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The conclusion of an essay written by William Astore featured on Tom’s Dispatch.  As a member of the minority left, one of the questions frequently asked of us is well then what is your solution to the problems – criticizing is one thing actually putting forward a plan is quite another.  What now you pinko-commie-leftard?   Well, Mr.Astore has the blueprints right here, let’s get to work.

 

What Is to Be Done?

Slowly, seemingly inexorably, the U.S. is becoming more like the former Soviet Union.  Just to begin the list of similarities: too many resources are being devoted to the military and the national security state; too many over-decorated generals are being given too much authority in government; bleeding-ulcer wars continue unstanched in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere; infrastructure (roads, bridges, pipelines, dams, and so on) continues to crumble; restless “republics” grumble about separating from the union (Calexit!); rampant drug abuse and declining life expectancy are now American facts of life. Meanwhile, the latest U.S. president is, in temperament, authoritarian, even as government “services” take on an increasingly nepotistic flavor at the top.

I’m worried, comrade!  Echoing the cry of the great Lenin, what is to be done?  Given the list of symptoms, here’s one obvious 10-step approach to the de-sovietization of America:

1. Decrease “defense” spending by 10% annually for the next five years.  In the Soviet spirit, think of it as a five-year plan to restore our revolution (as in the American Revolution), which was, after all, directed against imperial policies exercised by a “bigly” king.

2. Cut the number of generals and admirals in the military by half, and get rid of all the meaningless ribbons, badges, and medals they wear.  In other words, don’t just cut down on the high command but on their tendency to look (and increasingly to act) like Soviet generals of old.  And don’t allow them to serve in high governmental positions until they’ve been retired for at least 10 years.

3. Get our military out of Afghanistan, Iraq, and other war-torn countries in the Greater Middle East and Africa.  Reduce that imperial footprint overseas by closing costly military bases. 

4. Work to eliminate nuclear weapons globally by, as a first step, cutting the vast U.S. arsenal in half and forgetting about that trillion-dollar “modernization” program.  Eliminate land-based ICBMs first; they are no longer needed for any meaningful deterrent purposes.

5. Take the money saved on “modernizing” nukes and invest it in updating America’s infrastructure.

6. Curtail state surveillance.  Freedom needs privacy to flourish.  As a nation, we need to remember that security is not the bedrock of democracy — the U.S. Constitution is.    

7. Work to curb drug abuse by cutting back on criminalization.  Leave the war mentality behind, including the “war on drugs,” and focus instead on providing better treatment programs for addicts.  Set a goal of cutting America’s prison population in half over the next decade. 

8. Life expectancy will increase with better health care.  Provide health care coverage for all using a single-payer system.  Every American should have the same coverage as a member of Congress.  People shouldn’t be suffering and dying because they can’t afford to see a doctor or pay for their prescriptions.

9. Nothing is more fundamental to “national security” than clean air and water.  It’s folly to risk poisoning the environment in the name of either economic productivity or building up the military.  If you doubt this, ask citizens of Russia and the former Soviet Republics, who still struggle with the fallout from the poisonous environmental policies of Soviet days.

10. Congress needs to assert its constitutional authority over war and the budget, and begin to act like the “check and balance” it’s supposed to be when it comes to executive power.

There you have it.  These 10 steps should go some way toward solving America’s real Russian problem — the Soviet one.  Won’t you join me, comrade?

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I’m sometimes asked why I give such serious side-eye to the term identity politics.  This isn’t some sort of dogwhistle like the freezepeach moniker that gets affixed to people who want to say racist or sexist things and then hide behind free speech.  Gender IDPOL is a systemic denial of the reality women face and an iron scold meant to silence and shame women who dare to speak out against the arguments IDPOL make.

The good news is that despite the abuse from the ‘progressive’ left and the usual abuse from dudes, brave women are speaking out against gender IDPOL, precisely because of its insidious nature and the implicit erasure of the female experience from the public sphere.

Ms. Sanchez writes a cogent essay that appears on the Feminist Current, I suggest going there and reading the entire work.  However, I wanted to highlight this section in particular as it speaks to the material situation women face in society, and how IDPOL is obfuscating that struggle.  Also highlighted are some of the rhetorical dodges genderists use to muddy the water when it comes to the reality of sex based oppression.

 

“This is because there is an expectation that women are inherently nurturing. Being forced into the position of caretaker translates to women having less savings, being promoted less, and accumulating less money in their pensions.

But gender identity politics reduces this reality — and womanhood itself — to a trivial, malleable identity. It is baffling that in a world where women and girls face structural oppression due to their biology, gender identity politics has thrived.

Susan Cox argues that: “The non-binary declaration is a slap in the face to all women, who, if they haven’t come out as ‘genderqueer,’ presumably possess an internal essence perfectly in-line with the misogynistic parody of womanhood created by patriarchy.” There’s a twisted, neoliberal cruelty in arguing that the primary problem with gender is its impact on the chosen identities of individuals, and not the way it operates systemically, under patriarchy, to normalize and encourage male violence and female subordination.

When confronted with evidence that, historically and globally, women’s oppression is sex-based, gender identity politics simply claims that sex itself is an “invented” social construct.

In an article at Quartz, Jeremy Colangelo writes:

“Sex and gender are much more complex and nuanced than people have long believed. Defining sex as a binary treats it like a light switch: on or off. But it’s actually more similar to a dimmer switch, with many people sitting somewhere in between male and female genetically, physiologically, and/or mentally. To reflect this, scientists now describe sex as a spectrum.

Despite the evidence, people hold on to the idea that sex is binary because it’s the easiest explanation to believe. It tracks with the messages we see in advertisements, movies, books, music — basically everywhere. People like familiar things, and the binary is familiar (especially if you’re a cisgender person who has never had to deal with sexual-identity issues).”

But feminists don’t argue that sex is real because it is “the easiest explanation to believe” or because of what the media tells us. We argue sex is real because from the moment an ultrasound reveals a baby is female, her subjugation begins. And though “gender identity” is presented as an issue feminism must contend with, it is, as Rebecca Reilly-Cooper explains, completely at odds with feminist analysis of biological sex as an axis of oppression:

“Women’s historic and continued subordination has not arisen because some members of our species choose to identify with an inferior social role (and it would be an act of egregious victim-blaming to suggest that it has). It has emerged as a means by which males can dominate that half of the species that is capable of gestating children, and exploit their sexual and reproductive labour.

We cannot make sense of the historical development of patriarchy and the continued existence of sexist discrimination and cultural misogyny, without recognizing the reality of female biology, and the existence of a class of biologically female persons.”

Far from fluid, the realities of sex-based oppression are strict and enforced through violence — this is particularly true for women of colour and women in poverty.”

If gender identity is so amazing why are not females in large droves identifying as Men to escape their oppression?

Just came back from a vacation/choral music workshop.  This is one of the round we sang.  Simple, haunting, and beautiful.

Appreciate the difficulty of A cappella and maintain a steady tempo and intonation. ( I know I certainly did)  :)

——-

Sarah Williams’s poetry is where the text for the round originated.

Williams was born in December 1837[a] in Marylebone, London, to Welsh father Robert Williams (c. 1807–1868) and English mother Louisa Ware (c. 1811–1886).[2][3] She was very close to her father and considered her “bardic” interests to come from him.[4] As a young child unable to pronounce ‘Sarah’, she inadvertently gave herself the nickname ‘Sadie’.[1] An only child, she was educated first by her doting parents and later governesses.[4]

Although Williams was only half Welsh by birth and never lived outside London, she incorporated Welsh phrases and themes in her poems and Sadie was considered a Welsh poet.[5]

Robert Williams died in January 1868 of a sudden illness. Already suffering from cancer and devastated by the loss of her father, Sarah’s condition deteriorated.[4] After three additional months of hiding the cancer from her friend and mother, she agreed to surgery despite knowing it might kill her. She died in Kentish Town, London during surgery on April 25, 1868.[3][6]

Her second book of poetry, Twilight Hours: A Legacy of Verse, was published in late 1868. The collection included “The Old Astronomer” (also known as “The Old Astronomer to His Pupil”, as it was titled in a 1936 U.S. reprint), now the most famous of her poems. The second half of the fourth stanza is widely quoted:

Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too truly to be fearful of the night.[7]

Ian Rankin titled his Inspector Rebus novel Set in Darkness after the lines and quoted them in the introduction. In an interview, Rankin linked the quote to the rise of a restored Scottish Parliament and the redemption of the Inspector in the novel.[8] The poem is written from the perspective of an aged astronomer on his deathbed bidding his student to continue his humble research. The lines have been chosen by a number of professional and amateur astronomers as their epitaphs.[3][9]

 

We did it in A minor, but this is the tune.

Getting in trouble for naming vectors of oppression; it is what Feminists do.

Good Show Ms.Ditum.

 

Intersectionality a useful concept in describing oppression along multiple axis.  Let’s cue up Kimberle Crenshaw who coined the term for a little more background.

“The term intersectionality theory was first coined by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989.[3] In her work, Crenshaw discussed Black feminism, which argues that the experience of being a black woman cannot be understood in terms of being black and of being a woman considered independently, but must include the interactions, which frequently reinforce each other.[19] Crenshaw mentioned that the intersectionality experience within black women is more powerful than the sum of their race and sex, and that any observations that do not take intersectionality into consideration cannot accurately address the manner in which black women are subordinated.”


On to what Carly Thomsen says:

“I recently asked my students in an upper division Gender and Women’s Studies Feminist Engaged Research course—in which all students are Gender and Women’s Studies majors or minors—a question about that day’s reading we were discussing in class. A student responded with: “It’s all about intersectionality.” My initial question is not particularly relevant, as I have found that students will attempt to answer nearly any question by referencing (the need for and value of) “intersectionality.” I followed up to ask: “What is intersectionality?” My students looked at me blankly. All of my students had been exposed to what they would describe as “intersectionality.” Yet, not one had read the original theory of intersectionality. Not one could accurately describe the theory. Not one had a sense of the genealogy of the term. Not one could think of limits to intersectionality. Some thought that the term refers to moments in which activism and scholarship “intersect,” while others insisted that it refers to the moment when any two or more marginalized identities meet within one person’s life. Not one knew its roots in black feminist theory or critical race theory. I raise this point not because these moments gesture toward some type of feminist pedagogical failure—if only the students learned the material properly!—but because these moments point to the hegemony of discourses of “intersectionality” within Gender and Women’s Studies. In these moments, we can see that, as Ahmed (2012a) suggests, “intersectionality can be used as a method of deflection,” as a way of re-directing attention away from race and racism (195)—and, by extension, from whichever form of marginalization one is working to address—by bringing up other forms of social exclusion. The failure here lies with neither an individual instructor nor student but with a field that has produced so little critical reflection on the limits of “intersectionality” that it figures as that which is largely beyond contest.”

 “Becoming Radically Undone: Discourses of Identity and Diversity in the Introductory Gender and Women’s Studies Classroom” – -Carly Thomsen

   Pay attention when people start throwing the term intersectionality around.  Quite often you’ll see intersectionality thrown at feminists who have the utter temerity to want to discuss issues that concern women directly or who want to centre women in their discourse.  Silencing women, of course, is the goal.

 

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