This post is a part of the “What Democracy Looks Like” weekly column, which covers left-wing movements and activism. Formerly known as “The Active Left.”
On Saturday, January 28, the newly formed Occupy Chicago Gender Equity Committee held its first direct action in Oak Brook, Illinois.
The committee describes itself as follows, taken from the groups Facebook page:
The Occupy Chicago Gender Equity Committee demands full and open access to social services for all people. We recognize that issues of gender equality are inseparable from the long-running history of oppression of the working class and racial minorities. The fight for a truly democratic society cannot be achieved without the struggle for gender equity. We stand with all our brothers and sisters engaged in the fight for equality and ask all of you to join us in this: the fight for dignity, equality, and democracy.
After meeting up in downtown Chicago early Saturday morning, around 20 or so demonstrators made up of occupiers and members of other organizations, headed out to Oak Brook and braved the brutal cold to protest the annual Speak Out Illinois conference. SOIL is a right-wing, anti-choice event made up of over 30 pro-life organizations, politicians and activists.
The protesters stood in front of the hotel were the conference was hosted. Some of the signs present read “Trust Women,” “Bigots Go Home,” “Keep Your Rosaries Off My Ovaries,” and “Don’t Soil Yourself,” to name a few. After an hour or so of chanting, the occupiers decided to hold a rally and speak-out. Speakers talked about the need for women to be able to have safe and legal abortions and how laws that ban abortion not only fail to decrease the amount of them, they also put the lives of women in danger. Ryne P. of Join the Impact Chicago–an LGBTQ group–stressed the importance of solidarity. Other groups represented were DuPage County NOW, Coalition Against Corporate Higher Education and the International Socialist Organization.
As soon as the speak-out concluded, the activists decided to march around the outside of the hotel, partly to be seen by the anti-choicers inside and partly to stay warm. While marching, the demonstrators chanted “Same Struggle, Same Fight. All Unite for Women’s Rights,” Two, Four, Six, Eight. Abortion Rights in Every State,” and a few others.
Some of highlights of the rally and the march were captured in a video made by Corrie W. of the Gender Equity Committee.
One speaker, and member of the ISO, brought to light the fact that 2012 will continue to be struggle because 2011 brought a myriad of anti-choice attacks from several politicians. Some examples are attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, an Ohio stunt to test the heart-beat of a fetus–which would have put in order some serious restrictions to abortions, a failed Mississippi law that attempted to deem a fertilized egg a legal person and a Georgia Republican’s plot to criminalize miscarriages. Last year also brought laughable remarks from anti-choice right-wingers such as when Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl said the “Not intended to be factual” statement that over 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s business came from providing abortions and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann’s insane statement that women were frequently getting abortions after shopping solely because of a Planned Parenthood near by a shopping mall.
The right-wing attacks prompted a re-birth to the women’s rights movement which saw mass city-wide demonstrations via the Walk For Choice campaigns around the country. Of course 2011 also brought the popular Slut Walk, which fought back against rape culture world wide.
Along with the draconian attempts to restrict abortion and the weird laws that would redefine rape, the right-wing attacks also put in danger basic female and male health services by demanding the aforementioned cuts to Planned Parenthood and other health providers.
Hopefully this year brings not only strong attempts to defend a woman’s right to choose, but also develops into an offensive feminist movement in the struggle for free abortion on demand and for the end of rape culture.
Happy Halloween! Hope that all is well, and I hope that you’re in the mood for some news! Today, the 7 Billionth person will be born today, and as the fanfare is going out, Mother Jones has a great piece describing why this isn’t a good thing (obviously). Now, without further ado, here are today’s batch of stories.
Why I hate Herman Cain
A Pair of Scandals for Herman Two scandals have arisen that might finally take down the former CEO of Godfather Pizza. First, documents have surfaced that prove that a dummy corporation, Prosperity USA, was created by Cain’s Chief of Staff Mark Block (the smoking guy from Cain’s latest campaign ad) and Deputy Chief of Staff Linda Hansen that funneled money into Cain’s campaign and acted in Cain’s interest. This would be a violation of campaign finance law (I know, I was shocked to hear that we still had any of those after the Supreme Court butchered it with the Citizens United decision). Second, allegations have been made by two women that Cain sexually harassed them while he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. The women were given a financial settlement to leave the association and keep their mouths shut. The combination of these scandals, along with the fact that people are wising up to the fact that his 999 Plan makes no sense at all, might make Herman Cain the latest ‘Not Romney’ candidate to fall by the wayside.
BREAKING: Planned Parenthood’s Committing Genocide According to Herman Cain, anyway. This is the story that inspired my overarching title and hatred. On Face the Nation yesterday, Cain doubled down on his claim that Planned Parenthood’s agenda is one of genocide of the African Americans in this country. He pointed to Planned Parenthood’s history and founder Margaret Sanger as proof of this. Think Progress notes that only one out of ten Planned Parenthood centers are located in predominantly African American neighborhoods, which would mean that their plan isn’t being enacted very well at all… Or maybe Herman Cain doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.
UPDATE: After looking at some of Margaret Sanger’s quotes, there was some evidence of racism and her involvement in the Eugenics movement. It’s important to note that these words were spoken at the turn of the 20th century, and that one person’s racist tendencies shouldn’t damn what their organization has become after a century. I stand by the fact that Cain is completely wrong in his account. I found a very rational analysis of the situation that you can read here
UNESCO admits Palestine as Full Member As it seems more and more likely that Palestine’s bid for UN Statehood is a non-starter (because of the inevitable US veto if it ever came to that), a shocking development has emerged. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization came out and admitted Palestine as a full member in its organization, in spite of threats by the United States of cutting tens of thousands of dollars in annual funding. Israel and the U.S. call this a tragic moment. Are you kidding me? What harm could be done by this except possibly raising the visibility of the fact that continued occupation and further Israeli settling of Palestinian land is an act of aggression in and of itself.
Bank of America Walks Back Monthly Debit Card Fee Bank of America is the latest big bank to start to back off their plans of charging nearly all customers a $5 monthly fee for the privilege of using a debit card. Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase have already backed off on the tactic. With antagonistic practices and the rise of Occupy Wall Street, perhaps more customers will realize that they don’t need these criminal institutions and will move their money to local credit unions and community banks. That’s what Bank of America is terrified of.
Libyan Rebels Reportedly find Ghaddafi’s Nuclear Weapons Libya’s Transitional Council has announced that they have discovered a cache of nuclear weapons that Ghaddafi had. The world community had been assured that no such weapons existed. In fact, Bush had us in a war with Iraq in 2006 that began under the demonstrably false claim that Saddam Hussein possessed nuclear weapons at the exact time he was welcoming Mummar Ghaddafi back into the fold as an example of a Middle Eastern leader who had willingly stopped trying to develop WMD. Way to go W. UN Inspectors will be in Libya this week to verify the existence of said weapons.
Occupy Wall Street Update A great piece from Allison Kilkenny at In These Times exposes the NYPD’s apparent system of sending addicts to Zuccotti Park and Occupy Wall Street. Harry Siegel, the former editor of the New York Sun, makes this claim in an op-ed in the New York Daily News today. After witnessing multiple instances of NYPD officers almost reciting a script to addicts and mentally ill individuals in other parks in the city. The phrase always used at the end was ‘take it to Zuccotti.’ On a lighter note, there was a very amusing op-ed on Truthout by Dr. Brian Moench, addressed to Rush Limbaugh from the ‘human debris’ (Limbaugh’s hilarious description of OWS protesters). Plus it’s festive because its thesis revolves around Halloween. Check it out!
Thanks for reading and staying informed! I want to wish all of the Occupy protesters the best and all the luck in the world. You are truly fighting the good fight. Keep reading The Progressive Playbook and come back soon for another Daily News Drop!
Sources: Mother Jones, Talking Points Memo, Politico, Think Progress, Feminists for Choice, Al Jazeera English, Firedoglake, The Raw Story, In These Times, Truthout
Win For Planned Parenthood A judge ruled that at least, for now, North Carolina cannot withhold funds from Planned Parenthood until a lawsuit over that part of the budget has been resolved. This means that Planned Parenthood needs to keep fighting, but in the meantime, thousands of women still have access to medical care. How is this even up for discussion?
Perry vs. Bachmann In this fun article, Amanda Marcotte compares the crazy level of Rick Perry against Michele Bachmann’s crazy, covering fun subjects like Christian dominionism, the Federal government’s existence, history, the Confederacy, sex, science, stimulus hypocrisy, women’s submission, and conversion stories! C’mon… you know you’re interested!
Bank of America It seems that Bank of America is getting ready to lay off a whole lotta’ people…. 3,500 but the end of September, and 10,000 jobs all together. I guess all of that tax money they’re sitting on isn’t enough to keep paying their employees. Also, related, Bank of America’s Director of Public Policy was caught telling Rick Perry, “we’ll help you out.” Oh, that’s great.
Chris Christie’s Moment of Truth In a rare moment of honesty, Chris Christie declared that climate change is real. I’m waiting for the screech heard round the world from Sarah Palin… still nothing. I guess when you’re a Republican, it doesn’t matter what you say. At least, on this issue, Christie seems to be seeing the light.
Ryan’s Office Calls Cops on Protest Seven unemployed constituents decided to hold a sit in at Paul Ryan’s office (who is, apparently, on vacation) to protest the decision to not hold any free town halls in August. They don’t want (nor should they) to pay the $15 fee just to SPEAK with their elected official, and I suspect having the cops called on them won’t exactly be persuasive enough to get them to change their minds.
Early Pet Domestication A skull found, believed to belong to a domesticated dog in Russia, is shedding some new light on early animal domestication. This is a fascinating article and I strongly encourage anyone who has any interest in pets, animals, and/or human behavior to read it.
See you later for Saturday’s Daily News Drop!
Sources: The Huffington Post, AlterNet, Democracy Now, Think Progress, Politico, Veganpetman.com, National Geographic
Debt Ceiling Who would have thought there’d be Republican infighting? John Boehner came up with a second plan after the CBO shot down the first one, and now he’s doing everything he can from begging to barking to get the rest of his party behind him. The biggest problem is the Tea Party, which the Republicans gladly used to get ahead politically, but it’s now coming back to bite them. It would be entertaining if it weren’t so scary. Also, read Digby’s take on everything here.
Abortion: Not Cut and Dry Pro-Choice groups would love to have you think that the only women who get abortions are “loose” women that don’t use protection and use abortion as a means of birth control. They never really want to discuss women who had a very much wanted baby who elected to get an abortion because of a problem. This is a really good article just reminding people that sometimes, abortion IS necessary, and we should be diligent about preserving the right to get one. Semi-related, a Planned Parenthood clinic was firebombed last night. Who knew that having the right to get medical care could be so frightening?
Father’s Rights Movement This is an interesting article about the emergency of “Father’s Rights” groups and deals with challenges that all parties face in a divorce and custody battles. It offers some new perspectives and a lot of information you’ve probably never heard before. A good read.
Stem Cell Funding a Go! A Federal Judge tossed out the lawsuit opposing stem cell research today. This is definitely a huge win for science, and something we did not see a lot of under the last administration!
9/11 Responders Get Screwed Apparently there is “inadequate ‘published scientific and medical findings’ that a causal link exists between September 11 exposures and the occurrence of cancer in responders and survivors” (according to program Administrator John Howard). Therefore, 9/11 responders will NOT have their cancers covered under the Zadroga act. Absolutely shameful.
Broadway Celebrates! Thanks to the new legislation in New York, gay people can now get married, and Broadway celebrated by having couples get married on the stage at the St.James Theater (where “Hair” is playing for the summer). With all the bad news in the world right now, take a look a these pictures – they’ll make you smile.
Thanks for checking in today – I’m sorry it’s not more detailed. I’m a bit under the weather, but hopefully, you’ll return for tomorrow’s News Drop!
Sources: The Huffington Post, Mother Jones, PublicEye.org, McKinneyDentist.com, Digby’s Hullabaloo, NPR, Playbill.com, CNN
Every day, we will be bringing you news stories that are interesting, intriguing, maddening, entertaining, informative, and… well, you get the idea! There is so much going on in the news every day that it’s hard to keep track, but hopefully, this will give some food for thought and keep you coming back to The Progressive Playbook! So, without further ado, here are today’s stories:
Murdoch Paper Targeted Gordon Brown, Ex. Prime Minister It appears that Rupert Murdoch and his cronies might be in deeper trouble than originally thought, if that’s possible… news has broken that Britain’s former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and his family may have been the target of News International hackers.
Climate Change and the Montana Oil Spill An informative (and depressing) article about how climate change is contributing to disasters like the recent oil spill in the Montana Yellowstone River.
The Rebecca Watson/Richard Dawkins Controversy Listen to Citizen Radio’s coverage of the controversy that erupted after Richard Dawkins, Athiest extraordinaire, decided to take an “interesting” stance (to say the least) on one woman’s creepy elevator encounter. They do a great job of explaining what exactly happened and Jamie and Allison are hilarious as always! Also, here’s another take on the elevator incident and the subsequent fallout – it’s a good read!