Supporting and Taking #MeToo Further: Bringing More Voices, Making the Links

November 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following letter comes from a Party supporter who contributes to the website. It has been edited for publication.

1.  While supporting those who have courageously spoken up, we need to encourage even more voices including from other sectors of society. I think the piece from and about the women farmworkers was very important for having big arms and welcoming and recognizing the importance of women in the arts/media speaking out and adding “us too.”

A prominent feminist writer who does valuable work and usually takes a good stand on things tweeted that “me too” was too much about actresses and therefore “class-skewed.” This doesn’t fully recognize the importance of these voices “breaching the dam” and opening the floodgates for women from all levels of society, including those on the bottom speaking out, even as more has to be done to lift up those voices (like housekeepers, which she was calling attention to).

In that light, what does it say that the city of Chicago had to pass an ordinance last month called “Hands Off/Pants On” initiated by the union representing hotel workers? The ordinance had been in the pipeline for months after a survey of housekeepers at major hotels revealed that more than 50 percent of the women experienced that the door to the room they were to clean was opened by a naked man or, once in the room, that a male hotel guest exposed themselves. These rooms typically cost well over $200/night. (The remedy? A panic button and the right to not keep cleaning the room!) But would this have even gotten out of the pipeline and received media attention were it not for the voices that originally spoke out?

2.  An overall point of orientation: I think it is important to underline the dialectical relationship of this to driving Trump/Pence out of office. This whole outpouring is very important in its own right and this has been festering over a long period of time including with the revanchism towards women (on a global scale), the mainstreaming of porn and the growth of Christian fascists in the U.S., and other reactionary fundamentalisms worldwide. Now this is concentrated in the Roy Moore election, especially given the whole picture of him as a predator that has spilled into the open. The Trump administration support for Moore could potentially lead to the unraveling of the whole thing or to the further consolidation of fascism. A lot is bound up in this right now.

The nomination and then the installation of the Trump/Pence regime both concentrates the revanchism towards women and gives great encouragement and backing in unleashing it throughout society. Everything from the packing of the courts (and now, according to Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times, a serious proposal for greatly expanding the number of judges sitting on the federal bench—in order to really dominate them)... to the bullying and harassing of women verbally and physically for daring to exist in male spheres and open their mouths... to the election of Trump himself given his whole history (owning “beauty pageants” and looking over teenage contestants, shaming the winner who gained weight, ad nauseam—not to mention the Access Hollywood tapes and over a dozen charges of harassment and assault). “Lock her up” referred to Hillary, but also refers to HER as in any woman. Going way back to the attacks on Rosie O'Donnell down to Megyn Kelly—Trump has uncorked a torrent of misogyny flowing out of the sewer.

I think the quote from Bob Avakian (BA) in Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution is extremely relevant here. He wrote:

The whole question of the position and role of women in society is more and more acutely posing itself in today's extreme circumstances.... It is not conceivable that all this will find any resolution other than in the most radical terms.... The question yet to be determined is: will it be a radical reactionary or a radical revolutionary resolution, will it mean the reinforcing of the chains of enslavement or the shattering of the most decisive links in those chains and the opening up of the possibility of realizing the complete elimination of all forms of such enslavement?

If Trump is allowed to stay in power, then the reactionary resolution pointed to by Bob Avakian in Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution is going to keep steamrolling over society. The implications of this in terms of what happens, how it is justified, for HOW people and in particular men and young men think, is horrific. This is a fight that cannot be won just by electing more women to local offices.

3.  On another level, BA makes the point in The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us:

There is this book by this guy—his name is ... (Michael Kimmel) called Angry White Men. And he made a statement which I think speaks to a lot of this sort of mobilized resentment, this frustrated entitlement. He said: “If you’ve been in a situation—speaking about men who feel aggrieved these days because ‘the bitches are getting everything their way’—if you’re used to having everything 100%. ... And that’s essentially what’s happening here. There have been certain concessions to the struggle against things like white supremacy, and patriarchy in different forms, and so on and so forth. So this feels to these people like their birthright of superiority—even if they are not wealthy and powerful, all of them, some of them are—their birthright is being undercut and diminished and destroyed by these minor concessions. I think this is very important to understand.

In that same talk, BA makes the point about how the triad at the foundation of the Trump/Pence package—white supremacy, male chauvinism and the patriarchy, and U.S. first with all its militarism—involves the exaltation of white American “manhood.”

There is a relationship between the attacks on the Black athletes and the Roy Moore election. Trump calling LaVar Ball an “ungrateful fool” reeked of white supremacy and not only that highly paid athletes should be grateful and patriotic but the implication was much broader in terms of fueling white resentment toward Black people as ungrateful for what being an American has given them (and even the idea that these reactionary fools say slavery gave Black people Christianity, work ethic and they should be grateful for it, etc.).

In the context of the Moore election in Alabama, this is a tried-and-true way to stir up the racist social base that they need to come out in droves to vote for Moore (and not sit out the election). BA made the point in his recent talk—let’s face it—the rally in Alabama where Trump launched the vitriolic attack on the football players who took a knee was basically a KKK rally. I think this is part of the picture in the election in Alabama as well as the bigger one.

Moore has a history of really incredibly vicious attacks against gay people, against the right to an abortion, and there is the whole Christian fascist package and there is what Alabama concentrates in the way of white supremacy. The fact that Moore’s opponent, Doug Jones, was the prosecutor of the KKK members who bombed the church that killed the four girls in Birmingham, decades after the fact, is also probably very symbolic in the South. According to an article at The Root, “WTF is wrong with Alabama?” “Heart of Dixie” is stamped on every license plate; the state is one of two in the country still celebrating Confederate Memorial Day as an official holiday; and in April 2017, Alabama passed a law fining any one or any jurisdiction $25,000 that tries to remove or rename a Confederate monument.

You could truly say that Roy Moore, who is styled by the Christian fascists as the “tip of the spear” of the Trump/Pence agenda, is the personification of BA’s quote that “The ‘Bible Belt’ in the U.S. is also the Lynching Belt.”

4.  Finally, BA makes the point in the same talk (page 13), in speaking to the underlying economic system: “What are the actual relations here? If you want to understand why people treat people the way they do, you have to look fundamentally to the underlying economic system, and the social relations that correspond to that, and then the ideas that arise on that basis and the contradictions and motion within all that. That’s the way you understand it. Otherwise, you’ll go around in a circle. ‘White people are racist.’ ‘Men are chauvinist.’ Well, overwhelmingly in a society like this, if you’re looking at the broad population, that’s true—but why is it true?”

This is dug into in depth in regard to women in A Declaration: For Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity, and this needs to be popularized and discussed.


Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.