[sixties-l] Fwd: The World March of Women

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 10/07/00

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    >Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2000 17:19:52 -0400
    >From: Black Radical Congress <blackradicalcongress@email.com>
    >This is a Press Release/Statement from the Black Radical Congress
    >The World March of Women
    >Statement of Support by the Black Feminist Caucus (BFC)
    >of the Black Radical Congress (BRC)
    >October 4, 2000
    >The Black Feminist Caucus (BFC) of the Black Radical
    >Congress (BRC) unites with our sisters around the globe
    >who are participating in the World March of Women (WMW)
    >on October 15, 2000 and are fighting to end poverty and
    >violence against women. Consistent with the demands of the
    >WMW, the BFC opposes patriarchy and capitalist exploitation
    >globally. We envision a holistic approach to the liberation
    >of women, one that fights on multiple fronts simultaneously.
    >The BFC also militantly opposes white supremacy, national
    >oppression, and heterosexism as systems and corresponding
    >ideologies of oppression that assault the humanity of
    >millions of women all over the world.
    >The BFC unites with the WMW's demands for international
    >structural changes that will change women's lived conditions
    >globally, including ending neo-liberal structural adjustment
    >programs and cutbacks in public services, and the cancellation
    >of the debt of all Third World countries. The U.S. organizers
    >of the WMW have focused on the universality of women's
    >oppression and have proposed three general demands: "(a)
    >eliminate poverty and ensure a fair distribution of the
    >planet's wealth between rich and poor, and between women
    >and men; (b) eliminate violence against women; and (c)
    >ensure equality between women and men." The BFC supports
    >these general demands. However, we also believe the
    >general U.S. demands fail to capture the racial and
    >national complexities of women's oppression.
    >The primary assumption underlying the three core U.S.
    >demands is that women suffer similarly, regardless of
    >class, race, nationality, and sexual identity. Yet, there
    >exist significant power differences among these social and
    >economic groups. Liberation for all women demands that we
    >address the unique and intersecting oppressions of race,
    >class, gender, sexual orientation, and nationality. Complete
    >liberation also requires a fundamental social and economic
    >transformation of our society.
    >The oppression of Black women in the U.S. is linked to the
    >oppression of our sisters around the world, and to our Black
    >male counterparts. A significant number of Black women are
    >victims/survivors of male violence, and this type of violence
    >must be eliminated. Male violence is among the various forms
    >of violence Black women in the U.S. face and resist. Many
    >Black women and men live together in communities that all
    >too often are ravaged by poverty, substandard housing, and
    >environmental hazards. Many of us are locked into dead end
    >jobs that don't pay a livable wage, and attend substandard
    >schools. We are subjected to similar structural policies
    >that reinforce our multiple oppressions, such as drug laws
    >and legislative and judicial practices that disproportionately
    >send Black women and men to prison, health care procedures
    >that ignore and/or reinforce race-gender health disparities,
    >and educational policies resulting in the subeducation of
    >our children.
    >The BFC asserts that Black women's oppression in the U.S. is
    >multiply determined by the intersection of four broad internal
    >and global structures: (a) globalization or global capitalism,
    >an emerging social structure that pushes increased privatization
    >and attempts to erode the public sector; (b) patriarchy and
    >sexism, the beliefs of male superiority and female inferiority
    >and the institutional subordination of women; (c) white
    >supremacy, the beliefs of white superiority and people
    >of color inferiority and the corresponding institutional
    >discrimination; and (d) homophobia and heterosexism, the
    >beliefs of heterosexual superiority and normalcy, and
    >institutional discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual,
    >and transgendered people. These ideological and structural
    >forms of oppression interact to shape our lived experiences,
    >and explain the disadvantaged social position of Black women
    >in the U.S. For example:
    >-- Within our political economic structure, work (paid and
    >unpaid) is both "raced" and "gendered," such that poor and
    >working class Black women are often relegated to low paying
    >jobs, and/or left out of the paid job market altogether.
    >Poor and working class Black women are disproportionately
    >impacted by the erosion of welfare and the loss of an
    >economic safety net for the U.S.'s poorest people.
    >-- Poor and working class Black women in the U.S. are
    >grossly over-represented in the prison system. They account
    >for approximately 12 percent of the general female population,
    >but are over 50 percent of the women's prison population. Since
    >the implementation of the "war on drugs" in the mid-1980s, Black
    >women's drug offense incarceration rate has risen over 800 percent.
    >-- In addition to state violence against Black women in U.S.
    >prisons, Black women also face sexual abuse and domestic
    >violence which is shaped by class and patriarchal structures.
    >Poor women, in general, are four times more likely to be
    >victims/survivors of sexual violence. The stereotypes of
    >Black women as sexually loose has served to justify sexual
    >violence against us and has played a negative role in how
    >Black survivors are treated within health facilities and
    >by the courts.
    >-- One of the most egregious manifestations of globalization
    >in the U.S. is the link between the rising funding disparities
    >between prisons and public education; the majority of states
    >in the U.S. spend nearly 10 times more on prisons than on
    >early education, and schools servicing urban Black girls
    >and boys carry the brunt of the cut-backs.
    >-- The intersection of class, gender, and social oppression
    >has had a devastating impact on Black women's health in the
    >U.S. Black women are more than twice as likely to develop
    >certain chronic and disabling health conditions compared
    >to white women (e.g., lupus and heart disease) and/or are
    >significantly more likely to die from diseases such as
    >breast cancer. Nearly 25 percent of reported AIDS cases
    >are women, and Black women are approximately 63 percent
    >of these cases.
    >In the spirit of the WMW, the BFC of the Black Radical
    >Congress unites around collective efforts to bring about
    >structural changes in our world -- changes that will help
    >to eradicate the disgraceful economic exploitation of workers
    >and to eliminate the multiple forms of oppression confronting
    >women. We also offer the following demands that target the
    >interlocking structures that serve to oppress Black women
    >in the United States.
    >The BFC adds these additional demands to the WMW:
    >1. Institutionalize a national living wage;
    >2. Institutionalize public policy to ensure an economic
    >safety net for poor women, men and children, including
    >dismantling the Personal Responsibility and Work
    >Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996;
    >3. Eliminate cultures of tolerance towards violence against
    >women and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered peoples;
    >4. End independent, cultural, and corporate-supported
    >bigotry and defamation of women in music, television,
    >film, the internet, etc.
    >6. Challenge the discrimination of non-traditional families.
    >7. End job, housing, and other forms of heterosexist
    >discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
    >transgendered peoples.
    >8. End drug legislation that requires jail time for
    >non-violent drug offenders;
    >9. End policies that strip incarcerated mothers of their
    >parental rights;
    >10. Revoke Resolution HR 254 and make sure that the United
    >States keeps its hands off of Assata Shakur.
    >11. Reorient the federal budget expenditures away from U.S.
    >prisons and towards public education;
    >12. Substantially increase funding for public K-16 education,
    >and equalize funding disparities between urban and suburban
    >13. End practices that disproportionately place poor and
    >working class Black girls and boys in "special" schools
    >and keeps them locked out of gifted and college preparatory
    >14. Invest in girls' extracurricular activities, including
    >sports teams;
    >15. Provide medical insurance to all women, men and children
    >that includes both prevention and intervention care;
    >16. Increase research and medical services to better understand
    >and prevent the significant health disparities in Black girls
    >and women (e.g., HIV/AIDS, Lupus, infant mortality).
    >17. End toxic dumping and other environmental practices in
    >poor, primarily people of color communities.
    >Statement of Purpose
    >June 22, 2000
    >The Black Feminist Caucus (BFC) is a women-led group working
    >within the Black Radical Congress (BRC) to build a movement
    >for the liberation of Black people. We believe that the
    >Black liberation movement fights for a world in which Black
    >people and all people are free from economic exploitation,
    >and all forms of oppression and discrimination. Our history
    >as oppressed people, the tradition of women as leaders and
    >militant fighters, and the inclusive definitions of family
    >that many of us have embraced as survivors of slavery and
    >colonialism belie the assumption that men are the "natural
    >leaders" of our community or movement or that male-dominated
    >families are the best way to raise children. In contrast,
    >history suggests that it is only when women and men live and
    >fight side by side that we move closer to a healthy and just
    >society. We therefore insist that the BRC maximize women's
    >leadership as a way to guard against chauvinism of the past
    >and present.
    >We ground our analysis in the experiences of Black women
    >-- women who bear the brunt of multiple oppressions in
    >this society. Specifically we give priority in our work to
    >sisters at the very bottom of the economic ladder; sisters
    >who every day suffer the violence of poverty, sexual abuse,
    >physical abuse, the criminal (in)justice system, substandard
    >or non-existent health care, poor working conditions and low
    >wages -- when work exists, unemployment and inadequate child
    >care. The people this society places last, we place first.
    >We believe that the Black liberation movement will only be
    >successful and principled when it consciously, consistently,
    >and aggressively fights against patriarchy (the assumption
    >that men should naturally dominate the family and by extension
    >organizations, institutions, and society); misogyny (the
    >hateful and violent treatment and depiction of women); sexism
    >(the institutional subordination of women); and rigid and
    >narrow definitions of masculinity, femininity and family
    >that compromise the humanity of women, children and men. A
    >critical part of our Black feminist vision is the militant
    >opposition to homophobia (fear, animosity, discrimination
    >and violence against lesbians, gay, bisexual, and trans-
    >gendered people) and heterosexism (the privileges, recognition
    >and rights enjoyed only by heterosexuals and the assumption
    >that heterosexuality is the only "normal" sexual identity).
    >As radical Black feminists we see a holistic approach
    >to liberation as necessary, one that fights on multiple
    >fronts simultaneously. We oppose imperialism (political and
    >economic domination of nations and oppressed peoples both
    >in the U.S. and world-wide); capitalist exploitation (the
    >exploitation of the majority -- poor and working people
    >-- for the benefit of the few -- rich, ruling class and
    >corporate elites; and the commodification of all aspects
    >of human existence); white supremacy (the belief in the
    >superiority of "whiteness" as a racial category and the
    >systemic domination of all people of color under this
    >hierarchy); and national oppression (the political, economic,
    >and racial domination of Black people throughout the U.S.),
    >as systems of oppression that assault the humanity of millions
    >of women all over the world. We insist that the fight against
    >patriarchy and homophobia is indivisible from the fight to
    >eliminate all other systems of oppression and exploitation
    >that intersect in all of our lives.
    >We understand that patriarchy has existed throughout history
    >in various economic and social systems. We recognize that if
    >we eliminate just imperialism and capitalist exploitation,
    >we will not be free; if we only eliminate white supremacy,
    >we will not be free; if we eliminate only patriarchy and
    >heterosexism, we will not be free. Our vision is to forge
    >a radical Black feminist movement which battles on each
    >of these fronts simultaneously. We unite with our sisters
    >across the globe who are fighting to eliminate the same
    >systems of oppression. A radical Black feminist vision
    >challenges us to root out injustices at every level and
    >in every crevice of our lives, communities, organizations
    >and societies.
    >The Black Radical Congress
    >National Office
    >P.O. Box 490365
    >Atlanta, GA 30349-0365
    >Phone: (404) 768-2529
    >Fax: (404) 614-8563

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