From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/arts/gloria-steinem-robin-morgan-festival-albertine.html?_r=1
By Melena Ryzik
Oct. 5, 2017
Gloria Steinem first visited Paris in college — her first trip to Europe. “Everything was magic,” she said. She and her classmates quickly “acquired boyfriends,” as she put it, so they could hitch rides on scooters. They visited every cathedral and discovered that, if they arrived early at clubs, they’d be treated to a free glass of Champagne. She went to the markets at Les Halles and tasted escargot and climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
Robin Morgan also first went to Paris as a teenager, hired as an au pair for an American family. Once her charge went to sleep, “I would go out and frequent the places the poets had been, and just think, ‘my God, here was their land,’ ” she recalled.
Now Ms. Steinem and Ms. Morgan, pioneering activists, are thinking about France in another light, as the curators of Festival Albertine, the French-American cultural gathering in Manhattan. In its fourth installment, Nov. 1-5, it is examining feminism across the world, with “Feminism Has No Boundaries” (“Feminisme Sans Frontières”).
Ms. Morgan, an author and radio host, founded the Sisterhood Is Global Institute, a think tank, with the writer Simone de Beauvoir in 1984. Though de Beauvoir’s seminal 1949 book “The Second Sex” was a hit in the United States, the push for equality differs in France and America.
In France, feminism tends “to be more theoretical and academic,” Ms. Morgan said. Though there are more French national programs supporting working mothers, said Bénédicte de Montlaur, the French Embassy’s cultural counselor in New York, who came up with the festival theme, “we face the same issues, of underrepresentation, of lower salaries.”
Solutions will be debated on panels of writers and activists, including Roxane Gay, Cecile Richards, and the artist collective Guerrilla Girls, alongside prominent French thinkers like Camille Morineau, a museum director and curator.
France, Ms. Mornieau said, “is a country where people love to think and debate and criticize — to bitch, it’s the core of French culture.”
Explaining why she wanted to take part, Ms. Steinem said: “I’m always in favor of people sitting in a circle and sharing ideas. Something unexpected always comes out of it.” (The event, held at the Albertine bookshop inside the French Embassy in Manhattan, is free and first-come, first-serve.)
Ms. Steinem and Ms. Morgan, longtime friends and colleagues, met at the French Embassy to discuss their collaboration. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
Politics was going to come up no matter what, but what else did you want to include in this program?
STEINEM We wanted to talk about organizing, because the truism that movements grow from the bottom up, like a tree, and not from the top down, is still neglected. The politics of language is something as simple as always saying “mankind,” which people actually do see as men, instead of “humankind.” Mary Kathryn Nagle [a panelist] is a Cherokee lawyer and playwright, and I thought she would be a revelation. Because we don’t learn from languages that were here before Europeans showed up, and the fact that they didn’t have “he” and “she” — they weren’t gendered, they didn’t have a word for race.
And the body, for sex and race, is the source of our problem. If we didn’t have wombs, we’d be fine. It’s about reproduction.
You are still protesting some of the same things you talked about when you first started as activists. How do you manage the frustration of that?
STEINEM The best thing to do with frustration is to turn it into action, and anger. That’s the only way to relieve the pressure.
MORGAN And they’re not the same. It’s like mistaking a spiral for a circle: you come back at the same thing but at a different level; you see the change from before. The young women waking up to feminism now already wake up to more consciousness than my generation had. Even just simple things like equal pay — before you went, in my generation, and asked for a raise, you went through nausea and your palms sweating. Or before you said, ‘Henry, pick up your own socks.’ Any of those things. And younger women now just come in at a level that is wonderful to see.
It doesn’t help with the socks, though.
STEINEM Here’s the best answer I ever heard about the socks. Actually it was underwear: “When he leaves his underwear on the floor, I find it quite useful to nail it to the floor.” I never forgot that.
I was there on October 21, 1967. I was arrested in a non-violent act of protest against the war in Vietnam.
Sam Levin in San Francisco
Thursday 19 October 2017
Soon after he started working on the assembly line at Tesla, Jorge Ferro said he was taunted for being gay and threatened with violence. “Watch your back,” a supervisor warned after mocking his clothes for being “gay tight”, Ferro said.
The harassment didn’t stop after he reported it to a manager, and days after he made a second complaint, Ferro was punished, according to his account. An HR representative took away Ferro’s badge, claiming that he had an “injury” that prevented him from working and saying there’s “no place for handicapped people at Tesla”, he alleged.
Tesla repeatedly failed to stop the anti-gay harassment and fired Ferro in retaliation for seeking protection, according to a wrongful termination lawsuit, the latest discrimination scandal to roil Elon Musk’s electric car company.
“It’s revolting to me,” said Chris Dolan, Ferro’s attorney. “This is classic ‘blame the victim’.”
Tesla has defended itself against charges of discrimination: “There is no company on earth with a better track record than Tesla,” it said in a statement to the Guardian.
Ferro has come forward at a time when Tesla and companies across Silicon Valley are facing widespread scrutiny over harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct. A sexual harassment scandal at Uber launched an avalanche of complaints from women in the male-dominated industry about abuse, unwanted advances, assault and pay disparities.
Tesla – world-famous for its battery-powered vehicles and Musk’s vision of self-driving technology – has also faced accusations of sexual harassment and underpaying women. A female engineer who filed a lawsuit and spoke to the Guardian about her experiences was soon after fired, drawing allegations of “clear retaliation”. Tesla has denied the claims.
In addition to Ferro’s complaint, first reported by the Guardian, three black men who worked at Tesla have also filed a recent lawsuit alleging racist abuse and harassment, including attacks using the N-word and statements like “Go back to Africa”.
Tesla did not address specific allegations, but in a series of statements called the claims “unmeritorious” and argued that it was was not responsible since the employees are contractors.
By Thom Hartmann
October 15, 2017
Like an alcoholic family that won’t discuss alcoholism (proving Don Quixote’s warning never to mention rope in the home of a man who’s been hanged), far too many Americans are unwilling to acknowledge or even discuss the ongoing collapse of democracy in the United States.
President Jimmy Carter took it head on when he told me on my radio program that the Citizen’s United decision:
“[V]iolates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over.”
This “complete subversion of our political system” grew, in large part, out of Richard Nixon’s 1972 appointment of Lewis Powell to the Supreme Court. Powell, in 1971, had authored the infamous Powell Memo to the US Chamber of Commerce, strongly suggesting that corporate leaders needed to get politically involved and, essentially, take over everything from academia to our court system to our political system.
In 1976, in the Buckley case, Powell began the final destruction of American democracy by declaring that when rich people or corporations own politicians, all that money that got transferred to the politicians wasn’t bribery but, instead, was Constitutionally-protected First Amendment-defined “Free Speech.” The Court radically expanded that in 2010 with Citizens United.
As a result, there’s really very little democracy left in our democracy. Our votes are handled in secret by private, unaccountable for-profit corporations. Our laws are written, more often than not, by corporate lawyers/lobbyists or representatives of billionaire-level wealth. And our media is owned by the same class of investors/stockholders, so it’s a stretch to expect them to do much critical reporting on the situation.
In his book The Decline of the West, first published in German in 1918 and then in English in 1926, Oswald Spengler suggested that what we call Western civilization was then beginning to enter a “hardening” or “classical” phase in which all the nurturing and supportive structures of culture would become, instead, instruments of the exploitation of a growing peasant class to feed the wealth of a new and strengthening aristocracy.
Culture would become a parody of itself, average people’s expectations would decline while their wants would grow, and a new peasantry would emerge, which would cause the culture to stabilize in a “classic form” that, while Spengler doesn’t use the term, seems very much like feudalism—the medieval system in which the lord owned the land and everyone else was a vassal (a tenant who owed loyalty to the landlord).
Continue reading at: https://www.alternet.org/human-rights/america-no-longer-america