Listen to what mothers around the world really want….thank you, Code Pink
This 2018 film about young college women in pre-Roe v Wade Chicago makes clear what life was like when abortion was strictly a criminal operation, when everyone but the woman involved made decisions and had opinions about her womb and her sexuality. The Women’s Freedom Center in Brattleboro has an annual Women’s Film Festival each spring, and you can see Ask For Jane on March 30 at 6:00 pm at the New England Youth Theater. Gloria Steinem says every American should see this film—and we think our young people especially should see this.
One woman in the film speaks to her jailed companions about their naiveté, organizing an anonymous referral system for women “in trouble,” as it used to be called. “You don’t know how hard the world can be. But you’re about to find out.”
Jail was only part of it. Shaming continues to be a widespread weapon, but only for wombs, not for the penises involved. And beneath all that shame, violence still stalks us. The Women’s Freedom Center works with women who have been sexually assaulted or are in endangered by partner violence and abuse, which often includes financial abuse. The Women’s Film Festival is an educational fundraiser for the organization. Let’s keep on helping instead of judging. I think I remember hearing that it’s the Christian thing to do.
Treat yourself to a Green St. Patrick’s Day! Here’s ecofeminist Vandana Shiva in conversation with Amy Goodman about her two latest books, Who Really Feeds the World, and Oneness vs. the One Percent.. What she reveals is eye-opening and scary, the threats to survival very real. When Himalayan snow no longer feeds the rivers of Asia, what will its life, its people, do? But she also inspires with proven and doable fixes for our broken natural cycles, organic carbon sequestering a green new vision we can fuel with a Green New Deal.
Beautiful Vandana Shiva has led global efforts to save life-giving seeds now threatened by GMO patents that endanger life by forgetting what corporate-owned scientists don’t know. They patent seeds with BT, a poison that A.) doesn’t work and even backfires, creating superbugs and superweeds, and B.) .enriches the 1 percent. No one knows what joining genes with toxins will do to all life that feeds on it.
Shiva fought for India’s law that says to corporations: hey, you cannot patent life. She calls the 1 percent “rent collectors” on our new digital communication, digital currency, global finances, and our means for staying alive.. They turn our intelligence into “intellectual property,” and AI. She names Bezos and Gates “life-lords,” similar to the 19th century’s landlords, who got rich without working, and whose hubris imagined their ruthlessness natural. They were only “the fittest,” a dangerous misreading of Darwin if ever there was one.
They’ve turned the global economy into “a company store,” the same way landlords controlled what renters and share-croppers earned from their labors, and what share-croppers must pay for their needs at the company-owned store. No such regular robbery could happen without the threat of violence always present. But Shiva helps us remember Ghandi, non-violence, and democracy: we are many, and they are so few.
It’s the largest worker-owned cooperative corporation in the world. Georgia Kelly of the Praxis Peace Institute in California has been taking Americans there for decades, but most American have never heard of it. Mondragon doesn’t advertise; it has no public relations department. Started in Franco’s Spain, this cooperative kept a low profile, but since then they’ve transformed their poverty into wealth that values people over profits, and has put education at its center. This video shares Georgia describing how they handled the 2008 crash when so many jobs were lost. How? Not the way so many American companies did. This is an hour-long, but worth a watch—including great questions from the audience.
There are still spots available in this year’s Mondragon Seminar and Tour in Spain, June 16-22, 2019. To register, go to www.praxispeace.org/mondragon for info on registration, prices and travel.
Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, March 8, celebrated around the world. Do something special! Wear a big hat, go out with your girlfriends, negotiate for a raise, march for your rights! The date it commemorates marks its beginning in 1908, when 15,000 women marched in the streets of New York City, demanding shorter hours, better pay, and the right to vote.
The following year, an enterprising Socialist Party of America organized a women’s conference and proposed there that March 8th become an annual commemoration of women. The next year, 1911, a working women’s conference in Copenhagen attended by 100 women from 17 countries proposed March 8th become an international day of recognition. This year marks the 108th International Women’s Day.
So what do we American women have to show for it? Well, economist Heidi Hartmann, who founded the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington D.C., and who introduced us to the gender pay-gap and updates it every year, came out with a longer-term analysis with her colleague Stephen Rose in November 2018. They say that when looked at in 15-year increments, women make only 49 cents on a man’s dollar, not the more often cited 80 cents of Equal Pay Day that makes us feel as if we’re gaining a bit.
It’s pretty simple why this is so: American women are still much more likely than men to cut back hours or take a break from the job market to have children or care for a sick family member. Without affordable child care or family leave time built into our American social contract, women workers and their families cannot help but come up short.
Meanwhile, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) just released an update on women’s educational debt. Going to college in greater numbers than men now, women also tend to borrow more money. They owe two-thirds of the nation’s $1.3 TRILLION in educational debt—and then the pay gap (see above) makes it harder for her to pay it back. The women most deeply in debt upon graduating are African American women—on average owing $33,000, compared to $22,000 for white women and $19,500 for white men. The educational benefit that exists for military veterans just doesn’t apply here—but it could, with adequate state and federal support.
That apparently will take more women marching in the streets, and perhaps (gasp) more dread democratic socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.