More sexism on the left

The [Socialist Worker’s Party] isn’t the first prominent leftwing movement to have its reputation destroyed by its own inability to deal properly with allegations of violence against women, and it may not be the last. From WikiLeaks to the Egyptian revolution to individual anarchist networks, the past years have been dispiriting for anyone who believes that feminism should be at the heart of any struggle against oppression. For some men on the left, it seems, feminism is just a petty bourgeois distraction from the real fight.

From Laurie Penny’s “The SWP and rape: why I care about this Marxist-Leninist implosion

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Occupy Patriarchy

With hindsight to put the pieces together, a bigger picture emerges. I remember who in particular these people were – male, predominantly white, alienated and resultantly defensive, and at their absolute worst anytime they were confronted by women.

When I facilitated meetings, they pushed back. When we talked about making space for other voices, they screamed about being silenced. And they are still with us; anyone hearing stories of the May Day General Assembly (GA) or watching Occupy Vancouver facebook  discussions can’t avoid seeing it. What we are really seeing is Occupy’s misogyny problem, and it’s one the movement shares with, oh, the rest of planet Earth.

from  Sasha Wile’s piece,  The importance of dealing with Occupy’s misogyny problem.

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Now, once you’ve selected the “Straight White Male” difficulty setting, you still have to create a character, and how many points you get to start — and how they are apportioned — will make a difference. Initially the computer will tell you how many points you get and how they are divided up. If you start with 25 points, and your dump stat is wealth, well, then you may be kind of screwed. […]But because you’re playing on the “Straight White Male” setting, gaining points and leveling up will still by default be easier, all other things being equal, than for another player using a higher difficulty setting.

From John Scalzi’s post, “Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is

Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is

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Cocktails for Change – Planned Parenthood Fundraiser


For more information:

Call 504-899-1447 ext. 2 or email LAEVENTS@PPGULFCOAST.ORG

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White, Male Violence

[U]ntil very recently the fact that mass murder is an essentially all-male phenomenon got almost no attention.  Ironically, we are so accustomed to the idea that violence is gendered male that we don’t even notice that it is — unless we force ourselves to focus on something that seems so natural that it’s normally invisible to us.

As feminists have pointed out, if we define “human nature” as “what men do” we will treat male violence as merely violence, as opposed to a very gender-specific behavior.  If, when considering violence in our society, we were to turn being a man into a marked category, we would not ask questions like “why is America so violent?” but rather questions like “why are men so violent?”

From Paul Campos’ “Why is the shooter always male?

[W]hen poor folks or people of color engage in criminal activity — including, in general, a disproportionate share of lethal street violence — everyone has a theory; and not just a theory but an analysis that in one way or the other implicates something cultural. For the right, it’s the culture of poverty, or perhaps some specific aspect of “black culture” — about which they know nothing but about which they also feel utterly qualified to speak — while for the left it’s the culture of systemic inequality, of economic marginality, or the cumulative weight of institutional injustice.

But when white people, and especially those from stable and even well-off economic backgrounds lash out in a manner often more bizarre, indiscriminate, and apocalyptic than even the most determined street thug, it is then that the value of broader cultural critique vanishes faster than ethical judgment on Wall Street, to be replaced by a far more individualistic analysis. It’s the guns in that kids home, or the video games he played, or the Asperger’s, or the bullying, or he was a loner, or watched violent movies, or whatever. Because we cannot bring ourselves to ask the questions, let alone countenance the possible answers that we would ask and at which we might arrive were the vast majority of these mass killers black, or Latino, or God forbid Arab Muslims. In any of those cases — and everyone with even a shred of honesty would admit it — we would be talking not about the individual killer as an aberration, as a disturbed and disordered soul who had lost his way. We would be talking about the group or groups from which they hailed. About their cultures, their religion, their pathological communities.

But Adam Lanza was not Muslim. Not black. Not brown. Not poor. He was a white man, just like about 70 percent of all mass and spree killers in American history. And no one seems to think this is very interesting or worthy of comment.

From Tim Wise’s “Race, Class, Violence and Denial: Mass Murder and the Pathologies of Privilege

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On Masculinity and Capitalism

“John Henry of American folk song legend refused to bow to the superiority of a machine. He raced the steam-driven drill and won, though the effort killed him. Because of his strength and pride, John Henry is usually celebrated as a working-class hero. But he is really a capitalist’s dream […]

Like John Henry, a working-class man’s desire to appear strong and tough will often lead him to lift more weight, keep working despite pain, and forgo safety measures that slow him down and suggest fear or vulnerability. To appear competitive, he may strive to outdo his fellow workers, bringing a smile to the boss’s face.

Middle-class and upper-middle-class men do the equivalent. To display toughness, they work long hours and exalt efficiency over conscience and compassion. They compete for promotions, putting work first in their lives, lest they be seen as wimpy or wussy—sexist code words for “feminine” or “womanly.”

This kind of manhood striving is driven by a contradiction: To be a real man in U.S. society, one must have or display power—the capacity to exert control over one’s self and the surrounding world—but the fact is that most men in a capitalist society have little or no power. For most men, striving for manhood status is an attempt to evade this contradiction, to escape the psychic pain it causes.

From Michael Schwalbe’s essay, “The Hazards of Manhood

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