Monday, March 16, 2015

Report of discussion with Max Dashu

 January 27, 2015

http://www.suppressedhistories.net/

Before I left Oakland for home, I stopped by Max’s archives.

I met with Max for four hours; it was extremely interesting and helpful.

My goal in the meeting was to learn from Max about the Witch Hunts.  I achieved my goal; I learned so much.  It was in reading Caliban and the Witch that I saw that the motivation of the Witch Hunters went beyond their desire to suppress women’s sexuality and their activities which were competitive with the developing medical profession, and by reading John Riddle’s book, I also realized the existence of and the significance of a widespread knowledge and use of contraception and abortion.   This was the real power of women-the power to decide whether or not to create the next generation.  This was the power that those who were in control could not abide.

I originally learned about the Witch Hunts from Witches, Midwives and Nurses by Ehrenreich and English and I knew that women who were burned as witches were many times healers.  I definitely saw that what we were doing represented a revival of women’s knowledge around healing.  

Max rounded out my knowledge hugely.

Max became irritated with me because she said I wasn’t listening.   It is true that I sometimes interrupted her (as she did me), and also I sometimes didn’t get the full import of what she was trying to communicate.

Despite certain differences, mostly in emphasis, it was clear that we profoundly agree about the origin and nature of women’s oppression.  We both see that the development of patriarchy resulted in the lowering of women’s power and status. We both see capitalism as an “advanced form” of patriarchy.  We both think that ethnicity and class have to be taken into consideration in any historical explanation.  We both think that the causation of the Witch Hunts and other attacks on women as being multi-causal.  Both of us distinguish between capitalistic or imperialistic patriarchy and the patriarchy found in non-capitalistic or imperialistic societies, and agree that patriarchal capitalism and imperialism is worse for women. In other words, “all capitalistic societies are patriarchal, but not all patriarchal societies are capitalistic.”

Both of us kept the free-ranging discussion from turning into an argument; neither of us were there to convince the other, so we kept bringing the conversation back to a discussion where each of us would have the opportunity to explain our points more fully, etc.

We also talked about the recent attacks of trans-gender women.  Max has worked with atheist groups, and told me about a recent conference where transgender women wanted to participate in a female-only workshop that is traditionally held at the atheists’ conference.  The workshop is held in the nude and the females did not want the transgender women to attend.  (I know she said they wouldn’t allow those who had not had surgery, but I don’t remember whether she said they also objected to those who had had genital surgery).  In protest, the transgender women sat, knees akimbo, around the entrance to the workshop and sent looks of disapproval to the participants when they came in.  Max supported the females by also sitting on the floor and encouraging the participants when they came in.

We both see this is a serious attack and it constitutes a crisis in feminism.  We also agreed that those who want to destroy feminism, including some leftists who have always been hostile to feminism, are taking advantage of this opportunity to attack feminists by supporting the transgender women.  I think the support is also material.

We talked about Caliban and the Witch.  Max was critical of Federici’s mischaracterization of the era prior to the 14th century.  Federici said that Witch Hunting had started then; that before there was no Witch Hunting.  She has the references to show that in fact, there was Witch Hunting several centuries prior.

I don’t think that Federici’s definite assertion that there was no history of Witch Hunts in the preceding era, negated the value of her insight that the crime of Witchcraft, which focused on contraception and abortion, was invalid.  In reading the whole sentence that Federici had stated, she left room for at least some of the facts that Max had alluded to.  Perhaps I’m conflating the explanation of Heinsohn and Steiger with Federici’s, but I recall that she emphasized that the crime of Witchcraft (as compared to Sorcery) was invented in the 14th century.

Max feels that everything flows from the establishment of patriarchy, and we should not focus on some of the subsequent developments, but rather fight against patriarchy in all of its manifestations.  I feel that a quantum leap happened as a result of the Witch Hunts (as well as the enclosures) that helped the feudal lords to accumulate capital, that this enabled them to launch a campaign of conquest and pillage and colonialization that would result in the establishment of capitalism in Europe and in the huge expanse of territory in the colonies.

We didn’t talk about it too much, but I agree with Max that the viewing the earth as a resource to exploit, and starting with seeing women as resources to dominate and exploit is the root of the problem.  I just think that we need to apply that insight into the current manifestations of this patriarchal/capitalist/imperialist/industrialist outlook.

Max recognized a lot of the components of the creation of capitalism, bringing precious metals to Europe to enable monetarism, raw materials, slaves, etc.  But, if she sees that these developments forced women into the modern mold, the housewife who recreates the labor force and recreates the worker too, she didn’t say so.  She did say that her criticisms of C&W are “additive”, meaning she doesn’t criticize what Federici said, but thinks she omitted significant information.

My impression is that Max thinks that I over-generalize to pinpoint a particular point in history.  She sees the evolutionary aspect of patriarchy and how it leads to capitalism.  How men in patriarchy saw women as a resource, the same as other natural resources.  I agree with that, but I think that the Witch Hunts had the effect of terrorizing women, resulting in seeing their reproductive activities as resources to enable the modern work force to arise.

We also differed on whether the reason they went after the Witches was to control their sexuality.  To me, patriarchy wants to control women’s sexuality as a means to control their reproduction.  

Max has devoted her life to studying and gathering together the information to support her view of history, and the result is awesome.  She allowed me to read her manuscripts. (Much of the original material that she viewed at the local San Francisco Library was right on the shelves.  She said they’ve now been placed in less accessible sections.)  The wealth of detail that she has gathered brings home the reality of how the Witch Hunt played out all over Europe over four centuries.

I agree with her that the concrete detail is necessary to prevent us from romanticizing the Witches and seeing the Witch Hunts as some kind of medieval aberration.

As to the Witch’s costumes.  She said that women accused of witchcraft were forced to march through town wearing the pointed hats.  Also, she said that much of the details, like the shoes and the dress come from the everyday wear of poor women, especially older poor women. She mentioned Belgium, in particular.

We both are worried about what may happen in this country if the depression gets worse and people are turned against each other.  Some modern version of the Witch Hunts are possible.

Academic Women:
  Our discussion of the role of academic women is illustrative of how Max and I both agree and still go a different place with the significance for action.  She sees the way that the academic world influences academic women to look at their goal as getting prestige, seeing who can get their papers published, etc.  I focus more on the power relationships and the way that patriarchal academia uses its control of jobs and the prestige that goes with it to derail young feminists who seek a career in women’s studies.  I think that we see the cause and effect differently, but we both see how empty and irrelevant most of their work is.  I, in addition, believe that they are being manipulated by academia to spin their wheels, or even worse, to attack the second wave of feminism with their emphasis of personal liberation and changing society by changing labels and self-definitions.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

REPORT OF TRIP TO BERKELEY TO ATTEND BAY AREA DOULA PROJECT’S MEETING

GUEST: MOLLY DUTTON-KENNY REGARDING HOME ABORTION

I went to Berkeley on March 3rd to hear Molly Dutton-Kenny speak on home abortion.  She spoke regarding medical abortion, herbal abortion, menstrual extraction and vacuum aspiration abortion, all of which she is advocating being done at home.

Molly has observed women receiving vacuum aspiration abortions in a home setting in other countries.  She travelled to Mali to learn about female health care.  She has worked with IPAS for a time.  She learned about menstrual extraction from reading “A Woman’s Book of Choices”, and she learned about vacuum aspiration abortion from WHO informational material.  She has personal experience with taking herbal abortafacients. She is presently a midwife and is based in California and Canada.   

She was delighted that I was at the meeting, and turned it over to me to speak about Menstrual Extraction.  The group showed great interest in all the types of home abortion that she talked about.  There was a member of Shodhini who lives in the bay area at the meeting, and she was approached about starting a self-help group there.

I believe that Washington State’s abortion law, which was voted on by the people before Roe v. Wade, could be interpreted to permit home abortion.  Medical abortion, taking mifepristone and then expelling the embryo at home, offers a opportunity for a doula to provide information and support.  Herbal abortion is becoming a feasible alternative to females.  In all of the above situations, including vacuum aspiration, it is an experienced person either providing information and support or actual hands-on assistance, however menstrual extraction as developed by the Feminist Women's Health Centers requires a group of minimally-trained women who have learned through vaginal self-examination together how to do the procedure.  

Molly’s ideas are very provocative, and I hope to hear more about it from her in the future. 

REPORT: Trip to San Francisco to Protest Against Walk for Life on January 24, 2015

By Carol Downer

Background:  StopPatriarchy.org counter-demonstrated against the Catholic Church’s annual Walk for Life.  As a member of the Advisory Committee and because I love to join in with like-minded people and yell myself hoarse at anti-abortionists, I went.

http://stoppatriarchy.tumblr.comThe Report:  I took the train to Oakland the day before the event and enjoyed the opportunity to look out the window and work on my computer and read.  I stayed at a low-cost motel, and went by BART to meet Pat Maginnis at Powell and Market Street where Stop Patriarchy had set up large signs and banners, wearing T-shirts “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!”

Many thousands of “good” Catholics marched by.  They had come by bus from all the western states and their priests shepherded them.  Their mood was festive, even though their signs were disgusting.  There were lots and lots of kids, even babies in strollers.  They looked over at us like we were monsters.  The adults mostly ignored us or smiled.  The marchers filled the street, curb to curb, and the march went on for more than an hour.  Most of the Stop Patriarchy protestors marched alongside them, leaving the banners, the bullhorn, a few protestors and Pat and me.

Pat and I went to dinner at a vegetarian restaurant.  Pat recounted some of the arrests of the “Army of Three” for holding classes in self-abortion, which consisted of herself, Lana Phelan and Rowena Gurner.  I wrote a quick summary when I got home.  Pat’s storytelling is very droll.  The self-abortion method was a digital abortion.  Pat, a nurse, had aborted a later pregnancy by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into her cervix on a daily basis until bleeding started and the fetus was expelled.  So the self-abortion kit consisted of a hairnet (to keep the hair out of your eyes), a glove, lubrication, a nail clipper to cut your nails, a page of instructions and another item we couldn’t remember. 

The next day I drove to Chico to visit my grandchildren, Carmen and Joe, and my 2-year-old great-grandchild, Vanessa.

I stayed with Thora DeLey Cox (a former director of the Feminist Women's Health Center and an author of A New View of a Woman’s Body).  

Thora and Jim Cox, her husband, are doing well, as are her daughters, Vanessa and Rosalind, who are now grown females (note the new terminology).  Thora and I walked in Bidwell Park and discussed the Mexican situation (the killing of 43 students who had expressed opposition to the ruling politician and the drug cartels who totally run Mexico).

I drove back to Oakland.

I met with Sunsara Taylor

Stop Patriarchy got good press coverage of their protest.

PAT MAGINNIS’ WORK 
Pat Maginnis is a gifted cartoonist.  She has poked fun at the enemies of women’s reproductive rights, such as the Catholic Church (she is an ex-Catholic).  Also, she has been active in the peace movements, the Occupy Movement and every other progressive movement in the bay area.

Pat’s political strategy is to take her cartoons and her leaflets with her at all times, distributing them to the waitress, to the person sitting next to her on the bus, or to passers-by at demonstrations.  She also speaks out for animals’ rights and childrens’ rights.

I wish we could put together a book of her cartoons, each with a brief paragraph explaining the political situation that provoked the cartoon.  It would be good to have a brief biography in the front.  She has also written some auto-biographical accounts of her childhood in Oklahoma.

Laurie McConnell has assisted Pat to have a website, which is excellent.  Pat has a circle of friends also who stop in from time to time or go with her to events.  But Pat lives on a fixed income, and without support, even a relatively modest project such as a cartoon booklet can’t happen. Laurie has offered to help put the book together, but she would need some assistance to reimburse her for travel (she lives in Redding, CA which is a few hours’ drive from Oakland, CA) and some compensation for her time.   

Any ideas?  I would love to hear from anyone who can get this project together, or at least  connect me up with someone who could do a kickstarter campaign or some other fund-raising event. 

With Pat’s permission, I’m putting in my favorite cartoon (although she has many that ran a close second).

Friday, January 16, 2015

Roe v. Wade Anniversary Protests and Events

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

TruthOut Publishes "Reproductive Sovereignty or Bust!" by Carol Downer

Friday, January 9, 2015

CounterPunch publishes "Reproductive Sovereignty or Bust!" by Carol Downer - please read & share

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Earth At Risk Conference, Pat Maginnis, Barbara Hoke, Molly Arthur, and Mary Lou Singleton

MEMORANDUM

NOVEMBER 25, 2014

TO: FRIENDS OF WOMEN’S HEALTH IN WOMEN’S HANDS

FROM: CAROL DOWNER

RE: TRIP TO EARTH AT RISK CONFERENCE, SAN FRANCISCO, 11-22 & 23-2014

BACKGROUND:  MARY LOU SINGLETON INVITED ME TO GO TO THE EARTH AT RISK CONFERENCE TO MEET MEMBERS OF THE WOMEN’S LIBERATION FRONT (WoLF).

SUMMARY:  DURING AND AFTER THE 2-DAY CONFERENCE, I VISITED THE WoLF TABLE.  I MET WITH MOLLY ARTHUR, MARY LOU SINGLETON, AND STOPPATRIARCHY.ORG.   I VISITED PAT MAGINNIS AND BARBARA HOKE IN OAKLAND,  AND PAT AND I ATTENDED A HEARING TO PROTEST CHILD ENDANGERMENT AND ANIMAL CRUELTY BY A LOCAL HAYWARD RODEO GROUP.

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM:
INFORMATIVE ABOUT 1) the extreme risk of ecological collapse: 2) the cause of collapse: capitalist system and its attendant -isms, colonialism, racism, patriarchy, militarism, masculinity; 3) power structure research about the way capitalism pathologizes our social relations, how the U.S. Constitution protects property rights over the people’s rights, 4) what to expect if and when the people challenge capitalist’s corporate rule.

THOUGHT-PROVOKING in presenting legal strategies to expose and force show-downs on basic legal protections of eco-cidal capitalistic behavior; in suggesting projects to directly transform our consciousness, our immediate environment, and the control of our lives.

INSPIRATIONAL in sharing indigenous culture’s example of how people can successfully live in cooperative, communal society that is earth-loving, in poetry performance to express our anger and sorrow; in exhorting us to build: 1) human connections with friendship, 2) human connections with nature “gardens of hope”, solidarity in defending and befriending mountains, rivers, insects, trees and other plants.

The 200-300 people that attended the conference all agreed that capitalism cannot be reformed and must be replaced with ways of organizing society that recognize the necessity of living in harmony with the earth and all its creatures.  They also all agreed that the strategy of influencing our elected officials and other governmental or business leaders is almost useless; that instead we have to build communities that take direct, dynamic and creative political action.

26 SPEAKERS PUT ON INDIVIDUAL OR PANEL PRESENTATIONS:
Keynote speakers:  
Vandana Shiva, (leader, author)
Alice Walker, (author)
Derrick Jensen, (author)
Chris Hedges, (author)

Panelists:
Dini ze Toghestiy, indigenous speaker
Freda Hudson, resistance leader, Tar Sands. Fracking
Caleen Sisk, Tribal Chief
Dahr Jamail, Journalist
Sarah M. Mah, anti-rape feminist
Yuly Chan, anti-rape, anti-prostitution feminist
Anne Keala Kelly, Hawaiian journalist, filmmaker
Diane Wilson, author, eco-warrior, fisherwoman
Dominique Christina, slam poet
Jeannette Armstrong, Okanagan Nation Knowledge Keeper
Sakej (James) Ward, teaches warrior societies
Vince Emanuele, Veterans for Peace organizer and spokesperson
Cherry Smiley, Indigenous Women Against Prostitution
Thomas Linzey, Attorney, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
Gail Dines, Professor, Sociology and Women’s Studies, Wheelock College
Richard Manning, environmental author and journalist
Stephanie McMillan, author, Why Capitalism Must Die, cartoonist
Saba Malik, activist on racism, peak oil and anti-civilization
Charles Derber, environment, power structure author
Kourtney Mitchell, activist, anti-violence and pro-feminist
Guy McPherson, ex-professor, environment author
Stan Goff, ex-military, author anti-sexism, anti-capitalism
Doug Zachary, Veterans for Peace fund-raiser

FEATURED ORGANIZATIONS: Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution, Code Pink, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, Deep Green Resistance, Elder Creek Center for the Land, Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry, Iraq Veterans Against the War, One Struggle, Place for Sustainable Living, PM Press, Stop Patriarchy, Stop Porn Culture, Survival International, Unis’tot’en Clan, Vancouver Rape Relief, Veterans for Peace, Warrior Sisters, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Women’s Liberation Front

FERTILE GROUND ENVIRONMENTAL INSTITUTE (FGEI), organized and sponsored conference. Founded in 2008 in Bellingham, Washington, national organization.
Primary focus is organizing and hosting events with focus on hard-hitting analysis of our current predicament and strategic planning for real victories. 

FGEI position: Every successful social movement in history has used force to achieve its goals.  There is a continuum of tactics that range from boycotts, strikes, and civil disobedience to sabotage and outright revolution.  A serious ecological movement is based around communities that embrace and promote dynamic, creative political action.

HIGHLIGHTS OF PROGRAM (If there are few [or no] notes about a speaker or workshop, it means I couldn’t hear what was said).

COLONIZATION AND INDIGENOUS LIFE
  • Women are leading the movement to save the earth.  Have to change water system. “We can live without electricity; we can’t live without clean water”.  Indigenous can teach us “what it means to be human”.  “It’s how you respond to living things; protect them”.  “Don’t have to be colonizer; come live with us, re-indigenize planet”.
  • Many mountains losing water.  Mt Shasta, main spring going dry 2 months last 3 summers.
  • Other culprit: RELIGION.  We’re regressing.  Things they say take us forward are taking us backward.
  • Hawaii is an “illegal occupation” as per UN.  
  • Hawaiians (natural, not people of color from other places) are fighting about it.”  Country under arrest (50-70% indigenous people incarcerated).  Economic terrorism and cultural genocide.  American Empire is spreading throughout Micronesia.  Overwhelmed with tourism-prostitution, pornography.  Largest U.S. Military command.
  • Hawaii like woman being raped continuously.  “Aloha is a philosophy, not a tourist slogan”  It’s a way of sharing, valuing each other and the earth.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: DERRICK JENSEN
Has written 20+ books. 
  • BAD NEWS: Oceans are dying; there’s no more fish.  People being murdered.  Movement being infiltrated, people are disappearing.  158 species going extinct every day.
  • WHAT TO DO: “If you’re going to say the prayer, you have to be part of making the prayed for thing happening.”

INDICATORS OF ECOLOGICAL COLLAPSE
Stages of Grief on Planet Dying: acceptance, rage, depression. We need new consciousness.

Diane Wilson: fisher-woman in Texas.  “Texans love tar sands”.  Texans lost faith, “You can’t fight city hall”.  You have to get involved when your home is destroyed in front of you.  Never say you’re not for progress.  It’s time to put yourself out there.  You have to work outside the box.  I kept waiting for someone with a better education, more abilities, more connections than me, to come along.  Finally, I realized I was the right person.  Need hope, have to get out of the box.

Green revolution a disaster for agriculture.  Destroying bio-diversity.  1/3 of  world suffering from “Hidden Hunger”.  People have enough calories, but deficient in nutrition.

“no way to grow food in monoculture and be sustainable.”

BUILDING RESISTANT COMMUNITIES
  • “We (indigenous speaker) decolonized ourselves.  We refused to accept or comply and prevent destruction.”  We had to support the inherent ability of every organism to protect itself from harm.
  • “Now is the time to do battle.”  We need hundreds and hundreds of groups, working together, to face down power.
  • We must have structure, leadership, rules and norms.
  • We must eliminate horizontal hostility.
  • Women are the protectors of the higher nature.
  • “We put the ‘Indian’ back in our children.  We decolonized their minds.”
  • We changed our beliefs, and how we live.  We went to our homelands, wintered there.  We put away fish.  We kicked out a mining company, others.  We started managing our land.
  • We need the warrior arts.  Daily practice to develop skill sets of self-defense.  We need to fall in love with earth again.  We need our ceremonies; we need to respect each other and earth.
  • Present system designed to separate us from natural world.  We must teach our children to fall in love with trees, soil; that every living being has spirit; the mountains have spirit.
  • We may have to defend our land, but we’re not going to encourage that, but, if necessary, we will fight for all that we love.  If does result in violence, so be it.
  • We reject the idea that the state can dictate whether or not we can defend ourselves.
  • Resistance may mean hierarchy-different forms of leadership-persuasion rather than orders-structure is action-based.

LINZEY-KEYNOTE SPEAKER
  • The problem is the U.S. government, not the corporations.  The environmental laws are good, but it’s a waste of time trying to enforce the law, because, under the Constitution, it’s not permissible for a governing body (usually municipal) to pass laws to restrict legal uses (factory farms, fracking).
  • The only thing environmental regulations regulate are the environmentalists.
  • “Taking amendment says you can’t ban corporate business for doing something legal without being sued for loss of business.
  • Constitution establishes property rights above people’s rights.  Constitution not necessarily democratic.
  • Example: community laws banned corporations from factory farming, Then corporations went to State legislators to enforce corporate rights..  Ultimately lost at federal level.
  • Still thinks this process can be useful because it forces corporations to show how unfair the law is to the community-“the system illuminates itself!”
  • How to force change: now 200 municipalities are going up against the federal government.  People are beginning to see that the Constitution doesn’t protect peoples’ rights.

ECO SYSTEM RIGHTS are not property, but have rights to exist on their own.  In Ecuador, wrote new constitution giving eco system rights.  The River is the Plaintiff.  A Watershed can be a plaintiff.
  • In Nepal, there’s a Right of Nature Network.
  • The problem of liberal politics is that it’s “pressure politics”.  The real problem is the government itself.

CAPITALISM AND SOCIOPATHOLOGY
7 Pillars of Capitalism:  Anti-social values & practices created by ruling elites.
  1. Individualism
  2. Competition
  3. Ecoside-violence against nature
  4. Militarism
  5. Class violence, inequality
  6. Profits over usefulness
  7. Fictive democracy
Carol’s note:  He asked audience how many of them were sociopaths.  Nearly all raised their hands.  I did not, because I believe that mental health comes from battling one’s oppression every day, and, whether or not I am lessening my oppression, I am somewhat protected from falling into being sociopathic.

Stephanie McMillan: People need a collective organized class struggle. Capitalism comes from surplus value.  Proletariat class needs to take over.  Capital treats living things as objects.
  • 95% of environmentalists think solution is more capitalism. They believe that it’s FATHER CAPITAL PLUS MOTHER EARTH
  • Capitalists do cooperate.  They just have antagonistic relations with the rest of us.  The antagonism is between 1% of us and 99% of us.
  • We, (the revolutionary working class) need to organize collectively, get rid of system and the new system will be developed in the revolutionary struggle.
  • We need to find a way to speak to people on visceral level about the discontent people have about their lives. 
  • Example: abused child will cling to abusive parent; it can’t leave parent unless there is an alternative.
  • To win, one must destroy enemy’s ability to wage war.
(Carol: In Iranian revolution, even though Shah had world’s 5th largest army, he couldn’t stop revolution, because the army refused to attack its own people.)

CHRIS HEDGES: KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Capitalism has no internal check.
  • Crushing the Occupy movement is a danger sign.  Means rulers can only speak through force.  They are preparing.  They’ve already passed Draconian regulations.  They can now hold someone indefinitely, including at offshore prisons.
  • Inverted totalitarianism.  Corporate state has all the levers of power.
  • We must go back to mass movements and fight the fascists.
  • Resistance is a way to affirm life.
  • Greatest evil isn’t radical—it has no roots.  It asks no questions.  It can spread over the whole world. 

RAPE, MILITARISM AND MASCULINITY
Masculinity sees female body as permeable-coitus, lactation, menstruation, birth.  Transgression of female boundaries is thrilling.
  • Can lead to mass incarceration, genocide, and mass addiction.
  • Many vets are dying from suicide, alcoholism, drug addiction and CANCER.
  • Masculinity is a script, and a performance.
Question from audience: Are men victims?  Panelist answer: No, they’re damaged, but not victims.

CONFRONTING MISOGYNY
Third Wave Feminism: Example: Jennifer Baumgardner “What is feminism is individual to each woman”.  Does not see structural inequality within a racist/sexist global capitalist economy.  Men are missing as a class.
  • This is all coming from the Academy.
  • Post-modernism meets Post-Structuralism.
“There’s no such thing as It”, Feona Attwood 2012-example

Pornography facts:
36% of the internet is porn.  She listed all the features of the internet, including privacy, payment online, etc. as having been developed by pornography industry.
  • Porn has driven the net.
  • In January, they’ll have a Pornography meeting in Las Vegas.
  • We need to go from “empowerment” to “liberation”.
  • We are not living in the same world.  But, as Gramse said in 1929, we need a Pessimism of Intellect and a Optimism of Will.
  • Indigenous, Asian Women Against Pornography (Canada) are fighting a Global system of imperialism.  Patriarchy is part of national oppression.  Sexual conquest is part of war.  Involves World Bank, International Monetary Fund.  Part of privatization, tourist industry.
  • Under Mao, China had no prostitution. Now, in the 1980’s, prostitution is in every city.
  • Prostitution undermines indigenous communities.

VANDANA SHIVA-KEYNOTE SPEAKER
The world economy, organized as it is, has become a CATASTROPHE!
  • GNP is the only measure, meaning the measure of that which is commodified, is all that counts.
  • The commodification of women, prostitution and porn, is now counted in the GNP.
  • Environmental damage is not measured.
  • Soil, water degradation is not measured.—only products produced.
  • Industrial farming is our biggest threat.
  • Next year is “THE YEAR OF THE SOIL”.
  • Patenting of seed is commodification.  We have seed monopolies.
  • Anniversary of Bhopal is coming up.  
  • GMO crops –toxic systems of agriculture.
  • Eliminating insects who are the best controllers of insects.
  • We have only 22% biodiversity.
  • “Species have intelligence as they evolve.”
  • By 2050, ½ of American kids will be autistic.
  • We must create commons, stop privatization.
  • Cited Ghandi and Rosa Parks as examples of how we have to affirmatively take action to take what is ours. (Ghandi-salt, Parks-seat on bus).
  • We must each create a “garden of hope”, and be free (not commodified) creative beings.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: ALICE WALKER
We need to recover our friendships.

MY REACTIONS AND THOUGHTS FROM THE CONFERENCE
http://www.womenshealthinwomenshands.org/SelfHelp.htm
I avoid learning about the damage to our environment because it is so depressing, because 1) my consciousness is already raised; I believe that global warming is real and serious and 2) other than making modifications in my own lifestyle and working to help women to learn about our bodies and to love them, I don’t know what else to do at this time.  In this conference, I was able to get past the depression, because I was among friends, looking at these hard facts together, and I was learning about concrete actions that are taking place and also get suggestions on projects I could do.

Ultimately, I realized that I, at base, am an optimist.  No matter how bleak it looks, I keep remembering being in Iran after their revolution.  I also think about how although globalization is hurting people and the earth, it is also linking us more together, and that gives me great hope.

I think the main message I received was “we must fall in love with the earth”.  My own addition to that is, “we must fall out of love with industrialization”.

Also, everything that we do in self-help, which is having positive interactions amongst women, learning to trust each other, bonding, rejoicing in our bodies and getting acquainted with them, as well as learning how to control our fertility, to ease menstrual cramps, nurse our babies.  All this is entirely consistent with the goals of building communities, respecting nature, rejecting authoritarianism, seizing control of our lives.

Of course, I can’t help but be sad that the same individuals who are putting out this strong message seem to be unable to apply it to their own physical sexual and reproductive ownership.  The self-help movement should be on that stage, because we have learned how to gain power, both psychologically and physically through mutual help and the use of simple tools.

MEETING WITH PATRICIA MAGINNIS
http://patmaginnis.comPat and I went out to breakfast, then later she, Barbara Hoke and I had dinner.  After that, Pat and I went to a board meeting of the Hayward Department of Recreation and Parks.  They were considering removing their approval of some events put on by a rodeo group.  The events consist of putting a very young child on the back of a sheep to try to ride it, milking a cow in the arena, the use of a electric prod on horses. 50 people from the rodeo community came out to support these activities.  About 10 of us opposed it.  Eric Mills heads up the protest.  Although there were women and children there, the testosterone level in the room was palpable.  Also, this group is 100% white.  Some are ranchers, others run the rodeo.  The rodeo people won.

Pat and I made copies of some of her cartoons at the local copy place, and we talked about some of the events in the late 1960’s that prompted her to create them.  They are really great.  Pat loves to have people use her cartoons.  If you’re interested in using any, I recommend you write her or call her.  She is hard of hearing, so e-mail or snail mail is probably better.

Also, Pat would like to compile her cartoons.  If anyone wants to help in such a project, there are people in Northern California that have worked with Pat to create her website and I’m sure she and they would like to hear from you.

Barbara Hoke continues her 20-year coordination of the defense of an Oakland abortion clinic that is harassed each weekend.

CONTACTS:
Molly Arthur Birthkeeper Summit (April 30-May 3, 2015)
Molly6@pacbell.net
(415) 435-8031

Mary Lou Singleton
enchantedfamilymedicine.com

Suzanne Jay
Asian Women’s Coalition Ending Prostitution
awcep.info@gmail.com
(604) 760-1175

FOLLOW-UP:
Gail Dines
Professor of Wheelock College
  • I need to get in touch with her by e-mail.  What does she know about the Academy and how the post-structuralism and queer theory and pro-pornography movement developed?  Who funds it?
Molly Arthur-Molly has friend who uses herbal contraception
  • Plan for conference.  Perhaps go to Sacramento to speak.
Suzanne Jay
e-mail, maybe go visit.

IDEAS:
  • Article on commodification
  • Get in touch with herbalists to track down people using herbal contraceptives and spreading the knowledge of it.
  • Write Gail Dines to find out more about how post-structuralism and queer theory have affected the women’s studies departments.