Mar. 8th, 2011

mswyrr: (femdom - raven haired witchy witch)
[personal profile] mswyrr

“It’s Up to Us to Save Ourselves”: What Wisconsin is Teaching Us

By Jill Jacobs

Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the director of Ma’aseh: The Center for Jewish Social Justice Education and the author of There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice Through Jewish Law and Tradition and the forthcoming Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community.

Almost exactly a century ago, on March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory went up in flames, killing 146 people, mostly immigrant women workers. The management had locked exit doors and stairwells to prevent workers from leaving early. As a result, workers trying to escape the fire were forced to jump from as high as the tenth floor, or simply to wait and smolder to death.

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The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR's Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience

Amy Goodman: The current financial crisis is widely described as the nation’s worst since the Great Depression. With the comparisons to the 1930s has come a renewed focus on the New Deal, the government initiative of social programs and public service jobs launched by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A new book argues that no voice in the FDR administration was more influential in shaping the New Deal than Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, the first-ever woman cabinet member in the United States. The book is called The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience. We speak with author Kirstin Downey.

video @ Democracy Now!

full transcript )

Clara Lemlich

by Annelise Orleck

Clara Lemlich has made cameo appearances in histories of the United States, the labor movement, and American Jewry as the young firebrand whose impassioned Yiddish speech set off the 1909 Uprising of the 20,000, the largest strike by women workers in the United States to that time. She has even appeared in that context in the hit Broadway play and movie I’m Not Rappaport. But Clara Lemlich’s career as a revolutionary and activist began well before that famous speech and extended for more than half a century afterward. The most famous of the farbrente Yidishe meydlekh [fiery Jewish girls] whose militancy helped to galvanize the labor movement, she was also a suffragist, communist, community organizer, and peace activist. Clara Lemlich Shavelson lived and breathed politics from her childhood in revolutionary Russia to her last years in a nursing home in California—where she organized the orderlies.

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Rose Schneiderman

by Annelise Orleck

"This [Triangle fire] is not the first time girls have been burned alive in this city. Every week I must learn of the untimely death of one of my sister workers. Every year thousands of us are maimed. The life of men and women is so cheap, and property is so sacred! [...] I can't talk fellowship to you who are gathered here. Too much blood as been spilled. I know from experience ti is up to the working people to save themselves, And the only way is through a strong working-class movement."--Rose Schneiderman

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It's Women's History Month, people! :D YEAH. Unfortunately Finals Week is upon me, so I can't blitz y'all with a bunch of posts about awesome historical women. But I thought I'd put together one about women in US labor history since labor is such an important political issue right now. It's a cliche that we look to the past so we don't have to repeat it, but I think a lot of us would be privileged to repeat the kind of history these three women made. I remember learning about Lemlich in one of my classes. I swear to you, when I heard the story about her as an eighty-something year old woman, still pushing for the rights of working people, tears came to my eyes. All of these women are amazing and inspiring and I hope that knowing about them encourages all of you.

You can watch a recent PBS documentary about the Triangle fire which so deeply shaped their lives online here if you're in the US. Alternately, you can read a transcript of it here. The online Jewish Women's Archive has some excellent sources on it here. And David Von Drehle's book Triangle: the Fire that Changed America is also highly recommended. It's very readable as well as being excellent women's history and labor history. It's the kind of thing that gives you a peek into how positive change can come about. Von Drehle is owed a great debt for having done the historical work of preserving the story of the fire and these women, which had been largely forgotten. Feminist male allies FTW! :D

Finally, I'd like to remind everyone that cutting funding for PBS is being discussed in the current US budget debates. I imagine it would make it much easier for Republicans and their big business owners to deceive, inveigle, and obfuscate the American people out of their rights if documentaries like Triangle Fire aren't around to remind them of how hard working people had to fight for humane conditions. And that women are more than wombs that need to be controlled and condescended to and dehumanized by regressive anti-choice policies.

eta: Rose Schneiderman's words inspired a male ally to write the poem Bread and Roses in 1911. It was later adapted into a song which was popular in the '60s. My favorite version is the haunting one Judy Collins did, which you can listen to here. It was on YouTube, but unfortunately it's been removed. :-/

As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!

As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.

As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.

As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.
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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Feb 23Jessica Yee vs Capital F feminism

Activist Jessica Yee started the Native Youth Sexual Health Network five years ago, at age 20. The self-described “multiracial, hip-hop, Two Spirit, feminist, reproductive-justice freedom fighter” is Toronto-based, but her mother’s family is from Akwesasne First Nation, on the St. Lawrence River. As executive director, Yee supervises sex-ed programs in dozens of indigenous communities. She also has a new book,Feminism FOR REAL, and appears next week in the CBC documentary The F Word, discussing gender struggle alongside heavyweights like Germaine Greer and Susan Faludi. And yet, Yee says that “capital F” feminism isn’t exactly her thing.

So what did you think of the finished doc?
I haven’t seen it. They told me I couldn’t see it until the air date. Have you seen it?

Am I the only person of colour in it?

Yes. And really you’re only in it for about five minutes.
[Laughs] Yeah, I thought it was so funny that they wanted me to be in it. I could see when they were filming that they were really uncomfortable with some of the things I was saying.

The film puts forth the idea that younger women don’t like using the word “feminism,” even if they consider themselves part of the women’s rights movement. Are you a feminist?

I no longer feel like “feminist” describes me—I feel like I have to put a lot of words before it and after it.On Twitter I say I’m a “multiracial Two Spirit indigenous hip-hop feminist reproductive-justice freedom fighter.” I have a lot of difficulty with what I would call mainstream feminism.

How so?
I don’t buy into the main projections of feminism. Namely, that it’s a white women’s movement, it’s a privileged movement and that it’s very academic. Just because you’re a feminist doesn’t mean that you’re not otherwise racist or oppressive. It’s great that people want to be part of equity-seeking movements, but I think there’s a fear within the movement itself of being not just critical, but honest and truthful. If I’m the only young person, and I’m the only person of colour, in the whole film—I think that’s kind of indicative, and that’s exactly where the movement is. Look at the first wave of feminism and suffragettes, in the early 1900s. There’s a statue of Emily Murphy in Ottawa, with the Famous Five, the group who argued that women were “persons” under the law. What they don’t tell you about the Famous Five is that they were really racist. Emily Murphy published this eugenics book called The Black Candle, which basically talks about how Anglo-Saxon society should rule and anybody who doesn’t belong to the Anglo-Saxon society is dangerous and shouldn’t be trusted. She simultaneously helped pass the Residential School Act and the Indian Act, and I’m supposed to thank her for gender equality? What she wanted was more white people to vote.


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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Disabled Women Activists are Loud, Proud and Passionate!

Mobility International USA (MIUSA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development. As part of their 30th anniversary celebration, they created this "Loud, Proud and Passionate!" video. They filmed it during their 5th International Women's Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) - here's how they describe it:Signing and singing with passion in Arabic, Spanish and English, 54 disabled women activists from 43 countries celebrate the achievements, pride and solidarity of women with disabilities around the world. These leaders are revolutionizing the status of women and girls worldwide. MORE


2009 article:Women with disabilities in Bangladesh marching forward

Women with disabilities (WWD) have been marching forward with capabilities and commendable role in different arenas of development in Bangladesh. They are gaining prominence day by day and lighting the way forward.

Ranjana selected as International Bridge Builder of Harvard University
Umme Kulsum Ranjana, has been prestigiously selected as one among ten International BridgeBuilders of Harvard University for her contribution in organizing women with disabilities’ rights movement in Bangladesh. Ranjana is a woman with physical disability and the President of Protibondhi Narider Jatio Parishad (National Council of Disabled Women-NCDW) a nation-wide network of organizations working with the women with disabilities in Bangladesh. Now Ranjona is participating in the International Conference of Bridge Builders at Harvard University, USA to deliver her speech on Experiences of Mobilizing Women with Disabilities in Rural Bangladesh held on 6-10 April 2009. Ranjona is the first Bangladeshi woman who has been selected for this award.


Masuma’s 13th Solo Painting Exhibition is going on

13th Solo Painting Exhibition ‘My Dream’ of Masuma Khan started at Gallery Zoom of Alliance Francaise de Dhaka on 3April 2009 and will continue until 17 April 2009. Masuma Khan, a woman with severe physical disability, who has been recognized as a renowned painter in Bangladesh. She started painting at her very childhood at the age of three. Previously she was awarded President’s Medal as a talented child artist; Jaycees Prize; Anonna Award as the recognition of one among ten best women personalities in Bangladesh. Masuma got her graduation degree from the Institute of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka.MORE

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