Sunday, October 7, 2018

Look Out for the Federalist Society Majority

What is Behind Rape, Assault and Harassment

The outpouring of anger over sexual assault, rape and harassment by many women and some men after the Kavanaugh hearing reveals a dark secret about the U.S.  And if this is happening in the U.S., what is the scale in the rest of the world?  Cairo, Egypt was just named the sexual assault capital of the world, as 99% of the women there have been affected in one way or another.  And then there is India…where statistics show 39,000 reported rapes per year and the unbelievable figure that 99% of all Indian rapes go unreported. (That is almost 4M rapes if you do the math.)
Constitutional Drunken Frat Boy and Federalist Society Member

A friend who lived in Hungary for many years pointed out that ‘rape’ was almost unknown in Hungary when it was a workers’ state.  Drunk husbands beat their wives but sexual predations on wives, co-workers, friends and acquaintances, neighbors or strangers were almost unknown.  In other workers’ states this was also true. This is significant and being missed by the ‘concern’ liberals and media who seek only to have everyone tell their ‘story.’  “Telling your story” has become the main liberal method of fighting back in this capitalist society.   It is as if psychology is the only issue.  It is as if no one has remembered that the U.S. does not even have an equal rights amendment, while other capitalist countries do.

Telling stories is a start, but only that, yet that is where NG(P)R/ G(P)BS/ CNN/ MSNBC media stops.  But why are women, even in the ‘liberated’ U.S., second-class citizens that men can do with what they will?  Why do many institutions in the U.S. turn a blind or partly-blind eye to sexual predations?  The military, colleges and frats, employers, religious institutions and cults, health clinics and doctors, the mass media, the film industry - and most of all the judicial system, including the police - all play a role.  It is pretty clear that sexual assault is a systemic and institutional problem, not an individual problem of drinking or nasty, vicious men.

Brett Kavanaugh is part of the legal system that is asleep at the wheel, and now he runs it.  Right now, hundreds of thousands of rape kits lie mouldering in police basements.  Many more rapes are not reported for this reason and the fact that police and prosecutors don’t treat sexual assault as a crime.  “He said, she said” seems to nullify any serious attempt to bring rapists to justice, even though statistics show that only a very small number of accusations are untrue.  It should be “She said…” like any other crime.

But over and above the institutional support for women’s second-class sexual position is something even deeper – the profits to be made off of women’s second-class labor situation.  The most obvious is that sexual aggression is a non-financial reward for some men. And that divides the working class from itself.  It also enforces the class position of upper-class men, as in Kavanaugh’s instance or those of other rich misogynists too countless to name, many that have been in the news.  But most immediately, in a profit-based society the lower cost or free labor of countless women is an immediate boon to the bottom line of capital.  THAT is the real secret to why women under capital are second-class, and why the example of Hungary and other former workers’ states is so germane.  Women in the former workers' states were legally equal, economically advantaged and the culture of the country promoted their interests to a certain extent, even given the relative consumerist poverty and the time period.

In the U.S. the free labor provided by mostly women in human upkeep, reproduction and caring activities around family or the sick or elderly at home is something not born by capital.  The lower wages paid to mostly female-staffed jobs like waitresses, home-health care aides, cooks, teachers, nurses, sex workers, child-care workers, secretaries, clerks, bank tellers, cashiers, paralegals, receptionists, house-cleaners, sales people, maids, nannies, personal shoppers, female prisoners, garment workers and others is no accident.  The material needs of the profit system entail a certain level of caste-like ethnic and gender-based job coding, which is both profitable and also divides the working class as an added bonus.  ‘Male privilege’ is useful to capital, both culturally and economically.  It is not a cultural problem alone.

If the movement against sexual harassment, rape and assault only stays at the level of ‘telling stories’ it will not be able to confront the systemic forces behind the stories. It has to look at the institutions involved, especially the prosecutors and police who have given repeat rapists a license to continue.  (Many rapists continue if they are not caught…)  And it has to go beyond that to the economic benefit of women’s second-class status to the economic system.  Which is why unionization and workers power on the job is essential.  But this will certainly never enter the dialogue of the mass media or the Democratic Party, as it undermines their whole reason for being.  

As to the Kavanaugh hearing itself, as pointed out by others, the outcome was a forgone conclusion.  However, if the Democrats had not shown up to produce a quorum in the 'Justice' committee, no hearing could have proceeded on this reactionary Constitutional dinosaur.  That is, if they were really serious...which they are not.  Nor are they serious about fighting sexism except in the most symbolic or  bourgeois ways.

Other reviews on this topic:  “Missoula,” “FGM,” “Really, Rape, Still?” “Revolt She Said. Revolt Again,” “Celebrate Indian Women,” “Class Action."

Red Frog

October 7

Gilette, Wyoming

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