What we are experiencing is the violent but logical conclusion of the decades-long right-wing backlash that arose in the wake of the women’s liberation movement of the 60s and 70s. Especially once the feminist movement gave up on the street protests, mass activist organizations, and bold actions; ever since, the right-wing has been whipping up a misogynist frenzy, trying to blame everything from poverty to the national debt on feminism in particular and women in general.
I’ve been reading about the period immediately following the passage of the federal amendment granting women the right to vote in 1920. The following two decades saw a strikingly similar backlash arise in the growth of various intellectuals and “activists” fulminating over the evils of “feminism” and “female supremacy”, blaming the women’s suffragists and rights movement for everything from causing the Great Depression to the decline in American culture.
Capitalist inequality and oppression may run through various cycles, with a victory against a particular manifestation of oppression here and there; but the problem is, that victory can always be rolled back and invariably is no sooner won than it is immediately subject to seemingly indefatigable attack from forces of reaction and ignorance. What we need is not just temporary victories, temporary concessions, temporary amelioration of the worst excesses of the system’s oppressiveness; but the utter and definitive conquest and abolition of the prevailing socio-economic order, along with the attendant inequality, exploitation, and oppression which it relies upon and fosters.
You say not all men are monsters?
Imagine a bowl of M&Ms. 10% of them are poisoned.
Go ahead. Eat a handful.
Not all M&Ms are poison.
What kind of society locks up thousands of people every year for committing the victimless “crime” of using non-lethal drugs; yet won’t lift a finger to lock up bigots, white supremacists, and misogynists who publicly support violence against oppressed people?
Now, I’m not saying that someone should necessarily be locked up simply for saying bigoted things. But I do think it’s worth pointing out the obvious racial, gender, and economic inequalities in the way this country deals with the imprisonment and punishment of certain segments of the population as against others.
To wit, I’ve noticed that privileged white men and right-wingers have no problem when it comes to locking up people of color for committing no crime whatsoever; but when it comes to the question of actually attaching consequences to the vile hate speech currently spewed with impunity by the former ilk, then all of a sudden these people become concerned about America becoming a police state.
Advice to men who feel compelled to keep repeating, “Not all men are like that”: If you really want to prove that not all men are misogynistic pieces of shit, the easiest thing you can do is stop hemming-and-hawing and start condemning the misogynistic violence that certain men DO engage in, without feeling a need to qualify your condemnation.
Apparently the MOTHER of Elliot Rodger, the Isla Vista shooter, had alerted the police exactly ONE MONTH EARLIER that she was concerned about the horribly misogynistic and violent stuff he was saying on his YouTube channel. When the police visited his apartment, they concluded their brief investigation with the following description of him as a “perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human.”
In other words, our society — including the police and courts — sees hatred of women as such a thoroughly normal form of male behavior that the police were able to dismiss his vitriolic misogyny as insufficient grounds for concern.
I’m all for people discussing better gun regulations in the wake of such events, but let’s also talk about better regulation of the clans of extremist bigots in our midst, and better regulation of the police who essentially abide bigotry and violence as long as it is directed at women, poor people, and/or people of color.
wow. i did not know that the police were alerted by Rodger’s MOTHER exactly ONE MONTH BEFORE FRIDAY’S SHOOTING that her son was into some seriously troubling violent misogynistic shit. what did the police do? in sum, they told her to fuck off and that there was nothing alarming about Rodger or his activity. in other words, our society — including the police and courts — sees hatred of women as normal male behavior.
When Santa Barbara police arrived at Elliot Rodger’s apartment last month—after Rodger’s mother alerted authorities to her son’s YouTube videos, where he expressed his resentment of women who don’t have sex with him, aired his jealousy of the men they do choose, and stated his intentions to remedy this “injustice” through a display of his own “magnificence and power”—they left with the impression that he was a “perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human.” Then Rodger killed six people and himself on Friday night, leaving a manifesto that spelled out his virulent hatred for women in more explicit terms, and Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown deemed him a “madman.”
Our society pits men against women at every turn. It teaches men that they are the natural better of women; that she belongs to him. That he is her ‘natural protector’ and therefore entitled to her body.
To be sure, many men will fight tooth and nail to defend the existence of these unequal social relations. For many men, this society truly is the best of all possible worlds from their vantage point, and they have little to gain and much to lose in the event that women win true social emancipation.
However, there are far too many other men who are themselves exploited and oppressed by this society and have every interest in seeing its downfall, and yet buy into the notion that their supremacy over women translates into their own liberation within the status quo; that their emancipation is predicated upon the oppression of women. To these men I say, what emancipation? What liberation? What grand set of conditions which prevail under the status quo are you defending?
If the oppression of women was necessary for your liberation, then why do you remain, under present social conditions, mired in poverty, ill health, low wages, police brutality, imprisonment, alienated and unfulfilled labor, war, environmental catastrophe, and a host of other cultural norms which suffocate you in a rigid cage of artificially-constructed “masculinity”?
No. To quote the great revolutionary socialist, Helen Keller, “Workingmen suffer from the helplessness of working women. They must compete in the same offices and factories with women who are unable to protect themselves with proper laws. They must compete with women who work in unsanitary rooms called homes, work by dim lamps at nite, rocking a cradle with one foot. It is to the interest of all workers to end this stupid, one-sided, one power arrangement.”
"The laws made by men rule the minds as well as the bodies of women. The man-managed state so conducts its schools that the ideals of women are warped to hideous shapes … Nearly all the opportunities, educational and political, that woman has acquired have been gained by a march of conquest with a skirmish at every post.
"We shall not see the end of capitalism and the triumph of democracy until men and women work together in the solving of their political, social, and economic problems, [and thereby] hasten the day when the age-long dream of liberty, equality and brotherhood shall be realized upon earth."