Avast! Feminist Conspiracy!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Second Wave Pro-Hillary Feminists Again Exhibit Racism

The New York chapter of the National Organization for Women is continuing the unattractive Second Wave practice of deliberately turning the Democratic presidential nomination process into a divisive race v. gender war. Almost immediately after Sen. Ted Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama the chapter came out with a press release titled "Senator Ted Kennedy Betrays Women by Not Standing for Hillary Clinton for President." See the press release here: http://readme.readmedia.com/news/show/Senator-Ted-Kennedy-Betrays-Women-by-Not-Standing-for-Hillary-Clinton-for-President/53725

This is one sad press release reflective of the Second Wave mindset discussed earlier this month when put into practice by Hillary Clinton herself as well as Gloria Steinem. The racism reeks. These Second Wavers have elevated the Kennedy endorsement of a Black man to a near-hysterical be-all or end-all "ultimate betrayal" of white privileged women. The implication is that no friend of feminists could make such a choice based on the merits of the candidates but instead on a deliberate attempt to shoot down women. It's that repulsive "us against them" approach rearing its ugly head again. The implication is that only Hillary Clinton has a broader politics that benefits women -- there is not even the hint of a moment's contemplation that perhaps Barack Obama's broader politics are even more inclusive, less divisive, and more beneficial not just to white privileged women but to all women of all colors and men.

It's the classic Second Wave "those who should be our allies are actually are worst enemies to be demonized and destroyed" attack-mode approach. Offer no congratulatulations for winning a prized endorsement that even Hillary Clinton herself sought, acknowledge no primary landslide victory. There is nothing positive here, women! In fact, we've been victimized yet again! That's the only feminist lesson to be learned from this key endorsement. It's a familiar holier-than-thou, we've been done wrong yet again sentiment: this is about gender v. race dammit and you better back the white privileged woman or you betray all women! This, friends, embodies Second Wave sentiment and strategy and tactics -- do you embrace it or find it an embarrassment?

Note: The entire history of the Second Wave is one of divisive politics -- the Second Wave's whole story is one of demonize and destroy from within, based on intolerance of all but certain accepted leaders and approaches. Start, for example, with the ouster/divorce from the movement of radical feminist founder Ti-Grace Atkinson who dared to consider certain radical men the allies of feminists; then move to the race wars within Second Wave feminism, documented in This Bridge Called My Back, that chased out women of color leaders and to this day continues to alienate women of color from the feminist movement; next, consider the wholesale eradication of the sex radical wing of Second Wave feminism; and finally, there was the purging of the new Generation X blood that revisited many of these questions and had the audacity to ask about men as political allies, women of color as equal contributors, and pride in the female body instead of constant shame and something over which women have absolutely no measure of control, period. There apparently wasn't room enough for any of these women in the Second Wave sisterhood of the likes of NOW's leaders, Gloria Steinem, and Hillary Clinton. There was, however, room for white Democratic men in power -- like Ted Kennedy.

That is correct. Chase out the women but drop to your knees for the male leaders of the Democratic party. Liberal feminists of the Second Wave sold out feminist principles and ideals for partisan politics -- the two are not one and the same, unless you are a Second Wave liberal feminist. While there was no tolerance of differing views within the movement, there simultaneously was no offending men in the Democratic party who at some point in the future might bestow political benefits. And so it is disingenous for NOW's NYS chapter to only now, when Kennedy endorses Obama, note that they have stood by him, hushed up the fact that he was late to champion bills liberal feminists thought important, etc. That is the path they chose -- it was more important to them to be silent and curry favor with this man than it was to have a diverse range of feminist voices within the movement, they chose to attack feminists. And they feel betrayed!

For the first time we are seeing the politics and strategies and tactics perfected by Second Wavers against their own, within the movement, inflicted on a chosen target in the mainstream. Both Hillary and Bill Clinton embrace and encourage this divisive approach. And they should: In every case within the movement itself the intolerance drove out or chased out or alienated the would-be threat. At the same time, however, Clinton supporters should be warned that these contrived, calculated divisive wars within the movement itself proved to be the undoing of what once was a thriving U.S. feminist movement.

The full text of the NOW-NYS press release is as follows:

"Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton’s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard. Women have forgiven Kennedy, stuck up for him, stood by him, hushed the fact that he was late in his support of Title IX, the ERA, the Family Leave and Medical Act to name a few. Women have buried their anger that his support for the compromises in No Child Left Behind and the Medicare bogus drug benefit brought us the passage of these flawed bills. We have thanked him for his ardent support of many civil rights bills, BUT women are always waiting in the wings.

"And now the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He’s picked the new guy over us. He’s joined the list of progressive white men who can’t or won’t handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not “this” one). “They” are Howard Dean and Jim Dean (Yup! That’s Howard’s brother) who run DFA (that’s the group and list from the Dean campaign that we women helped start and grow). They are Alternet, Progressive Democrats of America, democrats.com, Kucinich lovers and all the other groups that take women's money, say they’ll do feminist and women’s rights issues one of these days, and conveniently forget to mention women and children when they talk about poverty or human needs or America’s future or whatever.

"This latest move by Kennedy, is so telling about the status of and respect for women’s rights, women’s voices, women’s equality, women’s authority and our ability – indeed, our obligation - to promote and earn and deserve and elect, unabashedly, a President that is the first woman after centuries of men who “know what’s best for us.” "

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Steinem, Clinton Export Second Wave Racism Into Mainstream

Mark January 8 in your book as the day both Gloria Steinem and Hillary Clinton came out with anti-Barack Obama rhetoric of the same classic, ugly racist cloth that proved to be one of the undoings of Second Wave feminism. Yes, Gloria Steinem and Hillary Clinton are exporting the politics, tactics, and nastiness of the Second Wave's internal race wars into the mainstream. Lovely.

Note: It didn't fly within the movement itself -- in fact, rejection of the Second Wave's internal racist crap in particular largely gave rise to the Third Wave, led both substantively and symbolically by Rebecca Walker. That is, feminists now 45 years old or under (does that age group sound familiar this election cycle?) made a distinction between Second Wave feminism's practices and their own right from their 1990s beginning. Steinem and Clinton apparently have learned nothing.

The race wars within feminism are notorious. I'm sure I don't have to give any of you, even if you have no direct experience with the U.S. feminist movement but only knowledge of it through college courses, a tour through the issues and what went down. Privileged white women always made their issues first, always claimed they were most oppressed, viewed woman of color and their issues as secondary, viewed women of color as allies only when they fully supported Second Wave priorities. Those women of any color who questioned these priorities or this approach or even only wanted their issues and their men to be more fully included in the Second Wave agenda, or who went so far as to threaten the dominance of Second Wave leaders were treated as the worst sort of enemies to be outright demonized. This is exactly the politics and priorities that Steinem and Clinton are now exporting to the mainstream against a man and his supporters who for all intents and purposes should be their natural political allies. Make no mistake: It is Gloria Steinem and Hillary Clinton who are taking the false Second Wave "Is Gender or Race More Important? Whose Oppression Is Worse? I'll Be Breaking Glass Ceilings But You're No MLK Jr.!" vile tension into the mainstream.

Do you have any sense of how nasty it got within the movement itself when this Second Wave racism wasn't theory but actually put into practice? You're getting a glimpse of it now. In fact, Gloria Steinem and Hillary Clinton are going to get a lot uglier and more embarrassing if past Second Wave practice is prelude. This is a terrific embarrassment for the U.S. feminist movement, no question.