Uh… actually both sides do do it. They are all equal cowards and should be given the boot.
Jun 26 2016
Aug 10 2015
By NY Brit Expat
An incident at dinner in Italy during my vacation there and the subsequent discussion has driven me to prioritise this piece. Following a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant, one man decided that it was time for us to listen to his misogyny on women’s reproductive rights. I knew he was saying offensive things as the two English speakers at the table refused to translate what he was saying. Upon my insistence, he tried to speak in English, but what he was saying was so offensive I refused to believe he was saying it. I turned to my husband and the other English speaking friend and they shook their heads yes, that is what he was saying. This man argued that women have to the right to choice but if they get pregnant with a child they do not want, they must be forced to carry the child to term and to give it up for adoption. Those that know me would not be surprised at my angry response in which I spoke of women having the right of property in their own body, spoke of bodily autonomy and reminded him that we were not incubators, but human beings. I concluded by calling him a misogynist and telling him that this was not an opinion but hate speech.
Abortion has been legal in Italy since 1978 when Law 194 was passed. While not a perfect law, it was won after intense struggle by the women’s movement. This law not only guaranteed access to abortion, but access to reproductive health care, contraception, and a whole range of rights for women and these were tied into public health provision. Like in the US (and this has been a failing in both countries), the conscientious objector clause has led to a decrease in the numbers of medical professionals willing to carry out the procedure on religious grounds (and in the US due to pressure from anti-abortion activists). So to hear someone (who is not religious) babbling this crap at me following dinner was way too much. So, who ruined dinner? Was it him or me?
This incident highlighted something that has become extremely obvious and this applies both to women’s rights and to racism. The days when someone who held these offensive positions knew to keep their mouths shut is long gone; instead they pose hate speech as opinion and demand their right to preach it. Our response must be swift and strong so that these troglodytes are driven back to the primordial soup from which they have barely crawled out from.
In a follow-up discussion on the way to the car park, I told my English speaking friend what just passed the British parliament as part of the Welfare Bill. I told him that the Tories are changing the nature of the social welfare state which covered all women (child-tax credits, child benefits) to only cover the poor and working class. And then I told him about the limits to benefits only to 2 children in the future. I explained that the former made it easier to eliminate benefits totally (why should taxpayers take care of the working class – employed and unemployed — after all?). I explained the latter policy was a form of eugenics and was a neo-Malthusian policy. While he agreed with the former (he is a mainstream neoclassical after all), he was horrified at the latter (maybe because he has 5 children and has benefited from receiving benefits in several countries to help with covering the costs for all his children).
When women talk about reproductive rights and justice they are not only speaking about women’s rights to not have children. This is an essential part of reproductive rights: the right to choose not to have children, to have access to birth contraceptives abortion and voluntary sterilisation. But we are also speaking of the right of women to have children and to determine when and how many. This right has been most often denied to working class women, disabled women and to women of colour. Sterilisation abuse and forced usage of birth control against working class women, disabled women and women of colour is part of a long-term agenda of eugenics and neo-Malthusianism.
Wealthier white women fought for the right to not have children and to choose when they had them and to demand sterilisation without the consent of their husbands. Eugenics law that promoted the “betterment of the human race” by forcing wealthier white women to have children also led to laws that demanded the use of birth control to access welfare benefits and forced sterilisation for working class women. These laws have been the tools of choice against working class women, women of colour and disabled women and have been used to prevent their choosing to have children and to limit the numbers that they had. In the US, to this day, eugenics laws are still on the books to be used against disabled women; Buck vs Bell (1927) in which the Supreme Court ruled that compulsory sterilisation of the unfit did not violate the Due Process Clause of the US constitution. This endorsement of negative eugenics has not been repealed and still stands as US law. So to say that to leave things of the past in the past doesn’t really hold up as these things of the past tend to revive. After all, patriarchy is still strong and these arguments are not only a position of patriarchy but of the bourgeoisie that does not feel the need to humour women in their bizarre beliefs that they, not the family, not the church and not the state control their own bodies.
Jul 20 2015
By NY Brit Expat
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only (Charles Dickens, 1859, A Tale of Two Cities, Book I, Chapter 1).”
Jul 15 2015
I had all these plans to make this summer awesome. Of course, with Mom dying the month of June kind of sucked, but that couldn’t be helped. Here we are halfway through July and where the ever-loving fuck is the sun? I don’t want to sound like a big old whining baby, but at this point, I am, so that’s what’s coming out. I need sunshine, damn it!
The fire pit I was so happy about? Never been lit. Not once. The only weekend evening we had where it might have been feasible we had non-fire pit style company. Every other weekend night has been raining or just done raining. I wouldn’t mind that, but the kids sure do. And I wanted the damn thing to sit around it with them! Roast marshmallows, make s’mores, you know–like that.
My cheesy soft-sided above ground pool? I’ve been in it a whopping three times, with Cleetus fighting mightily against the green the entire six weeks so far. I have found that nothing busts my stress like floating around in my little circle of bliss, but can I do that? NO! I would do it if it were hot and not sunny, but it’s not even that, and that keeps the water too cool.
Sidewalk chalk, beanbags, bubbles, outdoor crafts–all a giant bust, and I am not happy. I am so not fucking happy. This is the third shitty summer in a row, and each one has been shittier than the last. I blame the climate change denialists. The rest of the country is baking and here in the northeast? Summer? What summer? Sure, with the rising sea levels I may eventually have beach front property, but not the sort of temperatures I would need to enjoy it. Fuck.me.running.
Nov 09 2014
Yes, comrades, we need to talk about crises again, the term recession simply does not explain what is really going on! Just in case you might not have noticed or perhaps the mainstream media where you live ignored it, the obvious has happened and the end of the so-called recession has disappeared into the fantasy novel. Once again there is a slowdown in growth and the financial markets are not particularly happy. This time, Germany and China are showing signs of slowdown. Globalisation has not ended the potential towards crises in the capitalist economic system; in fact, the greater interconnectedness of the world economy has exacerbated the situation and ensured that the contagion spreads.
For those who believe the fantasies of neoliberal economics, the shock of these latest failures of neoliberalism must come as a surprise. But for those of us that have been warning of the stupidity of squeezing wages and destroying work conditions, rising inequality in income and wealth, the dangers of export-led growth when wage incomes are being squeezed meaning that unless governments become the sole purchasers of goods and services that are being produced (and they are not) that obviously there comes a point when working people cannot purchase goods and services as their incomes are too low, wiping out of savings has happened and personal indebtedness leads to default and bankruptcy. Neither of these things helps to maintain capitalist growth, accumulation and profitability in the long run; forget that, it hasn’t even lasted in the short run.
I will be giving a run through on what is going on and why our lives feel as though we are living through the Shock Doctrine (which we are) then address the proposals of dealing with persistent unemployment under capitalism from the Left on which there is significant disagreement.
Jun 15 2014
It’s been one of those weeks where so many things have come to light that I simply do not know where to begin writing first. I sit there and think, which of the various things that I have been listening to or reading about have actually annoyed me to the point of actually writing about. I have realised that I am just generally annoyed.
When I thought about it more, I concluded that the underlying theme of these various stories is a complete and utter contempt by bourgeois governments (that lay claim to being utterly democratic) of the vast majority of people that they govern. Whether they govern competently or not, whether there is anything resembling a democratic mandate or not; it is the utter contempt in which they hold the majority of the population that has really gotten my goat.
I also realised that this is not only confined to governments, it is a view shared by the leadership of religious authorities, by arms of the state (police, armies, etc.) and even by the heads of sporting associations. This contempt is a reflection of the fact that those in power think/know that when push comes to shove, they know who they serve and it is not the vast majority of people; it is a tiny elite hiding behind the word “democracy” while actually not even slightly being accountable to that majority. It is the abuse of power by those that have it wielded against those that view themselves as powerless. Having just spoken to my postman about my frustration, he agreed and said “this is a long term problem, what can you and I do about it”?
May 04 2014
Most probably people have heard of the bizarre investigative journalism by The Mail on Sunday in an article which appeared on Easter Sunday (of all days in the year). The Mail on Sunday sent in a reporter, a wannabe Jimmy Olsen, to investigate provision of food by food-banks in Britain and that reporter literally took food out of the mouths of the hungry in order to prove some point. This provoked a backlash on social media that demonstrated that the neoliberal agenda seems to not have sunk too deeply in the hearts and minds of the British people. That is a relief and quite honestly more than I expected, given the constant barrage in the newspapers and on the news on telly that has never questioned the logic (forget the morality) of welfare caps and cuts to welfare benefits.
ht: my sister Mia for comments and editing on this piece
Feb 12 2014
When partisans start in with the "most important election of our lifetime" nonsense, it shows how little they really care about your lifeline. The 2000 election qualifies, but it was stolen, and not by Ralph Nader. It was stolen by the Kangaroo SCOTUS, Katherine Harris, and the entire Bush family. What does that tell you?
Sep 15 2013
For Preventing the Poor People in Britain from being a burden to Their Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public
Un hommage á Jonathan Swift
Whenever I travel the country and listen to the newscasts and read the papers, it has become evident that the poor are a significant burden upon the country. Instead of working, women go begging at food banks to provide for their children. Others sit on the streets with their offspring begging money from their betters. Clearly these lazy creatures assume that we as a society have some responsibility to ensure the existence of their offspring. Moreover, since they have to care for their children, they obviously have no time to actually work to provide for their existence. Their lack of property and their inability to ensure their and their offspring’s survival is threatening the very nature of our society.
Jun 10 2013
“If you’re not outraged, you’re just not paying attention.”
I’m not sure if it’s outrage fatigue, (heaven knows the Fox folks have been in a fever ever since a black man went in the Whitehouse through the front door) or if it’s the constant main stream brain washing:
~It can only get worse.
~Poor people who don’t work hard enough get what they deserve.
~Formerly middle class people who become poor, didn’t work hard enough.
~Government can’t afford to help people.
~Sacrifices need to be made, but not by rich people & corporations.
~Compromise = electoral victory.
~Sanctimonious purists are fucking retards. Ignore them.
~Equal protection under the Law, is more like a suggestion.
But it seems to me, along side of the deepening cynicism, acceptance of hypocrisy, and the general feeling of helplessness, that people are getting a bit more cranky.
hmm. Imagine that…
Oh yeah, snakes on the mother fucking plane.