Feminist War Hawks vs. Feminist Values
We live in times of great paradox, designed to fool most of the people almost all of the time.
Elections swing on women's reproductive rights, and the candidate who broadcasts that he is the most favorable to those rights has a kill list and signs laws on behalf of the biggest anti-life corporation on the planet, Monsanto. His signature acts in office thus far: selling out health care reform so that his campaign contributors may profit, promoting women in combat (actually, they will now receive combat pay since they've already been in combat for quite a while now), sending killer robots around the globe to terrorize civilian populations, and imprisoning truth teller Bradley Manning for over 1,000 days without a trial. This from a constitutional law professor.
A Maine wise woman, the activist and artist Natasha Mayers, recently appeared before the Judiciary Committee of the Maine legislature. She was there to support a bill requiring law enforcement to obtain a warrant before using drones to conduct surveillance, and she was wearing a top hat covered all over with eyes. She was ordered to take off her hat in order to be allowed to stay in the hearing room. All those eyes looking at the Judiciary Committee members apparently made them uncomfortable.
Maine's newest senator, Angus King, appeared on television during the Brennan confirmation hearings to head the CIA. King appeared as a pundit talking about why flying killer robots are a "humane" weapon. He said on the MSNBC "Morning Joe" program: "In the context of 1,000 years of war, drones are more civilized." I found this disturbingly short-sighted.
The continued domination of the Earth by the most violent among us depends upon being short-sighted. It is important that citizens never learn of the possibility of humans living peacefully together, cooperating rather than killing, loving rather than competing.
Dominating the airwaves that bring citizens their information has been the primary method of controlling the population. It is far more pervasive and, really, more effective than the use of brute force. (Which is resorted to whenever that is deemed necessary.) But force is often not needed as the constant messaging around the supposed superiority of violent methods, and the reminders about who wields them, are the very air citizens breathe in the 21st century.
School kids tell me every year that violence always wins. What else could they think growing up on millions of images selling them on the false idea that violence is stronger than love? Those of us in my generation can hardly imagine how pervasive this messaging is, surrounding them from their very infancy.
At the Academy Awards this year, the First Lady lady "bizarrely showed up surrounded by military service personnel in dress uniforms" according to blogger Alison Kilkenny.
Michelle Obama said of the nominees for Best Picture: "They reminded us that we can overcome any obstacle if we dig deep enough and fight hard enough and find the courage within ourselves."
Commented Kilkenny, "Of course the nominees included Zero Dark Thirty and Argo, two propaganda films widely criticized for manipulating true events, and in the case of the former, outright lying by suggesting torture led to the capture of Osama bin Laden." Since that time, corporate media have been promoting the story that Osama was brought to justice by the CIA's so-called "Band of Sisters."
When women who work for the CIA on extrajudicial assassination, and women like Condi Rice, Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton are held up as role models for feminists, we need to call them what they are: feminist war hawks. For myself, from now on I am going to make sure and use the phrase "feminist values" to distinguish life-affirming from death-dealing. I no longer want to call myself a feminist if these women are the face of feminism.
I am here to testify that once upon a time, long before Angus King's 1,000 year window of prevailing violence, there were cultures on Earth that revered nature and respected human beings. These cultures did not have mass media, the internet, films or even photography to share their vision of what it means to be human, but we do see some of their artifacts and some of their shared wisdom was passed down to us in the form of oral traditions.
Voices that are silenced in the din of modern civilization are those that respect the Earth, revere life, and believe that mindful love and cooperation are far more powerful than violence. These voices are rising now. Idle No More is a powerful movement that swept the globe affirming this possibility.
If we all come together and stop cooperating with the systems of violence, they will fall in a matter of days. But first, we must believe that it is possible. Cooperating to not cooperate is far more powerful than most of us are able to imagine. I like the work of Jamila Raqib and Gene Sharp at the Albert Einstein Institution for the study of non-violent methods, because their work stimulates my belief. Their studies give us a chance to examine what worked and what didn't, and which strategies seem the most effective. I understand that they named their institute after Einstein because he once stated that if 2% of the population would stop cooperating with the military-industrial system, it would fall. I don't know if he was right about that, but it's an intriguing idea -- and he was right about a lot of other things!
|Around 150 people at the Feminist Values GA in Philadelphia July 2, 2012|
Coming together and accessing collective wisdom is the genius of feminist values. It's not about women being more right than men. Women can lose sight of feminist values as they claw their way to the top of hierarchical systems, and many men embrace feminist values, including those right here in this room who know from experience the bliss of being in community.
One way to be in community: consider joining us in bringing messages of hope and solidarity to your neighbors. The Bring Our War $$ Home campaign will soon be distributing door hangers of the type pizza restaurants use, with the message "A Budget For Fall -- Why Not?" We'll be fanning out into our communities with the message that our resources belong to the people and must be used for life, not for death-dealing. It's a great opportunity to talk to your neighbor, the person in line at the post office, or the person who cleans your classroom about what we have in common. You may be surprised at the great conversations that the doorhangers are a vehicle for, especially around tax time and as our so-called leaders prepare to cut Social Security, Medicare, and many other safety nets for low income citizens.
You can contact Bruce Gagnon to order doorhangers, which organizations are buying at cost for their members to distribute. They are 5 cents apiece.
Thank you all for coming together today in a Maine Alliance for the Common Good. I am grateful to be here with you.
-- My remarks on a panel discussion at the Alliance Teach-In "Budget For All -- Why Not?" at the UMaine Orono on Sunday, April 7, 2013.