First Mourn Then Organize: 21 years since the Montreal Massacre

From Transforming Power:

Submitted by Judy Rebick on Mon, 12/06/2010 – 9:45am

Last year I spent December 6 in Montreal to attend a conference on the 20th Anniversary of what in Quebec they call Polytechique.  Below are my reflections following the conference and picking up on some of the extraordinary discussion that took place there.  We fought hard for December 6 to be marked every year as a day of action against violence against women and it continues to be even by women and men who were not yet born on that terrible day.   This year, like every year for the last 21st I will be at a vigil. Today in Toronto at 6 pm at Philosopher’s Walk, to remember the young women massacred  that day and the hundreds of women slaughtered since then.  There are vigils in every city in Canada and on most campuses. Please join us.

Like almost every woman and many men I know,  December 6 1989 was a day I will never forget. I heard it on the radio in my car.   I guess I was driving home from work. It was that time of day. At first the news was confusing, a gunman shooting at University of Montreal. In Canada? Couldn’t be. But very soon it became clear that it was women he was shooting, women at an Engineering School. I could hardly breathe with the instant knowledge that a man was targeting women in a school where the vast majority were male. Shock first, then grief and then a chilling recognition.

It was one of those profound public moments that impact each and every one of us in our very souls.   Stevie Cameron expressed it best for me in the Globe and Mail the next day.

“Now our daughters have been shocked to the core, as we all have, by the violence in Montréal. They hear the women were separated from the men and meticulously slaughtered by a man who blamed feminists for his troubles. . . . Fourteen of our bright and shining daughters won places in engineering schools, doing things we,their mothers, only dreamed of. That we lost them has broken our hearts; what is worse is that we are not surprised”

We were not surprised. Each of us recognized that rage. Feminists had been talking about it for decades. Violence against women was epidemic but it wasn’t until December 6, 1989 that the veil covering misogyny was lifted through an act of such fury and hatred it could not be explained any other way. That terrible act of violence allowed many of us to remember or to admit to ourselves or speak to others about the violence we had suffered at the hands of men.

We argued at the time that it is was not the act of a madman but an extreme form of the violence women face every day at the hands of men. But it was more than an extreme act of violence against women. “You are feminists,” he said before he commenced the slaughter, “I hate feminists.” Natalie Provost trying to save the lives of her classmates answered “We are not feminists.”

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Republican Anti-Semitism in Texas

It’s official.  We can stop pretending the Republicans are anything other than Nazis.

Or maybe they are the official party of the Klu Klux Klan.

Whatever.  Obama should be ashamed of his spinelessness in dealing with these bigots, racists and anti-Semites.

Joe My God pointed me to Think Progress:

TX GOP Official Opposes Jewish House Speaker: Christians ‘Are The People That Do The Best Jobs’

Last month, several Tea Party activists formed a right-wing coalition to oust Rep. Joe Straus (R) as Texas House Speaker. They began circulating emails with anti-Semitic messages against Straus, who is Jewish. The groups ran robo-calls and sent out e-mails demanding a “true Christian leader,” and calling Straus’ opponent, Rep. Ken Paxton (R), “a Christian Conservative who decided not to be pushed around by the Joe Straus thugs.”

Last week, the Texas Observer’s Abby Rapoport reported that she had obtained an email exchange between two members of the Texas State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) — Rebecca Williamson and John Cook. “We elected a house with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it,” Cook said in one of the emails. “Since the SREC governs state Republican Party affairs,” Rapoport wrote, “this marked the first time an elected party leader had semi-openly called for a ‘Christian conservative’ Speaker.” Cook then explained his views to Rapoport in a subsequent telephone interview:

“When I got involved in politics, I told people I wanted to put Christian conservatives in leadership positions,” he told me, explaining that he only supports Christian conservative candidates in Republican primary races.

“I want to make sure that a person I’m supporting is going to have my values. It’s not anything about Jews and whether I think their religion is right or Muslims and whether I think their religion is right. … I got into politics to put Christian conservatives into office. They’re the people that do the best jobs over all.”

Cook insisted he is not prejudiced against Jews:

“They’re some of my best friends,” he said of Jews, naming two friends of his. “I’m not bigoted at all; I’m not racist.” […

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For Transgender Homeless, Choice Of Shelter Can Prevent Violence

Reporting about New York City

From City Limits:

A pilot policy to allow transgender people to choose between men’s and women’s shelters has reduced violence. But women’s shelters are safer for either identity.

Monday, Dec 6, 2010

Tiffany Jones became homeless when she aged out of foster care last year. Although Jones identifies as a woman and takes female hormones, her legal paperwork identifies her as a man. But Jones was pleasantly surprised when she went to apply for help at a men’s shelter last September and was asked if she was transgender and wanted to live in a women’s shelter.

“They saw that I’m a woman,” says Jones, 22, who has been living in a women’s shelter for 10 months. “There’s still some negative attention surrounding living with women. I had a couple fights when I first came in but not anymore. I had to prove a point that just because I’m transgender there’s no way of beating me. But if I were in the men’s shelter I’d be beaten up or raped,” she said.

Jones was fortunate that the staff member who handled her intake at the men’s shelter knew about [ the city Department of Homeless Services (DHS) policy allowing a transgender and gender nonconforming person to choose to stay in the shelter for the gender that he or she identifies as, regardless of whether the person has taken legal or medical steps to align his or her body with that identity.

New York City’s policy was implemented in January 2006 after LGBT advocates lobbied DHS for three years about ending the harassment of transgender women living in men’s shelters.

Besides permitting transgender shelter-seekers to stay in shelters appropriate to their identity, the policy states that “staff will address individuals with names, titles and other terms appropriate to their gender identity” and “staff at Intake/Shelter assignments will receive training on diversity, transgender and intersex issues.”

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Jenifer Pool Announces Candidacy for Houston City Council

I missed this last month but given the election is next year…

Jenifer Pool is running for city council in Houston:

From Out Smart Magazine:

Local transgender activist and businesswoman Jenifer Rene Pool has announced her candidacy for Houston City Council, At-Large Position 2. Councilmember Sue Lovell, who is restricted from running for that office again by term limits, vacates the seat previously held by Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker.

“I run because I want to serve the citizens of Houston in helping to make my home, this great city, greater,” Poole said in a statement to the press. “I want to participate in the process of helping to find solutions to our challenges, create opportunities for all our citizens, make sure all constituents are represented, and become the most efficient and effective city government in the history of Houston.”

A longtime resident of Houston, Pool has worked in the construction industry since 1980, owning a consulting company that specializes in construction permitting, licensing, and project management. She currently serves as a city commissioner on the Building & Standards Commission, an appointment made by former Houston mayor Bill White. Pool also serves on the Police Advisory Commission, an appointment of Mayor Annise Parker. On October 6, Mayor Parker named Pool to a Blue Ribbon Task Force on Building & Standards.

A longtime community activist working with the LGBT community, Pool is past president of the GLBT Political Caucus, a board member of the Houston Transgender Unity Committee, and a steering committee member and past co-chair of the Diversity Committee of the Human Rights Campaign-Houston.

“There are issues in our city that require a clear and decisive voice to get things moving for the future well-being of all our citizens,” Poll concluded in her statement. “We are a great city and will be an even greater city in the future.” — Nancy Ford

Jenifer Pool has a Facebook Page

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Nothing Really Changes for those who are “Down by Law”

Growing up obviously LGBT/TQ was a minefield when I was a kid and still is a minefield, especially for the children of poor and working classes be they white or people of color.

Socially ostracized, bullied and treated as less worthy than your straight peers.

If you physically fought back then you were on detention, if you fight back now you are arrested and charged with a crime while people can abuse you with impunity.

If you work and study hard and win a scholarship people make you feel so unworthy of that scholarship you self sabotage.

While straight kids can start having relationships and engage in public displays of affection LGBT/TQ kids are not supposed even admit they are different.  As for entering a relationship with another kid who is different in the same way you are…  Better keep it a secret.  Better be ashamed of it… Better not engage in the same sort of public displays of affection straight people can and do.

If you dare act like you are as worthy as straights of having the same rights they have the abuse gets ratcheted up.  Teachers and schools administrators find reasons to punish you.  Parents find reasons to disown you and put you out on the streets to live or die on your own.

Be an obviously different kid of the lower classes, without the protection conferred by middle class status and the legal assistance middle class money can buy.

Being different results in police persecution and the treating of crimes committed by others upon your person as less serious.

There is always the message that if you weren’t queer this wouldn’t have happened to you or that you asked for this treatment simply by being what and who you are.

So pardon me if I put the following study in the same file as “Scientists discover people need oxygen”.  Something so obvious to those who are in the position of having been abused by not only bullies but by people in authority but apparently some obscure discovery on the part of those who are straight.

From Phyorg:

Lesbian, gay and bisexual teens singled out for punishment

December 6, 2010Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adolescents are about 40 percent more likely than other teens to be punished by school authorities, police and the courts, according to a study by Yale University researchers. Published in the January 2011 issue of the journal Pediatrics, the study is the first to document excessive punishment of LGB youth nationwide.

“We found that virtually all types of punishment—including school expulsions, arrests, juvenile convictions, adult convictions and especially police stops—were more frequently meted out to LGB youth,” said lead author Kathryn Himmelstein, who initiated the study while she was a Yale undergraduate. The research was supervised by Hannah Brueckner, professor of sociology and co-director of the Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course at Yale.

The study was based on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and included about 15,000 middle and high school students who were followed for seven years into early adulthood. The study collected details on participants’ sexuality, including feelings of sexual attraction, sexual relationships and self-labeling as LGB. Add Health also surveyed participants about how frequently they engaged in a variety of misbehaviors, ranging in severity from lying to parents, to using a weapon.
Add Health included detailed questions about school expulsions and contacts with the criminal justice system.

Himmelstein, who now teaches math at a public high school in New York City, said that adolescents who identified themselves as LGB were about 50 percent more likely to be stopped by police than other teenagers. Teens who reported feelings of attraction to members of the same sex, regardless of their self-identification, were more likely than other teens to be expelled from school or convicted of crimes as adults.

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Notice: They didn’t even bother to include TS/TG kids in this survey yet they tend to get even worse abuse than LGB kids.

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Wal-Mart Sex Bias Suit Heads To Supreme Court For Decision On Class-Action Status

So I wonder what position the anti-working class, misogynistic activist “conservative” judges will take on this matter?

From The Huffington Post:

MARK SHERMAN | 12/ 6/10 12:06 PM | AP

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Monday it will consider whether to keep alive the largest employment discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history, a case that claims Wal-Mart pays women less than men and promotes women less frequently.

The justices stepped into a dispute that could involve billions of dollars in back pay for 500,000 to 1.5 million women who work or once worked at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest private employer. But the case also could affect other class-action lawsuits, in which people with similar interests increase their leverage by joining together in a single claim.

Wal-Mart, backed by many business interests, praised the court’s intervention.

“The current confusion in class action law is harmful for everyone – employers, employees, businesses of all types and sizes, and the civil justice system,” the company said in a statement. “These are exceedingly important issues that reach far beyond this particular case.”

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The ability of the common people to unite and file class action lawsuits is our last defensive barrier to total corporate fascist rule.  Because no individual, especially ordinary non-billionaire citizen has enough money to muster the legal muscle corporations with huge war chests can.

Class action lawsuits give us the ability to challenge the right of corporations to fuck us over without fear retribution.

Removing that ability to fight back would mean we live in a total fascist state where the corporations can literally get away with murder and not be concerned with any legal challenge.

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Gay and lesbian teens are punished more at school, by police, study says

From The Washington Post:

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 6, 2010; 12:05 AM

Gay and lesbian teens in the United States are about 40 percent more likely than their straight peers to be punished by schools, police and the courts, according to a study published Monday, which finds that girls are especially at risk for unequal treatment.

The research, described as the first national look at sexual orientation and teen punishment, comes as a spate of high-profile bullying and suicide cases across the country have focused attention on the sometimes hidden cruelties of teen life.

The study, from Yale University, adds another layer, finding substantial disparities between gay and straight teens in school expulsions, arrests, convictions and police stops. The harsher approach is not explained by differences in misconduct, the study says.

“The most striking difference was for lesbian and bisexual girls, and they were two to three times as likely as girls with similar behavior to be punished,” said Kathryn Himmelstein, lead author of the study, published in the journal Pediatrics.

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The threat of dictatorship in Spain

From World Socialist Web Site:

6 December 2010

The decision by the Spanish government to use the army to seize airport control towers so as to defeat a wildcat strike by air traffic controllers is a warning to the entire working class.

The government of Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) has handed broad powers to the military by imposing a “state of alert,” nullifying basic democratic rights. The action exposes the thoroughly right wing character of this “socialist” government. In its determination to impose the will of the financial aristocracy, it is taking measures that have not been seen since the end of the fascist regime of General Franco in 1975.

The stench of a police state once again hangs over Spain. The 2,200 air traffic controllers were forced back to work Friday and Saturday at gunpoint. Armed soldiers now stand guard in the airport towers as the workers direct air traffic under the threat of immediate arrest should they stop work.

In an attempt to justify these actions, Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba said the workers were “holding the country to ransom” by defending their “unacceptable privileges.” He added, “The immediate effect is that the controllers are now under orders to go back to work and can be charged with a crime under the military penal code if they refuse. The state of alert will initially last for 15 days.”

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Obama Sells Out American Workers

I’m waiting until tomorrow when I have more information on this story.

But at this point I suggest people go read the several stories the last couple of days on Fire Dog Lake.

The one big lesson from the Clinton years is that the corporations are just well represented by the neo-lib right wing faction of the corporate party as they are by the neo-con ultra right wing.  Working people and the former middle class… Not so much.

It seems the corporation found there were actually a few manufacturing jobs left in the country so they sent their trade negotiator in chief, Obama to Korea to work out a deal for those jobs to be sent to Korea.

Cheap crap from China, not so cheap crap from Korea…

Pretty soon we can all work in big box stores or be baristas with advanced degrees.

Oh what a wonderful life in Amerikkka Mall selling each other mountains upon mountains of toys that we will need ever bigger houses and more storage space for.

And we shouldn’t even think about buying less because the entire economy is dependent on our consuming things on credit cards that we can’t afford.

After all from Reagan onward the whole Republican economic plan they call fiscal conservatism is based on borrow and spend while taking in less and less so that the consumers will continue to buy.

At some point we die of over consumption, like the people in that surreal French movie who ate and ate until they exploded.

Needless to say that most unions are less than thrilled with the prospect of a new NAFTA only this time with Korea.

Fuck Free Trade. Buy Local or Fair Trade.

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Assange Accuser Worked with US-Funded, CIA-Tied Anti-Castro Group

From Information Clearing House:
By: Kirk James Murphy, M.D.

December 05, 2010 “FDL” —  Yesterday Alexander Cockburn reminded us of the news Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett broke at Counterpunch in September.   Julian Assange’s chief accuser in Sweden has a significant history of work with anti-Castro groups, at least one of which is US funded and openly supported by a former CIA agent convicted in the mass murder of seventy three Cubans on an airliner he was involved in blowing up.

Anna Ardin (the official complainant) is often described by the media as a “leftist”. She has ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups. She published her anti-Castro diatribes (see here and here) in the Swedish-language publication Revista de Asignaturas Cubanas put out by Misceláneas de Cuba. From Oslo, Professor Michael Seltzer points out that this periodical is the product of a well-financed anti-Castro organization in Sweden. He further notes that the group is connected with Union Liberal Cubana led by Carlos Alberto Montaner whose CIA ties were exposed here.

Quelle surprise, no?  Shamir and Bennett went on to write about Ardin’s history in Cuba with a US funded group openly supported by a real terrorist: Luis Posada Carriles.

In Cuba she interacted with the feminist anti-Castro group Las damas de blanco (the Ladies in White). This group receives US government funds and the convicted anti-communist terrorist Luis Posada Carriles is a friend and supporter.  Wikipedia quotes Hebe de Bonafini, president of the Argentine Madres de Plaza de Mayo as saying that “the so-called Ladies in White defend the terrorism of the United States.”

Who is Luis Posada Carriles?  He’s a mass murderer, and former CIA agent.

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Alternative source:

Firedog Lake:

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