Public status update on Facebook “I am amazed at how effectively the Clinton campaign has appropriated identity politics, and anti-racist and anti-sexist terminology, to suit its goals. Feminism has become a battering ram to silence left critics of Clinton. From the 50 something woman to the 17 year old high school student, the chorus is that one is exercising “privilege” by not voting for Clinton. Wow! So it is a “privilege” to want to hold Clinton/Gore accountable for throwing millions of poor women off AFDC (welfare), for throwing hundreds of thousands more black and brown people into prison, for killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, for passing the Iraq Liberation Act (and thereby making regime change in Iraq official US policy and laying the groundwork for Bush’s bipartisan invasion and the deaths of hundreds of thousands more)? Must we stay silent about the horrendous justification for US/UN sanctions that Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeline Albright gave which resulted in the deaths of half a million Iraqi children? To critique Albright for her statement that the price was “worth it” does not make one a sexist, unless of course your brand of feminism is of an imperialist, corporate, upper class variety (I don’t like the term “white feminism” because it does not address class inequality). Must we not bring up how Clinton/Gore forced millions of Mexican peasants off their land and turned them into immigrants via NAFTA? It is a privilege to ignore these atrocities in my view. Further, when one does raise these examples the response one gets is that people make mistakes and they can change. Hillary cannot be held accountable for Bill’s actions even though she insists that she is qualified to be president precisely because of that experience. So let’s look at the Obama era when she was Secretary of State. Where were the critics of “privilege” when the Obama administration deported more immigrants than any other administration in history and thereby legitimized Trump’s politically less sophisticated attack on immigrants? Where were they when that administration deepened the Bush administration’s national security/surveillance apparatus, by, among other things, prosecuting more whistle blowers than any in history, expanding the drone program, and accelerating the erosion of civil liberties? Where were they when the more sophisticated form of Islamophobia, the liberal version, made Muslims responsible for “reporting suspicious activity”, thereby making all Muslims culpable for the actions of fundamentalists (a point echoed by Clinton is the last presidential debate)? Where were they when the Obama administration bailed out the banks and the auto companies, but left homeowners and auto workers high and dry? And those of us who wrote about, spoke out against, and protested these actions are “privileged” for being outraged at all the damage these policies have inflicted? Wow, we truly do live in an Orwellian world (the arguments here were developed in collaboration with Patrick Barrett. We are planning to write an article on this. Let’s hope that happens!)” Deepa Kumar
Unarmed Palestinian women humiliated in Palestine by Israeli Defence Forces on daily basis. Soldiers and colonial settlers abuse Palestinian women, track them, spit on them, insult them (swearing and offensive words), beat them, sexually assault them to provoke them so they can eventually shoot them or arrest them. There is no protection at all and the world is mostly silent.
“There is no virtue politically in economic determinism or the notion that one issue can explain every other form of oppression ranging from the attempt to eliminate voting rights to defining feminism solely from the perspective of white middle class women. Racism, among other forms of oppression, is both intertwined with economic issues and also has it own distinct register. The crisis of economics does not explain a range of other crises and often becomes a blind overarching narrative that subsumes issues it can no longer explain. But then again Gramsci, Raymond Williams, Stanley Aronowtiz among others have all addressed this issue convincingly. One problem is that politics in North America is once again mired in single issues and refuses a more comprehensive understanding of the totality of the problems being faced and the need to develop a unified and transnational movement for political, economic, and social justice. The call for broader social movements and a more comprehensive understanding of politics is necessary in order to connect the dots between, for instance, police brutality and mass incarceration, on the one hand, and the diverse crises producing massive poverty, the destruction of the welfare state, and the assaults on the environment, workers, young people and women. Radical politics cannot allow itself to become fractured, mimicking the isolated and atomized ideology of neoliberalism. The left needs a new political conversation that encompasses memories of freedom and resistance. Such a dialogue would build on the militancy of the labor strikes of the 1930s, the civil rights movements of the 1950s and the struggle for participatory democracy by the New Left in the 1960s. At the same time, there is a need to reclaim the radical imagination and to infuse it with a spirited battle for an independent politics that regards a radical democracy as part of a never-ending struggle. Needless to day, movements require time to mature and come into fruition. They necessitate educated agents able to connect structural conditions of oppression to the oppressive cultural apparatuses that legitimate, persuade, and shape individual and collective attitudes in the service of oppressive ideas and values. Under such conditions, radical ideas can be connected to action once diverse groups recognize the need to take control of the political, economic, and cultural conditions which shape their world views, exploit their labor, control their communities, appropriate their resources, and undermine their dignity and lives. We need not only a radical critique of capitalism, racism, and other forms of oppression but a critical formative culture and cultural politics that inspires, energizes, and provides elements of a transformative radical education in the service of a broad-based democratic liberation movement.”
From Henry Giroux’s page on Facebook on 10th April 2016
Episode 2 examines the framing of Islam in “the West” with excerpts from Prof. Hamid Dabashi. It takes a personal look at an individual Muslim women’s experience in Australia and in particular in relation to feminism and International Women’s Day. Muslim women are often portrayed as victims and downtrodden in the media. They are also most commonly the target of violence with the rise of anti-Muslim racism / Islamophobia today and this is compounded by misogyny and patriarchy.
Here are some links of the excepts I mentioned:
Book: “Muslims in the Western Imagination” by Sophia Rose Arjana
The brief excerpt of the music intro can be found here.
Thanks for listening. Please join me next time. 🙂