Socialism Art Nature
There are no such things as divine, immutable or inalienable rights. Rights are things we get when we are strong enough to make good our claim to them.
Helen Keller on the fight for women’s rights (1913)

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Marxism, feminism, and accusations of “class reductionism”

Hey, I recently engaged in a friendly debate with someone who was arguing that Marxism is antithetical to the contemporary struggle for women’s rights because Marx was a “class reductionist” who ignored women’s oppression as something to be dealt with “after the revolution.”

I felt I would reproduce a snippet of my comments here:

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I just wanted to say a quick word as someone who identities as both a Marxist and a feminist.

(Photo) Elisabeth Dmitrieff was active in her youth in the Socialist circles of Saint Petersburg. In 1868, she travelled to Switzerland, and co-founded the Russian section of the First International. Delegated to London, she met Karl Marx there, who advised her to go to Paris in March 1871, aged 20, to cover the events of the Commune.In fact, Marx and Engels were well ahead of their time, viz., the stuggle for women’s emancipation. Even a terse reading of some of Marx’s collected works reveal him repeatedly inveighing against women’s oppression, both in society generally, and within the labor and socialist movements. Marx fought to have women included as full and equal members — including in leadership positions — in the various movements he engaged in as against many of his (bigoted) contemporaries.

He wrote that their could be no truly revolutionary movement without mass participation of women; indeed, he makes a point of saying that one can judge the level of development of any society by looking at the degree to which women have won their social emancipation in that society.

His collaborators, Frederick Engels and August Bebel, were among the first anti-capitalists to pen books specifically analyzing the history of women’s oppression. Along with Marx, they contend that a fundamental socio-economic revolution is impossible unless premised upon the complete liberation of the female half of the population (both from class exploitation and gender oppression).

Some of the first American feminists, including Margaret Sanger (the founder of Planned Parenthood), Helen Keller, and Lucy Parsons, were themselves members of the American Socialist Party, and they all cite the works of Marx & Engels as a central contributor to the development of their understanding of women’s oppression and liberation.

In sum, I think it’s wrong to say that Marxism is “class reductionist” or ignores the question of women’s rights as something to be dealt with “after the revolution.” Certainly there have been those who have historically claimed the label “Marxist” who have been guilty of such distortions. But then again, the terms “feminism”, “democracy”, and even “human rights” have also been historically subject to distortions by many of their supposed proponents. Just as we need to struggle against those who have tried to turn “feminism” into a dirty word, I personally think the same is true of “Marxism.”


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Texas turned down $35 million in federal funds for Medicaid Women’s Health Program. This means that at least 300,000 low-income and uninsured women in Texas will have no or greatly-reduced access to basic reproductive health care.

A proposed bill in Arizona requires women to prove to their employers that they need birth control in order to treat a medical condition if they want their prescription to be covered by their insurer.

Today, women pay 50% more than men for the very same health coverage. Being a woman is not a pre-existing condition.
 

Boston City Hall // 10am - 3pm

 
Help defend women’s rights and pursuit of equality. Join the movement all across the United States on April 28th, 2012, as we come together as one to tell politicians in Washington, DC, and legislatures in all 50 states, “Enough is enough.”

Join the Facebook event


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WTF!!! Everyday brings news of a fresh legislative defeat for women somewhere in the country at the hands of powerful, bigoted political forces.

When are we going to start mounting a real fight-back? When are we going to pour into the streets and rage? And don’t tell me to wait til Novemeber. That’s bullshit.

I mean, why hasn’t Obama said a damn word on this front, anyway? Why doesn’t he make one of his famous, glowing, nationally-televized speeches on the inalienable rights of women to control their own bodies? Why doesn’t he call upon Americans to march and protest in the streets against these sexist attacks?

I’ll bet it’s because top Democratic politicians are themselves anti-choice (Sen. Reid, Sen. Nelson, etc.), not to mention Obama’s top financial backers who tend to be more conservative. He would rather sacrifice the livelihoods of millions of American women than risk alienating these conservative elites who he is courting for his re-election bid.

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Utah’s Republican governor signed a law extending a required waiting period for women seeking an abortion to 72 hours on Tuesday, even though a similar requirement in South Dakota has been blocked in court, a spokeswoman said.

The law is the latest salvo in the long-running national battle over abortion that has seen a host of states pass laws imposing requirements on women before they can undergo the procedure. In neighboring Idaho, lawmakers are considering requiring women to undergo an ultrasound before ending a pregnancy.

While South Dakota was the first state to pass legislation for a three-day wait in 2011, 26 states require women to wait before receiving an abortion. Most often, that is a 24-hour period, according to reproductive health organization the Guttmacher Institute.


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(Photo) Unite Against The War On Women: Washington, D.C. March, 4.28.2012 » 
 Does anyone know more information about this?

(Photo) Unite Against The War On Women: Washington, D.C. March, 4.28.2012 »

 Does anyone know more information about this?


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The anti-women faction of the Republican Party is dominating the discussion in mainstream politics—and the Democrats’ response has been to let them.


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Proving once again that America is well behind the times and stands as one of the more backward nations in the world (see the politics of the entire GOP & much of the Democratic Party) …

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In a significant decision, the Punjab and Haryana High Court last week ruled that the right to abort a pregnancy in a marriage rests with the wife and not husband.

“A woman is not a machine in which raw material is put and a finished product comes out. She should be mentally prepared to conceive, continue the same and give birth to a child. The unwanted pregnancy would naturally affect the mental health of the pregnant woman…” said the court.

Stressing that marital intimacy between a couple does not automatically translate to the woman’s consent to child bearing, Justice Jitendra Chauhan said, “Mere consent to conjugal rights does not mean consent to give birth to a child for her husband.” Welcoming the judgement, Jagmati Sanwan, All India Democratic Women’s Association national vice-president said, “If the family conditions are unsuitable, no woman would like to give birth to a child because after all, she is the one who takes care of the children for all practical purposes. We see around us that fathers often desert their families after a couple of deliveries. But children become a part and parcel of the mother’s physical and emotional world. She invests much into their well being and she alone suffers. Hence, the rights of whether to give birth or not, should be with her.”


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A new study has revealed that abortion is a procedure that is not only safer than giving birth, but people are 14 times more likely to die during childbirth than during an abortion.

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Rape Culture in America: “It Ain’t That Bad … Just See It As A Gift”

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Standing steadfast as the most socially right-wing candidate in the GOP presidential field, Rick Santorum has repeatedly touted his extreme anti-choice position, which dictates that abortion should be uniformly illegal, even in cases of rape or incest. He even suggested that physicians who provide abortions to such victims should be criminally charged.

Last Friday, CNN’s Piers Morgan asked Santorum to clarify his reasoning behind such a callous position. Insisting that “it’s not a matter of religious values,” Santorum explained that sexual assault victims should “accept this horribly created” pregnancy because it is “nevertheless a gift in a very broken way” and that, when it comes down to it, a victim just has “to make the best out of a bad situation“:

SANTORUM: Well, you can make the argument that if she doesn’t have this baby, if she kills her child, that that, too, could ruin her life. And this is not an easy choice. I understand that. As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child. And whether she has that child or doesn’t, it will always be her child. And she will always know that. And so to embrace her and to love her and to support her and get her through this very difficult time, I’ve always, you know, I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can’t think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.

The problem with Santorum’s sense of humanity is that it doesn’t seem to extend to the victim.

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Okay, for real. What in the world is up with all of these Iranian scientists being murdered/assassinated left and right? Maybe this is just a coincidence, but it seems like some one, group, or nation, is dead-set on depleting the number of intelligent, scientific-minded Iranians in the world today.

Very odd …

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A woman whom Houston police described as an activist on behalf of Iranian women’s civil rights was found shot dead at the wheel of her car after it crashed into a Houston townhouse garage.

 … Bagherzadeh was a molecular genetic technology student at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. She also was active in promoting Iranian women’s rights, police spokesman Victor Senties said.

"It appears she was one of the ones who would be out protesting, and she was very well known in the Iranian women’s rights community because she was constantly out protesting," Senties told the Houston Chronicle.

Senties said it was unclear whether her death was related to her background or her activities. Bolton said investigators suspect the victim was followed home or that someone was waiting for her.


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I know this is old, but I just came across it and thought it was great …

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NEARLY 150 ANGRY moms - babies at their breasts - staged a peaceful “nurse-in” yesterday outside ABC’s Manhattan studios in defense of mother’s milk.

The women - self-named “lactivists” - took to the streets after Barbara Walters, interview queen and host of “The View,” made what they consider disparaging comments about breast-feeding on the talk show.

Walters said she felt awkward sitting with her hairdresser next to a woman who was breast-feeding on an airplane.

"It made me very nervous," Walters said on the May 17 show. "She didn’t cover the baby with a blanket. It made us uncomfortable."

Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who is nursing her daughter, Grace, said she was “uncomfortable breast-feeding in general.”

 … “Just look away if it’s really that offensive,” said Anushka Paris-Carter, 32, of Manhattan’s East Village, as she fed her 23-month-old daughter, Sasha.

The women - carrying signs like “Mama’s latte is best” - said they worry the comments might keep new moms from nursing. Some are demanding an on-air apology.

"I’d do it on the subway. I’d do it in the library. I’d do it in the park. I’ve never been a particularly shy person, but some people are, and they shouldn’t be discouraged from doing something natural," said Jennifer Sheridan, 42, who brought her two children, each breast-fed for two years.


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Never mind the vicious nonsense of claiming that an embryo has a “right to life.” A piece of protoplasm has no rights—and no life in the human sense of the term. One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three months. To equate a potential with an actual, is vicious; to advocate the sacrifice of the latter to the former, is unspeakable… . Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living: the right of young people to set the course of their own lives. The task of raising a child is a tremendous, lifelong responsibility, which no one should undertake unwittingly or unwillingly. Procreation is not a duty: human beings are not stock-farm animals. For conscientious persons, an unwanted pregnancy is a disaster; to oppose its termination is to advocate sacrifice, not for the sake of anyone’s benefit, but for the sake of misery qua misery, for the sake of forbidding happiness and fulfillment to living human beings.

Ayn Rand

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This might be the only point of agreement I share with Ayn Rand on anything, but she’s absolutely spot-on with this one!


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CAIRO — Thousands of woman marched through downtown Cairo on Tuesday evening to call for the end of military rule in an extraordinary expression of anger over images of soldiers beating, stripping and kicking a female demonstrator on the pavement of Tahrir Square.

“Drag me, strip me, my brothers’ blood will cover me!” they chanted. “Where is the field marshal?” they demanded, referring to Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the military council holding onto power here. “The girls of Egypt are here.”

The event may have been the biggest women’s demonstration in Egypt’s history, and the most significant since a 1919 march led by pioneering Egyptian feminist Huda Shaarawi to protest British rule. The scale was stunning, and utterly unexpected in this strictly patriarchal society. Previous attempts to organize women’s events in Tahrir Square this year have either fizzled or, in at least one case, ended in the physical harassment of the handful of women who did turn out.


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Let’s be honest — on balance, the Obama administration has not been an asset to the women’s rights movement. After nearly one whole term in office, Obama has presided over a nation undergoing an all-out evisceration of a woman’s right to reproductive control. From the Democrat-inspired, anti-abortion amendments tagged on to Obama’s health care reform bill; to the GOP assault on Planned Parenthood and abortion in states across the nation, which Obama has not fought back against in the least; to this latest craven concession to the anti-abortion bigots on the question of emergency contraception — women have to ask the question: ‘Am I better off than I was four years ago?’

Of course, it goes without saying that the GOP is no alternative on this issue. But Obama should not be let off the hook. If women are going to turn bak the right-wing offenseive on our bodies and lives, it’s important to understand that the Obama administration is not going to be an ally in this fight. Indeed, when it comes to things like abortion, this administration (and the Democratic Party) has sometimes been the enemy (case in point).

As I’ve said elsewhere, I already know who I am voting for in 2012.

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In a surprise move, the nation’s health secretary stopped the Plan B morning-after pill from moving onto drugstore shelves next to the condoms, deciding Wednesday that young girls shouldn’t be able to buy it on their own.

The Food and Drug Administration was preparing to lift a controversial age limit and make Plan B One-Step the nation’s first over-the-counter emergency contraceptive, available for purchase by people of any age without a prescription.

But Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius intervened at the eleventh hour and overruled her own experts.

Plan B instead will remain behind the pharmacy counter, as it is sold today — available without a prescription only for those 17 and older who show an ID proving their age.


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"I am the 47% who earn 17% less than male counterparts."
Now here is a site that shows how the documentation of women’s participation in the Occupy movement ought to be done (as opposed to the “Hot Chicks of #OWS” garbage)! 
http://womenoccupy.tumblr.com

"I am the 47% who earn 17% less than male counterparts."

Now here is a site that shows how the documentation of women’s participation in the Occupy movement ought to be done (as opposed to the “Hot Chicks of #OWS” garbage)!

http://womenoccupy.tumblr.com

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