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:

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,, 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.” "


Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG I thought that couldn't possibly be a real press release. I didn't buy the first blog about Second Wave racism either. This is getting distressing. This can't be what happened and what is happening.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the New York State chapter of NOW's statement was embarrassing. They made it sound like the only reason Kennedy or anyone else who supports Obama does so for no other reason than that he or they "can't or won't handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton." What looks really bad is that NOW leaders consistently have sung the very highest praises for Sen. Kennedy as a pro-feminist politician, and the media is reporting those statements next to the NOW NYS comments, which makes it all the more embarrassing.

Maybe that's why NOW's national office has just released its own response to Sen. Kennedy's endorsement (after all it doesn't make sense to comment on an endorsement not in line with yours unless you have reason to think the spotlight is going to be on you for clarification). CNN in fact is reporting that the NOW national statement is an attempt to distance the national organization from the New York State chapter's statement.

It is two paragraphs, and is the statement of NOW national president Kim Gandy:

"The National Organization for Women has enormous respect and admiration for Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). For decades Sen. Kennedy has been a friend of NOW, and a leader and fighter for women's civil and reproductive rights, and his record shows that.

"Though the National Organization for Women Political Action Committee has proudly endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for president, we respect Sen. Kennedy's endorsement. We continue to encourage women everywhere to express their opinions and exercise their right to vote."


For the Kim Gandy press release go to

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, an awful lot of really sexist shit has been thrown at Clinton. There is certainly sexism at play in this election. Why isn't that alone a newsworthy story? Or at least one worthy of this blog?

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go for it! I personally for years have warned that the Second Wave is deliberately divisive in its politics and tactics -- and of the demonize/destroy mindset the leaders have against their own internally. Theory in books is not the same thing as the incarnation of the Second Wave political movement and so many of us discovered this the hard way when we invested our lives, mind, and energy into it. The practice is vulgar, ugly, not inclusive, petty, and in regard to liberal Second Wave feminism is now nothing more than a subset of Democratic partisan politics. All of the practices and many of the same players are now pulling the same crap -- but now in full view of the mainstream. It absolutely is relevant to discussing the U.S. feminist movement today (what remains of it) and it serves also as a warning to the Democratic party of what such tactics and divisiveness and racism will do to that party too if you look at what it did to the movement itself. Which is to say, Hillary and her supporters can win with such tactics and yet simultaneously lose a vibrant widespread broad-based following.

8:47 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home