Monthly Archives: December 2015
Alternative Radio recently featured a 3-17-15 presentation by Chris Hedges, American journalist, activist, author, and Presbyterian minister, entitled “Extractive Industries and Sexploitation,” Here’s the description of it in Hedge’s words: “The scourge of male violence against women won’t end if we dismantle the forces of global capitalism. The scourge of male violence exists independently of capitalism, empire and colonialism. It’s a separate evil. The fight to end male violence against women, part of a global struggle by women, must take primacy in our own struggle. Women and girls, especially those who are poor and of color, can’t take part in a liberation movement until they are liberated. They can’t offer to us their wisdom, their leadership, and their passion until they are freed from physical coercion and violent domination. This is why the fight to end male violence across the globe is not only fundamental to our movement but will define its success or failure. We can’t stand up for some of the oppressed and ignore others who are oppressed. None of us is free until all of us are free.”
Right on! Though, actually, Chris, we have been taking part in liberation movements for hundreds of years, offering our wisdom, leadership, and passion. And we don’t need you to free or liberate ourselves (that happens in our own minds and hearts). A bunch of you males need to free/liberate yourselves of your prejudices and preconceptions about us, and your need to feel better than and/or dominate us. That would help us all in our efforts to make needed changes — I definitely agree that if women don’t/can’t take a full leadership role in our various movements, they’ll fail; the world will not be saved.
Here’s the connection with the extraction industry, as explained by the Vancouver Post at the time: “The extraction industry and the prostitution of women are both the results of global capitalism, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Chris Hedges said in a controversial speech on Friday. Hedges delivered the keynote speech at Simon Fraser University’s State of Extraction conference in downtown Vancouver, Friday evening. In a packed room of more than 300 attendees, the former New York Times war correspondent spoke for 90 minutes, drawing parallels between exploited sex workers and the exploitation of the the extraction industry.
“Prostitution fits perfectly into the paradigm of global capitalism. No one chooses to die of silicosis or black lung disease. No one chooses to sell his or her body on the street. You go into the mines, like you go into prostitution, because global capitalism doesn’t offer you a choice. In every boomtown that rises up around extraction industries, you’ll find widespread sexual exploitation by bands of men.”
As I’ve said before, and will say again, all of these issues, all these “isms” are connected, and must be fought at the same time. Women and people of color are exploited by capitalism and by sexism and racism, respectively, and women of color are subjected to a triple whammy.