Featured Essays

Democrats and Democracy:  Chicago 1968.  

by Lynn Feinerman, Producer, Women Rising Radio

A Killer Kulture

As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Democratic National Convention held in Chicago in 1968, the Democratic National Committee is set to hold a significant meeting  –  in Chicago  –  August 24th  and through the weekend, to consider election issues that have been critical for a long time.

That coincidence of time and place evoked in me deep memories of the debacle I witnessed 50 years ago.

April 1968 was “the cruelest month”, in the words of T.S. Eliot, blooming in red, black and blue with the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,   undisputed king of the civil rights movement, and a hero of mine.

With that spring of 1968 came an offer from my college professor, to join a group of student activists headed to Mississippi for a summer of registering voters of color  – mostly African Americans blocked from exercising rights enshrined for them in the Voting Rights Act.  I wanted to go with that group.

By 1968 I’d been a foot soldier in the nationwide movement against the war in Vietnam for a few years.  I’d helped to swell the ranks of the hundreds of thousands marching in New York and Washington.  I’d participated in a reading of the trendy play MacBird!  with  Smith and Amherst students  –  as a witch chanting “double, double toil and trouble, Burn Baby Burn and Cauldron Bubble…”    I went on to organize teach-ins against the war.

But I hadn’t devoted much time to focusing on civil rights and voting rights.  So I called my parents, who always supported my student political activities both morally and financially.   “I’m going with a Smith group to register voters in Mississippi!”

After an unexpected, stony silence at the other end of the phone conversation, my father finally responded, “Over my dead body.”

“You’re not going there, Lynn,” my mother added.  “You have no idea of the danger involved.”   They pointedly reminded me of the gruesome deaths of three CORE field activists, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman,  and Michael Schwerner just 4 years previously during  “Freedom Summer”  of 1964.

My parents linked forces to demand that I do something else.  When the conversation ended I was, to use a phrase of the time, “hung up”.   I couldn’t go without their financial support, and I clearly had neither that nor their emotional support.

A few days later my father called and cheerily informed me that he’d gotten me a position as a liaison assistant between the California McCarthy and Kennedy delegations to the Democratic National Convention, slated for August in Chicago.

“You’ve been working for Gene McCarthy, you like Kennedy…” while my father continued describing what I’d be doing, and whom to contact to prepare for the internship, my mind wandered back in sadness to the death of Dr. King.    I felt I’d  be letting the great man down, not going to Mississippi now.

But indeed I had been working for the anti-war candidate, Eugene McCarthy, and the thought of being able to join with the big “MOBE”, the Mobilization Committee to End the Vietnam War, was just as compelling.   I wanted to join the thousands of students planning to make their collective voice heard by the Democratic party  –  in an attempt to wrest from it  a platform genuinely committed to ending that war.

My parents were relieved when I chose to head for Chicago, likely thinking they’d shielded me from the brutal danger of the bloody world beyond the Mason Dixon line.

Dr. King knew better.    In 1966 he had moved his family to Chicago, to expose and change an entrenched segregationist housing policy  –  which perpetuated the debacle of the slums, in Chicago and nationwide.

During one protest Dr. King organized in 1966, he was struck by a rock thrown from a mob of furious white segregationists.  At another protest and march, inspired by a speech Dr. King delivered in Chicago’s Soldier Field, demonstrators marched into white neighborhoods where, King wrote:  “…swastikas bloomed in Chicago parks like weeds…our marchers were met by a hailstorm of bricks, bottles and firecrackers…”

In Cicero, a “lily white” neighborhood known for its violent racist attacks on any blacks who tried to live there, 100 police and 2,000 national guard couldn’t control Cicero mobs chanting “Two four six eight, we don’t want to integrate…”

Said Dr. King of Chicago in 1966:  “I have never seen, even in Mississippi and Alabama, mobs as hateful as I’ve seen here in Chicago.”    King felt dread for his family there.  He was challenging, in the name of fair housing, an entrenched power elite of slumlords and realtors…  and Mayor Richard J.  Daley’s Democratic party machine.

The Daley machine was to set the tone for the Chicago Democratic National Convention that year.

But first, students, activists and the Democratic left – to say nothing of the Kennedy family  –  were forced to endure the third assassination of a popular, beloved US leader in less than 5 years. Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down in Los Angeles.

I’d returned to LA to prepare for the convention and to get out the vote for Gene McCarthy.   But I admired RFK as well.   So when he won California’s primary June 4, I was willing to get on board with his campaign.  I hoped to bring other McCarthy workers on board as well.

I went to the Ambassador Hotel to see him, to hear his victory speech, and to swell the crowd cheering him on.  He was radiant, handsome, ready to win in November  –  which he would have done handily.

Elated, I returned to my family’s home, rang the bell, and my brother Neal opened the door.  “Kennedy’s dead.  They killed him.”

I ran into the den where the news was covering on TV the assassination of Robert Kennedy, minutes after it happened, barely an hour after I had left the Ambassador.   Shocked mindless, I burst into tears and wept hysterically for about an hour.  I was silent, numb, for hours afterward.

We became, then, a nation that could accept assassination of  its own chosen leaders.  King, Malcolm X, JFK, RFK, the most popular leaders.  We could witness it, bury it and never even make an honest attempt to learn from what had happened.

For a teenager this knowledge was devastating.  I wondered, what was the point of a democratic process at all if the true representatives of the people’s voice and will could be murdered with impunity  –  by the hidden “masters of war” unmasked in Bob Dylan’s 1963 song…

The denial was being challenged on all levels of society, with the mass rebellion against the draft for Vietnam;  the free speech movement  –  wherein Mario Savio demanded that we throw our bodies on the gears of the odious war machine our nation had become;  the uprising for civil rights and the birth of women’s consciousness.  Something huge was happening in  the United States.

“Hello Democrats, Welcome to Chicago, the City That Works”

Billboards displayed that slogan August 26th 1968,  as the Democratic party convened in Chicago, in a city that would cease to work at all,  would become a nationally televised showcase of American alienation, and of highly uncivil discourse.

 

Most of my time there was spent running between the Hilton Hotel, where Kennedy and McCarthy delegates joined forces to back McCarthy and Kennedy  –  and Grant park adjacent to the Hilton, where over 10 thousand protesters staged an alternative nonviolent “convention” of their own.

Headed by “Yippie” leaders Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman, anti-war activists Dave Dellinger and Rennie Davis, poets and performers like Allen Ginsberg, Jean Genet and Dick Gregory, and inspired by the songs of Phil Ochs,  the  euphemistically named “youth festival” nominated their own presidential candidate:  Pigasus.

Pigasus was indeed a pig.   At one point he even had a stand-in, a second pig, when he was arrested along with Hoffman, Rubin and others.

I saw Pigasus as the perfect symbol for this protest, a satire on the word “pig” used to indicate police, and a satire on the game of politics as it was being played.

Curiously, it was our alternative candidate Gene McCarthy who, when interviewed by Norman Mailer for the book “Miami and the Siege of Chicago”, said:  “Politicians are like pigs in winter.  When things get really cold, they put their noses in each other’s asses to keep warm”.

Gene, with his tough sense of humor, was our former day Bernie Sanders.

Grant Park, August 28, 1968:  A young protester lowered the US flag in Grant park, to chants of “Hell No We Won’t Go”, “Hey hey LBJ,  how many kids did you kill today?”,  “Dump the Hump” (Vice President and candidate  Hubert Humphrey) and Phil Ochs’ song “The War is Over”.

Police charged the young man, beating him while nearby protesters chanted “pigs are whores”.   The police attacked other protesters who were sitting on the ground in the park,  members of Women Strike for Peace, Veterans Against the War,  the Poor People’s Campaign, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference,  students chanting “Om” with Allen Ginsberg.

The tear gas flowed.  Phil Ochs sang while he was tear gassed.   A medical supporter stood next to him throwing water in his face while he was singing, but finally he couldn’t any more, and he broke down crying.  Then he yelled into the microphone, “Wake up America, can’t you see you’re gassing and beating your own children?”

A chum of mine from my high school days had brought an audio kit, recording all that he witnessed in Chicago those few days, and particularly that “Bloody Wednesday”, as it came to be called.

“I look around me and I see so many cops, I don’t know what to do,” he commented.  “I must see at least 500 pigs (there were  700)…  I have not always referred to policemen as pigs, but believe me, during this week in Chicago it is very difficult to describe them by any other term.”

“I see the regular army, this is not just the National Guard, the regular army, they have their guns up, they are ready to shoot…. There have to be a couple thousand of them… There are tanks here.  Tanks!  This has to be one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen, and I guess I’m resigned that this is America.  And I feel like crying.”

As violence escalated at Grant park and on the way to the convention hall at the Chicago Amphitheatre,  Pigasus seemed a mirror image of the Chicago police, almost exclusively white, crew-cut males whose skin and beige clothing had taken on a weird pink hue in the fog of tear gas surrounding and penetrating everywhere.

Said Dick Gregory, “I think America deserves this, maybe we’ll know what the Vietnamese are going through.”

The police stormed over the area beating,  macing and gassing anyone and everyone, in what was officially acknowledged as  a police riot.  The Walker Report concluded that police used “unrestrained and indiscriminate…violence on many occasions, particularly at night.  That violence was made all the more shocking by the fact that it was often inflicted on persons who had broken no law, disobeyed no order, made no threat.  These included peaceful demonstrators, onlookers, and large numbers of residents who were simply passing through, or happened to live in areas where confrontations were occurring.”

My high school friend caught up with Louis Lomax, a veteran journalist and an activist at the convention.  “I have been in Selma, Montgomery, Little Rock, I’ve been in Cuba… I’ve been in Haiti in the middle of a revolution. I have never in my life seen anything as oppressive and brutal as this…”

Late that evening I had to walk to the bus that would take me to the suburb where I was staying in Chicago.  Suddenly a fog of tear gas, two chunky cops waving their nightsticks, sauntering in front of me, laughing together and slapping the sticks on their thighs.

Quickly I hid my convention badge, and my button that said “US Out of Vietnam”.

The cops were a few feet in front of me, cursing and bellowing like bulls, in celebration of their own violence.  They stared straight at me.   I was invisible.

They looked through me, as if I was permeable, a shade.   I turned around slowly and headed back to the Hilton.

I entered the Hilton, where there were two sets of stairs ascending from the lobby to the mezzanine floor.   The stairs were packed with people during the entire convention, screaming “We Want Gene!” and  “End the War!”.

I stopped to chat briefly with a California delegate, a psychologist, his suit and goatie perfectly middle class.  I       left him to brave the throng of screamers to the mezzanine.  Looking back to wave at him,  I saw a crazed cop enter the hotel, grab that psychologist from behind by the neck, slam him on the head with a club, and drag him out.   I never saw that delegate again.

Panicked, I grabbed the elevator to the floor where the California delegation had its offices, to tell them what I’d just seen.   The elevator door opened just as the elevator  next to mine opened.   What I saw was that Mary McCarthy, Gene’s daughter, fell out of that elevator, a cop behind her,  hitting  her with his stick.

I ran down to the California delegation office and blurted       out everything I’d seen .  People rushed out in the direction     of the elevators.  A television was blaring… I sank into a chair, stared at it.

It was TV coverage of the convention at the Chicago International Amphitheater, where network journalists had been attacked by police on the floor of the hall.   There, as people chanted “the whole world is watching”, Mayor Richard J. Daley was flipping the finger to the cameras.

When Connecticut Senator Abraham Ribicoff  nominated George McGovern for president, he condemned the police violence, saying “With George McGovern as president of the United States, we wouldn’t have to have Gestapo tactics in the streets of Chicago.”  Many witnessed that Mayor Daley responded “Fuck you, you Jew son of a bitch.”

I sat numbly in front of the TV, long enough to witness an ill-famed debate between commentators William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal.  The vitriolic rhetoric flew between them and escalated.

As I vividly recall it, they were focusing on police brutality during the convention, Vidal was emphasizing the police violations of freedom of assembly, and Buckley was singling out leaders like Tom Hayden to criticize.  Finally, as I heard it, Vidal called Buckley a “fucking fascist” and Buckley retorted “you fucking fag”.   Video of the debate appears to have been cut and pasted  –  and Vidal refers to Buckley as a “crypto-Nazi” prompting Buckley to yell “Now listen here you queer…”,  threatening to beat up Vidal.

 

Herein lies a mystery of my convention chronicle.  You see, those words were not the words I heard.   I truly heard “you fucking fascist” and “you fucking fag”…   Look at this footage, it’s been edited at precisely the moment to which I refer.

Even if I was advised by the most reputable of “experts”  that I remember it wrongly,   I was a clear-eyed teen, with perfect hearing,  perfect eyesight.

Meanwhile, on the convention floor, 350 delegates wept openly when the heir presumptive, Hubert H. Humphrey, was nominated on the first vote early in the morning of August 29th.  He was a candidate ushered in by party insiders, one who had not even run in any state primary election…

Humphrey’s appearance at the convention was delayed because he’d been disabled by tear gas, while taking a shower in the Hilton.

But appear he did, and the pandemonium on the convention floor was not enthusiasm for him.  California gave him only 14 of its 174 votes, the remainder going to Gene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy.   70% of Democrats wanted either McCarthy or Kennedy.

When the bunting was ripped down, the citizen chorus loosed its grip on Chicago, and the tear gas blew away, what remained of the deeply fractious, violent, marvelous apotheosis that was the 1968 Democratic national convention?

There were the recriminations and the prosecutions.  Eight leaders of the anti-war and civil rights movements were put on trial for “conspiring to cause riots”  –  as if they could set the police in motion.

During the trial of the Chicago 8, the theatrical absurdity     of the proceedings was literally embodied by the physical restraint of Bobby Seale, a founder of the Black Panther party  –  bound to a chair and gagged throughout most of the “trial”.  A poster child for the suppression of free speech.

But no other television I’ve ever viewed was as real as the coverage of the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Newscasters were caught broadside by the events in Chicago.  They couldn’t help but show the United States, its politics and parties, for what we truly are.

That was reality TV.   Our current fare doesn’t hold a candle to it.   Coverage of the 1968 Democratic National Convention had authenticity that exposes our current “reality TV” for what it is.   Canned, fake.

“There’s a Battle Outside and It’s Raging”

I came of age in a nation that murdered you for taking certain moral stands, and for having certain political viewpoints.  Clearly, those labeled “left wing”, “liberal”, “progressive” were in physical danger in America.  The so-called “right wing” –  not so much.

And as the Republican party has become more bigoted, more exclusive, more greedy, more ruthless and undemocratic in its strategy and tactics, we on the left have appealed to the Democratic party to listen to us, to vision with us, to help drag this nation, violently kicking and screaming if need be, to its stated goal of “one nation –    with liberty and justice for all.”

One of the reasons the election of 2016 was handed to the hateful incompetent, is that the 2016 Democratic National Committee insiders went out of their way to reject and alienate Bernie delegates.   We know that for fact now, because of the email scandals.

My syndicated media series, Women Rising Radio, asked a California Bernie delegate, Cecili Antares, to act as a correspondent to  the convention for us.  What she reported sounded like a warmed over, tightly controlled Chicago 1968.   It wasn’t as violent.  It was more subtle…  for example, Bernie supporters were forbidden to hold up signs for him.  They were given “Stronger Together” signs, and told when to hold them up.

Of course they didn’t follow orders.  They walked out instead.

Scroll down to Cecili’s convention coverage at:

http://www.womenrisingradio.com/gallery

Fifty years after Chicago 1968, we struggle with many of  the same issues:  with government assaults against constitutional rights; with police brutality augmented by “urban shield” military weaponry, and exacerbated against communities of color;  with the rights of free speech and free assembly.

Is it just a coincidental irony that a key Democratic National Committee meeting is being held this week in Chicago?   It certainly isn’t a passing irony that progressives are pressing for a vote there, to eliminate the influence of super delegates in future Democratic presidential primaries. The grassroots base wants more democracy from the Democrats.

And we are decisively slamming open the hallways of government, replacing insiders like the Bronx’s Crowley, with new visionaries like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

“Come Senators, Congressmen please heed the call, don’t stand in the doorways, don’t block up the halls…”   So sang Dylan, and so we say today.   Get out of the way if you can’t lend a hand.

Democratic party insiders, yes you, whose campaign money comes from Wall Street and scheming corporate lobbyists, and whose fat salaries are paid by our taxes  – we “leftists”, we “progressives”,  call us what you wish, we appeal to you again.

Will you embrace us truly, and our critical issues?   Will you democratize the Democratic party?   Or….

“Will our children ever forgive us for our own dismal confusion?”   from “1918”   Michael Parenti

“Democracy is a very fragile flower.  It’s very difficult to make it grow, and so easy to trample it.”   Yanis Varufakis

 


 “Nuclear is NOT an Option  

by Women Rising Radio Producer Lynn Feinerman

Published in the Tikkun magazine Daily Blog:

http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2017/04/20/nuclear-is-not-an-option/

Here is the article.  Join the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb:  June 2017

Digging in my tiny Jewish library this Passover season, I came across a short contribution to a published symposium, made by Rabbi Nehemia Polen, a well-known scholar, author and congregational rabbi.

Polen wrote his short piece in 1986, for the literary publication  New Traditions.  But his words were ominously current for me, discovered as if by what we Jews call “hashgachah pratit”,  a kind of destined timeliness.

He was considering the phrase in Jewish prayer liturgy,  “hem yevoshu  ve’yehatu mi’gevuratam”,  translated  “may the nations of the world be put to shame and crushed despite their power.”   He meditated on the meaning of this phrase, and its intention in prayer:

          “Then it hit me.  Ever since nuclear weapons entered the world,  with the  potential to destroy not only the victim but the attacker as well, the nations of the world have indeed become terrified of their own power.  A sense of shame does indeed adhere to this power.    The logic of power in history has reached its extreme,  self-negating limit…”

Polen perceives this part of Jewish prayer as “a lengthy meditation on the shamefulness   of power”.   I’ve been considering it throughout this Passover season.   And the world’s so-called leaders  have given me   plenty of evidence corroborating that shamefulness.

This past weekend, as we observed both Passover and Easter worldwide, and likely other holy days not given so much publicity;  as we asked for freedom and commemorated the death of a free-thinking Rabbi,  we watched and listened as Trump and Un of North Korea rattled nuclear sabers at one another, threatening on one side to send “armadas”  –  sailboats from Spain?

On the other side, Kim Jong Un of North Korea is presenting video mock-ups of a US city being nuked, apparently to applause, though that may have been canned or forced.

We are at the mercy  –  dubious as that word “mercy”  is in this context  –   of a couple of posturing Krusty the Klowns.

Writing in the Guardian, British commentator Richard Wolfe described Trump thus:

“He has made the awesome transition from a neophyte candidate into a neophyte president; from a man who bluffed and blustered his way in TV debates to a man who bluffs and blusters his way through international   crises.

“Here is a small-time businessman who knew nothing about foreign affairs, who has grown into a nuclear-armed president who knows nothing about foreign affairs. He used to fire B-list celebrities on TV; now he just fires off Tweets and Tomahawks after watching TV.”

We’ve had many overt signals from the Trump regime,  of its intent to expand the US nuclear arsenal  –  under the rubric of “updating”  –  and of its intent to resort to extreme displays of its own destructive war-making power.

Yes, North Korea is capable of insane bluster and violence. And Obama’s administration made crucial efforts to rein in the hostility.  He wanted to negotiate a non-aggression pact with North Korea.

Now it is the USA initiating the current saber rattling cycle with North Korea, through public declarations of threats to use weapons of mass destruction.   Beyond threats:

On April 13, the US dropped what it terms the “mother of all bombs” on Afghanistan, wiping out whatever was within a mile radius of its epicenter. Media touted Russia’s “father of all bombs” as four times more destructive than the “mother”… as if to rationalize the US use of the bomb.  Maybe they’d want the US to catch up with Russia, with a “father of all bombs” as well?

And the Trump regime has used every platform including Twitter, to declare its intention to spare no “option” from “the table”.  Pence just made a surprise appearance in South Korea, threatening North Korea, increasing the tension and violent rhetoric in this latest incident between the US and North Korea.

At the United Nations, the Trump ambassador  Nikki Haley went on record to undermine the UN’s historic  ban on nuclear weaponry  –  insisting the ban would be “naive”.    She advised the nations of the world to adhere to the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty of 1968, which of course the USA has abrogated in numerous ways, including in its embrace of “upgrading” its nuclear arsenal,  instead of eliminating it in cooperation with Russia.

In turn, and in reaction to US policy, Russia has scrambled to allocate funding to “upgrade” its own nuclear arsenal.

By contrast, North Korea was a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty until 2003, when it commenced nuclear testing.  Might that testing have been in response to the US appropriation of Korea’s Triple Crown UN designated ecological  jewel, Jeju Island, for the purpose of planting   nuclear armed ships in the North China Sea?

So who’s “naive”, Ms. Haley,  or more honestly stated, who’s manifestly disingenuous in claiming that “rogue nations” wouldn’t adhere to a nuclear weapons ban?   Or were you,  Ms. Haley,  referring to the “rogue nation” par excellence, the United States of America?

We, the United States, are presently in the vise, and vice, grip of a regime that has no shame whatsoever in any aspect or attribute of its behavior.  McConnell openly flouted all decency and legality in refusing Garland   and forcing Gorsuch on SCOTUS.   He even called his tactic the “nuclear option”… enough said about that.

Shameless is a byword for the present leadership of the United States.   And that should give rise to the “mother of all antinuclear movements”,    in the USA and in the world.

But I feel with deep unease that the nuclear posturing, and the cavalier attitudes toward nuclear dangers, are met with public  silence, with a numb denial or spiritual blindness, reminiscent of that which grabbed Israel when it began its long slavery in Egypt…

Wake up America!    Trump’s stupid arrogance,  Haley’s dishonesty, the trigger happy  “Dr. Strangelove”  attitudes of military personalities such  as “mad dog Mattis”,  disguise the underlying hell at the end of the primrose path dubbed  “making America great again”.    We need to turn away from that path, and we need to turn away now.

It is useless to remind someone like Nikki Haley, or like Trump, of Albert Einstein’s  warning:    “You cannot simultaneously prepare for and prevent war”.    She and the regime for which she works are deaf to all warnings.  What will it take to shame her or them?   A nuclear “accident”,  of which there have been many?  A nuclear “close call”, of which there have been many?

Globally we must rise to support the United Nations in its call for a ban on nuclear weaponry, and somehow we must find a way to force the United States to get on board with that ban.   This is one of the critical faces of resistance now.

We have global partners in this pursuit, including organizations of women disarmament activists in both North and South Korea.   Let us women, in particular, take very seriously the upcoming Women’s March to Ban the Bomb, coming up June 17th.  I am hoping that this march will expand and grow exponentially, like the Women’s March of January 21st,  following and protesting the inauguration of Trump.

For more information on the current state of nuclear armaments and nuclear energy, listen to a two-part series from Women Rising Radio featuring the voices of women from around the world, working to ban    the bomb and nuclear energy.

Nuclear weapons are about to be banned and we need your voice!

Women Rising Radio #31: Antinuclear Abolitionists

Women Rising Radio #32: Antinuclear Abolitionists Part two


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NEW ESSAY!   Women Rising Radio Producer Lynn Feinerman on OUR BIG FAT GREEK TRAGEDY ELECTION:  Women and 2016

A nauseating glut of corporate news channels continue raking over the statistics, analyses and punditry on Election Hades 2016.  But they ignore the most significant thing about this “reality TV” nightmare:

For the first time in United States history, a woman won the popular vote for president.   You will not hear Wolf Blitzer or anyone else, for that matter, ruminating on that fact.  Yet it was not so long ago that the streetwise in the USA claimed a woman would never win the presidency.

Let us be clear.  Hillary Clinton won the popular vote for the presidency.   But Republican operatives cheated the USA of its own democratic will, through gerrymandering electoral districts, violating the Voting Rights Act, buying and intimidating the press, and running a filthy mouthed trash talking ignoramus as their candidate, who appealed to a barely hidden institutionalized American misogyny. 

Let us not forget that after decades the USA has not yet passed the Equal Rights Amendment.  That in itself speaks volumes about our societal attitudes toward women. 

Nonetheless, a woman waged the winning campaign, rocky as it was.  I for one want to take a moment to realize where we women stand as a result.  That is the reality, behind all the abuse and denigration of women spewed by the Republican candidate,  a serial abuser and rapist of women.

Trump’s ex wife, numerous women underage and other, and he himself (in the Access Hollywood audio), have attested to his insulting women publicly (his tweets on a former Miss America),  bragging about groping women, and seeking illicit sexual encounters here and in Russia.

Most alarming to me personally was the manner in which he “stalked” Clinton onstage during the presidential debates, then at a campaign rally, suggested to gun control opponents that they literally target her. For that comment alone he should have been disqualified from the race.  But the press, the TV moguls and the politicos were raking in the cash, precisely from these nasty moments.  

Yes, gender figured deeply in the 2016 campaign, both blatantly and latently.   In the United States and worldwide.   It is critical to obtain a better grasp of just how deeply it figured.  Let’s begin with a statistic.

Immediately after November 8 perhaps the first statistic to emerge on corporate controlled news outlets  –  also viral on social media and even in progressive media – stated that 53% of white women voted for Trump.   Not…

That statistic has now been added to the mountain of “fake news” rampant during and after this election.   As Harriet Fraad,  mental health specialist, social economy analyst and longtime feminist,  stated on the radio program Democracy at Work/Economic Update,  the correct information is that only 53% of married white women are calculated to have voted for Trump.  Married white women constitute a smaller percentage of white voting women in the United States.  Single white women are among the strongest growing segments of the American voting electorate.   Accurately assessed,  the number of married white women actually voting for Trump would constitute something  like about 25% of white voting women.  

I suggest that the circulation of this inaccurate and misleading statistic was intended to deliver a number of skewed messages:   

First, the way the statistic was delivered gives “white women” or even “married white women” an inordinate influence on the election outcome…  as if they somehow gave Trump the edge, as if their votes are more important than the votes of women of color.  Considering that only about 25% of white women voted for Trump, this inference is deceitful. 

In addition, subliminally it may build up the image of “white women”, imputing a kind of superiority to their participation in voting.  They are implied as the voters to count, and to court.

Third, it undercuts all the ugly and factual news about Trump during the campaign, about his groping, raping, abusing, and insulting women.  The implication is that white women are, or were, willing to go along with his behavior, that they accept the excuse he offered of   “locker room talk…”   That maybe they even liked it.

Fourth,  it allows those who twisted the electoral process  to their advantage a scapegoat – white women put Trump in office.   You want to blame someone?  Blame white women. 

When she appeared on Democracy at Work, Harriet Fraad offered an explanation of the Trump votes of married  white women: 

          “Like Melania Trump, many of these married women rationalize their husband’s “grab their genitals” talk as braggadocio, as “locker room talk”.  They don’t actually rape women… although the evidence is that indeed they do.   But they don’t want to see their husbands like that.  They  want to see them as their sweetie who wouldn’t do something like that.  That’s the personal reason.

Fraad goes on to detail what she sees as the larger social reasons why married white women might cast their vote for Trump:   

          ”Ever since the ‘70’s when men’s wages were frozen and  jobs were exported, women lost a position in which they  could stay home, raise their children.  They had security,  which is gone.  They were respected –  they had  a position as homemakers for which the right wing shows respect, even if it doesn’t do anything to make that at all possible.  Women were responsible for relationships, beauty,  maintaining life, which is honorable work even though women have never been paid for it.” 

Fraad frames white married women’s response to Trump’s obvious infidelities and abberations.  She suggests that white women saw Hillary Clinton’s husband as also unfaithful and sexually abusive: 

 “Don’t forget that Bill Clinton was also a cheater on his wife, a mistreater of women.”

Fraad goes on to detail something I’d never heard of, the “Lolita Express”, a travel service/air line which she claims both Clinton and Trump used, allowing them to abuse and rape underage girls while en route.  

Am I the only person not to know about the “Lolita Express”?   Evidently both Trump and Bill Clinton took numerous trips on this “air line”, which offered patrons the bodies of its hostesses. 

As I write, new revelations of the moral turpitude of the “president elect” are surfacing,  supposedly through the offices of Senator McCain, and “from Russia, with love”…

It seems Trump committed various “perversions” with prostitutes in Russia, in addition to other corrupt  activities yet to be detailed in the media. 

About this latest moral depravity,  one D.D. Guttenplan  has had the brass stupidity and historical amnesia to suggest (in the Nation no less) that Trump’s sex life is his own business.  Surely Bill Clinton’s sex life was not considered “his own business” by all those self-righteous  Republicans mewling about “family values” in 1998, when they couldn’t be bothered to vote women equal pay for equal work.  

Something is stinking in the American psyche.  Certainly it is,  as Big Daddy said in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof,  the “smell of mendacity”.. oh yes, political life in America is rife with the smell of that.   But the stench of hatred and disdain for women  –  of relegating us to being mute objects for various kinds of abuse and stereotyping  –    that is perhaps even more toxic than the deceit. 

What is worse is the acceptance, by corporate media and by the public, of the viability of Trump and two other males in his administration  –  I cannot bring myself to call them men because I have a standard for that term  –  who have been accused of domestic violence.  

Stephen Bannon, founder of a white supremacist news platform, was charged in 1996 with domestic violence, battery and trying to bully his wife into not reporting his crime.  The case was dropped when his wife didn’t turn up at court.  Imagine what he must have said or done to keep her out of court.  She later testified that she had been ordered,  by Bannon, to leave town.  How’s that for cowboy psychosis?  “Get outa town before sunset…”

Andy Puzder –  I cannot refrain from calling him “putzder” –  is in line for labor secretary.  He was also accused of domestic abuse by his first wife in the 1980’s, and police were twice called to his home.  For his fast food business’ advertising he preferred semi-clothed women.  “I like our ads, I like beautiful women in bikinis eating our burgers, I think it’s very American”, says the putzder.   Meanwhile,  women make up 60% of the at or below minimum wage jobs on offer from his business…  the putzder doesn’t believe in offering anyone minimum wage, by the way.

Donald Trump was accused of marital rape by his first wife, Ivana Trump.  He was also accused of child rape, but the plaintiff dropped her lawsuit  – choosing not to reveal her identity to the media.  Trump has faced many sexual assault allegations over the past decades, which of course he denies, calling the women who’ve come forward to report his misdoings “sick”…

Consider the source, a Twitter addict whose tweets are often the sickest of the sick, cruel, abusive, racist and quite  simply, very un-presidential.

Add to that the hiring of the inarticulate Kelly Anne Conway, as a “spokesperson” for Trump, subliminally implying that white women want to defend him.  How could a white woman allow herself to be used that way?   It is a mystery to me.  Fame and fortune are not really  worth that, Kelly Anne.

Harriet Fraad predicts rage and humiliation in white married women, when they see they are getting nothing useful from Trump…

But the panic, fury and machinations against women are not by any means confined to the USA.  Consider the war between Pussy Riot and Vladimir Putin.  Consider the onslaught of corrupt politicians against Djilma Roussef in Brazil.  

And above all,  consider the announcement by Pope Francis,  just previous to the US election day, that women will never be priests in the Catholic church.  Never.

Talk about an attempt to influence, or comment upon, the US election process!  I suggest that the timing of the Pope’s announcement also speaks volumes about the Vatican, the Catholic church, and this particular Pope.

We are striking a chord, women.  We are moving monuments.   Perhaps it’s best at this moment to recall a quote by Mahatma Gandhi  –  someone I am glad to call a man, by the way: 

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they  fight you, then you win.” 

Women are getting it all at once, the ignoring, the mocking, the abuse and attacks, and the denial… and our job is to keep on offering visionary leadership.  We won, and we will win again  –  indisputably.   

One more issue looms before us, and it is pertinent to my phrase “visionary leadership”.   It will do no good at all to try to play the policy game of empty, egotistic, ambitious, domineering males.   It will do no good to expect the political loyalty of any women, white women or women of color,  if one has no vision that appeals to us. 

I think this is the reason that Hillary Clinton didn’t trounce Trump in spite of Republican attempts to destroy the democratic voting process in the USA.   She offered a  $12 minimum wage to Bernie’s  $15.  She flip flopped on the TPP, the XL pipeline, nuclear weaponry and energy.  She was, in a word,  lukewarm.  A candidate of the unwanted “practical”,  the ineffective “middle road”,  the useless “compromise”.  

Further, Hillary openly courted banksters and war makers.  She cheered on the Iraq debacle during the    Bush years. 

She went on television to pronounce that “we came, we saw, he died…hee hee hee”, laughing giddily when the   US assassinated Muammar Khadafi.    That was a truly devastating moment for me.  I lost my interest in her.

That moment was echoed for me in Madeleine Albright’s assertion to Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes, that allowing 500,000 women to lose their precious children to the sanction policy on Iraq, was somehow worth it.  Cold.     To my mind, for a woman to say that bespeaks heartlessness.   Where is the loyalty to other women in a comment like that? 

These political acts did not evince visionary leadership. They communicated a smug, insider cynicism that lost  Clinton many progressives. 

And the Clinton connection, the Bush connection, the US connection to Saudi Arabia, which suppresses its women on a grand scale, alienated many progressive women.   

A subtly funny Saudi comedian,  Hisham Fageeh, whose YouTube video titled “No Woman No Drive” has gone viral, has tried to put a satirical spin on the ridiculous limitations placed upon Saudi women.   It is enjoyable, you may wish to check it out: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZMbTFNp4wI

I’m responding to Hisham’s humor, and to all humorless males wishing to hold women back, with some lyrics off-the-cuff, to add to Hisham’s spoof. 

Here they are, with my compliments and encouragement to all the strong, wise women who will march together worldwide on January 21st, 2017, to show our outrage and to scream:  “Not My President!”  

(Sing to the tune No Woman No Cry, by Bob Marley)

No Woman No Drive, 

No Woman No Thrive. 

No Woman No Priest,

No Woman Released.

No Woman No Mind,

Just Show Your Behind. 

No Woman No Drive,

No Woman No Thrive,

No Woman No Luck,

No Woman No Shmuck.


ARTICLE FROM HELEN CALDICOTT:  FUKUSHIMA FALLOUT LANDS ON USA WEST COAST:     http://www.globalresearch.ca/radioactive-plume-from-fukushima-makes-landfall-on-americas-west-coast/5563722

3270074719_165a0ae814_mREQUIEM NOTES   by Fujiko Yoshikawa

Women Rising Radio is honored to feature a haunting story of the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.  This is the complete story written by Fujiko Yoshikawa.  We broadcast a short excerpt from the story, in our program #31.

by Yoshikawa Fujiko*                             Translated by Kyle Hecht Chapter 1: Home

Yagi is a small village in Aki County, on the outskirts of Hiroshima City. It is a beautiful place graced by the Ohta River, which flows to the east. Ricefish and weatherfish swim in the river’s many streamlets, and there are small clams in the sands of the river bed. The fields are full of snails.

The beauty of the lotus fields in springtime is breathtaking, and this is where the children of the village would play. After the season of the lotus blossoms would come to an end, the land would then be plowed and recultivated. In time, rape blossoms would bloom, painting the fields golden yellow, and releasing a rich scent for all to enjoy. From the rape blossoms the villagers would harvest rapeseed oil. 

Such was the cycle of the seasons, and the rich abundance of nature in Yagi Village. Such was Masaru’s home.

Chapter 2: State of War

Masaru’s father was a soldier. While his father fought in the war abroad, the family home was cared for by his grandmother, his mother, and little Masaru himself. He was considered by all to be a blessed child, and a good heir.

Masaru was popular at school. When he and his fellow students would sing the “Cedar Song” in class, which goes “Say hello! Say hello! And smile to the sun!” Masaru would pretend to scoup manure and instead sing “Scoop it up! Scoop it up! Scoop up the manure!” Everyone would laugh.

Once, when the “Imperial Headquarters Report” broadcast in school, Masaru accidentally blurted out the words “I’m hungry.” As this was a time of food shortage, a feeling of sadness spread across the classroom. Seeing this, Masaru bucked up and admirably declared, “But I don’t need anything until we win the war!” He always inspired his class to do their best.

Masaru finally made it to the sixth grade. Everyone in his class was excited to move on to middle school in Hiroshima City. The principal had something to say about this, however. “All the middle schools are in the city, and there are air raids there. The boys will go, but the girls will have to stay home.”

The girls reluctantly remained in the village, while Masaru moved on to middle school in the city. The announcement that the principal made would would separate the destinies of the boys and the girls forever.

Shortly after Masaru became a middle school student, the quiet of Yagi Village was interrupted by the sound of emergency sirens. People who faced danger from air raids in Hiroshima City were asked to evacuate, and gradually flowed into our village.

The evacuees would trespass on others’ land and cross into the mountains, where they would gather chestnuts without permission. They were yelled at and told to stop. However, I would like to make it clear that the evacuees would only pick up chestnuts that had already fallen to the ground, and none of the landowners’ crops.

Friction would occur from time to time between the villagers and the evacuees. The hearts of the members of our tranquil village gradually began to harden.

B-29’s began to fly around in the skies above. Up until that point the National Women’s Defense League would practice fighting with bamboo spears and conducting bucket relays every day. They never thought they would have to train their spears toward the sky. When the planes arrived, everyone felt a sense of urgency.

When Masaru traveled to the middle school in the city, he would carry his bags on a diagonal cross that straddled both his shoulders. On one side he carried his emergency items. On the other, he carried his school supplies. His school uniform fit him well, and he looked as sharp as a middle school boy could. He had the air of a little soldier, and would greet everyone he passed with a proper, formal greeting. There was so much poverty at the time that his mother was unable to take a photograph of her splendid son in his school uniform. But his image would always remain in her heart.

Summer came, but there was no vacation for Masaru. He had to work on Saturdays and Sundays. At the time, people lived in what they would eventually call the “Age of Monday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Friday.”

Even though he was a middle school student, Masaru only spent a small amount of his time in school. The rest of his time was spent assisting the defense effort. Masaru and his fellow middle school students were tasked with dismantling the homes of the evacuees from the city. The rationale behind this task was that if these houses were dismantled, and their lots left empty, the city would be able to reduce the damage received from air raids to the smallest extent possible.

 

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avt_hiromi-kawakami_8046Hiromi Kawakami          God Bless You, 2011

Women Rising Radio quoted an excerpt from this lovely story about the consequences to life on Earth of nuclear radiation, whether from nuclear weapons or nuclear energy..

The bear invited me go for a walk to the river, about twenty minutes away on foot. I had taken that road once before in the early spring to see the snipes, but then I had worn protective clothing; now it was hot, and for the first time since the ‘incident’ I would be clad in normal clothes that exposed the skin, and carrying lunch to boot. It would be a bit of a trek, somewhere between a hike and a stroll.

The bear was a massive full-grown male who had just moved into apartment 305, three doors down the hall from me. As a gesture of good will, he had treated the three of us who remained in the building to ‘moving-in noodles’ and distributed packets of postcards, a level of formality you don’t see often nowadays. He sure wants people to like him, I thought, but then you probably have to do that if you’re a bear.

When he stopped by my apartment with the noodles, we discovered that we might not be complete strangers after all.

‘You don’t happen to be from X town, do you?’ he asked when he saw my name on the door. Yes, I replied, I certainly am. It turned out that a person who had been a huge help to him when he was in the evacuation center there during the ‘incident’ had an uncle, one of the town officials, whose last name matched mine. When we traced the connection a bit further, we arrived at the conclusion that this official and my father might be second cousins. A flimsy tie to be sure, but the bear appeared deeply moved nonetheless, waxing eloquently about the ‘karmic bond’ it established between us. From the way he handled the moving-in etiquette to his manner of speech, he certainly seemed to be an old-fashioned type of bear.

And so the bear and I headed down the road on our stroll-hike. I don’t know a whole lot about the animal kingdom so I couldn’t tell if he was an Asiatic black bear, a brown bear, or a Malayan sun bear. I thought of asking him, but it seemed too rude. Nor did I know his name. When I asked what I should call him, he thought for a moment and then, after checking to be sure that no other bears were nearby, said: ‘For the moment I am without a name, and since there are no other bears here I don’t think I really need one. I prefer to be addressed as “you”, but please imagine it written in Chinese characters, not phonetically. Actually, though, you can call me anything you like – I won’t mind.’

Yes, this was a most old-fashioned bear. Not to mention rather finicky about trivial points of logic.

The road to the river ran though a strip of land that had once been rice fields. Almost all the paddies had been turned up during the process of decontamination, however, and now the earth lay in glistening piles. Despite the heat, all the workers we saw were encased in protective suits and masks with waders that extended to their waists. For several years after the ‘incident’, entry to this area had been absolutely forbidden and the deep cracks in the road left untouched, but recently the road had been freshly paved. Although Ground Zero was close by, a surprising number of cars passed us. They slowed to a crawl as they approached and made a wide circle around us. Not a soul passed on foot.

‘Maybe they’re keeping a distance because we’re not wearing protective suits,’ I said. The bear gave a noncommittal grunt. ‘I took special care to avoid too much radiation the first half of this year, so my total amount of accumulated radiation indicates I can still afford some exposure. And SPEEDI (the System for Prediction of Environmental Dose Information) predicts we won’t have a lot of wind in this region.’

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ARTICLE FROM SOLARTOPIA  talks about HOW NUCLEAR POWER CAUSES GLOBAL WARMING:   

http://www.progressive.org/news/2016/09/188947/how-nuclear-power-causes-global-warming


RECENT ARTICLE ON PLANS TO RE-OPEN A GRAND CANYON URANIUM MINING OPERATION.   THIS IS THE SICKEST IDEA YET OF BIG NUCLEAR/BIG FOSSIL FUELS:  

 http://www.grandcanyontrust.org/blog/grand-canyon-uranium-mine-set-re-open


LISTEN to WOMEN RISING RADIO 25, Activists on Armaments and War here:  http://www.womenrisingradio.com/listen/all-shows/  scroll down to the bottom

WOMEN RISING RADIO program 25 features US peace activist KATHY KELLY.   The program also features SISTER STELLA SOH,  a Korean Catholic nun fighting to keep a huge naval base off a triple crown UNESCO ecology jewel:  Korea’s JEJU ISLAND. Recently Kathy Kelly travelled to Korea to be in solidarity with those resisting the naval base…. and sent back these thoughts:  

A Pivot on the Peace Island               download  

 by Kathy Kelly

 For two weeks in May, 2014, I lived in the Republic of Korea (ROK), as a guest of peace activists in Gangjeong Village on ROK’s Jeju Island. Gangjeong is one of the ROK’s smallest villages, yet activists there, in their struggle against the construction of a massive naval base, have inspired people around the world.

Since 2007, activists have risked arrests, imprisonment, heavy fines and wildly excessive use of police force to resist the desecration caused as mega-corporations like Samsung and Daelim build a base to accommodate U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines for their missions throughout Asia. The base fits the regional needs of the U.S. for a maritime military outpost that would enable it to continue developing its Asia Pivot strategy, gradually building towards and in the process provoking superpower conflict with China.

“We don’t need this base,” says Bishop Kang, a Catholic prelate who vigorously supports the opposition. He worries that if the base is completed, Jeju Island will become a focal point for Far Eastern military struggle, and that this would occur amid accelerating military tensions. “The strongest group in the whole world, the military, takes advantage of National Security ideology,” he continues. “Many people make money. Many governments are controlled by this militarism. The military generals, in their minds, may think they are doing this to protect their country, but in fact they’re controlled by the corporations.”

Jeju Islanders cannot ignore or forget that at least 30,000 of their grandparents and great grandparents were slaughtered by a U.S.-supported Korean government intent on crushing a tenacious democracy movement. The height of the assault in 1948 is referred to as the April 3 massacre, although the persecution and murderous suppression lasted many years. The national government now asking sacrifices of them has rarely been their friend.

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savejejunow.org

 

 

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In the following essay,  Syrian researcher and activist Katty Al Hayek recounts her experiences in Syria during the worst of the recent conflict there.  She focuses on how the media portrayed the struggles of women and girls during the violence.   She delves into the reality behind the headlines….for women and girls.

MEDIA DISTORT THE REALITY OF SYRIAN WOMEN CAUGHT IN THE RECENT CONFLICT                                  by Katty Alhayek

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About 25 years ago, around age fifteen, three Syrian women would experience early marriage around the same time.  Maha got married in a small village in Dara’a Governorate.  Karima got married in a poor neighborhood in Homs city.  Nada got married in rural Rif  Dimashq Governorate. Early marriage is a common tradition in rural and poor areas in Syria.  Maha’s, Karima’s, and Nada’s marital destinies echo the destinies of many similar women from their birth areas.

These three areas turned out to be the main areas from which Syrian refugees would flee to Jordan. Around two years ago, these three women would experience different long journeys of internal displacements that ended with them all becoming refugees in Jordan’s Za’atri Camp.

Their fight to survive war, poverty, and loss of loved ones would include different strategies:  They would sell UN food (aid) at low prices in the Za’atri Camp market, in order to buy goods that they needed and to exchange non-edible items for edible items; or they sought the help of activist groups in order to leave Za’atri Camp and begin a new life in Amman or other Jordanian cities.

Regardless of the fact that all of these women underwent severe economic and security hardship, none of their survival strategies included selling their daughters off for money as a solution to their hardship. Maha prefers to have a job cleaning Za’atri Camp’s public restrooms than marrying off any of her three girls. Karima bore the tragedy of losing her “civilian” eldest son and husband at the hands of the Syrian Army and sought the help of an activist group to depart Za’atri Camp and move to Amman where she can again send her 15- year-old daughter to high school. After her husband’s enforced disappearance, Nada bravely sought refuge in Jordan as a single mother and experienced different types of gender-based violence, but she did not weaken when it came to protecting her two daughters from any abuses based on her own circumstances.

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As a complement to Katty Alhayek’s essay on Syrian women in conflict, READ THIS ESSAY recommended by Medea Benjamin of CODE PINKSyrian Women Know How To Defeat ISIS

http://www.newamerica.org/new-america/syrian-women-know-how-to-defeat-isis/

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The WOMEN PEACEMAKERS PROGRAM published a review of their recent meeting on gender and militarism:  

https://www.womenpeacemakersprogram.org/assets/CMS/Resources/Reports/Policy-Brief-Gender-Militarism.pdf

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY we broadcast program #24 featuring the WOMEN OF GREENPEACE! LISTEN to it on this website:  click LISTEN on the bar and scroll to the bottom  –  or go to the GALLERY page and check out our mini-exhibit to accompany program 24!  There you can also click to listen to the program.

Meanwhile, we are maintaining information about the Transpacific Partnership trade agreement – which is background to program 23, featuring the women of LA VIA CAMPESINA.   

Latest from Wikileaks on the Transpacific Partnership:

https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/01/15

Women Rising Radio update on the TPP:

Meetings at Salt Lake City on the TRANSPACIFIC PARTNERSHIP ended without a deal. In Congress, brave Democrats refuse to assist in the fast tracking of the unread agreement.  Here are transcripts from Wikileaks of the actual agreement.

http://wikileaks.org/IMG/pdf/tpp-salt-lake-extracts-.pdf

 http://wikileaks.org/tpp/#start

Meanwhile,  president Obama has gone to Asia and been unable to finalize any part of the Transpacific Partnership publicly  – even with the US’s closest Asian ally,  Japan.   Read more on the issues involved in the TPP:

Listen to Women Rising Radio Program XXIII here.