Re: [sixties-l] Angela Davis -The Color of Violence Against Women

From: Ted Morgan (
Date: 09/26/00

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    I echo Paula's remark thanking radman for sending along the highly relevant post of
    Angela Davis' speech on 'the color of violence against women.'  Given the
    continuing relevance of concern about violence of all types in our culture, I'm
    passing along the following znet posting from Margaret Randall on 'rage' in our
    culture, and some of its (other?) underlying causes --not meaning to make the
    direct connection between this rage and violence against women, but between the
    growing potential for violence in a culture of massive powerlessness and
    meaningless politics --the very opposite of some of the 60s zeitgeist.
    Ted Morgan
    Finally, if you pass this comment along to others --
    something you can do periodically but not repeatedly,
    please -- please remove the above material and include
    instead a personal explanation that explains that
    Commentaries are a premium sent to Sustainer Donors of
    Z/ZNet and that to learn more about the project and join
    folks can consult ZNet at or the ZNet
    Sustainer Pages at
    By Margaret Randall
    This week^s mail brought a letter quite suddenly and
    unceremoniously informing me that my health insurance
    provider is discontinuing my group policy. "Your existing
    QualMed health care coverage will end on October 31, 2000. .
    . this is the only notice you will receive" is the way the
    company^s account representatives put it. I am one year and
    three months away from 65, the age I will be eligible for
    Medicare (if Medicare still exists). And if HMOs still have
    senior plans by then, I may be able to draw on some
    combination of government and private coverage. Last year I
    earned $11,000. My partner is our household^s main provider,
    but I cannot be on her health plan because she is a teacher
    and the Public School System for which she works does not
    recognize domestic partners as families. For the past good
    many years we have been spending an additional two to three
    hundred dollars a month on my individual coverage. Now this
    cost will no longer be an option.
    I am one of the lucky ones. The same mail that delivered the
    above letter brought another telling me that longtime peace
    and justice activist Marv Davidov is currently fighting
    prostate cancer, diabetes, and a broken ankle. The letter
    asks for donations to help a man older than I am and with
    neither health insurance, a 401(k) plan, stocks and bonds or
    even a guaranteed job. I put what I could in the enclosed
    envelope, hope many others will be moved to do the same, and
    made a mental note to call my old friend.
    Still, I am not representative of the millions of U.S.
    Americans currently living below the poverty line, without
    health insurance, often even without adequate shelter and
    food. When compared with these citizens of the richest
    nation on earth, I have little about which to complain. Yet
    I am complaining. I am furious. A cursory look at either
    presidential candidate^s campaign promises in the area of
    health care and prescription drug accessibility shows cheap
    promises of "caring and commitment." Never mind that neither
    major party has placed our nation^s health high enough on
    its political agenda to insure the coverage enjoyed by
    citizens of all other industrialized countries and some
    countries that have nowhere near our level of
    industrialization. Attention to people^s health, education,
    and other basic needs is forever subordinate to maintaining
    the U.S. death machine.
    Those in power^whether they be our elected officials, the
    CEO^s of tobacco companies, manufacturers of automobile
    tires or insurance industry magnates^continue to seduce our
    support and then, when we need them, tell us they just can^t
    afford to help or that they want to "apologize to the
    American people" or say sorry: the coverage you^ve paid into
    all these years will end on such and such a date. Quite in
    spite of whom we vote into office, it is clear that
    corporate interests rule our lives. Further, increasingly
    sophisticated handling techniques are aimed at giving us the
    sense that our disempowerment is our fault. Any reassignment
    of priorities is our responsibility.
    The ever widening gap between those in power and those whose
    needs are not being met, the rhetoric that describes
    promises never intended to be kept, and the subtle and not
    so subtle shifting of blame from those in power to the
    victims of such a system, is creating a culture of rage
    whose effects upon our way of life are impossible to
    compute. But we can make some predictions. If we continue to
    spend more on prisons and the military than on people^s
    health and education, if corporate CEOs continue to draw six
    figure salaries while one fourth of our country^s children
    live in poverty, if more and more U.S. Americans swell the
    ranks of the homeless, the downsized, the throw-away elderly
    and those without healthcare, we cannot be surprised by the
    social rage that is everyday more evident.
    Road rage. Telephone rage. Massive depression and despair. A
    sense of disenfranchizement that forces people who care, in
    one election after another to swallow hard and cast their
    vote for whomever they presume to be the least damaging of
    the available "choices." This rage has been palpable for
    years in poor minority communities, inner city ghettos, on
    Indian reservations and in areas of rural poverty. The only
    change is that it has now invaded middle America: white
    middle-class suburbia. We are no longer surprised or even
    shocked by the teenager who goes on a killing spree or the
    presidential candidate who lies about his opponent^s and/or
    his own record and intentions. Still saddened but not
    An impotent rage courses through the nation^s veins, all its
    veins. Whether or not we as a people have a future with any
    degree of dignity and peace depends upon our collective
    ability to channel that rage into constructive action.
    Through lesson after painful lesson we are learning that
    this constructive action will not work if it is within the
    framework of electoral politics as we know it.

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