What follows is my post to the dopex activist list, after one member of the list made a series of unsubstantiated personal attacks against women on the list, myself in particular. It’s a pattern I’ve seen often; men, fight man to man, but resort to personal attacks when confronted with debating a woman. The flaming of women on listserves is a problematic deterent against full participation of women in the dialogue of the body politic.
For the full thread, the list can be subscribed to at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dope_x_resistancela/
all this talk about revolution: look how mr. shine responds, MAN TO MAN, to the post by male members of the group with whom he has differences, the same differences he has with me and norma, but with us, he refuses to engage in dialectical dialogue, resorting to abbreviated personal insults and dismissals, as if we were merely bad little girls, who should be seen and not heard, and sent to bed without supper. in his words: norma is a “petty (sic) bourgeois entrepreneur” and i am “lame”–an extremely offensive remark given my status as a (wageless worker and) person with a disability. “lame” is NEVER appropriate, as it is an abelist pejorative that continues the marginalization of pwds.
how angry, bitter, bigoted and personal his response to women, how “rational” and articulate his response to men.
now, i don’t bring this up to harp on mr. shine. his response and provocateur type behavior doesn’t really merit my energy, but i’ve seen this play on so many lists, and it needs to be pointed out. the marginalization of and personal attacks against women in any dialogue, because to engage would threaten the male ego should he fail to rise to the debate, is absolutely unacceptable!!! and yet it almost always goes unaddressed.
i responded to mr. shine’s attack on norma and his “polemic” in a lengthy statement that received a mere three phrase retort by mr. shine.
now, if women workers, union members, activists, like myself, who have put the wheel(chair) to the street for social justice their whole lives, can’t even be considered in the debate (and who is mr. shine to determine qualifications!!!!??) then of what revolution are we speaking!??
as for his repeated phrase “property less proletariat” which i assume is another attack on norma, the (omg!!!) real estate agent; is his beloved amiri baraka part of the property less proletariat? obama? how about all the workers who managed to purchase their own homes; are they to be similarly condemned? and to what end?
and yet, even the owning of property is rather an illusion (andy and i just squeezed into the l.a. housing market and it took real creativity.) the foreclosure scandal proves, we don’t really own our homes, not even the equity. we really pay rent to the bank in what is called a mortgage, because if we default on the loans, as many members of the “propertied proletariat” are experiencing, the bank takes the whole thing, equity and all!!!!
the petit bourgeois is a complicated class, not really a class at all. it contains all the workers and entrepreneurs who don’t own or produce the means of production. this includes the pushcart seller, the gardener, the real estate agent, the free lance electrician, the shop keeper, the private practice medical doctor, the farmer, but not the agribusiness farm worker. the class alliance of the p.b. is fluid. some members are obviously more organically aligned with the ruling class (the bourgeoisie) and others, like myself, and i would suspect, norma, more affiliated with the working class, understanding that any improvements in my life, security, opportunity will only come from collective action and social justice.
the proletariat consists of factory workers and all those involved in the means of production in the form of collective labor. this includes the md who works for the hmo, the labor aristocracy that can condemn the poor entrepreneurs who are kept out of the unions and the elite work. (many entrepreneurs are women, people of color, people with disabilities (pwds) immigrants etc, who have historically been prevented from entering the labor aristocracy.)Just check out the leadership of mr. shine’s electrical union, where he was recently elected recording secretary.
all of the elected officials are men. (he’s the tall blond in the black t-shirt.) if i or norma learned electric circuitry, could we advance to such a level? are there no women in the organization? what effort was made to include women in the leadership slate? are the wives, girlfriends, whores and mistresses of the leadership, members of the proletariat or are they also petty (sic) bourgeois entrepreneurs?
are teachers members of the proletariat? we produce the workers, and as norma so correctly points out, as such, function as tools of the state, while many of us, at the same time attempt to function as subversives, to the extent possible. (i’m retired, forced into usually wageless and otherwise entrepreneurial work by disability discrimination and the labor aristocracy– the teachers’ union, which does absolutely NOTHING regarding issues of discrimination, and the countless others who are more than happy to accept my voluntary labor, input etc, but as highly skilled as i am, won’t provide me with any real work, and certainly not at the wage i commissioned when i was a full time teacher.)
class divisions are complex and class alliances have much more to do with analysis and action then mere credentials and the simplicity of identity politics.
remember the saying from the 70s “class consciousness is knowing which side of the fence you are on. class analysis is knowing who is there with you.”
again, i understand the strategy behind voting for the lesser of two evils, but to claim that it is revolutionary, that it does more than prevent increased repression in the hope of establishing perhaps a few reforms, is naive at best.
it is ridiculous and i think, insulting to assume that all criticism of obama is a vote for mccain. on the other hand, we have so few electoral resources, especially given the hegemony of the two party system, that to resort to infighting over survival strategies seems equally counterproductive.
in my opinion, (as female as it is, not being a member of the penis proletariat–raise your flag!) i believe it is our responsibility as revolutionaries, and transformers, as workers, as entrepreneurs, as proletariats, as women, as men, as lame (sic) wageless workers, as immigrants, indigenous peoples, people of color, euro-amerikans, etc. to use, what in education is called “the teachable moment” and at every opportunity raise consciousness in hope of somehow dismantling this huge machine. to think that electing a representative of the machine will create that opportunity seems to me to be counterintuitive, on the other hand, to argue that at least it prevents worse things from happening, well, that argument i can understand, though it isn’t the path i chose to take.
now, let’s see if mr. shine cares to respond to me point by point. i challenge you, mr. shine, fight me man to man!
peace with justice!
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