Sunday, February 28, 2010

From the Burkha to the Thong: Everything Must, and Can, Change --- WE NEED TOTAL REVOLUTION!!

Last Tuesday was the first stop on my speaking tour (title above).  Here is a picture from the NYU program (me on the left and Annie Day, moderating, on the right).  It was a really good time... with great questions from the audience and more to come... University of Chicago this Wed and more after that.

posted by Sunsara Taylor at 11:52 PM | 0 comments

Monday, February 22, 2010

From the Burkha to the Thong: Everything Must, and Can, Change--WE NEED TOTAL REVOLUTION!

Watch what happened when organizers for Sunsara Taylor's campus speaking tour called for a protest of American Apparel's "Search for Best Bottom in the World" contest.  This is inside and outside American Apparel's store near NYU on Sunday, Feb. 20  "Women are not disembodied bottoms! Women are human beings!"   And come hear Sunsara Taylor on Tuesday, Feb. 23 7pm at Cantor Film Center-NYU, 36 East 8th Street.  Check  for info.

posted by Sunsara Taylor at 12:21 AM | 0 comments

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sunsara Taylor speaking tour organizers call for protest at American Apparel, Sat. Feb. 23 in NYC

Organizers in NYC for "From the Burkha to the Thong: Everything Must, and Can Change—We Need Total Revolution,” Sunsara Taylor’s nationwide campus speaking tour, are calling for protest against American Apparel's “Search for Best Bottom in the World” contest.  Time & place:  Sat., Feb. 20, 2 pm at American Apparel store, 712 Broadway in NYC.

American Apparel is promoting the degradation of women everywhere by running this contest. This is intolerable.

Alice Woodward, one of the tour organizers, said, “This is reducing women to disembodied bottoms. Spin the globe. Everywhere you look in the world women are held down and slammed backwards. This contest is an outrage and is one more reason why everyone who thinks that women should be treated as whole human beings need to come to NYU’s Cantor Film Center at 36 East 8th Street on Tuesday, February 23 from 7-9:30 pm to hear Sunsara Taylor.”

On their website, American Apparel describes the contest this way: “Confident about the junk in your trunk? Show us your assets! Post a photo of your booty's best side for judgment. We're looking for a brand new bum (the best in the world!) to be the new ‘face’ for our always expanding intimates and briefs lines…”

This demands a response.

In the US we are told that women are no longer oppressed. Yet, how many will learn to starve themselves, cut themselves, hate themselves, internalizing the images that saturate society of women as objects of sexual conquest, the butt of a joke, or baby-making machines?

Looks like protestors will also perform street theater featuring an exchange between a woman dressed in a burkha and another dressed in a thong, and ending with an announcement about the Feb. 23 event at NYU. In building for the 23rd, the street theater has been performed in student cafeterias, on street corners and in the subway to both applause and debate. This photo is from Union Square, NY.

Aside from NYU, Sunsara will be appearing at campuses across the country, including University of Chicago on March 3, in Berkeley on March 15, at UCLA on April 8 and more to be announced.

posted by Sunsara Taylor at 1:24 PM | 1 comments

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Announcing: From the Burkha to the Thong: Everything Must, and Can, Change -- We Need Total Revolution!

I will be speaking at NYU on Feb 23, University of Chicago on March 3rd, and dates at UCLA and UC Berkeley and possibly other schools to be announced.

posted by Sunsara Taylor at 1:27 PM | 0 comments

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Toxic Message Behind the Tebow Super Bowl Ad

from Revolution Newspaper:

Super Bowl ads are notorious for degrading women who are routinely displayed nearly naked as objects for the gratification of men to sell beer, cars, and even more fundamentally this society’s view of the role of women.

Super Bowl XLIV featured an ad that degraded and subjugated women from a different—though fundamentally not so different angle. CBS broke with their policy against “advocacy” ads during the Super Bowl (they refused to run an ad from a gay-tolerant church in a previous Super Bowl), to run 30-second ads from Focus on the Family featuring college football star Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam Tebow. The ads themselves didn’t specifically mention abortion, and only alluded to Pam Tebow’s “difficult time” in pregnancy, but sent viewers to the Focus on the Family website for a viciously anti-abortion message.

There, in a much longer video, Pam Tebow tells the story of being with her husband—a Christian missionary in the Philippines—and being told by a doctor that she needed an abortion “to save my life.” Instead of even considering the doctor’s advice—Pam Tebow says “we didn’t need to think about this”—she testifies that she “just trusted god.” And “god” then personally watched over her pregnancy, and now her son has grown up to be a football star.

On one level, this is a criminally insane message that—to the extent it is listened to—will result in women ignoring scientific medical care, and dying unnecessarily. On an even worse level, the Tebow family message is that women should risk or give up their lives, “without thinking,” to serve their Biblically assigned role as child-bearers.

What’s the logic, and morality behind glorifying that?

Sunsara Taylor and Janai Garfinkel wrote in a piece submitted to NYU News, “There’s no inherent value in risking one’s life for a pregnancy. Fetuses are not people. They have the potential to become people, but until they are born, they are a subordinate part of a woman’s body. If she decides to terminate that pregnancy, for whatever reason, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If a woman does have a child and it grows up to do great things, that doesn’t validate her any more than if it does terrible things that means she has failed.

“The only framework in which it makes sense to celebrate a woman for risking her life to have a child is if you are stuck in the Dark Ages. You know, back in the day when a woman’s worth was reducible to the ‘quality’ of children she bore to her husband and master."

In the Focus on the Family video, Pam Tebow speaks of studying Timothy in the Bible to get her through her pregnancy. As Sunsara Taylor and Janai Garfinkel point out, “Tim and Pam Tebow and Focus on the Family are…Biblical literalists. That means they believe it is a woman’s job to make babies and obey men. If you don’t believe us, read it in the Bible. In 1 Timothy 2:13-16 ‘god’ explains the curse put on women for ‘deceiving’ Adam in the ‘Garden of Eden’ and how we can only be saved if we bear children.”
And, they add: “Women are not breeders. We are not lesser beings. We are not objects created for the sexual pleasure of men. We are human beings, capable of participating fully and equally in every realm of human endeavor. It is time that we be portrayed as such.”

---------------------END ARTICLE-------------------

To this I would just add that it represents a very significant and dangerous shift that such a biblical literalist message would be allowed into the mainstream.  There is nothing marginal or dismissable about the Christian fascists -- they are in every branch of government, military, courts, finance in this country -- they have been killing doctors and passing restrictive laws and setting terms in the culture and among a new generation.

It is significant that not only was Obama at the national prayer breakfast hosted by The Family (a clandestine, but highly influential, set of government leaders from around the world along with powerful religious figures who insist on the Bible as an instruction manual and have been exposed as connected to the legislation introduced in Uganda which would execute gay people) and closed by a prayer from Tim Tebow.  All this shows even further that this ad is not "just a college football player voicing his opinion" -- but part of a major wing of fascistic forces high up in government who plan to, and are, enforcing their bigotry and Dark Ages outlook onto the lives of millions, with even greater nightmares to come.

Returning to the ad, it is highly significant that a Christian fascist group such as Focus on the Family -- with their message that women should "not even think" but instead risk their lives against the advice of their doctors for a pregnancy -- is allowed into the biggest mainstream of the country's culture.  This is completely illegitimate.

Here, a quote from Bob Avakian's recent talk, Unresolved Contradictions, Driving Forces for Revolution, is highly relevant:

"Why is it that CNN, the New York Times, etc., cannot openly and straightforwardly speak of one side of this polarization as dangerous lunatics, or as crazed lunatics? Why is it that they are unable or unwilling to look at what's said by these right-wing forces, for example in the debates about health care, and say unequivocally and with real conviction: 'This is totally out of line with reality, this has no relationship to the actual reality'? Or, around the question of evolution or other ways in which these fascist forces are totally out of step with reality, why cannot CNN straightforwardly report that one side in this is actually a bunch of dangerous lunatics and crazed fanatics?

"Their inability and unwillingness to do this is for two essential reasons: One, they are not willing to deal with the fallout from that. In other words, when the response comes from the right-wing fascistic section of the ruling class and that social base is mobilized on this kind of crazed basis, the 'liberals' and the more 'mainstream' imperialist media and politicians are not willing to mobilize and call into motion, in opposition to this, the people whom they generally seek to appeal to in their role as news media or as politicians. That is the last thing they want to do, as we have emphasized.

"And the other, even more fundamental reason flows from the fact that the continual theme that's drummed at people over and over again is that the only real, legitimate and meaningful political framework is Republicans vs. Democrats. When any news item comes out, what does CNN do, very quickly? They present things in terms of: 'What do Republicans say? What do Democrats say? Here's some Republican spokespeople, here's some Democratic spokespeople on the panel to debate it.' Not what's the truth and what are the larger implications, but 'what do the Democrats say, what do the Republicans say?' Over and over again, through 'mainstream' ruling class media, such as CNN, the idea is propagated and reinforced that these are the only terms on which things can even be considered politically—Republicans vs. Democrats.
"Well, if you insist on that, on the one hand—as they must, because this is integral and crucial for maintaining the dominance of bourgeois politics and, more fundamentally, bourgeois rule in American society and American domination in the world—if you insist that these are the only terms and this is the only framework, but then you were to turn around and say, 'one side is a bunch of crazed lunatics,' that would not only be seen as an insult to that one side—while actually being an accurate portrayal—but it would in fact be calling into question and fundamentally undermining the whole framework. How can you insist that the only legitimate framework is one in which one side is a bunch of crazed lunatics?!"

read the whole talk from Avakian here:

posted by Sunsara Taylor at 9:29 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Precious Attacked in the NYTimes -- Revolution's Annie Day & Carl Dix Have the Best Defense

Yesterday, Ishmael Reed had an editorial in the NYTimes attacking the movie “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” called "Fade to White." In it, among other things, he writes, "The blacks who are enraged by “Precious” have probably figured out that this film wasn’t meant for them."

While slightly toned down from his previous attack on Precious, this is an extremely narrow attack on a very powerful and moving piece of art that truly is not about the demonization of Black men, but a work that shines a light on the many ways in which the potential and humanity of young Black women, poor women on welfare, victims of incest and abuse, victims of the American "educational" system, dark-skinnned Black girls are squandered.  As the movie puts it, they are so often viewed as only as "Black grease to be wipe away."

The demonization of Black men is very real, still pervasive, and incredibly crippling.  But, the fact is, anyone interested in ending the ongoing oppression of Black men and Black people generally, or of any oppressed people, needs to grasp that this only can be done through a revolution that breaks all the chains.  Including the chains that bind women.  This does not "get in the way" -- but is essential.

As Bob Avakian has put it, "In many ways, particularly for men, the oppression of women and whether you seek to completely abolish or to preserve the existing property and social relations and the corresponding ideology that enslave women (or maybe 'just a little bit' of them) is a touchstone question among the oppressed themselves. It is a dividing line between 'wanting in' and really 'wanting out': between fighting to end all oppression and exploitation—and the very division of society into classes—and seeking in the final analysis to get your part in this."

In this light, the polemic that Carl Dix and Annie Day wrote for Revolution Newspaper against Ishmael Reed's attacks on “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” is a MUST-READ.  An excerpt:

The other thing that stands out in Reed's article is the way he talks about women generally. He refers to young Black women professors who have commented positively on Precious at the web zine The Root as "...[T]he types who are using university curriculum to get even with their fathers." He suggests that the poet and author Sapphire and the filmmaker Lee Daniels have falsely remembered histories of abuse. He hardly ever mentions a woman without saying something about her looks. Mariah Carey, who plays a welfare case worker, is 'firm,' 'the camera favors' Paula Patton, who plays Precious' teacher, Blue Rain; he says three times that the actress who plays Precious is 350 pounds (a fact which he is clearly bothered by), and he describes one of the film's financial backers as 'manicured' and 'buffed,' and one who 'doesn't go lightly on the eye shadow.' And in linking Oprah Winfrey's backing of this film with what he sees as her other efforts to demean Black men, including backing and starring in The Color Purple (which he calls a 'black incest product'), he quotes someone as saying, 'like her addiction to food,' Oprah can't help demonizing Black men.

"His defense of patriarchy also bubbles over in relation to gay people. Here he gets the basic facts of the film wrong. He says a male nurse, John John, played by Lenny Kravitz, is gay. In actuality, the film makes clear that John John is straight, but Reed's vision is so distorted he can't seem to fathom a soft-spoken male character who isn't gay. He goes on to say Precious is 'a film in which gays are superior to Black male heterosexuals,' creating some sort of patriarchal totem pole and then seeking to determine where 'his group' sits in relation to the top."

 Day and Dix go on to get to the roots of the real history of emasculation of Black men, the depth of the oppression of  Black people in U.S. society throughout history and today, but also the ways in which there needs to be a rupture with the identity of manhood and a need for emancipators of humanity.  They have the deepest analysis that is out there of the contradictions brought to light in this movie and raised by Reed in his criticisms, the most revolutionary resolution to how the liberation of women and the liberation all oppressed people are entirely bound up with each other -- they are not at odds -- they are both essential and can only be achieved through communist revolution.

It is a movement for precisely THIS revolution that the RCP is building.  It is THIS movement for THIS revolution that people need to get involved with if you are sick of seeing Black men demonized and brutalized and women disrespected and discarded and a whole world built on exploitation, wars for empire and torture.

Read the whole thing:

The Controversy over PRECIOUS: The Demonization of Black Men? Or, Shining a Light on the Squandered Potential of "Precious Girls Everywhere" and Why Everyone Should Want That Realized

posted by Sunsara Taylor at 11:46 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Protest CBS Today for Anti-Abortion Tim Tebow SuperBowl Ad

posted by Sunsara Taylor at 8:08 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Fucking Baptist Kidnappers

All these Christian fundamentalists always claim to be so loving and family oriented and so cherishing of children.  In reality they are sick, crazed, completely depraved human beings who want to both FORCE WOMEN TO HAVE BABIES AGAINST OUR WILL and then KIDNAP BABIES AT THEIR WILL in the name of "charity" and "love."

This week we have the Bible-quote wearing college football star Tim Tebow and Focus on the Family being allowed by CBS to spew their sentimental version of a fascist message of women's worth really being their ability to bear children.  See my post below from yesterday for more on this.

And, we have the fucking Baptists who preyed upon the devastating and heart-rending disaster in Haiti to lie a bunch of desperate and destitute parents and then steal their children.  Did you get that?  STEAL THEIR CHILDREN?

Why is it that it is portrayed as an act of graciousness to adopt a child from a parent who can't provide for the child, rather than doing something to assist that parent in being able to keep and provide for their child?  Even the "legitimate" adoptions of children -- the stories run of the first 53 who were air-lifted out of Haiti, whose adoptions were already underway before the earthquake -- even those adoptions included children of parents who were still alive and cared very much for their children, but gave them up because they couldn't provide a decent life for them.

Here is the voice of one of the parents who trusted her child to these fucking Baptists:“'I just wanted him to have more than I have,' Ms. Valmont said of her 6-year-old son, Darwin. 'What future can I give him here?'"

This whole thing is so totally unacceptable.  It is time, as the subtitle of Bob Avakian's book Away With All Gods puts it, to "Unchain the Mind and Radically Change the World!"

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posted by Sunsara Taylor at 12:02 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Sunsara Taylor on Tim Tebow, CBS, and the Superbowl

also, join me in protesting CBS at Noon this Thursday, Feb 4th:
52nd Street & 6th Avenue in Manhattan

posted by Sunsara Taylor at 3:06 PM | 0 comments

Monday, February 01, 2010

Truth Amidst the Rubble in Haiti: The U.S. Is the Problem, Not the Solution

Check out this article, lead story in this week's Revolution, by Li Onesto.

Right now, with the amount of praise the U.S. is getting, this article really is a "must-read" for anyone concerned about Haiti.  Send it around.

posted by Sunsara Taylor at 8:37 AM | 0 comments

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