Thursday, July 26, 2012

The mass murders in Aurora, Colorado were not caused by depression or insanity

image is from here
What's wrong with the diagram above? I'd say it pretends that violence is mostly interpersonal.

I've momentarily joined a discussion on Facebook focusing on analysis of the kind of violence James Holmes perpetrated several days ago in Aurora, Colorada in a movie theatre. As I think Facebook is a pretty scummy place, I'm probably already done speaking to this issue there.

I haven't obtained the permission of anyone else in the conversation to use their names, so I'm just putting the text below, minus the names. If the participants let me know they want their names put with their statements here, I'll gladly do so. The text written by me has my name with it. I've modified some of it for this post here, indicated with brackets below.

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I thought I'd get a conversation going about the recent tragedy in Aurora regarding violent male culture and if we think that has anything to do with these mass killings that happen so often in this country. I know it also heavily has to do with the lack of effective gun control but I wonder how much "maleness" has to do with violence and why and if that has anything to do with the patriarchy or is it just normal, biological that men are just the more violent gender. Thoughts?

Why aren't we talking about the one thing mass murderers have in common?

Strange but True: Testosterone Alone Does Not Cause Violence: Scientific American

Hormones don't necessarily make men violent, but they do cause them to seek social dominance

I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression [Paperback]
Terrence Real

Twenty years of experience treating men and their families has convinced psychotherapist Terrence Real that depression is a silent epidemic in men -- that men hide their condition from family, friends, and themselves to avoid the stigma of depression's "un-manliness." Problems that we think of as typically male -- difficulty with intimacy, workaholism, alcoholism, abusive behavior, and rage-are really attempts to escape depression. And these escape attempts only hurt the people men love and pass their condition on to their children.

Julian Real Hi all. I find the analysis by Terrence Real (who is not related to me) to be seriously flawed and politically misguided. Anyone who has endured and survived domestic violence, and anyone who is a survivor of child sexual abuse, or of rape, or of other traumas such as endemic racism and misogyny, often knows the pain and isolation of depression and PTSD. When men are violent towards others, the overwhelming desire in a patriarchy-denying culture is to psychologise this violence, to make it about men's personal histories rather than men's structural power, which manifests in institutionalised force that carries with it many entitlements for men to aggress against others, not just interpersonally, and perhaps more often not interperonally. The institutional violence of patriarchy, capitalism, and white supremacy, each system ruled and regulated by men, is the layer of violence few wish to discuss. We must understand James Holmes' violent, deadly actions in the context of that.

Julian Real When I first heard the horrible news of the massacre in Aurora, one of the first thoughts, aside from feeling a kind of sick disgust and deep sadness, was "I hope the corporate media doesn't get obsessed with being concerned about him and wondering "what caused him to do this--how did this intelligent, educated [and not stated but there: WHITE] man with such promise become a mass murderer"? What corporate media hasn't been saying is that he could only do this and be alive now if he was white and if he was privileged in a variety of other ways. If he were poor, uneducated, and of color, the police would have shot him dead in an instant and white Amerikkka would have exhaled a collective sign of relieve. I say this because white supremacist police forces murder men and women of color routinely, without consequence. Now, are those police officers "depressed"? Are we to believe that Holmes' violence and the violence of the US military and police are unrelated? That one is only psychological, while the other is primarily political. I think every expression of male supremacist and white supremacist violence is first and foremost profoundly political (structural, social, and reliant on institutions infused with the same values as the violence being perpetrated) and only secondarily a function of personal, individual history. Men are violent because not because of genetic make-up, hormone levels, or depression[, or 'insanity'].

Julian Real Men have various institutionalised permissions and social entitlements to do violence and get away with it. If they didn't get away with it, they wouldn't be that way. If most rapists were held to account, rape wouldn't flourish. If most violent male offenders of domestic and global violence were held to account, men's violence wouldn't proliferate. This isn't to say that some men don't suffer from depression. Men, women, boys, and girls do suffer, a lot. But men don't suffer from it more than women or girls or boys, in case people like Terrence Real aren't noticing. And if depression causes this kind of hostility and murderous violence, why aren't all the survivors of child sexual abuse and rape and battery I know out killing people? [Most of them suffer from depression. So clearly there are other, more significant factors at work.]

Julian Real I find Erika Christakis's piece linked to above [and *here*] to also be misguided. While she notes something obvious: men perpetrate most interpersonal violence and mass murder, she neglects to note that whites and the rich, as well as men, perpetrate most global violence, which is also mass murder, of people of color, of the poor, and of women and girls, respectively. Non-indigenous industrialised people wage warfare on Indigenous people, industrialised or not. This isn't just mass murder, it's genocide. Women are among the rich, even while more men are rich than women. Women are among whites, even [while] white supremacist cultures are run by [white] men. Conservative and liberal media usually only wants to highlight violence that totally invisibilises structural, institutional force: that violence which is done on incredibly massive scales, against whole classes of people, not necessarily indoors but also not generally in view of a public with the clout, status, and institutional power to stop it. Patriarchal violence is one form of it, and many manifestations of that are private, done in the home, in hotel and motel rooms, and in military barracks, to name a few places where masculinist predation is protected. White supremacist violence is another form. And corporate capitalist violence is another form. In my opinion, to only remark about one of these while ignoring the others is to make any one form not fully comprehensible. And, I'd argue, it also makes a world that is set up to assault poor women of color on various levels simultaneously--only partially recognisablie. I'd say that without the more complete view, it is difficult to organise against the multiple forces effectively or to be a useful ally to those who are fighting all of it at once.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Aurora, Colorado killer, James Holmes: "gunman" or "terrorist"?


. Judy Goos, center left, hugs her daughter's friend, Isaiah Bow, 20, while eyewitnesses Emma Goos, 19, left, and Terrell Wallin, 20, right, gather outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning Friday, July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colo. [Source for photo and caption: here]
Revised later in the day with additional analysis:

Through the sadness and disgust, I am paying attention to how the corporate media portray the white male terrorist who killed a dozen people in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. Generally, a white man gets called "gunman", a term that comes from 1950s and '60s TV-Westerns where the killer is a loner. James Holmes is being described both as a "gunman" and as a "loner".

The concept of the loner is loaded with racist and sexist meaning: the advantage of being white is that one's race is generally invisibilised by whites, who control the largest systems of power in any white-ruled nation. It is to the advantage of whites to keep our race invisible and out of the realm of political scrutiny. One of several ways this is accomplished is by viewing white people, especially men, as only individuals.

How many times I've heard white men complain about how I categorise white men in terms of their race and gender. They will argue, using very similar lines of argumentation, that "I am not the White Man you speak of. I am just myself, an individual," as if anyone who is white or male doesn't benefit greatly by being a statused/destigmatised member of raced and gendered classes. The claim reveals the privilege and power: he need not know exactly to what degree he benefits in a white supremacist capitalist patriarchy by not being of color or female.

The concept of the white male loner is well-told in white men's myths about themselves. The Lone Ranger was considered alone even while he exploited the fictional assistance of Tonto. In the 18th and 19th centuries, white male trappers and genocidalist settlers in the U.S. relied on Native Americans or on the ways of Indigenous North Americans in order to survive. Men are considered alone, and consider themselves to be all alone, even while they exploit the labor and support of women throughout their lives.

Black or Brown people, women or men, routinely and systematically get identified by whites in terms of their race and how such races of people allegedly commit crime indiscriminately. We do not hear much about Black and Brown people as "loners", and when someone Black or Brown commits the kind of crime whites consider to be "criminal", s/he is always understood to be a criminal in part because s/he is Black or Brown, not in spite of it. This way of understanding humans-as-dangerous means we must ignore who, really, perpetrates atrocities against masses of people and the Earth.

We must ignore how overwhelmingly rich, white men organize and order the mass slaughter of Black, Brown, Asian, and Indigenous people, including, over the last decade, in Iraq and Afghanistan but also within the boundaries of the U.S., where genocide is on-going. And patriarchal war crimes target women and girls for particular atrocities, from sexual assault to sexual slavery to sexualised murder. Such grossly terroristic mass murders are never reported in those terms by corporate media because "terrorist" must be linked in the racist U.S. imagination with "not white", and as if the power men hold over and against women isn't a determining factor.

Current mass media stories of this most recent Colorado horror will exploit this, and are doing so right now. Where did James Holmes learn that men are entitled to direct hostility violently and terroristically against people who are unarmed? I am thinking now of efforts by some feminists to teach women how to operate firearms as means of self-defence, so that at least some men won't assume that women aren't capable of defending themselves with guns.

The sale and distribution of U.S. firearms and military weaponry within and beyond the U.S. is but one way for this country to ensure its dominance. Teaching the most powerful members of society to believe that the powerful have a right (if not also a responsibility) to violently aggress against the oppressed is another approach. James Holmes grew up in a society in which white men get to be terrorists without being called terrorists. In this same society, Black and Brown people of any sex are predetermined to be criminals; one recent publicised tragedy is the murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. Among whites I know who fly on planes, Arab Muslim passengers are predetermined to be terrorists and any Arab person or Muslim person is assumed to be a threat to them, simply by not being white or Christian or Jewish. (I'm reluctant to write that without adding this: white Christian men in the U.S. carry far less stigma and have much more institutionalised status and power, including economic power, than do white Jewish men or women.)

My question is:
Beyond what has occurred over the last several centuries in North America and globally, how much more terrorism has to be committed systematically and individually by white, European-descended men for white men to carry the stigma of being a distinctly advantaged and governmentally protected terrorist group?

"Gunman" keeps James Holmes in the realm of heroic anti-hero. Naming him a "terrorist" wouldn't have this effect.

My heart goes out to the loved ones of those killed by James Holmes and to the loved ones of the thousands of people terroristically murdered annually by xenophobic and white male supremacist U.S. police forces and imperialistic and white male supremacist military leaders, aka terrorists.

For more, see this:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vandana Shiva on the Environmental and Moral Problems with Genetically Modified Seeds


Vandana Shiva on the Problem with Genetically Modified Seeds

July 13, 2012
Bill talks to scientist and philosopher Vandana Shiva, who’s become a rock star in the global battle over genetically modified seeds. These seeds — considered “intellectual property” by the big companies who own the patents — are globally marketed to monopolize food production and profits. Opponents challenge the safety of genetically modified seeds, claiming they also harm the environment, are more costly, and leave local farmers deep in debt as well as dependent on suppliers. Shiva, who founded a movement in India to promote native seeds, links genetic tinkering to problems in our ecology, economy, and humanity, and sees this as the latest battleground in the war on Planet Earth.

Footage from
Bitter Seeds courtesy of Teddy Bear Films

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Action Alert on the Coming of Age Ceremony (June 30 - July 3, 2012) of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, California

This is one story among thousands of on-going struggles by Indigenous activists that go unreported by dominant/corporate/WhiteMan's media, so that the majority of people will be ignorant about the on-going genocide (physical, cultural, environmental, economic, spiritual, and political) of Indigenous People globally.

For additional information on what follows, please click *here*. To link back to Brenda Norrell's website, Censored News, where I found this information, please click on the title just below, or on Brenda's name at the end of this post. Everything that follows in this post is from Brenda's site.

Winnemem Wintu: Coming of Age Day 1, 2012

July 1, 2012: While difficulties with the Forest Service "closure" mar the ceremony, we remain focused on bringing the future chief into womanhood in the best way possible. As indigenous people of this watershed, we have the right to maintain our traditional ways without molestation.

Winnemem Wintu Tribe
At dawn, on the first day of the Coming of Age ceremony, a lake user let us know he had a "357" and was willing to use it. Even with a Forest Service "closure" for health and safety issues, we don't feel very safe.
Chief Caleen Sisk and her nephew Arron Sisk are vowing to continue their fast until a BIA representative meets with them to discuss the protection of Winnemem rights as a historically recognized tribe.

Please contact:
Amy Dutschke, of the BIA Sacramento Office
(916) 978-6000 or (916) 978-6099
"Meet with Chief Caleen Sisk!"