Environmental Awareness Film Forum will be held on Saturday, May 7, 2011 at 1pm at the Wounded Knee District School in Manderson, SD. Three films will be screened, followed by Guest Speakers to present updates on the environmental protection work they are involved in. The films include Water Is Life by Art Is Action, which is an 8 minute show that chronicles the impacts of uranium mining to the drinking water and health conditions on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and that examines the dwindling drinking water supply in this area; the 28 minute film Poison Wind by 220 Productions, which shares the voice of the Navajo Nation and other tribal peoples in the southwestern United States who are impacted by uranium mining; and a work in progress by Prairie Dust Films which documents support for and opposition against uranium mining in Nebraska and in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Guest speakers include the film makers, governmental and health officials from the Oglala Sioux Tribe and Indian Health Service and environmental activists working in this region. Oglala Sioux Tribal President John Yellow Bird-Steele has confirmed his attendance. Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal staff will be present to address cultural and historical preservation work in the area regarding the proposed tarsands XL Keystone oil pipeline of Transcanada, Inc. which is planned to skirt the boundaries of the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation. Plaintiffs in the case against the Canadian-based corporation Cameco, Inc. will be present to discuss their case regarding current and proposed In Situ Leach Mining near Crawford, Nebraska. State officials have been invited and it is hoped they will be in attendance.

Live music will be provided by the popular group “Scatter Their Own”, headed by Oglala Lakota Scott Clifford, who will perform a recently released song about Mother Earth and the Black Hills. A local drum group will open and close the Film Forum with traditional Lakota music.

Open microphone time at the forum is available so those present can make comments or share environmental protection work they are involved in. All people are invited and encouraged to attend.

The Film Forum is free and open to everyone, refreshments will be served. The event is sponsored by Owe Aku, (Bring Back the Way), the Lakota Media Project, Project H.E.L.P., and the Looks For Buffalo Foundation. For more info please call Vic at 407-7808, Rosebud at 319-1367, or Autumn at 441-7369.

Indigenist Action Alert: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties don't apply to All People: PROTECT GLEN COVE (Vallejo, CA).

Photo Corrina Gould. Photo is from here
Tribal members fulfilled their part of what was thought to be an interim agreement, including taking down tents used for sleeping during the around the clock ceremonies. GVRD however has now refused to do anything they had agreed to do, while stepping up the police presence and monitoring of the ceremony.

Support for the efforts of tribal members to protect the site continues to grow. Last night over 50 people gathered for ceremonies and to welcome Mohave and Chemehuevi visitors from the Colorado River Indian Tribes who came to express their solidarity and encouragement.

Sunday evening begins Yom HaShoah, or Nazi Holocaust Remembrance Day. Which means we who are U.S. Jews--as well as non-Jews--ought not forget the genocides happening all around us.

Genocide has lots of components: stopping specific groups of people from living their lives is part of it. Also: occupying their land, preventing people from practicing their religion, from being able to gather and protest. And threatening specific groups of people with cultural and physical extinction is also part of it. How it is that we allow genocide in this country--this allegedly GREAT country that portrays itself as against things like genocide and racism--is beyond me.

I see this move by the Greater Vallejo Recreation Re-destruction District as a violation of people's civil rights and civil liberties to gather peacefully and to protest, and to practice their religion. This is part of a genocidal war against Indigenous people in the U.S. 

Please support the protest.

What follows is being cross-posted from Censored News with thanks to Brenda.


Protect Glen Cove Day 15: More Civil Rights Claims Filed

Sacred Site Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSP&RIT).

For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 28, 2011
Contact: * Corrina Gould 510-575-8408 * Morning Star Gali (510) 827 6719 *Norman “Wounded Knee” Deocampo 707-373-7195 * Mark Anquoe (415) 680-0110

Day 15 : Spiritual Vigil and Gathering to Protect Glen Cove Sacred Site Enters 3rd Week as Greater Vallejo Recreation District Breaks Agreement to Negotiate in Good Faith

SSP&RIT Files More Civil Rights Claims Against GVRD for New Violations as Threats Against Spiritual Ceremony and Sacred Site Escalate

By Protect Glen Cove

Vallejo, California – As the spiritual gathering and vigil being held by local tribal members and supporters at the sacred burial site at Glen Cove in Vallejo entered its third week, Native Americans working to protect Glen Cove filed more complaints this morning with the Attorney General of California in response to new and serious violations of civil rights by the Greater Vallejo Recreation District.

The organization Sacred Site Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes today filed an addendum to the civil rights complaint filed on April 13, 2011 with the State Attorney General in response to GVRD’s attempt to intimidate and limit the number of participants in the spiritual ceremony, attempts to restrict certain ceremonial practices including songs, and GVRD’s refusal to negotiate a resolution of the dispute. The new complaint also further documents the presence of cremations as well as burials at the site, highlighting the risk that bulldozing the hill poses to the ancient human remains.

In a major development, GVRD has informed the United States Department of Justice that they will not sign a proposed agreement allowing the ceremony to temporarily continue without threat of arrest, and GVRD has failed to follow through on their agreement to meet with tribal members to try to resolve the burial site dispute.
Tribal members fulfilled their part of what was thought to be an interim agreement, including taking down tents used for sleeping during the around the clock ceremonies. GVRD however has now refused to do anything they had agreed to do, while stepping up the police presence and monitoring of the ceremony.

Support for the efforts of tribal members to protect the site continues to grow. Last night over 50 people gathered for ceremonies and to welcome Mohave and Chemehuevi visitors from the Colorado River Indian Tribes who came to express their solidarity and encouragement. Hundreds of Native Americans and their supporters have pledged to peacefully defend the sacred site in response to any attempt to desecrate the site or remove the ceremony. “I dont believe any of our tribal people would agree to outright grave robbery and disturbing sacred sites. We will not allow it to happen,” said Fred Short, Spiritual Leader of the American Indian Movement and a participant in the spiritual gathering at Glen Cove.

Glen Cove is located near the intersection of South Regatta and Whitesides Drive in Vallejo. For more information and directions:

A copy of the Civil Rights Complaint and Addendum is available by contacting Bradley Angel at Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice

(415) 722-5270 or

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The WHM Supremacist Celebration of the Decade: The Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate: husband and woman, not man and wife

image of Britain's Kate Middleton and Prince William is from here
This post has been revised with portions and a link added, on 29 April 2011, prior to the wedding ceremony.

With a tad under ninety years left to this century, I think it's rather presumptuous, and totally in service to corporate media ratings, to term this event the "wedding of the century". What about the weddings of Kate and William's culturally hoped-for and presumably heterosexual children and their children in turn? Those next two generations of royal weddings will all likely happen before 2100 ECD. So, for now, I'll call this the media wedding of the decade. And that's with nine years to go. I fully accept this is likely to be a "where were you when" non-tragic event remembered and reflected on many times over the next couple of decades. After that, corporate media--if it still exists--will need something else to make money off of.

What does that media tell me I am supposed to feel about the upcoming wedding of Prince William to Kate (Catherine) Middleton? Given the ubiquitous hype, at a fever pitch this week especially, I know for sure that I am supposed to feel happy for them, excited about the event, eager to watch the excessive coverage, and hope the day goes well and that they live happily ever after.

I'd have to say all of that is true. That is how I feel. (And some say media has no effect on people: where else would I have learned not only of the event, but how to feel about it?)

I will be among the billions watching very early Friday morning. Almost thirty years ago, I got up early to watch the wedding of Prince Charles to Diana Spencer, who would become the parents of two sons: William and Harry.

What I am most happy about is that Kate and William are friends, took time to get to know each other, have a solid foundation under them for a partnership, and seem to genuinely love each other. Charles was only really ever in love with Camilla, his current wife. And it is sad and ageist that the Royal Family would not have welcomed Charles to marry Camilla to begin with, instead picking some teenager he didn't love to call his wife. (Diana was all of sixteen when they met and was only weeks out of her teens when they wed.)

I feel sorry for what Diana had to endure being married to him, even with all the privileges afforded her. By most accounts it was a very unhappy life for her, in so many regards. And an obviously tragic and terribly premature death.

It is said their may be rain over London on Friday. I hope not. I want it to be sunny and not too hot or too cold. I want things to go well. I am also not supposed to think much about anything else--certainly not any other dimensions of the human event other than the fashion, perhaps.

Somewhere in my brain and body are buried the anti-woman lessons of fairy tales, which told me that heterosexist romance among white people was to be held as an ideal, and which resulted in plenty of self-loathing, shame, and disgust for being gay. They also taught me a lot about over-valuing non-Jewish European cultures, including some of the British Isles. I was not taught to admire and respect the traditions of any of the thousands of cultures of Africa, Asia, and Indigenous people. I was not taught that gayness and lesbianism exists. I was not taught that women do not have to exist in relation to men. I was not taught about the dangers of het romance as the West promotes and protects it.

There are obviously many issues available to be analysed here. This is, after all, presumed to become the largest viewed electronically broadcast event in human history: the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Piers Morgan is the sleazy, pasty, physically unmemorable middle-aged white het man with short brown hair who has a nightly chat show on CNN. Formerly one of three judges on America's Got Talent, he revealed himself, along with the far more sexist and sleazy David Hasselhoff, to be a big fan of young white women who strip on stage. Today he called the British monarchy "sexier" than the elected politicians in the US.

A recently added co-anchor on Entertainment Tonight, a very Aryan-looking thin, young-looking white woman named Nancy O'Dell, with long, flowy straight blond hair, made a remark I'll closely paraphrase shortly. She was reviewing the footage of the last 24 hours: the rehearsal of the royal cavalry's street route in London to and from Westminster Abbey and to Buckingham Palace: "And look at the bayonets on the ends of the rifles of the soldiers. Pretty sharp!" She unquestionably meant the men who comprise the cavalry, who she thought looked good in uniform with weaponry.

Why does the glimmering blade of an implement intended to stab people to death become a glamourising and sexualising accessory of men already trained to kill offensively as well as defensively? Is the cavalry's gun and knife the "sexy" equivalent of the female citizen's hat and shoes? Are women allowed to carry such weapons (not hats and shoes) and use them against men who attempt to assault them and have that violence be considered "sexy" and attractive? These bayonets are not symbols of pacifistic regal "British tradition". They really do get bloody from time to time. Not with blue blood, either.

image is from here
I will continue to discuss several of them following this very pertinent commentary by blogger Celie's Revenge:
Please correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t “The Royal Family”
the DIRECT DESCENDANTS of the British imperialists who
colonized Africa, Asia, & the Caribbean? Aren’t these
the people who raped, robbed, enslaved, and converted the
so-called natives? Aren’t they of the blood line of folks
who are proud because the sun never sets on the British
Empire? Doesn’t their wealth come from white supremacy
and theft? Isn’t all the pomp and pageantry surrounding
the wedding about European superiority backed by its
domination of black and brown and even Irish folk?

And weren’t there royal families in Africa? Where are
those royal families now? Weren’t they made slaves and
subjects of the crown?

And if I’m correct why should I care about a royal
wedding? Does might make right all of a sudden? I mean,
dumb question, of course it does but I’m just trying to
get to the facts, the truth even if those things are
meaningless and powerless to the seductions of
domination: aren’t Prince William & Kate the direct
descendants of the Imperialists?

I must admit I enjoy British accents, humor, and I love
British rock and pop bands (and lately their Hip Hop too)
but I’ve never bothered to take the royal family
seriously. The time when monarchs mattered was a time
that should bring Brits collective and national shame
not pride! Blood defining ones destiny as either
colonizer or colonized, master or slave, royalty or
commoner, is hardly something we should circulate
globally as in our symbols of love and beauty. If you
are white like Kate at least you can escape one’s
class/stock and marry into a superior one. So maybe
that’s what the common working class white Brits holds
onto. But what of black Brits? All of whom are British
because at some point they belonged to a nationality
that made them colonial subjects of the British Crown.

Of course this all makes me very sad personally because
unfortunately I know that even those who share my rage
and confusion at how fucked and dangerous this
celebration of domination under a cloud of
heterosexual romance and European aesthetics of beauty
still refuse to get how a whole lot of other things we
applaud are just as harmful and fucked.

And let's not forget to mention this Nazi crap the
younger prince pulled off: 

It is Yom HaShoah, beginning on Sunday night at sundown. So for me it is an appropriate time to ask: what WAS Harry thinking? How funny is it to dress up as a Nazi when you, yourself, are a very public member of a family of racist colonisers and genocidalists? I mean it's one thing for Mel Brooks to attempt it, as a Jew of European descent trying to poke fun at something he knows damn well was an atrocity against his people. But when someone dresses up in a Nazi uniform who is not Jewish, is not of color, and is a royal white heir to fortunes made on the lives and labor of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian people, that's something else entirely.

Let's not forget Harry and William have both been trained as a soldier in the British military, and have each been taught to value and practice the acts which result in the mass murder of people of color in many parts of the world. You will not likely ever hear either fellow speak against a British war against various regions of Asia, or anywhere else. What follows is partially from Wikipedia:
He was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Blues and Royals of the Household Cavalry Regiment — serving temporarily with his brother — and completed his training as a tank commander. He served for 77 days on the front line in the ceaseless white man's war on Afghanistan, although he was pulled out following publication of the story in an Australian magazine.
As for William, we have this from Wikipedia:
Prince William of Wales KG FRS (born William Arthur Philip Louis on 21 June 1982) is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and third eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He is second in the line of succession, behind his father, to the thrones of 16 independent states, while he resides mostly in, and is more directly involved with, the United Kingdom, the oldest of these realms.

He was educated at four schools in the United Kingdom and obtained a degree from the University of St Andrews. He spent parts of a gap year in Chile, Belize, and countries in Africa. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Blues and Royals regiment of the Household Cavalry—serving with his brother Prince Harry and, two years later, earned his wings by completing pilot training at Royal Air Force College Cranwell. In 2009, the Prince transferred to the Royal Air Force, was promoted to flight lieutenant and underwent helicopter flying training in order to become a full time pilot with the Search and Rescue Force. In Autumn 2010, he completed his generic and special-to-type helicopter training and he is now at RAF Valley on No. 22 Squadron performing co-pilot duties on the Sea King search and rescue helicopter. On 16 November 2010 it was announced by Clarence House that Prince William and his long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton are going to marry, and it was subsequently confirmed that the wedding ceremony would take place at 11 am on 29 April 2011 in Westminster Abbey, London.
Guards, police, and the armed forces; imperialism, colonialism, and militarism; white Christian, het, and male supremacy. How these are part of one another is not something dominant media will discuss. Each, instead, will be glorified more or less separately. But glorious or inglorious, these are the themes of the wedding days and of the British Royal Family. And the lives of royals exude the power and privilege they are born into.

William is royal patron of an animal preserve and conservation project in sub-Saharan Africa, it is a recipient of his charitable help. Charity is the publicly "good" side of colonialism. The U.S. can be "charitable" to Haitians, for example. Or wealthy whites can be charitable to Black people living (and dying) in poverty in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. It's a way to promote the non-existent overall goodness of the ruling classes.

"Charity" implies one has economic and political power over the group or individuals being "helped". For much more on how this racist idea expresses itself in contexts of allegedly pro-feminist discussions, please see *here*. William's role maintains a colonial and imperial position over part of the African continent. He also proposed to Kate in Kenya, as "Africa" is very special to him. How does a continent get to be special to someone who only sees it in terms of being an over-privileged and tremendously entitled visitor and heir of  the wealth acquired by pillaging so many regions of the world? This reminds me of how whites in the U.S. speak of the Caribbean, which is promoted only as a destination location for vacations, or as a place for very wealthy white people to purchase islands. Rendered invisible in all of this are the many people who live there, who are not white, whose ancestors were slaves, many of whom remain imprisoned in paradise by economic poverty made probable by the World Bank and IMF's policies and practices which are fully supported by the US and the UK.

This is the "sharp" militarised force of patriarchal, imperialistic, and racist Nation-States and of this British Empire in particular. This is what Nancy O'Dell and corporate media generally is sexualising, romanticising, and covering for profit. This is a central part of the history and function of England as an oppressively racist ruling G8 nation-state in the world; this must be centrally celebrated on Friday. If the Brits weren't involved in military actions designed to murder people of color as I type this, there would be less of a need to celebrate British militarism as a way of promoting social denial about what the military is for and what it exists to do. It would still be "tradition" if Britain were not at war. But we must always ask, as Celie's Revenge does above, what "traditions" are being honored and celebrated?

These officers and soldiers are the people who keep "order", meaning WHM supremacist order. Meaning: white, het, men ruling and determining the degrees to which they will exploit and loot the lives, cultures, and nations of everyone else.

For more, please see this post from Censored News:
Royal family's wealth is from the blood and genocide of Indigenous Peoples

Another obvious theme I'll focus more on is the not-so-covertly celebrated misogynist heterosexism of Friday morning's event. And the celebration of an institution--heterosexual marriage. This institution has been the political site and source of untold atrocities against women and girls for centuries, with the social, cultural, religious, and legal support of the nation-states in which the marriages have been occurring often due to the compulsory and coercive nature of both patriarchal heterosexuality and het marriage.

Women, until relatively recently, were considered the chattel property of their husband-owners, and this remains the case in some countries. Children who are born into such unions, if any, are "his" not "theirs". His rape of her is legally impossible, because he is said to have rights of access to her body, with our without her will and welcoming. Rape cannot happen, within this (un)ethical framework. What can happen is him having what he is awfully lallowed to have: full control and possession of her. The celebration of heterosexual marriage is a celebration of misogynist atrocity and het male domination. The making of het marriage into a fairy tale fantasy is steeped in male supremacist traditions, not ever equality or mutuality between women and men. I am grateful that Kate refuses to say she'll "obey" William. His mum Diana started the pro-woman change in Royal Wedding tradition. I'm glad Kate and William are continuing it.

Girls, not women, are still chattel brides of men, not boys. Internationally, white men from North America and Europe procure trafficked girls and women to be their brides, wives, and "lovers": which too often means men's objects of gross sexual exploitation, and slaves for rape and labor.

Classism and status of royalty is another theme: Kate arrives in a car as "a commoner" and returns in a carriage as a member of the Royal Family. He status is forever changed. She gets a title. She rises in importance and prominence as a role model and figurehead, as a setter of fashion trends, only because she is the spouse of the future King of England. She ceases to be her own person separate from him. This is what they mean when they say "man and wife": she exists as a thing who is gendered relative to him, a full human person whose own gender is assumed to be synonymous with humanity (mankind, or Man).

The heterosexism, racism, and classism combines to reinforce and romanticise both white male hetness, Christian white families, and white wealth: cornerstone values and ideals in the contemporary U.S. Empire.

The bride and groom will be socially required to kiss--wait and see--in front of millions or perhaps billions of people watching them greet the public at Buckingham Palace. They must prove they are heterosexually involved and active. When will a lesbian or gay couple's newlywed kiss be this demanded by the media and public as a source of celebration among millions or billions watching? When will lesbian romantic love or gay romantic love be this joyfully observed and validated with this much media and pageantry?

I'll leave you with this, to underscore the political parameters of the marriage: Can Kate or William object to British involvement in military wars? Can she or he call for an end to discrimination against lesbian women and gay men? Can she or he promote feminist causes? Can they adopt a child rather than bearing one or more from their own genes? I suspect she has already been carefully coercively "coached" not to speak out against any of the political matters discussed in this post. As, of course, has he. Her refusal to say "obey" will be about as feminist a statement as she'll be allowed to make, and that will be an act of omission.

Now, let's all wait and get a look at that dress! I am genuinely curious to know what she will wear. If you've been following the media hype, you already know what the groom will wear: his military uniform.

Message top Donald Trump and all the other "Birthers", re: President Barack Obama's birth country

image of pie charts are from here

Shut the fuck up. Really. You're embarrassing yourselves. On second thought, keep at it. You're a bunch of raving white het male supremacists and hopefully we won't vote any of you into office in 2012. Run for office, Donald. Pick Sarah Palin as your running mate, if she'll have you. Or, better yet, be her running mate.

very recent image of Donald Trump is from here

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Disaster Relief For Battered Women in Canada

image of book cover is from here

When I hear about disaster from CRAP-loaded media it is usually presented as something "natural", even while few disasters are naturally caused. This includes when fierce weather systems or deep Earth shifts contribute to the catastrophe. Nature wasn't responsible for Haiti being deforested, nor for unstable structures being built, nor for poverty being plentiful. Nature didn't destroy the wetlands off the coast of New Orleans that could have dissipated the force of a hurricane named Katrina. Nor did nature create a straight man-made path up Louisiana for a hurricane to travel uninterrupted, wreaking havoc across the interior of the state. Nature didn't make nuclear power plants in Japan either.

Here's something else nature didn't create: men's battery of women. Specifically, men who live with women and beat the shit out of them, terrorise them, threaten and control and dominate them for days, weeks, months, years, or decades as if they were powerless things to be subordinated sexually, emotionally, psychologically, and politically. That's not what women are, and any het man who believes that IS what "his" woman is for ought to pay a price. There's good news out of Canada: there's a new price to pay.

Let's hope this helps all Canadian women who live with or date physically, psychologically, politically, and sexually abusive and terroristic men, including women in systems of prostitution; impoverished and financially destitute women; Indigenous women raped or beaten on reservation land by non-Indigenous men; women who are immigrants married to immigrant men or to men who are not; and girls in the family who are similarly terrorised and abused.

Women systematically and chronically battered and terrorised by men don't really have a syndrome, in my view. They have acute survival skills honed in the most atrocious conditions of marriage (or some socially approved facsimile of it) to misogynist men. Those survival skills are grossly limited and punished because they exist in a context of patriarchal support and protection of men's violence against women--interpersonally enacted violence and institutionalised violence. That's how I view the condition of being brutalised by a tyrant. What women need is social permission to take out the patriarchal fuckers and male supremacist thugs and adult bullies who believe they have a right to beat and rape women (and children) they live with.

I firmly believe any man who threatens a woman's life and attempts to beat or rape her (or who does beat or rape her) spiritually abdicates his right to life. May any woman terrorised by one man or many men be lawfully, economically, socially, and culturally protected when using any means necessary to defend and protect herself. And let there be laws passed that forbid abusive husbands, boyfriends, and fathers from ever getting custody of children whose mother was beaten or raped, threatened and terrorised, by the grossly inhumane man who committed the crime.

Patriarchal laws and het men's peer-protected codes of conduct have ruled homes and courts long enough. At least hundreds of years too long, in fact. Every male supremacist violent act against women and girls and each and every political vestige of patriarchy needs to be wiped permanently from the Earth. ASAP. By any and all means necessary. Women who kill their male abusers, however they manage it, should be heralded socially and publicly, in media and in their cities, towns, and villages, as heroes. Speaking about and within North America, the offering of medals, honors, and "hero status" to mass murdering U.S. soldiers and generals who rape and slaughter people of color abroad is a disgusting display of racist-misogyny that is a core political practice in war, not a peripheral one.

Thank you to all the women--most of whom have never been honored or heralded as heroes, across the globe, who have been fighting for decades to liberate women from the atrocities endemic to institutionalised het marriage and other systems of subordination and lethal woman-hating harm.

What follows is cross-posted from Ms. online. Please click on the title below to link back.

Canada Offers “Duress” Defense for Battered Women

April 14, 2011 by Marla Kohlman

Nicole Ryan had endured more than 15 horrific years of domestic abuse when, in 2008, she plotted to have her husband killed. Unbeknownst to her, the hired “hit man” was an undercover police officer who quickly had Ryan charged with “counseling to commit murder”.

But last week, Ryan was acquitted in a Nova Scotia provincial court under the defense of duress–a new plea for abused women in Canada. The decision represents a beacon of hope for traumatized women who lash out under extreme violence.

The defense of duress provides a new standard against which to judge the so-called “criminal” actions of battered women. Previously, only women facing imminent threats of violence or death had a hope of pleading self-defense in Canadian courts. The same is true in the United States, where women must be able to prove their safety was immediately threatened by an abusive spouse in order to successfully argue self-defense. In light of Ryan’s case, Canadian judges can now account for rash, out-of-character actions taken against violent spouses by abused women who are “living in a state of terror.”
Said Chief Justice Michael MacDonald:
The rationale for the defense of duress is quite different. It involves excusing a wrongdoing in circumstances where the accused is left with no other alternative. Therefore, unlike self-defense, it is not the type of action society would support, let alone applaud.
From the time Nicole Ryan and her husband married in 1992, it was clear that Michael Ryan’s temper was out of control. He frequently pummeled his wife with his fists and threatened her with guns.
She was separated from her husband at the time she was arrested in 2008, but, she testified, her husband “was sexually assaulting her weekly, threatening her life and specifying where he would bury her.”
Given the circumstances, the court ruled, her actions were a result of normal human instincts of self-preservation.

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has raised the bar for courts all over the world in adjudicating cases involving battered women who have sought to defend themselves against their attackers. Elizabeth Sheehy, a Canadian legal scholar, called the decision a “legal breakthrough.” She told The Globe and Mail,
This was a planned and deliberate murder because she had no other way out. It was her life and her child’s life versus his.
Lenore Walker, the foremost advocate for battered women and battered woman’s syndrome in the U.S., has argued that women like Ryan may turn to murder in self-defense as a result of “learned helplessness.” Walker argues that women in such violent relationships come to believe that any attempt to resist their batterers is doomed to failure. This is compounded by the batterer’s repeated threats to kill the woman if she leaves, and his insistence that she has no escape. Moreover, as in Ryan’s case, battered women’s actions are often taken in an effort to protect the lives of their children.

For abused women in the U.S. who find themselves before the court as Ryan did, the plea of self-defense will rarely succeed unless the woman kills her abuser while he’s abusing her—and even then the defense is not without risk. As in Canada, the defense is frequently rejected, and battered women who may not otherwise pose a threat to society can find themselves behind bars. The defense of duress may very well change that.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

On Beliefs about Men's Complete Inhumanity: a Clarification and a Call to Arms

image of button is used with permission
image of button is used with permission

NOTE: This post has been revised somewhat on 27 April 2011.

I have had several occasions over my life to discuss with radical lesbian women, and many men across a white male supremacist political spectrum, the condition of men's humanity--or lack thereof. What is agreed upon is this: radical feminists, almost without exception, argue for men's humanity; argue that men are not naturally rapists, and that human males do not come into this world ready to enact horrific and terrifying acts against girls and women, as soon as they are old enough to do so.

It is only because these radical feminists critique men's social behavior that they get termed man-haters. What seems to go unnoticed is all the men who argue--if pressed--that men are natural-born rapists, and do just simply grow up, without social influence or peer pressure, to become what men themselves call "monsters", and what I'd more accurately term "terrorists", and woman-hating, male supremacist abusers of all sorts. I find this view held primarily by men, that men are born rapists, not only without merit, but historically and cross-culturally wrong.

About the terms hurled at women who don't believe males are rapist by nature: Men hate and abuse men a great deal, but will not, it appears to me, call one another man-haters or, in the newest parlance, misandrists. No matter how many men terrorise, assault, and kill each other, "misandrist" is a term men reserve for the ladies, not the--ahem--"gentlemen".

I know some gentle men. I know some men who have been interpersonally obnoxious, condescending, abusive, callous, and cruel to girls and women but who now see that their behavior was wrong, and endeavor to do better; and most of those men do better a great deal of the time. They are a minority of men, in my experience, and I've had occasion to meet and deal with a great many men in my life.

The vast majority of men don't engage with matters of "feminism" at all, even when they are literate and academically educated. They always appear to have more important things to do, like play video games, for example. Or discuss comic book or graphic novel superheros. Or drink alcohol or smoke weed. Or discuss sports or food or whatever they wish to discuss that doesn't lead them to stumble on the topic of what men do to women systematically that is horrendous, terrifying, and sexually and socially subordinating.

This matter of taking up men's political, moral, and ethical responsibility to get other men off women's backs seems to not register in the hearts and souls of most men, who I do believe are fully human, despite their unwillingness to lift one finger to assist women in the struggle to obtain sustainable liberation from men's political abuses and social and economic degradations.

What I'm realising is that the discussion of whether the vast majority men behave they way they do due to natural causes or socialisation is in some ways a huge waste of time. The fact is that most men do behave in anti-feminist ways, or in misogynistic ways, or in ways that encourage men--interpersonally, structurally, systematically, institutionally, and as a political class of human beings--to pretend they are not waging war against women and girls (and anyone deemed not manly enough, if male).

I believe men can and will stop this oppressive and horrendous behavior but something will have to happen first. No, it's not that men will need to learn to cry. Many men already know how to do that and it hasn't gotten us very far. What men will need is to become terrifyingly afraid of women as a class, and individual women interpersonally. I mean as afraid of women as any man is of the men they are most afraid of.

What may well need to happen is for it to become legal for women to take out their male abusers (and I don't mean on a date)--whether the abuser be a father-rapist, a husband-rapist, a boyfriend-batterer, or a predatory pimp or procurer. If it became legal--let's pretend, shall we?--for women to retaliate against male abusers who assault and terrorise women and girls, using any and all means necessary--I believe something would shift quite dramatically and radically: the power men have to hurt women without negative consequence to men as a class and to male supremacist power carried on, generation after generation, by interpersonal and institutional actions.

So I'd like to propose that it become legal for women to engage in armed struggle, and in every other form of self-defence known to humanity, if they so wish to do so. To engage in resistance and revolution against terroristic, incesting, molesting, raping, battering, pimping, procuring, trafficking, slaving men. And I believe males must work with accountability to feminists, to support anti-rape, anti-oppression, pro-liberation struggles, and to take out terroristic, normally sociopathic, routinely sadistic, and unrepentantly and serially abusive misogynist men (again, not on a date). I also believe that while women's self-defence against male abusers should be legally supported, the ending of patriarchy is not women's job. It is men's.

That's my proposal. Given what men get away with doing to girls and women by the hour and by the millions, it seems rather modest, don't you think?

To any man who thinks this post is "anti-man", what do you think about what men do to girls and women by the hour and by the millions that is terrifying and horrifying? What do you think an appropriate politically organised response to that might look like? And, if you think this post is anti-man, you didn't read it very carefully. Because no where do I say men cannot willfully and collectively stop the egregious and atrocious behaviors terroristic, sadistic, normal men engage in that other men call "natural" and "inevitable". That I call these men "normal" is to say there is nothing exceptional about them. They are not a few aberrant men. They are men who are celebrated, esteemed, and honored in patriarchal societies across the globe, sometimes because they have done such violence to women. Two words: Charlie Sheen. Two more: Mel Gibson. They are unusual in their level of fame; they are normal in their misogynist practices.

A response to "GuiltyPornUser". Posted to support the work and life of Andrea Dworkin

photograph of Andrea Dworkin is from here

I am trying to steer clear of many places online--especially non-feminist and anti-feminist blogs--because what I find there is, to me, usually discouraging discussion with no interest in activism whatsoever. Often the discussions go on and on and on about the same things, seemingly for the purpose of trying to be right--to shore up one's own ego, or to make it seem like the politically oppressed group "women" are now oppressing more and more people.

I'm glad to see new people come into feminist spaces online, however, in order to go over topics that have been discussed in the past. I'm glad new voices come into discussions about important matters, like how men oppress women and how that oppression can end. Hopefully a good percentage of those newcomers will become radical activists. I have found one such site, that gives me hope that more and more women are finding their own voices and are willing to fight for freedom for all women. Not that it ought to be women's job to do so. But Lorde knows men aren't going to do that work. They're too busy looking at pictures of raped women online--because, you know, it's their white het male god-given right to do so.

What troubles me is how men, and sometimes also women, invade discussions among women for the sole purpose to derail them or be obstructionistic. This happens a lot. The men who I see do this routinely and preDICKably are called "trolls". "Occasionally, though, there are people who are not trolls, who apparently do want to learn something but nonetheless use all manner of techniques of argumentation to do what the trolls do: derail important pro-activist, anti-patriarchal conversation. Below I respond to one such person. I place that person's commentary in italics. My responses follow, portion by portion. I'm  not going to link to the source website because I don't have their permission to do so.
JulianReal Sun 24-Apr-11 18:13:29
I came here to note something simple. Andrea died six, not seven years ago. She passed on April 9, 2005. I remember the day all too well. This matters to me as I work to keep online information about her accurate.

But then I read the discussion and I am going to respond to one of the commenters who seems to me to be quite determined to "not get it".

To GuiltyPornUser @ Mon 11-Apr-11 11:09:57

I'm from the other thread, and my problem when I read Dworkin is that it seems to start with an assumption and carry on.

GPU, It starts with reality--with what girls and women experience, horribly, in reality. The theory builds from there. It's not like so much of men's theories, which men adore going on and on about endlessly, across eras. In so many of men's theories, we start with an idea, and go from there. Dworkin's theory is rooted in actual experience, across era, across region, across culture, noting differences in experience due to race and class, often.

Going straight to the third paragraph where the argument seems to begin

..."We know that men like hurting us. We know it because they do it and we watch them doing it. We know that men like dominating us because they do it and we watch them doing it."

To me, that reads as big assumptions - it uses big categories "men" and "women". Would it dilute the message if she said "some men"?

Dworkin was a political philosopher and activist, GPU, not a sociologist. It is a strategy, I believe--a pro-patriarchal one at that--for you to take what she said about horrific reality and immediately wish to move that into the realm of ideas and abstraction. Did you read what she said? Did you feel it too? What do you feel, deep down, when you read what she wrote and not toss it away into your need for cerebral processing? "Men like hurting us". "We know it because they do it and we watch them doing it". That's rather horrific, isn't it? Do you feel the horror and terror of it? Do you know a battered woman wrote those words? And a woman who was living on the street for a time, after escaping the sadist abuser? Do you empathise with the millions of girls and women who are beaten and raped by men? What does that feel like, in your body, to empathise with them, GuiltyPornUser?

Also, "men" is not a category as much as it is a real group of people--human beings each one, who identify themselves as such--if they speak English--and who behave in ways to bolster their own ideas, in practice, of what it means to be "a man". Some men beat up more feminine men; some men beat up women whether they are feminine or not. But however the beatings occur, they occur to shore up this identity and to practice the power to control other human beings. Men beat up people to practice something many men call "being a man". And the evidence for men doing that is most everywhere. Surely you can note how this has manifested in your own life.

What you are asking of her is spurious, to me. It is also functionally pro-patriarchal and pro-rape. I see you wishing she had shifted her intellectual pursuits, her mode of investigation and her approach to demanding accountability, at least, and liberation, at most, to better suit your guilt-ridden self; I conclude this based on your chosen name here. Her work doesn't exist to take care of you or make you, as a man, feel better about yourself.

You know what you do: you access still images or video clips--whenever you wish to--of pimped and raped women, who were, disproportionately, incested and trafficked girls, so that you can obtain sexual arousal and orgasm. Who gave you the right to do this? Who told you doing this was not callous and inhumane? Was it other men, by any chance? You know most (but not all) males who have access to the internet do this. So whose interests are served, and what political agenda is served, by feminists such as Dworkin writing "some men"? Her point is that MEN do it. And MEN do it to WOMEN. If I note that U.S. white men committed grievous and heinous atrocities against enslaved West Africans and genocidally mass murdered Indigenous Americans through the 18th and 19th century in particular, would you prefer I note that it was "some white men" who did this? How does that shift the history? The point is that it was WHITE MEN, isn't it? So why do we need to hem and haw our way around this point? Is it so that you don't have to come to terms with what it means to uphold and defend--in actions--your own and other men's manhood?

Going on "Pornography is the sexualised subordination of women. It means being put down through sex, by sex, in sex, and around sex, so that somebody can use you as sex and have sex and have a good time."

It's not clear to the casual user of porn that women are being subordinated.

GPU, it's not clear to the average regular purchaser of McDonald's meals that they are harming their health. That's how capitalism, advertising, and propaganda works. How patriarchy's advertising and propaganda works is to promote the brutality of women and make it look like--and be--"fun" for men. I assume it is enjoyable for you to use pornography. Is that correct?

We are told the women are happy, they smile, they enjoy what they do. Her arguments starts with the conclusion, which is great if you agree.

She is speaking about what happens, GPU. Not about what you think happens because you buy the pimp's lies about what he produces for your entertainment. If you see a woman being raped and smiling, do you assume she's having a good time? Why? Does it not occur to you that there's a director--perhaps also her pimp who is also her rapist--ordering her to smile? Do you think the conditions on pornography sets are free of sexual harassment and coercion? You are demonstrating a level of naivete (I'd argue willfully, but you tell me) that is astounding.

I think a stronger anti-porn argument for me would be empirical rather than theoretical

Have you read Dworkin's book titled "Pornography: Men Possessing Women", GPU? Have you heard her testimony before the Attorney General?

Part 1 of 4:
Part 2 of 4:
Part 3 of 4:
Part 4 of 4:

Have you read the book she co-edited with Catharine A. MacKinnon, a U.S. Constitutional law professor and human rights attorney, titled:
In Harm's Way? See here for more:

(please note from my other thread, I'm not a defender of porn)

What are you then, GPU? An advocate for women's and girls' human right to be free of men's rapist predation and pimping? What actions do you take, with other men especially, to ensure that your idea of men and women being equal finds rooting and growth in social, economic, political reality? In what ways do you organise with men to stop rape and pimping for example? To stop trafficking of girls? To stop men from beating up women the men say they love, and then taking the children who they also abuse? By "men" here, I mean the men who do such things. Do you understand how many systems are infused with ideas of inequality, such that when many women come to court and speak of their husbands being abusers, the court systems are rigged to find her guilty of trying to slander him, rather than finding him guilty of being a terrorist and abuser?

And also to
GuiltyPornUser @ Mon 11-Apr-11 11:27:42

I posted because as I have this strange notion then men and women are equal and have the right as a parent to post on this board about something that concerns me.

This is a classic example of the problem referenced above, GPU. You start with an idea: "men and women are equal" without backing that up with material evidence. It's a premise--an intellectual argument; it is an argument that has been made by many women across many eras. The problem is that men, as a class of people, won't allow the idea to find ground and prosperity in reality; men defend their power over and against women, legally, religiously, socially, culturally, economically, and, not least of all, sexually.

On the White Male Supremacist Right and Left: A Portion of the "Preface to the British Edition of Right-wing Women", by Andrea Dworkin

image of book cover and information just below is from here

The Women's Press
June 1, 1983
254 pages
ISBN: 0704339072
ISBN-13: 9780704339071
I'm not sure I've ever seen, in hand, the British edition of Right-wing Women. If anyone has a copy, hold tightly onto it! I am fairly certain it is no longer in print.

What follows is an excerpt from Andrea Dworkin's "Preface to the British edition of Right-wing Women (1983). It was reprinted for U.S. readers in Dworkin's collection of reviews, essays, speeches, and other writings titled Letters from a War Zone, pp. 185-194.

The political concepts of "Right" and "Left" could not have originated in England or the United States; they come out of the specificity of the French experience. They were born in the chaos of the first fully modern revolution, the French Revolution, in reaction to which all Europe subsequently redefined itself. As a direct result of the French Revolution, the political face of Europe changed and so did the political discourse of Europeans. One fundamental change was the formal division of values, parties, and programs into "Right" and "Left"--modern alliances and allegiances emerged, heralded by new, modern categories of organized political thought. What had started in France's National Assembly as perhaps an expedient seating arrangement from right to left became a nearly metaphysical political construction that swept Western political consciousness and practice.
In part this astonishing development was accomplished through the extreme reaction against the French Revolution embodied especially in vitriolic denunciations of it by politicians in England and elsewhere committed to monarchy, the class system, and the values implicit in feudalism. Their arguments against the French Revolution and in behalf of monarchy form the basis for modern right-wing politics, or conservatism. The principles of organized conservatism, in social, economic, and moral values, were enunciated in a great body of reactionary polemic, most instrumentally in the English Whig Edmund Burke's">Reflections on the Revolution in France. Written in 1789 before the ascendancy of the Jacobins--and therefore not in response to the Terror or to Jacobin ideological absolutism--Burke's Reflections is suffused with fury at the audacity of the Revolution itself because this revolution uniquely insisted that political freedom required some measure of civil, economic, and social equality. The linking of freedom with equality philosophically or programmatically remains anathema to conservatives today. Freedom, according to Burke, required hierarchy and order. That was his enduring theme.

"I flatter myself," Burke wrote, "that I love a manly, moral, regulated liberty." "Manly" liberty is bold, not effeminate or timorous (following a dictionary definition of the adjective "manly"). "Manly" liberty (following Burke) has a king. "Manly" liberty is authoritarian: the authority of the king--his sovereignty--presumably guarantees the liberty of everyone else by arcane analogy. "Moral" liberty is the worship of God and property, especially as they merge in the institutional church. "Moral" liberty means respect for the authority of God and king, especially as it manifests in feudal hierarchy. "Regulated" liberty is limited liberty: whatever is left over once the king is obeyed, God is worshipped, property is respected, hierarchy is honored, and the taxes or tributes that support all these institutions are paid. The liberty Burke loved particularly depended on the willingness of persons not just to accept but to love the social circumstances into which they were born: "To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country and mankind." The French rabble had noticeably violated this first principle of public affections.

To Burke, history showed that monarchy and the rights of Englishmen were completely intertwined so that the one required the other. Because certain rights had been exercised under monarchy, Burke held that monarchy was essential to the exercise of those rights. England had no proof, according to Burke, that rights could exist and be exercised without monarchy. Burke indicted political theorists who claimed that there were natural rights of men that superseded in importance the rights of existing governments. These theorists "have wrought under-ground a mine that will blow up, at one grand explosion, all examples of antiquity, all precedents, charters, and acts of parliament. They have 'rights of men.' Against these there can be no prescription... I have nothing to say to the clumsy subtility of their political metaphysicks." In Burke's more agile metaphysics, hereditary rights were transmitted through a hereditary crown because they had been before and so would continue to be. Burke provided no basis for evaluating the quality or fairness of the rights of "the little platoon we belong to in society" as opposed to the rights of other little platoons: to admit such a necessity would not be loving our little platoon enough. The hereditary crown, Burke suggests, restrains dictatorship because it gives the king obeisance without making him fight for it. It also inhibits civil conflict over who the ruler will be. This is as close as Burke gets to a substantive explanation of why rights and monarchy are inextricably linked.
--Andrea Dworkin (1983), "Preface to the British Edition of Right-wing Women", reprinted in Letters from a War Zone, pp. 187-189.
See also *here* from Rad Geek's blog.
For more on the contents of Letters From a War Zone, please see *here*.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Two Largest Economic Terrorist Organisations on Earth Are...

Two of the World's Largest Terrorist Organisations 
Against the Global South, Indigenous People, and the Poor:

image is from here
image is from here

All that follows is from With thanks to Kanya D'Almeida. Please click on the title below to link back.
Colonial-Style Land Grabbing Back on the Table 
By Kanya D’Almeida 

WASHINGTON, Apr 19, 2011 (IPS) - The highly-contested Principles on Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI), a set of priorities that peasants’ collectives and food rights groups have been battling for years, are back on the table this week, as the annual Conference on Land and Poverty opened at World Bank headquarters here Monday. 
RAI is "dangerously deceptive" for couching the act of annexing land in the language of human rights and corporate social responsibility, said Shalmali Guttal, a representative from Focus on the Global South.  
"Corporations and governments will win, but local communities, eco-systems and future generations will lose; the takeover of rural peoples’ lands is completely unacceptable no matter what ‘guidelines’ are followed," Guttal stressed.  
A number of organisations including the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) jointly formulated the RAI framework, which they describe as a ‘responsible’ means of acquiring vast tracts of farmland. [article continues after the grey block of text. Another block appears a bit later. Both are part of the original presentation of material.] 

Great Rhetoric Masks Ruinous PolicyThroughout the annual Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that took place here last week, World Bank President Robert Zoellick repeatedly issued warnings about the worsening food crisis, going so far as to call spiking food prices the "biggest threat to the [world’s] poorest nations."

"You are all aware of the ingredients," Zoellick said told reporters, "take high food inflation, mix in price gyrations, and then stir in higher fuel costs, and you get a toxic brew of real pain contributing to social unrest."

While his comments have largely been met by nods of agreement and high praise from the international development community, protestors and rights- groups refuse to be silenced by what they believe to be empty rhetoric, and continue to speak out forcefully for the right of millions to food.

According to Ibrahim Coulibaly from the National Coordination of Peasant Organisations in Mali, "Land grabbing is banditry; it’s about seizing or taking over the only resource that poor people have left and giving it those who already have too much."

"The breaching of international human rights law is an intrinsic part of land grabbing," stated Sofía Monsalve from FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN). "Forced evictions, the foreclosure of vast stretches of land for use by rural peoples, the blatant denial of information, and the prevention of meaningful local participation in political decisions that affect people’s lives are all human rights violations."
The principles are a set of non-binding suggestions for investors to consider before participating in large-scale land-acquisition, and are supposedly based on the possibility of a "win-win" situation for both private investors and impoverished peasants. They include broad notions that investments on land should be transparent, environmentally sustainable and strengthen food security rather than jeopardise it.  
Farmers and community organisations have been struggling against the RAI principles, on the grounds that they mask shortsighted annexation by transnational corporations for quick profits.  
International civil servants, farmland investors, bankers and government officials, meeting here Apr. 18-20, will discuss regulatory criteria for implementing these disputed policies.  
GRAIN, an independent research organisation supporting community struggles, reported Monday that since 2009, the biggest proponents of RAI principles - pushing the agenda onward even while local communities resist - have been the European Union, the FAO, G8, G20, IFAD, Japan, Switzerland, the United States and the World Bank. 
Investing in a Food Crisis  
In his 2010 commentary ‘Responsibly Destroying the World’s Peasantry’, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter wrote that between 2006 and 2009, land equivalent to the total arable area of France was negotiated for sale - with millions of hectares passing from state or peasant ownership into the hands of Western investors including Wall Street banks and private hedge funds, entities that have come to view land as an investment safe haven in a time of financial turmoil.  
De Schutter writes that initial attraction to large-scale land investment was born of the belief that beating hunger was dependent on increased food production and that paltry investment led to scarce supply, resulting in the conclusion that if investors could be lured to the agriculture sector, they should be encouraged to stay.  
"Both [this] diagnosis and remedy are incorrect," De Schutter said. "Hunger and malnutrition are not primarily the result of insufficient food production; they are the result of poverty and inequality, particularly in rural areas, where 75 percent of the world’s poor still reside." 
Fighting Through Earth DemocracyWhile blatant land acquisition remains a tough fight, the loss of natural resources due to less straightforward backroom deals at times presents a much more formidable foe.

At a time when the multilateralism of emerging markets has taken centre stage, locals in the Global South are up against not only transnational companies but also state governments that are hand in glove with international corporations.

"Five years since the government of India agreed to a 12 billion dollar deal with the South Korean Pohang Steel Company (POSCO) - which plans to set up a primarily export-oriented steel plant on the east coast of Orissa with a captive port, a captive power plant and a captive mine - the communities of this coast have been resisting," Vandana Shiva, the Indian environmentalist-philosopher, told IPS.

Locals have been resisting the deal on the grounds that they have a prosperous bio-diverse economy, where food is produced according to the needs of the people and where the laws of the land - under the decentralised democracy of Panchayati Raj as well as India’s Forest Rights Act - allow them to object.

While researching POSCO, Shiva found that since the Asian financial crisis the ownership of the company had passed largely into the hands of financiers like Warren Buffet and Goldman Sachs.

"So as a result of this so- called globalisation and multilateralism, what does democracy in India look like today?" Shiva asked. "The poor people fighting a company owned by Wall Street, refusing to give up their land, saying ‘we will face bullets, we will face killings, but we will not give up’."

"This is the global corporate world that ordinary people in local villages are facing, and they are facing it through what I call ‘Earth Democracy’ - links to the earth and fights where they are on the ground," she added.

"In the past, agricultural development prioritised large-scale, capitalised forms of agriculture, neglecting smallholders who feed local communities," he added.  
"Since governments have failed to protect agricultural workers from exploitation in an increasingly competitive environment, it should come as no wonder that smallholders and agricultural labourers represent a combined 70 percent of those who are unable to feed themselves today," De Schutter concluded.  
A joint statement was issued Sunday in honour of the International Day of Peasant Struggles by farmers, fisher folk, rights and research organisations, and collectives representing hundreds of millions of peasants from South Asia, Latin America and Africa. Over 50 million hectares of arable agricultural land, "enough to feed 50 million families in India", have, in the last decade, been snatched from farmers and placed securely in the hands of private, multinational and transnational corporations, the statement read.  
High Quest Partners, a private strategy consultation firm working in the service of global food, agro- business, and bio-fuel companies, reported last year that global investment in farmland has hit 25 billion dollars and is likely to triple in the very near future.  
"The food price crisis happened because of the commoditisation of food. RAI will legitimise land grabbing worse than in the colonial era," Henry Saragih from La Via Campesina, an organisation representing 200 million peasants worldwide, warned Sunday.  
"One of the objectives of colonialism was to find and absorb the essential resources of the colonies," Saragih told IPS. "Control over oil, gas, and mining came later - control over food production was always a top priority."  
The Network for Social Justice and Human Rights in Brazil expressed fears as to the impact of RAI policies on indigenous communities in South America.  
"[It] will have a devastating effect in the Amazon and Cerrado by giving the green light for illegal activities of large cattle ranchers, agribusinesses, mining and lumber companies to destroy protected forests and biodiversity in food production by small farmers," the network’s representative Maria Luisa Mendonça said. (END)