Eve Ensler seems to have discovered state violence…in much the same way as Columbus ‘discovered’ America. She has announced herself ready to discuss and address the negative consequences of increased criminalization. Yet just a few months ago, One Billion Rising, Ensler’s global ‘anti-violence’ campaign, was primarily encouraging survivors of interpersonal violence to report their rapes & assaults to law enforcement. This, according to the campaign, was the way to hold perpetrators of violence ‘accountable’ for their actions.
Ensler and her collaborators were either unaware or didn’t care that the state itself is a major purveyor of gender violence. In fact, as suggested by advocates like Lauren Chief Elk, many women who come into contact with the criminal legal system seeking recourse find themselves becoming victims of that system. In addition, as Andy Smith has remarked: “…this approach actually disempowers women by locating the state as the solution to gender violence rather than actual political organizing by those impacted by gender violence.”
Students at Washington University in St. Louis are in day three of a sit in to protest their University’s relationship with Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal company. Caroline…
Powerful content that tackles our common cause. @joesmyth with @grist thank you both.
Written by Caroline Burney, senior at Washington University
I’ve learned many things in my four years at Washington University in St. Louis—not all of them in the classroom. For example, before I became a student at Wash U, I had never heard of Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private sector coal corporation.
In St. Louis, Peabody ingratiates itself to the local community by posing as a benefactor of the arts, charitable corporate ‘citizen,’ and hero tackling “energy poverty.” It all sounds pretty good until you realize that Peabody Energy is the world’s largest private sector coal corporation whose business model propagates climate change and destroys communities. Peabody’s list of crimes is a veritable laundry list of social and environmental injustices: the destruction of mountains in West Virginia, the forced relocation of Navajo and Hopi Indian tribes in Black Mesa, Arizona, being a major supporter of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which have been strong advocates of controversial legislation like “Stand Your Ground” laws, the destruction of Rocky Branch, Illinois through aggressive mining and logging, and the distortion of democracy here in St. Louis by striking down a city-wide ballot initiative.
Peabody CEO Greg Boyce also holds one more distinction: member of the Washington University Board of Trustees. Since Boyce was placed on the board in 2009, students have been actively organizing against Peabody Energy’s presence on campus. We have demanded that Boyce be removed from the Board of Trustees and that the University change the name of the “Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization,” a research entity to which Peabody and Arch Coal donated $5,000,000. We have met with the Chancellor — multiple times. We have dropped banners at coal events, peacefully disrupted speeches by Greg Boyce on campus, marched through campus and taken our demands to Peabody’s headquarters. We have protested with residents from Black Mesa, collected signatures for the Take Back St. Louis ballot initiative and rallied with the United Mine Workers in their fight against Peabody.
But, five years later, Boyce is still on the board, the name of the Clean Coal Consortium remains unchanged, and Chancellor Wrighton continues to stand behind Peabody Energy. Indeed, just this week he emailed us saying, “your opinion that peabody energy behaves in an ‘irresponsible and unjust manner’ is not one that I share.” The Administration has successfully used a “deny by delay” process by holding town hall meetings and developing task forces around renewable energy and energy efficiency while ignoring the role that coal plays on the campus.
Thus, like many campus divestment campaigns across the country, we are at a crossroads.
We’ve decided that it’s time to escalate to let Chancellor Wrighton and Greg Boyce know that we’re running out of time and we’re not going to back down. We are engaging in a sit-in of our admissions office to tell Chancellor Wrighton that our university can no longer legitimize destructive fossil fuel corporations. By having Greg Boyce on the Board of Trustees and hosting the “Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization,” the University is propagating the lie that coal is clean. But people who live in the communities where Peabody mines, including Black Mesa and Rocky Branch, know that coal is never clean.
Escalating on campus is scary. We know it is going to be divisive. We know our Chancellor fundamentally disagrees with us. But not escalating is even scarier. Not escalating means Peabody continues to destroy communities and our climate. And that’s a risk we cannot take.
Let Wash U know that you stand with us by signing our petition here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dENBVTZMTkcwSUlvQU5JbDVQMnR3LXc6MA
But the main weapons available to the poor in their struggle for survival were their own famished bodies, as in times of famine hordes of vagabonds and beggars surrounded the better off, half-dead of hunger and disease, grabbing their arms, exposing their wounds to them and forcing them to live in a state of constant fear at the prospect of both contamination and revolt.
"You cannot walk down a street or stop in a square" - a Venetian man wrote in the mid-16th century - "without multitudes surrounding you to beg for charity: you see hunger written on their faces, their eyes like gemless rings, the wretchedness of their bodies skins shaped only by bones."
A century later, in Florence, the scene was the same. “It was impossible to hear Mass,” one G. Balducci complained in April “so much was one importuned during the service by wretched people naked and covered with sores.”” —Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici (pdf)
Marxists make the compelling point that corporate capitalism creates a highly seductive and sexualized world in which impulse reigns. Accordingly, a new personality type steps forward: hedonistic, expressive, impulsive, and highly sexualized.
Corporate capitalism promotes a culture that values sexual pleasure. Sexuality is now often viewed as a natural and positive basis of self-fulfillment. The conventional wisdom is that too much self-control produces psychological and social problems. To most Marxists, however, this pleasure-oriented sexual culture does not promote real sexual freedom. A culture that celebrates a superficial drive for pleasure leads not to fulfillment but to an aimless, unhappy search for gratification. Moreover, sexuality focused on technique and performance comes to resemble work; accordingly, it loses much of its tender, intimate, and caring qualities. Finally, Marxists argue that as we search for personal happiness, the gross inequalities between the rich and poor go unchallenged. There can be no real sexual freedom until there is real individual freedom, which is impossible under capitalism.
Marxists argue, then, that a consumer-oriented economy has decisively shaped contemporary patterns of sexuality. Consumer capitalism promotes a view of sex as natural, brings sex into the public arena, creates new sex industries [porn, sex toys, phone sex], and champions sexual choice and pleasure. A capitalist sexual culture promotes tolerance, but it wants to make sex more open and acceptable solely so that sex can be used to sell goods, to attach the individual to consumerism, and to turn people’s attention to personal fulfillment rather than class inequality and political action.”” —Steven Seidman, “Social Theories of Sexuality: Marxism and Feminism,” The Social Construction of Sexuality (via funeral)
when global climate change destroys the earth and god comes down on the White Horse of Pestilence, he’s gonna point to you and be like “all this was because you didn’t use those reusable canvas grocery bags from whole foods”
The Flying Brick’s explanation on why they are not hosting Deep Green Resistance, an environmental group recently interviewed on Weekly Sedition.
TW: The explanation quotes a transphobic rant from Lierre Keith.
Here’s some useful info if you don’t know about Lierre Keith and DGR in general. It’s proto-fascist stuff.