People Power and Women

 

 

Finally my series on women’s issues and my people power posts converge as I reach the point of advocating an overthrow.  Time for women to use their power to take charge.  Not just beg for an equal place in the patriarchy.  Overcome the patriarchy.

The last post I wrote in the Women series explored the exploitation of women in the sports world, with a long look at the Larry Nasser disaster at MSU and in U.S. Gymnastics.  The more I examined the shocking degree of sexual abuse happening across the country from early school through college and on into professional sports, the more dismayed I became at the lack of real protest.

When I talked to various women about the enormity of the problem, they were all distressed but also shrugged and assured me nothing would happen “because it’s sports…”  The  attitude from other feminists shocked me even more than realizing we have an epidemic of sexual abuse against women in the sports world (and of course beyond).

It was the first moment I began to understand how deeply immersed in the patriarchy we are.  Men can molest and abuse women starting in middle school and it’s not only covered up but only the parents of those molested protest.  Surprisingly the Moms are not sufficiently outraged by the treatment of girls to withdraw their children from sports activities.

At MSU women students did not immediately transfer in protest.  Parents did not take their daughters out of the school or refuse to allow girls to apply.  Other than some editorial letters and outraged phone calls I could find no sign of any large scale protest at MSU demanding policy changes and assurances of protection for the women who attend the school.

No parents organized a boycott of all MSU sports until action is taken.  Nothing.  Not even the parents of girls think girls count enough compared to male sports figures to stand up for them.  I could find not a single news story in the entire country about parents organizing any kind of major protest or boycott at any level at any school where widespread sexual abuse had been reported.

I haven’t stopped reeling at the comprehension of how very little value we women have in this society, even among women.

In the meantime, I watched the #metoo movement catch on and listened skeptically as various women talked about how we’d never go back now.  Been there, seen that in the ’70’s.  We thought the tide had forever turned.  Until we realized it turned back the other way.  By a year or so after the wave of “Me Too’s” peaked I started hearing about Wall Street firms stopping the hiring of women in order to avoid harassment claims.  T.V. sets where women complained of harassment and producers failed to even report the claims.

Oh boy are we deep in the patriarchy.

Then I read an amazing article, Men are 100% Responsible for Unwanted Pregnancies.  Step by step the author goes through an eye opening litany of the ways in which men are responsible.  Starting with the fact that women are only fertile about 24 days a year compared to a man’s 365 day fertility.  In wanted pregnancies, there is an agreement and both are participating in a decision.  In unwanted pregnancies there is at least a failure to prevent and at worst a cavalier irresponsibility on the part of the man who is inevitably part of the equation. Moving on to the horrible side effects of birth control pills compared to the relative ease of using condoms or getting a (reversible) vasectomy.  Well, please read the article in full.

Again I was left reeling at the depths of the patriarchy.

Even the Women’s Movement has failed us here in my opinion.  The strident insistence on protesting and taking stands about abortion is in itself a patriarchal position.  By fighting about abortion and women’s right to choose after they’re already pregnant, we completely sidestep around the real issue and behave as if women get pregnant by themselves.

If men were held responsible for their “boys will be boys” mentality and held to account for failure to take all precautions to avoid causing a pregnancy, abortion would not even be an issue.  Give men jail time and big fines for causing unwanted pregnancies and there wouldn’t be any.  End of abortion problem.  Should suit both the pro- and anti-abortion factions.  Yet no one even raises the possibility.

Because the patriarchy has such an insidious hold even feminists don’t really see it.

When I look at the years since we first took off our bras and marched around for women’s rights in the 70’s, I see:

  • no Equal Rights Amendment
  • women making less pay than men across the board
  • women being assaulted and raped while men for the most part go unpunished
  • men who truly do not understand why they should be punished
  • women coping with issues of pregnancy as if men have nothing to do with it
  • men getting away with abuse, inhumanity and heartlessness while exercising control over everything to see it doesn’t change

The more I look, the more I’m ready to take a radical leap.  It’s time for women to stop begging for a few more places at the table of patriarchy.  It’s time for us to quit hoping to be taken seriously enough to get paid the same.  It’s time for us to quit letting boys and men off the hook for sexual violence against women.

We need the feminine.  We need humanity and compassion.  When women rule, education, care, kindness ensue.  Men aren’t going to give it to us.  Men will fight for us not to have it.  It’s time to take over.

Yup, it’s time for women to revolt.  It’s time to quit messing around about equality in their world and in terms of what they’re wiling to “let” us have and be.  It’s time for women to take charge.  Question is, how many women are ready?  #WomenRevolt #BurnthePatriarchy #WomensRevolution

The Women posts:

People Power posts:

 

@Alyssa_Milano @marwilliamson @ewarren @GloriaSteinem @TaranaBurke @angelajdavis @scotusginsburg @Oprah @TheGirlMalala @MichelleObama @jameelajamil @justinbaldoni @MargaretAtwood @EmmaWatson @rgay @EverydaySexism

People Power: Create a New Business Model

Fall Line Farms Co-op

Back in December 2016 I wrote a series of posts about bring a spiritual, peaceful attitude to the political arena and in one of them, I wrote about the secondary economy I’d seen evolving for years among the “cultural creatives”.  Now I see a grass roots cooperative movement joining this secondary economy and in the two I see hope for leaving the 2% behind as we quit doing business with them and use only socially conscious businesses’ products and locally owned and run co-ops and small businesses.

I’ve spent a lot of time hunting around the internet on this question — and often Yes Magazine and Good News Network are dropping info into my lap.  I’m so encouraged by seeing the many ways in which people around the world are stepping up to create their own solutions.  From Black farmers creating cooperatives to neighborhoods like Northeast Minneapolis cooperatively buying buildings and supporting local businesses to the Village Financial Cooperative providing Blacks with fair banking opportunities people are coming up with creative sidesteps to the greed and unfairness of the 2% and their institutions.

There are also neighborhood repair events where people can bring their broken items and to skilled workers and either learn how to fix them or have them fixed (different ones have different practices).  Community markets where people can give unwanted items and anyone can take what they want.  Support for local produce and products.  Neighborhood solutions to environmental issues.

These things are already happening.  What I don’t see yet is a collective consciousness of purposely evading global corporations and creating an economy that doesn’t need them.  Bureaucracy tends to destroy more than helps so I’m not saying I want some unified organization to start running the show, just more people who are getting how much power we have to freeze out the 2% and their shady businesses and build our own system of trade on a more local and sustainable basis.

As I said in my last post, we don’t need the 2%.  Now we just need to grow the consciousness that not only do we not need them but we can create our own new economy.  [Way down at the bottom you’l find a list of links to the other People Power posts so far]


Some more to read:

Degrowth:  A Call for Radical Abundance

https://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/solidarity/a-radical-vision-for-food-everyone-growing-it-for-each-other-20171225

https://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/solidarity/no-price-tags-these-neighbors-built-their-own-economy-without-money-20180124

https://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/solidarity/a-populism-of-hope-begins-when-people-feel-their-own-power-20180116

and don’t forget my regular fave:

The People Power posts:

People Power: The 2%…we don’t need ’em

The corporate machine has been growing ever more powerful, perhaps since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution–or has concentration of wealth in the hands of a few just always been the norm? At this point global corporations “own” far too many politicians, have far too much power and create havoc on the environment with their never-ending greed and will for “more”.

They puzzle me, though, these theoretically smart billionaires.  They seem to live in a delusion that we are still a feudal society.  They are lords who own the land and can half starve the peasants who will still manage to produce enough crops.  But, hello, it’s the 21st century.

You people are not feudal lords. You own hotels and restaurants, you manufacture goods and hawk technology.  And in order to have profits you need us, the 98% to have enough money to buy your crap or you won’t make a profit.  You also need a work force that’s healthy enough to do their jobs.

So why do you refuse to pay people a living wage?  Why do you buy politicians and attempt to keep the 98% from having health insurance, or having enough money to afford to buy more than the basics?  Amazon, for example, pays a wage that’s barely enough to rent an apartment, works their employees to the breaking point, setting targets that mean people can’t even take a break.  And that’s just typical.  And not the worst wage or conditions.

Deep rooted in society for centuries has been a belief in scarcity that’s built into capitalism.  The idea that there’s a limited supply and some will have to go without, which encourages people to hoard.  A simple shift to the belief that there is abundance enough to go around could change the world completely. (See below for links to some insights on this history)

In the meantime, if the 2% break the 98% too badly, profits go down.  So they need us.

Not so clear how much we need them.  Their advantage at the moment is lots of people who think they need their stuff and can’t imagine an alternative.  But we can create our own goods and services.  And in building those businesses we can create our own jobs.

Do we need the 2%?  Not so much… Stay tuned for more.

For some interesting insights about how indoctrinated we’ve been for centuries:

  1. Myths of Capitalism: The Myth of Scarcity
  2. Degrowth: A Call for Radical Abundance

The People Power series so far:

People Power: Government

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am intrigued these days by the degree to which most Americans on both sides of the current divide assume government action of one sort or another is the best solution to everything.  It’s a big expectation to hold toward a government that isn’t really ruled for the people or by the people.  Until we address the issue of elected representatives who are governed by the 2%, I don’t think we can count on the government to lead any significant change.

People don’t seem to want to explore the degree to which global corporations and their money run the government in the U.S. (and probably many other countries).  And I believe the finger pointing and divisiveness suits them very well because it keeps everyone blaming “those people”–the immigrants, the refugees, the Muslims, etc– instead of blaming the real culprits, the 2% and the companies they manage.

The first time I was aware of it being pointed out was John Kenneth Galbraith’s New Industrial Society and the situation of industries ruling nations has only grown worse.  Many successors to Galbraith have been pointing this out for the decades since.

The grip of defense contractors and the associated massive over-spending in the Pentagon is one of our biggest problems and nobody in the government is willing to even raise a question about it, though many studies have shown that a reasonable reining in of military spending would free enough funds to pay for every social welfare/benefit program there is and some new ones too.

But other industries also pay massive amounts in campaign contributions and then expect “their” representatives to toe the line.  We need laws to stop these corporate super PACs but first we need enough corporate-free representatives to even pass such a law.

In the 2018 election we finally had a number of candidates running without corporate backing and many whose campaigns were funded by individual donations.  There seem to be a growing number of activists and politicians who are aware of how important this is but I think we need to grow this awareness.  We should not accept any candidates for any office who are not certified free of any corporate backing.

In my vision I see the possibility of this changing but I also see it changing too slowly to address many problems.  People Power is the answer.

The People Power series so far:

People Power: Government, the Environment and Us

For some years I’ve been increasingly fascinated by the degree to which Americans want government to do everything for them yet don’t want to pay taxes for it and simultaneously dislike “big government”.

Lately I’ve been finding it especially ironic that many are reviving the old “red scare” which completely misunderstands socialism (and conflates it with Soviet Communism) while also wanting government to take care of everything from roads to health care to the environment to jobs, etc.  Which is kind of socialist…

Liberals have always been more complacent about government but in some ways the widespread assumption that government intervention is the most important source of help for multiple problems is misguided in my opinion.

For instance, the liberal/left keeps jumping up and down about climate change and making the federal government’s role in it central and crucial to any success.  In the meantime, though, if you look around at what’s happening around the world, the greatest and most vibrant projects with potential for saving the earth arose from individuals, non-profits and local governments taking initiative to work on new and creative ideas.

Project Drawdown is an extremely heartening book detailing innovations already under way with potential to turn around climate change if they continue and expand. Multitudes of projects are already happening and almost none of them were implemented by national governments. See also Yes Magazine, Planet tab, and note this article in particular: How to Not Be Completely Depressed About Climate Change.

I’m not saying that government can’t play an important role or that it isn’t a huge help if national governments get on board.  But the reality is most federal governments are so ruled by corporate interests and so deeply corrupted by those ties that to me it isn’t realistic to assume even the “right” elected representatives can create changes of the magnitude we need.

The one heartening piece I’ve seen lately was the number of newly elected representatives to the U.S. House who raised money only through individuals, not through corporate PACs.  If we could accomplish a turnover in which the majority of those elected are doing it without corporate money, we might start shifting the corruption because they might be less subject to influence.  I also think that might take too long.

Too me the great hope for the world is in having more of us participating, from trying out the kinds of innovations others have already launched, to financially supporting non-profits with viable programs to creating your own climate saving project.  From projects you can do in your own yard to ideas for solar buildings and/or neighborhoods, etc. there are multitudes of ways people power can expand and create ever greater impacts.

Throughout this series I’ll be calling for local action and for more conscious meshing of ideas, groups, volunteering etc. within communities in order to separate ourselves on many levels from the greed of the 2% and corporate power.

A topic for another day is using people power to break corporate power and thus the global corporate tendency to destroy the environment.  In the meantime, yes, work to elect “green” candidates and push for helpful legislation, but even more important look at your local landscape and see what YOU can do.  What’s happening that you could participate in with friends?  What organizations are doing great things that could use volunteers or more funds?

And for the spiritually-minded, who believe in the power of prayer, visualization and energy:  holding a vision of a healthy world, raising your own vibration to help raise the world’s vibration, sending healing energy to Earth and affirming the positive innovations by bringing attention to them are all ways to contribute.

The People Power series so far: