Monday, March 09, 2009

Women's Day in the Sun

March 8th – and looks like the 20,000 words per day women use (as opposed to men’s 7,000) were all deployed to celebrate IWD. A few men did use their 7T to say something about women but by today, 09 of March, they have likely forgotten all about us, except in terms of – ah well, you know what.

In any case, silence was my choice for IWD. Went here and there, was impressed by many talks, speeches, statements; savored every dish in the usual wall-to-wall buffet of the migrant workers who will open their first training on gender rights for domestic workers next month (email or call 212 592 3507, if you want to participate). Checked the Internet, radio, TV, for news of marches, demonstrations, tried to respond to questions verbal, email and otherwise, and was assailed by an unbearable mood, suddenly recalling driving through the redwood forest of California with Mirk and telling her, if we don’t make it this time, let’s just come back and do it again and again and again, to the end of time – it being women’s liberation.

Looks like we might just have to be reincarnated, because though IWD is 100 years old in the US and 98 for the rest of the world, the questions, doubts and hesitancies remain the same, as though women’s history and women’s struggles lie outside the pale of dialectics and must loop back to square one, hit the re-set button periodically, so we do Herstory every 20 years or so, re-inventing the wheel, as it were. It’s enough to cause us to tear our hair and call ourselves WMD (women of mass destruction) as we lay down the narratives created out of women’s blood, sweat and tears to the god of amnesia as demanded by patriarchal authority.

This is the only history I know of that is perceived as without a continuum. In other words, the questions and discourse remain the same, hay naku!

Isn’t asking for women’s equality under this exploitative system simply asking for the right to be equally exploited? Yes, if one believes that equality can be achieved under an exploitative system (which is of course ridiculous); no, if one knows that no exploitative system can provide complete equality because it is organized on the basis of disenfranchisement, deprivation and marginalization. Hence complete equality demands the dismantling of the system of exploitation. However, it is important to ask for equality under any system because doing so is part and parcel of the historical process of women developing a sense of their collective Self as women.

If this were the argument, that equality is simply the right to be equally exploited, what was the point in asking for the right to vote? Only the ruling class and its minions prevail in the electoral process, anyway. Or for the right to go to school? Or even the right to drive a vehicle? Why bother fielding such campaigns as “take back the night” in the face of the nihilistic argument that there’s no point to being safe from rape and assault in a society maintained by the violence of exploitation?

On the other hand, the last two decades showed us that trying to develop a non-exploiting system without working toward women’s equality is NOT possible -- as so many ambitious experiments in re-organizing society discovered to their own chagrin when their societies collapsed. And there’s a historical reason for that.

More next time. -- ##

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eagerly awaiting Part II. I've heard this thing about the uselessness of equality under this system. And quite agree that equality cannot be achieved; that the call for it is a spur to a greater social, economic and political role for women. Love your blog; ideas are so precise.