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June 10, 2005

Relearning old lessons, again and again

Elaine Supkis pretty much says exactly what I wanted to be able to say about Kos making an idiot of himself on the sexism issue. But I couldn't say it, because I'm not a woman and was only eight years old during the heyday of SDS. So I'm glad Elaine said it instead.

Posted by Chris Clarke at June 10, 2005 08:22 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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thanks for the link chris. she is great. the comments are an interesting education on "accomodation" with lesser principles to supposedly achieve something greater. there is nothing gained by putting off equality for sometime later.

Posted by: dread pirate roberts at June 10, 2005 09:04 PM
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I agree with her. I remember some icon of the 60s saying that the only position for a woman in "the movement" was on her back. (Abbie Hoffman? I don't remember.) It's hard for me to believe that 40 years down the road we're still being told that it's necessary to prioritize, and that equal rights for all have to be near the bottom of the list. At least the Right is honest; they don't want us to have equal rights and they're pretty up-front about it. It hurts to hear it from the "Progressive" side.

Thanks for directing me towards her blog. She and I are roughly the same vintage; I'll enjoy reading her views.

Posted by: Vicki at June 11, 2005 06:23 AM
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Chris -- I'm with Vicki -- as a woman of just about Elaine's age with some of the same experiences and all of the same sensibilities, I'll also enjoy keeping up with her. Thanks for the pointer.

In fact, you may not have said exactly what Elaine said, but you said something that Kos would probably be more likely to understand in Let me put this so that you might understand it better, Kos. I didn't comment there then, but really loved that post.

Posted by: NYSusan at June 11, 2005 09:00 AM
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Vicki: It was Stokely Carmichael who made the "the position of women in the movement is prone" crack.

(To be fair, I guess I should note that at least one of the women who was there when he said it --- Casey Hayden, no slouch as a feminist --- says that Carmichael was supportive of women's rights, and that his comment was intended and taken as a harmless joke.)

Posted by: Angus at June 11, 2005 09:12 AM
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A couple of things to remember here:
1. People are allowed to get upset about things they don't like. People who disagree with the reason for people getting upset are allowed to get upset to, and respond.
2. This seems a lot like censorship. You don't like an ad? You don't have to watch it. The advertiser won't take it down? You can complain, and he/she/it can respond.
3. The people in the ad did what they did self-willingly. Sure, it was part of a TV show, but I haven't heard them complaining.
4. Not everyone has to share everyone else's point of view. #1 priority to someone may be off the list for someone else.

Posted by: tweedledopey at June 11, 2005 09:52 AM
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I agree with everything you've said here, t.

I'd take it further, in fact.

5) Kos has the right to say that he is the only person who knows what the truly important issues are, and to act dismissively toward people who maintain that he's being unnecessarily narrow-minded.

6) Kos has the right to tell 51 percent of the potential contributors to his little domain that they are less important than his desire to see Democrats in Name Only win elections over pro-choice Republicans.

7) Women who are offended by this have the right to leave in droves.

8) Anyone who is upset by any of this has the right to say whatever they want about any of it.

9) My implementation of that right is to opine that Kos is not just clueless, but repeating a sort of cluelessness that legions of men have learned to avoid - without becoming any less effective politically.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at June 11, 2005 10:13 AM
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Angus, thanks; I post-googled the phrase and discovered that it was Carmichael's.

"Kidding on the square" is a way to express a lot of truth without opening up a whole discussion which might prove dangerously divisive. Carmichael himself might not have meant it, but a lot of other radical men did, back in the day. That's what drove a lot of us into women's rights organizations from anti-war and minority rights groups.

Posted by: Vicki at June 11, 2005 11:09 AM
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I think that's it exactly, Vicki --- in fact, I suspect that Carmichael's joke may have derived its humor from the fact that he was expressing as humor something that a lot of men were thinking in all seriousness.

I'll note as well that it's been argued that SNCC was a considerably more woman-friendly environment than, for instance, SDS. For starters, SDS never had an Ella Baker.

Posted by: Angus at June 11, 2005 07:09 PM
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