Three Retake-Supported Bills To Be Heard Today; A Look a Women & Poverty

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.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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7 replies

  1. Check this out!

    Keith Brown NYS Senate Joint Task Force hearing Someone put this on Twitter, with the title “Not Enough Socialism.”

    In New Mexico, they turned this public health problem into a make work and marketing opportunity!

    Did any of you know that there are 50 or more vacant housing units, here in Santa Fe? Some of these units have been vacant for nearly 2 years, as people die in the streets. A local non profit turned it into a make work project, meaning it could be vacant for another year, in order to take advantage of cash for jobs programs. They did a superficial remodel, displacing seniors and disabled people.This same complex was “remodeled” 8 years ago, and that took several years. Here in Santa Fe, not only do non profits actively misrepresent the poverty, and despair here they make money on it all.

    Then there is this. No wonder they needed to reframe toxic waste, as “Produced Water.”

    There is plenty of naturally occurring radiation here, and in some of our well water. Of course that kind of information would not benefit oil and gas, realtors, or LANL.

  2. In this article the many carcinogenic agents and radioactivity are not mentioned as being part of briny/salty water used/extracted by the oil and gas industry. —

    The Rolling Stone article should be given to all the legislators who voted for the bill last year. Especially to Mr. Egolf who declared: “The produced water bill, I think, is going to go down as one of the greatest environmental accomplishments to come out of the state legislature of New Mexico,”
    Egolf said. “Just the quantity of fresh, potable water that’s going to be saved for agricultural and municipal use is breathtaking.”
    I have known various very intelligent men in my life who were misinformed or ignorant about certain issues. I do not believe he is one of them.

    Genghis Khan and most, if not all emperors, in the history of Asia and Japan were males of color. I also believe that almost every empire and kingdom that existed during the last 7,000 years was created and controlled
    by males, white, brown, yellow or black. Or mixed.

    Kingdoms, Empires…and capitalism where always a ‘male thing’, no matter what color.
    I am considered a white male but I detest capitalism. So, not all white males, not all males, come out of the same mold.
    Although we are all born in the same Capitalist Culture, some males, a minority, are bred into a very well defined patriarchal, highly competitive, capitalist culture stressing their uniqueness and teaching them to be selfish, narcissist and egotistical. They are taught to accumulate power, money and property and to exploit ‘the lower, and inferior, classes’.
    Some may think that I am pedantic but I am convinced that we must change the way we describe our world, the narrative.
    So, we may want to think about the fact that the issues we have here in America with white males are part reality and part myth. The majority of white males in this country suffer deeply from capitalism and from the lack of true democracy.
    The truth is that every American, as well as most people from other nationalities, believe they were born in democracies.
    We need to destroy these myths and, as far as we are able to, speak truth to reality.
    That is why I have asked before from Paul and Roxane to give up the myth of retaking something that never existed, American Democracy.

    By using a true democratic process like a Peoples Assembly to search together for a more appropriate and real name for Retake, we could teach ourselves and others how to personally understand the power myths have over our lives and how to give them up, how to let them die, and how to grieve and mourn for that old, probably very old, part of our selves.


  3. Not to mention the war enacted out on the bodies of women in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, where millions of women have been raped as a tool of war to access mines that produce coltan, which is the key element in our cell phones. There are many articles written about it if you google, this is just one, and quotes Dr. Dennis Mukwege who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

  4. A family in Carlsbad, and their chickens got a first hand taste of that produced water, The company graciously put out proprietary product, Micro-Blaze, which does not clean up the salts and trace metals. They are now using the term “produced water” for marketing purposes, down in Gaslandia! What was once Toxic Fracking Waste and Brine, is now re-marketed as Produced Water. Se how clever they are?

    The brine solution is much saltier than sea water, and contains more contaminates making it a much different process than sea water desalination. NMSU relies on Oil and Gas Industry funding, that means they are not exactly independent. The salt concentration and mineral contents change, with the well locations, which of course they never mention.

  5. About capitalism being responsible for producing useful products: Isn’t it actually socialism for corporations? I’ve read about the fruits of government initiatives – which were funded by pooled citizen taxes; what’s more socialistic than that? – being appropriated by corporations who then turn around and charge us, who funded much of the initial research and development, high prices for products and services that we paid to develop.
    The degree to which people cleave to ideologically-determined beliefs in spite of evidence which invalidates those beliefs is disheartening. All the more reason to fight for net neutrality.

  6. About capitalism producing smart devices: isn’t a lot of the research for technological breakthroughs funded by government? Corporations appropriate publicly-funded research (hey, that’s socialism!) and privatize it.

  7. Yeah! We have to remember that American Taxpayers funded the government research that led to those smart devices. We need to be looking at how they are being weaponized for use against us.

    We paid for the research in war zones, and now they are bringing it home. it is a lot more nefarious than just their work for ICE.

    “Thiel suggests that growth is essentially a religious obligation — “building the kingdom of heaven today, here on Earth” — and that stagnation is, well, demonic — the chaotic sea “where the demon Leviathan lives.” This binary appears frequently in Thiel’s writing, where “progress” is always aligned with technology and the individual, and “chaos” with politics and the masses. If Thiel has an apocalyptic fear of stasis, you can begin to see why his politics have changed over the past few years, as it has become less clear whether the booming technology industry has actually added much to the economy or to human happiness, let alone demonstrated “progress.”

    “Palantir has never masked its ambitions, in particular the desire to sell its services to the U.S. government — the CIA itself was an early investor in the startup through In-Q-Tel, the agency’s venture capital branch. But Palantir refuses to discuss or even name its government clientele, despite landing “at least $1.2 billion” in federal contracts since 2009, according to an August 2016 report in Politico. The company was last valued at $20 billion and is expected to pursue an IPO in the near future. In a 2012 interview with TechCrunch, while boasting of ties to the intelligence community, Karp said nondisclosure contracts prevent him from speaking about Palantir’s government work.”

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