Archive for the ‘Socio’ Category

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“Since racism involves power and oppression, it follows that only the dominant group can be racist. In the US, this means that only whites can be racist. People of color cannot be racist because they don’t have the power. Many whites strenuously object to this argument and say, “I know plenty of people of color who hate whites.” True enough, there are people of color who are prejudiced. However, people of color are not racist because they lack the collective power to oppress whites as a group.” — Pincus, Fred L., Understanding Diversity: An Introduction to Class, Race, Gender & Sexual Orientation (2006): 57. ISBN13: 978-1588264022

Based on this understanding, we may come to the conclusion that it is not possible for women to be sexist, since they lack the collective power to oppress men as a group. Likewise, the working class cannot be accused of engaging in class warfare because as a group they don’t have the collective power to oppress the wealthy or the multinational corporations owned by the wealthy.

Cross-posted from Green Polity

femsFeminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical discourse. It aims to understand the nature of gender inequality. It examines women’s social roles, experience, interests, and feminist politics in a variety of fields, such as anthropology and sociology, communication, psychoanalysis, economics, literary, education, philosophy, and even linguistics. Feminist researchers embrace two key tenets: (1) their research should focus on the condition of women in society, and (2) their research must be grounded in the assumption that women generally experience oppressive subordination. Thus, feminist research rejects Weber‘s value-free orientation in favor of being overtly political — doing research in pursuit of gender equality. Any movement not seeking equality cannot, therefore, be called Feminism (which basically rejects modern conservative notions of feminism).

Modern Western feminist history is split into three time periods, or “waves”, each with slightly different aims based on prior progress.

I. First-wave feminism of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries focused on overturning legal inequalities, particularly women’s suffrage.

18th century: the Age of Enlightenment — The Age of Enlightenment was characterized by secular intellectual reasoning and a flowering of philosophical writing. Many Enlightenment philosophers defended the rights of women, including Jeremy Bentham (1781), Marquis de Condorcet (1790), and, perhaps most notably, Mary Wollstonecraft whose A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) is one of the first works that can unambiguously be called feminist. In America, feminist movement leaders campaigned for the national Abolition of Slavery and Temperance before championing women’s rights. The antislavery campaign of the 1830s served as both a cause ideologically compatible with feminism and a blueprint for later feminist political organizing. Attempts to exclude women only strengthened their convictions.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage saw the Church as a major obstacle to women’s rights, and welcomed the emerging literature on matriarchy. Both Gage and Stanton produced works on this topic, and collaborated on The Woman’s Bible (1895) to challenge the traditional position of religious orthodoxy that woman should be subservient to man.

Early 19th-century feminists reacted to cultural inequities including the pernicious widespread acceptance of the Victorian image of women’s “proper” role and “sphere”. As Jane Austen addressed women’s restricted lives in the early part of the century, Charlotte Brontë, Anne Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell, and George Eliot depicted women’s misery and frustration. Feminists of previous centuries charged women’s exclusion from education as the central cause for their domestic relegation and denial of social advancement, and women’s 19th-century education was not much better.

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat, or a prostitute.” — Rebecca West, “Mr. Chesterton in hysterics”, The Clarion, 1913

Major issues in the 1910s and 1920s included suffrage, economics and employment, sexuality and families, war and peace, and a Constitutional amendment for equality. Both equality and difference were seen as routes to women’s empowerment. Women entered the labor market during the First World War in unprecedented numbers, often in new sectors, and discovered the value of their work. The war also left large numbers of women bereaved and with a net loss of household income. The scores of men killed and wounded shifted the demographic composition.

II. Second-wave feminism (1960s–1980s) broadened debate to include cultural inequalities, gender norms, and the role of women in society.

The backlash against U.S. women is real. As the misconception of equality between the sexes becomes more ubiquitous, so does the attempt to restrict the boundaries of women’s personal and political power. (Clarence) Thomas’ confirmation, the ultimate rally of support for the male paradigm of harassment, sends a clear message to women: “Shut up! Even if you speak, we will not listen.”

I will not be silenced.

I acknowledge the fact that we live under siege. I intend to fight back. I have uncovered and unleashed more repressed anger than I thought possible. For the umpteenth time in my 22 years, I have been radicalized, politicized, shaker) awake. I have come to voice again, and this time my voice is not conciliatory.

The night after Thomas’s confirmation I ask the man I am intimate with what he thinks of the whole mess. His concern is primarily with Thomas’ propensity to demolish civil rights and opportunities for people of color. I launch into a tirade. “When will progressive black men prioritize my rights and well-being? When will they stop talking so damn much about ‘the race’ as if it revolved exclusively around them?” He tells me I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I scream “I need to know, are you with me or are you going to help them try to destroy me?” — Rebecca Walker, Becoming the Third Wave, MS Magazine, 1992

III. Third-wave feminism (1990s–present) refers to diverse strains of feminist activity, seen as both a continuation of the second wave and a response to the perceived failures of and backlash against initiatives and movements created by Second-wave feminism during the 1960s to 1980s, and the realization that women are of “many colors, ethnicities, nationalities, religions and cultural backgrounds”. The third wave embraces diversity and change. In this wave, as in previous ones, there is no all-encompassing single feminist idea, and thus no single target for anti-feminists to focus upon.

Third-wave feminism seeks to challenge or avoid what it deems the second wave’s “essentialist” definitions of femininity, which often assumed a universal female identity and over-emphasized the experiences of upper-middle-class white women.

Essentialism as it relates to Feminism theorizes that there are innate, essential differences between men and women. That is, we are born with certain traits. This is often used as an explanation for why there are so few women in science and technology. It is also used as a rationale for pigeonholing, offering limited education, hiring discrimination, etc. It is also sometimes raised (including by women) under the guise of Equal but different.

In “Deconstructing Equality-versus-Difference: Or, the Uses of Poststructuralist Theory for Feminism,” (.pdf) Joan W. Scott describes how language has been used as a way to understand the world, however, “post-structuralists insist that words and texts have no fixed or intrinsic meanings, that there is no transparent or self-evident relationship between them and either ideas or things, no basic or ultimate correspondence between language and the world”. Thus, while language has been used to create binaries (such as male/female), post-structuralists see these binaries as artificial constructs created to maintain the power and privilege of dominant groups.

For third-wave feminists, therefore, “sexual liberation,” a major goal of second-wave feminism, was expanded to mean a process of first becoming conscious of the ways one’s gender identity and sexuality have been shaped by society and then intentionally constructing (and becoming free to express) one’s authentic gender identity.

Third wavers inherited a foothold of institutional power created by second wavers, including women’s studies programs at universities, long-standing feminist organizations, and well-established publishing outlets such as Ms. magazine and several academic journals. These outlets became a less important part of the culture of the third wave than they had been for the second wave.

In expressing their concerns, third-wave feminists actively subverted, co-opted, and played on seemingly sexist images and symbols. This was evident in the double entendre and irony of the language commonly adopted by people in their self-presentations. Slang used derogatorily in most earlier contexts became proud and defiant labels. The spirit and intent of the third wave shone through the raw honesty, humour, and horror of Eve Ensler’s play (and later book) The Vagina Monologues, an exploration of women’s feelings about sexuality that included vagina-centered topics as diverse as orgasm, birth, and rape; the righteous anger of punk rock’s riot grrrls movement; and the playfulness, seriousness, and subversion of the Guerrilla Girls, a group of women artists who donned gorilla masks in an effort to expose female stereotypes and fight discrimination against female artists.” — Third Wave continued

Third-wave theory usually incorporates elements of queer theory; anti-racism and women-of-color consciousness; womanism; girl power; post-colonial theory; postmodernism; transnationalism; cyberfeminism; ecofeminism; individualist feminism; new feminist theory, transgender politics, and a rejection of the gender binary (see, for example, Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (.pdf, 1990)).

Third-wave feminism seeks to challenge or avoid second-wave “essentialist” definitions of femininity, which over-emphasized the experiences of white, upper middle class women. A post-structuralist interpretation of gender and sexuality, or an understanding of gender as outside binary maleness and femaleness, is central to much of the third wave’s ideology. Proponents of third-wave feminism claim that it allows women to define feminism for themselves by incorporating their own identities into the belief system of what feminism is, what it encompasses, and what it can become through one’s own perspective.

They weren’t used to hearing uppity bitches speak up around them. She figured it was time they got used to it. It’s 2013, for fuck’s sake.

Title IX is a law passed in 1972 that requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives federal funding.

Many people have never heard of Title IX. Most people who know about Title IX think it applies only to sports, but athletics is only one of 10 key areas addressed by the law. These areas are: Access to Higher Education, Career Education, Education for Pregnant and Parenting Students, Employment, Learning Environment, Math and Science, Sexual Harassment, Standardized Testing and Technology.

I think it’s time we had a Title IX for other aspects of life, not just education. Gender equality means leveling the playing field to address present, as well as historical, inequalities. It doesn’t mean looking forward while ignoring the past. We need to bring the international human rights framework, particularly the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, to bear on discussions with government and industry, non-profits and for-profits, and particularly with candidates and political leaders regarding gender equality.

Government and Industry have had their chance to voluntarily implement gender equity. Legislation has haphazardly backed it, when enforced, but here it is 2013 and women are still fighting for equal pay for equal work?  So much for voluntary compliance.

Maybe it’s time to implement some harsh measures for supporting the discriminatory status quo. How about a 23% Gender Equity tax on any corporation who refuses to implement equal pay for equal work and prove it by providing payroll data? How about the same tax on companies whose Boards of Directors and upper management are not at least 50% women? This is not asking for information the companies are not already collecting, they have the data, they just aren’t willing to publish it and show consumers their sexism. Let’s give them one year (April 15th to the following April 15th) to implement gender equity, and if they refuse to do it, then let them lose all tax credits, subsidies, state and federal contracts, etc. Why should our tax dollars go to companies that are discriminating against roughly half the population?

How about every time there’s a meeting of any kind, the person in charge takes a look around the table and actually notices the ratio of men to women sitting there at the table with them? How about every time there is a trade agreement, peace treaty, or any other sort of thing being negotiated, the women affected by it have a prominent seat at that table and a voice in the negotiations? How about every time there is a diplomat or representative to be appointed or elected, we don’t ignore gender equity? This is not a hard thing to understand, so why aren’t we doing it?

We don’t need a task force to study the problem; that task force has ignored the problem for a couple of thousand years and the data is fully accumulated. When the United States’ work-family policies are compared with those of countries at similar levels of economic and political development, the United States comes in dead last. Family values? Bullshit!


 
 

Income inequality and mortality in 282 metropo...

Mortality is correlated with both income and inequality. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to Fix America’s Wealth Inequality: Teach Americans to Be Cheap, The Atlantic, 12 March 2013

Wealth Inequality in the United States, Wikipedia

Who Rules America?, Wealth, Income, and Power by G. William Domhoff, UCSC. First posted September 2005; most recently updated February 2013.

It’s the Inequality, Stupid: Eleven charts that explain what’s wrong with America, Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot | Mother Jones, March/April 2011 Issue


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THRIVE is an unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what’s REALLY going on in our world by following the money upstream — uncovering the global consolidation of power in nearly every aspect of our lives. Weaving together breakthroughs in science, consciousness and activism, THRIVE offers real solutions, empowering us with unprecedented and bold strategies for reclaiming our lives and our future.

We feel instinctively that societies with huge income gaps are somehow going wrong. Richard Wilkinson charts the hard data on economic inequality, and shows what gets worse when rich and poor are too far apart: real effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust.


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Capitalism Is The Crisis: Radical Politics in the Age of Austerity examines the ideological roots of the “austerity” agenda and proposes revolutionary paths out of the current crisis. The film features original interviews with Chris Hedges, Derrick Jensen, Michael Hardt, Peter Gelderloos, Leo Panitch, David McNally, Richard J.F. Day, Imre Szeman, Wayne Price, and many more!

The 2008 “financial crisis” in the United States was a systemic fraud in which the wealthy finance capitalists stole trillions of public dollars. No one was jailed for this crime, the largest theft of public money in history.

Instead, the rich forced working people across the globe to pay for their “crisis” through punitive “austerity” programs that gutted public services and repealed workers’ rights.

Austerity was named “Word of the Year” for 2010.

This documentary explains the nature of capitalist crisis, visits the protests against austerity measures, and recommends revolutionary paths for the future.

Special attention is devoted to the crisis in Greece, the 2010 G20 Summit protest in Toronto, Canada, and the remarkable surge of solidarity in Madison, Wisconsin.

It may be their crisis, but it’s our problem.


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“WE” is a completely free documentary, created (and released) anonymously on the internet.

“WE” is a fast-paced 64 minute documentary that covers the world politics of power, war, corporations, deception and exploitation.

“WE” visualizes the words of Arundhati Roy, specifically her famous Come September speech, where she spoke on such things as the war on terror, corporate globalization, justice and the growing civil unrest.

“WE” is Witty, moving, alarming and quite a lesson in modern history.

“WE” is almost in the style of a music video, featuring the contemporary music of Lush, Curve, Love & Rockets, Boards of Canada, Nine Inch Nails, Dead Can Dance, Amon Tobin, Massive Attack, Totoise, Telepop, Placebo and Faithless. The music serves as wonderful background for the words of Ms. Roy and images of humanity in the world we live all in today.

The media material presented in this production is protected by the FAIR USE CLAUSE of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, which allows for the rebroadcast of copyrighted materials for the purposes of commentary, criticism, and education.


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Chris Hedges: “Obama Has Broken Almost Every Campaign Promise He Made In 2004”