Category: Gender & Gender Politics

Weinsteins in the Workplace: Will Unions Be Part of the Solution Or the Problem?

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The exploding national debate about workplace harassment of women by powerful bosses or male co-workers is a great opening for unions to demonstrate their importance as one form of protection against such abuse.

Unfortunately, when unions are not pro-active on this front in their dealings with management or, worse yet, allow bullying or sexual harassment among staff or members, their credibility and appeal as a sword and shield for women (or anybody else) is greatly reduced.

#MeToo

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The #MeToo campaign on social media, women sharing of experiences of sexual harassment, shows how a new generation of women, with male supporters, demands that we examine systemic sexual oppression.  We  will undoubtedly hear complaints that #Me2 is unwarranted. One predictable trope from the Right is what we heard in response to Trump’s pawing and groping: "These are personal matters, not issues that our society has to address. This is life. Get over it." 

So, about this Googler’s manifesto

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On August 5 a Google employee named James Damore published a 3,500 word manifesto entitled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” in which he agued the biological inferiority of women, making them incapable of being equally talented computer engineers. First circulated internally among Google’s thousands of employees, the manifesto was posted in its entirety on the web by Gizmodo on August 5. Google fired Damore, the manifesto’s author, on August 7.

On August 5, Yonatan Zunger, a former Google employee who had only recently left the company, wrote a response to Damore, published by Medium, which we republish here. – DL

Materialism and Feminism: An Interview with Johanna Brenner

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George Souvlis: By way of introduction, could you explain what personal experiences strongly influenced you, both politically and academically?

Johanna Brenner: I grew up in a staunchly liberal family and remained politically liberal until I joined the movement against the Vietnam war, where I was introduced to anti-imperialist politics and then Marxism and “third-camp” socialism. In the late 60’s I was part of the student left that turned toward organizing the working-class. I was a student at UCLA. We organized student support for a teamster wildcat strike and we had a group called the Student Worker Action Committee that published a newspaper, Picket Line, where we covered different worker and community struggles in Los Angeles. I was rather slow to embrace feminism, but in the 1970’s I got involved with a socialist-feminist group called CARASA (Coalition for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse) which began in New York City. Some friends and comrades formed a Los Angeles branch of CARASA and we were able to connect to radical women of color doing community organizing around sterilization abuse in LA. From that point on, I have been deeply immersed in Marxist-feminist theory and politics.

Reports on the Resistance: A Day Without a Woman, For a Feminism of the 99%

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As millions of women around the world held meetings and conferences, rallied and marched to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, many also joined an International Women’s Strike, a Day Without a Woman, that in the United States had the character of an anti-Trump movement.

Women's March 2017: The Birth Of a New Women's Movement (?)

ImageI came back when the Women’s March in D.C. exhausted but thrilled, convinced that we are seeing the birth of a new women’s movement. Hearing about all the other Women’s Marches around the world only confirmed that impression. The size, the inclusiveness, the defiant but good-humored spirit and the progressive politics make me very optimistic.

Labor and "Pussy Power"

 ImageThe Women’s March was glorious. Yes,  I disagree with much said in the speeches, but that wasn’t an issue because like the vast majority of people who participated, I didn’t go to hear celebrities or politicians talk.  I participated to show my rage and frustration at Donald Trump and the policies he and the GOP are preparing to impose on us. Women like me, disgusted, dismayed, enraged at Donald Trump’s misogyny, which the GOP has endorsed, flooded to this demonstration.  

We brought family, friends, supporters, male and female, protesting the human rights and climate deniers whom Trump has brought with him into office. There was some diversity but this was primarily a march of young White women who carried signs about their bodies, “Pussy power” being the most prominent at the New York march.  “Pussy power” strikes me as especially apt. Like women who fight patriarchy, it’s naughty. It evokes the strength in numbers. Most of all, the march birthed a new social movement which will owe its life to pussy.

Reports on the Resistance: Millions of Women March Against Trump and His Policies

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Millions of women around the world marched on Saturday, January 21, to repudiate Republican Donald Trump’s presidency, his vulgar and misogynistic language and behavior, and his anti-woman policies. On Trump’s first full-day as president, he was greeted in Washington, D.C. by a magnificent pink demonstration of women in protest promising he would face four years of resistance.

[Cet article est également disponible en français.]

#czarnyprotest

The Black Protest for Abortion Rights in Poland

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In Poland the law on abortion is one of the most restrictive in the European Union, sex education does not exist, and contraception is both expensive and hard to obtain because a medical prescription is often needed.

Working Class Power & Feminism: An Interview with Alia Amirali

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Writer and labor organizer, Sara Jaffri, and left-wing political worker and the Punjab Deputy General Secretary of the Awami Workers Party, Alia Amirali talk organizing, feminism and class in Pakistan.

Orlando: Making Sense of a Mass Killing

ImageWhat could have brought Omar Matten, on the night of June 12, 2016, to coldly murder 49 patrons at Pulse, an Orlando Florida nightclub that catered to a mostly Black and Latino, gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) clientele? Primarily, his hatred of the LGBT people and the people of color he befriended discreetly at night, a hatred fueled by the hyper-masculinity, homophobia, and racism of his day work environment. He was an employee of G4S, a giant private military contractor, infamous for abuses against immigrants.

June Surprise: Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt Upholds Abortion Rights Against Restrictive Texas Law

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Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt is a consequential decision, although far from a decisive victory for abortion defenders. Hellerstedt strikes down a Texas law that would have made legal in-state abortion in practice all but unobtainable for poor and rural women. The decision contains a number of surprises that will hearten supporters of reproductive rights. Surprise number one is that the swing justice, Anthony Kennedy, contributed the fifth vote. Kennedy is hardly a reliable supporter of abortion rights; but with his vote the Hellerstedt majority would have been secure even if Justice Scalia had lived to cast his reliable anti abortion rights vote.

All Cops Are Bastards, Even The Gay Ones

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The Stonewall riots kicked off in protest against a police raid on the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969. Especially after Orlando, we should resist the co-optation of Gay Pride and instead remember the revolutionary spirit of the queer and trans militants who fought against oppression and violence against them.

Orlando: We Will Not Be Silenced

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On Sunday 12 June, 49 people were murdered in an LGBT club in Orlando, Florida, in the largest mass shooting in US history.

At around 2am the attacker Omar Mateen entered the Pulse nightclub and opened fire; shortly after he took a number of people hostage, barricading them and himself in a bathroom. Police used an armoured vehicle to demolish the wall into the bathroom, before engaging in a gun battle in which Mateen was killed. 53 more people were injured in the attack. The victims ranged from 20 to 50 years old, and were apparently overwhelmingly from black and Latino communities.

More Than Equality: Reasons To Be a Feminist Socialist

Equality? Feminist socialism has something better in mind: using power to transform hierarchies
 

ImageI want to talk about feminist socialism, rather than socialist feminism. As a student in Oxford I directly witnessed, and participated in the first conference of the Womens' Liberation Movement, held in Ruskin College in 1970. My whole world was shaken. My vision of the world up to that point was very hierarchical. For women it meant climbing up the hierarchy: being in there, getting up there, and so on.

The way feminism emerged at that point completely turned that over. It challenged those hierarchies, fundamentally.

Film Review: “Suffragette”

The movie Suffragette is the first feature film that dramatically depicts the monumental struggle for women’s right to vote in pre-World War I England. (Please erase from your memory the horrible, and I mean horrible, portrayal of suffragettes in the Disney monstrosity Mary Poppins.)

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Directed by Sarah Gavron, with screenplay by Abi Morgan, the project also had the support and star power of Meryl Streep in a brilliant-as-always portrayal of Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the militant suffragette organization, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU).

Why I #StandWithPP

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I wanted to write and let you know why I support the doctors and clinic workers of Planned Parenthood who help people obtain abortions, often at great personal cost.

The current call to defund Planned Parenthood has been coordinated with attack videos that are highly edited in order to demonize the doctors who were filmed. As David Cohen and Krysten Connon document in their book, “Living in the Crosshairs,” the personal nature of political attacks on abortion in this country have led to harassment, stalking, and violence against providers and their families.

Same-Sex Marriage: An Ambiguous Victory

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In the summer of 1994, my partner and I happened to be on vacation in Stockholm for the Pride celebration, so we joined in.  I remember it as a rather modest, subdued affair compared to the ebullient marches I remembered from New York and San Francisco. But what struck me most was the lesbian/gay federation’s emphasis on legal recognition for same-sex partnerships, at a time when Sweden banned sex in gay bathhouses. I thought these were upside-down priorities. Swedish same-sex couples would win in fact the right to register for partnership benefits in 1995, while the ban on bathhouse sex stayed on the books until 2004. What a curious country this is, I remember thinking.

Bigotry 101: Why Haters Gonna Hate

ImageA review of The Bigot: Why Prejudice Persists, by Stephen Eric Bronner, Yale University Press, 2014.

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Even Better the Second Time Around

Reflections on an Updated Socialist-Feminist Classic

ImageOriginally published in 1979, Beyond the Fragments (BTF) was an intervention in the left by three British socialist-feminist activists who offered a thoroughgoing critique of democratic centralism and the vanguard party ideal as it was then practiced on the revolutionary left.

Ireland Says "Yes" to an Equal Society

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On May 23, 2015 Ireland finally threw off the shackles of a conservative Catholic past and voted in favor of social equality.

The Irish electorate was asked to vote in a referendum to include gay marriage in our constitution and we agreed in great numbers to this proposal.

Many young people who had to leave Ireland in recent years due to austerity, managed to make the journey back home to vote yes. They sailed home and flew home under the hash tag “home to vote” which lit up Twitter and many had aspirations of returning for good once the land of their birth shakes off its recessionary hangover, but for the meantime they can proudly boast they took part in creating a Irish society everyone can live in.

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