NOTES FROM THE RADICAL MARGIN: “STOP THIS TWO-PARTY MUSIC!” OR, “WHAT HAPPENS AT GEORGETOWN PREP, STAYS AT GEORGETOWN PREP”.
So, Kavanaugh seals the deal of the Supreme Court among all the goodwill and collegiality required for the occasion. That is to say, he affirms the trend already set by a court which had pronounced Bush to be the “elected” President in 2000, and had decided that corporations were people just like us, and so on. In the BB (before Brett) years, the Roberts court has ruled for corporations and employers, and against labor and employees about 2/3 of the time, and Brett will “enrich” such decisions to be sure. But let’s not pretend that suddenly SCOTUS has an immaculate political birth. Please!.
Don’t forget the recent cacophony of media voices that magnified their discord with sonic booms. It is worth taking a look now at where they belong in the percentage calculations of this caucus site’s users— top 1%, 2%… 5%?
Also, in general, do they not patronize the same (segregated by class) country clubs and golf courses, be they neo-liberals, neo-fascists, or whatever? Men or women? White or “other”? I don’t know where you place your bets, but I made a short list of familiar names who make more than a million dollars in yearly salary (not net worth or total family assets mind you—just salary). A relevant prelude for the marginal notes to follow, I thought, especially after the “two parties” and their media allies used Christine Ford as a political pawn, eventually sending her back to the silence from which she had dared to emerge. Talk about the victimization of survivors!
So, here are 9 men and 9 women from broadcast TV journalism and 3 “political” entertainers. We must remember too that the Senate’s reputation as a political club of millionaires remains intact, and was never called into question in this round of attacks and counterattacks anyway.
The entertainers first: Stephen Colbert, followed by the two Jimmies—Fallon and Kimmel.
The 9 women: Rachel Maddow, Erin Burnett, Maria Bartiromo, Mika Brzenski, Megyn Kelly, Martha MacCallum. Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer, Ann Curry, Tamron Hall, Brooke Baldwin.
The 9 men: Anderson Cooper, Chris Matthews, Shepard Smith, Chris Cuomo, Wolf Blitzer, Chris Wallace, Brian Williams, Sean Hannity, Joe Scarborough.
Everyone who visits this site knows (or, can easily discover) their media affiliation and political views. A few things to add here.
One, from the hypocrisy (climate change is not up for discussion) in face of the calamitous hurricanes Florence and now Michael, to the acrimony generated by Ford versus Kavanaugh testimonies, many people on this list are reincarnated with a different dress code, along with their “panels”, but always with indisputable omniscience. No matter what the challenge facing them.
Two, other than Tamron Hall, isn’t it the case that everyone else in this elite bunch (20 out of 21) is white? Too, what are the roles assigned by the mother companies (CBS, NBC et al) to women on late night TV? We know there are many comedic, witty, politically savvy women for these jobs, right?
Three, these people belong to our top layer—1, 2…5%, as does an indignant President, as do combative Senators. As such, they do not represent—politically or existentially—millions of us in the other percentage brackets—men, women, LGBT people in lower echelons of America, for whom “Georgetown Prep” could well be an expensive liquor brand.
So, we could take a different road to the truth, which would include for any victim of violence (which rape is) all dimensions of her world: the existential-experiential to be sure, but also econo-political, social-cultural and historical.
Actually, this road has been taken over and over: in my lifetime, clearly and what we used to think, decisively, by the women’s liberation movement and the emergence of American feminism in the Vietnam War era. Why doesn’t anyone bring forward this uplifting period of the struggle—on all fronts—by women in the US and other countries? I don’t expect corporate media stars to even mention this achievement, although many women in the firmament have benefited from the struggles of their mothers and grandmothers. But why are other voices largely silent? Voices of women and men who know better. Some in the neo-fascist media have presented the connection thus: “See? This anti-Brett, anti-Trump, anti-men shouting today is prompted by the barking of women’s lib hounds of the sixties and seventies.”
A brief look at the legacy then.
Right now, I am staring at a few books from my youth. They look worn out from the labor of having gathered together, informed and generated both the understanding of and impetus for the feminist movement of that period.
Sisterhood Is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement, edited by Robin Morgan, 1970.
The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution, by Shulamith Firestone, 1970.
Liberation Now: Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement, 1971. (An editorial statement follows.)
Women, Resistance and Revolution: A History of Women and Revolution in the Modern World, by Sheila Rowbotham, 1972.
The editors of Liberation Now, introduce the anthology thus: “We have intentionally omitted our names from the cover of this anthology. It is our personal/political conviction that to single out only our own names for special notice would distort the fact that the book was made possible by the efforts of every woman whose work appears herein.” Those words pretty much reflected the politics of “sisterhood” shared by all the movement women I had the privilege of working with. Notwithstanding the differences between different viewpoints.
The publication dates of these books (1970, 1971, 1972) are significant. In my youth, every writer and every activist from the women’s liberation movement lived and worked in the shadow of the Vietnam War. So, no one could deny the necessity of women and men struggling together to end that war. What is lost in the present context of setting up generic enemies of all kinds is the following simple truth. Every woman I knew or knew of, was painfully aware that their lives were intrinsically connected with the lives of men, by way of family, class, caste, culture, national origin, and also with other “sisters in revolution”: liberation struggles of women in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe.
Inside the US, the most immediate threat to men and women alike was the draft—the conscription of young men into America’s war machine. Again, simply put, almost every woman with whom I talked or laughed or marched knew someone or of someone who was or could be fighting in Indo-China. More simply, sons and brothers, fathers and uncles of women across the country were returning home in body bags or stretchers and the feminist movement attacked structures that shattered lives inside American families. The personal had to be political. Thus, Firestone’s arguments against patriarchal social formations, against “sexual class” asserted that men were victims of the system as well. Thus, these anthologies included Charlotte Gilman’s “Women and Economics”, Emma Goldman’s “Marriage and Love”, Sheila Hobson’s “Women and Television”, Carol Glassman’s “Women and the Welfare System”, Martha Shelley’s “Notes of a Radical Lesbian”, Debby D’Amico’s “To My White Working-Class Sisters”, the position paper of “Women’s Caucus, Political Science Department, University of Chicago”, and so on. Such writings were part of an exciting “pedagogy of the oppressed” to which we subscribed and brought into our classrooms. I don’t know who consults them anymore. But as a radical, I am curious.
There may not be conscription today, but wars started by the US continue endlessly. And there’s still an “economic draft” which deserves a serious discussion—certainly in the context of poor and working-class families. For now, let us remind ourselves that alumni of Georgetown Prep—Brett Kavanaugh’s predecessors, were not drafted to go fight in Vietnam. Nor were most of the Senators today. In fact, boys from elite schools and empowered wealthy families found a hundred and one ways to dodge the draft and then later boldly advocated the cause of the mightiest army that ever existed. Isn't "no consent needed for rape" at Georgetown Prep, part of the same tradition?
We must continue (and I shall to be sure) with discussion of “women, resistance and revolution”, because neo-libs have been ascribed the identity of the American “left”—it seems even by some radicals. Who is kidding whom?
The cynical ploy of using Christine Ford, survivor, to advance political agendas can be truly condemned and rebuked only by examining where we are today in relation to feminism and women’s liberation as a whole.