Monday, October 25, 2010

Defend Christine O'Donnell against sexism, Attack Christine O'Donnell for Sexism

First, before I get into the meat of it, I have to thank Brother Boyd for most of the "heavy lifting" when it comes to this blog. As a collaborative project, I don't think I've really been holding my end of the collaborative process. We owe him a big debt of graduate.

Now, own with the post...

Although I am Canadian, I have been following the twists and turns of the recent elections, especially the "extremist" GOP candidates who have been nominated, chief among them is Christine O'Donnell.

I think that J.R. is 100% right when he says that defending people who are victimized deserve support, for whatever reason. This should be a principle for action for all progressive people in struggle for a more just world. That being said, it's important that in defending peoples against oppression, that does not mean support for that person. Our defence needs to be as critical as it is resolute.

In Christine O'Donnells case, we have to fight against the people who think that she is unfit to be political because she is a women, at the same time, we must attack her for her positions that actively dis-empower women, LBGT* peoples, working people and immigrants.

In 1997, O'Donnell took to C-SPAN to complain that the government was spending too much money combating AIDS. She voiced concerns that a drag queen ball "celebrates the type of lifestyle which leads to the disease." She also objected to calling those with AIDS "victims" and said the disease was a consequence of a certain "lifestyle." She opposes abortion rights, even in the event of rape, incest or the health of the mother. She wants troops on the nation's northern and southern borders, walls and no amnesty for illegal workers.

O'Donnell and Palin like to portray themselves as "feminists". The problem is that they are women who are directly opposed to women's rights and the steps forward women have made the last 100 years. Their brand of feminism is one that women play a very specific role in society counter to the wider goals of mainstream feminism and completely alien to the radical, revolutionary syndicalist feminism we hope to help develop.

So yes, feminists should defend Christine O'Donnell, and at the same time attack her for sexism, homophobia and hate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey dude,
Good post. I agree with you here. I think Margaret Thatcher is another good comparison. In my opinion we need to keep in mind systems of oppression and the status groups. Individual women can advance sometimes at the cost of women just as individual workers or groups of workers can advance their particular interests at the cost of the working class. And some women advance precisely through advancing agendas that attack women as a group.
I do want to say, I don't think I'd quite say we should "defend" women like this so much as we should criticize problematic attacks on these women, in order to hone in on the real problems we have. As part of that it's crucial to put forward our criticisms, as you said here - we should attack O'Donnell and Palin for their sexism, homophobia, and hate, attack them from a revolutionary perspective. I may be just quibbling over words but I don't see this as a matter of defense so much as the correct attack.

take care,