Today we report briefly on the first few days at the Roundhouse, but the focus will be on the world’s women and how the men who run capitalism have so profited from the abuse of women.
Senate Public Affairs Will Hear 3 Significant Bills Today
If you care about the cost of prescriptions drugs, family poverty, or how well New Mexico conducts its critical 2020 Census count, there are three related bills to be heard in the Senate Public Affairs Committee at 1:30 in Room 321 at the Roundhouse. If you come to the hearing, Retake volunteer coordinators will greet you with enthusiasm, buttons, one-page bill summaries, and encouragement.
If you are subscribed to our Legislative Alerts (click button on right of home page to sign up) you will receive an alert this morning (and most every morning for the entire session), which includes the bill name, number, speaking points and contact information for Senate Public Affairs members.
YUCCA Direct Action: A Powerful Highlight of Day One at the Roundhouse
YUCCA staged a dramatic direct action at the Roundhouse on Tuesday, opening day for the Roundhouse session, with students marched to the guillotine before a non-stop stream of legislative staff, advocate, and others entering the Roundhouse.
As a snare drum rolled, a group of older white males, myself included, marched the youth to the guillotine. The selection of older white males to perform this function was deliberate and meant to symbolize how it has been largely white males who have been the driving force behind the continued march to climate catastrophe and, to an unfortunate degree, largely white males who have the power to effect the kind of change needed to avert or at least mitigate disaster.
The youth remained beneath guillotines equipped with cardboard blades while other youth read a declaration demanding that those inside the Roundhouse rise to the occasion and begin to address the climate crisis. A particularly moving portion of the declaration was when students, started with the year 2030 and said, “most of you will be alive in 2030 to face the consequences of your actions.” They moved on to 2050 stating that “many of you inside will not be alive to face the consequences of your action, but we will.” They then went through other decades, declaring that the youth will be alive and dealing with the consequences of our collective inaction.
It was a most powerful action. Kudos to YUCCA youth who have the courage to speak truth to power. Shame on those inside who continue to fail to address the crisis at hand.
Capitalism & Its Rape of Women Worldwide
Roxanne and I spent the day on Saturday with a program called Better Angels. The program brings together Republicans and Democrats to discuss issues in a civil, inquiring manner. Five Republicans and five Democrats, including four Retake supporters, worked in small groups with the all-white male Republicans. While the program is well-intentioned, the format well-structured, and all but one of the participants was able to listen thoughtfully on most issues, on one issue the depth of disregard was palpable: socialism. To these Republicans, the concept of socialism was laughable, literally, and the plaudits for capitalism were entirely uncritical.
The Republicans spoke of how, in every instance, socialist experiments had devolved into chaos and totalitarianism, entirely ignoring the role the US, its allies, the banking system, the corporatocracy, and the media have had in creating the conditions that made chaos inevitable. Every socialist experiment was met with crippling economic boycotts, support for corporate hegemony, trade policies that undermined the economic experiments, and when all else failed, the fueling of opposition with arms, money, disinformation, and ultimately US-supported coups. Put bluntly: there has never been a genuine socialist experiment that wasn’t methodically undermined by the US, the mega corporations, and the media.
In the world of science, when you want to test a theory or approach, you create as equal a playing field as possible. You test one approach next to a control group and see which achieves the better outcomes. In the world of the 20th and 21st centuries, capitalists test socialism by undermining every conceivable contributing factor and then proclaim that socialism has again failed. And far too many Americans accept this pablum as truth.
And what are some of the crowning achievements of capitalism? The rape of the environment is one of its productions, bringing us closer by the day to extinction as our land, water, air, and people are pillaged for profit. And where has this profit gone? The pockets of a handful of billionaires fill while the rest of the world scrambles to survive.
Capitalism is a system most Republicans and many Democrats would say is an unqualified success. On Saturday, we heard over and over how without capitalism we wouldn’t have smart phones and smart TVs. Well, for all the smart devices we have today, we have far too few smart, discerning people. None of these Republicans questioned where these smart devices came from and the squalor in which those who produce those devices must live. This is capitalism. We have smart devices and those who make them have nothing.
Common Dreams has published a report on worldwide poverty with a focus on the poverty of the world’s women. The report began with this statement.
‘Economic inequality is out of control.’
That’s the opening line of Time to Care: Unpaid and Underpaid Care Work and the Global Inequality Crisis (pdf), a report that Oxfam International published Monday, ahead of the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) summit in Davos, Switzerland. “Common Dreams: “Blaming ‘Flawed and Sexist’ Capitalist System, Oxfam Report Finds 2,153 Billionaires Wealthier Than 4.6 Billion of World’s Poorest.”
The Common Dreams article goes on to cite a number of staggering statistics on world poverty. The graphic below will be easier to view on a laptop.
As if this were not enough evidence of what capitalism has wrought, Oxfam points to another rape, the economic rape of the world’s women. Oxfam points out that the wealth of just 22 men, I am guessing white men, is greater than the wealth of all the women in Africa. Common Dreams goes on to point out that:
Women and girls are among those who benefit least from today’s economic system. They spend billions of hours cooking, cleaning, and caring for children and the elderly.
Unpaid care work is the ‘hidden engine’ that keeps the wheels of our economies, businesses, and societies moving,” said Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar. “It is driven by women who often have little time to get an education, earn a decent living, or have a say in how our societies are run, and who are therefore trapped at the bottom of the economy.”Common Dreams: “Blaming ‘Flawed and Sexist’ Capitalist System, Oxfam Report Finds 2,153 Billionaires Wealthier Than 4.6 Billion of World’s Poorest.”
Common Dreams again quoted Behar as he offered one of several solutions to address gender inequality and the wealth gap that is caused by the huge amount of uncompensated care that women perform.
They must pass laws to tackle the huge amount of care work done by women and girls, and ensure that people who do some of the most important jobs in our society—caring for our parents, our children, and the most vulnerable—are paid a living wage,” he said. “Governments must prioritize care as being as important as all other sectors in order to build more human economies that work for everyone, not just a fortunate few.”Common Dreams: “Blaming ‘Flawed and Sexist’ Capitalist System, Oxfam Report Finds 2,153 Billionaires Wealthier Than 4.6 Billion of World’s Poorest.”
Returning to the original point of this post, capitalism has effectively produced our smart devices. And in so doing, it has both created enormous wealth for the 1% while subjugating half of the population to a life of unpaid labor caring for our children and parents. With any time left over, these same women perform some of the lowest paid, least appreciated, yet most vital services to our community: teaching, nursing, social work. And for those few women who obtain positions of higher responsibility, they most often earn far less than their male colleagues.
So, in answer to the Republicans at our Better Angels conversation, I’d say that our capitalist-produced smart devices have come at a cost. It is just not a cost paid by the white males who were so proud of their devices.
Maybe it is time to give an entirely different economic system an honest chance and, when we do, I’d put socialism at the top of the list. We already have a socialized network of highways, libraries, schools, postal, police force, and military. And these systems serving the public would serve us even better if we adequately subsidized them, instead of offering tax cuts, subsidies, and other giveaways to the 1%.
To read the full Oxfam report, click Time to Care: Unpaid and Underpaid Care Work and the Global Inequality Crisis (pdf) . To read the far shorter post from Common Dreams, click here. To connect with Oxfam, the source for much of the information in Common Dreams’ report, click here.
Paul & Roxanne