British Blairite-Erdoganite Woodcock suspended for sexual harassment

This 26 March 2018 video from the British parliament says about itself:

[Labour MP] Chris Williamson tells Blairite John Woodcock to go sit ‘on the Tory benches‘ after attacking Corbyn.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Labour’s suspension of John Woodcock welcomed by Kurdish campaigners

KURDISH campaigners welcomed Labour’s suspension of John Woodcock yesterday as he faces an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, claiming that it is not an isolated case of his inappropriate behaviour.

An outspoken opponent of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn within the party, Mr Woodcock said he did not accept the charge brought against him.

On Saturday the Daily Mirror reported that a former aide had made a complaint in November alleging that the MP had sent her inappropriate texts and emails between 2014 and 2016 after she had left her job. An investigation is pending.

Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign co-chair Rosa Gilbert said the group welcomes his suspension because of his critical comments about the Kurdish-Syrian defence force the YPG and his visits to the King of Saudi Arabia and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ms Gilbert said: “His now-deleted ‘handjob’ tweet was unbecoming of the office he holds.”

In reply to BBC journalist Nina Warhurst’s tweet about having to pay £12.60 for two pints and a packet of crisps in London last August, Mr Woodcock had replied: “To be fair I’ve paid that much in Barrow, but it does come with a hand job.”

Ms Gilbert said: “His willingness to propagandise for regimes based on the subjugation of women and sexual violence, including his defence of Turkey’s invasion of Afrin, which has paved the way for the kidnapping and mass rape of Yazidi women, betrays the very proud history of the British labour movement, that of international solidarity with women and men facing untold oppression.

“There must be no space in the party for sexual harassment and misogyny. It is vital too that Woodcock must not be allowed to further bring the party into disrepute.”


British Blairite MP Woodcock accused of sexual harassment

John Woodcock at Progress meeting

This photo shows British MP John Woodcock, doing a speech at a meeting of the British Tony Blair fan cub which calls itself ‘Progress’. Woodcock used to be its chairman.

After his support for the warmongering regime in Turkey, his links to the warmongering absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia, and his siding with Conservative Home Secretary Amber Rudd just before she was forced to resign for racism in the Windrush scandal … now this about British MP John Woodcock, supporter of the Blairite far-right wing of the Labour party. A bit similar to another Blairite; now no longer a Labour MP.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Monday, April 30, 2018

Investigation: Woodcock MP faces NEC probe in sexual harassment case

JOHN WOODCOCK MP is to be investigated over allegations that he sent inappropriate messages to his former female aide.

The Labour MP for Barrow and Furness was the subject of a sexual harassment complaint last year for allegedly sending emails and texts to an aide between 2014 and 2016 after she had left her job.

Last November at a meeting of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), it was deemed the woman’s complaint was substantial enough to be referred to the party’s constitutional committee.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Mr Woodcock said: “I was made aware in December last year that a complaint made against me was being referred to Labour’s national constitutional committee as a potential breach of the party’s policy on sexual harassment.

A Labour spokesman said: “The party takes all complaints of harassment very seriously.”

Since Mr Woodcock was elected MP of the Cumbrian industrial town in 2010, he has emerged as one of Jeremy Corbyn’s bitterest enemies, slamming the Labour leader as a security risk and stating that he would not support him to be prime minister even after an election win.

Earlier this month, the Barrow and Furness CLP wrote to the Labour NEC over Mr Woodcock’s repeated attacks on Mr Corbyn’s leadership in light of issues relating to Russia, anti-semitism and the sacking of shadow Northern Ireland secretary Owen Smith from the front bench.

In the letter, constituency secretary John Clark wrote: “I have been asked by the Barrow and Furness executive committee to let you know that we have written to the Labour Party secretary and the NEC for advice concerning John Woodcock’s recent public comments.”

A real woodcock, like in this video, is so preferable to that politician Woodcock.

This is a video of a real woodcock, dancing in a garden in Sweden.

One should hope that Barrow and Furness voters will get a real Labour MP soon.

Pamplona, Spain: Mass protests: ‘It’s not sexual abuse: it’s rape’: here.

Philippines government giving in to Japan, removing ‘comfort woman’ statue?

This 12 December 2017 says about itself:

Japan has expressed regret following the Philippines‘ recent unveiling of a statue representing the so-called “comfort women”.

In a press briefing Tuesday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Japan regrets any country installing a comfort woman statue, adding that it will decide how to react to through communication with the Philippine government.

On Friday, the League of Filipino Women and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines jointly unveiled the two-meter tall statue to honor some 1,000 Filipino victims who were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers during World War Two. The Philippine government said it would not take any position on the comfort women issue, hoping that the statue would not affect Manila-Tokyo relations.

After President Duterte of the Philippines recommended his soldiers to shoot communist women opponents of his government ‘in their vaginas’

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Anger after Philippines removes sex slave statue

‘We kneeled down to the Japanese, that’s why it’s shameful, so shameful’

A statue honouring women who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during the Second World War was quietly removed from a busy seaside promenade in the Philippine capital, angering women’s groups.

Manila City Hall said in a statement that the bronze statue of a blindfolded Filipina, unveiled alongside Manila Bay in December, will be returned once drainage work is completed. It gave no time frame for the project, alarming activists who suspect that the Japanese government pressured the Philippines to take the monument down.

“What happened is that we kneeled down to the Japanese. … That’s why it’s shameful, so shameful,” said Teresita Ang See, co-founding president of a Chinese Filipino group.

Michael Charleston “Xiao” Chua, a professor at the De La Salle University Manila, called on the public to fight to get back the statue as a symbol of national dignity.

The monument was removed Friday night.

Japan’s Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Seiko Noda had expressed regret over the construction of the monument in January. According to Kyodo News service quoting the Japanese Embassy in Manila, the Philippine government had notified the embassy of its intention to remove the statue.

The emotional issue of “comfort women” has provided a dilemma for the Philippines’ relations with Tokyo, a major provider of aid and financing to Manila.

A National Historical Commission marker says the monument memorialises Filipinas who suffered abuses during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines from 1942 to 1945. It was built with donations from Chinese-Filipino groups and individuals.

Historians say 20,000 to 200,000 women from across Asia, many of them Koreans, were forced to provide sex to Japan’s front-line soldiers. Japanese nationalists contend that the so-called “comfort women” in wartime brothels were voluntary prostitutes, not sex slaves, and that Japan has been unfairly criticized for a practice they say is common in any country at war.

In 1995, Japan provided through a private fund 2 million yen ($18,000) each to about 280 women in the Philippines, Taiwan and South Korea, and funded nursing homes and medical assistance for Indonesian and former Dutch sex slaves. However, many women in South Korea and the Philippines have demanded a full apology accompanied by official government compensation.

Last year, Osaka terminated its 60-year sister-city ties with San Francisco to protest a statue commemorating Asian sex slaves that was erected by California’s Korean, Chinese and Filipino communities.

Philippines government books Trump hotel as Duterte pushes for free trade deal with US: here.

German doctor convicted by nazi era anti-abortion law

Kristina Hänel and her information leaflet, NOS photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Giving information about abortion in Germany: 6000 euro fine

In an open letter to the German government, doctors, lawyers and trade unions demand an end to a controversial anti-abortion law. Since 1933, since the Nazi time, it is illegal for our eastern neighbours that doctors give public information about abortion. That is seen as ‘advertising’. Even indicating that you do it as a doctor is punishable. This has major consequences for doctors and for women who want an abortion.

Kristina Hänel found that out as well. She is a GP and has specialized as an abortion doctor in the Netherlands. She put a brochure of three pages on her website, in which she informs patients about the process ….

In Germany, various anti-abortion groups are active that monitor all websites of all doctors. They filed a complaint against Hänel. “The judge found that I gave factual information, but according to the law it had to be classified as advertising, and I was sentenced to a 6,000 euro fine.”

She is not the only one. Every year 25 to 30 doctors in Germany are convicted for violating paragraph 219a of the German Penal Code.

The law in question was introduced by the Nazis in 1933. According to Hänel they wanted to make it impossible for Jewish doctors to work because they performed abortions more often than Christian colleagues.

After the war, the Allies retained the law because they could not discover a specific Nazi ideology in it. In many countries, abortion was completely banned at the time, and an advertising ban on something that was forbidden was in their view not illogical.

And although abortion in Germany is now regulated by law, it remains impossible to inform women about it in public. “I think that is absurd and not of this time anymore”, says Hänel.

‘Advisory service’

The effect of the law is also that women can hardly find the addresses of doctors who perform abortions. In theory, they should receive it from the “maternity counseling service”, where you are obliged to go if you want an abortion.

In some regions, the Catholic Church controls that service, and it simply refuses to tell which doctor can perform the operation. Some GPs also refuse to tell it on principle.

The only German website that lists all abortion doctors is a hate site of an anti-abortion activist: There, abortion is compared with the Holocaust. The addresses can be found between bloody images of fetuses.

“I think that’s terrible for women”, says Hänel. Since she is mentioned on that site with name and address (“I am a VIP there”), she is also threatened with death.

End prohibition

A majority of German parties want to delete the notorious paragraph from German law, but Merkel‘s combination of CDU and CSU parties prevents that. Certainly the CSU is taking a very conservative course this year, because the party wants to win the elections in its own federal state of Bavaria [where they are trying to outflank the neofascist AfD party on the right].

Government coalition junior partner the SPD has given Merkel until the autumn to make a change, otherwise they themselves will put it on the agenda. They could cause a crisis in the government coalition. But many Germans wonder if the party will dare to do that. Hänel also: “I have yet to see it”.

She laughs and says that she will keep up her fight anyway. “I am a marathon runner, so I have a long breath, I do not give up.”

See also here.

Anti-women far-right mass murder in Canada

This 24 April 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Incel” Terrorists, Or “I Can’t Get Laid” Terrorists, Now A Thing

Reports from Canada say the suspect in the Toronto van attack made a reference to “Incel Rebellion” on Facebook. But what exactly is an “incel“?

Alek Minassian, 25, appeared in court on Tuesday, a day after a rental van struck pedestrians in the city, killing 10 and injuring 15.

Facebook confirmed to the BBC that Minassian was the author of a post which read in part: “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” The post also contained a reference to the message board 4chan.

Incel” is short for “involuntarily celibate” and in particular refers to online groups of men who feel that they can’t enter into sexual relationships. The attitudes of men who visit the boards vary widely, but online they frequently vent anger against sexually prolific men (“Chads”) and women (“Stacys”). More generally, incel forums often include rants aimed at feminism and women.

Read more here.

‘Raw hatred’: why the ‘incel’ movement targets and terrorises women. The man accused of carrying out the Toronto van attack has alleged links to ‘involuntary celibate’ online communities. The language they use may be absurd, but the threat they pose could be deadly: here.

By Toula Drimonis in Canada:

Toronto van attack

April 26, 2018 9:15 am

The Deadly History of Gender Violence in Canada

By now, most of North America has heard about Alek Minassian’s killing spree in Toronto on Tuesday, when he deliberately plowed his rented van into a crowd of pedestrians and killed ten people, most of whom were women. Police are still investigating the horrific attack, but much evidence points to the 25-year-old being motivated by misogynistic beliefs — held by “incels,” short for involuntary celibate, an online subculture of angry, sexually frustrated men who blame women for their lack of a sex life. Minassian is currently in police custody awaiting trial.

Since the horrific attack, many have expressed shock and dismay at the fact that something like this could happen in Canada — a relatively nonviolent country that experiences almost none of the gun violence the U.S. routinely does. And yet, not only can it happen, it has happened time and again. In fact, Canada has a long history of gender-based mass killings; three of its worst mass murders committed in the last 30 years have been motivated by hatred of women.

In 1989, Marc Lépine walked into a classroom at Montreal’s École Polytechnique armed with a rifle and a hunting knife, separated the male and female engineering students, and, after declaring that “feminism had ruined his life,” opened fire on the latter. By the time he turned the gun on himself, a total of 14 women had died and another ten women and four men had been injured. The murders left the entire country reeling with disbelief.

In 1996, Marc Chahal walked up to the home of his estranged wife’s family in Vernon, British Columbia, as relatives gathered for a wedding, and opened fire — killing the bride-to-be, his wife, and seven other family members. Chahal, who had been physically abusive to his wife during their marriage and had repeatedly threatened her since their separation, promptly returned to his motel room and killed himself.

There have been others.

By Roger Jordan in Canada:

Assailant charged with murder following Toronto van attack

27 April 2018

Twenty-five year-old Alek Minassian, who ran over pedestrians in Toronto’s north end Monday afternoon killing 10 people and causing panic and mayhem, has been charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

Minassian is accused of mounting the sidewalk with a rented white van multiple times, so as to deliberately target pedestrians on a busy, more than kilometer-long section of Yonge Street, Toronto’s principal thoroughfare. …

While many things remain to be determined about Minassian’s psychological makeup, as well as the specific trigger for his violent outburst, attempts to explain Monday’s attack by focusing solely on Minassian’s state of mind are wide off the mark. The fact that Minassian decided to unleash such brutal violence on his victims, none of whom he knew personally, is bound up with and, in the final analysis, a product of malignant tendencies within an increasingly dysfunctional Canadian society.

Violence, anxiety and fear increasingly pervade Canadian society.

Last Monday’s violent outburst occurred under conditions in which Canada, in alliance with US imperialism, has been engaged in virtually uninterrupted imperialist wars of aggression for the past quarter-century, that is the entirety of Minassian’s life. Canadian authorities have hailed the use of ruthless and murderous violence as necessary and salutary during military interventions in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Somalia.

These wars have not only affected the civilians and soldiers directly caught up in them, but have profoundly influenced social and political life. Violent militarist propaganda on the news media and in political discourse has become a fact of daily life. It was, after all, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper who celebrated Canada’s reputed battlefield prowess, by trumpeting Canada as a “warrior nation.”

Minassian was himself attracted to the Canadian Armed Forces. He entered the Canadian military last August, only to request a discharge in October after less than two weeks of basic training. A fellow recruit told CBC he was repeatedly disciplined for failing to understand or properly follow orders.

Murderous violence, especially mass shootings, have not attained the same level in Canada as in the US, but violent outbursts directed at persons unknown to the attacker are becoming more frequent. …

In January 2017, a youth in Quebec City, who was a xenophobic Quebec nationalist and admirer of Donald Trump and France’s National Front, opened fire in a Quebec City mosque, killing six worshippers. In October, a Somali refugee, apparently driven to desperation by his plight, drove a van at high speed through downtown Edmonton, injuring five people. Notwithstanding media efforts to hype up the incident as an act of Islamist terrorism, Abdulahi Hasan Sharif ended up facing no terrorism charges and instead will stand trial on five counts of attempted murder.

Before Minassian’s identity was released Monday, far-right media outlets as well as several journalists employed by the so-called mainstream media eagerly sought to portray the attack as an act of Islamist terrorism. CBC reporter Natasha Fatah tweeted at 2:36 PM Monday afternoon, “#BREAKING Witness to truck ramming into pedestrians tells local Toronto TV station that the driver looked wide-eyed, angry and Middle Eastern.” Candice Malcolm, a columnist with the right-wing Toronto Sun, joined in, claiming that in terms of methods, the attack was inspired by ISIS. Sun editor Anthony Furey wrote, “Please stop telling angry Torontonians to not call this assault on our great city a terror attack. Yes, there are still facts unknown, but this vehicular ramming fits the bill of what terror groups repeatedly called for in Canada. And people are rightfully mad.”

Mr Furey then did not know yet that murder suspect Minassian was neither Muslim nor black. So, not fitting into the ‘terrorism’ category of Mr Furey; and of Donald Trump, according to whom white Christian people, especially white supremacists, are not terrorists.

These right-wing forces, together with far-right sites like Rebel Media and Infowars which pushed the same line, were clearly hoping to exploit the narrative of an Islamist terror attack to advance their own political agenda before the bodies had even been removed from the street.

The day after the attack, the official opposition Conservative Party pressed parliament to adopt a motion urging the Trudeau government to prevent migrants fleeing the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant witch hunt from entering Canada. Should the government fail to protect “our borders,” Canadians will “rapidly” withdraw their “social license for immigration”, vowed Tory opposition critic Michelle Rempel.

Like the other imperialist powers, Canada is riven by unprecedented levels of social inequality that are provoking explosive social tensions. In the Toronto area, homelessness has risen sharply, amid a property bubble that has driven housing costs through the roof. And tens of thousands of traditional industrial jobs have been replaced by precarious, temporary and/or part-time employment.

These developments, rooted in the crisis of the capitalist system, are having a devastating impact on the lives of working people already struggling to make ends meet. Under such conditions, it is not at all surprising that a psychologically unstable and isolated individual like Minassian snapped and sought a violent way out of his predicament.

This is even more so given the prominence of reactionary, right-wing political forces, which channel the social anger and frustration of the most demoralized and backward sections of the population in an anti-social and misanthropic direction.

Evidence has emerged that strongly suggests Minassian’s murderous rampage was fueled by right-wing political conceptions, specifically those of the so-called “incel” or involuntary celibate movement. The incel movement, which rages against women for denying men sexual relations and excluding them from social life, is associated with alt-right and right-wing extremist groups.

Immediately prior to launching his attack, Minassian published a Facebook post in which he declared that the “incel rebellion has already begun”, and praised Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old California man who killed six people in 2014 before taking his own life. Prior to his attack, Rodger posted a 140-page manifesto online vowing to wage war on women.

Although all the victims of Monday’s attack have yet to be officially identified, Toronto police have confirmed that the casualties were predominantly women. Anne Marie D’amico, who worked for an investment organization and also engaged in volunteer work, and Dorothy Sewell, an 80-year-old grandmother, have been identified as victims by family and friends. It has also been reported that a single mother of a seven-year-old boy was killed after completing her first day at a new job working at a school cafeteria. Reflecting Toronto’s multi-cultural population, reports indicate two South Korean nationals and a Jordanian man were also among the dead.

Whatever may yet come to light regarding Minassian’s specific motivation for ploughing through pedestrians with a van last Monday, the growing symptoms of societal breakdown expressed in all areas of social and political life guarantees that it is only a matter of time before a similar horrific incident takes place.

The incel rebellion — how involuntary celibates are dangerous in their desires: here.

Read this New Yorker piece on why Incels aren’t really looking for sex — they’re looking for absolute male supremacy.

United States anti-racist black woman smeared as ‘Russian tool’

This January 2016 video from the USA is called Anoa Changa on Young Women for Bernie Sanders.

In Britain, the Conservative party and the Rupert Murdoch media have seen too many James Bond spy movies, making them unable to distinguish between fiction and reality. So, they are smearing Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn as a supposedly ‘communist’ spy for the no longer existing Warsaw Pact. This way, they want to distract people from the disasters which Theresa May’s Conservative government is causing in Britain.

Meanwhile, in the USA, the political establishment smears the leader of the Green party, Ms Jill Stein, and the former chairwoman of the Democratic party, Ms Donna Brazile, as supposedly being Russian spies.

And they don’t limit their lying to just these lies. Senator Bernie Sanders, who might now have been a progressive president of the USA, after having beaten Trump, if the Democratic party establishment would not have used dirty tricks against him, is being smeared as a Russian tool as well.

Anyone differing from establishment views seems ‘therefore’ in right-wing eyes supposedly to be a ‘Russian tool’. Like the Black Lives Matter movement is smeared.

From Jewish daily The Forward in the USA, 23 April 2018 , by Anoa Changa:

I Was Smeared By Public Radio For Being A Black Activist Trying To Get My Message Out

In 2018, the most important indicator of power might just be the question of who has a platform. Access to a platform means having your voice heard, something traditionally marginalized people have often struggled with, seeing as those who tend to have access haven’t been too anxious to let us in.

We take it where we can get it. Which is why it’s especially galling when a man with a huge, institutional platform uses his to impugn a woman of color trying to get her message out there.

That’s exactly what happened to me. But what makes it more that just an awful experience is what it tells us about the current political climate.

There’s nothing new about American institutions attacking and delegitimizing the work of Black activists and organizers. What’s new is that in the age of Russian election interference, journalists at establishment media companies are now using the Russia investigation as an excuse to mainstream these smear tactics. And it’s an affront to the activism of people of color that must be identified for what it is.

I am a Black activist. I was raised by politically conscious Black parents who believed in community-centered change. Following in their footsteps, my concerns are issues like racism, police brutality, and raising up marginalized people and those who would represent them.

As you can imagine, there isn’t much appetite for this kind of work in mainstream media. So I have my own podcast, and when I’m invited to speak to larger platforms, I do so, gratefully.

Recently, I took such an invitation and appeared as a guest on “By Any Means Necessary,” a radio show hosted by Eugene Puryear and Sean A. Blackmon on Radio Sputnik. Sputnik is a news agency established by the Russian government-controlled news agency Rossiya Segodnya. And yet Eugene, Sean, and their producer maintain editorial freedom in developing and producing their content.

I certainly maintain my independence when I go on their show, talking about the issues that matter to me. I do not consult with the Russian government before I speak my mind, nor do I care what they think about what I say. There aren’t a lot of mainstream platforms that give voice to left-wing Black activists, and Puryear and Blackmon do. On the most recent interview we discussed the glaring issues with Trump’s Economic Executive Order.

I have also been a guest on another Sputnick show, Loud and Clear, hosted by Brian Becker, about which I make no secret. On that show I debated non-existent voter fraud with a Heritage Foundation staffer.

Of course, it would be wonderful if American Public Media would host people like me at roundtables with robust discussions between people of color about topics like education, political engagement and organizing in a Post-Trump America. But they don’t, so we often find ourselves on other platforms.

So I was pleased when in early March, I was approached by an American Public Media reporter, Johnny Kauffman, after he ran across a piece of mine in The Nation called “Please Stop Calling Black Activism ‘Divisive’.” I was pleased that Atlanta’s public radio would be interested in my work, and happy to reach a wider audience.

In fact, that was how Kauffman sold the piece. I have sometimes felt that my message is being distorted by mainstream press, and after a conversation about that with Kauffman, I agreed to be interviewed.

I gave him hours of my time. My colleagues also gave freely of their time. I allowed him in my home.

What he put out there in the world in a four-minute radio clip was a staggering smear of me, my work, and my integrity.

The main point was summed up early on: “By agreeing to appear on two Sputnik programs, Changa gained something hard to find: a bigger platform to broadcast her political views”, Kauffman said. “But Changa’s association with Sputnik may put her credibility at risk, while furthering Russia’s effort to create chaos in the U.S.”

Instead of a reflective and nuanced account of who I actually am, the piece argued that I was simply a tool of the Russians. Who I am and what I stand for were simply swept aside because a professor Kauffman interviewed said that the radio shows I appeared on “are set up for the sole purpose of promoting the Kremlin line.”

In four minutes, Kauffman destroyed my credibility and my reputation, for the crime of not having access to the kinds of American state funded media that he, a white man, is freely given access to.

Instead of trying to raise up a Black woman activist, he chose to tear her down, from his perch atop Atlanta Public Media.

Of course, this episode was personally devastating. But it’s about more than just me. The way we frame narratives matters. And it becomes even more important when the person in charge of framing the narrative does not value or respect the individual who is subject to their analysis.

For this was Kauffman’s biggest mistake: a fundamental lack of respect for the struggle of being a person of color trying to get a platform for racial and social justice causes. And it was this fundamental lack of respect that led him to see me as a boob manipulated cynically by the Russian government, rather than a Black woman making a canny choice about growing her audience where she can — which is obviously not at Atlanta Public Radio.

So what if I think the Russia interference gets too much attention, robbing topics like Black Lives Matter and police brutality of airtime? Does this make me a stooge of the Russian government? Or is Sputnik the only place that would let me say something like that?

Independent commentators and journalists exist outside of mainstream spaces for exactly this reason. The innate need to uphold and defend the status quo limits meaningful discourse and dynamic conversations. Merely asking questions and expanding conversations leads to attacks.

At the end of the day, this was a poorly done story in which a white man with a powerful platform sought to smear and tear down a Black woman.

And as such, it’s a familiar one.

Any student of history could tell you how anti-communist scares were used to attack Black writers. There were attempts to undermine Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with allegations of communism. History is repeating itself with the rise of Cointelpro 2.0 in the guise of Black Identity Extremists and the use of social media to spy on Black activists.

But today’s model is a little more insidious, implying that Black activists are easily tricked. This is the subtext of the discussion around Russians who tried to trick Black Lives Matter activists during and after the election. But as Florida-based organizer Donna Davis, an organizer with BLM Tampa and the Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, said, “calling unsuspecting Black Americans the culprit in all of this illustrates the emergence of Cointelpro 2.0.” She went on, “When did earned media with an [international] outlet come to indicate espionage or collusion with a foreign power to bring about this country’s downfall? This is ridiculous.”

I’m not going to be silenced because of fear. People need to understand the nature of social media but also how little access Black people have to traditional forms of media before admonishing me for participating in a platform that is respectful of my insight and voice.

Acting as if there is a single bogeyman or that everything is automatically tainted is a real problem. There is nothing wrong with scrutiny and asking questions. There is everything wrong with distorting and misrepresentation Black women particularly when Democrats are content to ride on our backs.

Media outlets covering politics and how members of traditionally marginalized communities are engaging in these spaces should take a step back and do the internal reflection and work necessary for consistency and journalistic integrity.

Yes, we should question and critique platforms and those who engage in them. But to simply dismiss content and attack my work without context, nuance, or respect is unconscionable, and plays into some of America’s worst history.

Anoa Changa is an Attorney, host of The Way with Anoa podcast, and editor of the Peach Perspective blog.

This Pennsylvania golf club called the cops on five black women members — for playing golf.

Gender inequality is ‘drowning out’ the voices of women scientists: here.

Abortion referendum in Ireland

This video from the USA says about itself:

14 November 2012

“The debate over legalizing abortion in Ireland flared Wednesday after the government confirmed a miscarrying woman suffering from blood poisoning was refused a quick termination of her pregnancy and died in an Irish hospital.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny said he was awaiting findings from three investigations into the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian living in Galway since 2008 who was 17 weeks along in her pregnancy. The 31-year-old’s case highlights the bizarre legal limbo in which pregnant women facing severe health problems in predominantly Catholic Ireland can find themselves.

Ireland’s constitution officially bans abortion, but a 1992 Supreme Court ruling found it should be legalized for situations when the woman’s life is at risk from continuing the pregnancy. Five governments since have refused to pass a law resolving the confusion, leaving Irish hospitals reluctant to terminate pregnancies except in the most obviously life-threatening circumstances.”*

Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss the story of Savita Halappanavar, who died after the Catholic hospital

officially, a university hospital

refused her repeated requests for an abortion. Are the strict abortion rules and imposed religious morality upheld by the hospital really viable in today’s age? Where did the idea of this form of “morality” and religion over human life and suffering even originate, and why do people follow it? Cenk Uygur has an answer.

By Dermot Quinn in Ireland:

Irish government calls abortion referendum

23 April 2018

Simon Harris, Health Minister in the Fine Gael-led Irish government, has announced a referendum on May 25 to scrap the notorious Eighth Amendment in the Irish constitution. The so-called “pro life” amendment blocks legal termination of pregnancy in Ireland. Currently women can receive a 14-year jail sentence. A parliamentary committee has recommended allowing terminations and unrestricted access to abortion up to 12 weeks into pregnancy.

A decision on this minimal concession has split all the major parties and seen repeated twists and turns from leading politicians. Tanaiste (deputy prime minister) and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has elucidated four different positions, while Harris himself, on the conservative wing of Fine Gael, changed his view little more than a year ago. Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin also recently switched to supporting repeal.

Behind the confusion are seething class tensions and the collapse in the authority of the Catholic Church, following the clergy’s involvement in sexual/physical abuse in brutal children’s homes and orphanages. Church attendance in a country where the Church dominates education and health provision has fallen to around 20 percent of the population. In working class areas the figures are reported to be as low as 2 to 3 percent.

The Eighth Amendment was introduced in 1983 after a referendum and three years of protests, rallies and religious vigils orchestrated by right-wing Catholic organisations backed by the Church. Supported by all the major parties, the aim was to copper fasten by national plebiscite Ireland’s already draconian abortion laws.

Passed by a 66.9 percent majority, on a turnout of only 53.7 percent, the 1983 constitutional amendment reads: “The state acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother guarantees in its laws to defend as far as practicable and vindicate that right.”

The following decades have seen numerous cases in which women have tried to circumvent the reactionary prohibition with terrible emotional, financial and health costs.

In 1992 the High Court ruled that a 14-year-old rape victim could not travel outside Ireland to terminate a pregnancy. The attorney general placed an injunction to prevent her from travelling to Britain. After a public outcry and continuous mass protests outside parliament, the “X case” as it became known, forced the then-Fianna Fail government into holding a series of referenda. These resulted in the freedom to travel outside Ireland for an abortion and the right to information on abortion services being conceded.

In 2010, it was reported that 4,402 women gave Irish addresses to UK abortion clinics in the course of that year. In the same year the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Irish state failed to provide clarity on the legal availability of abortion where the mother’s life was at risk.

In 2011, Amanda Mallet received a scan in Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital in 2011 which showed the foetus she was carrying was suffering Edwards syndrome, a fatal condition. Informed by the hospital that she would have to travel to England to terminate the pregnancy she scraped the money together. In 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Commission found that Amanda had been subjected to “discrimination and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment due to Ireland’s abortion ban.”

In 2012, Savita Halappanavar died in a Galway hospital of septicaemia from complications arising from her pregnancy. She had repeatedly requested an abortion, which could have saved her life. The 31-year-old Indian woman was told by staff at University Hospital Galway that to procure an abortion was impossible as “this was a Catholic country.”

After a huge public outcry and ongoing protest rallies, Enda Kenny’s Fine Gael government grudgingly introduced the 2014 “Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill” allowing for abortion if the women was deemed to be suicidal.

This year’s referendum comes after years of intense campaigns, protests and even a strike demanding abortion rights. Particularly amongst young people, there is broad support for repeal of the reactionary law.

In the face of this, the major parties have moved at the last possible moment towards repeal, while the Church itself and the religious right, in Ireland and internationally, are campaigning aggressively to oppose any change.

Although opinion polls are registering large majorities, 63 to 37 percent in favour of repeal, some 20 percent of voters are undecided. A No campaign began on March 10 with a large rally in Dublin addressed by businessman and millionaire Declan Ganley. One of the most prominent right-wing and conservative voices in Ireland, Ganley told the crowd that “the coming weeks would be a battle between the people and the powerful.”

Another speaker was Niamh Ui Bhriain, who also fraudulently presented the anti-abortion campaign as an uprising against the “elite.” Urging a “No” vote, she claimed, “This is a rising of the people against the elites, and on May 25 it’s time to join a rebellion, and to reject both abortion on demand and the untrustworthy political class.”

A UK-based data-analytics company Kanto Systems has been hired by the “Save the Eight” campaign to work for a “No” vote. Kanto Systems is run by Thomas Borwick, son of former British conservative MP Lady Victoria Borwick. Borwick … has close ties to hedge fund billionaire Tomas Mercer, a key backer of Donald Trump.

It is a measure of the backwardness of the Irish bourgeoisie, inseparably entangled as it is with the Catholic Church, that a struggle on this issue is even necessary. Throughout the entire history of the Irish Free State and the Republic of Ireland the Church has ruthlessly maintained the leading role handed to it on all social matters by all the political representatives of Irish capitalism, who viewed the Church as its pre-eminent ally against the working class.

If the minimal concession over the 8th Amendment is now being made, it is because any further delay would threaten Church influence with an even more rapid collapse. The amendment is also regarded by sections of the bourgeoisie as an obstacle in their attempts to market Ireland internationally as a modern investment location, particularly for tech companies with a young and socially liberal workforce. Ireland currently has the most restrictive reproductive rights regime in Europe.

Even if the 8th Amendment is repealed next month, the new limit of 12 weeks on terminations is still more restrictive than the 24-week limit in operation across the Irish Sea in Britain. Even this can be extended in cases of medical emergency.

The World Socialist Web Site unequivocally defends the right of free and readily accessible abortion on demand, to comprehensive emotional counselling, free contraception advice, free contraceptive provision and advanced sex and sexual health education in schools. This is inseparable from the struggle for decent social conditions for all who want children but fear the economic consequences. Both require immense inroads into the wealth and social power of the ruling oligarchy, in Ireland and internationally and the socialist re-organisation of society.