these random clippings from recent publications:
Sarah Weddington, the attorney who won the
landmark Roe vs. Wade case, looks at President Bush with
trepidation. … “What Bush is trying to do now is hit at the
choice issue but in ways that don’t get the American people riled
Francisco Chronicle, April 18, 2001
Family-planning advocates said yesterday that President Bush’s
budget eliminated a Clinton-era program providing prescription
contraceptives to federal employees. … Bush’s budget proposal
doesn’t call for an end to Viagra coverage.
— San Francisco Chronicle, April 12, 2001
It is American medicine’s dirty little secret. A
two-tiered system of care, based not on whether you are rich or
poor, but on the color of your skin, or your gender. In America in
the year 2001, if you are a minority or a woman, statistics show you
have greatly reduced the odds of receiving competent, timely,
aggressive, rock-solid medical care.
— Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
April 15, 2001
An explosion of Latino voting in Providence, Rhode
Island this fall should have been a cause for celebration. Instead,
it has revealed an electoral quicksand that pits Latinos against
African Americans and separates identity from ideology —
conditions ripe for manipulation by an entrenched white power
structure whose corruption is legendary.
— ColorLines, Spring 2001
April 22, 2001. Spring in Quebec City and
Washington, D.C. Two very different mobilizations. Or were they?
Thousands of protestors — including
environmentalists, farmers, and workers — filled the streets of
Quebec this weekend, gathering in frustration before a six-foot high
“wall of shame,” a chain-linked fence erected to keep them at a
safe distance. Inside, 34 heads of state were busily compiling the
rules for a Free Trade Area of the Americas. The mood in the
Canadian city had been tense for weeks, and police started arresting
suspicious-looking people well before the dignitaries arrived.
Thousands of marchers — men and women — filled
the streets of Washington this weekend, parading past the Senate
office buildings, the Supreme Court, and the Capitol to a
reproductive health fair on the National Mall. This Emergency Action
for Women’s Lives set in motion an intense four-year campaign for
reproductive rights. Nevertheless, following a tradition established
many years ago, the demonstration was seen as kind of spring
festival, with singers and other performers lightening the serious
But if you strip away the fence and the fragrant
spring flowers, you’ll find that the concerns of the two groups
are similar. They know their welfare is expendable. They have a
common enemy, and they are both fighting for survival.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize
that, right now, there’s a whole lotta jockeying for power goin’
on. Around the world, but particularly in Europe and the Americas,
relationships are being redefined. Even national governments have
become local when confronted with the demands of international
corporations. And groups once considered local are finding that the
government — their accustomed ally or familiar adversary — is
dancing a frantic jig of its own, to someone else’s tune.
The name of the new band is a boring cliché —
Wealthy White Males — but a look at the composition of corporate
boardrooms says it’s accurate. The tunes it plays are pretty old
hat as well, and they all elicit the same dance, an American
fandango that’s worked well in the past.
Here’s how it goes. Take the dancers and divide
them into groups, each with its own slogans, signs, and songs.
Cultivate differences, never allowing one group to notice how it
resembles another. Cultivate differences into animosities. Cultivate
rivalries into hostilities. Encourage pecking orders, especially if
they draw blood. Show the dancers the blood on the floor. Keep them
dancing. Don’t give them a chance to think. Let them drive each
other off the floor.
It worked in the U.S. labor movement: Greeks
fought Italians, whites fought blacks, and they all fought Mexicans
and Asians. It worked in the U.S. women’s movement: rich fought
poor, straights fought lesbians, and whites fought women of color.
Identity politics became politically correct, erasing years of class
and gender consciousness-raising. Movements — national or
international unions of like-minded people — disintegrated,
leaving the bosses, the chauvinists, the powerful unopposed.
But today, just as the guys on the stage are
redefining their relationship to the people on the dance floor, the
dancers are also beginning to move into new configurations. They’re
making connections they hadn’t noticed before, between farmers in
Bolivia and homeless people in Milwaukee, between factory workers in
Mexico and single mothers in Las Vegas. They’re discovering new
dance steps. If the guys in the band aren’t careful, these dancers
will start making their own music. It may not sound like anything
you’re accustomed to, but it’s bound to set your feet tapping.
Shall we dance?