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The Feminist Current is a bastion of “not the fun kind” of feminist discourse – Meghan Murphy steps up with this bold article and describes the challenges that women face when fighting for the radical notion that feminism should centre women in its practice.

 

   “Women who challenge discourse around “gender identity” have been largely isolated on the front lines for the past decade. Liberal feminists and progressives have chosen identity politics over feminism many times over and this is no exception. Those who are not invested in women’s liberation are well aware that the power they seek cannot be gained from supporting the independent women’s movement, and most haven’t bothered to think hard enough about the roots of patriarchy to understand what it is we are fighting in the first place. But even many of those whose politics are otherwise rooted radical feminist principles have felt afraid to publicly question the dogma of gender identity discourse. We are only too aware that refusing to accept and parrot back commonly accepted mantras places you on the wrong end of a modern witch hunt.

I don’t deny that I felt afraid, for many years, to take a firm position on discourse surrounding gender identity and trans politics, despite my opinion that women-only space and organizing is central to the feminist movement and to supporting women recovering from male violence.

In fact, for many years, I wasn’t quite sure what my position was, and worried that speaking out against the naturalizing of sexist gender roles that has come hand in hand with support for what is called “trans rights” would distract from my fight against the sex industry and violence against women. Punishments for questioning trans politics include losing one’s job, censorship, blacklisting, being physically and otherwise threatened and attacked by transactivists, and social ostracization — all things that prevent women from speaking out. (I have suffered many of these punishments already, of course, for failing to toe the party line and for allying with women labelled “TERF” or “transphobic.”)

We live in a time wherein basic feminist ideas have become unspeakable, while anti-feminist slurs and smears are widely accepted and even celebrated by those who claim to be social justice activists and progressives.

Regardless of the risks, I cannot, in good faith, support the neoliberal, individualistic notion of “gender identity”  — not as a feminist who understands how patriarchy came to be and continues to prevail or as a leftist who understands how systems of power work. I do not wish to be silent in the face of regressive and anti-feminist discourse, because I know that my silence does not help empower other women to speak out. I do not wish to abandon my sisters who have already suffered immensely for speaking out.”

-Megan Murphy

   Go read the rest of this article at the Feminist Current, it is an important powerful work.

Insightful essays not your bag?  A window looking into current events as they happen, and not how the handlers say they happen a bit too much?  Then don’t subscribe to Tom’s Dispatch.

This excerpt from ‘Bombs Away’ by Tom Engelhardt

“1. Success and Failure: Without a hint of exaggeration, you could say that, at the cost of $400,000 to $500,000, al-Qaeda’s 9/11 air assault created Washington’s multi-trillion-dollar Global War on Terror.  With a microscopic hijacked air force and a single morning’s air campaign, that group provoked an administration already dreaming of global domination into launching a worldwide air war (with a significant ground component) that would turn the TOPSHOTS-SYRIA-CONFLICTGreater Middle East — then a relatively calm (if largely autocratic) region — into a morass of conflicts, failed or collapsed states, ruined cities, and refugees by the millions, in which extreme Islamic terror outfits now seem to sprout like so many mushrooms.  This, you might say, was the brilliance of Osama bin Laden.  Seldom has so little air power (or perhaps power of any sort) been leveraged quite so purposefully into such sweeping consequences.  It may represent the most successful use of strategic bombing — that is, air power aimed at the civilian population of, and morale in, an enemy country — in history.

On the other hand, with only a slight hint of exaggeration, you might also conclude that seldom has an air campaign without end (almost 15 years and still expanding at the cost of untold billions of dollars) proven quite so unsuccessful.  Put another way, you could perhaps conclude that, in these years, Washington has bombed and missiled a world of Islamist terror outfits into existence.

On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda was the most modest of forces with militant followers in perhaps the low thousands in Afghanistan and tiny numbers of scattered supporters elsewhere on the planet.  Now, there are al-Qaeda spin-offs and wannabe outfits, often thriving, from Pakistan to Yemen, Syria to North Africa, and of course the Islamic State (ISIS), that self-proclaimed “caliphate” of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, still holds a sizeable chunk of territory in Iraq and Syria while its “brand” has spread to groups from Afghanistan to Libya.

Minimally, the U.S. air campaign, which has certainly killed enough terror leaders, “lieutenants,” “militants,” and others over these years, has shown no ability to halt the process and arguably has ploughed remarkably fertile ground for it.  Yet in response to the next terror outrage (as in Libya recently), the bombs continue to fall.  It’s a curious record in the generally disappointing annals of air power and well worth considering in more detail.”

 

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