Study: Income does not explain segregation patterns in housing

16.08.2011 § Leave a comment

Here is a new study on segregation patterns in housing. Although this article’s main focus is on the injustice of black middle class families whose median income is above $75,000 (some of us find that defining ‘living in a good neighborhood’ exclusively in terms of income to be  seriously lacking.) there are some very interesting points:
a) The Pew Research Center reported that the wealth gap between whites and minorities is at a historic high, largely because of the slide in housing prices. A study by the National Urban League found that 30 years of economic gains for blacks were lost in the recession. 
b) census data suggesting a lack of resources (supermarkets, schools, hospitals, libraries)  in communities of color that could be said to be equal in terms of income.
 This can serve as yet another reminder that using only wages as a measuring stick leaves out important content in the sphere of social reproduction that shapes the contours and content of different class relations and oppression.
              

Strauss-Kahn’s defense team questions his victim’s credibility

01.07.2011 § 1 Comment

From the Wall Street Journal:

Prosecutors are expected to reveal in court that the maid told them she had been the victim of a gang rape in her home country of Guinea, and later admitted that she had made the story up, a person familiar with the matter said.

The revelations about the witness also involve her interaction with a man jailed on drug charges with whom she was taped in a telephone call, one person familiar with the situation said. Prosecutors and defense lawyers met Thursday to discuss the issues.

The issues regarding the maid’s credibility were reported Thursday by The New York Times on its website.

The May 14 arrest of Mr. Strauss-Kahn, an international political figure, at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport as he prepared to depart on a flight for Paris, has generated headlines and debate around the world, cost him his job at the helm of the IMF and has apparently dashed his hopes for a run at the French presidency.

It has also fueled speculation in Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s home country of conspiracies against him driven by politics and profit.

Prosecutors had previously said in court that the maid, a 32-year-old immigrant, had immediately cried out to witnesses upon leaving the room, indicating the veracity of her story. Investigators also found DNA evidence from Mr. Strauss-Kahn at the scene, law enforcement sources have said.

But the defense lawyers had indicated they would argue the encounter was consensual, and hired investigators to scrutinize the woman’s credibility.

Full(y nauseating) article here.

According to WSJ, Food Stamps are the source of fraud AND diabetes

01.07.2011 § Leave a comment

So I now follow Newt Gingrich on Twitter, leading me to read some pretty hilarious/disturbing things, like this piece from the Wall Street Journal, representative of the current right-wing backlash against progress being make to Food Stamp eligibility:

According to WSJ, the Obama administration’s repeal of the required “asset test” on Food Stamps applications is responsible for a wave of “bureaucratic crime” and various other “absurdities” resulting from overly-lax regulations. The initiative, part of an ongoing (PR) campaign to de-stigmatize the program and increase eligibility for those in need, aims to reduce the amount of paperwork associated with new applications thereby making it easier to receive benefits. In the article, WSJ columnist James Bovaird argues that now millionaires all around the country are eligible for Food Stamps, and that “some food-stamp recipients were selling their cards on Craigslist or brazenly cashing them out on street corners (for 50 cents on the dollar) and using the proceeds for illegal drugs and prostitution.”

Of course, as the Obama administration is “far more enthusiastic about boosting food-stamp enrollment than about preventing fraud,” they are making it even worse by “cracking down on state governments’ antifraud measures.” Bovaird is referring here to the fact that the Obama admin has requested that CA, TX and NY stop mandatory finger-printing of Food Stamps recipients (because Food Stamps recipients shouldn’t be treated as anything but criminals).

My favorite part of the article is definitely where Bovaird argues that providing Food Stamps is causing diabetes by encouraging people to eat more:

“Perhaps the biggest fraud of all is the notion, which the USDA has been touting lately, that the food-stamp program is a nutrition program. (The program’s name was formally changed in the 2008 farm bill to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—SNAP—to make it sound more wholesome and attractive.) What is really does is boost caloric intake, which is why numerous studies (including a 2009 Ohio State University report) link food stamps to the worsening obesity epidemic among low-income Americans.”

And last but not least, Bovaird throws a wild-card into the mix when he acknowledges that the rise in the number of folks on food assistance began long before Obama. The absurdity here of course is in Bovaird’s analysis of the phenomenon not as the result of Bush’s fucked-up financial policies (causing financial ruin for thousands and the increased need for social assistance, etc), but rather because G. Bush was secretly a left-wing traitor crusading for the poor:

But the Obama administration doesn’t deserve all the blame. Food-stamp enrollment surged before Mr. Obama took office. The number of food-stamp recipients on George W. Bush’s watch rose by more than 50%, even before the recession hit in 2007. As Slate reporter Annie Lowrey wrote for the online magazine last December, President Bush and his food-stamp chief Eric Bost “went on a quiet crusade to expand eligibility, increase enrollment, and reduce stigma around nutrition aid.” (emphasis added)

Um, right.

Eat the rich.

Full article here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304657804576401412033504294.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop#articleTabs%3Darticle

The supreme court formally refutes the existence of patriarchy: wallmart class-action lawsuit thrown out.

29.06.2011 § Leave a comment

Yall probably heard about the group of women wal-mart workers filing a class-action discrimination lawsuit. well, it was thrown out by the supreme court.

What is interesting is that it refuses to acknowledge that these thousands of allegations of discrimination on the basis of being women are bound together by anything (e.g. The Patriarchy).

Just to be clear, this decision wasn’t about whether or not walmart was guilty of discrimination, but about whether or not the suit could go forward as a class action lawsuit, i.e., if these women could act as a class. 

By a 5-4 vote along ideological lines, the court said there were too many women in too many jobs at Wal-Mart to wrap into one lawsuit.


“Respondents wish to sue for millions of employment decisions at once,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the lead opinion for the court in the five votes to four decision supporting the giant retailer. Without some glue holding together the alleged reasons for those decisions, it will be impossible to say that examination of all the class members’ claims will produce a common answer to the crucial discrimination question.”
what a depressing extension of wal-mart’s success in keeping its
workers disorganized. fuck it, of capital’s success in keeping women
disorganized. not surprising that women are the ideal proles for the
ideal capitalist firm (sez forbes). i know this episode should just
get filed under “litigation doesn’t work” but it’s so sad that they’ve
been trying to unionize unsuccessfully for so long that they were
pushed into this legal bullshit, and now pffffffffft

Personal Violence vs. Structural Violence: DSK / IMF

26.05.2011 § Leave a comment

An interesting read investigating the correlation btwn DSK’s personal violence and the IMF’s historical structural violence against women.

It’s not perfect–the end is crap–but it’s worth the read. Full article here.

A selection:

While the media dissects the attempted rape of a young African woman and begins to dig out more information about Strauss-Kahn’s past indiscretions, we couldn’t help but see this situation through the feminist lens of the “personal is political.”

For many in the developing world, the IMF and its draconian policies of structural adjustment have systematically “raped” the earth and the poor and violated the human rights of women. It appears that the personal disregard and disrespect for women demonstrated by the man at the highest levels of leadership within the IMF is quite consistent with the gender bias inherent in the IMF’s institutional policies and practice…

…IMF-mandated government cutbacks in social welfare spending have often been achieved by cutting public sector jobs, which disproportionately impact women. Women hold most of the lower-skilled public sector jobs, and they are often the first to be cut. Also, as social programs like caregiving are slashed, women are expected to take on additional domestic responsibilities that further limit their access to education or other jobs.

In exchange for borrowing $5.8 billion from the IMF and World Bank, Tanzania agreed to impose fees for health services, which led to fewer women seeking hospital deliveries or post-natal care and naturally, higher rates of maternal death. In Zambia, the imposition of SAPs led to a significant drop in girls’ enrollment in schools and a spike in “survival or subsistence sex” as a way for young women to continue their educations.

Two recent posts hating on Slutwalk (thnkgod)

17.05.2011 § Leave a comment

Two recent articles online critiquing slutwalk, one on the basis of some police-state-apologist white-supremacist bullshit, and the other on the basis of where the fuck’s the feminism this is gobbledywack.

Slutwalk: a stroll through white supremacy

This post points out that the cop who originally spurred the enormous response in Toronto was in fact INVITED TO ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE IN A CAMPUS MEETING ON SEXUAL ASSAULT. WHAT?  And that slutwalk was in fact geared towards reforming and repairing the police system. The author draws out some moments in the media hype around slutwalk to show the pretty obvious white supremacist vibrations emanating from the recent slutwalk upsurge. Also points out by contrast some effed up facts from new orleans about how “sex crimes” are dealt with (of course completely targeting women of color for repression, exploitation and death).

As Trymaine Lee has reported, black, poor and transgender women are being disproportionately and systematically branded as criminal “sex offenders” on an online database for engaging in “survival sex” in New Orleans. Under the cover of an obscure, slave-era legal term called “crimes against nature,” police officers target those who engage in oral or anal sex-for-money. Those targeted for a second time are charged as felons (vaginal sex-for-money, meanwhile, is considered misdemeanor prostitution). 40 percent of those who appear on the sexual predator database are there because they were accused of committing a “crime against nature;” more than 80 percent of those are black women.

The author reiterates that there is a deep blindness and disavowal of women and trans feminists of color in the mainstream debates, an erasure of movements against both the patriarchal and racist criminalization of sexuality, and against the police and state forces of capital… Not a surprise, but great concise breakdown.

We’re Sluts not Feminists: Wherein my Relationship with Slutwalk gets rocky

The author of this post starts out making the important points about why something like slutwalk is initially exciting and potentially important for the radical feminist conspiracy:

One moment I feel like YEAH! WOMEN GETTING MAD. Because, hey, women should be mad. Victim blaming is one of the most insidious, abusive, and traumatic experiences a woman can go through. Not only have we been assaulted, had to come out and admit/describe the assault (terrifying in and of itself), but then we are treated as though we somehow instigated, deserved, or imagined the assault. It is sick. I have witnessed it and I have experienced it.

The author goes on to express their intial suspicion – come – total – disgust with slutwalk as bourgeois anti-feminism par excellence (“par excellence” in that it is cast as womens liberation).

what I found over and over again was not only a refusal to align with feminism, but, often, an outright aversion to it. I saw numerous attacks on radical feminism and radical feminists and I witnessed the reinforcement of negative and untrue stereotypes about feminism (you know the ones: man-hating, misandrist, no-fun, sex-negative, etc). While I do believe the organizers had good intentions, desiring that Slutwalk be inclusive to all, it began to look a lot like the “funfeminist” — NO NO WE’RE THE CONVENTIONALLY ATTRACTIVE FEMINISTS. THE FUN ONES. WE’RE OK. WE LIKE PENISES AND PORN AND LOOKING SEXY kind of feminism that, in the end doesn’t successfully challenge much of anything, and simply repackages sexist imagery in “empowering” wrapping paper.

But what of the  contrast of these two texts? Do they speak to each other? do they conflict with one another?

JURYSOUT

When women intervene, something more than class relation appears… (Feminized Labor unrest in Kenya, Indonesia, Pakistan, Zambia)

22.03.2011 § Leave a comment

“A struggle of women, even with ordinary demands which
are themselves not particularly “feminine” (wages, working
conditions, layoffs…) is never just a struggle or a strike, but
always a struggle or a strike by women. In fact, the contradiction
between men and women is never absent, whether it is
addressed as such or just present in the themes. All women’s
movements bring to the table (or just make apparent) the
question of the separation of the private and public spheres
(to challenge their separation is to challenge their very existence,
which is nothing if not separate) constituting the
wage relation; the question of subsistence, of solidarity and
of unproductive-reproductive labor, that is to say, the organization
of life despite exchange; the question of sexuality (an
ostensible public appearance is always attached to a deviant
sexuality); and finally the pleasure of being together not only
as female workers or employees, but as women….

In their own struggles or in that of male workers, when women
intervene, even in the direct expression of ordinary demands,
a different dimension, something other than the reflexive
game between the classes, always appears.”

— TC: “Comrades, But Women”

Nurses and midwives are staging-go slows and inciting strikes in Kenya and Indonesia; women faced with the paticular oppressions of feminized labor in Pakistan and Zambia are pissed and rising up:

The 180 nurses at the hospital staged the go-slow on 16 March to protest at being overworked and the withholding of their uniform and other allowances by the hospital’s management

— KENYA: Nurse’s go-slow

Eight nurses and midwives have been arrested in Jayapura for their
involvement in a strike that resulting in a halt to services at the
general hospital in Jayapura. They face charges of inciting their
colleagues to take part in a strike.

INDONESIA (Jayapura) Nurses and Midwives arrested for inciting strike

Sindh Labour Minister Ameer Nawab said home-based workers, an overwhelming majority of whom were women, were not only paid less but they also did not have any job security. Besides, since they were not considered workers in the legal term, they could not get registered with various social security schemes of the government.

— PAKISTAN: Policy for Home-based Workers Sought

“Many women have been flocking our office with numerous complaints of alleged poor condition of services. Many have complained that they were working under harsh condition of services and in some case they were dismissed without any benefits despite the years they have served,” she said.

Mrs Tonga appealed to the ministry of Labour and Social Security to intervene in the matter.

And Chipata Muslim Association of Zambia vice chairperson Aiyub Mogra said his association had not received such complaints from the maids.

“Maids have never complained of their alleged poor conditions of service to the association. We are not aware of complaints,” he said

East Women’s Lobby Bemoans Poor Work Conditions for Domestic Workers

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