Welcome to this week’s “zine.”
by Mark M
The Action of the Force of Gravity Upon a Small Body of Water (2000)
To the ocean
Men’s and women’s liberation!
Warren Farrell calls it gender transition.
Historically, men and women had it bad — in different ways. Apples and oranges different.
Women had it bad as the women’s movement has long pointed out, with the prejudices and injustices that movement has pointed out.
Men, in contrast, had it bad by, for instance, being conscripted and forced to fight and thereby risk death or maiming. Conscription was trafficking in men. And there is significant moral injury in killing another.
Much is rightly made of the long struggle for women to win the vote, finally in 1920, something they never should have been denied. Yet it was 52 more years before 18-year-old men, men who were expected to fight and risk injury and death for their nation, finally won the vote.
Sinking ship: Suddenly it’s “women and children first.” “Property” first, in that situation; men become sub-property in that situation.
Once women’s lib started taking hold, women had — in theory — options men didn’t have: Stay at home, work, or some combination of the two. Men’s “option” was simply: work. Having options is a form of power. One factor in the pay differences is men tend to commute farther. Another is women might forego a plum job with its longer commute or longer hours or whatever to be closer to family/children, seeking a work/family balance.
Farrell wrote a book called Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap—and What Women Can Do About It going into abundant detail on this matter.
Nader recently wrote, “In 1963 the Federal Equal Pay Act made it illegal to pay women lower wages than men.” Years ago, I once asked a woman in HR where I worked about men-women pay differences, and one thing she cited was experience at the given job.
A number of men’s jobs were plainly dangerous. Mining for instance. Few women, seeking a career, sought out these danger jobs.
A look at the most dangerous jobs indicates lumberjacks and roofers top the list.
The division of labor based on gender also is manifest in the home.
Warren Farrell points out that women get saddled with the ongoing housework, meals, laundry, and so forth.
Men get saddled with intermittent work. In my family, growing up, Mom regularly ran the vacuum cleaner and, if it broke, Dad was expected to fix it. (Later, us kids were expected to do some of the simpler tasks like dusting and vacuuming. Same for shoveling the driveway in winter.)
Dad changed the washers for the faucets, put on the snow tires once wintertime arrived, mowed the lawn, and so forth. The list was rather long, rather like this.
A danger in the women’s role was childbirth. Differing dangers.
Warren Farrell’s books do an excellent job of detailing all this; whereas I have made here merely a thumbnail.
Very sad to say, the political right appears to be reviving the “woman danger” of back-alley abortions.
It’s pretty sad. A child should be wanted; ideally by both parents, and here we are also overpopulated.
The basis of gender equality is to regard, aside from the roles in biological reproduction, men and women as interchangeable. If one doesn’t think they are interchangeable, then there really are going to be jobs where one gender is going to be better at it than the other. The whole ancient division of labor is part of the problem and should be abolished whether in the workplace or at home.
If there is a genetic basis for apparent differences in characteristics in men and women, there would never be, say, an effeminate man. So we are all individuals first and foremost and members of a gender secondarily.
(NOTE: The opinions that follow are not necessarily at all the views of ArtRoot, the Racine Literacy Council, nor the generous grant funders, the Osborne & Scekic Family Foundation, but are instead entirely my own.)
We tend to regard the Civil War and WW II as good wars, wars that made for a better world, that improved humanity, that freed the enslaved people and liberated Jews.
And so the idea that these were good wars serves to steer us into subsequent wars, with new Hitlers to fight and so forth.
In the case of the Civil War, somehow other nations got rid of slavery with little or no bloodshed, and for half of the total dollar cost of the Civil War, which according to the Atlantic amounted to $3 billion in 1860s money, all of the enslaved peoples’ freedom could have simply been purchased instead.
This “purchase method” was used in Washington, DC:
“The DC Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862 ended slavery in Washington, DC, freed 3,100 individuals, reimbursed those who had legally owned them and offered the newly freed women and men money to emigrate. It is this legislation, and the courage and struggle of those who fought to make it a reality, that we commemorate every April 16, DC Emancipation Day.”
In effect, slavery wasn’t abolished by the Civil War, it was transformed due to the Thirteenth Amendment‘s egregious loophole:
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Because the enslaved person had monetary value to the “owner,” the “owner,” despite woeful mistreatments, had an interest in the enslaved person not dying. But the loophole above had blacks charged often with relatively harmless crimes such as vagrancy and, once convicted, possibly worked to death because it was so easy to enslave further blacks under the loophole.
And then there was/is the South’s “Lost Cause” mythology along with Jim Crow laws and segregation, not to mention KKK terrorism, and so forth (this burning bus photo went around the world, the Communist countries making much of it), so abolishing slavery by force rather badly backfired. It didn’t end well for Lincoln either.
Booth was part of a failed conspiracy to revive the Confederate cause by eliminating the three most important officials of the United States government, Lincoln, Johnson, and Seward, though Booth, for his part in it, quite succeeded in making Lincoln a martyr. And so Lincoln’s image on the penny, the $5 bill, Mount Rushmore, that temple to him in Washington, DC, and lots of stuff named after him, in a way backfiring on Booth.
All the defendants were found guilty and four were hanged including the first woman executed by the United States government.
As for WW II, peace activist David Swanson has called it the worst thing humanity ever did to itself in that length of time. If the Axis powers had somehow won, the Allied leaders would have been tried for war crimes with the Nazis conducting “victor’s justice.”
On NPR’s Saturday Weekend Edition aired July 9, 2022, a story was aired about Russian soldiers raping Ukrainian women, and it also discussed Russian soldiers in WW II raping German women. It was completely silent on the fact that a good, that is to say bad, number of the Greatest Generation were rapists of women in France and Germany.
Finally, only in hindsight did the European theater of WW II come to be regarded as an effort to save the Jews. During the war, there were never enlistment posters saying to “Enlist and Help Save the Jews!”
The sad fact is, before the war, virtually no nation wanted to take in Jewish people. Only Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic increased their immigration quotas. The dictator of the Dominican Republic viewed Jews as racially desirable, as bringing whiteness to a land with many people of African descent. Land was set aside for 100,000 Jews, but fewer than 1,000 ever arrived. Such was the seeming global nature of anti-Semitism.
In June 1939, the St. Louis, a German ocean liner carrying over 900 Jewish refugees from Germany was turned away by Cuba. The ship sailed up the Florida coast, followed by the U.S. Coast Guard, which had been dispatched by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. to keep track of the ship in case the U.S. government could be persuaded to allow it to dock. The government was not persuaded, the ship returned to Europe, and over 250 of its passengers perished in the Holocaust.
Anne Frank’s father’s efforts to bring his family to the U.S. were all thwarted.
(Incidentally, Anne’s sister also kept a diary, but it was not rescued, alas. Even Anne’s was found strewn across the floor of where the Frank family hid.)
Even in the aftermath of WW II, with the Nazi death camps completely exposed for all the world to see, nations were not lining up to take in Jews. In fact, after WW II, “no nation, including the United States, was willing to accept more than a handful of the 200,000 to 250,000 Jewish men, women, and children who remained trapped in Germany” according to The Last Million: Europe’s Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War by David Nasaw.
During the war, there was a prior, much less deadly “solution” Germany had to its “Jewish question”:
In July 1940, Adolf Eichmann, a major planner of the Holocaust, intended to send all Jews to Madagascar, which now colonially belonged to Germany, France having been occupied. The ships would need to wait only until the British, which now meant Winston Churchill, ended their blockade. That day never came. (Winston was arguably anti-Semitic too.)
So Churchill’s naval blockade of Germany led to the vastly and utterly criminal “Final Solution.”
In Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, she reports:
Before the war, Germany sent people to the U.S. to study U.S. Jim Crow laws to see how they might treat the Jews.
They were surprised that in the U.S., Jews were considered white.
Also, in the U.S., a drop of black blood makes one black, but Germany’s Aryan requirements were looser because they wanted numbers.
And, of course, the “genociding” and “reservationing” of Native Americans was duly noted by the Nazis.
As for Pearl Harbor, peace activist David Swanson wrote a very long, comprehensive, detailed-with-documentation post indicating that Japan was provoked into attacking rather as Putin was provoked into invading Ukraine.
In a prior post, I mentioned this:
“On August 6, 1945, President Truman lied on the radio that a nuclear bomb had been dropped on an army base, rather than on a city. And he justified it, not as speeding the end of the war, but as revenge against Japanese offenses. ‘Mr. Truman was jubilant,’ wrote Dorothy Day.”
There is a book called On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Lt. Dave Grossman, ret’d, which explores the psychology of the act of killing.
In short, in war there is an aversion to killing such that in WW II, for instance, soldiers on both sides were firing over the heads of the enemy.
The U.S. Army, being what it was and is, saw this as a problem and sought to increase the kill rate through, for instance, changes in boot camp training which emphatically dehumanize the enemy.
They got the kill rate increased in the Korean war and managed to further increase it for the Viet Nam war.
The problem for the soldier is that there is a very strong moral injury to killing which leaves a virtually permanent psychological scar on the killing soldier. So that aversion to killing seems to serve a psychological protective service.
Also, the further in distance the enemy is, the easier it is to kill with little to no aversion, such as missiles or bomb dropping, or, nowadays, with a drone strike.
As for what to do about Hitler, my first post mentioned what Denmark and Norway nonviolently did.
I also mentioned that there are many ideas for nonviolently resisting (some people in Ukraine have done some of these).
“Though it defies consensus, between 1900 and 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance were more than twice as effective as their violent counterparts.”
Of course, there is no guaranteeing that one will come out alive when nonviolently resisting, but there is certainly no guarantee that one will come out alive when violently resisting, in other words, when one is fighting.
The Nazis’ “Final Solution” contributed to the establishment of the state of Israel displacing the Palestinians from their land.
Many Jews on the left were anti-Zionist. From an interview here:
“However, one thing I found most surprising going through the Jewish left press in the 1940s — publications of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party, the Communist Party, and writings by Hannah Arendt — is that even after the scope of the Holocaust was widely understood, their official position was still anti-Zionist. They may have called for Jews to be allowed to resettle in the lands from which they were expelled or massacred, with full rights and full citizenship, be allowed to immigrate to the United States, or even be allowed to emigrate to Palestine if there was nowhere else to go (as was often the case). But they were still wholly against partition and the establishment of a Jewish-only state.
“What is important to understand about that moment was that Zionism was a political choice — not only by western imperial powers, but also by Jewish leadership. They could have fought more strenuously for Jewish immigration to the United States. And a lot of the Zionist leaders actually fought against immigration to the United States….”
Shlomo Sand, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, asserts that many Jewish people trace to the Caucasus area where around 800 CE, a kingdom converted to Judaism en masse. See his book, The Invention of the Jewish People.
He speculates that the forebears of today’s Palestinians were once Jewish and that they converted to Islam in the long ago past.
Any “scorekeeping” of casualties clearly shows that the Palestinians are the underdogs in the conflict with Israel.
Finally, never buy into the oxymoron of a “humanitarian war.”
P.S. At least three cheers for the minority of nations with national anthems that are lyrically peaceful.
May it always be at peace . . .
Through harmonious relations and reconciliation
Way more than three cheers for world-savers Vasily Arkhipov and William Bassett. May their spirits live on into our own times.
P.P.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is recruiting co-signers on a letter to President Biden urging intensive diplomatic efforts with Russia to avert the use of nuclear weapons.
I wrote Rep. Steil to sign on (and also wrote to Sen. Baldwin and Sen. Johnson, President Biden and the State Department for good measure).
Total US aid to Ukraine, in dollars, looks like it exceeds the total military budgets of all but two countries in the world. These would be the U.S. at number one, China at number two.
I read that some Republicans object to this aid to Ukraine because they want the money to go to building the, for one thing, unenvironmental (interferes with animal migration) border wall.
To Donald, The:
Do you remember saying this?:
“I never understood wind, I know windmills very much, I’ve studied them more than anybody…tremendous fumes, gases are spewing into the atmosphere, you know we have a world, the world is tiny compared to the universe.”
Jeffrey St. Clair declared that the Trump Koan of the Week back on January 10, 2020. Certainly only very stable geniuses can think at that level.
Remember when you said:
“We’re going to win so much that you’re going to be sick and tired. You’re going to say, ‘Please, please, Mr. President, we’re sick and tired of winning. Please let us have at least one loss. It’s no longer exciting to win.’ And I’m going to say, ‘No way, we’re going to keep winning, and I don’t care if you like it or not.’”
The simple explanation for the outcome of the 2020 election wasn’t that it was stolen, but that a majority of voters were sick and tired of winning (not to mention all your only-you-can-do-it great-again making — too much of a good thing!).
Simple as that. I’m surprised that apparently has not occurred to you.
So now, go pat yourself on the back for all that winning (and America-greatness-making) and then take the Republican advice freely given to Al Gore for election 2000: Get over it.
To Trump, Don:
In the event you actually go to prison, it should be a for-profit one, don’t you think?
Though, alternatively, there’s plenty of justice for you to restore.
“Get government off our backs” except for things like abortion and…
Texas, West Virginia, Idaho, Oklahoma and other states have either implemented or are considering policies to punish investors, banks and pension funds that are backing the companies acting on climate change and moving away from businesses that put their assets at greater risk. These ill-advised policies are taking many forms. But together they amount to a bitter backlash against the growing level of investment in addressing the clear near- and long-term challenges of the climate crisis, and in taking advantage of the many business opportunities to solve them.
Additionally, ‘In May, former Vice President Mike Pence, writing in The Wall Street Journal, urged congressional Republicans to follow the states’ example by “end[ing] the use of ESG [environmental, social and governance] principles nationwide.” A month later, GOP lawmakers in Washington told E&E News that they will sponsor legislation that would do just that if they take over one or both chambers of Congress next year.’
This is why Noam Chomsky says the Republican Party is the most dangerous organization in human history; “Has there ever been an organization in human history that is dedicated, with such commitment, to the destruction of organized human life on Earth?”
Thankfully, our current Wisconsin State Treasurer, Sarah Godlewski (D), supports climate-safe investing.
Next week (subject to change): ‘S.BULL’ excerpt, Guest Filmmaker Jason Love, Africa
Boilerplate: As part of my community project as Racine Writer in Residence, I hereby invite Racine-area people to send me prose or poems of 250 words or less for me to consider for inclusion in my posts as a “guest appearance.” Former Racine Writers in Residence, I want to explicitly include you in this invitation. If you want, also send a photo and a very short “bio.” You will retain the copyright for the material you submit. Send to m.mk at att.net with “Racine WiR” in the subject line. Thank you.
Don’t hide your light under a bushel-sized basket; it is recommended that you let it be illuminating.