Speaking Out About the Santa Barbara Mass Murder

May 28, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Various Voices from the Movement to End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women, posted on the Stop Patriarchy blog.

On the Santa Barbara Mass Killings:

How Long Will Women Face Violence, Terror, Rape and Oppression?


by Sunsara Taylor

May 28, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

The mass murder carried out on May 23 in Santa Barbara by a young man who professed profound hatred of women—and who released a manifesto which revealed years of cultivated resentment, score-keeping against women for living lives that did not reduce to sexually servicing him, “loving” him, and hanging on his arm in a way that elevated his “status” as a man—poses these questions:

How long must women live with the fear of violence at the hands of men who are trained by society to hate them, to feel entitled to their bodies, to view women not as human but as things who exist to sexually and emotionally service them or bear their children?

How long will young women in “the West” face the likelihood of rape while in college while girls in Nigeria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere face the terror of death, abduction, or acid-attacks simply for going to school?

How much longer will we tolerate a society where every 15 seconds a woman is beaten, where every day three to four women are killed by their male partners, and where—on top of all this—the jails and prisons are then filled with the women who have dared to defend themselves against this abuse?

How long will we tolerate a culture which mainstreams violent and vicious pornography that trains millions and millions of men to see women's degradation, torture, and humiliation as “sexy”?

How many more girls and very young women will be kidnapped or tricked, sold by starving families or drugged and beaten into sexual slavery in every part of the world including here, where the average age of entry into prostitution is 12?

How long will women's lives be foreclosed by forced motherhood because they are unable to access safe, affordable, and unstigmatized birth control and abortion—rights which are under vicious and escalating assault in every part of this country right now as you read?

And how long will we be fed the bullshit LIE that women have “achieved their equality,” that all that is left is for individual women to “empower themselves” within this landscape of abuse and degradation?

The answer is simple: UNTIL WE MAKE REVOLUTION!

All this violence and terror against women is NOT “human nature.” It is the system that rules over the people. Today, this system is capitalism-imperialism, and in every part of the world the workings of this system are intensifying the vicious and cruel oppression and exploitation of women.

It is possible to end all this terror and oppression, but not without ending that system. NOT WITHOUT REVOLUTION—GENUINE, ALL-THE-WAY COMMUNIST REVOLUTION.

Through revolution, we can end once and for all the millennia of women being terrorized, abused, degraded and oppressed. Through revolution, we can get rid of the deep divisions in society that give rise to and require the oppression of women by men. Through revolution, when the time is right—and as a key part of what revolution actually means—the people can and must defeat and dismantle the state which rules over us and enforces all this oppression, and whose military and police forces actually concentrate this hatred of women. With a new revolutionary state power, a new form of rule that puts the needs of the people and the fight to dig up all forms of oppression and exploitation first, we can fully unleash and give backing to the pent-up fury of women at thousands of years of tradition's chains as a mighty force in achieving the full emancipation of all humanity.

This revolution is possible. This revolution is urgent. And the leadership and understanding for this revolution exists in Bob Avakian (BA) and the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. As concentrated in a just-released compendium, Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution, and in A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity, the vision and strategy for this revolution have been forged, and movement for this revolution IS being built. Get into this deeply and with urgency, and be part of spreading it.

At the same time, as part of hastening the development of such a revolution and preparing people to seize on it and take it all the way—OR even if you are not yet convinced of the need for such a revolution—join in the fight today to stand up against and shake off the ways this system puts on us. Refuse to stay silent or go along. Link up with the movement to End Pornography and Patriarchy: the Enslavement and Degradation of Women, becoming part of the fight right now to defeat this war on women and forging a spreading culture and community of revolt and liberation up against all the woman-hating that is so prevalent.

Answer the call of the future by stepping to the front lines of the fight to #BreakALLtheChains.

As BA has said over many years:

“You cannot break all the chains, except one. You cannot say you want to be free of exploitation and oppression, except you want to keep the oppression of women by men. You can’t say you want to liberate humanity yet keep one half of the people enslaved to the other half. The oppression of women is completely bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited, and the ending of all such conditions is impossible without the complete liberation of women. All this is why women have a tremendous role to play not only in making revolution but in making sure there is all-the-way revolution. The fury of women can and must be fully unleashed as a mighty force for proletarian revolution.”


In Light of the Tragic Shootings at UC Santa Barbara

by a California college student with Stop Patriarchy

In light of the tragic shootings at UC Santa Barbara, we need to stop dodging the cold truth: we live in a culture where despite the horror of seven bodies, this is not that shocking.

The shooter, Elliot Rodger, has been portrayed as a psychotic outlier; and the shooting has been reduced to a senseless, isolated incident. It is easier to blame the individual because if these mass shooting were a symptom of patriarchal culture, that would be an admission that women are oppressed, and if women are oppressed then the answer to mass shootings is bound up with dismantling the institutions that reinforce this oppression.

Rodger created a video describing his intentions that has since been published on YouTube where he declares, “If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you.” After watching this it becomes clear that this was a blatant hate crime against women rooted in male entitlement.

Like other mass shootings, the media has fought to remove this event from the revolting culture that continues to produce male shooters (out of 22 school shootings in this country, only 1 shooter has been female.) The problem is not mental illness, although this does play a role. The problem is a construct of masculinity that teaches male entitlement to women’s bodies; and that problem cannot be solved without confronting the patriarchy that institutionally desensitizes all of us to violence against #yesALLwomen.


The Montreal Massacre…and the UCSB Shooting

By a member of Stop Patriarchy in the Northwest

Every year in Canada on December 6th there’s a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, to commemorate what is known as the Montreal Massacre. In 1989 on Dec. 6th, Marc Lepine entered an occupied classroom in an engineering school, and after sending the men out of the room, and after proclaiming that he was “fighting feminists,” and that all the women there “were a bunch of feminists,” he shot the nine women in the classroom, killing 6 of them, and then went into the hallway to find more women to kill. All in all he shot 28 people and killed 14 women.

It was later revealed that one motivation for the attack was that he had not been accepted to the engineering program, and that he was angry that women had been accepted into the engineering program instead of him. He blamed women for ruining his life.

Fast forward to 2014, and the recent UCSB shooting where Elliot Rodgers proclaimed in a YouTube video before the shooting that he wanted retribution against the women that wouldn’t date him, and that weren’t interested in him, and who wouldn’t give him “their affection, and sex, and love.” His stated goal was to enter “the hottest sorority house and slaughter all the spoiled stuck-up blonde sluts.”

With both of these shooters there was an immense hatred of women, and frustrated entitlement that women had refused to conform to patriarchal notions of how women should behave. Either women were entering into universities to take away occupations and opportunities from men (more specifically Lepine), or women were not giving Rodgers the sex, love, and affection that he felt was his right, and that they were denying to him.

Are these both examples of a sick, mentally ill person…Yes, absolutely. But neither of them came up with these ideas and outlook on women and women’s roles in society and in relation to men. These massacres were not “isolated acts by individual madmen,” as the media outlets have been continually discussing with Rodgers, and as they posited about Lepine. We should not blatantly and irresponsibly ignore that these ideas and patriarchal notions are held by far more people than just those who shoot to kill, and these ideas are enforced and re-enforced by a whole system that rests on the continued and intensifying oppression of women. There is an actual war on women happening, to #yesALLwomen, and this is a life and death matter, for #yesALLwomen!

There is not much positive about this shooting, this is horrific…but if it kick starts a society-wide conversation about patriarchy, if it would cause society to have a National Day similar to Canada’s, if people throughout society were recognizing violence and hatred toward women and demanding a stop to it, if people came out into the streets against the war on women and were seeing that together we could stop patriarchy....those actions could be positive things that come out of this horrific tragedy. And things like that, they could contribute to ultimately ending patriarchy, and ushering in a day when no longer do women have to fear violence, or a possible death sentence being carried out against them, or actually be killed, simply because they happen to be female in a patriarchal world.


On the UCSB Massacre – We live in a society that dictates that it is human nature for men to be aggressive and controlling.

By a member of Stop Patriarchy in Southern California

We should remember those lost and injured at the UCSB massacre. We live in a rape culture where women have fear of walking down the streets at night. Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale, wrote that when she asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women. “They are afraid women will laugh at them.” She asked a group of women the same of men. “We’re afraid of being killed.”

There is a militarization of our young boys through pornography, video games, American chauvinism, extreme individualism, institutions of authority and terror, and a culture of rape and male entitlement. It is the patriarchy which grooms and arms young men into accepting masculinity as a capital of dominance and terror. This is an outrage.

Toxic masculinity, male entitlement, and patriarchal notions that men's titillation comes first are pathologies and the war on women is an epidemic. Every 15 seconds, a woman is beaten, maimed, tortured, raped or murdered. Women die everyday at the hands of men and are not isolated occurrences of a psychopath or mental health problems when we live in a society that dictates that it is human nature for men to be aggressive and controlling. The fact is that there is not a safe place in the world for women. Women are more likely to be beaten, raped, tortured, and murdered by their intimate partners in their home than anywhere else.

It’s no exaggeration to say there is a war on women! If what happened at UCSB were to happen at a church congregated by an ethnic minority, we would call this a crime of hate. This is misogyny rooted in patriarchy. If what happened to women were to happen to any section of people in the country or in another country, there would be massive outrage. Females are more likely to be killed in mass shootings. As sociologist Michael Kimmel has said, if women made up the majority of mass shootings against men, you bet gender would be an issue in the news. This was not an isolated or unique occurrence.

The suspect was a victim of countless bullying.

A former classmate said that Rodger was treated by his classmates as an oddball and that students mocked him and played jokes on him; once when Mr. Rodger fell asleep in his seat, classmates taped his head to his desk, he said.

“We said right from the get-go that that kid was going to lose it someday and just freak out,” he said. “Everyone made fun of him and stuff.”

Why do we want to stop talking about bullying the day he murders someone, and then it’s about personal responsibility? “Lock him away and throw away the key!” they say, or “Okay… now let’s talk about strengthening the family.” We want to pretend that there is no link between bullying and patriarchy and misogyny and violence against women.

Women do not have access or control over their own bodies. In this culture, women are to be used, abused, degraded and shamed. The bodies, lives, and futures of women account for nothing unless she can be an object of some man or men’s fantasies and his property.


“We want to believe he was unique…”

from a member of Stop Patriarchy in the Midwest

The destructive and deadly acts of Elliot Rodger provide a shocking view into the ongoing war on women. This was made painfully clear to me while talking to a group of old friends on Sunday afternoon. They are women of a certain age who remember their old days of activism and despair at the current state of women's rights. The conversation went from the gender wage gap to the closing of abortion clinics. I began to talk about the organization Stop Patriarchy because it seemed a natural transition. As rightly identified by the Stop Patriarchy group these issues are not isolated nor accidental; they reflect a larger war on women. This idea derailed the conversation. My friends could see each issue as a distinct social problem but seemed to short-circuit at the idea that the issues were all connected and part of an underlying culture of control. One woman, with eyes wide and head cocked to one side, asked me for an example. Yes there were still battles to conquer but how do these individual issues translate into war on women? Could I provide one clear, unifying example?

Elliot Rodger. The words came out before I even had a chance to think. I do not dismiss the influence of mental illness and the out-of-control gun culture but those are all incidentals layered over the glaring reality of misogyny. Women may earn degrees, run for political office or strive for a variety of personal achievements but these actions are set against a backdrop of entrenched prejudice, even hatred, toward women. The rantings of Elliot Rodger were full of examples: women were one dimensional beings recognized only for their sexuality. Women gained his attention only because they reflected the status of men. Women disappointed him, rejected him, and deserved his wrath. Like the rapist who feels justified in taking what he wants, Rodger felt justified in his rage and in his violence. There was no moment of hesitation or speculation, his view of women was deeply ingrained.

We want to believe that he was unique but that is not true. His actions were extreme but his attitudes were painfully common. Others have written about this already, I claim no personal insights, but to me this is the essence of the war on women. This culture of misogyny lays like a blanket of heavy smog over our society. We fight our daily battles but we are always bogged down by the weight of the pollution. The gender wage war, the attack on abortion clinics and the exploitation and abuse of women in the porn industry are important individual issues but we have to look at the big picture. These are all part of the war on women; they grow out of the attitude that women are one dimensional and secondary members of society.

My friends nodded and smiled and even told a few stories of their own about the ways that society works to control women. For a moment we were of one mind and it was powerful. Then one friend said, "But men are just built that way. It is in their nature to always want women and sex." The moment of our common understanding had passed and we were back at our table of isolation. The conversation turned toward something light and off we went. Did they think about this later? Did they see an article in the paper and recall our moment of understanding? Will they remember this moment when they see the next Elliot Rodger in the next attack on women?

I do not believe that we have to live this way. I do not believe it is natural or organic to live in a world where one group oppresses another and then makes up reasons why it is okay. Do you want an example of this war on women and of the culture of misogyny and control? Look at the attitudes of Elliot Rodger and then look again. It is ugly but you cannot turn away. We have to see this and fight this together.

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