Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Anger and its importance August 29, 2014

Filed under: political protests,politics — annejjacobson @ 6:03 pm

‘Angry blacks’, ‘angry muslims’, ‘angry feminists’! For many, such labels conjure up unpleasant or frightening images. They distract from causes of the anger and instead focus attention on the now problematic bearers of the labels. That phenomenon could cost us dearly, as Amia Srinivasan’s talk on the BBC Argues. Her talk is largely about the need for anger in protesting against injustice. Anger is a form of moral seeing, she maintains.

Yesterday I was thinking about similar thoughts as expressed by Jesse Prinz, mentioned here. Walking to a checkout counter in Whole Foods I saw that the Sept issue of Shambhala Sun had a section on ‘The Wisdom of Anger’, which the Bhuddas think is very important once transformed into wisdom and compassion. A convergence of thought.

Anger can both focus us on a problem and motivate us to take action.    However, it is unlikely to lead misbehaving colleagues to rethink their actions.  The latter is something to remember.


Some images of anger from Shambhala Sun:

photo

 

Ferguson, MO August 15, 2014

The past couple of days I’ve been keeping up with the protests in Ferguson, MO, following the death of 18 year old Michael Brown on August 9th. Sitting in my apartment two nights ago watching a live feed of people running away from police through a suburb while the police threw tear gas at them and into people’s front yards is one of the most surreal experiences I’ve had in the past few years. The last time I was locked onto twitter like that and completely lost track of time was when the Boston marathon bomber was running through a neighborhood was that directly adjacent to my own.

So here is a compilation of some resources that I think do a particularly good job of explaining and contextualizing what is going on in Ferguson. On top of this being an important current event, I think there are a lot of issues here that are relevant to various areas of philosophical research. But really, these events deserve attention on their own.

When I include my own commentary and judgment, I try to restrict myself to what direct testimony and documentation have claimed and to keep in mind the available counter evidence. But this compilation is not not ‘objective’ in that knee-jerk “well both sides did stuff wrong” way. Yes, some protesters were violent and there was opportunistic looting. But those actions are political and moral peanuts compared to what the police have done. Uneven power dynamics matter. Who escalated the violence and distrust matters. The different obligations that each side has to the other matters. Saying, “well both sides have been violent,” without factoring in the historical and political context of that violence is intellectually and morally lazy.

The entries below with asterisks are the ones I recommend if you don’t have a lot of time.

The info here isn’t exhaustive, and I don’t provide much concerning today’s events. Other aspects that you might want to look up on your own include: comparison with the Occupy movement (in terms of police response), comparison with the Bundy Ranch events, how Palestinians tweeted messages of support for Ferguson and included tips for how to deal with tear gas, the witness accounts given by Dorian Johnson and Tiffany Marshall, more on how journalists were treated and had a hard time accessing protests, and analysis of the police chief’s press conference today where he finally identified the officer who shot Brown (Darren Wilson) and claimed that Brown was a robbery suspect. Brown’s family has things to say about that press conference.

Summary and timeline of events:

**If you want to read just one comprehensive overview of events in Ferguson, I recommend this article by Vox. It’s a pretty lengthy article. It includes a timeline, punctuated with pictures and vine videos (very short) from twitter. It pretty clearly distinguishes between rumors and what we know for sure. It includes explanation of events from today, and briefly discusses at the end some of the context for why events in Ferguson have played out as they have.

There is a google maps that has pinned many important events and locations. When you click on the link just find the cluster of symbols around St. Louis, and zoom into that area. If you click on a symbol on the map, or on its listing on the left side of the screen, it will highlight the location and give you information about the event. You’ll easily be able to identify Florissant Ave (where Brown was killed) because it’s where most of the symbols are clustered.

This post on reddit is a live feed of users reporting events from Ferguson. It is long. I mean, LONG. But if you want to see the nitty gritty of what was going on minute by minute, this is the place to go. Also you can check out #Ferguson on Twitter.

 

Context and History:

**For a quick summary of Ferguson’s demographics and why there was been so much tension between the citizens of Ferguson and police, Vox has this 2 minute video.

This article shows some of the pictures from Ferguson protests next to pictures from the civil rights movement. When I was watching live feeds on August 13th, I saw cops in military/riot gear, with German Shepherds standing next to them. My exact thoughts were something like, “WTF do they need dogs for? Do they understand how ****** racist that looks to bring dogs to these protests–given our history?”

This picture is becoming one of the most iconic from the events.

 

Journalism Coverage:

A collection of pictures from events. If #22 was in black and white, I would think it’s from the 60s.

There was a really important change between Weds night and Thurs night. To get a sense of that change, you can watch these live feed recordings.

This is one of the feeds I was watching on August 13th (Wed). It’s about 30 mins in total, but police actions escalate quickly and the journalist recording the video does a good job of narrating what’s happening, even as he has to start running. You’ll see tear gas (I think it’s tear gas) being thrown onto people’s property (around 11:00).

Just to note, given pictures and people’s first hand accounts, there was at least one molotov cocktail thrown Weds night.

Now you can watch this video from August 14th (Thurs). It’s long, but really you can just skim through it to get the sense that for the whole hour, cars are honking in support and people are walking around with signs. That is the same street where the night before there was tear gas, armorer vehicles forming a blockade, police with sniper rifles, etc.  The first picture on this article (with the train) sums up how wildly different Thurs was from Wed.

**I also highly recommend this report by Elon James White, who is a political and cultural commentator / internet radio host from NYC (with a background in comedy, I believe), who went down to Ferguson with his two of his co-hosts (Aaron Rand Freeman and Emily Epstein White). If you don’t have a lot of time, I recommend listening to the part where White explains how he got a police officer to aim his gun at him (starts around 14:15). I probably can’t explain what it’s like to listen to one of your favorite podcasters (who normally discusses the news, recipes involving bacon, and super hero movies) talk about him being his sort-of-snarky-but-polite, refuses-to-backdown-from-confrontation self, and getting a *sniper rifle* pointed at him. So I’ll just say listen to the clip. And check out TWIB for good podcasts on news/culture/race/etc.

At least two journalists were arrested on Weds night. This article includes a short (1 min) video recorded by one of the journalists as a police officer (who looks like a soldier) orders him out of McDonalds. He was arrested I think right after that video cuts out.

St. Louis politician Antonio French was also arrested on Weds night. You can check out his twitter feed here.

I’m including one picture on here, because even if all the claims about looting, molotov cocktails, and gunshots are true, this picture still encapsulates why the police’s actions have been so problematic. It is a picture of a sniper rifle laser pointed at a protester’s back. You can see a video of this here (at the bottom of the article, around 1:20). If the police are so nervous (or so cavalier) that they are pointing military-grade weapons at protesters who are not even facing them, something is deeply, deeply wrong.

 

Responses:

This post on reddit includes links to responses from the mayor, the governor, Eric Holder (US attorney general), and others. They’re under the heading, “Statements, comments, reports”

Rand Paul wrote this piece in response to the protests in Ferguson. Many people find it notable because of this line: “Anyone who thinks race does not skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention.” Though, it ends up spending more time talking about the relationship between militarization of police and the size of the federal government than it does about race.

President Obama made these remarks about Ferguson (video). People seem split over whether these remarks influenced later events and whether were empty attempts to appeal to both sides.

Captain Ron Johnson, who was put in charge of security in Ferguson after the police’s militarized reactions Weds night, discusses his concerns with how some information was released on August 15th (today).

 

Guardian Witness: New shoots of student feminism May 23, 2013

Filed under: academia,political protests,social activism — Heg @ 8:43 am

From the Guardian Witness (part of the UK-based Guardian newspaper’s website):

Lad culture appears to permeate all aspects of student life – from Facebook newsfeedsto the debating chamber of Glasgow University. But women are fighting back – or at least that’s what the recent surge in the number of student feminist societies suggests.

From burnt bras to feminist graffiti and event flyers, we want to see the shoots of the new feminism on your campus. Share your images and videos.

Well, go on, then! Head over there and share!

 

Women Against FEMEN April 5, 2013

Check out a collection of pictures here.  Or browse the twitter hashtags #MuslimahPride and #Femen.  And here’s an article providing some context.

 

All organized religions seem to get themselves mixed up in some shady hierarchies…..but F*** imperial feminism.


 

Indian Rape Victim’s Death Stirs Grief, Outrage, and Resolve December 31, 2012

Indian Rape Victim’s Death Stirs Outrage and Resolve

“The gang rape and death of a young Indian woman has sparked an outpouring of national grief and outrage, and a question: Will the tragedy prompt change, in laws and attitudes toward women, in the world’s largest democracy?”

Rape victim’s death sparks lockdown in India

“…Outrage and protest about the assault escalated violently last week when police used batons, water cannon and tear gas in clashes with hundreds of demonstrators; one policeman died in the protests. Indian authorities, fearing a new wave of demonstrations yesterday, deployed hundreds of policemen to seal off the President’s palace, the Prime Minister’s office and key ministries, which have been the scene of battles between police and civilians. They closed 10 metro stations and banned vehicles from some main roads in the centre of the capital.

Although more than 1,000 people gathered at two locations, the demonstrations were peaceful. In one spot, a wreath studded with white flowers was laid on the road, a candle lit and a silent tribute held for the young woman. Near by, members of a theatre group played small tambourines and sang songs urging society to wake up and end discrimination against women…”

Indian Rape Sparks Gender-Inequality Debate (WSJ video: 3 minutes, 14 seconds)

“The death of the victim of a gang rape in India has set off a fresh wave of national grief and outrage. The WSJ’s Nisha Gopalan [and Deborah Kan] conside[r] whether it could also lead to legal changes to protect women’s rights.”

Indian Women March: ‘That Girl Could Have Been Any One of Us’

For what it reveals, explicitly or implicitly, see here for India’s government on gender statistics and gender (in)equality

 

Femen: Ukraine’s Topless Warriors November 28, 2012

Interesting piece on today’s Atlantic front page about these bold feminist activists based in Ukraine:

Founded in Kiev in 2008 to protest the country’s burgeoning sex industry (“Ukraine is not a brothel!” was the slogan of their first — and still clothed — demonstration, which aimed to dissuade foreigners from visiting prostitutes in the capital), Femen has since evolved into a vanguard of militant activists who have dubbed themselves the storozhevyye suki demokratii (the “watch-bitches of democracy”) and “modern-day Amazons,” some of whom demonstrate topless to, says their website “defend with their chests sexual and civic equality throughout the world.”

The article ends with this remark: ‘Just what de Beauvoir would have thought of topless demonstrations is anyone’s guess.’ Perhaps our erudite readership would care to weigh in? This seems unduly dismissive about the possibility of anticipating and reconstructing the views of a very important philosopher.

 

Pussy Riot’s fate October 22, 2012

Filed under: political protests — Monkey @ 12:12 pm

Pussy Riot is a female Russian punk band who staged a protest against Putin’s close ties with the Orthodox Church earlier this year. As is well-known, the three-woman band burst into Moscow’s main cathedral and sang a protest song on the altar. They were arrested, and have been in prison ever since. They were originally sentenced to two years in jail. One member was freed on appeal, receiving only a suspended sentence, on the grounds that she had been pulled away from the altar before the song began. But the sentences of the two other members have been upheld. Rumour has it that they have been sent to two of the harshest, Soviet-era prison camps – far away from their friends, supporters, and family, including their young children – but I understand that this has not been officially confirmed. You can read more from Reuters.

 

Are we returnng to the lawless disenfranchisement of the 1800’s? October 3, 2012

The distinguished reporter and political commentator, Elizaberh Drew, thinks so. Below are the beginning and end of her NYRB piece, which has unrestricted access. Her evidence is worth considering. Also worth thinking about is what women can do. Too many important issues are at stake.

The Republicans’ plan is that if they can’t buy the 2012 election they will steal it…Having covered Watergate and the impeachment of Richard Nixon, and more recently written a biography of Nixon, I believe that the wrongdoing we are seeing in this election is more menacing even than what went on then. Watergate was a struggle over the Constitutional powers and accountability of a president, and, alarmingly, the president and his aides attempted to interfere with the nominating process of the opposition party. But the current voting rights issue is even more serious: it’s a coordinated attempt by a political party to fix the result of a presidential election by restricting the opportunities of members of the opposition party’s constituency—most notably blacks—to exercise a Constitutional right.
This is the worst thing that has happened to our democratic election system since the late nineteenth century, when legislatures in southern states systematically negated the voting rights blacks had won in the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

 

Canadian scientists take to the streets July 11, 2012

Filed under: political protests,politics,science — Jender @ 3:44 pm

Several hundred Canadian scientists and their supporters held an unprecedented protest march on Tuesday to demonstrate against the government’s decision to close down major facilities and fire research staff.
The protesters, who say the right-of-center Conservative government dislikes science, walked through central Ottawa behind a woman dressed as the Grim Reaper and a coffin designed to mourn the “Death of Evidence.”
“Evidence is the way that adults navigate reality. To deny evidence is to live in a fairy world … when countries engage in fantasy it’s called state propaganda,” Simon Fraser University professor Arne Moores told a crowd of around 800 people gathered on Parliament Hill.

Canadian readers– tell us more! Fill us in! Send us better links than this! (Please)

 

Nuns on the bus June 19, 2012

Filed under: altruism,glbt,kyriarchy,political protests,religion,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 5:31 pm

They are going out on a nine-state trip to argue that the Ryan budget is bad for the poor and bad for the country.

Bill Moyers’ team is going along and there will be follow-ups on his pages too.

 

 
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