Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Women’s March on Washington is an expression of solidarity for the fight against Trump and the far right

By SJ Otto
Next week end there will be a major march for women and women’s rights timed to coordinate with the Donald Trump inauguration, The Women’s March on Washington. Women from across the country will come to meet and march on January 21.
According to their mission and vision the organizers said:

We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families - recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us - immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault - and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.
In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office and to the world that women's rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.
We support the advocacy and resistance movements that reflect our multiple and intersecting identities. We call on all defenders of human rights to join us. This march is the first step towards unifying our communities, grounded in new relationships, to create change from the grassroots level up. We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all.

As can be expected there are the naysayers that believe the women’s march is a bad idea. Their reasons vary. Some have attacked the idea of so called “identity politics.” The Democratic Party is being advised to dump all of that and focus just on bread and butter issues that will appeal to the working class. A lot of pundits have noticed that uneducated white people, many who consider themselves democrats, voted for Trump.

Chris Arnade, of Quarts wrote before the election:

The United States is a place divided by race, class, and education. The 2016 election has divided us further. While minorities overwhelmingly favor the Democratic nominee for president, Hillary Clinton, whites are split at historic levels along the lines of educational background. Those with a college degree, the front-row kids, are much more likely to support Clinton than those without—the kids in the back.
Much of the reason for the divide lies in the fact that the front row is doing much better than the back row. While those in the back row earn about a fifth less than they did 35 years ago, the front row now earns more.
But the rift between Americans goes deeper than that. I am a front-row kid who has spent much of the last five years among those in the back row. And what I have seen are very different versions of America, with fundamentally different values and concepts of personal meaning.
It is this divide, along with the racial divide, that Donald Trump is exploiting now. It is a divide that blinded many of us in the front row to Trump’s broad appeal despite his ugly views. It is a divide that led many to underestimate him, and helped him come within reach of the US presidency.

Likewise is Kay S. Hymowitz who wrote for the New York Times:

I’m not a Trump supporter, but having talked to and read interviews with some of the 56 percent of white women and 43 percent of women overall who are, I think it’s safe to say this kind of talk will fool nobody.
Those women will – correctly – view the rally as organized by and for the women on the other side of the canyon. News media stories about the marchers refer to reproductive health clinic managers, professors, writers, attorneys, fashion designers, university students and 
an artist who is bringing her bachelorette party. There may well be a few small town factory workers and military wives among the 200,000 women expected to link arms on Jan. 21, but they will be alien creatures in a blue sea of creative and professional class elites. 
The women of the other side will – also correctly – know that the marchers look down on them as at best benighted fools and at worst racist haters. On her first show after the election Samantha Bee, one of the spokeswomen for the march, blasted “Caucasian Nation“ women for betraying their sex. Chelsea Handler, who is leading a satellite march in Hollywood-studded Sundance, described them as
If march enthusiasts are serious about wanting to speak for women, rather than laughing along with liberal comedians who treat the rubes like chopped liver…..They might learn that though they disliked Hillary Clinton, especially in the Rust Belt states, a significant number of Trump supporting women voted for Barack Obama. Many of them were eager to vote for a woman president. They put jobs, terrorism and health care before social issues, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t put off by Trump’s sexism. 

First of all, there are those who claim that a march will do nothing. Those people really have no solution of their own. The election is over and electoral politics has its limitations. We need to do all we can. Marches don’t get a lot of change accomplished but we can’t just do nothing.
Second, such a division can’t be helped. The Republican Party has been waging a class war on the American working class, the working poor and those in deep poverty. Many of us on the left have done what we can to reach out and support those classes. But quite often members of those very classes vote against their own interest. They vote for Republicans. Earlier last year labor leaders were in despair. They warned their members that Trump was especially down on labor unions. Most of their members voted for him anyway.
What these articles and others like them imply is that the better educated classes, of which the above authors claims were the supporters behind Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, has unfairly ganged up on their less fortunate working class democrats. There may be some truth to this, but to imply we should be more like the Republicans is not the answer. The less educate may be more likely to look down on gays, blacks and other minorities. But why should we have to stoop to that level? Such minorities need our support. We shouldn’t need to become Archie Bunkers to gain the support of poorer working class individuals.
I’m not sure why these authors think that the issue of decent jobs is not important to the better educated. Jobs are a problem for a lot of people. And not all well-educated professional class people have the jobs they want or need. After all, one of the things that struck with the Bernie Sanders crowds was the idea of free college education. Those who spend thousands to go and get a college education are tired of not finding the jobs they studied and trained for.
It is also puzzling as to why working people who need healthcare would vote for a man who wants to dismantle Obamacare (Affordable Care Act). The Republicans never have and never will want health care reform. They like the system. It is good for business.  
It is true that the Democrats have not done enough to support the working class. They have let them down. It was easy to see why Hillary Clinton did not appeal to the working class. But voting for the Republicans was like leaping from the frying pan into the fire.
The truth is that we need class war of our own. The Republicans are not the friend of the working man and neither are the corporations that rely on their support. Working people need to understand this. Corporate America has waged class war on the workers and poor people. The Women’s March on Washington gives us a chance to come together in solidarity for our own class warfare.

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